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San Pablo City may be well known in the Philippines as a geographically blessed area for having seven lakes all within the boundaries of the city. But San Pablo is more than just a geographical curio. It boasts a rich history that is as old as the country itself. Before the arrival of the Spanish colonizers, San Pablo was just a small barrio known as Sampalok. It was a part of the municipality of Ba-i. In 1586, the Augustinian missionary Fray Mateo Mendoza arrived in Sampaloc Lake and began his work of converting the locals to Christianity. By this time, the Spaniards have decided to change the name of Sampalok to San Pablo de Los Montes. Over time, the place became known simply as San Pablo. In 1647, San Pablo became a town with the appointment of its first Capitan Municipal. Because of its rich resources in terms of the fat soil and the plentiful water that ensured the healthy harvest of crops annually, San Pablo prospered. This growth continued even with the arrival of the Americans as two large US companies, Franklin Baker and Diehl-Anderson, chose San Pablo as the site of their factories for producing dessicated coconut. This eventually led to San Pablo becoming the trade and commercial center of Sothern Luzon. It became one of the richest municipalities in Southern Tagalog. At its height, San Pablo became famous for its grandiose celebrations. According to recountings from San Pablo’s elders, the town fiesta was punctuated with 15 brass bands that represent the town’s 15 streets. San Pablo’s history is also rooted in the country’s struggle for independence. Freedom fighters from both the American occupation and during the World War II used San Pablo as a base for their operations. During World War II, San Pablo was the bloody stage in a fierce battle between entrenched Japanese soldiers and returning American forces. But the resilience of San Pablo’s citizens allowed the town to bounce back and regain its former glory. Between 1926 and 1940, San Pablo’s people worked for its independence from the province of Laguna. On May 7, 1940, through a bill sponsored by Cong. Tomas Dizon – the City Charter of San Pablo otherwise known as Commonwealth Act 520, the people’s wish came true. San Pablo officially became a city on March 30, 1941, with Dr. Potenciano Malvar being appointed as its first city mayor. San Pablo today is a rising tourist destination in the Southern Tagalog region. It is home to many hot springs as well many places where one can see the unspoiled beauty of nature. The best things about San Pablo is its close proximity to Manila. It is just a short two hour ride away (about 87 kilometers), which makes it an ideal place for weekend getaways, short vacations and various corporate activities. One very popular place to stay in San Pablo City is Casa San Pablo, a quaint country inn located within the confines of the city. Casa San Pablo is a showcase of its close ties with the city's culture and arts. It is widely considered as one of the best places to stay in when visiting the city.