Santa Maria, Philippines

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Santa Maria, Philippines

Region: Ilocos Sur


Geographic Coordinates: 14.818300, 120.956000
Temperature Range: 23.0°C to 34.0°C (73°F to 93°F)
Climate: Tropical climate with two distinct seasons: wet and dry. The wet season runs from June to November, while the dry season lasts from December to May.
Population: 289820
Language: Tagalog

Santa Maria is a municipality in the Bulacan province of the Philippines, Located approximately 32 kilometers north of Manila. The town was established in 1792 and has become an essential commercial and cultural center in Bulacan. One of Santa Maria’s most notable landmarks is its centuries-old church, The Santa Maria Church or Our Lady of the Assumption Parish Church. It is considered one of Bulacan’s oldest churches and has been declared a National Cultural Treasure by the Philippine government. Aside from its historical significance, Santa Maria boasts several natural attractions that draw both locals and tourists alike.

Mount Balagbag offers breathtaking views from its summit and features Madlum Falls, Which can be reached through a short trek. Biak-na-Bato National Park covers over 2, 000 hectares of forested land and limestone cliffs and played an important role during Philippine history as headquarters for Emilio Aguinaldo’s revolutionary government against Spanish colonizers back in 1897. For those interested in local culture and traditions, Santa Maria hosts several festivals throughout the year including Pista ng Obando (Obando Fertility Festival) held every May where devotees dance to celebrate fertility while wearing colorful traditional costumes.

Agriculture plays an important role in Santa Maria’s economy with rice being one major crop produced here along with vegetables like eggplant or okra among others. There are also some small-scale businesses such as handicrafts making or furniture production that contribute to local livelihoods. Overall, Santa Maria offers visitors rich historical heritage plus diverse natural attractions showcasing scenic landscapes plus vibrant cultural festivities making it a must-visit destination when in Bulacan.



Important Landmarks

  1. Santa Maria Church – This UNESCO World Heritage Site features a Baroque-style church that was built in the 18th century.
  2. Angat Rainforest and Eco Park – This nature reserve offers hiking trails, bird watching opportunities, and picnic areas.
  3. Biak-na-Bato National Park – This protected area is home to caves, waterfalls, and historical sites related to the Philippine Revolution against Spanish rule.
  4. Mount Arayat National Park – A popular destination for hiking enthusiasts due to its panoramic views of the surrounding countryside.
  5. Hapag Vicenticos Restaurant – This award-winning restaurant is known for serving authentic Filipino cuisine.
  6. Bahay Na Bato Museum – A heritage house-turned-museum that showcases traditional Filipino architecture and lifestyle during the Spanish colonial era.
  7. Santa Maria Bridge – An iconic bridge over Pampanga River that connects Santa Maria to other towns in Bulacan province.
  8. Minalungao National Park – Located near Santa Maria, this scenic park features limestone formations as well as river rafting activities and camping facilities.
  9. San Jose del Monte City Hall & Plaza Nova Vida Amphitheater- The city hall is a newly constructed building with modern design while Plaza Nova Vida Amphitheater is an open-air venue for concerts & events.
  10. San Jose del Monte Sports Complex- The sports complex has a 400-meter track oval field with bleachers where major sporting events are held throughout the year.

Noteable History

  1. The Battle of Santa Maria – This battle took place on December 26, 1899 during the Philippine-American War. Filipino forces under General Gregorio del Pilar fought against American troops, resulting in a Filipino defeat.
  2. General Antonio Luna – Luna was a prominent figure in the Philippine Revolution and Philippine-American War. He was born in Santa Maria and is considered one of the greatest military strategists in Philippine history.
  3. The Katipunan – The secret society that led the Philippine Revolution against Spanish colonial rule had a strong presence in Santa Maria.
  4. Saint Mary Magdalene Parish Church – This historic church was built by Augustinian friars during Spanish colonial rule and is considered one of the oldest churches in Bulacan province.
  5. Emilio Aguinaldo – The first president of the Philippines declared independence from Spain on June 12, 1898 at his home in Kawit, Cavite which is near to Santa Maria.
  6. Heneral Malvar Museum and Library- It is dedicated to General Miguel Malvar who fought for independence from Spain as well as from United States occupation forces after Aguinaldo’s capture.
  7. Marcela Agoncillo- She sewed with her daughter Lorenza and Delfina Herbosa de Natividad what would become known as the first official flag of independent Philippines called The Magdalo.
  8. Luis Taruc- A former leader of Huks (Hukbalahap) who fought for land reform for farmers but later turned into an armed rebellion against government until he surrendered to President Diosdado Macapagal on May 17,1954
  9. Santa Maria Dam- It is an earthfill dam located along Angat River which provides irrigation water supply to farmlands around Bulacan province including Sta. Maria.
  10. San Jose del Monte Bulacan- A city located near Santa Maria where the Philippine Arena, the world’s largest indoor arena is located.

