The Municipality of Cainta (Filipino: Bayan ng Cainta) is a first-class urban municipality in the province of Rizal, Philippines. It is the province's most prosperous town, one of the oldest (originally founded in August 15, 1571), and the town with the smallest land area (43.00 km²).
Cainta serves as a gateway to the rest of Rizal province from Metro Manila. It is one of Rizal's most urbanized towns because of its proximity to Manila. This town is famous for its delicious bibingka (rice cakes).
Cainta is bounded on the north by Marikina City and San Mateo, on the west by Pasig City, and on the east and south by Taytay. It lies in the Marikina Valley, is 10% rolling hills and 90% residential-industrial. It has the province's most number of rivers and streams. Historians claim that Cainta's old geographical boundaries encompassed the mountain slopes of Montalban.
The logo of Cainta – the emblem inside the double circle represents the flag of the Philippines in red, white and blue color. The three stars represent Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. The eight sun rays represent the eight provinces that started the revolt against the Spaniards. The buildings represent the different business establishments operating in the municipality. The suman sa ibus, suman sa lihiya and suman antala represent the livelihood of its people; the same with bottled sweets made out of coconut milk called matamis na bao, nata de coco, caong, beans and many others. The piglets represent the backyard hog raisings, a small scale industry.
Legend has it that there was an old woman called "Jacinta" who was well known not only in her own native town but also in the neighboring towns. In her youth, she was very popular because of her great beauty, kindness, and wealth. Although she was a member of a very rich clan, she showed generosity of heart to the poor. Hence, she became very much loved and respected. Jacinta grew to be an old maid because after her sweetheart got sick and died, she never fell in love with anyone else. When her parents passed away and she was left alone in the house, she continued her charity work. She gave alms to the long line of beggars who came to her, and housed and took care of the orphans and children in the streets.
In her old age, she was still very popular and was fondly called "Ka Inta" ("Ka" referring to a term of respect for the elderly, as well as a term for the feeling of comradery or "kapwa" feeling for someone).
One Christmas day, however, when the old and the young called on her to give their greetings, she was not by the window to welcome them. People wondered at her absence and shouted her name to call her attention but no one came to answer. Concerned, they went up the house and discovered the dead body of "Ka Inta" lying on the floor. Beside her were the piles of Christmas gifts she was preparing to give to her well-wishers that day. People far and wide grieved over her death. In memory of her goodness and her generosity, her native town was name after her and was called "Cainta".
According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 242,511 in 51,863 households. Its population consists of 80% Catholic, 10% Protestant, and 10% of various sects, including Iglesia ni Cristo, Muslim and others. The people of Cainta are mostly Tagalog-speaking Filipinos.
A considerable number of the population are descended from Indian soldiers who mutinied against the British Army when the British briefly occupied the Philippines in 1762 to 1763. These Indian soldiers called Sepoy settled in town and intermarried with native women. The Sepoy ancestry of Cainta is very visible today, particularly in Barrio Dayap near Brgy. Sto Nino. Their unique physical characteristics make them distinct from the average Filipinos who are primarily of Malay and Chinese origins....
During Cainta's modernization period, traditions became more glamorous, most especially during the lenten season. The most noteworthy rituals are the Cenakulo (a stage play of the passion and death of Christ) and the Ang Pagpapapako or Penetencia (a re-enactment of the crucifixion of Christ).
The Cenakulo in Cainta dates back to 1904. It originated from Barrio Dayap (the entire area now includes Barangays Sta. Rosa, Sto Niño and Sto. Domingo ). At that time the population consisted of a small group of residents who were mostly related to each other. Since most of the people believed that calamities were brought in by evil spirits, they decided to put up cross on a vacant lot to counter them. The barrio people paid homage to the cross by lighting it every night. One memorable incident happened during the lenten season when a strange fragrance supposedly emanated from the cross. The news spread out not only in the barrio but also in the entire town of Cainta.
Believing in the mystery of the cross, many people in Barrio Dayap and the whole town of Cainta have since then vowed to read the Pasyon (Seven Last Words of Christ) every lenten season. This has been enriched by an actual portrayal of the Passion of Christ on the streets which was formerly called "Officio". Many problems have been allegedly solved and illnesses cured through the cross as many people continuously believed.
Over the years the followers of the cross have multiplied rapidly. To give deeper meaning to their devotion and showcase their religiosity, they broached the idea of staging the Pasyon. The first stage play was held a few years later, although initially it was limited in scope. It became so popular that the presentation was expanded to include stories from the Old Testament and other stages in the life of Christ and has become known as the Cenakulo. The venue was transferred to an open field in 1966 to accommodate a larger audience.
