Once upon a time, before the Spaniards came to the Philippines, in the northwest part of Laguna, which is now the town of Victoria, you will see the original location of the town of Pila. It was known then as “Pagalangan”.
57 years after Magellan discovered the Philippines, Reverend P. Juan de Florencia was appointed as the first Parish Priest of the town under the Royal Decree. It was at that year too when the first church in the town was established and San Antonio de Padua was chosen as the town’s Patron Saint.
In the year 1606, the first printing press in the Philippines was established in this town. This was led by Don Tomas Pinpin and Domingo Laog. In 1618, through the efforts of Franciscan priests, the first hospital for Spanish officials, soldiers, and priests was established. Since then, the town of Pagalangan has been the stopping destination of prominent Spanish officials. Don Antonio Maglilo was appointed as the first town Executive and served for 18 years since 1696.
Based on another book of legends, Laguna Bay was so narrow that the crowing of the rooster from the other side of the lake shall be clearly heard from the other side. Because of its narrowness, it has a tendency to overflow during the rainy season and flood the nearby places. Due to the frequent flooding since the 17th century, the parish priest was forced to relocate the church to a much higher place.
A heated dispute about the relocation site of the church has arisen between the two most prominent dynasties of the town, the Rivera and the Relova. Don Regino Relova y San Antonio wants the church to be relocated to his Barrio San Francisco for the reason that it is the town’s center based on the map. Don Felizardo Rivera, on the other hand, insists that it should be moved to his hacienda in Barrio Bulacan, Sta. Clara on the condition that the residential lands around the plaza will stay under his name. He offered the parish priest an agreement that if the church shall be relocated to his site, he and his family, up to the last generation, will take charge of the renovation and maintenance of the church. The parish priest agreed to this and signed a contract.
Through the leadership of Don Rivera together with the clans of Oca, Ruiz, and de Castro, the planning of the reestablishment of the town of Pagalangan was organized.
One very hot day, while the Franciscan priests were inspecting the relocation site of the church, they discovered that the new site is called Villa de Pila. From then on, the town was named as Pila.