The City of Biñan is the newest component city in the province of Laguna, Philippines. Accessible from Metro Manila via the South Luzon Expressway, Biñan has become both a suburban residential community of Metro Manila and a location for some of the Philippines’ largest industrial estates and export processing zones.
Before it was converted into a city, Biñan was the richest municipality in the Philippines with an annual gross income of P677 million and net income of P250 million, as of 2007 by the Commission on Audit. According to the latest census, it has a population of 262,735 in 42,307 households.
Binan, according to historical literature, was discovered and established by the Spaniards in June 1571, a month after Miguel Lopez De Legaspi founded Manila.
Under the leadership of Juan de Salcedo, Legaspi’s nephew, about 45 Spaniards sailed and landed on the towns of Taytay and Cainta in the province of Morong (now known as Rizal). Armed with small cannons and other weapons, the Spaniards conquered the people of Morong. They then sailed Laguna De Bay and peacefully invaded one by one the places along the shores of the lake.
They proceeded to Pinagsangahan (now Pagsanjan) then to Nagcarlan and ended in Majayjay. From these three towns, the Spaniards return to the lake and landed on the biggest town they named Bahi, Bae, or Bay. The town of Bahi became the first capital town in 1688.
The Spaniards sailed once again from Bahi going Northwest and landed on a wide town they named Tabuco (now Cabuyao). After Cabuyao was founded, Kapitan Salcedo and his men continued sailing but were driven by strong winds to the mouth of the wide river and ended between residential houses.
Some of the residents on the left of the river exerted resistance and fought against the colonizers using bows and arrows, and bolos and swords. The residents later conceded and the place was named Manlalaban (now Brgy. Malaban).
The Spaniards resumed sailing the river until they reached the center of the area. Kapitan Salcedo, accompanied by Father Alonzo Alvarado, explained to the people that their purpose was not to conquer and invade but to spread friendship and help the people. The people consented, and Father Alvarado planted a big wooden cross on the ground and announced the birth of a new church. Father Alvarado invited the people to thank God and know Jesus Christ by showing respect to the wooden cross through the means of giving a bow.
The following day, Kapitan Salcedo and Father Alvarado successfully built a government at Cabuyao near the capital town Bay. The appointed leaders of certain areas were named “cebecillas,” which later became known as Cabezas de Barangay.
In 1769, when the town of Pagsanjan was the capital, Binan was separated from Bay and became part of Sta Rosa. In 1771, during the time of Pablo Faustino, Binan was finally established as a separate town from Sta Rosa.
The church of Binan had no immediate parochial priest and as a result, the priest of Cabuyao led the mass. Augustinian priests took control of the church of Binan until 1637 when Dominican priests took over. In 1757, the first appointed parochial priest of Binan was Dr. Jose Monroy. In the same year, Dr. Jose Monroy appointed Antonio de Sta Rosa as the first Kapitan.
How Biñan got its name
Anecdotes about the name Binan had originated from the name of a big tree called Banyan or Banian (Ficus Bengalensus; Urtika Crae). Since the tree was unusual to the place and people had not heard of it, it was then disregarded. In Greece, “Banyan” means trader or “Mercader,” which then changed to Binan.
Others believe that Biñan came from the word “Binyagan” which means baptized or baptismal place. During the Spanish Era, the town was named Parochia de San Isidro de Biñan, which is now the emblem of the church.
Other notable Binan facts:
• Shaped like a number 7, Binan’s total land area is 43.5 square kilometers and is the second city or town in Laguna if you’re coming from Manila. It is bounded by San Pedro City in the north, Santa Rosa City in the south, the town of Carmona in Cavite in the west and Laguna de Bay to the east.
• Binan’s population as of the 2015 census is 333,028, making it the fourth-most-populous city or municipality in Laguna after Calamba, San Pedro and Santa Rosa.
• Binan has 24 barangays, all classified as urban, with Barangay San Francisco the largest in terms of land area and Barangay Casile the smallest.
• Spanish Captain Juan de Salcedo discovered and founded Biñan in June 1571, one month after Miguel López de Legazpi established Manila, when he explored Laguna de Bay, the largest freshwater lake in the Philippines and second-largest in Asia.
• Binan as its own town emerged in 1688 when the seat of the provincial government of the Provincia de la Laguna de Bay was moved from Bay to Pagsanjan, separating it from Tabuco (now the city of Cabuyao).
• Binan became a city in 2010 through Republic Act 9740, which was ratified by its residents in a plebiscite on February 2, 2010 under the leadership of then-Mayor Marlyn “Len” B. Alonte-Naguiat, now the city’s Representative in Congress.
• Binan gained its own congressional district on March 27, 2015 when then-President Benigno Aquino III signed into law Republic Act 10658, separating the city from the first district of Laguna.
• The city is known for “Puto Binan,” a pancake made from rice flour topped with cheese or butter. Residents say the best makers of Puto Binan are in Barangay San Vicente.
• Binan’s Barangays Dela Paz and Malaban host several skilled shoemakers and slipper manufacturers, and Barangay Platero has well-known “sombrero” or hat makers.
• Despite its cityhood, Binan still has about 220 rice farmers, 240 vegetable farmers, and about 25,000 fishermen, who take their produce every week to the public market in front of Plaza Rizal.