Samahang Krus sa Nayon, as Krus sa Nayon Inc. was formerly called, developed and enhanced the various aspects of cenakulo. The local Roman Catholic parish gave the association its moral and financial support for it believed that it was an effective means of imparting its Christian message to the public.
On Good Friday, the town witnesses a yearly depiction of the station of the cross in the crucifixion of Christ. A devotee, in hopes of being absolved from sin plays the role of Christ and voluntarily sacrifices himself to be flailed and whipped and be "nailed" on a cross, although most of the wounds are shallow and superficial. This spectacle might seem barbaric to a foreigner, however it has been a long-held tradition accepted by many of the inhabitants not only of Cainta, but of other parts of the country as well. This is held by 10 different groups at the Liwasang Bayan (town plaza) and in other parts of town.
Cainta is politically subdivided into 7 barangays. In the mid 1990s, Cainta submitted a petition to the Rizal provincial government to consider a proposal for additional barangays, to make a total of 25 barangays. The proposal is still pending.
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Founded in November 30, 1571, Cainta was a fiercely independent village that fought valiantly against the Spaniards but was later defeated and became a visita (annex) of Taytay in 1571 under the Jesuits. Changes in ecclesiastical administration made Cainta a part of Pasig under the Augustinians but it was deeded back to the Jesuits by the King of Spain in 1696. Cainta became a separate township in 1760.
After the death of Rajah Matanda, Adelantado Miguel de Legaspi received word that two ships, San Juan and Espiritu Santo, had just arrived in Panay Island in the central Philippines from Mexico. One ship was under the command of Don Diego de Legaspi, his nephew, and the other of Juan Chacon. The two ships were in such disrepair when they arrived in Panay that one of them was not allowed to return to Mexico. Legaspi ordered that it be docked on the river of Manila. The Maestro de Campo was sent to Panay to oversee its transfer to Manila, with Juan de la Torre as captain.
To help spread the faith, several Augustinian friars were commissioned by Spain and were among the ship's passengers. One of them was Father Alonso de Alvarado, who had been in the armada of Villalobos. Another was Father Agustin de Albuquerque, who became the first parish priest of Taal town, south of Manila. Some of the missionaries were sent to Cebu province in the central Philippines to accompany Father Martin de Rada the Prior. Four stayed to work in Pampanga province and the environs north and south of Manila, which included the then-village of Cainta.
The chief religion is Roman Catholicism. When the Spaniards came they celebrated the feast of St. Andrew the Apostle and a mass was held in a chapel made of nipa (coconut branches) and wood. Many people came to attend and consequently were baptized into the faith.
The Church of Cainta was completed in 1715. It was gutted during World War II. Only the outer walls and the facade remained which was repaired with a coat of Portland cement. In 1727, an image depicting Our Lady of Light was brought to Cainta from Sicily, Italy, and was among the structures destroyed by Japanese and American bombs. Except for the outer walls, now greatly renovated, hardly anything remains of the old church. Extensive damage was also caused by recurrent earthquakes and typhoons that plagued the Philippines. The natives helped in its restoration and the new building was completed in February 25, 1968 and blessed by then Manila Archbishop Rufino J. Cardinal Santos.
Meanwhile Legaspi was determined to subjugate the people of Cainta and Taytay, a neighboring town. He sent his nephew Juan de Salcedo with a galleon (a small ship propelled by oars and sails) and 16 small boats accompanied by a hundred Spanish soldiers and many Visayas natives allied with them. Salcedo sailed on August 15, 1571, arriving in Cainta on the 20th. He sought peace from the villagers but the village chief, Gat-Maitan, responded arrogantly, told him the people of Cainta, unlike those of Manila, were not cowards, and would defend their village to the death. Confident in the defenses offered by their fort and the security of the site, they were joined by people from Taytay.
These two villages are on a plain on the shores of a river that flows from La Laguna and before arriving there divides in two large arms, both with abundant water. On its banks are found the two villages, half a league from each other, with the river passing through both before finally becoming one in a part of the terrain encircled by thick bamboo groves. These bamboos were tied together with liana, turning them into a thick wall where the people had constructed two ramparts with their moats full of water. By the river, they had built strong bulwarks with wooden towers and good artillery, guarded by a large number of warriors armed with arrows, swords and other projectile-type arms.
Deciding to attack, Salcedo first sent Second Lieutenant Antonio de Carvajal with some escorts to reconnoiter the town and determine the weakest point where they could enter. Carvajal, wounded by an arrow in his arm, returned with the information that the weakest spot, the least fortified and with the easiest access was the other part of an arroyo on the side of La Laguna where many boats could be seen entering the river.
Salcedo ordered installed in the prow of the galley a stone-throwing mortar. He and his men then spent the night on shore, while 20 soldiers and numerous allies from Manila remained with Carvajal on the galley with orders that when they heard firing, they should proceed with the attack on the bulwarks and the houses in the town, while Salcedo and his men tried to enter through the wall by the arroyo. When they heard the sound of the bugle, the signal that they had taken the town, they were to stop firing.
