San Rafael, Bulacan
San Rafael is a 1st class municipality in the province of Bulacan, Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

. According to the latest census, it has a population of 85,284 inhabitants in 14,639 households.


San Rafael is politically subdivided into 34 barangay
A barangay is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines and is the native Filipino term for a village, district or ward...

s (5 urban, 29 rural).
  • BMA-Balagtas
  • Banca-banca
  • Caingin
  • Coral na Bato
  • Cruz na Daan
  • Dagat-dagatan
  • Diliman I
  • Diliman II
  • Capihan
  • Libis
  • Lico
  • Maasim
  • Mabalas-balas
  • Maguinao
  • Maronquillo
  • Paco
  • Pansumaloc
  • Pantubig
  • Pasong Bangkal
  • Pasong Callos
  • Pasong Intsik
  • Pinacpinacan
  • Poblacion
  • Pulo
  • Pulong Bayabas
  • Salapungan
  • Sampaloc
  • San Agustin
  • San Roque
  • Talacsan
  • Tambubong
  • Tukod
  • Ulingao
  • Sapang Pahalang

Every year, the town celebrates its fiesta (September 29) in honor of their 2nd patron saint, Saint Raphael, together their town's pride, the Angel Festival, which attracts many tourists every year.


Long before the Spaniards came, the unit of government was the barangay
A barangay is the smallest administrative division in the Philippines and is the native Filipino term for a village, district or ward...

, composed of several household grouping. In one of these barangays belonged a man who earned his living by catching fish in the river. One night, in his deep slumber, he dreamt that he could cure the sick with the liver of the fish he caught. The following morning, he happened to pass by a neighbor’s hose, where an aged man was ill in bed. He applied the liver on the painful stomach and after some moments the old man was able to get up from bed. Since then, he became a famous medicine man. Every day his house was filled by those who wish to be healed. When the missionaries came to the place where the medicine man lived, they were attracted by the presence of many people going to his house. When they learned that the place is noted because of the medicine man, they named the place in honor of St. Rafael
Raphael (archangel)
Raphael is an archangel of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, who in the Judeo-Christian tradition performs all manners of healing....

, the archangel and whose feast day is September 29. Since then the town has been called San Rafael.

Spanish Era

The people of San Rafael felt the tremors of the Philippine Revolution
Philippine Revolution
The Philippine Revolution , called the "Tagalog War" by the Spanish, was an armed military conflict between the people of the Philippines and the Spanish colonial authorities which resulted in the secession of the Philippine Islands from the Spanish Empire.The Philippine Revolution began in August...

 of 1896. The San Rafael church still stands as the silent witness of the bloody battles that the Filipino insurgents fought. This church was used as a military barrack for almost three days, after the insurgents had destroyed all papers and documents they found in the convents. When the Spanish Cazadores learned of these rebellious activities, they entered the church and fought the insurgents. The combatants fought heavily inside the church to a point that blood was spilled all over the church floor. The patio in front of the church was littered by dead bodies of Filipino insurgents. The governadorcillo ordered people to dig a common grave near the church for the bodies of the insurgents.

American Influence

The Americans succeeded the Spaniards with their policy of benevolent assimilation. Schools were established as a potent factor for pacification. In 1903, schools were opened in San Rafael. The municipal building was used as a school house. Since then with the supervision of the American administrators, San Rafael has enjoyed the blessings of education and the progress which was denied to them during the three–century rule of the Spaniards.

In 1899, the Americans incorporated the town to Baliwag when Baliwag was intended to be the Provincial Capital of Bulacan. However, due to a number of petitions of the people of San Rafael, especially when the plan to make Baliwag the capital of Bulacan did not materialize, the Americans where convinced to separate San Rafael as an independent town from Baliwag. Mr. Julian V. Valte was appointed to be the first Presidente Municipal of San Rafael, and Mr. Emilio Reyes was the last.

In the year 1924 and 1927, with the help of some influential men, the Spaniards were able to get the signatures of the land owners of San Rafael and San Ildefonso
San Ildefonso, Bulacan
San Ildefonso is a 1st class municipality in the province of Bulacan, Philippines. According to the latest census, it has a population of 93,438 inhabitants in 15,753 households.- Built up area :...

 to an agreement purporting to show their willingness to donate their lands to the Hospital of San Juan de Dios.

Thus the town of San Rafael and San Ildefonso became properties of the hospital and started to be called Hacienda de Buenavista until 1944, when it got back its original name.

