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St. Claire
St. Paschal
New Zest
Dance Form
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R. delos Reyes
E. de Guzman
J. Lozano

The town of Obando was established on May 14, 1753 and it was named after the incumbent Governor-General of that time, Don Jose Francisco Solis de Obando. The decree on the said establishment was enacted the following year, 1754.

Before, Obando just used to be a town of Meycauayan during the 16th century. It was called by the name Catangalan (now Catanghalan), derived from the word tangal, which is a kind of tree growing abundantly in the swampy part of the place. The extract of skin of the tangal was made into dampol for the kutod (things used for fishing) and fisherman's net.

In 1588, Catangalan has been declared an encomienda* under the supervision of a native, Don Felipe Armanlangangui. There were about 800 people living in Catangalan at that time, and their ways of living was through fishing and farming.

There came the time when Don Felipe Armanlangangui has been imprisoned and exiled outside the country under the charge of collaborating with the Bornean Moros to object the Spanish government. All of his wealth was divided among the treasury of the King of Spain and for the expenses of the junta nacional..

During the 16th century, the topographical feature of Catangalan was divided into two important portions: the swampland, where the tangal and ape-ape trees were growing, and the forest and grasslands in which the centre has been the place for building homes of the people. In the present, the entire swampland has been divided into rivers and fish ponds. Parts of the forest and grasslands were turned to paddies where rice and different crops were planted.

Although it has been said that there are only rumors or no concrete evidence at all as to where the image of culture in Obando before the coming of the Spanish can be based, the people of Obando (Catangalan), like the native Filipino people has a set of traditions concerning their life, death, faith and government.

For a native Filipino, all stages of life starting from birth until fighting in a war, for farming, fishing and even in love, has to be accompanied by performing a ritual.

The early Filipinos were performing a ritual called Kasilonawan, headed by a katalonan or high priestess. Normally, the ritual lasts for 9 days; and within they celebrate through endless drinking, singing and dancing. The ritual was being held in the home of the datu or head of the barangay.

Fertility had become important for a Filipino. The sterile women were considered as low class and had been mocked by the society.

Because of this, performing a ritual for sterile women had also been important. The deity they call as the linga was the center of the Kasilonawan ritual. The early Filipinos were celebrating so that their lives or destiny would be in the hands of nature.

Many years had passed, Catangalan remained as a small village. However, Polo, another village, was separated from Meycauayan in 1623.

The Franciscan friars established a church in Polo. They also established a chapel in Catangalan and there they enshrined an image of St. Claire.

Hence, St. Claire was the very first patron saint of Obando.

*The Encomienda system is a trusteeship system, by which conquistadors were granted the towns of the indigenous people they conquered. The conquistadors, known as encomenderos, were able to tax these people and summon them for labor. In return the encomenderos were expected to provide safety for the people through an established military and teachings in Christianity. - from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, <>.