Discover Baliwag: A Historical, Cultural, and Modern City Journey

Baliwag, also known as Baliuag, is a thriving first-class component city nestled in Bulacan, Philippines. Recognized as the City of Baliwag, it proudly boasts a population of 168,470 individuals as of the 2020 census.

The name “Baliwag” finds its roots in an ancient Kapampangan term signifying “untouched.” Founded in 1732 by Augustinian friars, Baliuag was granted official incorporation by the Spanish Governor-General on May 26, 1733. This marked its separation from the town of Quingua, now famously known as Plaridel.


Baliwag, a municipality in the province of Bulacan, Philippines, is proud of its rich and diverse history that dates back to the Spanish colonial period. The story of Baliwag is intricately woven with local politics, the Catholic Church, and the struggle for Philippine independence, offering a captivating glimpse into the country’s past.

The political history of the town began during Spanish rule, with Jose de Guzman serving as its first Gobernadorcillo in 1789. Local officials were chosen based on criteria set by the Spanish regime, but their actions were heavily influenced by the Catholic friars. Under this system, Baliwag flourished, giving rise to 49 capitan, 13 alcalde, and 92 Gobernadorcillo throughout the Spanish regime.

One of the most notable figures in Baliwag’s history is Don Mariano Ponce, a founding member of the Propaganda Movement alongside José Rizal and Marcelo del Pilar. Ponce, a true nationalist, played a pivotal role in the fight for Philippine independence and left an indelible legacy.

The American period brought significant changes to Baliwag. The town became the first Municipio under the American regime, establishing the local government seat in the Mariano Yoyongko Principalia. During this era, the Baliuag Museum and Library were established, housed in the historic mansion of Dr. Joaquin Gonzalez.

Baliwag’s history is also characterized by its religious heritage, producing several notable priests and Jesuits. Notably, local business owners Jeorge Allan R. Tengco and Amy R. Tengco were honored with the Papal Orders of Chivalry for their contributions to the Catholic Church and the community.

The latter part of the 20th century witnessed communist guerrilla activity in the region. A significant turning point in the town’s history occurred in 1995 when local New People’s Army leader Melencio Salamat Jr., along with 94 other members, surrendered.

On July 22, 2022, Republic Act No. 11929 was enacted, converting Baliwag into a component city and standardizing its name as the City of Baliwag. A plebiscite held on December 17, 2022, saw 17,814 residents voting in favor of the city conversion.

Baliwag’s journey from a humble town under Spanish rule to a thriving city in the 21st century stands as a testament to its resilience and adaptability. Its history, marked by political, religious, and societal shifts, contributes to the vibrant tapestry that is the Philippines’ past and present.


Situated 28 kilometers from Malolos and 51 kilometers from Manila, Baliwag has undergone significant development since the Spanish era when it was primarily an agricultural town. Rice farming was the main livelihood, with orchards and tumanas yielding plentiful fruits and vegetables for the local market. Baliwag gained fame for its Buntal hat weaving, silk weaving, and the production of cigar cases, piña fibers, petates (mats), and Sillas de Bejucos (cane chairs).

Over the years, Baliwag has emerged as one of the most progressive towns in Bulacan. The growth of the public market has made a substantial contribution to the city’s economy. Today, Baliwag serves as the primary hub for commerce, transportation, entertainment, and education in Northern Bulacan. Its jurisdiction extends to San Ildefonso, Bulacan at its northernmost boundary due to the expansion of Metro Manila.

Baliwag is divided into 27 barangays, which are the smallest administrative divisions in the Philippines. Each barangay comprises puroks, or smaller sections, and some may also have sitios, which are smaller communities within the barangay.

Tourism & Attractions in Baliwag

Baliwag, a city brimming with historical and cultural charm, offers visitors a unique fusion of tradition and modernity. At the heart of the city stands the Baliwag Clock Tower, Bulacan’s first self-supporting clock tower, proudly exemplifying the city’s rich heritage.

During Holy Week, Baliwag comes alive with the spirit of Semana Santa, hosting one of the Philippines’ longest religious processions. This awe-inspiring spectacle showcases 124 carros or carrozas – floats adorned with life-sized santos depicting events from the life and passion of Christ, a true testament to faith and culture.

The city’s cultural tapestry is further enriched by the Buntal Hat Festival, paying homage to its historic buntal hat-making industry. This vibrant festival showcases a mosaic of colorful decorations, rhythmic street dancing, and the iconic buntal hats, originally introduced by Mariano Deveza.

But Baliwag’s allure extends beyond its festivals and heritage sites. A plethora of attractions await the curious traveler. Augustine Square, Baliwag Glorietta Park, and the Baliwag Museum and Library offer immersive experiences for history buffs. The Mariano Ponce Ancestral House Museum provides glimpses into the life of one of the city’s most prominent historical figures.

Nature enthusiasts will find solace in The Greenery Events Place, while the Baliwag Star Arena and Jose Rizal Monument at Plaza Naning are must-see landmarks. For souvenirs, the Baliwag Pasalubong Center offers a wide range of local products, and the Parish Museum of Old Religious Artifacts and Carozza Makers showcase exquisite religious artworks and crafts. The vibrant Baliwag Night Market and the festive Baliwag Christmas Night Market offer a feast for the senses, featuring a variety of local foods, crafts, and trinkets.

Baliwag, a city that weaves history, culture, and modernity, invites you to be a part of its story. Whether you’re a history enthusiast, a culture vulture, or simply seeking a memorable adventure, Baliwag has something to offer. Come, explore Baliwag, and create memories that will last a lifetime.