Antipolo was named after a tree locally known as Tipolo (Artocarpus Incisa), which was in abundance in the area in the early times.
The early written account of the city’s history was recorded in 1578 by Franciscan missionaries who came to Christianize the natives, majority of which are Dumagats. Early records referred to the natives as Tagal, Indians and Blacks (the aetas). These missionaries built the church at Boso-boso.
In 1591, the Jesuits replaced the Franciscans in Antipolo. They built a chapel in Sitio Sta. Cruz. Among the prominent priests were Fr.Pedro Chirino and Fr. Francisco Almarique. The same year, the first homily in Tagalog was delivered in a mass celebrated at a place that is now known as the “Pinagmisahan.”
During that time, the virgin forest of Antipolo covered most of its mountain ranges with various tropical trees and wild life. There are many springs supporting several waterfalls, the most popular of which is the Hinulugan Taktak.
By 1601 there are about 3,000 Catholics residing in Antipolo. About the same period, the number of Negritos significantly dwindled, moving deeper into the mountains. The missionaries tried to bring them back to the village by offering to them fertile lands to till. Father Almarique gave them all the services the Church can provide. The congregations known as La Anunciata, composed of students and inhabitants, continued their unified devotion to the Blessed Virgin by consistently celebrating the Feast of the Anunciation.
On March 25, 1626, Governor Juan Niño de Tabora brought to the country the image of the Virgin from Acapulco, Mexico. Before he died, he entrusted the image to a Jesuit Priest with the instruction to bring it back to the Antipolo Church. Tradition has it that the image was installed at Sitio Sta. Cruz and was said to have disappeared several times but was recovered each time on a Tipolo tree. Because of these unusual incidents, it was decided in 1632 to erect a church at that place under the administration of Fr. Juan de Salazar.
In 1639, the Chinese revolted to protest the increase in taxes reaching the village of Antipolo. As a result, the church was burned to the ground by the rebels. Miraculously, the image was untouched.The Virgin was taken to Sitio Ginapao and then brought to Cavite upon orders of the Governor General. It stayed in Cavite for 14 years.
Ten years from the said incident, the image was renamed Virgin of Peace and Good Voyage. It was brought five more times to Acapulco, Mexico before it rested permanently in the town.
In 1650, the village of Antipolo became a town.
In 1725, in a letter of Fr. Fray Gaspar de San Agustin, two Filipino secular priests were commended as being comparable to any European priest. One of them was Don Bartolome Saguinsin, a native of Antipolo, who became a rector of Quiapo District (outside Manila Walls).
By 1850, the town was still part of the Province of Tondo. The Province was divided in two, wherein some towns were placed under Manila while others were placed under the District of Morong. In 1853, Antipolo was formally placed under the district then known as Los Montes de San Mateo, and later named as the District of Morong in 1857. The recollect priest took over the parish of Antipolo in 1864.
It was during these years that the Virgin of Antipolo gained thousands of devotees. Devotees from Manila and nearby towns and provinces flocked to Antipolo on foot along mountain trails and springs. Most of them are fair-skinned (the Tagalogs). Some frequent visitors stayed and made Antipolo their homes. Among the devotees were the young Jose Rizal and his mother.
Tradition put it that when pestilence hit Antipolo, Cainta and Taytay, the Virgin of Antipolo was taken to what is now known as Pinagmisahan. A mass was celebrated there and prayers to Jesus Christ were offered to stop the epidemic.
On December 27, 1874, Juan Sumulong was born to spouses Policarpio Sumulong (then Capitan Municipal of Antipolo) and Arcadia Marquez. In the following year, Hacienda de Pinugay was placed under the jurisdiction of Boso-boso by a Royal Decree.
When the Filipinos rose in revolt against the Spaniards, many Antipoleños joined the rebels. They had an encounter with the Spanish soldiers at Mt. Makatubong, a mountain within Antipolo. Juan Sumulong became the secretary of the revolutionaries in the Province.
Two months after Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo declared the Philippine Independence on June 12, 1898 in Kawit, Cavite, Antipolo formally joined the revolutionary movernment and it was made the capital of Morong. But when the country was occupied by the Americans on June 4, 1899, the revolutionary government was transferred to the town of Tanay.
After the civil government was restored in 1901 by the Americans, Valentin Sumulong became the first Presidente (Alkalde) of the town. The province of Morong was renamed Rizal Province and some of the towns near Manila were made part of the Province.
