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Pandacan is a district of the City of Manilamarker in the Philippinesmarker, located south of the banks of the Pasig River and belongs under the 6th congressional district of Manila, divided into thirty eight (38) barangays that includes Zone 90 to Zone 95 and barangays 833 to 872.


Modern residential housing in Pandacan

Based on a year 2000 survey of the National Statistics Office, Pandacan has a total population of close to 82,194. The original residents of the district are Tagalog speaking migrants from the province of Bulacanmarker. When the district grew and progressed as a manufacturing center for Manila, several migrants from other parts of the country moved into the district after the Second World War.

The district is bounded to the east by the Pasig River, the district of Sta.marker Anamarker to the southwest Ermitamarker to the east and the district of Paco to the northeast.

Majority of the residents of Pandacan belong to the generally lower to upper middle class brackets. Original residents were gainfully employed as blue collar workers in the nearby factories and oil depot, while some working in white collar jobs are employed in nearby Makatimarker City, the country's central business district.

Pandacan was originally established as the industrial center for the City of Manila during the turn of the 20th century. Oil depots which services more than half of the fuel requirement of the country were established along the banks of the Pasig River.

Pandacan's western section, along the street formerly called Otis (now Dra. Paz Mendoza-Guazon St.) was once a row for manufacturing such as a coconut oil processing, rope making facility, including the central bottling and distribution center of Coca Cola in the Philippines. One can also find along Guazon street the major car dealerships and their respective showrooms for Toyota, Honda, Nissan, Ford and Isuzu.


A portion of the Malacañang Palacemarker, the official residence of the Philippine President is located in Pandacan. A well secured five (5) hectare property called Malacañang Park is located at the foot of the Nagtahan bridge and it serves as the barracks for the Presidential Security Guard.

The district is also home to a few well known historical figures including Apolinario Mabini, dubbed as the "sublime paralytic." Mabini served as one of the key figures of the Katipunan who revolted against the Spanish colonial masters. Mabini was the Philippines' first Foreign Affairs Secretary. The National Historical Institute has declared Mabini's former residence as a national historical shrine.

Former First Lady Imelda Romualdez Marcos also claims Pandacan as her home in Manila where the Romualdez clan keeps their ancestral home. Ever since Mrs. Marcos became the wife of former President Ferdinand Marcos in the sixties, only caretakers are now looking after the old house. The house is Mrs. Marcos' traditional and common reference to her ties as a resident of Manila, aside from her family's roots in Leyte province.

The head office and training center of the Roman Catholic Church's Catholic Charities or CARITAS under the Archdiocese of Manila is also based in the district.


Public elementary schools serving the district includes Jacinto Zamora Elementary School, Bagong Diwa Elementary School, Beata Elementary School and Bagong Barangay Elementary School, while the district has one public high school, the Carlos P. Garcia High School.

Private education is provided by a Catholic school called St. Joseph's School - Pandacan, located beside the Sto. Niño Parish along Jesus Street.

By the year 1994, a private high school was built by Fr. Pierre Tritz, a Jesuit from France for the disadvantage Filipino youth. It is the ERDA Technical Vocational Secondary School located at the corner of Certeza Street, Pandacan. Its fund came from International Groups and Sponsors mainly from Europe.

At the start of school year 2006, banker Alfonso Yuchengco opened the first modern privately run science high school called Malayan High School of Science (under the Mapua Institute of Technology system) on what was once the head office of the A. Soriano Corporation along Otis Street (now Dra. Paz Mendoza-Guazon Street), across the bottling plant of Coca Cola.


Four of the leading Christian religious dominations in the Philippines established their presence in the district. For Roman Catholics, there is the Sto. Niño (Child Jesus) Parish located along Jesus Street. The members of the Iglesia ni Cristo have a local, and the Pandacan United Methodist Church; both located along Pres. Quirino Avenue and the Aglipayan or members of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (Parish of the Sto. Niño) have a church along Labores street.


Church of Pandacan - Vicinity of Manila, early 1800s.
Original caption: Église de Pandacan—Environs de Manille.
From Aventures d'un Gentilhomme Breton aux iles Philippines by Paul de la Gironiere, published in 1855.

Officially Pandacan was established as a community in 1574 when Franciscan priests of the Roman Catholic Church established the first mission in the district. Pandacan was originally part of the parish of Sampaloc but was later established as a separate parish in 1712.

Pandacan was a farming community, producing small quantities of rice and sugar that were sold to the Spanish enclave in Intramurosmarker. Aside from a few vegetable plots, the old Pandacan produced bricks & tiles, cotton laces in various colors but in limited quantities. The district also produced shoes and small boats.

In the 19th century, Pandacan was described as a "Little Venicemarker" or "Little Italymarker" for its numerous canals or estuaries leading to the Pasig River. Often, many would leisurely row through the estuaries in the late afternoons as described by Francisco Balagtas in his early writings. Pandacan was also home to balladeers, and source of musicians in the early times.

