In ancient times San Pablo was known as the
upland village of Sampalok. It was a large and
prospering hamlet in the town of Bay Laguna
which was surrounded by mountain ranges and
quiescent volcanic peaks and where caesal
piniaceus tamarind or sampaloc trees grew in
This Village at the edge of the lake was originally
inhabited by Aetas, Dumagats and Muslims who
migrated from Mindanao
The earliest historical record of the City of San Pablo dates back to pre-Spanish times when four big barrios bounded by Mt. Makiling composed Sampalok. In 1521, the first Spanish troops under Captain Juan de Salcedo arrived in the upland village of Sampaloc, which became a parish in 1586, and then a municipality in 1647, and was renamed San Pablo de Los Montes, in honor of St. Paul, the First Hermit. In 1899, a municipal government was established, with Inocente Martinez as Municipal President Marcos Paulino was elected Municipal President in 1902 when the civil government was set up. From 1926 to 1940, the people of San Pablo worked for its independence from the province of Laguna. On May 7, 1940, the Charter Bill sponsored by Congressman Tomas Dizon was approved. The bill became known as the City Charter of San Pablo or Commonwealth Act No. 520. The city was inaugurated on March 30, 1941, with Dr. Potenciano Malvar as the appointed City Mayor.
Also known as the City of Seven Lakes the most prominent being Sampaloc Lake which is located behind the City Hall. The lake has for many generations provided food and livelihood, leisure and respite for the citizens of the city. A bustling city of trade and commerce, it is also a center of education and learning with schools, colleges and training institutions.