Las Piñas: The City of Love and Progress
Saint Joseph Parish Church, Las Piñas - Home of the Famous Bamboo Organ
The City of Las Piñas is one of the cities that can be found in the National Capital Region. The city has many nicknames such as Home of the Bamboo Organ, City of Love and Progress, Salt Center of Metro Manila, and the Lantern Capital of Metro Manila. It only proves that the city is one of the most improved and progressive cities in the region.
The city is well-known for its Bamboo Organ, located inside the St. Joseph Church of the Parish of Las Piñas, formerly known as the San Jose Parish Church in the Spanish Period, as the only organ of its kind in the world. Built in 1824 by a Catholic priest, Fr. Diego Cera, created out of bamboo, wood, and metal, this famous organ is praised for its unique, rare, and melodious sound.
Las Piñas is bounded on the north and northeast by Parañaque; on the east and southeast by Muntinlupa; on the south by Imus; on the southwest and west by Bacoor; and on the northwest by the scenic Manila Bay. Half of its land area is residential and the remaining half is used for commercial, industrial and institutional purposes. The present physiography of Las Piñas consists of three zones: Manila Bay, coastal margin and Guadalupe Plateau.
The city is bisected by Real (Spanish for Royal) Street, also known as the Alabang-Zapote Road. It forms part of the Maharlika Highway which spans the whole country. The Alabang–Zapote Road connects the South Luzon Expressway which passes through Muntinlupa in the east to the Coastal Road along Manila Bay.
The Coastal Road, despite its name, is a major tollway which runs the southern length of Metro Manila's shoreline with Manila Bay. It is an important artery for people commuting to and from Las Piñas and Cavite to Manila.
In 2004, a new road called "Daang Hari" (Tagalog for King's Way) was completed in the eastern part of Las Piñas, which connects the city to the neighboring cities of Bacoor, Cavite, Muntinlupa, and the municipality of San Pedro, Laguna allowing residents to avoid heavy traffic in the Zapote and Alabang (Muntinlupa) districts. Daang Hari is a popular route for cyclists, especially on weekends.
Las Piñas currently bans Plastics and Styrofoam for packaging like its neighboring city, Muntinlupa.
Since its establishment as a small fishing port and a major salt-making center during the Spanish Era, Las Piñas has grown into an important residential, commercial and industrial suburb of Metro Manila.
The Sarao Motors factory is also located in Las Piñas, the place where Jeepneys are assembled piece by piece in painstaking individual production. The factory remains open to buyers and curious visitors all year round.
Las Piñas has a large shopping mall named SM Southmall, which has an area of 205,120 square meters and is located along Alabang–Zapote Road. The newest shopping mall development in the city is SM Center Las Piñas, located few meters away from the City Hall. The first high rise building in the city is 16 story residential building Almanza Metropolis.
Las Piñas, also known as one of the cleanest cities in Metro Manila, is in the list of the "Clean and Green Hall of Fame" awarded by the Philippine Government. It is also the first local government unit in the Philippines that has been honored with the prestigious Global 500 Roll of Honor of the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). These honors were in recognition of the city's outstanding achievements in the protection and improvement of the environment.
Las Piñas has recently acquired the status "Most Competitive City" in the Philippines, together with Davao City, Makati, Muntinlupa and Marikina.
The story about the true origin of the city's name, "Las Piñas", varies. Some said that traders from the province of Cavite and Batangas shipped first their piña (pineapples) for sale to this town before they are distributed in nearby markets. Others related that it was "Las Peñas" (not Las Piñas) evident by the quarrying of stones and adobe which were used to construct buildings and bridges. The name could have also originated from two political groups that ruled the place at that time.
But an inscription in an old church bell that has been preserved inside the museum of the Las Piñas Parochial Church, stated "Siendo Cura-del Pueblo de las Peñas el M.R.P. Padre Diego Cera se Fundio este equilon ano de 1820". It shows that even during the time of Fr. Diego Cera, the town's first parish priest, the town has been called "Las Peñas" until after some time that the spelling of the town's name was changed into "Las Piñas".
Las Piñas was one of the earliest fishing settlements on the shores of Manila Bay and was proclaimed a town either in 1762 or 1797. Its exact date of creation cannot be ascertained because historical records vary. Cavada, a Spanish historian and Fr. Juan Medina placed it at 1762, while Buzeta recorded the date at 1797.
