When Don Francisco Carriedo y Peredo, who made his fortune in the galleon trade died in 1743, he willed 10,000 pesos to be invested in the galleon trade till it is enough to build a water system for Manila. The will specified that the money was to be used solely for the building f Manila’s water system. The fund was kept in a an iron chest labelled Fondo de Carriedo with keys to be held by the mayor, one by the senior deputy of the chamber of commerce, and the third by the senior aldermen of the city. Carriedo’s will stipulated further that his water system should give free water to the poor, the Poor Clares, and the Franciscan nuns in perpetuity, All the other would avail of water from the Carriedo waterwoks had to pay for the construction of their water connection.
the Carriedo fund was already worth 250,000 pesos when Manila fell to the British in 1762. The British appropriated the whole amount to
make up the amount they demanded as ransom. In addition, the Galleon Santissima Trinidad carrying investment for the Carriedo Fund was also taken over by the British at San Bernardino Straits. But the Galleon Filipino returning from Acapulco evaded capture by British warships by hiding at Palapag Harbor and landing there it treasure worth 1 million in coins and bullions, with 10,000 for the Carriedo Fund. A small escort then brought the treasyre up the east coast of Luzon, then inland to Simon de Anda’s headquarters in Pampanga. It was from this sum of 10,000 pesos that the Carriedo Fund started anew.
The Galleon trade ended in 1812, and the Carriedo Fund seemingly was all but forgotten. But Fr. Felix Huertas sifting through 300 documents in the archives rediscovered the docunebt of Carriedo’s will in 1865. He was determined that the will be carried to successful conclusion. At that time the Carriedo fund was worth 177,834.44. The amount was insufficient. To provide more funds, a royal order was issued ordering the city of Manila to donate 100,000 pesos from the municipal funds, but the various districts refused with the stupid reason that they do not want to diminish the glory dur to Carriedo. Finally, a tax levied on meat consumed in the city raised the additional money needed. The Carriedo Water system was finally completed in 1882 at a cost of 745,590 pesos.
The Carriedo water system pumped water from the Mariquina River in Santolan to El Deposito, the water reservoir lined and covered with brick in San Juan del Monte. From El Deposito, the water flow by gravity through iron pipes into 153 hydrants of Manila’s water mains. This was the water system the American found when they annexed the Philippines. The pumps had a capacity of two million gallons a day and the reservoir held 14 million gallons.
Don Francisco Carriedo’s benevolence is commemorated with a street and fountain bearing his name. The Carriedo fountain originally stood at the Nagtahan rotonda till it was removed to the Balara compound for the construction of the South Superhighway. Today, through the efforts of Mayor Fred Lim, the Carriedo Fountain stands in Plaza Sta. Cruz where it is a beautiful addition.
Can the reader recall a gift as grand in concept and as altruistic in purpose as Don Francisco Carriedo’s will for a water system for Manila?
Blogger notes & footnotes:
– This undated article was written by the historian Pio Andrade Jr.
– The Carriedo fountain was erected in 1882. Governor General Primo de Rivera inaugarated the fountain in 1882 to honor Francisco Carriedo’s contribution. The Spaniard made his fortune in the galleon. He was the captain of the galleon “Santa Familia”. The fountain was first erected in Sampaloc as an attraction in its rotunda. In 1976 it was moved to MWSS’ Balara compound. It is now in Sta. Cruz’s plaza, hopefully, its last stop. A fitting place as it is in this same locality that Padre Huerta’s Monte de Piedad started.
Related article: Fr. Felix Huerta: Great Benefactor