San Pedro became a town on January 18, 1725 when the Spanish King Charles II decreed
that the town, formerly known as Tabuko, be a separate town from Kabullaw now known
as Cabuyao. By virtue of the last will of King Philip Rodriguez de Figueroa or
"Don Esteban", a group of Agustinian Fathers gained the ownership of the Tunasan Estate.
Later on, San Pedro became an hacienda of Colegio de San Jose, a group of Jesuit
friars who took over the property which this time is known as "San Pedro Tunasan".
"Tunasan" came from "Tunas", a medicinal plant abundant inits shoreline areas.
During this period, agriculture, fishing, duck rasing, fruit trees, and sampaguita
were the main sources of income of its residents.
This period was highlighted by the growing tenant/landlord dispute. The tenants of Hacienda
San Pedro Tunasan fought for their birthrights over their ancestral lands. This struggle
took almost 423 years of unsuccessful resistance to Colegio de San Jose, and on 1938, the
Government bought the homesites of the San Pedro Tunasan Hacienda from the Colegio for
re-sale to its tenants. This event laid to rest the tenant/landlord problem in the town
but created another similar tenancy disputes. It divided the residents on the issue of
repaying the government for the lands. Those who believed and were in favor of repaying
the government were called the "No Parking" and the other group composed of vast majority
called the "Yapak" provided the opposition for the reasons of inheritance and occupancy
for more than five generations.
The town's divisiveness constrained the government to award the Yapak's lands to others
who applied for the property. It resulted to numerous court cases which stalled the release
of its land titles. As the town reaches its political maturity, political contest held from
then on, were affected by this divisiveness. Yapak favored politicians and were assured
of victory. The conflict remained unresolved until the time of the first term of office
of the then and now the incumbent Mayor Fely A. Vierneza.
San Pedro's lands being untitled and its residents mostly farmers and fishermen made
capital a scarce commodity. Except for some, those belonging to wealthy families were
able to put up some businesses. Economically, San Pedro has fallen asleep while waiting
for the release of their land titles.
From the Spanish time until and after the Japanese occupation of the Philippines,
the scenario changed a bit, when in August 30, 1954, President Ramon Magsaysay signed
at the historic town plaza the Land Tenancy Act. By virtue of this law, farm lots of the
hacienda was bought by the Philippine Government to be sold at cost to the tenants or
occupants of the farm lots in Bayan-Bayanan under the Narra Settlement Project of the
magsaysay Administration. But this project suffered the effects of the "Yapak" and
"No Parking" dispute due to the cases still unresolved in court. The geographics of
San Pedro were dramatically changed when in 1964 to 1967 and in 1968 to 1971 the town
was selected as the site of San Pedro Resettlement Area Project, wherein resettled
families from Metro Manila were relocated under the beautification project of the then
First Lady Imelda R. Marcos and in line with holding of Miss Universe Contest
for the year 1975. This was simultaneously done with the rise of several GSIS/SSS
housing projects in town. This increased San Pedro's population from 50,000 in 1965
to 74,556 in 1985.
The abrupt increase in its population resulted to dislocation of the town's financial
capabilities. The increasing number of residents likewise increased the demands for
basic services. Aiming to increase the town's revenue and to provide job employment
opportunities to his constituency, Mayor Vierneza launched the industrialization program,
utilizing its abundant underground water resource, its potential labor as an attraction,
and a five-year tax moratorium as an incentive. The campaign was proven to be effective
when several industrial establishments and factories heeded the Mayor's call.
The country was under martial law when Mayor Vierneza, after his assumption to office,
immediately worked out to settle the court cases knowing that this is the key that would
trigger the town's transformation into a dynamic community. And finally in 1983, at the
same historic town plaza, the then President Ferdinand E. Marcos and
Mrs. Imelda Romualdez Marcos awarded the first 50 land titles to its tenants/beneficiaries.
The last court case Mayor Vierneza settled was between Mr. Guillermo A. Castasus and
Gen. Flaviano Olivares. The release of land titles was followed by the awakening of the
town's business community. Its Public Market was re-constructed in 1981, after being
destroyed by fire in 1978. After this, business mushroomed in almost every strategic
location of the municipality to meet the demands of its people for goods and
services--proof of an economically active community.
From then on, the town's development and its transformation from a 5th class sleepy
agricultural community went on high gear. Now, San Pedro is a fragrant as the sampaguita
and is waiting to finally become a city.
SAN PEDRO TODAY
Once a sleepy fishing, duck raising and agricultural town of only 50,000 in the
early '70s with an annual income of P60,000 or a little more, San Pedro today is
a bustling town of more than 240,000 people with an annual income of over
P250 million whose history and progress is as fragrant as its verdant and fragrant
sampaguita fields which blooms all thoughout the year.
From a relatively unknown town whose unpaved walkways and narrow roads were dotted
every now and then by "calesas" and foot pedalled tricycles, San pedro today boasts
of wide and well paved streets and scores of subdivisions, including one of the biggest
in the country.
Where before San Pedro was noted only for its vast rice farms producing the main staple,
"pinipig" and "puto bumbong" during Christmas holidays and sugarcane plantations and
a big but barren rolling hills which eventually became a resettlement area for Manila's
squatters, the town today is host to many industries and manufacturing plants,
modern public markets, a big golf course and other facilities and amenities befitting
its status as a first class municipality.
Where before San Pedro can be reached several hours from Manila via the old national
highway that cuts across Muntinlupa, it now takes a car owner 30 minutes or less depending
on traffic along the South Luzon Expressway to reach San Pedro with the opening of exits
in the expressway and maybe faster with the opening of another exit within the year.
Today, San Pedro is the home of more than 200 big corporations producing a wide array
of products or services. All the biggest names in the fastfood chain industry are now
also in San Pedro. There were also a handful of schools, subdivisions and hospitals
when in '70s. Today, the town boasts of 20 public elementary and high schools,
11 colleges and technical schools.
Now known also as the residential town of Manila, San Pedro has more than 100 subdivisions
and villages, big or small, boasting of homeowners who are top officials of government,
the military, the Philippine National Police, schools and universities, businesses,
professional organizations, sports and entertainment groups.
Where before there were only one or two hospitals in San Pedro, today it has eight
hospitals and 70 medical and dental clinics with modern facilities to take care of
the needs of the burgeoning population of the town. The town now also has three
modern public markets serving all the food and goods needed by the thousands
Two major reasons for the quick transformation of San Pedro into a first class
town are transportation and communication facilities in the town. Due to the
good roads, public transportation to San Pedro from Manila or vice versa is
available 24 hours a day. Airconditioned buses and Toyota Tamaraw FX vans ply
from San Pedro to Manila, Makati and Quezon City starting at 4 a.m. up to about
12 midnight, specially during office and school days, and vice versa.
Communications to and from San Pedro to any point of the Philippines and the
world is available through three big telecommunications companies -
the PLDT, Digitel and PT&T, one of the very few towns in the country three
competing telecom firms. With excellent transportation and communication facilities,
San Pedro, thus, has a big potential as a business and industrial park.