History of Parañaque City

Beginnings
The then town of Palanyag was founded in 1572. Since the place lay very proximate to the sea, the Paraqueños did much trade with the Chinese, Indonesians, Indians and Malayans. At that time the main means of livelihood were salt-making, fishing, planting rice, shoemaking, slipper-making and weaving. The community was headed by cabezas de barangay, a westernization of the local chieftains and the principalia as the local aristocrats were called, a very durable social institution since they were the political absorbers. They justified and moderated the demands of the Spanish colonizers. Education was limited to the principalia since it is only they who could afford it. The recorded beginnings of Palanyag began in 1580 when Fr. Diego de Espinar, an Augustinian missionary, was appointed Prior or superior of the convent or religious house of the town. As resident priest, he established the mission house there, with its spiritual jurisdiction reaching up to Kawit in the province of Cavite. The Council of the Definitors (or conference of chiefs of the religious orders) held on May 11, 1580, accepted Palanyag as an independent town. The image of Palanyag's patroness, Nuestra Señora del Buensuceso, was brought to St. Andrew's Church in La Huerta in 1625. Historical accounts state that since Palanyag was located at the crossroads of Manila, the provinces of Cavite and Batangas, the town's strategic location enabled the townspeople to play an important role in Philippine history. During the invasion of the Chinese pirate Limahong in 1574, Parañaque residents, particularly those from Barangay Dongalo, heroically aided in preventing the attack in Manila. This became known as the "Red Sea Incident" due to the blood that flowed as a result of the defense made by the people from barrio Sta. Monica, the barangay's former name. When the British invaded Manila in 1762, the townspeople once again remained loyal to the Spanish colonizers, especially the Augustinians. The invasion however showed that the power of the Spaniards was not invincible and more than a hundred years later, this would prove to be true. Then came the Philippine Revolution (circa late 19th century) and the Spaniards realized that the town was a practical gateway to Cavite, the bastion of the revolutionary Katipuneros. Conversely to the rebels based in Cavite, they saw the town as their gateway to Intramuros, the Spanish seat of government in Manila. Prominent Paraqueños, like Manuel Quiogue and secular priest Father Pedro Dandan became leading revolutionary figures. When the Americans took over, one of the first towns to have a municipal government was Parañaque. During the Japanese occupation (circa 1940's), Parañaque supplied the leadership of the guerilla movement like the ROTC Hunters as well as food and arms. Parañaque was one of the first towns to be liberated and its guerillas helped in paving the way for American forces to enter Manila. As can be gleaned from the above, Parañaque then and now has and continues to play a strategic role in the Philippines' political and economic progress. Another outstanding feature of this historic town by the bay is the cultivation of its cultural traditions like the Komedya, Sunduan, and Bati, among others that continue to attract local and foreign tourists alike, especially during the summer months.

From Palanyag to Parañaque
Palanyag, the old name for the city of Parañaque, generally means "my beloved", among other definitions, for as far as its residents are concerned, this best describes their affection for their hometown. Another version came from the combination of the terms "palayan" and "palalayag", the former meaning ricefields of which the city once abounded in and the latter pertaining to the sailing and fishing occupation of many of its residents. This was also a sign of cooperation and goodwill between the two major working sectors of the town, the farmers and the fishermen. It was however a drunken guest, during a certain affair which decided on the final name, who said "Mabuhay ang Palanyag at ang mga taga-Palanyag! (Long live Palanyag and the people of Palanyag!)" So the name stuck from that day on. Another version, according to tradition, was when a Spanish soldier told the driver of his caruaje or horse-drawn carriage, to "Para aqui, para aqui (Stop here, stop here)!" The driver, uncomprehending, kept on prodding his horse to go on while the soldier angrily repeated his instruction: "Para aqui, para aqui!" Onlookers just laughed as the Spaniards empathically said "para aniya aqui para aniya aqui (he said 'stop here' he said 'stop here)." For days the incident was repeated around and term "para aniya aqui" stuck. There is another story that says of an imposing balete tree at the mouth of the Parañaque. It looked like a boat sailing slowly and majestically, earning the Tagalog term Palanyag, a corruption of the term "palayag" which means "point of navigation". Further adulteration of the word later resulted in the word "palanyaque". A historian believes the town's name may have come from the term "palanas" which means a "broad flat plain," the geographic description of Parañaque. Other origins of the name Parañaque are "palanac" (with no special meaning), "patanyag" or contest for popularity, and "paranac", a native term for the shell product that used to be the livelihood of the natives of the town at one time. Parañaque, in the olden times, was where many people unboard the "kalesa", or horse-drawn carriage and would usually tell the conductor to "para na aque", which literally means "stop now, boy". The word "para", taken from the Spanish word "parar" which means to stop, "na" is a term in the Filipino language which means "now", and "aque" taken from the Filipino term "lalaki" or "lalake", meaning "boy". The phrase "para na aque" was used so often that it eventually evolved into a term pertaining to a place, thus, Parañaque. An alternative meaning of "para na aque" is "stop here", where the term "'aque'" might have also come from the Spanish word "aqui" which means "here". Whatever the correct origin of the name of Parañaque, the various terms strongly suggest the town's storied and mosaic past.

