Posts tagged ‘Tarlac’

History of Tarlac Towns

Author: Dr. Rodrigo M. Sicat
Web Design: Engr. Mark Jason V. Sicat

ANAO:  SERENE TOWN OF ILANG-ILANG BLOSSOMS

Early settlers of the town came from the Ilocano-speaking population of Camiling whose ancestral stocks were from Paoay, Ilocos Norte. Originally, Anao was one of the barrios of Paniqui when the latter was still a town of Pangasinan. It was established as a town on March 1, 1870, earlier than its neighboring towns of Moncada, San Manuel, and Ramos. Don Fruto Pastor, one of its early settlers, founded Anao. He became the Capitan Municipal in the same year. Don Antonio succeeded him in 1872.

Since then, the political structure of the town has evolved as it is today.

Anao is the smallest municipality in the province. It is located in the northeastern part of Tarlac; it is bounded on the north by San Manuel, in the east by Nampicuan (Nueva Ecija), on the south by Ramos and on the west by Paniqui and Moncada.

A predominantly Ilocano-speaking village, Anao has a population of 10,045 people in 2,086 households (NSO, 2000).

Basically, the town is an agricultural village that produces rice, corn, vegetable, and sugarcane crops.

Anao is a serene village known for ilang-ilang (Cananga odorata (Lamk.) Hook.) production. Ilang-ilang blossoms produce oil extract that is used for making perfumes. The demand for ilang-ilang production is great, both here and abroad, which is why it has contributed to the economy of the town.

 

 

BAMBAN: GATEWAY TO TARLAC

 

Bamban is located at the southernmost part of Tarlac Province. On the north, it is bounded by the municipality of Capas, Tarlac, and on the south, by the municipality of Mabalacat, Pampanga. The Parua River, popularly known as Bamban River, separates Bamban from Mabalacat. Toward the east lies the municipality of Concepcion, Tarlac. On the western side, the terrain is rugged due to rolling hills and mountains bordering the municipality of Botolan, Zambales. The wide tract of flat lands on the eastern side is suited to agriculture.  This is where many of Bamban’s are engaged in farming. 

Historical records states that the early inhabitants of the settlement, which was to become Pueblo de Bamban, were the Aetas or Negritos and Zambals. Later, other settlers came from Pampanga and other neighboring provinces. Those settlers found the place with plants of mabamboa or bambania growing abundantly along the riverbanks.  The place was called cabambanan or mabamban but later on it was simply called bamban.

At present, the Kapampangans composed approximately 90% of Bamban’s population. The remaining 10% composed of Ilocanos, Tagalogs, Pangasinenses and Zambals. Roman Catholicism is the dominant religion which is about 85% while the rest are Iglesia ni Cristo, Methodists, Baptists and other evangelical groups. The presence of those religious sects attests that its people are religious. Farming is the main occupation of the residents who live at the eastern part of the town. Among the professionals, the teachers are the greatest in number, drivers of passenger jeepneys and tricycles ranked second. The rest offers personal services such as the carpenters, barbers, beautician, masons and other construction workers.

Bamban is endowed by the Divine Providence with rolling hills and gorgeous mountains of San Vicente, Sto. Nino and San Nicolas. The Sacobia Lake in barangay Sto Nino was a result of the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo in 1991. Another interesting spot to see is the waterfalls at Sitio Malasa. Some Japanese tunnels still exist on the mountains of barangay San Nicolas. There are also man-made wonders in Bamban that include the Wonderland Resort at barangay Anupul, the grottos of our Lady of Lourdes in barangaysLourdesand sitio Magurul Gurul, and the concrete suspension bridge at the southernmost part of Bamban.

BAMBAN BEFORE WORLD WAR II

Life in Bamban before the outbreak of the war was simple. Majority of the people lived in small houses made of bamboos, nipa or cogon, sawali and other local materials available in the community. There were few big houses owned by wealthy hacinderos and professionals, yet, their number is few. Today, most of these ancestral houses no longer exist, including the house of Don Jesus Feliciano – a wealthy landlord, located few meters from the railroad station at barangay San Nicolas. The old house of Atty. Benjamin Gacioco located across the old sugar central was also dismantled right after the Liberation Period. Another one that no longer exists is the house of Dr. Potricio S. Santos, grandfather of Vilma, a multi –awarded actress turned politician.

During those periods, calesas, calising and carts were the usual type of transportation. Very few had family cars like the Felicianos, Santos and Gosiocos. Other rich families owned calising, which were drawn by horses. Now, Bamban is found with tricycles and passenger jeepneys, instead, of the calesas and calising.

Long before the war, the rural folks in this community practiced bayanihan. Farmers helped one another in preparing their rice fields during planting and harvesting seasons. To make their work easier and faster, the community folks practiced the sugo. But because of the invention of modern machineries such as the threshing machines, tractors, and bulldozers, the practice among the farmers is rarely observed nowadays.

The farmers in Bamban traditionally practiced the lasac dalungdong after a bountiful harvest. This is a way of showing their gratitude to God for the blessing they received at harvest time. Barrio folks come to partake sumptuous food made available for everyone. Today, the lasac dalungdung festivity held in rice fields or farms is gone; instead, parties are held in resorts or restaurants.

