Pre Colonial Period

VATAN was the name of Bataan before the coming of the Spaniards. It was part of the vast Capampangan Empire that included what now are the provinces of Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, Tarlac and some portions of Bulacan, Zambales and Pangasinan. Dinalupihan then was a “sitio” of Llana. Hermosa, which was in turn under CAUMPAWI or CAVANPAVIT (part of Floridablanca now).
Dinalupihan, in the early times was like a paradise, consisting of lush green forests and healthy vegetation, a rich sanctuary for different kinds of animals, with tall, sturdy trees and beautiful wildflowers. Clear water runs through its deep rivers and waterfalls in the mountains. In short, nature was at its best, populated by different Aeta tribes, followed by the Kapampangan and the Tagalog. Life then was simple.
People subsisted on the rich natural resources of the area. They were hardy hunters and wood gatherers. People had a very close communication with each other. This factor, plus their fighting instinct served them well in the development of their community and in their defense against alien invaders and local criminals.

Dinalupihan Under Spain

The Spaniards arrived in Bataan in 1578. Bataan’s territory was divided between Pampanga and the corregimiento of Mariveles. It was only in 1754 that Bataan was created into a separate province through the efforts of Governor-General Pedro Manuel de Arandia. The new province included Balanga, Abucay, Samal, Orani, Llana-Hermosa, San Juan de Dinalupihan, Pilar, Orion (all formerly of Pampanga province), Mariveles, Bagac and Morong (formerly of the corregimiento of Mariveles).
In May, 1706, Hermosa was made a center of missionary activities and became a pueblo (town) and a parish. Dinalupihan remained a “sitio” of Hermosa administered by a capellan (chaplain).
The natives fought valiantly against the Spanish Conquistadores and were never vanguished through the use of force. (This was the basis for the Legendary origin of the name DINALUPIHAN. It was said that the place got so famous for its fighting spirit that it came to be known as “di-nalupigan” or not conquered. The name “Di-nalupigan” stuck, but as luck would have it, the letter “g” was inadvertently changed to “h” during the registration of its name. Thus, the town with a fighting heart is now known as Dinalupihan.)

It was only after more than a hundred years after the Spaniards started the colonization of the Philippines that Dinalupihan became a part of the Spanish colonial administration. This was made possible through the efforts of the secular priests who patiently worked hard to get the trust and confidence of the people. Through hard work, over a long period of time, they were able to convert the people to Christianity. It was only after the Christianization of the people that the political machinery of the Spaniards was gradually put into action. If should therefore be noted that Dinalupihan was “conquered” by the Spaniards through the “CROSS” and not through the “SWORD”. The town’s parish priests were not only the spiritual guides of the people, but in effect were the true rulers in the municipality. They controlled the fundamental forces of society.

What was then known as Dinalupihan was the Tucop-Pagalanggang area where the early settlers remained.

Dinalupihan became one of the vast properties of the Archdiocese of Manila. As early as 1756, the former priests of Hermosa had urged the people to make voluntary contributions of land to the Archdiocese. Parcels of Dinalupihan became the favorite donation. In time, the Diocese was able to accumulate vast tracks of land which became known as Diocesan Estate which later on was called as Dinalupihan Estate.

The Dinalupihan Estate was a vast land covering the Tucop-Pagalanggang agricultural area. It was the product of labor and perseverance of the original settlers who had cleared and worked on the land. Before they knew it, the Archbishop had already obtained a grant from the Spanish government making the church as the owner of the estate.

In 1786, it was recognized as a distant barangay of Hermosa, some 30 years after its mother town was founded in 1756. As a barangay , it was placed under the administration of the gobernadorcillo of Hermosa. Felipe Penaflor was appointed as its first cabeza de barangay. The vast Dinalupihan Estate, however, turned out to be incapable of producing revenue. From 1786 to 1800, its average annual income coming from the farms was not even enough to support a Diocesan facility in Manila. It was the time when the Diocese authorities began calling the place “Empty Lands” or “Dinalupihan”. It was derived from three Spanish words din, a, and lupia. Din signifies “cash, money” while a stands for “into”. Lupia means “small change”. When put together, Din-a-lupia translates to “Empty Lands”. From these three Spanish words, early settlers learned to call the place, Dinalupihan , its localized version in Tagalog. It was the name of the place even before. Dinalupihan became a regular municipality in 1865, separate from Hermosa.

Between 1817-1819, the Archbishop of Manila, Juan Antonio Zulaibar, attempted to make money out of the vast area. He ordered the conversion of the Dinalupihan Estate into a “hacienda”. He solicited funds from affluent Manila based Spaniards and spent P 15,000.00 for the development of the area into both sugar and rice fields. For the first three years, he sent 2,424 cavans of palay for seedlings and food for the farm managers or inquilinos.

