Pandacan is a district of
the City of
Manila in the Philippines, 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
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 Bulacan.
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.
district is bounded to the east by the Pasig
River, the district of Sta.
Ana to the southwest Ermita 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 Makati 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
(now Dra. Paz Mendoza-Guazon St.) was once
a row for manufacturing such as a coconut
processing, rope making facility, including the central
bottling and distribution center of Coca
in the Philippines. One can also find along Guazon street
the major car dealerships and their respective showrooms for
of the Malacañang
Palace, 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
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
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
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
The head office and training center of the Roman Catholic Church's
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
Private education is provided by a Catholic school called St. Joseph's School -
, located beside the Sto. Niño Parish along Jesus
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
(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
, there is the
(Child Jesus) Parish located along Jesus
Street. The members of the Iglesia ni
have a local, and the Pandacan United Methodist
Church; both located along
Pres. Quirino Avenue and the Aglipayan
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
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
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.
was a farming community, producing small quantities of rice and sugar that were sold to
the Spanish enclave in Intramuros.
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.
19th century, Pandacan was described as a "Little Venice" or
"Little Italy" 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
Pandacan was also home to prominent Filipino artists of the 19th
century and these distinguished personages of the Philippines' arts
and letters include Francisco
(or also known as Balagtas) who authored,
"Florante at Laura;"
musician Ladislao Bonus
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
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
" (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
From Industrial to Commercial
various manufacturing facilities in Pandacan have long transferred
to other locations outside of Manila.
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
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 City in September 11,
2001 added as reason to evict the depot.
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.
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.
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
. Once "Otis 888" is
completed in 2008, the district of Pandacan will have its first
Tourism and Events
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
. 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