Pampanga, Philippines


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Pampanga Towns & Cities

Angeles City became a chartered city in 1964. Much of its economy then depended on trade and services that catered to U.S. Air Force personnel based in Clark Field. Today local commerce, culture, and cuisine color life in Angeles City. It now hosts first class hotels, recreational establishments, restaurants, food processing businesses, furniture and manufacturing factories, shopping malls, financial institutions, and schools of higher learning.
Angeles City: Legend & History. For many years, Angeles City was known as 'Culiat,' after the vines that were abundant in the area when Don Angel Pantaleon de Miranda and his wife Dona Rosalia de Jesus started clearing the woodland and cultivated it for rice and sugar in 1796. Culiat remained a barrio of San Fernando for 33 years. It was through the initiative of Don Angel and the perseverance of his son-in-law, Dr. Mariano Henson, that this barrio became an independent town in December 8, 1829. It was renamed as Angeles in honor of Don Angel, its founder, and Los Santos Custudios, its titular patron.On May 7, 1899, Angeles became the seat of the First Philippine Republic under Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. It also hosted the celebration of the first anniversary of Philippine independence in June 12, 1899. The Pamintuan residence, (now transformed into the Central Bank Clearing Office) became the Presidential Palace.American presence in Angeles began in January 1, 1900. In October of 1902, the U.S Army established their camp next to the railroad station in Talimundoc (now Lourdes Sur). After several years of foreign occupation, Angeles was finally hailed as a chartered city on January 1, 1964 under Republic Act No. 3700.In June 15, 1991, the city was ravaged by the Mt. Pinatubo eruption. Despite the calamity, Angeles City managed to rise from the ashes to become one of the strongest and fastest growing cities in the country that it is today.
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The town of Apalit is renowned for its weaving and metal industries. It is also the site of the annual colorful traditional fluvial parade (since 1844) in honor of St. Peter, its patron saint. The shrine of the ivory image of St. Peter, called 'Apung Iru,' is venerated by the townspeople the whole year round. The parochial church, strikingly baroque, is also a source of pride among the local folk.
Apalit: Legend & History. Apalit was founded in the 1500s. It got its name from a species of tree growing abundantly in the place—pterocarpus indicus—asana in Tagalog and apalit in Kapampangan. Here the Spaniards located the native canon maker, Panday Pira, who established a small blacksmith and foundry shop in Capalangan of this town. This started the flourishing of blacksmiths and small scale metal enterprises in Apalit.
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Arayat is nestled at the foothills of Mt. Arayat, home of the beautiful fairy, 'Mariang Sinukuan,' who, according to legend, protects the mountain's flora and fauna. At the foot of the mountain is the Arayat National Park, whose recreational hall, picnic sheds, and swimming facilities are frequented by tourists all year round.
Arayat: Legend & History. Before the Spaniards came Arayat was known as 'Balayan ning Pambuit,' an ancient settlement originally located in barrio Palinglang (the present poblacion that used to be a jungle inhabited by Aetas). The town was renamed 'Dayat' (which means irrigated farmlands), while the mountain was originally called Bundok Alaya (which means eastern mountain).
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Bacolor is home to the oldest vocational school in the Far East the Escuela de Artes y Oficios de Bacolor, which was established on November 4, 1861. The school is now the present-day Don Honorio Ventura College of Arts and Trades. Also, one of the Philippines's oldest churches, the San Guillermo Parish Church, was built in this town in 1754. The town's contribution to the the province's famous culinary treats are the incomparable 'pansit luglug' or 'pansit palabok,' the 'tamales,' 'suman bulagta,' 'puto seco,' and 'sopas' (special mamon).