Naturally, Archbishop Zulaibar expected big profits from the venture which he intended to use to support the San Carlos Seminary, an archdiocesan facility. Unfortunately, the operation of the hacienda was a failure. The fields continued producing stunted plants. The appointed estate managers insisted that it resulted from insect menace and regular flooding. It turned out, however, that the managers were simply not entering into the books all the rentals that they were collecting from the workers. After three years, the Archbishop closed the hacienda and opened another ranch somewhere else.





WEB Pictures001

The so-called Hacienda dela San Juan de Dinalupihan was founded by Fr. Antonio Zulaibar,Metropolitan Archbishop for the maintenance of the clergy of Real Seminario de  San Carlos


For many years, the hacienda became a grazing land because of its abundant grass and wild bushes. (It was only in 1915 that the abandoned estate finally changed into a flourishing township)

Sometime in 1820, or immediately after Manila Archbishop Juan Antonio Zulaibar stopped the operation of Dinalupihan Hacienda, Dinalupihan is believed to have been established as an informal pueblo (town)

 WEB Pictures002

Parish Priest of Bataan


 WEB Pictures003

Deed of Land of the Hacienda de Dinalupihan in favor of the Seminario Counciliar de San Carlos



Don Pedro Fermin Bernal, a secular priest from Lubao was the first recorded Filipino missionary assigned in Dinalupihan. He was the pioneer parish priest of Dinalupihan from 1839-1842. He is often compared to Fr. Damaso Lintag who worked for the establishment of Pilar as a regular town of Bataan in 1801.

Don Pedro was assigned in Dinalupihan to take care of the spiritual needs of the early settlers in the area who spent many years working in the sugarcane fields of Tucop and Pagalanggang, which were owned by the Archbishop of Manila. Starting from scratch, Don Pedro immediately built the first visita (chapel) of St. John the Baptist in 1839 on its present site. It was a wooden chapel with nipa roofing. It was the time when only two town roads were in actual use in Dinalupihan. These were the streets of Burgos and Zamora where the former Hacienda workers actually settled down while working in the sugarcane fields.


WEB Pictures004


 WEB Pictures005


A demand of 14, 258 pesos, 3 reales, 6 gramos which was said to be due to the Seminario Conciliar from the Hacienda de Dinalupihan


WEB Pictures006


WEB Pictures007


Parish priests from different parishes gave their shares to the Hacienda



Don Pedro Bernal stayed in Dinalupihan for three years and was replaced by another secular priest, Don Bernardo Marcelo, in 1842.  The third secular priest was Don Mariano Miranda.  The latter stayed in Dinalupihan from 1847 until 1857, eight years before the former barangay of Hermosa finally became a regular town.  While working for the conversion of Dinalupihan into a vicariate, Don Miranda started building a semi-permanent church through the financial support of Governor-General Arandia.  He failed to complete the church including the additional rectory.




Don Victoriano Chevarria, another secular parish priest, replaced Don Miranda in 1858 and served until 1875.  Dinalupihan was raised into a parish in 1865 and was formally placed under the patronage of San Juan Bautista.  Don Chevarria and a wealthy hacienda tenant named Alberto Penaflor worked together for the establishment of Dinalupihan as a regular town.  The realization of such aspiration came in 1865 when Dinalupihan formally became the 10th regular pueblo of Bataan.  Don Chevarria became the first regular parish priest while Alberto Penaflor was appointed as the first gobernadorcillo.  By this time, just like the other municipalities in the country, Dinalupihan had its own Poblacion. (Poblacion is a Spanish word which literally means population, town or city.  It is commonly associated with the center of the town where the municipal building (presidencia) and the Roman Catholic Church  are located).  The said Poblacion grew out from the two original but still unnamed streets where farm workers built their houses while employed at the Dinalupihan Hacienda.  (The streets came to be known later as Burgos and Zamora Streets, in honor of the two of martyr priests “GomBurZa”).


            Being the town center, it was here where the St. John the BaptistChurch, the presidencia and public market were built.  And from the two original streets, new thoroughfares were added and new communities were developed.


            By the turn of the century, there were already 226 houses in the parish, bounded on the north by Taguan or Vigaa; on the south by Hermosa which is a league distant from it; on the east by the OraniRiver; and on the west by the Zambales mountains.  It had its convent, church, school, prison, municipal tribunal and cemetery.


 The seculars continued to minister the parish until after 1898. Additional works on the church were continued by other Secular priests who administered the parish from 1865 until 1898. The church suffered major damages during the 1898 Philippine Revolution.



 WEB Pictures008

WEB Pictures009

WEB Pictures010

Letter of Don Mariano Almeida, Parish Priest of Dinalupihan to the Archbishop




Spanish Colonization


The  colonization of Dinalupihan was actually started by the priests or the clergy.  It was only when the clergy were deeply entrenched in the community, when the political officials as well as the guardia civil followed.