Late in the Spanish era and into the American regime, Pandacan was developed into becoming the first industrial estate in the Philippines. The first modern manufacturing company was built in Pandacan and was called the Compania General de Tabacos de Filipinas in 1882, a modern cigar making plant.

The first stone church in Pandacan was built in 1732 by Fr. Francisco del Rosario. The church would not be completed until after 30 years. The image of the Holy Child of Jesus or popularly known as Sto. Niño was enshrined at the church and its feast is traditionally celebrated on the 3rd Sunday of January.

According to tales, the image of the Child Jesus (more popularly called the Santo Niño) was recovered from a well near the church and some say the water from the well resulted in the miraculous healing of the infirm. The well has long been sealed due to pollutants but a shrine stands on what was once the well.

The original church, completed in 1760 was twice destroyed by earthquakes. A modern church now stands on the old ruins including a parish school which stands on what was the Catholic cemetery of the district.

Pandacan was also home to prominent Filipino artists of the 19th century and these distinguished personages of the Philippines' arts and letters include Francisco Baltazar (or also known as Balagtas) who authored, "Florante at Laura;" musician Ladislao Bonus, Tagalog language theorist Lope K. Santos and playwrights Miguel Masilungan and Pantaleon Lopez.

By the turn of the 19th century, the American colonial government decreed Pandacan as the center for industrial activity and had oil companies build their storage and distribution facilities in the district.

With the presence of several manufacturing facilities in the district, a modern housing facility was built to house the workers at the nearby oil depots. The housing project was called "Kapitan Tikong" (Captain Tikong) Subdivision, named after a popular local leader. The housing facility was developed, built on the south eastern banks of the Estero de Beata. In honor of Francisco Baltazar, the streets in the subdivision were named after the characters of "Florante at Laura."


From Industrial to Commercial

The various manufacturing facilities in Pandacan have long transferred to other locations outside of Manilamarker. Only the three major oil companies known as the "Big Three" operates its oil distribution depots in Pandacan; Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron's Caltex and Saudi Aramco majority owned Petron Philippines.

During the 2nd term of Manila Mayor Joselito L. Atienza, Jr., the mayor led an effort to convert Pandacan from an industrial classification into commercial, in an effort to have the oil depot removed from the district. Atienza and several city councillors were concerned that the oil depot served as a security, environment, and safety hazard to the densely populated Pandacan. Several fires have been attributed to the presence of the oil depot and the terrorist attacks in New York Citymarker in September 11, 2001 added as reason to evict the depot. During the Second World War, retreating Filipino and American forces ordered the dumping of fuel into the Pasig River to ensure that advancing Japanese forces would not be able to use the remaining oil supply.

Difficulty in finding a reasonable relocation site for the oil depots, without disturbing the national distribution process of fuel resulted in compromise in place of the eviction, however a gradual phase out of large oil tanks that lined near residential areas has been completed and a Pandacan Linear Park was built along the oil depot and residential units up to the banks of the Pasig River.

Beautification programs

In 2003, Atienza spearheaded a beautification program and spruced up various parks and recreational facilities and this included the Plaza Balagtas (built under the administration of Mayor Antonio J. Villegas) that sits on top of the Estero de Beata and the Ladislao Bonus Park in 2006. On September 2006, as part of Atienza's sidewalk re-development and street lighting program, the main highway from Jesus street corner Quirino Avenue at the foot of Nagtahan bridge southwards into Palumpong street and the whole of Laura street up to the foot of the Padre Zamora bridge was renovated, linking the walkways into the Pandacan Linear Park, a buffer zone made into a park separating the oil distribution facilities from the residential-commercial areas. The Pandacan Linear Park, developed under the support of the big three oil companies and the City Government of Manila now allow residents a leisure walk and recreation along the Pasig River.

Modern housing

Owing to the re-development goals for Manila, various sections of the district are seeing improvements with a low cost housing development in the site of the compound of the Manila City Engineer's Office beside the Nagtahan bridge called "Residencias Manila". The industrial estates for a coconut mill plant is now an exclusive medium class housing village while the former compound for the Manila Gas Company will see a mix 5-hectare commercial-residential complex geared for wealthy Filipino-Chinese families called "Otis 888" that will be built by Robinson's Land Company of industrialist John Gokongwei. Once "Otis 888" is completed in 2008, the district of Pandacan will have its first shopping mall.

Tourism and Events

The Sto.
Niño de Pandacan Parish, which celebrates its fiesta every 3rd Sunday of January.

The City of Manila boasts of its rich cultural history every year in Pandacan with the traditional "Buling Buling" Dance Festival. Because many of the country's literary and musical geniuses of the 19th century came from Pandacan, an annual traditional dancing in the streets of Pandacan is featured every Saturday before the main celebrations for the feast of the Sto. Niño every 3rd week of January.


  • "By Sword and Fire: The Destruction of Manila in World War II, 3 February-3 March 1945" by Alphonso J. Aluit (1994) Bookmark, Inc. © 1994 National Commission for Culture and the Arts ISBN 971-569-162-5

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