Location
Parañaque is located approximately 8 kilometers South of Manila, Republic of the Philippines, and is bounded by Pasay City in the north, Muntinlupa City in the southeast, Las Piñas City in the southwest, Taguig in the Northeast, and the Manila Bay (Reclamation / Boulevard 2000 area) in the West, at 14°30’ latitude and 121°01’ longitude.

Land Area and Uses
47.7 square kilometers carefully planned to accomodate residential, commercial, industrial and other establishments. Residential Areas. A part of the land area used for residential purposes accounts for ancestral homes, another in posh villages, with the remaining portion occupied by apartments, boarding houses, apartelles, townhouses, and condominiums for rent or sale at very reasonable rates. Commercial Centers. The whole stretch of land, save for occasional vacant portions, fronting roadways from the Northside Barangay of Baclaran to the Southern Barangays of San Antonio and B.F. Homes, is occupied by stores, shops, banks, offices, supermarkets, restaurant, schools, service stations and other related establishments. In some areas, as in the beautifully luxurious Barangays of B.F. Homes and Don Bosco, commercial establishments are found further in the interiors and along roadways, thereby providing a welcome treat to the population of the adjoining residential and/or industrial community. Industrial Areas. Parañaque’s industrial site used to be in the Northern Barangays of Baclaran and Tambo but because of expansion and commercialization in these areas, the factories were moved to the Southern and Eastern Barangays of San Antonio, B.F. Homes, Sun Valley, Marcelo Green, Merville, and San Martin de Porres. These areas have since become the center of industry in Parañaque, and the corporate headquarters in the Philippines of both Filipino and multinational companies.

Demography
Population Structure

The projected population of Parañaque for the year 2006 is 564,247 WITH 118,050 households. This constitute about 4.53% of the total population of the National Capital Region (NCR) and 0.59% of Philippine population.

Population Growth Rate and Projection


The trend on population growth of the city for the past thirty (30) years is shown on the following table.
Population Growth Trend City of Parañaque, 1970-2000
Census Date Population Growth Rate
May 6, 1970 97,214 4.52
May 1, 1975 158,974 10.37
May 1, 1980 208,552 5.58
May 1, 1990 308,236 3.98
Sept. 1, 1995 391,296 4.57
May 1, 2000 449,811 3.03

Using the growth rate of 1990-2000 which is 3.85%, the following table shows the projection of population of Parañaque.

Topography


The City of Parañaque sits on a plain with parts lying along the coastline of scenic Manila Bay. Within the next decade, expansions shall be realized through an ambitious, large-scale, well-planned and fast-track development upon an approximately 1,200 hectare stretch that will contain mixed land uses for residential, commercial, institutional, hotel, residential-commercial, residential-office, greens and open spaces, among other purposes.

Climate

March to May are hot summer months. The temperature dips following intermittent rains and occasional gustiness from June to October. Cool and fair weather prevails from November to February. Parañaque experiences an annual rainfall of 1.82 mm. per minute while its temperature ranges from 23 to 33 degrees Celsius; it has a relative humidity of 76% and enjoys an average daylight duration of 12 hours.

People


Parañaque is an ethnically-integrated community composed of warm, friendly, hospitable, and devoted Filipinos. It is also a second home to various foreign nationals who have come to like and love the city and its constituents and who have realized the locality’s potentials for growth. It is a place wherein people from the different regions of the three main island groups of Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao are assimilated. Due to rapid migration, only around 10 percent of the population are native Tagalog Paraqueños; the rest is an amalgam of migrants from various regions of the Philippines, plus those foreign nationals who have adopted the City as their "second home."

Language
The City folks' main mode of communication is the Philippine vernacular called Filipino which is basically culled from the indigenous Tagalog language with evident English and Spanish influences together with traces of other languages being used by Filipinos from other regions of the country. However, official transactions are still mostly done in English which is understood and spoken as either a second or third language by most citizens.

Religion
Parañaque is not only a melting pot of variant cultures and migrants from all over the country; it is also a crossroad of diverse religions. It is also home to the Baclaran Church, known to be the most attended church in Asia, which is run by the Redemptorist fathers. Although predominantly Roman Catholic, other Christian religions and denominations freely practice their faith in the City. One would also notice the presence of Moslem communities throught Parañaque wherein they have enjoyed the respect and interaction of the Christians. Indeed, Parañaque is a place where inter-faith cooperation for social change begins, takes form, and brings fruit. Religious groups and their respective lay organizations are very active in providing the community with social services complementary to those implemented by City Hall.


Source: Parañaque Government

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