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SAN CARLOS City : A Bit of History

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San Carlos City Hall


    San Carlos is situated in the central plain of Pangasinan. It is bounded on the northwest by Lingayen; on the north by Calasiao; on the northeast by Sta. Barbara; on the east by Malasiqui; on the south by Mangatarem and Urbiztondo; and on the southwest by Aguilar. It has the additional bordering towns of Bugallon to the west end of Basista, a former barangay of San Carlos itself, to the south.

    It was formerly the seat of the vast native of kingdom of Ari Kasikis comprising the provinces of Tarlac, Nueva Ecija, Zambales, La Union, Mt. Province, and Pangasinan. It’s old name, Binalatongan, means " a place where mongo thrived luxuriantly along its river banks".

    San Carlos, the ancient and historical city of Pangasinan; prides itself of being 503 years today (2000). Rich in both legend and historicity, thus flourishing community was founded by Father Francisco dela Rama, an Augustinian friar in 1587.

    Juan de Salcedo together with the Augustinian friars landed in San Fabian on March 23,1575. Upon hearing the Kasikis kingdom, they proceeded at the foot of Zambales Mountains.

    The friars and Spaniards found the people of Ari Kasikis with a highly organized religious ritual wherein they practiced "animism" a belief in spirits.

    In 1965, San Carlos became a city. At present it has eighty-six progressive and developing barangays. The city has a land area of 225 square kilometers or 225,000,000 square meters more or less.

    A fascinating story of the Spanish period was the huge bell, which when rang could be heard throughout the Kasikis kingdom. Old folks still recall the weird and ominous sound which had caused spontaneous abortions and numerous cases of miscarriages among the womenfolk. It is believed by many that the huge bell got lost into the San Juan river when it was being transported by strong and sturdy men aboard a makeshift bamboo barge. It has not been recovered since then. According to popular legend, the giant bell is now being guarded by mermaid living there.

    The Carlenians (native of San Carlos) were of Malayan extraction. They spoke the language called Cabuloan, the original Pangasinan dialect. They stood firm with their beliefs and practices; hence there was frequent fighting between them and the Augustinian friars. Due to these constant clashes, the friars were forced to move out. But San Carlos City is destined to be a christian community. The Dominicans took over where the Augustinians failed.

    Among the city’s most significant historical luminaries are Andres Malong And Juan dela Cruz Palaris. The two were popularly known to have led significant uprising against Spain. The former spearheaded the first Pangasinan Revolt 1660. He set the town aflame and practically brought infrastructures into ruins. Thereafter, the poblacion was transferred east of San Juan river approximately two and a half kilometers from the present heart of the city. The transfer took place on November 4,1718 feast of St Charles Borromeo, hence, the settlement was renamed San Carlos Binalatongan until finally the last name was dropped.

    Palaris (whose real name was Pantaleon Perez) but dubbed "Palaripar"or "Palasipas" because of his swiftness as a runner and his dexterity in native fencing, the (eskrima de mano), complaining against the excessive tribute and forced labor marched against the Spanish authorities in 1762. He led a revolt which lasted for two years and spread practically throughout the while province of Pangasinan. He established an independent government with its seat in Binalatongan comprising the towns of Basista, Urbiztondo, Mangatarem, Aguilar and the foothills of Zambales mountains and the present city of San Carlos.

A third significant revolt was recorded to have been led by Juan Caragay between 1718 to 1719.

    The basic occupations in the city are farming, inland fishing, commerce and trade, small-scale manufacturing, handicraft, pottery, fruit raising, flour making and mango production. The last makes San Carlos city a stand-out because the local mango fruits are unequaled in sweetness and claimed to be different from any produced all over the country.

    In recent times, the most famous and illustrious sons and daughters of San Carlos include Don Emilio Padlan, the first selected municipal mayor, Hon. Eugenio Perez, first Speaker of the House of Representatives and Hon. Jack Soriano, once a member of Congress, Ryan Cayabyab in music industry, Fernando Poe Sr. and Jr. in the celluloid world; to mention a few.