By Severino C. Samonte

How I became a QC resident without leaving original family home

I was born in the flowery month of May 1939, just four months and 21 days ahead of the founding of Quezon City on Oct. 12 of the same year by then-President Manuel L. Quezon. I was baptized eight days later at the then 38-year-old Our Lady of Mercy Parish church in the former town proper of Novaliches in Rizal province.

At that time, the address of my parents, four brothers and one sister, was Barrio Capri, Novaliches, Caloocan, Rizal.

Shortly before my mother died in February 1947, three months before I turned eight years old, she enrolled me at a primary school in nearby Barrio Caybiga, Novaliches, Caloocan.

On July 17, 1948, the then two-year-old First Philippine Congress (1946-1949) enacted Republic Act ( RA) No. 333 which made Quezon City the new capital of the country in place of Manila.

The new law was signed by then President Elpidio R. Quirino who, shortly after his official stay at Malacañang in 1953, decided to build his rest house atop a hill overlooking the scenic La Mesa dam and reservoir in Novaliches as well as the towns of Rizal, Laguna, Cavite, Bataan, Bulacan, Pampanga, and Nueva Ecija.

RA 333, together with its amendatory RA 392 a year later, provided for the doubling of the QC area to 15,359 hectares from the original 7,355 hectares conceived by the late President Quezon under Commonwealth Act No. 502 of Oct, 12, 1939.

This necessitated the relocation of the QC boundary northward, thus slicing almost at the middle the former Novaliches town of the provinces of Bulacan (1855-1858), Manila (1858-1901), and Rizal (1901-1903).

As a result, half of Novaliches was annexed to the then nine-year-old QC, while the rest remained with Caloocan town, which became a city in February 1962. Not only that, many of the former barrios of Novaliches were also divided in the process.

The barrios of Baesa, Talipapa, San Bartolome, Pasong Tamo, Novaliches Poblacion, Banlat, Kabuyao, Pugad Lawin, Bagbag, Pasong Putik and others which had an area of about 8,100 hectares were taken from Caloocan and ceded to Quezon City.

Old Novaliches residents said the "mutilation" of their former town was done without a plebiscite or referendum.

Due to that congressional action, many residents of Novaliches, Caloocan, including my father, my four brothers, one sister, and me, became "instant migrants" in Quezon City without actually moving their houses from their original locations in Novaliches, Caloocan.

With the implementation of RA 333, Novaliches has become known as the only area in Metro Manila at present with the most unrealistic, obsolete, and confusing laying of boundaries. It is not surprising to find in Novaliches today a subdivision or a factory partly belonging to either city.

There was a time when some houses in Novaliches lay right on the boundary of the two cities. Such situations were corrected only after the house owners constructed new structures and decided to locate these in the city of their choice. Today, lot owners in Novaliches still pay part of their real estate taxes to Quezon City and the rest to Caloocan.

In Damong Maliit, Barangay Nagkaisang Nayon, Novaliches, there is a subdivision named Jordan Heights which partly belongs to QC and the rest to Caloocan. The former old signboard of the subdivision, located at its boundary along the Damong Maliit-Llano Road, indicated its address as “Novaliches, Q.C.” and “Novaliches, Caloocan City.”

Before the integration of the police forces in the former Greater Manila area in the 1970s, a shooting incident nearly erupted between two teams of Quezon City and Caloocan City policemen in Novaliches due to its confusing boundary.

This was in connection with the sensational case of a certain ”Waway” who was wanted by the Manila policemen for a series of unsolved nighttime killings committed in the Blumentritt area in 1969.

To elude arrest, Waway, whose real name later turned out to be Juanito Alde from Samar, sought refuge in the forests of the then-barrio of Damong Maliit, Novaliches. One early morning, while he was foraging for food in the area, he was spotted by a farmer who promptly sought the help of his neighbors. The residents chased Alde, whom they caught after crossing a creek marking the boundary of QC and Caloocan in the present Barangay Sangandaan.

Alde was mobbed and injured seriously by the residents before he was turned over to QC policemen who were informed about the incident. However, since Alde was caught on the opposite side of the creek belonging to Caloocan, a team of Caloocan policemen soon arrived and demanded the turnover of the suspect to them. There was a very heated argument between the two police teams over the jurisdiction of Alde, and only the arrival of then-QC police chief Gen. Tomas B. Karingal prevented what could have been a bloody shootout among the law enforcers of the two cities.

At that time, policemen from any local government unit (LGU) in the Greater Manila area had to make proper coordination first with their counterparts in the neighboring LGU before they could make arrests or operate outside their jurisdiction.

Also owing to the unrealistic laying of the northern boundary of Quezon City and Caloocan City in Novaliches, people going to Novaliches for the first time from any part of Metro Manila or the provinces are likely “to get lost” along the way.

This is because a vehicle-riding visitor, traversing for instance the old Novaliches-Polo Road (renamed Gen. Luis St.) branching out of the North Luzon Expressway or MacArthur Highway in Valenzuela City, will eventually find himself in the Caloocan portion of Novaliches in Barangays Bagbaguin and Caybiga.

After a few more minutes and barring any traffic snarl on the same route, the traveler will find himself on the Quezon City section of Novaliches in Barangay Nagkaisang Nayon. If he continues his travel beyond the Novaliches town proper through Quirino Highway going to San Jose del Monte City and Norzagaray in Bulacan, he is sure to find himself on the Caloocan territory in Novaliches once more after traversing about five kilometers.


About the Columnist

Image of Severino C. Samonte

He began his journalistic career by contributing to the Liwayway and Bulaklak magazines in the 1960’s. He was the night editor of the Philippine News Service when Martial Law was declared in September 1972. When the Philippine News Agency was organized in March 1973, he was named national news editor because of his news wire service experience.

He retired as executive news editor in 2003. He also served as executive editor of the Malacanang-based Presidential News Desk from 1993 to 1996 and from 2005 to 2008.