Uncovering the Hidden Gems: 10 Must-Visit Historical Places in Pasig City
There are no firsthand accounts of Pasig City’s history until Spanish colonizers came in 1573 and built the city known as the Ciudad-Municipal de Pasig.
The city shares its name with the Pasig River, a Tagalog word which means, a river that flows into the sea or sandy bank of a river, which runs through it and forms its southwestern and southeastern borders with Makati and Taguig respectively, while the Marikina River forms its western border with Quezon City. Pasig, a once rural town, is now predominantly residential and industrial, but has become more commercial in recent years, notably with the establishment of the Ortigas Center business district to the west. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Pasig is located on Pasig Cathedral, which was established about the same time that the city was founded in 1573.
Bahay Na Tisa
This is Pasig’s oldest surviving bahay na bato. Don Cecilio Tech y Cabrera built it in the early 1850s. It has housed seven generations of the Tech family and has witnessed key historical events in Pasig and around the country. Don Cecilio’s direct descendants are still living there.
During Martial Law, it was known as Freedom House because it could be used by all sides of the political spectrum for meetings. It was also the unofficial San Jose Barangay Headquarters for a while. There were also art exhibits presented here. The Santo Nino de Pasion, on the other hand, is likewise housed in the Bahay na Tisa. Moreover, every Sunday following Easter, the sick people of the community came inside the home to receive Holy Communion and the Parish Priest’s benediction (Viatico Publico).
The ground level walls of the Bahay na Tisa are made of massive blocks of adobe that support the load of the hardwood floorings on the second story. The roof was originally made of tisa, but it was wrecked during WWII and replaced with a corrugated asbestos roof. Capiz shells were used to make the windows. The Bahay na Tisa has been a preferred location for several movies and TV series due to its antiquity and distinct character as a bahay na bato in an urban setting – one of the most known being the Centennial Offering on Dr. Jose Rizal, the National hero.
The Pasig City government honored Bahay na Tisa with the “Dangal ng Lahi” award in 2009 for its cultural contributions to the city. And on February 19, 2020, the National Museum declared Bahay na Tisa as an Important Cultural Property, one hundred fifty four years after it was constructed.
Address: P. Gomez St, Pasig, 1600 Metro Manila
The Pariancillo River or Bitukang Manok
Bitukang Manok’s waterway is serpentine in shape and was formerly a major stream of the Pasig River. The river was dubbed “Rio de Pasig” by the Spaniards, although the locals continued to call it Bitukang Manok. The earliest drawing of the Bitukang Manok or Pasig River became known as the Pariancillo River, and its bank thrived as a public market until the 1970s. Similarly, the Bitukang Manok has contributed significantly to Pasig’s economic success from time immemorial by irrigating its rice plains.
The Bitukang Manok connects the Pasig and Antipolo rivers. Many pilgrims from Manila and surrounding towns followed the Bitukang Manok path to the Shrine in Antipolo from the 17th to the early 20th centuries. Even the picture of Our Lady of Peace and Good Voyage travelled through this path eleven times. The Gremio de Mestizos de Sangley, or Chinese Mestizos, erected a concrete covered bridge in the style of a pagoda over this canal in the 18th century. It was originally named Pariancillo Bridge, but was eventually renamed Fray Felix Trillo Bridge in honor of Pasig’s charismatic pastor.
Address: Bitukang Manok Historical Marker, Acacia, Pasig City
Plaza Rizal & Plaza Bonifacio
Plaza Rizal is an open space park located just across from the Pasig City Museum. The Plaza location was originally the site of the first beaterio outside of Manila, known as the Beaterio de Sta. Rita de Pasig, who was born in 1740. After the beaterio was heavily damaged during WWII, it made way for the creation of a park in honor of the country’s national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal.
