Miyerkules, Nobyembre 26, 2014



The Gregorio Nieva Public Fountain

It always makes one wonder about the significance of the “Fontana de Boac,” which is now installed in front of the Marinduque Museum. It used to be located in the center of the Boac Plaza (Liwasan ng Kalayaan), between the current Boac Covered Court and the former location of the basketball court. I though before that it was installed to mark the Kilometer Zero of the Island until I found an important paper written by Hamilton V. Miles, C.E., a Member of the American Society of Civil Engineers. His paper was actually aimed at presenting the details of construction, costs  and other information on the construction of two small water-supply system installed by the Insular Government in Boac, Marinduque and Sariaya, Tayabas (Miles: 1914).

The initial information of Miles introduced Boac, as the capital of the subprovince of Marinduque which has a population, including its barrios, of 15,823, and had an assessed valuation in 1913 of P963,280. The population of the poblacion, or town proper, is 4,000. He noted that like great many other towns on small islands, water is scarce, and it has been impossible to secure a well with sufficient flow to obviate the necessity of pumping. Thus, the Boac Waterworks System in the poblacion was authorized by the Insular Government in 1913 (Act No. 2059).


Miles gave information that the founder of the Boac Waterworks system during that era was the Honorable Gregorio Nieva, then member of the Second Assembly for the Province of Tayabas, and later on, private secretary to Speaker Osmena (1913). Nieva obtained an Insular allotment of P5,000 by Act 2059, the subprovince furnished P2,500 more from its general fund, making available a total of P7,500.

Boac Waterworks Plan
He further narrated that: “The work was authorized on February 17, 1913. No bids were received, hence the work was undertaken by administration. The system consists essentially of two wells on the plaza, a pumping plant, a storage tank, and the distributing pipes and hydrants. The wells are located at one end of the plaza, about 60 meters apart. They were driven with jet rigs, 3-inch drive pipe being used. Within each well is placed 25 feet of 2-inch suction pipe. The two pipes lead to a common tee from which a 3-inch pipe leads to the suction end of the pump.”

He also described that the “Concrete covers were securely placed over the well, so that no access by unauthorized parties may be had to the supply. The pumping plant consists of one Worthington duplex steam pump and vertical boiler, size of pump 5 by 31 by 5 inches, with:-inch steam pipe and 11-inch exhaust pipe. This unit, with normal piston speed of pump, is capable of delivering 40 gallons of water per minute against an effective head of 85 feet.

Fountain Plan, 1913
“The pumping plant is located at the opposite end of the plaza about 100 meters from the wells. A 3-inch pipe line leads from the pump to the tank, which is placed on a hill 85 feet higher in elevation than the pumping plant, and distant 300 meters. A 2-inch distributing line leads from the 3-inch line to the main part of the town. There are 5 hydrants, located at every other street intersection in the main or lower town. Another 2-inch line leads from the tank to the main road, on a level even with the bottom of the tank, a distance of 500 meters from the reservoir. This line supplies the high part of the town. There are 2 hydrants on this line-one placed at the midway point and the other at the terminus of the line. The tank is of reinforced concrete and is capable of holding 20,000. The concrete, 1:2:3, was waterproofed by mixing 10 per cent of lime with the cement. This appears to have been successful, as no leakage has developed so far. Besides the public hydrants, about 30 houses have been connected up with the system, with a possibility of more desiring this advantage.”

The waterworks system has continuously served the people of until now with its remaining free-flowing well in Barangay Malusak near the MUnicipal Trial Court Building.


According to Miles, when the waterworks system was completed a balance of P1,496.30 remained on hand out of the original P17,500, so it was decided to place a fountain in the lower plaza, adding that “The pedestal was constructed of concrete by administration, while the life-sized statue of a Filipino child holding a fish, was cast in concrete by B. Nepomuceno, a Filipino sculptor located on Calle San Sebastian, Manila. It presents a very pleasing appearance.”

Since the public fountain was finally finished in 1914, is it possible that it was opened to the public, blessed and dedicated during the celebration of the town fiesta that time, or 100 years ago?

In the bygone years, the public fountain becomes a symbol of aesthetics in the plaza and a landmark for group pictures during important events until it was moved to its current location in the 1970’s or 1980’s.

The 'Fontana' is an important cultural property of the municipality of Boac. It needs repair and repainting, and maybe to be returned or re-installed in its rightful and prominent place in the plaza.

