Moca, Puerto Rico

The municipality of Moca was founded in 1772. It is known as the «Capital of Mundillo Lace» and the «Townof the Vampires.» The patron saint is Nuestra Señora de la Monserrate. Its territory covers 51 square miles (82 km) and the population is 39,697 (2000 census).

The municipality is divided into the sectors of Aceitunas, Capá, Centro, Cerro Gordo, Cruz, Cuchillas, Marías, Naranjo, Plata, Pueblo Zona Rural, Pueblo Zona Urbana, Rocha and Voladoras.

Agricultural products from Moca include plantains, bananas, pigeon peas, yautia, yams, pumpkin, beans, coffee and oranges. There are also factories producing donuts, peanuts, traditional candies, meat pies, pork rinds, traditional cakes called «brazo gitano,» and office equipment.

The municipality is known for making mundillo, a type of lace made with bobbins.


Moca is bordered on the east by the municipality of San Sebastián, on the west by Aguada, on the north by Isabela and Aguadilla and on the south by Añasco. Geographically, it is part of the sub-region called the western coastal valleys. This zone is characterized by very fertile alluvial soils, with abundant rain from May to November and a dry season that prevails from December to March.

In general, the municipality is flat and without notable elevations. The northern part of Moca is within the karst zone, where the Jaicoa range is located. Located in this range are the peaks of El Ojo at 296 meters (971.1 feet), Moca peak at 290 meters (951.4 feet) and the Mariquilla peak at 286 meters (938.3 feet) above sea level. To the south is another group of hills called the San Francisco chain, which separates this municipality from Añasco. The highest point in this chain is the Pichón peak.

The municipality’s hydrological system consists of the Culebrinas River, which crosses the center of its territory from east to west, irrigating the fertile plains of Moca. Tributaries of this river are: Las Gatas, Lassalle, Las Damas, Viejo, Los Romanes, Los Morones, Higuillo, Chiquita, Yagruma, Echeverría, Aguas Frías, Las Marías, Los Méndez, La Caraíma, Grande and Dulce streams. Moca has numerous caves, which are located in the sectors of Centro, Aceitunas, Cuchillas and Rocha and the in region of the Jaicoa range.

It is also important to mention additional details about the moca tree, which is of great importance to the municipality. This tree is part of the botanical family of legumes. It flowers during the months of April to August. The tree normally reaches a height of 20 to 50 feet. If cut, it emits a yellowish resin called «andirina» that has medicinal properties, such as a laxative. The wood of the moca tree is hard, heavy and strong. Its strength makes it an ideal material for carpentry or cabinetry

The name of the municipality comes from the Taíno word for the moca tree, which is common in the region.

The town was founded in 1772. That year, José de Quiñones appeared before Governor Miguel de Muesas, with the support of 71 families, to request permission to found a town and a church. In 1775, the parish was inaugurated in the center of town with the erection of a modest wood house with a thatched roof that was baptized in the name of the patron saint and the co-patron saint Juan Nepomuceno. The church became the meeting site for the rural residents of the region. In 1841, several residents donated land and made monetary contributions to build a new structure for the church in front of the hill where the town was established. Work was completed in 1851.

In 1797, during the English attack, the parish priest of the municipality, along with 200 other Moca residents, joined the defense of Aguadilla. Moca was under the jurisdiction of Aguadilla in judicial and military matters until 1878. In 1898, the municipality was divided into the sectors of Cuchillas, Rocha, Aceitunas, Centro, Capá, Voladoras, Plata, Cruz, Marías, Naranjo, and Cerro Gordo.

Since its beginnings, private and public educational facilities have been developed in Moca. Although the development of schools has been notable since the 19th century, the development of municipal public works was slow. It was not until 1928 that an electrical system was inaugurated in the area.

On February 19, 1972, the moca tree was officially adopted as the representative tree of the town. A considerable number of Moca residents have distinguished themselves in letters, education and politics.


The flag  of Moca was designed and prepared by Augusto Hernández. It has an equilateral triangle in purple, the color of the moca flower, with silver, five-point stars arranged uniformly around a larger, gold, five-point star. Above this triangle is another triangle in gold. Both point to the horizon between the upper field of blue and the lower field of green. The purple triangle represents the flowers of the moca tree. The gold star represents the town of Moca and the eleven silver stars represent the sectors, in order beginning with the star directly above the gold star. The blue field alludes to the sky and symbolizes peace and freedom. The green field represents the earth or soil of Moca and is also a symbol of fertility and immortality.

Coat of Arms
The coat of arms  was designed by the same painter from Moca who designed the flag. It is divided into silver and blue fields, joined by a purple emblem, the color of the moca flower. The emblem carries religious symbolism. It is surrounded by two leafy branches of the moca tree and an arc of eleven silver five-point stars above. In the emblem is a gold monogram of the Virgin Mary over a Christian crown of the same color. The silver or white field signifies purity and modesty. The blue field, which represents the Moca sky, is a symbol of peace and freedom. The crown is that of the Virgen María de la Monserrate. All of these symbolisms represent the Virgen de la Monserrate, under whose devotion the town of Moca was founded, along with San Juan Nepomuceno. The green leaves and branches (fertility and immortality) are representative of the moca tree, the municipality’s official tree.

Places of Interest

• Former Labadie house or Moreau Palace
• Los Meléndez castles
• Enriqueta estate
• Mundillo museum
• La Moca park
• Nuestra Señora de la Monserrate parish

Illustrious Citizens

Marcelino Rodríguez Román – Teacher in Moca, Lares, Camuy, Cidra and Bayamón. Director of the magazine Educación produced by the Department of Public Education. Was a correspondent for the newspaper El Mundo.

Enrique A. Laguerre Vélez – Writer and professor of Spanish studies. Wrote the novels La llamarada, Solar Montoya, El 30 de febrero, La resaca, Los dedos de la mano, La ceiba en el tiesto, El laberinto, Cauce sin río and El fuego y su aire. Was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature.

Adolfo Babilonia Quiñones-Educator, musician, farmer, telegraph operator and mathematician.

Dr. Efraín Sánchez Hidalgo – Educator, Secretary of Public Education; author of diverse works in the field of educational psychology.

Atilano Cordero Badillo – Businessman and entrepreneur. A civic leader, he has occupied leadership positions in the government and in international marketing and business organizations.

Pedro Acevedo y Rivera – Mayor of Moca in 1897, journalist, musician and politician. Constituent delegate for the Autonomist Party in 1887. Provincial deputy for Añasco in 1873-1896. Was imprisoned for his liberal ideas.

Américo Miranda González – Civic leader, businessman and humanist. The town‘s public library is named for him.

Luis Alfredo Colón Velázquez – Senator and first legislator native to Moca (1944-1968) and municipal judge for Moca (1943-1944). Member of the Constituent Assembly of Puerto Rico.

Noel Colón Martínez – Lawyer, president of the Puerto Rico Bar Association (1964-1966), candidate for governor for the Puerto Rican Independence Party in 1972.


* Three Kings Festival – January
* Three Kings Parade – January
* Agricultural Fair – April
* Municipal Olympics – June
* Patron Saint Festival – August and September
* Mundillo Lace Festival – June
* Cuatro Festival – June
* Monserrate Rafting – November
* Beginning of Christmas Season – December
* Parade of Masks – December
* Festival of Masks – December



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