Another traditional practice in Bamban is the Santa Cruzan held in May. The tradition is the procession of beautiful maidens and gentlemen during the evening that parade along the streets of the town beginning May 15 until the end of the month. Naturally, the burden of inviting beautiful ladies from the neighboring barrios or towns plus, the preparation of supper would entail much expense on the part of the host; thus, is perhaps the reason why the Santa Cruzan has become scarce this day.

Again before the war, lively music during parties, anniversaries and other special occasions had to be provided by rondalla players. But now, videokes and other electronic musical devices are being used instead. This is one reason why there are few surviving rondalla players these days in Bamban.

THE JAPANESE OCCUPATION

With the coming of the Japanese Imperial Army in Bamban, many of its civilian residents suffered untold hardships and brutalities. The Japanese army occupied the sugar central as their garrison or detention camp. Innocent civilians were brutally tortured on mere suspicion of being members of the guerilla movement.

To propagate Japanese language and culture, schools were opened. The teaching of Nippongo as a subject was compulsory and the children were forced to study it. During this regime, the Kapisanan ng Paglilingkod sa Bagong Pilipinas (Society for Service to the New Philippines), popularly known as KALIBAPI, was utilized by the Japanese invaders to gain the cooperation and goodwill of the civilians. But despite this Japanese propaganda, many cabalens joined the guerrilla USAFFE or Hukbalahap (Hukbong Bayan Laban Sa Hapon). Several resistance units were organized me and one of them was USAFFE guerilla under Capt. Bruce, an American soldier. Squadron #45 of the Hukbalahap movement was under Apung Nasiong Gamboa alias Commander Luna.

 THE LIBERATION PERIOD

Perhaps, Bamban was the only town in Central Luzon, which suffered most when the American forces came to liberate the Philippines. The whole poblacion of the municipality was devastated when US fighter planes bombed the houses, the school buildings and the public market. There were no civilian casualties because the residents had evacuated to the far-flung barrios.

Not long after, the people returned to the poblacion to rehabilitate the community. They had to rebuild their dwelling places out of salvage materials. Peaceful living must continue after the war. 

POST-LIBERATION PERIOD

Soon after the war, some remarkable changes took place in the town. Political set up was reorganized and schools were reopened. Big houses made of strong materials were erected in the pablacions and few “barong-barong” constructed out of salvaged materials remained for a few more years.

Five (5) additional barrios were added to the ten (10) existing barrios of the town. The newly created barrios were Lourdes, San Pedro, Sto Nino, San Rafael and San Vicente. The highest official of the barrio was no longer addressed tiniente but capitan.

During pre-war days and up to early Liberation Period, there were no high schools in Bamban. In 1949, Atty. Igmedio Bolus created the Bamban Institute, which however, did not operate long. In 1957, another private high school, the Holy Infant Jesus Academy, established by a certain Mr. Gaviola came into operation. Later on, the administration was transferred to the Dominican Sisters. The institution was subsequently renamed Sto.Nino Academy up to the present time.

In 1966, a public high school came into existence. It was named San Roque Experimental High School. Two years later, it was renamed San Roque Rural High School. It is known now as San Roque High School.    

THE MARTIAL LAW YEARS

When the late Pres. Marcos proclaimed Martial Law, notable changes took place in Bamban. In the political arena for instance, there was a sudden change in leadership in the Municipal Government when the incumbent Mayor was detained in Camp Crame, Quezon City. His vice-mayor, a former employee of Clark Air Force Base, took over the reins of government. He served well his constituents despite the difficulties of Martial Law. In 1978, the incumbent mayor was replaced by a political choice of the political party in power. However, the designated mayor died after serving less than two years in office. Hence, his vice-mayor, also a party choice, succeeded him.

LIFE AFTER MT. PINATUBO ERUPTION

When Mt. Pinatubo erupted in 1991, the physical environment, population and livelihood of the people changed as an aftermath of the calamity. Ash falls and lahar devastated many houses, schools, farms, bridges and roads. Three barangays, namely: San Pedro, Malonzo and Bangcu were totally covered with lahar. Portions of barangays Lourdes, Banaba, La Paz, Dela Cruz and Culabasa were also covered by lahar. As a result of the calamity, two resettlement areas, Dapdap and Mainang Resettlement Centers, were made to help the displaced residents of the town. In Dapdap Resettlement alone, more than 3,000 families were resettled. Other victims of Mt. Pinatubo eruption stayed in the villages of Rolling Hills, Sampaloc, Panaisan, Pandan, Pag-asa, Magurol-gurol and Mano.

In Dapdap Resettlement area, permanent buildings for public elementary and secondary schools were constructed to accommodate children of school age. These schools are still in operation. In Mainang Resettlement Center, the government also constructed public elementary school buildings.

Many people lost jobs when the Americans abandoned Clark Air Base. Hundreds of rice and sugarcane fields became unproductive because they were covered with lahar. Under this situation, many people suffered hardships in their daily living.