Bacolor: Legend & History. Pre-Hispanic Bacolor was called Bakulud, from the word 'makabakulud,' meaning upland surrounded by lowland ('cababan' or 'babo lubao' in ancient Kapampangan). In 1576, a local landlord, Guillermo Manabat, with the help of the Spaniards, founded the pueblo and dedicated the church to his namesake, San Guillermo Ermitano, whose feast is celebrated on February 10 (the other great feast of Bacolor is La Naval in May).Bacolor was the capital of the Philippines during the British occupation of Manila in 1762-1763 when the Spaniards under Simon de Anda retreated in this town. It then became known as 'Villa de Bacolor' on the basis of a royal decree of the King of Spain. It was also the provincial capital for almost three hundred years.
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Candaba is known for its rich farmlands, where sweet watermelons are grown, and for its wide and scenic swamps, the habitat of mudfish and gigantic catfish. Citizens of this locality make use of Candaba swamps as fishponds during the rainy season and watermelon and rice fields during the dry season.Migrant wild ducks and various bird wildlife escape winter winds from China and Siberia making Candaba their yearly sanctuary. Hunting birds in the swamp is a tourist attraction.The popular unimitatable 'burong isda,' a distinct Kapampangan fermented delicacy, is made from the best catfish or mudfish as only Candaba can produce.
Candaba: Legend & History. One of the oldest settlements during pre-Hispanic time, long before the 'encomienderos took hold of the town in 1593, is what is known as Candaba. Not much is known before that period except for extant proofs holding that the Candabeņos had their own culture, commerce, and industries, which were basically farming and fishing. Candaba, as told by Dr. Juan P. Gatbonton, one of the more knowledgeable chroniclers of the town, derived its name from Candawe, a name of a place close to Sitio Culumanas in Candaba. Candawe was later corrupted by Spanish derivation to Candaba.Another school of thought, based on lore perpetuated by word of mouth through the years, traced the origin of the word Candaba from 'Cang Daba' or' Brother Daba. ('Daba' was a term used for a big earthen jar and obese people were teased by likening them to a 'daba') Before long, it came to pass that every out-of-towner buying fish and famed 'buru' (pickled fish) were almost invariably referred to Cang Daba. The town, later on, came to be called Candaba.
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Floridablanca is the second largest producer of rice in the province. It is also noted for its sugar farms. Pampanga Sugar Mills, Inc. is located here. The town also hosts Basa Air Base of the Philippine Air Force.
Floridablanca: Legend & History. Floridablanca is a Spanish word meaning 'maputing sampaga' in the vernacular or 'white flower' in English. The town, however, was not named after a flower, but after Jose Moņino, Count of Floridablanca in Spain, a popular Spanish political figure who is said to have visited the place in early 1800s. Floridablanca was founded between January 5 and 31, 1879 by 39 settlers headed by surveyor Ramon Orozco; earlier the barrios Caumpaui, Santul and Carmen were transferred from the oldest town of Lubao to a site called Manggang Punglud, where a church had been erected.
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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.
Guagua: 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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Lubao is noted for rice, sugar cane, fish, and sampaguita. The first printing press in the country was set up in the town by the Augustinian friars. At one time it was a nucleus of the Philippine movie industry because of many Lubenian leading actors, directors, producers, screen writers, and cinematographers. Many Lubenians also made their mark as artists, writers, and poets, especially in the propagation of Kapampangan culture.
Lubao: Legend & History. Lubao is one of the oldest towns in Pampanga, if not in Central Luzon. It is believed to have been founded by the Malays and was already established when the first Spaniards led by Martin de Goiti set foot on its soil in September, 1571. Originally referred to as Baba Lubao, meaning lowland (opposite of 'bakulud,' meaning upland), Lubao was also called Baras (from Spanish 'barras,' meaning sandbars). Even today, some Kapampangans still refer to the town Baba (just as they continue to refer to Bacolor as Bakulud).In 1572, the Catholic Church was built by the Agustinian friars led by the Rev. Father Juan Callegos. The first printing press in the island was established in their church convent in 1602.While the Filipino soldiers were in retreat during the Filipino-American