Plaza Bonifacio is dedicated to the country’s lone sculpture of Andres Bonifacio riding a horse, a suitable tribute from the local government to Bonifacio for his leadership in the armed struggle for Philippine independence. Behind the sculpture lies the “Nagsabado sa Pasig” Memorial, which was built to commemorate the events of August 1896, when Filipinos assembled to plan an attack against the Spaniards.
Address: Plaza Rizal, F. Concepcion, Pasig, 1600 Metro Manila
Cuartel Del Guardia Civil (Guanio Residence)
Don Apolonio Santiago y Domingo, the governor of Pasig at the time, built this in 1881. It was renamed the Cuartel del Guardia Civil in 1894. During the Philippine Revolution, which began in 1896, suspected Katipuneros were imprisoned, tortured, and killed here. Doña Clara Tambunting de Oliveros acquired it after the Filipino-American War, and En gineer and Mrs. Domingo Guanio bought it in 1922.
Address: 4 P. Burgos, Pasig, Metro Manila
Raymundo Heritage House
The Raymundo House, located just beyond Plaza Rizal, features capiz windows on both sides that face the streets. This was her family’s ancestral home, according to Tutay Raymundo. Julio Raymundo, her great-grandfather, was the first Mayor of Pasig. Cipriano, Julio’s son, was also a mayor.
Liz Selavan Odnumyar recounts that the property used to have a bakery on the bottom level called Panaderia El Pasig. The bakery is claimed to have been started around 1913. Baltazar Raymundo, who established Panaderia El Pasig, was Teresa Raymundo’s brother, while Felisa Santos, Teresa’s daughter, owned Panaderia Dimas-Alang (more on this later). According to Rolando Magallon, a former baker of Panaderia El Pasig, the bakery closed in the 1990s.
It has been leased for the third time, according to a vendor named “Ate Letty,” whose stall is four doors away from this historic residence. It’s now back on the market.
Address: 1602 P. Burgos, Pasig, Metro Manila
Pasig Cathedral (Immaculate Concepcion Parish Church)
This is the Philippines’ first Marian Parish. It was founded in 1572 by the Augustinian Missionaries. The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1573), whose feast day is July 2, was the church’s first patroness. Only on April 25, 1587, was the title of Immaculate Conception recognized.
The archdiocese’s present stone church was constructed between 1722 and 1760. – It is the oldest structure in Pasig. The Second Philippine Commission convened here on June 5, 1901, to consider the establishment of a civil government, resulting in the creation of the Province of Rizal with Pasig as its capital by the passing of the Philippine Commission Act No. 137. Jaime Cardinal Sin blessed a new Immaculate Conception of Pasig with rebuilt altars and marble floor on October 28, 1992, the same date the original altar was blessed. The church was turned into a cathedral in October 2003, marking a significant milestone in church history, with Father Francisco San Diego serving as the first bishop.
The ICC has its own Diocesan Museum, which is located in the convent. It contains numerous church artifacts such as the Immaculate Conception dresses, the remnants of the original bell tower clock, candelabras, and other antiquities.
Address: Jabson St, Pasig, 1600 Metro Manila
Caruncho Tower / Pasig City Revolving Restaurant
The Mutya ng Pasig was built near the public market of the same name—now known as the Pasig Mega Market, a.k.a. the Pasig Palengke—in 1974, under the administration of Emiliano R. Caruncho, Jr. With multiple levels of concessionaires and a rotating restaurant at the top, the tower was a popular destination for locals during a time when that part of Pasig City was largely flat fields. There was just one other rotating restaurant in Metro Manila during the same period; it was at the top of the Royal Hotel in Quiapo, Manila—except that the entire hotel was closed down in the 1980s and repurposed into a storage-slash-clearance-outlet for the SM Malls.
Unfortunately, the Mutya ng Pasig Tower suffered the same fate during the chaotic ’80s economic crisis. After tenants were unable to pay their rent to the local government, operations ceased, and the tower was gradually abandoned. According to Inquirer.net report, the dilapidated tower was utilized as a government office, a storage area for goods, and even a detention center for over two decades.