After a few years, Clark Air Base was re-opened by the Philippine government that helped the people of Bamban to work for their living. The re-opening included the establishment of local manufacturing industries and duty free shops operated by the Clark Development Corporation (CDC). Similarly, the Clark Airport became the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport. These opportunities helped jobless Bambanenses to be employed; skilled and non-skilled and professionals were given the opportunity to earn a living inside the former military base.

Similarly, farmers became busy in their farms. With this turning of events, normal living ushered in.

 

 

CAMILING: RESURGING FROM AN UNFORGOTTEN PAST

Camiling was originally a vast area of cogon growth interspersed with thick-forested area stretching as far as the Zambales mountain ranges. In the beginning, Aetas roamed freely in the wilderness of Camiling. They depended on fruit trees, hunting and fishing for subsistence. Deer and different kinds of birds inhabited the place. A wide river also cut peacefully through the terrain where fishes (dalag and anguilas) abounded.

The Spaniards must have settled first in the basically flat area interspersed with limited rolling hills. Whether it was initially the frontier settlement of the military or the mission house of the friars, it has yet to be ascertained. However, records show that the town called camiling evolved from two casas, later, visitas administered by the Dominicans.

The first, which existed juristically, was San Jose de Camiling. It was located in what is now part of Bautista, Pangasinan and at the time near a barrio called Binaca. The second, called San Miguel de Camiling, was founded on what is now part of Bayambang, Pangasinan, southwest of Paniqui. Unlike San Jose, which was only near Binaca, San Miguel included barrio Binaca itself.

San Jose de Camiling was a casa of the Dominicans in 1686. When Paniqui became a parish in 1718, San Jose de Camiling became a visita of Paniqui. In 1722, the visita was raised into a parish. However, in 1725, it reverted into a visita of Paniqui again for some unknown reason. One source says this earlier Spanish settlement disappeared because of the growing threats from the Aetas. Thus, San Jose de Camiling ceased to appear in the Actas of the Dominican provincial chapters from 1769 onwards. The name Camiling was mentioned again in 1834, referring to a visita of Bayambang founded by Father Juan Alvarez del Manzano, and later converted into a parish by Father Benito Foncuberta in 1841. Based on the ereccion de pueblo, it was in 1838 that Camiling got separated from Bayambang’s administrative authority and was transferred to Paniqui. By 1845, church records referred to it as San Miguel de Camiling, after its patron saint, St. Michael Archangel.

Apparently, this was the second settlement that was founded southwest of Paniqui and Bayambang, which included barrio Binaca. Accounts of Father Manzano reveal that along with inhabitants from Bayambang, families from Ilocos pioneered the inhabitants of San Miguel de Camiling. The Ilocanos (majority came from Sarrat) named the town after its own patron saint in Sarrat – San Miguel the Archangel or San Miguel for short.

It would seem, also, that some turmoil (could be a rebellion) forced the Ilocanos to migrate southward, to Central Luzon, in search of peace and verdant fields to cultivate. These groups of immigrants engaged in agriculture, but the place, especially Binaca, was utilized earlier for its abundant grazing lands, hence, the word binaca which comes from the Spanish vaca meaning “cow.” Before the Dominicans administered a church in the place, it was a grazing ground (corral de vacas).

From 1849, it was under Father Angel Gomez that the community underwent development. A church was built, a tribunal was erected, a four-hectare plaza was laid out, and schools were established. The streets were constructed to form a modern pueblo. By 1870, a cemetery was acquired and a permanent irrigation was built. Father Gomez also had a church constructed with a baroque façade and a Romanesque dome. All these structures mirrored a prosperous town, capable of independent existence. Thus, by 1880, Camiling de San Miguel formally seceded from the town of Paniqui which administered it politically until this year.

A visitor described the town’s church, convento, and dwelling house of the parish priest as the best in this wealthy and prosperous town. The town’s church was not only airy, comfortable and clean, but also the most artistic, being built in the Corinthian style. The convent with its primitive part was made entirely of stone; its middle portion is partly made of stones, bricks, and wood; and its third part, with its spaciousness, was elegant.

From a settlement of 700 souls in 1869, which were mostly farmers, the population of Camiling rose to 18,912 with five Españoles and the rest indigenous composed of Ilocanos, Pangasinenses, Pampangueños, and Tagalogs.

Today, according to the 2000 census, Camiling has a population of 71,598 people in 15,324 households. It is a 1st class municipality whose checkered history is colored with heritage and pride. Rebuilt in the 1880’s after a major earthquake, the century old Roman Catholic Church and Convent have been declared historical sites by the National Historical Commission in 1994. However, the Church was gutted by fire in 1997, That until today, its restoration has remained uncompleted.

Likewise, Camiling is also synonymous to Leonor Rivera who is Maria Clara, Jose Rizal’s fiancée in his novel Noli Me Tangere. Similarly, Camiling prides itself as the hometown of great men of valor and prominence, which include Carlos P. Romulo, former Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and first Asian President of the United Nations General Assembly; Onofre D. Corpuz, former Minister of education, Culture and Sports, and UP President; Cesar A. Bengson, former Supreme Court Justice and Justice of the International Court in the United Nations; Alberto Romulo, former Senator of the Philippines, former Executive Secretary of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and currently, Secretary of foreign affairs, among others. Camiling’s past remains unforgotten and it is resurging as it was.


