Guagua is the hub of trade and commerce in the second district of Pampanga. It is also the seat of learning in the said district, with a considerable number of schools, both private and public, offering elementary, high school, college, and vocational education.
The Guagua Public Market, one of the biggest and most developed in the province, is requented even by people from neighboring towns who come to purchase and trade. The town is also quite popular among Metro Manilans, who come to buy 'chicharon,' 'tocino,' 'longganisa,' and especially crablets ('talangka') when in season.Legend & History
As far back as 1590, Guagua was known as 'Wawa,' which means the mouth of a river, or 'alua' or 'bukana' in the vernacular. Its strategic location along the river played a vital role in trade and transportation.
Guagua was already a prosperous settlement way before the Spaniards came to take control of the town in the year 1561. Archeological artifacts excavated in a nearby town affirmed a pre-historic community in Guagua. Early inhabitants opted to stay in the town to barter with people from different islands and to engage in fishing and farming. The navigable river allowed shipping vessels to transport merchandise to and from other localities.
The Chinese people have long been part of Guagua's social economic mainstream. In the 18th century, they sought refuge in the town to escape Spanish atrocities in Manila. The Chinese residents engaged in several ventures, which greatly contributed to the economic life of Guagua.
The town played a significant role in the revolutionary struggles of Filipinos against foreign colonizers. A house near the parish church was used as a safehouse by the Katipuneros. Moreover, during the Philippine-American war and the ensuing World War II, Guagua became an important battleground.
Betis, which used to be a town independent of Guagua until 1904, was (even until now) well known for its people's excellence in gold-and-silver smithing, gilding, wood-carving, carpentry, furniture inlaying, and drop curtain and interior church painting.
The artesian well stationed at the patio of St. James Parish is believed to be the first in the Philippines.
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