While there are no everyday operations, the upper floors of the tower may be rented for parties and functions. There’s also a coffee shop and a viewing deck, as well as the revolving restaurant. One entire revolution takes around one hour and fifteen minutes and provides views of Pasig City and beyond.
It is undoubtedly one of the few Brutalist towers still standing, with its sharp angles standing out even with the fresh paint job it received as part of the restoration. It is also one of the few landmarks in Metro Manila that has been preserved despite the metro’s continued development.
Address: 3 Market Ave, Pasig, 1600 Metro Manila
Pasig City Museum / Concepcion Museum
The city’s historical and artistic assets are housed at this museum and art gallery. It was once known as the Concepcion Mansion and served as a Japanese headquarters and detention facility during WWII. The American flag was flown atop the balcony on February 19, 1945, to signify the end of Japanese control in Pasig.
The city government acquired the palace in the early 1980s to house the Pasig City Library and Museum. The city government acquired the mansion in the early 1980s to house the Pasig City Library and Museum. Following its initial renovation in 2001, the museum became the building’s only occupant, when the Pasig Library relocated elsewhere. As part of the administration’s goal of preserving the city’s historical and artistic legacy, the Museum recently underwent a second renovation.
Address: Plaza Rizal, F. Concepcion, Pasig, 1600 Metro Manila
Rizal Boy Scout Council Headquarters
The land and structure for the Rizal Council Boy Scouts Headquarter were donated by Don Fortunato Concepcion. This building provided the Rizal Province with the prestige of a first-class council and marked an important leap in the Scouting movement’s rise. This building was constructed in January 1949 and was finished and ready for occupation in one and a half months.
The Rizal Boy Scout Council Headquarters hosted conferences, inductions, trainings, and other activities. Major decisions were also discussed, decided, approved, and implemented within its Conference Hall. In 1957, the Historical Research Club (formerly Pitong Matanda sa Pasig) and the Pasig Art Club conducted their first joint exhibit here. Aside from scouting, the place hosted cultural, historical, and artistic events until the 1970s.
Address: Caruncho Ave, Pasig, Metro Manila
Pasig City Mega Market
The Pasig City Mega Market was built in 1974 and is considered the largest market in the country, with 2,435 booths spread across three levels of the market complex. Market administrators have managed the market well in order to give customers with a well-organized public market. The first floor was designated for wet produce, while the second floor was designated for dry goods. The core component of the market is an open space with fast food stalls. Fridays are exceptionally popular because an evening flea market opens, where they can find RTWs at a cut-price.
Address: Caruncho Ave, Pasig, Metro Manila
Historical Places in Pasig City
BONUS: Dimas-Alang Bakery
Ambrosio Lozada, the father of world famous violinist Carmencita Lozada, opened the first known bakery in Pasig in 1919. The fact that it shared a pen name with national hero Dr. Jose Rizal emphasizes its significance at the period when Pasig was beginning to build a place for itself in the business.
Dimas-Alang Bakery is located in Kapasigan, which was once constituted of Sta. Elena, San Isidro, and Wawa are the riverside sitios. Nothing was more inviting than the delightful aroma of bread floating all around this “baybay ng ilog” at the moment, coaxing locals to stop what they were doing and partake in the town’s all-time favorite snack: the pandesal.
Dimas-Alang would later produce baked pastries inspired by other palates, such as the croissant and French breads. The people of Pasig, on the other hand, were loyal to the pandesal. Other popular items were the aglipay, bonete, biscocho de cana, and “di ko akalain.”
Address: 52, 1600 A. Mabini Street, Pasig, Metro Manila
My afternoon walk in Pasig City brought a plethora of fascinating facts about the city. It is comforting to see and appreciate the local government’s efforts to preserve its historical landmarks. Prior to the pandemic, I would just drive by and glance at these sites, but becoming a tourist in my own city taught me to appreciate the beauty of it.