In May 20, 1572, Juan de Salcedo was the first Spanish conquistadores who reached Polillo island. Accompanied by 80 Spanish soldiers, he headed north to pacify the Ilocos region. He sailed up as far as Bolinao, explored Pangasinan and Ilocos, rounded Cape Bojeador, sailed up and down the Cagayan River and then coasted along the eastern shore of Luzon, all the while rounding up more subjects for the king of Spain. He put into Polillo Island, crossed over to Tayabas, then returned overland to Manila.

In 1609, Polillo was under the encomienda of Don Francisco Morante de Nueva. It was first established as a “visita” of Binangonan de Lampon (Infanta) where priest visited to celebrate mass and evangelize the natives. The village of Polillo was separated from the mother town (Binangonan de Lampon) and founded as a town by the Franciscan Missionaries in 1635 where Fray Jose S. de Bernardino assigned as the first head. In 1658, it was ceded to Augustinian Recollects who also left in 1703 returning the administration to the Franciscan missionaries.

Historically, the town of Polillo was the “cabicera” of the group of islands and used to be the center or seat of power of the Spanish authorities during their era. Burdeos, Panukulan and the islands of Patnanungan and Jomalig were formerly barrios of Polillo. The Spanish founded the church and the pueblo during the early 17th century and then constructed the concrete Catholic Church later. According to early accounts, due to frequent moro attacks on the islands and nearby areas, the Spanish authorities headed by the friar constructed concrete wall which served as fortification around the pueblo (town). The wall had four (4) “castillos” or watch towers guarded all day and night for their protection. At the close of the 19th century, rich socio-cultural lives in the islands flourished with the convergence of the natives and Spanish cultures.

With the succeeding regimes of foreign dominations in the country, the municipality has been under military occupations, first under the American Forces in 1901 and during the Japanese Imperial Forces in 1942. Some of the local heroes emerged that led to the liberation of Polillo in 1945. From the Post War era, Polillo started to develop its town by harnessing its resources and empowering its people geared towards better future.



Chinese merchants who traded with the natives of the islands, long before the advent of the Spaniards in the Philippines, called the place “PU LI LU” which in their own language means “beautiful island with plenty of food”. An account narrates that as early as 1571 the place was already under the control of the Spaniard friars who built the first Catholic church in the island sometime in 1587. This is then the date the Polillians reckoned the founding of the town of Polillo. The town had been called PU LI LU until the early part of the 17th century when a certain Padre Domingo changed it to “Polillo” due to the difficulty of Spanish tongue in pronouncing the Chinese word. In 1635 the area formed its own parish under the administration of one Padre Jose de San Bernardo. Polillo, as the entire group of islands was called, also referred to the pueblo (town), built with surrounding walls, about 15 meters in height and 2 meters in width, made of corals and limestone, located more or less 18 nautical miles east of the port of Real, Quezon. To protect the inhabitants from Moro pirates coming from the south, the construction of the wall of the community started sometime in 1869 through forced labor, the exact location of the walled pueblo is now a part of Brgy. Poblacion of the municipality of Polillo, Quezon. Although concrete buildings already occupy the area, resembling those modern houses in the urban areas of the mainland of Luzon, relics of the wall are still standing today as reminders of the upbringing of Polillo as a town, and Polillians as a people of rich cultural values and traditions.



Padre Morga wrote that Polillo originated from the Chinese word “Pulilu”, which means beautiful island with plenty of food. When Juan de Salcedo, a Spanish conqueror came to Polillo in 1567, he saw a central government fully organized through the Balangay, with a datu who had a direct supervision and control over all the natives. The inhabitants lived in nipa huts. Spanish conquistadores were assigned to the “pueblo” of Pu Li Lu to promote church construction. The church tower was constructed with priority, so that in 1587, in the early summer of May, two huge bronze bells rang atop. Due to language problems, Padre Domingo changed Pu Li Lu to Polillo.



In 1571 the Spaniards took hold of the islands of Pu Li Lu. Through the leadership of Padre Domingo, a Spanish friar, a chapel was built, where the old Spanish church was later constructed. After one and a half years, the people, through forced labor built a concrete wall to protect the “pueblo” of Pu Li Lu from moro pirate invaders. Watchtowers called “castillos” were erected in the four corners of the pueblo. The church was constructed using Boulders, gravel and sand mixed with lime produced out of seashells and coral stones. Padre Domingo instigated the planting of sugar cane in San Isidro, San Antonio and San Francisco. Production of molasses was put into full swing.



From the cross-breed of pure Tagalog Filipino-Spanish and Filipino-Chinese kinfolk, the genuine Polillians are typically friendly, hospitable and fun-loving people and are known to be sentimental and passionate on family ties. The influence of the Spanish regime is still very apparent in their culture and religious practices.



A Polillian has a distinct intonation, but everybody can speak Tagalog. Next prominent languages are English, Bicol and Visayan. It has become a migration from people in the nearby regions. Bicolanos by boat from Camarines province and other ethnic groups.



  • Angelique E. Bosque (2022 – 2025)
  • Engr. Cristina E. Bosque (2013 – 2022)
  • George “Jojie” P. Verzosa (2010 – 2013)
  • Engr. Isarme A. Bosque (2001 – 2010)
  • Doris G. Almeda (1998 – 2001)
  • Ofelia G. Reyes (1995 – 1998)
  • Rosenda Escara (1992 – 1995)
  • Necerina Tena-Azagra (1987 – 1992)
  • Rosenda Escara (1986 – 1987)
  • Juan Ovalles (1980 – 1986)
  • Ponciano “Abe” Tan (1978 – 1980)
  • Isidro “Dodo” Azarias, Jr. (1971 – 1978)
  • Crisotomo Verzo (1970 – 1971)
  • Paulino Conchada (1970)
  • Mamerto Azarias (1968 – 1970)
  • Santiago Azaula (1964 – 1967)
  • Mamerto Azarias (1960 – 1963)
  • Buenaventura “Tura” Mopera (1957 – 1960)
  • Mamerto Azarias (1946 – 1955)
  • Paulino Conchada (1940 – 1946)
  • Pedro Rutaquio (1934 – 1940)
  • Lorenzo Elma (1928 – 1934)
  • Jovencia Pumarada (1925 – 1928)
  • Deogracias Calleja (1922 – 1925)
  • Legorio Gomez (1919 – 1922)
  • Juan Tena (1916 – 1919)
  • Gaudencia Hernandez (1913 – 1916)
  • Julian Rutaquio (1910 – 1913)
  • Ramon Mopera (1907 – 1910)
  • Gaudencia Hernandez (1904- 1907)
  • Basilio Tena (1902 – 1904)
  • Ciriaco Elma (1901 – 1902)
  • Mena Herrera (1900 – 1901)