In 1903, Antipolo, Teresa and Boso-boso were joined under Act No. 1942 with Antipolo as the center of government.
On March 27, 1903, the Philippine Commission ratified Act No. 703 granting the Manila Railroad Company a franchise to operate a railway in Antipolo. The railway was constructed in 1906 which traversed from Pasig up to Taytay-Cainta. Religious devotees walked from the end of the railway to Antipolo and the more affluent were carried by hammocks called “Hamaka”. The first train to reach Antipolo traveled on December 24, 1908.
The next Presidentes of the town were Tranquilino Idan and Severino Oliveros. During their incumbencies in 1908, Juan Sumulong was appointed as the first judge for land registration and later as a member of the Philippine Commission.
Francisco Dimanlig and Ambrocio Masangkay also became Presidentes of the town. In 1913, the Sitios of Mayamot and Bulao became part of Antipolo. After them, Roberto de Jesus, Federico Asuncion and Sixto Pedracio served as Presidentes of Antipolo.
The people of Antipolo live a simple and traditional Filipino lifestyle. Their culture and tradition include the celebration of many religious and cultural festivities such as the Kapitan at Kapitana on Easter Sunday, the night serenades, the bayanihan, the praying of the Angelus, the reading of the passion of Christ during the Lenten Season, and festivities on May and June. The association known as the Nuestra Señora Dela Anunciata was established many years back to commemorate many of these old traditions.
On January 1, 1919, Teresa was segregated from Antipolo by virtue of Executive Act No. 57.
Not long after, roads were built connecting Taytay and Antipolo and public transportation became available. When Cornelio Lawis became mayor of the town, he improved the roadways by putting stones over them.
The first town hall was erected in 1925 during the incumbency of Mayor Jose Carigma. During this time, Juan Sumulong was elected senator under Partido Demokrata and Marcelino Santos succeeded as mayor of Antipolo.
On November 27, 1927, the Virgin of Antipolo was brought and crowned at Luneta for the first time.
In 1929, German San Jose (Gerry Brandy) of Malate, Manila, composed the song “Antipolo” (Tayo na sa Antipolo) which immediately made national attention.
In 1930, Pascual Oliveros became mayor of Antipolo and electric services reached the town proper.
Still in the 1930s, Juliana F. Torres, Serapio H. Santos, Gabriel Francisco, Clemente V. Rivera, Konsehal Juan Torres, Sr. Honorato B. Aranda, Briccio Reillo and Eusebio Simeon rose to prominence in the field of education.
It was also during this period that the Maytime Fiesta Pavilion at General Luna Street and the Hinulugan Taktak Hotel at San Jose Street were erected.
During the Second World War (1941–1945), many able-bodied men from Antipolo joined the Philippine Scout and the USAFFE to fight in the bloody battle of Bataan.Two guerilla units continued the struggle during the Japanese occupation. They were the “Hunters ROTC” under Miguel Ver and Terry Adevoso and the “Marking Fil-American Troop” which was established and led by Marcos Villa Agustin, more popularly known as Brig. Gen. Agustin Marking.
Many inhabitants were tortured and killed by the Japanese, among them are: Mayor Pascual Oliveros and son Reynaldo, Padre Eusebio Carreon, Padre Ariston Ocampo, Sis. Ma. Elizabeth Cagulanas, RVM, Sis. Ma. Consuelo Recio, RVM, Antonio Masangkay, and Alfonso Oliveros.
The liberation of Antipolo from the Japanese forces was bloody and devastating. On February 17, 1945, Antipolo was heavily bombarded by American planes. In the midst of widespread conflagration and heavy civilian casualties, the people of Antipolo evacuated to Sitio Colaique, then to Angono, Santolan and Marikina. They brought with them the Virgin of Antipolo which was courageously carried by Procopio Angeles.
The bombings from March 6-7, 1945 destroyed the church building. After twelve days of battle, the American 43rd Infantry Division liberated the town on March 12, 1945.
The people returned to the town and slowly rebuilt their lives from the ashes of war. Led by Mayor Manuel Serranillo, Padre Francisco Avendano, Jose Lawis and Leoncio Anclote, the people built a temporary church and returned the Virgin from Quiapo Church to Antipolo on October 15, 1945.
The people gallantly rebuilt their homes and their lives. Devotees started to flock to the town again. On May 6, 1947, the first procession of the Virgin of Antipolo, led by Padre Francisco Avendano, was held starting at the hills of Pinagmisahan to the Church.