 

 

CAPAS:   MONUMENT OF HEROISM AND TOURISM

Capas was originally a town of Pampanga. It became one of the seven towns covered by the Politico-Military Commandancia in 1858 and became a town of the newly created province of Tarlac in 1873. At that time, Capas consisted of three barrios, namely: Murcia, Moriones, and O’Donnell.

Early residents of the town were mostly Kapampangans coming from the nearby towns of Pampanga. Later, migrants from Ilocos and Zambales also came to live in Capas

The oldest religious mission in the province was established in Capas as early as 1710. The Recollects must have founded it, judging from its patron saint, St. Nicholas of Tolentino, and a friar of the Recollect Order. The Augustinians, in fact, were active in the area since April 27, 1594. 

Local government records indicate that Capas was created in 1712 and is among the oldest towns in the province of Tarlac. Its creation was justified by numerous settlements, which were already established in the riverbanks of Cutcut River since the advent of the 18th century. The settlements belonged to the domain of Pagbatuan and Gudya, the two villages unified by Capitan Mariano Capiendo when he founded the municipality. Due to the floods that frequently inundated the Cutcut riverbanks, the town was relocated to the upper area where it is now permanently established.

Etymologically, Capas derived its name from the vine capas capas, whose edible flowers are used as condiment for pinakbet. Another version indicates that the town took its name from a cotton tree, which is called capas (Ceiba pentandra Linn.) among the Ilocanos, bulak or kapok among the Kapampangans

Capas hosts the United States Naval Military Station until the Americans abandoned it during the powerful Mt. Pinatubo eruption in 1991.

Similarly, it is the terminal point of the infamous Death March during the Second World War. The Capas Concentration Camp was originally established as Camp O’Donnell in 1940. The camp served as the prison site to more than 40,000 Filipino soldiers and 9,000 American soldiers who were prisoners of war of the Japanese invaders. About 30,000 of these prisoners died of diseases and severe starvation. In this concentration camp, the dead soldiers were simultaneously buried in single and shallow graves. The obelisk of the Capas Shrine entombs the names of the unsung heroes of World War II who died fighting for freedom.

Capas is blessed with natural resources that brim with beauty and splendor. It is the gateway to the sensational Mount Pinatubo that buried the town with thick ashes in 1991. Today, the volcano’s river is a must to see by tourists.

As a tourist destination, Capas offers more than anyone knows: fine golf courses, spa centers, hot springs, mountain trekking, indigenous people, military camps, cuisine, street dancing and more.

 

CONCEPCION:   CITADELA OF HEROES AND FINE CUISINE

Concepcion lies on the southeastern tip of the province. Originally, it was part of Magalang, Pampanga until a great flood in 1863, which sent its inhabitants fleeing to safer grounds. The inhabitants went to two directions.  Those who took the southeastern side of San Bartolome went as far as Magalang near the slopes of Mt. Arayat. Another group went to the northeastern side selected the present location and called it barrio Matundok or Matondo. The settlers included the Yumuls, Castros, Dizons, Pinedas, Felicianos, Aquinos, Cortezes, Bermudeses, and many others.

The early settlers in Concepcion cut down trees to build their huts. The place was generally flat that made it suitable for agriculture. Two rivers, the Lucong and Parua, irrigated the area where they planted rice and much later, sugarcane.

They brought with them an image of the Immaculate Concepcion from whom they sought protection in their new home. Later, they named their town Concepcion after the Virgin of the Immaculate Concepcion who, according to the people, is miraculous.

Hallowed with numerous intellectual and heroic sons and daughters, Concepcion is the hometown of Benigno Ninoy Aquino, the greatest Filipino martyr of the modern times, who is married to Corazon C. Aquino, 11th President of thePhilippines.

Concepcion is synonymous to excellent food. It is the bowl of fine cuisine and exotic foodstuffs. Endowed with the Kapampangan tradition of preparing food, Concepcion soars high because of its admirable and first-rate culinary arts.

 

GERONA:   HOME OF AESTHETIC CRAFTS

Historically, the original name of Gerona was paontalon. Old folks claim that Paontalon was probably a Negrito word. This is reinforced by Dominican sources, which recorded the presence of Negritos in the area as early as 1704. The Dominicans reported that they covered a place called Paontalon, whose inhabitants were all Negritos. By 1718, Paontalon was listed as a visita of Paniqui (at that time, a town of the province of Pangasinan).  In 1753, Pontalon was relocated and renamed Barug, a Pangasinan word for “little forest.” Sources do not give any explanation why this was done subsequently; settlers from Ilocos were attracted to Barug, especially those from the towns of Bacarra, Badoc, and Sinait. Gradually, the settlers who grew in numbers occupied the forest.