            The pueblo of Dinalupihan was headed by a gobernadorcillo (little governor) popularly called Capitan. His wife was known in the town as Capitana (lady captain).  The first governadorcillo assigned in 1865 was Alberto Peñaflor.

            FELIPE PEÑAFLOR became the first kapitan municipal of Dinalupihan in 1895.  Kapitan Municipal was the title given to the town chief or mayor to replace the old title gobernadorcillo .  A Kapitan Municipal was elected by acclamation   during a Gran Tribunal .  He reigned for a maximum of two years.  Those who elected the Kapitan Municipal were the incumbent cabezas de barangay  and some individuals of high status in the society in the area.


In addition to the Kapitan Municipal, also elected were the teniente mayor (vice-mayor), teniente and cordillera (councilors).


The title Kapitan Municipal was replaced in 1898 by Presidente Actual or Current President.   Felipe Penaflor, however, used the title Kapitan Municipal until 1900 despite the order of President Emilio Aguinaldo to use the title President Actual starting in 1899. It was RAMON ESTANISLAO, SR. who formally adopted the new title when he was elected as Presidente Actual in 1901.   A new title, Municipal President or simply Mayor, replaced Presdente Actual in 1925.




1884 - 1885 - Nicolas Navarro
1885 – 1887 - Andres Joson
1887 – 1888 - Andres delos Reyes
1888 – 1890 - Pedro Espinola
1890 – 1893 - Rosendo Salvador
1893 – 1895 - Andres delos Reyes




            It was a known fact that during the Spanish regime, the welfare of the people and the community were never given due consideration by the Spanish authorities and, as a result, Dinalupihan was neglected inspite of the fact that it has ample agricultural and grazing lands which gave the government a sizeable amount of income.  The general appearance of the town remained shabby and unimproved.  Tall grasses were seen growing even in the hearts of the town itself.  Due to this sorry state of things, the first inhabitants of the town namely, the Peñaflor clan who were immigrants from Bulacan province, the Espinola clan who were immigrants from Pampanga  province, and the Delos Reyes clan from Pilar, Bataan were quite unsatisfied about the way things were coming to a  head.


From 1865 to 1898, a big number of farm workers in the Dinalupihan Estate were arrested, severely punished and oftentimes killed by Spanish authorities  on mere suspicion of stealing agricultural products from the Hacienda owned by the Archbishop of Manila.  Cruel forms of punishment such as whipping using carabao hides and long stick, the garrote, compulsory labor and death, were administered to the suspects.  The fatality count increased prior to the 1898 Revolution, from 1896 to 1898. Suspected  members of the Katipunan in Dinalupihan were immediately tortured and killed.  The participation of the inhabitants of this small municipality for the cause of freedom is now a matter of common knowledge.

It was said that these Filipinos who became head of pueblos became active Katipuneros and led the local revolutionary movement.  Many men from Dinalupihan joined and organized several pockets of resistance against the Spaniards.  Some joined the revolutionary group of Capitan Inggo Alonzo of Balanga.


WEB Pictures011

A list of some Dinalupihan revolutionaries during the 1896 Revolution


At present, there are three important existing church bells (relics) used by the parish during the Spanish period.


WEB Pictures012

The oldest bell has an inscription

“M.S.C.S.M. Trinidad Nacion de Tomas Micea Siendo Cura capillan de este pueblo Dinalupihan el P. Pedro Fermin Berl Ano de 1870”


            Rev. Msgr. Edilberto Cruz parish priest of St. John the Baptist Parish, landscaped the church patio and hung this (relic) bell by the left side of the church.


WEB Pictures013

Another bell with the inscription

            Ano de 1888”

            This bell is still being used in the belfry of the San Juan Bautista Parish Church of Dinalupihan, Bataan.


WEB Pictures014

Another broken bell with an inscription

            “ Donacion de Dona Barbara Hocson al pueblo de Dinalupihan siendo parroco el presto D. Domingo Anonuevo.  Ano de 1894”

            This was used until 1993 when a crack was discovered on its side.  This bell is now under the care of the Dinalupihan Central School, Dinalupihan, Bataan.



American Regime



The Spanish – American war broke out and the Spaniards were defeated and in accordance with the Treaty of Paris of 1898, Spanish domination of the Philippines was transferred to the Americans.


The Americans established a military government in Bataan in 1901. Captain John Couldmar became the first military governor of Bataan in January.


An American bishop, Jeremiah Harty, took over as Archbishop of Manila. Hence, the Dinalupihan Hacienda, which was then largely a rice-producing land which were still being tilled by the inquilinos and aparceros was placed under his charge. The Archbishop was in large financial problem so they thought of ways of increasing revenues from the Dinalupihan Estate. Since sugar then was the leading agricultural product needed in the United States, large scale sugar cultivation was launched. Archbishop Harty assigned Philip Whitaker and Daniel Boone to manage the Estate.






Iskolar ng Bataan