War, the town church became the temporary and emergency seat of the Aguinaldo government.During World War II, the national warehouse or bodega located in the town served as arsenal of the American Army and so it became one of the main targets of the Japanese bombing missions. The infamous Death March passed through the town. The town people exerted effort, risking their lives, to help the marchers by giving them food or medicines. Quite a number of the marchers escaped through the assistance and encouragement of the people.In the course of the Japanese occupation, underground movements or guerilla units were organized against the enemy. These were the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) and the Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon HUKBALAHAP). The latter had a series of encounters with the enemy. As retaliatory action, the Japanese formed Zonas in the suspected strongholds of the town which served as a sort of Fort Santiago.
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Mabalacat became a first class municipality in July 1996. One barangay, Marcos Village, is inhabited by Negritos who live in bungalow houses and speak broken English. Its land of 15,262 hectares is more than double that of Angeles City's. Two-thirds of the land area of Clark Air Base was taken from Mabalacat. Its people are peace-loving and God-fearing as well as hardworking and industrious. They speak the Kapampangan dialect, which is very rich in vocabulary and culture.
Mabalacat: Legend & History. Mabalacat became a town in 1712. It was named after the 'balacat' tree, a fourth class timber. 'Mabalacat' means full of 'balacat.' Then a settlement of a Negrito tribe headed by a chieftain name Caragan, the area was a virtual forest of 'balacat' trees.Before 1712, Mabalacat was a barrio (barangay) of Bambang, now Bamban Tarlac. There is no official record on the foundation of this town, but according to stories handed down orally from generation to generation, the first settlers were purely Negritos led by Caragan.Caragan married Laureana Tolentino and adopted her family name. Laureana Tolentino was the first 'cabeza de barangay' of Mabalacat, a title now equivalent to barangay captain. Eventually, the Negritos were finally driven back to the nearby mountains and hills by the lowlanders who frequented the place to hunt wild animals and fowls.
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Macabebe is historically known throughout the archipelago for its cloth traders and for the bravery of its soldiers under Rajah Soliman. It has a total land area of 44.05 square kilometers and is 17.0 kilometers away from the capital City of San Fernando.
Macabebe: Legend & History. Macabebe is an acient town of the province of Pampanga that is intrinsically linked to the water. It is a little known fact that the Macabebes were the first known Kapampangans. During the beginning of the Spanish period in the Philippines, Macabebe was already considered as one of the oldest in the more important communities of Pampanga.The oldness of the town owes much to its location along the Rio Grande de la Pampanga. This river's water routes and northern tributaries gave birth to all the early major settlements of the province. The English translation of 'macabebe' (bordering river banks) reveals the antiquity of the town once it is realized that the word 'pampanga'means the same. The fact that the dialect of the Macabebe is more severe and louder is attributed to how the ancestors of the town must have shouted their ideas across the waters. The Pampanga River is a valuable resource to the Macabebes, just as it has always been. Fish are still a major source of livelihood for the people of the town. Several fishponds can be found along the coast of the river.
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Magalang prides itself of having one of the oldest agricultural school, a weather observatory and research station established by the Spaniards in the late 19th century. The Pampanga Agricultural College is located at the foot of Mt. Arayat. This state-owned college is the center for agri-based education in the province.
