Sariaya has a total land area of 24,530 hectares. Of this, about 63.73 hectares comprise the urban area with 6 barangays while 22,839.55 hectares consist of the rural area with 37 barangays. The southern portion of the municipality of Sariaya particularly those along the coastal areas lie on flat terrain with almost sea level elevation. The terrain becomes rolling northwards reaching elevations of 200 meters above sea level (asl). The northeastern sections of the municipality particularly those leading toward Mt. Banahaw are dominated by hilly to mountainous areas reaching an elevation of 1,800 meters asl.
Sariaya is comprised of 43 barangays; of which, six (6) are urban barangays which are located in the Poblacion, while the rest of the 37 barangays are rural barangays. Based on the PSA Census of 2015, Sariaya has a total population of 148,980 or 34,592 households. Barangay Sampaloc Santo Cristo has the highest population with a total of 8,054; while Barangay Sampaloc Bogon has the least population with a total of 907.
The urban area or the “Poblacion” consisting of six (6) barangays, had a total population of 10,138 or 6.80% of the municipal population, while the rural area with 37 barangays had 138,842 persons, or 93.20% of the total population. Among the barangays in the urban area, Poblacion 4 has the highest population with a total of 3,386 persons. On the other hand, the thickly populated barangays in the rural areas were Sampaloc Santo Cristo, Manggalang 1, Concepcion Palasan, Castañas, Sampaloc 2 and Mamala II.
The municipality has seven (7) coastal barangays which covers a total area of 5,243.78 hectares. These include barangays Bignay I, Bignay II, Castañas, Guisguis-San Roque, TalaanAplaya, Guisguis-Talon and MangalangKiling. Table 1 presents the population size per barangay in the municipality.
Income Classification: 1st Class
Congressional District: 2nd District
Major Income Sources: Agriculture
No. of Barangays: 43
Land Area: 24,530 has.
Population (NSO, May 1, 2015): 148,980
Major Income Sources: Agriculture
Tourist Destinations: Majestic Mt. Banahaw, Grand Ancestral Houses, Museums, Heirlooms and Antiques, 15 Lovely Rustic Beach Resorts
The genesis of Sariaya’s name was shrouded in legends, folklores, and hearsays. The first version traced the name from an old river “Sadyaya”. The slight change from “Sadyaya” to “Sariaya” many years after the Spaniards had arrived was a natural and logical shift in the Batangas people’s view. The second version, from folktales and hearsays, indicated that “Sariaya” came from a native woman’s name Saria. In such folktale, a Spanish soldier who had lost his way met and asked Saria for the name of the pueblo. The woman misunderstood and gave her name instead – thinking that it was her name that was being asked. The third version was about the frequently attacked by Moro pirates. In one of those raids, pirates ransacked the public office and chapel looking for gold, silver, money or anything valuable. However, instead of finding treasures, the pirates had found written records of local laws which they also found remarkably fair and just. The Moro pirates exclaimed that though this town was very poor, it had fair and just laws. Thus, to our community was given the name “Shariah”, a Moslem word for “good law”.
Sariaya is a coastal municipality lying at the southwestern portion of Quezon Province in Region IV-A (CALABARZON). It is geographically situated at coordinates 13 degrees, 57 minutes and 14 seconds north latitude and 121 degrees, 30 minutes and 15.53 seconds east longtitude. It is bounded on the north by Mt. Banahaw; on the northeast by Tayabas, Quezon; on the east by Lucena City; on the south by the Tayabas Bay; on the southwest by San Juan, Batangas; and on the west by the Municipality of Candelaria. It is located 126 kilometers south of the National Capital Region (Metro Manila) and approximately 11 kilometers away from Lucena City (Provincial Capital).
A SHORT HISTORY OF SARIAYA DURING ITS FIRST 161 YEARS OF EXISTENCE:
The written history of Sariaya started with the arrival of the Augustinian missionary priests in a seaside Malay settlement in what is now Barangay Castanyas along the shores of Tayabas Bay. They came upon a thriving community of some 7,673 pagan inhabitants (Historia Geografica, Geologica y Estadistica De Filipinas. by D. Agustin de la Cavada, Mendez de Vigo Manila – 1876), whom they converted to Christianity. However, they had to leave the place in 1583 because its jurisdiction has accordingly been transferred to the Franciscans. It took the Franciscans 17 years before they were able to reach the settlement on April 17, 1599, bringing a priest with them … Fr. Miguel de Linares. They built the first church of light materials, which was replaced in the year 1605.
At that time, Moro pirates raided the settlements built by the Spaniards along the Tayabas Bay coastline including the Castanas settlement, which they periodically burned, taking the natives as slaves. Those Moro raids took a toll on the local population which decreased in number such that in 1605, its jurisdiction was temporarily transferred to the nearby town of Tayabas.
In 1631, it regained its independent status, separated from Tayabas, left the coastal area to avoid the destructive burning pillage of the Moro pirates. and transferred its location northwards under the leadership of a certain Francisco de Yebenes. In 1703, it transferred location once again , settling in the what is now Barangay Tumbaga 1 and built a church made of stone. By then, they had their very first elected official, Francisco Argente who served as town mayor until 1704, replaced by Carlos Bautista in 1705, Juan Talavera in 1706, and so on.
In 1730, Mount Banahaw had its second eruption, which weakened the southwestern ridge of a legendary lake on its crater, accordingly created during its very first recorded eruption in 1539. As such, the townsite at Barangay Tumbaga suffered periodic flooding.
In the year 1743, a very strong earthquake occurred which caused the church belfry to fall, and the calamity accordingly affected all the towns around Mount Banahaw in both Laguna and Tayabas provinces. However, the said earthquake caused the collapse of the already weakened southwest ridge of the crater lake in Mount Banahaw. An avalanche of water, mud and rocks rolled downwards which destroyed the third townsite at Tumbaga. The survivors had no choice but to abandon the settlement and trekked northwards to look for a more suitable and safer site to establish their town.
The chosen site is bounded by deep gullies with water, the Balubal River to the east, as well as the Mamala River near the church and convent, as well as another one to the west, the Keanuang River, the area in between them becoming known as Muntingbayan or small town. The ruined Tumbaga settlement was then known as “Lumangbayan” or Old town.
The present Sariaya town site is ideal because it afforded an unhampered view of the Tayabas Bay coastline to the south from where all the occurrences on the shoreline can be observed, since there was no proliferation of coconut tree plantations yet. Such protective precaution hearkened back to those days when the erstwhile costal townsite was being pillaged by Moro pirates. The deep river gullies not only provided fresh water supply but protection from invaders as well, during those days when bridges have yet to be built. The present church was built of a more sturdy set of materials like stones, masonry, albumin or egg white, bricks and adobe blocks which proved stronger than the stone church of Tumbaga. The church and its four story belfry also served as a watch tower or look out from the coastal to the mountainous areas, including the surrounding countryside, and a citadel or last stand for the residents should invaders succeed in hurdling all the obstacles, and were successful in reaching the town site.