On November 11, 1947, Mayor Isaias Tapales was inaugurated as Mayor of the town.
In 1948, a national committee was formed to undertake a nationwide fund raising campaign to build the Cathedral of Antipolo. The committee was headed by the former First Lady Aurora Quezon and Padre Francisco Avendano. The same year, Lorenzo Sumulong was elected Congressman and the construction of the Circumferential Road began.
It was about this time that the religion of Iglesia Ni Kristo came to Antipolo.
On June 15, 1952, Hinulugan Taktak was proclaimed a national park under Presidential Proclamation No. 330 of then President Elpidio Quirino. On January 14, 1954, the Bishops of the Philippines proclaimed the Cathedral of Antipolo as the official shrine of the Virgin of Antipolo.
In 1958, Francisco Sumulong was elected Congressman of the Second District of Rizal. The same year, the road from Kay Tikling to the Cainta Junction was opened and the first residential subdivision in Antipolo, the Beverly Hills Subdivision, was inaugurated. An area in the town proper which used to be a railroad station became popularly known as “siyete y media” because the first houses were seven and a house remained halfway finished.
In 1960, the poblacion widened. The Sumulong Highway was constructed and the people from outlying towns migrated and occupied the hills and mountain sides.
Little by little, civilization overtook the culture of the residents. Only a few continued to work on the fields. Wild animals which used to live in the forest and mountains slowly disappeared because of the denudation of the forests. Even the native traditions were threatened. The natural springs and tributary creeks of the Hinulugan Taktak were littered, affecting the falls itself.
The Juan Sumulong High School under Mrs. Trinidad S. Jornacion was established, followed by the Antipolo Municipal High School and the Our Lady of Peace School.
In the 1970s, the Marikina-Infanta Road, better known as Marcos Highway, was constructed traversing the mountains of Antipolo. Cogeo Village came to being and a large portion of the town was proposed for Lungsod Silangan. The barrios, then known only as Uno, Dos, Tres and Cuatro were renamed Barangay San Roque, San Jose, San Isidro and Dela Paz.
Msgr. Gaudencio Rosales became the parish priest of the Catholic Church. Jose R. Oliveros was re-elected Municipal Mayor with Felix B. Marinas as the Vice Mayor. The construction of the Municipal Town Hall was completed in this time.
The Antipolo Elementary School became the Juan Sumulong Elementary school and several school annexes were established with their own school principals. The civic organizations at that period were: the Lions Club, Kiwanis Club of Antipolo, Rotary Club, Antipolo Cultural and Historical Society, Inc., Antipolo Foundation for Arts Culture and Ecology, among others.
The most Rev. Protacio G. Gungon, D.D. assumed the position of parish priest of the town and when the Diocese of Antipolo was created on June 25, 1983, he became the first bishop of the diocese. Meanwhile, Francisco Sumulong and Emigdio “Ding” Tanjuatco were elected representatives to Batasang Pambansa.
When the EDSA revolt broke out in 1986, many residents joined the people’s revolt at EDSA. After President Corazon Aquino was installed as President of the revolutionary government, the town officials were replaced. Named officer-in-charge was Francisco de Jesus while Felix B. Marinas remained as Vice Mayor who later on became the OIC after the death of De Jesus. Before the elections on January 18, 1988, Marinas was replaced as OIC by Dr. Rodrigo Ambas.
Mayor Daniel S. Garcia was elected in 1988 and remained as Mayor of Antipolo until the expiration of his term in 1998.
Hinulugan Taktak was declared a national historical shrine under republic Act 6964 sponsored by then Congressman Francisco “Komong” Sumulong on September 18, 1990.
By 1995, the population census of Antipolo revealed a stunning 345,000 population.
On February 13, 1998, then President Fidel V. Ramos signed into law the bill jointly sponsored by Congressmen Gilbert “Bibit” Duavit and Egmidio “Ding” Tanjuatco, making the Municipality of Antipolo into a component city of the Province of Rizal. Republic Act No. 8508 became the Charter of the City of Antipolo. On April 04, 1998, the voters of Antipolo ratified in a plebiscite the new political status of Antipolo as a City.
Following its new status, in the election held on May 11, 1998, Angelito C. Gatlabayan was elected first City Mayor of Antipolo and Agripino G. Garcia, as his Vice Mayor. Victor Sumulong, son of the illustrious Filipino Senator Lorenzo Sumulong, was elected Congressman of the lone congressional district of Antipolo.