the town of san mateo is just a heartbeat away from metro manila.
Barangay Banaba is its gateway,whether approaching it from either Nangka in Marikina City
or Batasan Road in Quezon City.
Upon driving through the arch above General Luna Highway
marking the entry point to San Mateo, a marker can be seen by the side of the road saying something like
you are now leaving the National Capital Region!
General Luna Highway is San Mateo’s main thoroughfare.
It must be a historic road where Andres Bonifacio could have passed by on his way to Pamitinan Cave.
The legendary general Licerio Geronimo and his band of tiradores marched this road
on their way to the victorious Battle of San Mateo and the equally illustrious native general
Macario Sacay, both of whom were descendants of the maginoo clan of pinga.
old timers claim that the interlacing branches of enormous acacia trees rising from both sides of the road provide a living ceiling to passers-by, and said to be inhabited by a cafre or ogre was torn down recently to give way for a parking space of a newly constructed building next to San Jose de Ampid Parish.
Ciudad Christhia Resort
After Banaba is Barangay Ampid.
Kakanin and Primablend
Colonial Spanish San Mateo changed the indigenous tagalog faith and beliefs.
… a religious ritual from the past linking the history of the town to the Spanish colonial times.
Historical accounts suggests that Miguel Lopez de Legazpi from Spain, with his nephew, Juan de Salcedo, with a force of 150 men and friars to establish their first pueblo in tundo in 1571,
then proceeded farther through the river called pasig and to establish another town after the name of that river,
then explored the adjacent waterway via bitukang manok to an ancient river called wawa (known today as marikina) until they reached the foot of pamitinan and binitayan hills that was the source of the ilog wawa.
Later, they called the place as san mateo to remember the feast of their saint.
The church of san mateo was the honored site for the natives of their own anitos, but the Augustinians and Jesuits in 1696 took the holy place as their own, a grim example of their internal struggles for dominion over the great tagalong kingdom called kaharian ng mabunga by adorning our churches with replicas of their own saints.
More often than not, researchers/writers of history always refer to the name of a saint to find out the true native name of a place.
Their bases are, of course, the spanish books and chronicles written by foreigners who never minded the correct native identities.
They never knew our old forgotten history, like the ancient “lalawigan”.
In the case of san mateo, their books will never mention the “lalawigang mabunga” or the name pinga as the sources of an original existence.
Visitors to San Mateo have two options which road to take upon reaching the old san mateo church.
First, they could turn left and drive back to the National Capital Region.
Second, they could turn right going to the inner mountains known to the natives as “amang bundok” that was transformed into sierra madre by the spaniards, later on named as Montalban.
Eulogio Rodriguez Ancestral House
San Mateo is one of the oldest settlements in the province of Rizal that was non-existent during the olden times. Pasig then was the only town established encompassing all the lands nearby, while the northern barangays of Balite, Burgos, Marang, and Calipahan were already there.
The stately bahay-na-bato has a cavernous silong that served as storage for the season’s harvest.
Battle of San Mateo
A few walks across the Rodriguez Ancestral House is a statue dedicated to the hero of the victorious Battle of San Mateo.
During the Philippine-American War, General Licerio Geronimo led a band of guerilla that defeated the Americans
and killed the proud General Henry Lawton -the highest ranking American officer.
General Lawton was the same officer who captured the elusive Indian rebel Geronimo.
It was quite ironic that in the middle of his battles he met his death in the hands of a Filipino general
bearing the same name of his former captive.
But it is more ironic that the colonial mentality of Filipinos
to have named a plaza and street in Manila and in Fort Bonifacio to the defeated American general,
while the heroic General Geronimo is remembered with a small statue in an obscure location unnoticed.
A year before the start of the 1896 Revolution, Andres Bonifacio with eight men hid away in
the mountains of Montalban at Pamitinan Cave on a Good Friday.
Bonifacio inscribed on the cave wall
what could have been the first cry of Philippine Independence.
The cave wall still bears the inscription Viva la Independencia Filipinas!,
the cry of all Magdiwang members of the fallen Katipunan in view
of the Magdalo’s conspiracy.
The Pamitinan cave is just one of the several cave systems in the Montalban gorge.
While Bonifacio and Magdiwang brothers found a sanctuary in the Montalban Gorge,
the natives said that the legendary Bernardo Carpio used great strength in dealing with the
curse of being trapped in two great rocks locally called as the nag-uumpugang bato
to keep the mountains from crashing them down.
One version of the legend revealed that the giant Bernardo was able to brake free by successfully
pushing the mountains apart.
Water gushed out from the other side of the mountain creating the hills
of pamitinan and binitayan that oozed out the river path known by this generation as “ilog wawa”,
“Lawa ng Wawa” was indigenous to the tagalog natives, however, the americans in 1909 turned it into a dam and called it as “wawa dam” as the primary source of water for manila, without realizing that the continous and unhampered natural flow of the rivers is actually the source of life of our natives.
The dam ceased operation in the 1960’s when the Ipo-La Mesa-Angat watershed was established.
In Avilon’s 7.5 hectares, wild animals share sheltered space with rare fauna, including the short-snout tapir, Calamian deer, giant tortoise, Palawan mousedeer, the endangered civet cat and some hundred species of birds.
What is man without beast? If all the beasts were gone, men would die from great loneliness of spirit … for pinga, all things are connected!