After giving these instructions, Salcedo began his march and turned toward the river where the attack was to take place. He arrived in the arroyo and found it defended by a fistful of valiant Cainta men who started to fire arrows and hurl lances.
Taken by surprise, the soldiers without waiting for Salcedo's order attacked the rampart and were overwhelmed by a rain of arrows. Finding such tenacious resistance, they began to retreat and flee in disarray.
Salcedo berated his men harshly for having attacked without his orders. Observing that in the other part of the arroyo the rampart was lower, he ordered a skiff brought there and after beaching it, he ordered some of his soldiers to use it as passage to the other side and take a more elevated point from where they could fire at the defenders of the town.
With the defenders retreating, Salcedo and his men were able to approach the wall and breach it. The intrepid Gat-Maitan with his Cainta men came to close the breach, forcing Saavedra to back off.
In the meantime, the cannons of the galley destroyed the bulwarks and the houses in the town in a manner the people had not seen before. And the shouts of the 600 Visayans allied with the Spanish made the natives believe that the Spaniards were already inside the poblacion [town proper]. Because of this, the valiant defenders of the breach abandoned it and retreated to the center of the town.
Salcedo observed this from a distance and ordered the breach attacked again. This time, the Spaniards encountered little resistance. Led by Salcedo and with Saavedra carrying the Spanish banner, they succeeded in entering the town. Together with their soldiers, they advanced rapidly and shortly scaled the wall where a bloody battle was fought.
The Cainta men, encouraged by their chief Gat-Maitan, preferred to die rather than surrender. Having taken over the walls, the Spaniards climbed the towers and hoisted the Spanish banner. At the blare of the bugle, the cannons stopped firing from the galley.
Cainta became an independent town in 1760. During the brief British occupation of Luzon (1762-1763), part of its British India troops known as Sepoys lived and intermarried with the natives in one of the town's barrios. The Indian left a culinary legacy in the spicy and highly-seasoned dishes that are now part of mainstream Cainta cuisine. Cainta became part of Tondo (starting 1763) but separated in 1883 and incorporated with the district of Morong.
In 1913, under the American rule, Cainta and Angono were consolidated with Taytay as one government entity. In January 1, 1914, it once again became an independent municipality and remained so to this day. Cainta is one of fourteen (14) municipalities of Rizal Province after the inclusion of other towns of what are now referred to as Antipolo, Binangonan and Taytay.
The main road of Cainta is Ortigas Avenue, a heavily congested corridor that passes through the business district of Ortigas Center and leads to Mandaluyong City and San Juan in the west and the town of Taytay and Antipolo City in the east. Another main road is Felix Avenue (better known as Imelda Avenue) which runs across Ortigas Avenue that connects the town to Marikina City to the north and Taytay to the south. The point of intersection between the two main arterials is known simply as Junction. Bonifacio Avenue located in the town proper is the town's most frequently-traversed street.
By the current time, Cainta is under the management of the MMDA, which pertains to the traffic situations, particularly in the Junction area.
Today Cainta has a robust economy as evidenced by several commercial and industrial establishments that have sprouted. The town continues to attract businesses because of its proximity to Manila and the town's burgeoning population which mostly consists of hard-working and hospitable people. The early part of the 21st century witnessed the founding of numerous manufacturing firms, including the Mitsubishi Motors Philippines, the largest car manufacturer in the country, and the Monde M.Y. San Corporation, one of the nation's leading biscuit manufacturers and BF Construction Philippines, owned by MMDA Chairman Bayani Fernando.
Among those fastfood chains, stores, and others, here are some of the prominent figures in the Cainta business industry:
The most common livelihood in Cainta is the making of native delicacies which is largely a cottage industry. Its native desserts are among the nation's best. Dating back to the 15th century, it became the town's principal source of income for more than 4 centuries. Suman (rice cake wrapped in banana leaf), latik (boiled down coconut milk used for glazing), coconut jam and the famous bibingka, are but a few of the sweet delights that lure many visitors to this town.
During the 20th century, Cainta dazzled the whole country when it baked the biggest rice cake ever and the town became known as the "Bibingka Capital of the Philippines". Bibingka is believed to have been adapted from the Indian cuisine, an influence from its Sepoy population. It comes from the Indian word bebinca also known as bibik, a dessert made of flour, coconut milk, and ghee. The Philippine version is made of rice flour, coconut milk and salted duck eggs. Butter and sugar are used for glazing after cooking and before serving.
With the continuous expansion of Metro Manila, the city is now included in Manila built up area which reaches Cardona in its Westernmost part.