Mandaluyong City has lots of stories to tell — heroic undertakings, cultural and supernatural beliefs, romance and more.
The following stories tell of unusual names of places and features that inspire curiosity among inhabitants (old and new), researchers, and passers-by.
There are different stories on the origin of the ancient name “Mandaluyong”.
Legend says that the city was named after the romance of a tribal couple, Manda and Luyong. Manda was a lovely daughter of a Barangay chieftain, while Luyong was a Maharlika despised by Manda’s father.
As was the custom at that time, the maiden’s hand was given to whoever wins a series of tribal competitions in the barangay. Luyong emerged as the victor and the couple was eventually married, amidst the objection of Manda’s father. Thereafter, the couple settled in a place that was later called Mandaluyong, a literal concoction derived from their names.
Another story says that the place was named from Luyong, a kind of tree that was abundant in the place and from which beautiful canes and home furniture were made of. Still, another story says that during the Spanish regime, the place was called Madaluyong to describe its rolling terrain which resembles giant waves of the sea. The consonant ‘n’ was later affixed by some Spanish writers, hence, the name Mandaluyong.
According to Pedro Patricio in his book (Mandaluyong: 1837-1975), Mandaluyong had five (5) original barrios as per the first recorded census in 1903 (Table 1.03).
From these five (5) evolved 22 sub-barrios which, like the original barrios, then became independent barangays.
This place used to be called “Buhangin” (sand) before it was named Poblacion because the whole stretch of the area, from F. Blumentritt corner of New Panaderos Extension up until the Catholic Church and the cemetery, was topped with sandy soil of about 2-3 inches thick.
The first settlers of this place were Muslim Filipinos. They were later driven away by the Spanish colonizers who came to the place. Still unnamed till then, the inhabitants called it “Namayan” in memory of the original settlers of the place.
Hulo means “outer part” or “external” location of a barrio or town. When Barangka was still a sloping forest, Hulo was already a sitio with a few inhabitants. Early inhabitants of Mandaluyong used to call the place as such because of its remoteness of location. This place continued to be called as such until the name was officially adopted when it eventually became a barrio.
Located at the southeast shoreline of Mandaluyong is a small barangay called Buayang Bato. Its legend tells of an old Chinese man long time ago who, despite conversion to Christianity of his fellow Chinese nationals residing in this place, ridicules the religion.
One day, while the old man was on a boat crossing the Pasig River, the Devil decided to take him to hell. Transforming into a crocodile, the Devil swam towards the boat. The old man, who had never seen such a huge crocodile, was terribly shaken. Realizing that the god he worships is too far away in China, he began to call on Saint Nicholas, whose statue he saw in Guadalupe Church across the Pasig River, to save him.
Miraculously, the creature turned into a stone. Shortly after, the old man embraced Christianity. And the stone crocodile, it is said, could be found during low tide at the bank of the river near the Tawiran (ferry station). The place came to be known because of this stone crocodile, “buayang bato” in Filipino.
Alongside Brgy. Buayang Bato is Barangka, then a single barangay but later divided into four (4) during the time of Municipal Mayor Bonifacio Javier: Barangka Ilaya (Uptown), Barangka Itaas (Upper) Barangka Ibaba (Lower), and Barangka Drive.
It was said that at the time when the Philippines was under the Spanish Regime, there lived an old woman named Barang who had a young daughter. The daughter was in the rice fields when she was attacked by a man. As she was calling her mother for help “Ka Barang, Ka Barang!” the surrounding hills echoed her cry which was heard by the Spaniards. And as the story goes, the place came to be called Barangka.
This place is located on the uplands where steps are carved in its rocky hills and used as stairways. However, this place is more popular for its historical significance because of the role it played during the Spanish occupation.
It was in this place, where, on August 28, 1896, Andres Bonifacio issued a proclamation setting Saturday, August 29, as the date of the attack on Manila. At 7:00 o’clock on Saturday evening, Supremo Andres Bonifacio held a meeting which was attended by more or less 1000 “Katipuneros”. Weapons were distributed during this meeting and the revolution began as church bells tolled.
Lying on the lowlands adjoining Hagdang Bato is Saniga which used to be a marshland teeming with various fruit-bearing and hardwood trees. The place was home to many local heroes who gallantly fought during the Spanish, American and Japanese occupations. Thus, some of its streets are named after them like Capt. Magtoto St., Capt. Gabriel St., and Pvt. E. Reyes St.
During the 1960’s and 70’s, progress gave way to concrete roads and houses sprouted in neighboring areas. This neighborhood was called New Zaniga Subdivision, while the original Saniga was renamed Old Zaniga.
As the name implies, this place is a vast plain used to be planted with rice and corn. The place abounded with trees and was popular to bird hunters. Once it was a private property developed by its owner, Ortigas, Madrigal and Company, into a subdivision providing a site for the municipal center. Afterwards, it was made a separate barangay through a Presidential Decree. Its original name, Plainview, was retained and at present, it hosts the Mandaluyong City Hall and other public institutions.
At the northern part of the city is Barangay Wack-Wack, known internationally for the Golf and Country Club it hosts. Stories tell that many years ago, the place was a vast grassland which was home to numerous large glossy black birds called “uwak” (crow). It was from this “uwak” that the name “Wack-Wack” was derived.