Japanese Occupation

The Commonwealth of the Philippines was invaded by the Empire of Japan in December 1941 shortly after Japan's declaration of war upon the United States of America, which controlled the Philippines at the time and possessed important military bases there. The combined American-Filipino army was defeated by April 1942.

In May, 1942, the Japanese government opened schools and introduced the teaching of Nippon-go
Japanese language
is a language spoken by over 130 million people in Japan and in Japanese emigrant communities. It is a member of the Japonic language family, which has a number of proposed relationships with other languages, none of which has gained wide acceptance among historical linguists .Japanese is an...

. As part of its war drive, Japanese propaganda included phrases like "Asia for the Asians!" and talked about the perceived need to liberate Asian countries from imperialist powers. Similarly, the Philippines were propagandized about "American exploitation," "American Imperialism," and "American tyranny," and blame was laid on the United States for starting the war. They were assured that the American forces would not return and that they were not Japan's enemies. The effect of this was considerably undermined by the actions of the Japanese Army, and the Filipinos soon waited for the return of the Americans to free them from the Japanese. Japanese education condemned anything American, tried to infuse Japanese culture and to teach Filipinos the concept of the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere
Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere
The Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere was a concept created and promulgated during the Shōwa era by the government and military of the Empire of Japan. It represented the desire to create a self-sufficient "bloc of Asian nations led by the Japanese and free of Western powers"...

 under the Japanese influence.

Socio–economic, educational and religious programs were largely non-existent. The people were deprived of property, food, supplies and shelter. They were forced or resorted to eat camote, wore jute
Jute is a long, soft, shiny vegetable fibre that can be spun into coarse, strong threads. It is produced from plants in the genus Corchorus, which has been classified in the family Tiliaceae, or more recently in Malvaceae....

 sacks and tattered clothes. The people of San Rafael evacuated to Upig, Licheria, Coral na Bato and Camachile. Schools were closed and the church was ordered to stop performing its religious duties.

Guerrilla resistance against the Japanese continued throughout the war. Uncaptured Filipino army units, a communist insurgency and supporting American agents all played a role in the resistance. The people of San Rafael refused to be subjected to Japanese authority and they organized and joined small guerrilla bands and harassed the units of the Japanese army stationed in the town whenever there was a chance to do so. These small, organized guerrillas in San Rafael later became members of BMA (Bulacan Military Area).

The Liberation of San Rafael

When the American forces landed in Leyte
Leyte is a province of the Philippines located in the Eastern Visayas region. Its capital is Tacloban City and occupies the northern three-quarters of the Leyte Island. Leyte is located west of Samar Island, north of Southern Leyte and south of Biliran...

 in October, 1944, the Japanese became more brutal. Hundreds met their death in the hands of the enemy. One cruel incident occurred at Barrio Pulo. Men and women who were assembled where tied together, dynamites were strapped to many of them and these were later detonated by the Japanese captors. A lone survivor, Marcelo Mangahas, told the world of the gory incident. Other atrocities followed. However, the unity of the people of San Rafael and the heroism of the Filipino soldiers and guerrillas prevented further casualties and destruction. When the Americans arrived, they found San Rafael liberated by the courageous guerrillas with the Filipino troops of the Philippine Commonwealth Army 32nd, 35th and 36th Infantry Division and the Philippine Constabulary 3rd Infantry Regiment that were mostly from San Rafael.

Local Filipino troops of the 32nd, 35th and 36th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and 3rd Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary
Philippine Constabulary
The Philippine Constabulary ' was the oldest of four service commands of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. It was a gendarmerie type para-military police force of the Philippines established in 1901 by the United States-appointed administrative authority replacing the Guardia Civil...

 liberated the town in San Rafael, Bulacan and aided the guerrillas of the Bulacan Military Area (BMA) and defeated Japanese soldiers and aftermath in World War II.
San Rafael is the hometown of some of Bulacan's prominent families such as Veneracion, Valenzuela, Villanca, Violago, Silverio, Dayrit and Bermudez


The Angel Festival is a colorful celebration in honor of the Seven Archangels
Seven Archangels
The earliest reference to a system of seven archangels as a group appears to be in Enoch I which is not part of the Jewish Canon, where they are named as Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, Uriel, Raguel, Remiel and Saraqael...

. This is held every 29th of September in honor of the St. Raphael.

This is highlighted by a parade participated by children from the public and private schools in San Rafael. More than a thousand children in angel costumes in the street make it look like heaven has come down to the town of San Rafael. This is followed by an interpretative dancing competition by all participant schools. The Angel Festival was started last September 29, 2002 through the initiative of the San Juan de Dios Parish and the San Rafael Tourism Council.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.