The Dominicans supervised the visita in Barug, which only had some seventy families. The number rose to 461 in 1787. The Dominicans chose St. Catherine of Alexandria, virgin and martyr as the patron saint of Barug. The parish priest of Paniqui came once a week to say mass in the visita. In 1846, a parish priest was permanently assigned to attend to the spiritual needs of the community. The assignment of a parish priest to Barug coincided with the traditional date of its founding as a civil town. Thus, most town histories record the founding date of Gerona as 1846. However, Jean Mallat, in his travel account, explained that Barug (which he spelled as Baruc) was a town already existing in 1838 with 252 tribute payers and 1, 260 inhabitants. In any case, the name Barug was later changed to Gerona in 1851, after the Spanish hometown of the governor general, Claveria

A document signed by a certain Father Ciano dated June 13, 1877, described the ethnic groups residing inGeronaas speakers of four languages: Pangasinan, Ilocano, Tagalog, and Pampango. Of these, Ilocano was the most   widespread. Similarly, this account still holds true even nowadays. Based on the 1995 census, about 78.09% of the total household population speaks Ilocano, while Tagalog is spoken about 12.59% of the population, followed by the Kapampangans with 8.83%, respectively.

Geronawas officially created as an independent municipality onJuly 14, 1945. Its first appointed gobernadorcillo was Don Anacleto Melegrito.

Basically, it is an agricultural hamlet. This is why its huge flat rice lands are suitable and attractive to native and migratory birds called great heron. Hence, the Spanish word Gerona.

Considered as the halfway to the northern and southern Luzon areas, it is a fast growing town that teemed with thriving and blooming trade and industry. It prides itself with its aesthetic crafts in Christmas lantern making and the cabiaoan tradition of sugar cane production.

 

 

LA PAZ: THE CORRIDOR OF UPCOMING MARKET GROWTH AND BOOM

Like most other towns, the history of La Paz is recalled somewhat vaguely because it was dominated largely by legends and folklores, tainted with concommitant tragedy and mystery. Early chronicles state that there was once an old pueblo called Cama Juan that was situated along the banks of Chico River bordering theProvince ofTarlac, and Nueva Ecija.

Due to the overflowing of the Chico River, the whole pueblo was flooded. Cama Juan was totally devastated; its dwellings were destroyed; and scores of human lives were lost. Those who survived the flood evacuated and searched for a better place. They resettled on higher grounds not far from Cama Juan. The old site (Cama Juan) is up to this time being referred to as Bayang Iniwan or abandoned town.

Amidst the verdant field of grass and shrubs, the flood survivors began a new life. They called their newfound place, matayumtayum due perhaps, to the presence of abundant indigo vines called tayum (Marsdenia tinctoria R. Brown). The place flourished again through the constant hard work and industry of the people. Hence, the new settlement prospered in time and peace and tranquility reigned among the people. Under the paternal guidance of the older folks, the settlers maintained their seat of government in the said place.

Nearing the tides of the 19th century, General Francisco Soliman Macabulos, who became one of the foremost leaders of the Philippine Revolution, had conceived the idea of selecting the central site of the town at the where it stands at present.

For a long period,La Paz existed in name only for actually and politically; it was a barrio of Tarlac town up to the year 1892. During the same year, it was separated from the town of Tarlac and was created as an independent town. It was re-christenedLa Paz, in honor of the Patron Saint, Nuestra Senora de la Paz y Buen Viaje, with Don Martin Aquino as the first gobernadorcillo.

Later on, due to the heroic exploits of the town’s revolutionary forces,La Paz was made as the first seat of the Local Government of the Province of Tarlac with General Franciosco S. Macabulos as its first Provincial Governor. 

A serene town, La Paz will soon become the next corridor of economic growth and boom. Closely situated between the progressive towns and cities of Tarlac and Nueva Ecija, La Paz intersects itself to the economic growth centers of the Subic-Clark-Tarlac- Expressway (SCTEx). Soon, La Paz boom will definitely be unabated.

 

MAYANTOC: HALLOW GROUND OF NATURAL CALM AND SERENDIPITY

The first settlers of Mayantoc before the coming of the Christian migrants were the Negritos of the Abelling tribe.  As the former arrived in great number, the natives were soon forced to move deeper into the forest areas of Zambales Mountain Range.

The Christian settlers, mostly from Ilocos region (notably the towns of Cabugao, Tagudin, Sarrat, Paoay, Sinait and Bacarra), settled in the villages in the southern portion of a then Christian town Camiling, now acknowledged as the mother town ofMayanatoc. The place was then a forested area where enormous rattan palms are found. 

 In 1899, Mayantoc was created as a barrio of Camiling and was inaugurated into a town on January 1, 1917 with Don Francisco Santos y Pascual, the founder of the town, as its first Municipal President.

 In this historical town, General Francisco Macabulos established his military hide out during the revolutionary government.

 Mayantoc is a serene hamlet whose hallow ground is a picturesque of natural calm and serendipity. Geographically landscaped with graceful hills and mountains, its falls and streams are breathtakingly gasping and awesome. Aptly, Mayantoc is called as the Summer Capital of Tarlac. A potential tourism destination, the town’s sightseeing treasures and attractions need to be nurtured and discovered.