Besides being famous for its Bamboo Organ, which was built by Fr. Diego Cera and completed in 1824, the town of Las Piñas was also a major war theater during the 1896 Philippine Revolution, as it was occupied by Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo's forces. Las Piñas was also, occupied by the Japanese during the Second World War, to be followed by the liberation period, when the combined Filipino and American forces fought the Japanese Imperial armed forces until the end of war.
In 1901, the Municipality of Las Piñas was incorporated from Cavite to the newly created province of Rizal pursuant to Philippine Commission Act No. 137. Two years later, it was combined with Parañaque, the latter being the seat of a new municipal government.
It became a separate municipality from Parañaque on March 27, 1907 by virtue of the Philippine Commission Act No. 1625. Then, with the founding of the Metropolitan Manila Area (Metro Manila in short) in 1976, Las Piñas became one of the municipalities making up the region.
On February 12, 1997, President Fidel V. Ramos signed the bill declaring Las Piñas a new city. A plebiscite held a month after found the residents in approval of cityhood and Las Piñas became the 10th city of Metro Manila on March 26, 1997.
- This unique bamboo organ can only be found inside the St. Joseph Church of the Parish of Las Piñas. It was in the year 1822 that the construction of this one of a kind instrument started. Fr. Diego Cera initiated building this organ using bamboo, wood and metal. To date, this world famous organ is praised for its unique, rare and melodious sound, that every year, a Bamboo Organ Festival is being held at the Parish during the month of February.
- In an effort to prime Las Piñas as a tourism and cultural site able to attract local and foreign investors, Senator Manny and Congresswoman Cynthia Villar and Mayor Imelda T. Aguilar initiated the Las Piñas Historical Corridor Project, a restoration and preservation of old historical and cultural landmarks of the City.
- The project involves physical and cultural transformation, bringing back and showcases the picturesque aspects of Spanish colonial heritage.
- The Battle of Zapote Bridge on February 16, 1897 was one of the turning points of the Philippine Revolution of 1896. The clash proved to be the signal event that turned the tide against Filipino revolutionaries, but it was one also of the epic battles of the Revolution when Filipino gallantry and heroism shone its brightest in the face of superior Spanish forces.
- Nature Church is built on a 4000 square meter mango orchard, consisting of the church proper, school buildings, a confessional and counseling center and a wide expanse of a well-maintained park and garden. Church architecture was designed by one of the country's noted architects Bobby Mañoza. Just at the back of the altar is the Perpetual Eucharistic Adoration (PEA) Chapel where devotees religiously make their daily 24-hour vigil to the exposed Blessed Sacrament.
- The city is noted for its salt-making industry making it as the salt center in Metro Manila for the past years. In the 1980s, this industry has been greatly affected by the construction of the Coastal Road and reclamation project along the Manila Bay. Today, only a few salt beds remain and only those nearest the seashore remains productive such as those in Barangays Manuyo Uno, Daniel Fajardo, E. Aldana and Ilaya.
- Las Piñas has been recognized as the jeep producing center of the metropolis if not of the whole country. Most original jeepneys are manufactured in this town. The Sarao and Francisco jeepney factories started business transforming the G.I. jeeps into commuter transportation. Several other companies are likewise engaged in the same business of building the world-famous Philippine mode of transportation.
Las Piñas City is home to unique festivals like the "Bamboo Organ Festival", "Waterlily Festival", "Bamboo Festival" and "Parol (Lantern) Festival".
Las Piñas City will soon be served by the LRT-1 (via Manuyo Uno Station and Las Piñas Station).
Las Piñas City is accessible through these major roads:
- Aguinaldo Highway
- Alabang-Zapote Road
- Carlos P. Garcia Avenue (C-5 Road Extension)
- Daang Hari (Las Piñas, Muntinlupa, Cavite, Laguna Link Road)
- J. Aguilar Avenue
- Manila-Cavite Expressway
- Marcos Alvarez Avenue
- Padre Diego Cera Avenue (Quirino Avenue)
There are several bus lines linking Las Piñas and Metro Manila. Bus services that operate in Las Piñas including Tas Trans Corp./Bensan Trans, Reinalyn Bus Lines, WLH Trans/WLLH Liner, Erjohn And Almark Transit Corp., MJ Sunville Transport, Arabia Boy Express & ALTRANSCO and various jeepney routes also ply the roads between the city and neighboring cities and towns in Parañaque, Muntinlupa & Cavite .