The 'Fontana' used to be a landmark for picture-taking among visitors, dignitaries and officials during special ocassions and events; and for ordinary families and individuals for posterity.


Insular allotment Act 2059 ....... 5,000.00
Subprovince (general fund) ....  2,500.00
Insular aid .........................        69.59

Total appropriation ..........       P7,569.59

Miscellaneous .....................     301.18
Labor ...................................    1,691.07
Bureau of Supply  and local ..   2,776.58
Pumping unit (1 Worthington)      735.09
Surcharges (Insular and prov) ...  649.78
Insular aid .............................     69.59

Bureau of Supply (conc. statue).  330.00
Surcharges (Insular and prov)..      30.29

Total ...................................       P6,583.58
Balance...............................      P   986.01


The following biography of Don G. M. Nieva was written by George F. Nellist in 1931:

Born November 27, 1880, - in Boac, Marinduque, P. I., son of Don Calixto M. de Nieva and Dnfia. Epifania (Morente) Nieva; married Maria Arevalo y Lichauco, November 23, 1912, in Manila; children, Lourdes and Antonio Nieva; member, Philippine Chamber of Commerce, K. of C. President, Samahang Marinduke, etc.

A distinguished journalist, and for many years prominent in public affairs, Mr. Nieva, now devoted to his private business interests, has had a colorful career. After attending school in Boac and Manila he studied English in Hongkong, 1900-01, and took up law upon his return to Manila.

He was appointed deputy provincial treasurer of Marinduque, October, 1901; inter-preter, Bureau of Health, November 7, 1901; clerk, Executive Bureau, November 1, 1902 to September 30, 1907; assistant clerk, Court of Land Registration, October 1-15, 1907; assistant secretary, first Philippine Assembly, Octo-ber 16, to November 4, when he was appointed secretary.

While he was chief of the Provincial Administration Division of the Executive Bureau, under Frank W. Carpenter, then Assistant Executive Secretary of the Insular Government, the Philippinization of the provincial treasury service and provincial and municipal budgets was instituted. He was transferred to the Court of Land Registration to Philippinize that office but fifteen days later was sent to the first Philippine Assembly to organize its offices. His knowledge of office organization, and the English and Spanish languages, as well as stenography in both - a rare accomplishment at that time - led to his selection, upon recommendation of Executive Secretary Carpenter, as secretary of the 1906 Assembly of Provincial Governors, which pioneered the present Nationalist government in the Philippines after defeating the old Federal Party.

This work also brought about his election as secretary of the first Philippine Assembly, launching him on a political career. He was a member of the second Philippine Assembly, 1909-12, and in the latter year became private secretary to Speaker Osmenfa, holding that position until 1916. Elected to the House of Representatives for the 1916-19 term, he was a member of the 1919 Philippine Independence Mission to the United States. Aside from his years of political activity, Mr. Nieva was proprietor and editor of the Philippine Review from 1916 until 1922. This journal had a world wide circulation and its editorials and articles were reprinted in many countries.

He was a speaker's table guest and registered member of the American Newspaper Publishers' Association at its thirty-third annual dinner, held at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City, April 24, 1919, when volumes of The Philippine Review were exhibited to show the progress of printing and journalism in the Philippines. In 1921 Mr. Nieva was a member and vice-president for the Philippines of the World Press Congress, held at Honolulu, October 4-14, and where he read a paper, "The Press in the Achievement of Human Purpose in the Orient." Re-elected for the same congress, held at Geneva, Switzerland, September 15-18, 1926, he submitted a paper on "News Communications in the Philippines." He has been a contributor to the New York Times, Editor and Publisher, The Outlook, Saturday Evening Post and other publications, and is author of "La Vida en Nuestros Pueblos" and "Realismo y Estadismo." He was a founder of the Manila Rotary Club. And became president and manager of the Buntal Manufacturing Co. and has extensive agricultural interests.


Annual Report, War Department: Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1915.Report of the Philippine Commission to the Secretary of War. July 1, 1913 to December 31, 1914. Washington: Government Printing Office, 1915. p. 187 

Bureau of Public Works, Quarterly Bulletin
Vol. 2 No. 1, (?), p. 28

Bureau of Public Works, Quarterly Bulletin
Vol. 3 No. 2, July 1, 1914, pp. 20-23

George F. Nellist, "Men of the Philippines: A Biographical Record of Men of Substantial Achievement in the Philippine Islands," Volume I, Manila: The Sugar News Co.,1931. pp. 223-224

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