Museums and Things To See

  1. Santa Maria Church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest churches in the Philippines.
  2. Bahay na Bato is a historical house built during the Spanish colonial era, showcasing traditional Filipino architecture.
  3. Santa Maria Museum is a local museum that showcases the history and culture of Santa Maria.
  4. Angat Hydroelectric Power Plant is an engineering marvel that provides electricity to Metro Manila and nearby provinces.
  5. Mount Arayat National Park is a popular hiking destination with stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
  6. Balay Negrense Museum is a preserved ancestral house that offers a glimpse into life during the sugar boom era in Negros Occidental.
  7. Pintados-Kasadyaan Festival is an annual festival held every June, celebrating the rich cultural heritage of Leyte province through colorful street parades and traditional dances.
  8. Hinulugang Taktak Falls are beautiful waterfalls located just outside Santa Maria, perfect for swimming or picnics with family or friends.
  9. La Mesa Eco Park is a nature reserve located near Quezon City which is perfect for hiking, camping or bird watching.
  10. Manila Ocean Park is one of Asia’s largest oceanariums featuring marine creatures from all over the world including sharks, rays and penguins.



Cultural Events

  1. Tanduyong Festival is a celebration that occurs every 2nd week of January in Santa Maria. It highlights the town’s rich history and culture with street dances, parades, and cultural shows.
  2. The Feast of Our Lady of the Holy Rosary is a religious celebration held annually in October to honor the town’s patroness.
  3. Pakwan Festival celebrates the abundance of watermelons in Santa Maria during May or June with giant watermelon floats and street dance competitions.
  4. Langka Festival is an event held annually to celebrate the town’s famous jackfruit trees, featuring street dancing competitions and exhibits showcasing jackfruit-made products.
  5. Agro-Industrial Fair showcases Santa Maria’s agricultural products such as rice, corn, vegetables, fruits, and livestock every year.
  6. Flores de Mayo is a month-long religious celebration during May that honors Virgin Mary through daily masses and processions around town.
  7. Christmas Lantern Parade happens during December where people make lanterns out of bamboo sticks covered by colored plastic papers to be displayed on their homes or paraded on streets at night time accompanied by Christmas carols sung by children from schools around Santa Maria.

Cuisine

  • Adobo – a dish made with chicken or pork cooked in soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, and other spices.
  • Lechon Kawali – deep-fried pork belly served with rice and dipping sauce.
  • Pancit Malabon – a noodle dish made with rice noodles, shrimp, squid, eggs and vegetables.
  • Sinigang – a sour soup made with meat or seafood and vegetables like tamarind leaves or tomatoes.
  • Kare-Kare – a stew made with oxtail, peanut butter sauce and vegetables like eggplant and bok choy.

Some popular restaurants in Santa Maria that serve these dishes include:

  1. Kusina ni Kambal
  2. Mangan Restaurant
  3. Bahay Kubo Grill
  4. Aling Nene’s Barbecue House
  5. Razon’s of Guagua

Parks and Recreation

  1. Santa Maria Public Market – a popular spot for shopping and dining.
  2. Amana Waterpark – a water park with several pools, water slides, and other attractions.
  3. Bantayog ng Bayani Memorial Park – a park dedicated to Filipino heroes.
  4. Santa Maria Church – an old church built during the Spanish colonial period.
  5. Barangay Balasing Sports Complex – a sports complex with facilities for basketball, volleyball, and other sports.
  6. Lulugayan Falls – a beautiful waterfall located in the nearby town of Pagbilao.
  7. Beaches in nearby towns such as Borawan Beach in Padre Burgos and Cagbalete Island in Mauban are also popular destinations for swimming and beach activities.

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