 

 

MONCADA: AN EMERGING EMPORIUM OF COMMERCE AND TRADE FAIRS

In the early years of the 1860s, four families from the barrio of Magaspac, Gerona, surreptitiously left their homes for fear of the Spanish curate, Father Modesto Perez. They settled in Sitio Caarosipan, the northern part of Paniqui. When the place became flooded and their crops were destroyed, they sought higher grounds and resettled in Sitio Payakan. The bounties of the place attracted other people from Pangasinan and Ilocos. These people joined those who were from Magaspac. Its people being hardworking, the sitio grew into a town. Later, it was named San Ramon in honor of their patron, Saint Raymond Nonnatus.

On May 1, 1845, a royal decree was issued by the Ministerio de Ultramar converting San Ramon into a town independent from its mother town, Paniqui and changing its name to Moncada.

Moncada lies in the northern part of Tarlac. It is bounded in the North by the municipality of San Manuel, in the West by Camiling, in the East by Anao, and in the South by Paniqui. It is comprised of 33 agricultural barangays and 4 poblacions with a total area of 8,575 hectares.

A third class municipality, it has a population of 49,607 people in 10,144 households (NSO, 200).

Beyond its traditional tobacco crops, Moncada is fast emerging as an emporium of commerce and trade fairs in the province today. Trade fairs enliven the industrial and technological ingenuities of the Tarlaquenos as craftsmen and entrepreneurs. As a manifestation of economic synergism, Moncada continues to strive forward towards progress and development and beyond time and standards. As an effect, the dignity of every Moncadeno benefits from the fruits of the town’s budding boom and economy.

 

PANIQUI: CITADEL OF ANTIQUITY

 

Paniqui was originally a part of Pangasinan and thus was listed in the Actas Capitulares as the oldest town founded in 1754 by the Spaniards. It became a parroquia (parish) of the Dominicans in 1686. It was raised into a Vicaria (vicariate) with Fr. Jose Sanchez as its first pastor in 1718.

At first, Paniqui was situated west of Tarlac River. Because of the attacks by Negritos, the Spaniards decided to move the town east of the river. But, because of flooding, it was moved several times until it was settled in acocolao, two kilometers from the present town. Sometime in 1720, Paniqui, as claimed by Raymundo and Miguel Paragas of Dagupan, became a sitio of Dagupan. Led by these two brothers, the sitio was called mangang marikit where bats or paniki swarmed at twilight. Today, mangang marikit is a part of Guimba, Nueva Ecija. It was in sitio acocolao where Sultan Alimudin was baptized in 1750.

The two rivers passing through the town from Nueva Ecija more than likely enriched the plains of Paniqui, enabling the people to raise coconuts, mangoes, and oranges such as cajeles and naranjitas. They also produced abundant rice. Thick forests covered the northern part of the town. They had molave, narra, canala, yakal, and other hardwood, which are good materials for construction and furniture making. Paniqui also had plenty of cotton trees, cacao, and coffee.

The original inhabitants of Paniqui were pure Pangasinenses. They lived near the center of the town, an area reached by the sound of church bells. The rest of the settlers were mostly Ilocanos who came during the 1830’s. Father Ramón Sanchez observed in 1869 that the different ethnic groups did not seem to mix with each other, keeping their languages to themselves (i.e., Ilocano, Pangasinan, Pampango, and Tagalog). Spanish was of course, spoken by the friars and officials of the Spanish government.

Paniqui was a sprawling town that covered a wide area during its early years. Some of the villages which were formerly portions of the town included San Roque now Cuyapo, Nueva Ecija; Barong now Gerona, San Jose de Camiling now Camiling, Bani now Ramos, San Ramon now Moncada, and Anao.

Today, industrious and frugal Ilocano settlers, aggressive yet peaceful Kapampangan immigrants, generous Pangasinenses, and liberty loving Tagalogs people the town. It is a thriving and progressive community with a total population of 78,883 (NSO, 2000). Falling within the belt of the melting pot of Central Luzon, every ordinary citizen of the town speaks with fluency the Ilocano, Kapampangan, Tagalog and Pangasinense languages.

Prominently situated along Mc Arthur Hi-way, Paniqui is a trade and commerce emporium. It hosts educational institutions, commercial and rural banks, a sugar mill, progressive public market, bold and devout people and vibrant culture.

As a citadel of history, Paniqui is a testimony of the past and present. Welded with strong determination and persuasion, these Tarlaquenos of Paniqui are working zealously to bring into it the Capitol of  Tarlac government.

 

PURA: BASKET OF CROP FRESH PRODUCE

 

It was during the Spanish regime when migrants coming from the Ilocos Region moved southward to look for arable lands. These early settlers were forced to abandon their place of birth because it had a narrow coastal plains and highlands where agriculture is not a promising means of livelihood.

These migrants decided to stay on the northeastern part of a future province later known to be TARLAC. The place at that time was thickly forested and so they took the initiative of clearing the area for agricultural purposes.  Because of kinship, they considered themselves pure Ilocano settlers of the place; hence, they named the place “pura”. Ethno-botanically, however, the name of the place is attributed to an obsolete Ilocano term”purak” (also called pandan lalake or pandan dagat) which enormously thrived in the area during those days because of its proximity to the huge Chico River. The river thrived with mangroves at that time where “purak” abundantly grow.  