Magalang: Legend & History. An original settlement named Magalang was located farther north, in Macapsa; due to its proximity to Cuayan and Maisac Rivers which frequently flooded it, the people transferred to San Bartolome, which turned out to have worse flooding caused by the Parua River (now Sacobia-Bamban River).Magalang's principales, namely the Suing, Cortez, Pineda and Luciano families, decided to divide the town into two: some families moved north of the river to a placed called Sto. Niņo, which they renamed Concepcion; the other families remained in San Bartolome and retained the name Magalang. On September 22, 1858, floods transformed Magalang into a lake.The town was transferred once again, this time to present site, farther south. San Bartolome, the old Magalang site, came to be known as 'Balen Melacuan' (abandoned town) and is now a barrio of Concepcion; Magalang's present site is in Talimundoc or San Pedro, which is why the complete name of the town is San Pedro de Magalang (although its patron saint remains to be San Bartolome, whose feast day is August 24).The town was formally established on December 24, 1863. Some scholars theorize that the first settlers of Magalang were migrants from a village in Indonesia called 'Magelang,' which was also located at the foot of a volcano that resembled Mount Arayat. In Bergano's dictionary, 'magalang' was an ancient Kapampangan word for abundance.
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Masantol used to be called San Miguel and was once a part of Macabebe. It is predominantly a fishing town.
Masantol: Legend & History. The town got its name from the fruit tree, either because there was a proliferation of santol trees in the area, or because the town was where santol fruits were heavily bartered (Kapampangans being fond of 'sinigang' dish). Masantol, originally a part of the ancient Macabebe town, was founded as a seperate town and renamed San Miguel on May 1, 1878, composed of the former Macabebe barrios of Bebe, Bulakus, Kaingin and Nigi. For a while it came to be known San Miguel Masantol, until popular usage reverted it to the original name.A cherished legend of how the town got its name goes like this: 'A Spanish missionary came to the town for the first time. Upon reaching a roadside corner store, he parked his horse-driven vehicle and inquired from the store keeper the name of the place. A middle-aged woman vendor, believing that the Spanish priest was asking for the name of the fruits she was selling, readily responded in broken Spanish language, 'Padre, todos dulce Masantol.' The priest took from his pocket a pencil and a small diary and wrote down the word 'mas santol,' referring to the name of the place he has visited. At the time, the locality abounded with santol trees, and santol fruits were in season when the priest visited the place.
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Mexico is located 4.5 kilometers from the capital City of San Fernando. It has a total land area of 117.41 square kilometers. Sweet chico fruits abound in this town.
Mexico: Legend & History. The pre-Spanish Period name of the town was 'Masiku,' meaning abundance of water (the town had vast irrigated farmlands); other scholars claim it got its name from 'chico' fruits, or from the description 'makasiku,' meaning river elbowing or town elbowing neighboring towns. Least likely is that the town was named after Mexico in Central America, although the Spaniards resorted to spelling the town's name that way (x and s in latin are phonetically the same). On December 8, 1800, the demarcation between Mexico and San Fernando towns was set.
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Minalin is dubbed as the 'Egg Basket of Luzon' because of its large-scale poultry industry, producing millions of chickens and eggs that reach millions of Philippine homes and restaurants. Minalin is also noted for its Aguman Sanduk: 'Belles of Minalin' New Year's parade of men dressed as beauty queens.
Minalin: Legend & History. Minalin used to be called 'Minalis.' According to Don Mariano Henson's 'The Province of Pampanga and Its Towns,' the four founders of this town namely, Mendiola, Nucum, Lopez, and Intal negotiated with the Datu of Macabebe to acquire an initial piece of land as far as the boundary now called Lacmit and named the place as Santa Maria in honor of the four founders' respective wives, who were all named Maria. When a church was about to be built in Santa Maria and lumber was already piled up, floodwaters carried the construction materials to another site called 'Burol' (Hilly Place) where the church was finally constructed. Since then the community was called 'Minalis,' meaning 'moved,' to until the 18th century when an error was made by the then Capitan Mayor Diego Tolentino, who inadvertently wrote the name of the town as Minalin instead of the original name 'Minalis.'Another version