History of San Juan City

There is more to San Juan than its colorful political and cultural history. The city has improved considerably all these years and merit must be given to the local government's constant effort to address the fundamental economic, social and political concerns, especially the enforcement of laws and anti-crime campaigns, to make it better and safer place to live and to do business.

San Juan is officially named, Municipality of San Juan del Monte before it is converted into a highly urbanized City of San Juan in June 17, 2007. It is located nearly in the center of Metro Manila; bordered by Quezon City to the north and east, Mandaluyong City to the south, and Manila to the west. It is the second smallest among the cities and municipalities in the metropolis.

It is a small, congested city and one of the smallest political subdivisions of the metropolis. It has a total land area of 5.94 sq. kms., that accounts for less than one percent of the total area of the National Capital region. It has a population of 204,382 as of the year 2006.

During the pre-Spanish times, San Juan was a mere village until it became a small encomienda in 1590. Formerly a barrio of Santa Ana de Sapa, which was ruled by King Lacantagean and his wife Bouan, the town derived its name from the patron saint San Juan de Bautista (Saint John the Baptist), and “Del Monte,” often annexed to it, was named after the hilly structure of the land.
In 1602, the Dominican friars built a retreat house for their immediate use, where aging convalescing friars stayed. Later, the Dominicans Constructed a convent sanctuary and a stone church dedicated to the Holy Cross, a church destined to be ravaged during the Spanish occupation. To this day, the thrice-rebuilt church of the Holy Cross stands on the same site, with the Aquinas School for the boys and the Dominican College for the girls. In 1783, San Juan became independent of Sta. Ana but it was still then a barrio.
History remained silent in the town of San Juan until August 30, 1896 when Spanish-Filipino war erupted and became the most inspiring battle in our history, the Battle of San Juan Del Monte.

Conversion of the Municipality of San Juan into a Highly-Urbanized City

For quite some time, the effort to convert the Municipality into a highly-urbanized city had been difficult. Not only because of its small land area and limited income, but its population, according the National Statistics Office, seemed to be decreasing every census year despite the influx of people due to establishment of high-rise condominiums and business enterprises in the municipality.

In 2006, Representative Ronaldo Zamora re-filed the cityhood bill in the House of Representatives geared with a special computation of its population and boasting of the remarkable 200% increase in its income. It was approved and later forwarded to the Philippine Senate. Both Houses approved the bill and, on March 2008, it was transmitted to the Office of the President for signature. The 30-day veto period lapsed which automatically entitled the provision to a plebiscite.

After months of campaign, the plebiscite was held and received more than 96% of YES votes. On June 17, 2008, Republic Act 9388 Converting the Municipality of San Juan into a Highly Urbanized City was approved.

Location and General Description
San Juan is a small congested City located in the heart of Metro Manila. It is among the smallest political subdivisions of the Metropolis. Its land area of 5.94 sq. kms. accounts for less than 1 percent of the region. Located in the very center of the Metropolis, it is bounded by Manila in the west, Quezon City in the north and Mandaluyong in the east and south, at coordinates 12º 36’ latitude due north and 121º 02 longitude due east.

San Juan may be described as a congested town with very little space for expansion. It is predominantly residential with scattered commercial and manufacturing establishments. The City is politically divided into 2 Districts with 10 barangays in District 1 and 11 barangays in District 2.

Because of its central location and its accessibility to and from all points of the region, San Juan has attracted migrants from other areas. The presence of squatter settlements is a problem the city government has to perennially contend with.

Physical Features

Physiography and Terrain
San Juan is composed entirely of undulating low grade tuffaceous plateau of soil. This means that it has the depth and stability to carry almost any type of construction and it has the ability to absorb and hold water.

Most of San Juan’s terrain is gently rolling with a predominant slope of 2 – 12%. However there are flat areas with a slope of 0 –1% scattered along the western boundary and other parts of the city. Except for these flat areas, the physiography and terrain of San Juan make it ideal for urban development.

Flood and Earthquake Risk
Being in the heart of region’s central plateau, the city is free of earthquake damage risks.
However, areas along the western boundary rimmed by the San Juan River are sometimes visited by floods are barangays Salapan, Balong Bato, Progreso, Rivera, San Perfecto, Batis and sometimes Kabayanan.

Land Use
Of the city’s 5.94 square kilometers total land area, about 63.5% square or 3.77 square kilometers are residential, 16% or 0.95 square kilometers is road network 8.9% or 0.53 square kilometer is commercial, 6.7% or 0.40 square kilometer is institutional and the remaining 4.9% or 0.29 square kilometer is industrial.
Approximately, 10% of San Juan has been rendered unfit for development due to high flood risk and level slope. However, the remaining 90% has very good capacities for urban development.
Based on the proposed land use, the land area intended for commercial use rose significantly to 0.99 square kilometer, representing 17% of the town’s total land area intended for commercial use rose significantly to 0.99 square kilometer, representing 17% of the town’s total land area. Land area proposed for institutional use also expanded to 0.42 square kilometer, accounting for 7.1% of the total. On the other hand, land area designed for residential and industrial uses were reduced to 3.54 and 0.05 square kilometers, respectively. Meanwhile, the land area for road network is still the same at 0.95 square kilometer.

Natural Drainage
Aside from the San Juan River which runs along the western order of the municipality, two narrow creeks outline the north western and south western borders of San Juan. The Ermitaño creek from the northern border of Barangay Pasadena near the creek are also visited by floods due to the presence of the creek.

Maytunas creek, on the other hand, runs along the southern border of the municipality but hardly causes flooding on the surrounding areas.

Population and Demography
Considered as the second smallest in the metropolis, the population of San Juan exhibited a downward trend. From 126,708 inhabitants in 1990, the city’s total population slid to 120,752 in 2002 or a reduction of 4.7%. As a matter of fact, from 1990 onwards, an annual decline in the population has been observed, averaging at 0.39%. This was a stark contrast to the city’s total population of 129,833 in 1980, whose growth was attributed to both migration and natural increase. The town’s total population represents 1.2% of the region’s total.

While a drop in the town’s population was reported, increases in the number of inhabitants were registered in some of its barangays. From the year 2000 to 2002, population growths were reported in eight barangays, with barangay Rivera and St. Joseph registering the biggest growth rates of 26% and 21%, respectively. Other barangays, which exhibited increases in population, include Greenhills, Sta. Lucia, San Perfecto, Salapan, Progreso and Isabelita.

Although San Juan’s total population decreases, its population density on the other hand, rises. Population density is the number of persons per unit of area. From 21,323 persons per square kilometer in 1990, the town’s population density rose to 21,063 persons per square kilometer in 2003.
This indicates that San Juan is becoming less densely populated as the number of people, who live on each square kilometer of its total land area, has reduced to 21,063 persons per square kilometer in 2003 from 21,323 persons per square in 1990.

Of the municipality’s total population, 53% or 64,537 are males while 47% or 56,215 are females.

The population of San Juan is relatively young. 27% or 32,165 people of the town’s inhabitants belong to the age bracket under 1-14 years old.

source: San Juan Government



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