Pura began as a barrio of Gerona known as Barrio De Villa. As its settlers grew, a clamor for a township arose. Hence, its leaders filed a petition to the proper authorities to have the settlement converted into town. In 1877, through the initiative and efforts of Fr. Pedro Graneta, Pura won and enjoyed its bid for political status as pueblo or town.

In 1908, Don Felix Melegrito was appointed as the first Presidente Mayor under American regime. In 1941-1944, Gabriel Nebre was the last Mayor before the war while Mayor Pedro Parcasio was the first Mayor after the war 1945-1952 followed by Mayor Nestor Gamit – 1963-1971, Severino Valdez – 1972-1975, 1976-1979, Nestor Gamit 1980-1986, Pioquinto Cortez – 1998-1992, Wilfredo Y. Sawit – 1992-1995, Nicolas Uy – 1995-1998, Mario Maddela – 1998-2001 and  in 2001 was Wilfredo Y. Sawit. The people derived their livelihood from its vast agricultural lands where they raised sugar and rice as major crops.

 

 

RAMOS: IDYLLIC TOWN OF NUPTIALS AND FEASTS

The Municipality of Ramos is located at the northeastern part of the Province of Tarlac. It is approximately 28.6 kilometers away from Tarlac City. It is geographically bounded by the Municipality of Pura in the south (5.1 kms), Municipality of Paniqui at the northwestern part (7.1 kms), Municipality of Gerona at the southwestern part (10.9 kms), Municipality of Anao in the northern part (10 kms), Municipality of Nampicuan, Nueva Ecija in the northeastern part (10.5 kms) and municipality of Guimba, Nueva Ecija at the southeast (23.1 kms).

Ramos is a barrio of Paniqui until it was converted into a town in 1921. Originally named bani, it was later named after its founder, Don Geminiano Ramos and Don Alfonso Ramos (who was a governor of Tarlac).

Agriculture is the chief source of its economy that includes rice, vegetable, sugarcane and mango production. Fishing is a supplementary source of income for the people of the town.

It has a population of 16,889 (NSO, 2000). The people are mostly Catholic and the town’s Catholic Church, St. Therese of the Child Jesus, is popularly called Wedding Church of the Century. Its Catholic church is simple, yet, enormously beautiful and famous.

 

SAN CLEMENTE: FOOD BOWL OF TARLAC

San Clemente, formerly a sitio of Camiling is located on the westernmost part of Tarlac. Oblong in shape, it is between themunicipalityof Camilng in Tarlac and themunicipalityof Mangatarem in Pangasinan. Its early settlers were the industrious Ilocano who came from Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur.They settled in sitio San Clementein search of fertile agricultural lands. To be able to farm, they burned and cut down trees.

Based on archival records,San Clemente was created as a town by virtue of a superior decree dated November 14, 1876. It consisted of barrio Macarang, which was taken from the town of Camiling, and barrio Taguipan that was detached from Mangatarem, Pangasinan. The superior decree establishing San Clementeas a town was affirmed by a royal order dated June 10, 1879.

Records indicate that the early settlers of this town, said to be the Dumlao, Trini-dad, Loria, Espiritu, Martin, etc., were mostly of the Ilocano stock who came from the Ilocos Region in a quest for better economic opportunities in the abundantly fertile agricultural lands. These prominent people were indeed endowed with the vision to transform their adopted abode into a wholesome place to live. Thus, local governance has always been viewed at the socio-economic development perspective. The local chief executive position then did not only entail the laborious task of administration but also the shelling-out of sizable pecuniary contributions to pursue a project… up to the extent of donating tracks of land for public utilization. The public plaza, market, municipal building, school buildings, church, etc., were constructed on donated lands.

Structures in the locality reminiscent of the past era of colonization such as church, school buildings, houses, bridges, etc. have gradually given way to the modern day’s engineering designs for relative purposes. The venerable tradition of the Filipino hospitality however, remained alive and in practice – where every visitor is genially accorded the honored guest treatment.

To these days, the descendants of the early families still maintain their residency to perpetuate the legacy of productivity left by their ancestors. Consciously instilled, industry, which characterizes their Ilocano predecessors, is likewise evident. Through the years, the industrious townspeople toiled enough to realize the economic sufficiency everyone claims for. Modesty aside, modern day technological advances for domestic comforts are ubiquitous in majority of the households. The people rely mainly on farming as a source of livelihood; nowadays, local labor resources have gone their way overseas for better and more lucrative opportunities to improve their lot.

The municipality owes its growth mainly to the industry of its townspeople and to the public officials who took the cudgel one after another in the quest for prosperity. The election held in 1915 catapulted the first highest municipal official by the title, Presidente Municipal, the equivalent of Municipal Mayor in today’s structure. The chronology of the mayoralty terms of office is purposely detailed hereunder in order to give tribute and relive the legacy they have in one way or another mustered during their time.

 

 

SAN JOSE: HAMLET OF RUSTIC BEAUTY

Before San Jose became a town, the barangays comprising the municipality remained in state of lassitude. Socially and economically, no significant signs of progress can ever be seen for many years. Illiteracy was high and health sanitation was very inadequate. These circumstances required the people to unite. Led by then ABC President of Tarlac town, Amado de Leon and Samuel M. Eugenio, then barangay captain of Mababanaba and current Vice-Mayor of San Jose, passed a petition creating themunicipalityofSan Jose, which was submitted to President Corazon C. Aquino. The municipality was to comprise 13 barangays.

