Tanay is one of the thirteen (13) towns and one (1) component city that comprise the Province of Rizal. It is located in the eastern part of the province. It is becoming an extension of Manila’s urbanization along with the city of Antipolo, towns of Cainta, Angono, Taytay and Binangonan. It is about 54 kilometers away southeast of Manila and has a land area of 33,466 hectares.
Declared as a first class municipality since 1996, it has a total population of 94,460 inhabitants based on the August 2007 National Statistics Office census of population. Tanay has nineteen (19) barangays, nine (9) in the town proper and ten (10) in the upland area (at present, a 20th barangay is being considered for creation by the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Rizal. This proposed barangay, to be named “Madilaydilay,” is located at the town’s boundary with Sta. Maria, Laguna.
The town’s major sources of income are fishing, agriculture and local commerce. In order to be able to manage the increasing demand for public service due to the growing population of the municipality, a new municipal building has been proposed to be constructed by the municipal government. It was already even preceded by the erection of equally important structures such as the new Bureau of Jail Management and Penology Building, Technical Education and Skills Development Authority Bldg., a Technology and Livelihood Development Center, Youth Holding Center, and as well as the construction of the north wing of the proposed new municipal hall. All of these are within the Tanay Municipal Government Complex, an expanded area of the present municipal compound totaling more than two (2) hectares.
Tanay hosts vital national government facilities like the Camp General Mateo Capinpin Military Reservation, the PAG-ASA Weather Station, Bureau of Soil and Water Management (BSWM), National Training School for Boys (NTSB), Golden Acres (care facility for the elderly), University of Rizal System (URS), main campus.
Significant road developments are also quite remarkable, in the sense that virtually all roads in the town proper are fully concreted. In the same manner, in the upland area, though not all concreted, farm to market roads and community access roads have been provided and properly maintained to grant mobility in the area. A considerable stretch at twenty seven (27) kilometers of the Marikina-Infanta Road traverses thru upland Tanay. This is a vital national road which links the Metro Manila area directly with the sea port town of Infanta Quezon.
The town’s tourism potential was even more highlighted by the development of the Marikina-Infanta Road as numerous tourist attractions and facilities are located along this road. The town is proud to have the Sierra Madre Hotel and Pranjetto Hills and Conference Center at So. Mayagay, Brgy. Sampaloc. These facilities are fast becoming popular as venues for retreats, seminars, conferences and conventions. The place’s cool weather, clean air and majestic view of the Laguna Lake and the Sierra Mountain Range attract visitors to these areas. The J.E. Camp, owned by the former President Joseph Estrada, is located also at Brgy Sampaloc. The facility is a combination of a resort, camp site, function house and as well as a library and museum. It also has a mini-theater. It is directly behind Camp General Mateo Capinpin, the home of the 2nd Infantry Division of the Philippine Army. There is also Garden Cottages, located at Brgy. Cuyambay along the Marikina-Infanta Road, bordering on the west the town of Baras. It is a low-cost eco-residential subdivision, to be composed of 5,000 units originally intended for employees of selected national government agencies.
Recently, another landmark in the community was constructed, specifically the Regina Rosarii Institute for Contemplation in Asia (Regina RICA). It is a religious institution run by Dominican Sisters, located at Sitio Aguho, Brgy. Sampaloc. Its main attraction is a giant statue of the Virgin Mary located atop a hill.
In addition, the construction of Tanay Town Centre, situated in the town proper gave rise to the prospect of furthering economic activities and as well as generation of employment opportunities to the community and other neighboring towns. At present, the commercial centre houses locally owned commercial establishments and other notable business entities such as Banco de Oro (BDO), Save More Supermarket, Mang Inasal and Rusty Lopez. It is also interesting to mention the existence of equally popular fast-food restaurants such as Jollibee and Chowking, right before the entrance to the New Tanay Public Market.
Trade and Commerce Sectorison the optimistic trend. Based on records of the Business Permits and Licensing Section, among the biggest earners in terms of gross income are Bostik Phils., Inc., Cobb-Vantress Phils., Inc, Savemore Supermarket, Mercury Drug Corp., Tanay Industries Corp., Avon Cosmetics, Inc., Simian Conservation Breeding and Research Ctr., Inc. (SICONBREC) and Scientific Primates, Inc.
The continuing increase in the number of commercial establishments being put up at the municipality on an annual basis is a firm indication of Tanay’s capacity to provide positive business climate in the locality.
Tanay was settled by early Austronesian people. Shortly after the conquest and subjugation of Manila by the Spaniards and the surrounding lake areas by Juan de Salcedo in 1570-1574, Franciscan missionaries arrived to Christianize the inhabitants of what is now the Morong-Pililla area. In 1583, both Morong and Pililla were created as separate towns with Tanay forming part of Pililla.
Tanay was founded as a separate pueblo (town) in 1606 under the name "Monte de Tan-ay". In 1620, administration was moved to San Antonio (now called Inalsan or Pantay) and Tandang Kutyo. In 1638, the town was burned during an uprising of Chinese living in the area, and the town was rebuilt in 1640 at the present day location.
In 1747, the town of Tanay consisted of only eight barangays, namely Nuestra Senora del Rosario, Sa Josep, San Ildefonso de Tanay, San Francisco de Maytubig, San Pedro de Alcantara, San Lucas y San Antonio, San Apostol and San Agustin de Balugbog.
In 1853, a new political subdivision was formed. The town of Tanay together with Morong, Baras, Pililla, Angono, Binangonan and Jalajala form the Province of La Laguna, with the capital at Morong. This district was later changed to Distrito Politico-Militar de Morong after four years.
Tanay became a Municipality in 1894 as an effect of the Spanish Maura Law. The first election of Public Office took place in 1895–1898 and 1898–1900 under the Revolutionary Government of the Philippines.
Tanay members of the Katipunan fought valiantly during the Revolution against Spain. The town was the headquarters of the second military area of the Philippine Revolutionary Government under General Emilio Aguinaldo. And for a brief period between 1899 and 1900, Tanay served as the capital of the then Morong Province after Philippine–American War broke out and the American forces invaded the lake towns and captured Antipolo.
In 1900-1901, Tanay as was under the Government appointed by the American Military under Taft Commission. From 1903–1934 the town leadership was under the American rule then in 1934 Tanay was under the Commonwealth of the Philippines as the Tydings–McDuffie Act was approved on March 24, 1934 until the Philippines fell to the hands of the Japanese during the Second World War in 1942.
In 1942–1945 the Mountains of Tanay served as the Guerrilla base for 'Marking's Fil-American Guerrillas, beginning the Liberation of Tanay in March 1945 a very decorated by the Filipino soldiers of the 4th and 42nd Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army, 4th Constabulary Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary and the recognized guerrillas against the Japanese occupation forces during World War II. General Agustin Marking is buried in a private cemetery by the road overlooking his son's farm in Sampaloc.
On June 19, 1959, The REPUBLIC ACT NO. 2336 - an act establishing a SUMMER RESORT in Sampaloc, Municipality of Tanay, Province of Rizal is approved whereas there is hereby established a summer resort in Sampaloc. The Commission on Parks and Wildlife shall issue such rules and regulations for the establishment of such resort is taken place.
In October 2003, deposed Philippine president Joseph Estrada was transferred to a rest home in Sampaloc, a mountain barangay. He remained under house arrest until he was given executive clemency by President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo.
During the Typhoon Ketsana (Ondoy) on September 26, 2009, Tanay was one of the hardest hit towns due to the rising of Laguna Lake and the flooding of Tanay River.