Unless they live in Laguna province, most Filipinos’ first encounter with the City of Binan is through the history books. Most record the fact that Dr. Jose Rizal, our national hero, first came to the town in June of 1869 with his elder brother Paciano to stay at their aunt’s house near the town proper.
In Binan, Rizal received his first formal education from Maestro Justiniano Aquino Cruz, who after 18 months of teaching the brilliant young man advised Rizal to continue his education in Manila.
The rest as they say is history, and today – Rizal Day, celebrated to mark the anniversary of the national hero’s execution at the hands of Spanish authorities in 1896 – Plaza Rizal stands at the center of Binan as a lasting reminder of the town’s link to his life and legacy. A plaque of recognition was also bestowed on the house of Rizal’s aunt where he stayed.
Binan at present
The hero would probably be proud of present-day Binan, Laguna’s third-largest in terms of population after Rizal’s native Calamba and Santa Rosa, as it was the country’s richest municipality before assuming cityhood in 2010.
With a large suburban residential community, sprawling industrial estates and export processing zones, Binan leaned on its proximity to Metro Manila and its position as a commercial hub of Laguna to fuel its steady economic progress.
Sitting 34 kilometers south of the city of Manila, Binan boasts of numerous banking institutions across its borders, fast-growing commercial establishments, the Laguna Technopark and the Laguna International Industrial Park, among other economic drivers.
The city also has the largest public market in the province and in the Calabarzon (Cavite, Laguna, Batangas, Rizal and Quezon) region. It also has the largest waterpark in the country in the 7.5-hectare Splash Island, which is part of the bigger 561-hectare Southwoods Ecocentrum estate. This area will become a self-contained residential and business district that offers a “live-work-play-learn” lifestyle.
Here are other notable facts about Binan:
• 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.
Photos by Sonny Espiritu
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