As early as 1927, the creation of this western part of Tarlac town into a municipality was already conceived. During the same year, the late Don Benigno Aquino, Sr., together with Rev. Gregorio Aglipay, founder of the Aglipayan Church fêted the approval of the change of name of Cadaanan into Villa Aglipay, in honor of Monsgr. Gregorio Aglipay, and at the same time, declaring it officially as a barrio. On that occasion, Don Benigno Aquino, Sr. vowed for the creation of the community as a municipality in this western part of Tarlac, Tarlac with Villa Aglipay as the municipal site. This however, did not materialize because of the untimely demise of Don Benigno Aquino, Sr.

Later, this dream was to be pursued by Benigno Ninoy Aquino, Jr. As governor of Tarlac, he envisioned the same by making San Jose as the site of the Provincial Capitol and to make Tarlac town, a city. However, for political reasons, this plan was shelved. Events further dampened that vision when Martial Law was declared in 1972. Ninoy Aquino did not live to see the birth of San Jose when he was assassinated on his return trip to the country in 1983.

The petition creating San Jose into a municipality was made possible through the efforts of Hon. Jose G. Macapinlac, Mayor of Tarlac, Hon. Jose Cojuangco, Governor of Tarlac, and Hon. Jose V. Yap, Sr., Congressman, 2nd District of Tarlac. Soon House Bill No. 5619 was filed in Congress for enactment. The House of Representatives and Senate passed Republic Act No. 6842 creating the municipality of Jose on September 1, 1989 and October 3, 1989, respectively. The Act was approved and signed on January 5, 1990 by her Excellency President Corazon C. Aquino. Submitted to the people in a plebiscite, majority of voters ratified the Act, thus, making the municipality of San Jose, the 18th town of the Province of Tarlac. In administering the governance of the town, President Aquino appointed municipal officials led by Jose V. Yap, Jr. as Municipal Mayor, Samuel S. Eugenio as Vice-Mayor and 8 Municipal Councilors.

Today, the rustic hamlet of San Jose is striving to become an agro-industrial town. The local government and non-local government agencies are currently undertaking development plans to make certain its visions are realized. Citizen participation ensures the benefit, growth and sustainability of the town.

Dubbed as the eco-tourism park of the province, it is noted for its graceful mountains, hills, cascades and greeneries. It hosts the well-known Monasterio de Tarlac that enshrines the consecrated relic of the Holy Cross of Jesus Christ.

 

 

SAN MANUEL: BORDER TOWN OF A BOOMING ECONOMY

 

San Manuel is known to be a forest covered with thick marshes and grasses during the earliest times. It is also covered with dense marshlands, lakes and creeks. Wild animals gamely roamed into the woods and wilderness until the adventurous people from Zambales and Pangasinan discovered the fertile grounds of the area.  Later, migrants from the Ilocos region settled into the lush green fields of the place and started new life. The settlers cleared the lands using their crude implements and started growing rice and corn. The early settlers also engaged in hunting wild deer, pigs, birds and other forest animals to sustain their subsistence.

The town of San Manuel was the biggest village of Moncada and was called San Jose in 1902. In 1909, it was converted as a town, and was name in memory of its founder, Don Manuel de Leon.

When the prosperous village of San Jose was separated from the town of Moncada, the jubilant and proud people of the town grouped themselves together to intensify the progress and development of the municipality.

The municipality of San Manuel is bounded on the north by the province of Pangasinan, the province of Nueva Ecija on the east, municipality of Anao, Tarlac on the south and the town of Moncada, Tarlac on the southwest.  It has a population of 22,747 (NSO, 2005) and its economy is totally dependent on agriculture.

San Manuel as a border town is gradually booming with economy. Its robust agriculture generates agro-industrial enterprises that largely sustain its economy. Small business and industrial establishments begin to show and grow. This indicates boom and confidence. San Manuel has a young economy, yet, it is surging high and beyond.

 

 

SANTA IGNACIA: TOWN OF INTREPID ARTISANS

 

Historically, the first inhabitants of Santa Ignacia were Negritos, but were driven to the mountainous portion of the province when the first migrants from Ilocos, lead by a man whose family name is Madriaga, occupied the place. The new settlers called the place binaca, an Ilocano word which means plenty of cows. Up to 1845, Binaca (now Nambalan) was a barrio of Camiling. Robbers, from 1845 to 1874, plundered the barrio. This forced a petition for Binaca to become a town, with Don Felipe Cabugsa as its gobernadorcillo, in order that it could have its own police force. 

A superior decree dated May 6, 1874, modified by another decree dated May 22, 1876, called for the creation of barrio Binaca into a civil town, and named it Santa Ignacia. These two decrees were approved by a royal decree dated August 13, 1880.  Occasionally, the parish priest from Camiling performed spiritual service for the town.

Despite being upgraded to the status of a town, the area continued to be the target of attacks by thieves or tulisanes who stole the work animals and personal belongings of the residents. