Chapter Two
5. An Independent Town - For More Effective Control

From the standpoint of civil and ecclesiastical authorities, the growing anarchy had to be checked.  To control the restive Indios from Tondo was a virtual impossibility, and there was a need to put up a center of authority in Kalookan itself.  A gobernadorcillo can always be depended upon to collect tributes.  A parish priest can always use his cossack to put fear - if not of God, then of His self-appointed representative - into the hearts of these rebellious people.

A campaign was therefore launched to convert the barrio into an independent town.  After protracted attempts to convince the Insular authorities, Kalookan was separated from Tondo and made a municipality in the year 1815. [Kalookan celebrates its Foundation Day on February 16 of each year, to commemorate the date in 1962 when then President Diosdado Macapagal organized the city government pursuant to its Charter (Republic Act No. 3278, later amended by R.A. 5502) passed by Congress the year before.  Some people suggest that the foundation day of Kalookan should be reckoned from its conversion into a town, independent of Tondo, in 1815, but the choice of February 16, 1962, over 1815 as the true foundation day of Kalookan is not without reason.  The conversion into a city, which finally broke the shackles that bound the old municipality to the provincial government of Rizal was achieved through the wishes of the town's residents, expressed in a plebiscite held in 1961 pursuant to the original charter.  On the other hand, the separation of Kalookan from Tondo in 1815 was a step taken upon instigation of the Spanish civil and ecclesiastic authorities for more effective control of its inhabitants.] 

The territory of the new town extended from the original Aromahan in the west to the foothills of Marikina in the east and from the Tinajeros, Tanza and Tala Rivers in the north to San Francisco del Monte, Sampalok, Santa Cruz and Tondo in the south.  But this extensive territory was largely uninhabited.  The government building was set up on the relatively well-settled portion just above Libis Espina, with Mariano Sandoval as the first gobernadorcillo.  The old Aromahan chapel was finally abandoned and a new church was built facing the municipal hall.  The Augustinians were replaced by the more aggressive Recollects, with Father Manuel Vaguero as the first curate.

The mailed-fist policy with which the gobernadorcillo and the cara sought to enforce obedience was resisted both actively and passively by the people.

Many of the tenants abandoned their farms in the town proper and sought refuge in the wilderness of Balintawak and Pugad-Lawin, where they opened new homesteads.  As a result, the hacienda invited farmers from neighboring towns of Tambobong, Polo, Obando, Maykawayan and Bukawe to work on the abandoned farms, creating in Kalookan a segment of residents considered as strangers and interlopers, without any sentimental attachment to the community and ignorant of the blood and sweat that the pioneers from Aromahan had poured into its development.

As in Aromahan of the past century, the new church was never given a chance.  By 1846, it was a dilapidated, almost deserted place to worship.  Although repaired from time to time, it was never enlarged until a  very much later time, in another age and by another generation that had forgotten the bitterness of past religious controversies. [At the back of the present church, up to very recently, were ruins which, according to Dr. Galauran, was a proposed extension that was never finished.  Improvements were made on the church only after the Second World War.]

More actively, some of the deposed tenants engaged the guardia civil in running battles, harassing the authorities in town and running to the barrios where the farmers, like Tandang Sora of later years, gave them food and shelter.

Meanwhile, a boy in Tondo, in between making fans to support his orphaned brothers and sisters, was reading the history of the French Revolution.  Ideas of leading a proletarian movement to oust the colonial masters were beginning to take shape in his unschooled mind.  He would organize the masses where the Spaniards could least detect the seething cauldron - in a town not only unfamiliar to the enemy but also filled with people who, for almost a century, had fought them and refused to be cowed by their guns.

Andres Bonifacio was laying plans for a revolution that was to explode in Kalookan.