of how Minalin got its name is found among documents on file at the Municipal Planning and Development Office of Minalin. This version states that the town originated as a Malayan settlement under the leadership of Kahn Bulaun, a descendant of Prince Balagtas. This settlement was called 'Tigip.' However, when the Spaniards came and looted the town and raped its women, they renamed the settlement as 'Mina Linda de las Mujerez,' after the many pretty women they encountered in the settlement. A Chinese merchant from 'Wawa' (Guagua), who established a general store in this town, mispronounced the name of the town as 'Minah Linah Neh Lah Muchele,' which the townspeople shortened to 'Minalina.'
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Located in the northwestern part of Pampanga, Porac is geographically the largest Pampanga town (343.12 square kilometers). It is 26 kilometers from the capital City of San Fernando. The town is a mineral tamping ground and primary source of granite.
Porac: Legend & History. The town was founded on the slopes of the Batiauan mountain. The Augustinians arrived in 1594; they organized the Aetas of the various rancherias; three years later, the mission abandoned the place due either to lack of priests or to fear of the Zambal headhunters. In succeeding years, it was administered from the larger parish of Bacolor and later from Lubao. On September 16, 1867, due to drought-like conditions on the hills, the town transferred to its present site called 'Capatagan'(plain), near a river called 'Porag,' from which the town borrowed its name. The river, on the other hand, got its name from 'kurag' or 'purag,' a rattan plant growing near the river.
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The City is famous for its original Christmas lanterns brought about by the creativity and craftsmanship of the Fernandinos. Aside from the colorful lanterns, the City of San Fernando takes pride in being known for its delicious Kapampangan cuisine, as well as its meat products, most popular of which are the 'tocino' and 'longaniza.' The city is also the site of the annual re-enactment of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
City of San Fernando: Legend & History. What now compromises the City of San Fernando was carved out of the towns of Mexico and Bacolor. It was founded in 1754 and named after its patron saint, the Spanish king Fernando III, Rey (King) de Castilla y Leon.
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San Luis is located 13.0 kilometers away from the capital City of San Fernando. The predominantly agricultural town has a total land area of 56.83 square kilometers.
San Luis: Legend & History. Originally named 'Cabagsak' (from 'bagsakan kabag,' plenty of fruit bats), it was renamed 'San Nicolas Cabagsac' in honor of its first parish priest, Fray Nicolas de Orduno, OSA. Much later it was renamed San Luis, after certain Doņa Luisa, wife of the town's legal counsel who successfully defended it against a land claim by the neighboring town of Pinpin (Sta. Ana) in 1761. Its seventeen barangays were established in 1735 but were set on fire by Captain Mariano Carlos on orders of General Luna in May, 1899. The town's diligent people rebuilt their town from the ashes.
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Although San Simon is primarily a farming town, it attracts business and investments because of the presence of important four industrial corporations.
San Simon: Legend & History. Before it was founded, San Simon was divided in two parts: the southern part belongs to the town of Apalit and the northern part to San Luis. In between these two towns was a vast forest feared by travelers being the nest robbers. However, this did not hinder the families of Macapagal, Pangan, Puyat, Santos and Simbulan from settling there. After deforesting a certain portion, these families began planting different plants to supplement their food needs. When migration began, the robbers disappeared. By majority consensus, a house of worship was erected in the very center that divides Apalit and San Luis. It was named Sra. Del Pilar in honor of Mariano del Pilar, the founder.After a century, this place became progressive. Businessmen, no longer afraid of robbers, traded with the residents. Although the residents were united spiritually, socially, culturally, and economically they were politically divided. Those residing in the northern part paid taxes to San Luis and those in the southern part to Apalit. Both sides decided to petition the then Governor General Simon de Anda Y Salazar to consider declaring it a town. In their petition, they mentioned the rich natural resources, vast track of fertile land, and bodies of water full of marine products. After careful study the Governor General approved their petition. As a token of appreciation to the Governor General's kindness, they named the town San Simon, after the Apostle Simon. In 1771, San Simon was included in the towns of Pampanga.
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Sasmuan, which used to be known as Sexmoan, is an historic town. It is one of the oldest communities and the site of the first church in the province built by Augustinian priests (Sta. Lucia Parish Church).
Sasmuan: Legend & History. The town was formerly called 'Sasmoan' (from 'sasmo,' to assemble) because it was where apampangan soldiers assembled prior to attacking Chinese insurgents in upstream Guagua. The name somehow was mispronounced Sesmoan and when the Spaniards wrote it down, they misspelled it as Sexmoan (x and s in Latin are phonetically the same) and the name stuck - that is, until 1987, when Rep. Emy Lingad corrected the colonial faux pas.
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Residents of Sta. Ana are known for their spiritually and kindness. They are ready to help anyone more that they can afford. The town is basically a farming area, with 3,056.20 hectares of its total land area dedicated to farming.
Sta Ana: Legend & History. Sta Ana was previously known as 'Bale Pinpin,' meaning 'laid aside.' The name came about when the town lost several barrios in 1810 to Arayat, Mexico, and San Luis. It was originally part of the vast tracts of forest land, mainly bamboo groves, ranging from Apalit and Betis. As years passed more people came to settle permanently in the place and cleared the area.The Spaniards came in the 1600s and established it as a parish in 1760. The church was built in 1836 to serve the increased number of inhabitants. The Spanish authorities named the town after its patron saint, Sta Ana.Its 14 barrios, whose names were derived from its prominent landmark or its chieftain, were then renamed after the saints: Canukil to San Joaquin, Tinajeru to San Juan, Catmun to San Jose, Calumpang to San Pedro, Calinan to Sta. Lucia, Balen Bayu to Sta. Maria, Sepung Ilug to San Nicolas, Libutad to Santiago, Quenabuan to San Isidro,Pagbatuan to Sto. Rosario, Patayum to San Bartolome, Sumpung to San Agustin, Tuclung to San Roque, and Darabulbul to San Pablo.When the Americans came and established a civil government, the town had very few willing taxpayers so it was made part of Arayat in 1905. Sta. Ana was only recognized officially as a separate municipality later, on January 1, 1913, through the petition of its representatives.
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Sta Rita is popular for the turones de casoy delicacy. It is chiefly a farming town.
Sta. Rita: Legend & History. First records of Sta Rita were known in 1697. It was stated that Sta Rita was once a part of the Municipality of Porac. It was formerly a wilderness where gigantic trees grew in abundance. It was first formed by the clearings and settlement made at a place called 'Gasac,' now known as San Isidro.Sta. Rita was separated from Porac and became an independent town in 1770. The town was earlier referred to as Sta Rita 'de Lele' or Sta Rita 'de Baculud' due to its proximity to the ancient town of 'Baculud,' now known as Bacolor. This was due to the nearness of the latter town where Sta.Rita residents bought their daily needs.Sometime, between 1904 and 1907, there was an attempt to annex Sta. Rita to Bacolor. But because of protests made by concerned leaders and citizens the move did not materialize.
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Sto. Tomas, which used to be a portion of San Fernando, had its Catholic Church erected in 1767. It is known for its pottery industry, its beautiful women, the delicious food they prepare, and for their joyful 'Sabado de Gloria' celebration.
Sto. Tomas: Legend & History. Known as 'Baliwag' centuries ago, Sto Tomas used to be a portion of Minalin and was ceded to San Fernando in 1904. It was christened by the Spanish Augustinians after Santo Tomas Apostol, whose festivity was solemnized on the 21st day of December 1792. 'Baliwag' means tardy in Spanish.Sto Tomas marks its parish feast on July 3 and celebrates its town fiesta every Easter Sunday.
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About Pampanga

THE EARLIEST settlers of this province already called their thriving communities Pampanga, after the river (that the Spanish colonizers only later named as the Rio Grande de la Pampanga) on the banks (pampang literally means "river bank") of which the first Kapampangans (pioneering Malays and Indonesians) established and nurtured their way of life, industry, government— in short, civilization.

During the Spanish regime Pampanga was already considered as one of the richest Philippine provinces. Even Manila and surrounding regions were then very much dependent on Pampanga's agricultural, fishery, and forestry products as well as on the supply of skilled workers and breed of courageous, intelligent, spiritual, and artistic nation builders.

Up to this day, Pampanga— the place, its people, and their passions— continue to make an indelible mark on the country's unfolding social, cultural, and economic tapestry.

Pampanga is best known for its cuisine— a rich blending of many racial influences (Malay, Chinese, Spanish) adapted to indigenous resources of land and water— and for the culinary expertise that its people proudly exhibit, earning for the province the appellation, "The Culinary Center of the Philippines." No other people in this country are so palatably profuse in serving the fruits of their labor in celebration of not only the positive events in their lives (such as marriages, births, reunions, good harvests, and victories) but even life-challenging episodes (to honor the dead or to recall the lessons of defeat or calamity).

The religiosity of the Kapampangan is a feat to match. Town churches still retain much of their original magnificence because of the people's dedication to preserve these over the centuries or rebuild them from the ravages of wars or natural catastrophes. The expression of faith in the province peaks in surreal proportions during the lenten season— when streets teem with flagellants, barangays are filled with the strains of the puni (venue of the pabasa, the singing or chanting of the Biblical passion of Christ), and the capital City of San Fernando is thronged by devotees and tourists to witness the annual re-enactment of the crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

The Kapampangans' innate good nature, patience, and fine sensibilities easily show in their crafts and trade. A lot of skill and soul goes into the execution and completion of the giant Christmas lanterns of the capital City of San Fernando, the potteries and jars of Sto. Tomas, the knives and bolos of Apalit, the wood carvings and furniture of Betis, the rattan-woven products of Angeles City, the religious sculptures of Macabebe, and so on.

Because of its fertile land, Pampanga produces the best and biggest yield of rice, corn, sugar cane, vegetables, and fruit crops in these parts. While its waters (creeks, swamps, springs, fishponds) are a prolific source of tilapia, milkfish, mudfish, and prawn. Complementing such bounty are its vast natural resources (forestlands and clay, sand, and gravel deposits), from which are drawn ideal raw materials for most of the province's and the country's vital building and infrastructure needs.

While the picturesque landscape and clean environment attract local and foreign vacationers and tourists year-round to the province's many nature and recreation parks, such as the Arayat National Park and its picnic and swimming facilities, the Candaba swamps for migratory birdwatching, the rugged natural terrains of Porac, and the breathtaking hotspring scenery in Sapangbato, Angeles City.

This is not to say, though, that Pampanga is not without modern recreational amenities, for it houses a booming night life and cosmopolitan haunts like world-class hotels, resorts, casinos, duty free shopping, and golf courses.

Finally, blessed with a strategic location right at the heart of growing markets in the Asia Pacific-Region—a given advantage in today's global trade and industrialization— Pampanga is up to the challenge of becoming one of the centers of industrial and economic activities in the Philippines. With the presence of an educated, skilled and highly trainable English speaking manpower at competitive rates, excellent infrastructure support, peaceful environment, and a development growth propelled by the strong performance of traditional manufacturing sectors of furniture, ceramics, garments, and handicrafts in the export market, the province is without a doubt a viable investment and business area.


Pampanga: Demography

PAMPANGA SITS at the heart of Central Luzon. It is bounded on the north by Tarlac and Nueva Ecija, Bulacan on the east, on the southwest by Bataan, and on the west by Zambales. Its total land area (representing 12% of Central Luzon's) is 2,180.68 square kilometers or 218,068 hectares. The terrain is relatively flat with Mount Arayat as the only distinct mountain.

Political Subdivision. Pampanga is composed of 20 municipalities and two cities. It is subdivided into four political districts, as follows: First District: Angeles City, Mabalacat, and Magalang; Second District: Floridablanca, Guagua, Lubao, Porac, Sasmuan, and Sta. Rita; Third District: Arayat, Bacolor, Mexico, Masantol, and the capital City of San Fernando; Fourth District: Apalit, Candaba, Macabebe, Masantol, Minalin, San Luis, San Simon, and Santo Tomas.

Population. The province has a total population of 1,911,951 as of 2007. Angeles City is the most populated, followed by San Fernando, Mabalacat, Lubao, Guagua, and Mexico. The province's percent growth rate (PGR) per annum for the period 1995-2000 is 2.99% compared to 1.35% for 1990-1995.

Languages/Dialects. Kapampangan, English, and Tagalog are widely spoken and understood in the province. Although Tagalog, Ilocano, Lineyte-Samarnon (Waray), Pangasinan, Cebuano, Bicol, English, and Hiligaynon (Ilonga) are also used.

Climate. Pampanga has a wet season and a dry season. The wet or rainy season usually begins around May and lasts, along with a sweep of typhoons, through October. The rest of the year is dry. It is warmest from March to April and coldest from December through February.

Major Industries. Farming, fishing, manufacturing, handicrafts, poultry, swine, and food processing industries are the chief sources of livelihood in Pampanga. The fertile plains are suitable to sugar cane, rice, corn, vegetables, and fruit trees. Rivers, streams, and fishponds abound with milkfish (bangus), carps, catfish, shrimps, crabs, and other marine products.

Availability of well-trained human resources, good roads and other infrastructure, modern telecommunication systems, and abundant supply of raw materials and power attract many manufacturing and commercial firms to base their operations in this province. Many regional government offices and banking institutions are strategically located in Pampanga.


Pampanga: A Brief History

THE SPANISH conquerors had it easy organizing Pampanga in 1571. The inhabitants already led a highly civilized life, had a system of government, practiced farming techniques, and traded with Chinese and other Southeast Asian neighbors.

These intelligent, refined and highly-skilled people called themselves (and their language) Kapampangan, tracing their descent to pioneers of their river bank ("pampang" or "pang-pang") settlements who came from Indonesia as early as 300 to 200 B.C. and, in mass exodus in the 11th through 12th century, from the Malayan Peninsula.

On December 11, 1571 (now celebrated as Pampanga Day), the colonial administration under governor general Miguel Lopez de Legaspi declared Pampanga as the first Province of Luzon.

At that time, its territory included parts of present-day Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Zambales, Tarlac and Pangasinan. The Pampanga empire extended all the way from Manila up to Cagayan. Later on, the creation of other Central Luzon provinces absorbed parts of Pampanga, reducing the province into its present area.

Pampanga was one of the first eight Philippine provinces that revolted against Spain in the late 1800s. The more than two centuries of Spanish rule that turned extremely abusive, corrupt, and exploitative drove Kapampangans, by nature a hospitable and peace-loving people, to even organize their own provincial government headed by a revolutionary governor.

Many Kapampangans joined up in the struggle for Philippine Independence, and many of their leaders were arrested, tortured or executed by the Spanish authorities. It was in what is now Angeles City where the seat of the short-lived Philippine Republic was established by General Emilio Aguinaldo.

Since the early 20th century, the province has been a hotbed of agrarian troubles, mainly because its estates were under a few but powerful landlords. During World War II, Pampanga was the base for a guerrilla unit known as "Hukbalahap," which bravely resisted the Japanese army. The Huks later formed the nucleus of local communist insurgency after the war, but it was suppressed in the early 1950s. These communist insurgents resurfaced as the New People's Army during the country's turbulent years of dictatorship under President Ferdinand Marcos.

What took decades for nationalists to have US Air Forces expelled from Clark Air Base, Mt. Pinatubo's eruption in 1991 effectively dealt in merely a matter of days. But the cost on the province itself was staggering, with Angeles-Porac-Mabalacat and Bacolor areas hardest hit.

Indeed, several communities in the path of lahar were transformed into "no man's land," as farmlands were scorched, and houses, churches, schools, and historical landmarks were either washed out or buried in sand.

Still, the post-Pinatubo rehabilitation process proved the Kapampangan's hardy nature. In just a few years Pampanga bounced back to life: its infrastructure restored, its livelihood flourishing anew, and its people picking up from were they left—preserving and expressing their uniquely colorful culture and magnifying their many valuable contributions to nation-building.



About eK!   eK! is electronic Kabalen, a Pampanga-based web-exclusive Kapampangan journal of ideas. It addresses itself to the local and global kabalen and to readers all over the world who share an affinity for and an interest in pinoy culture, art, society, and Kapampaniana. eK! is an attempt to reflect in words and images more fully and vividly the variety and vitality of what constitutes the current Kapampangan state of mind by providing an open venue for the most compelling visions and voices in the Kapampangan planet today. It is, in this sense, a standing invitation to the best Kapampangan minds of this generation.

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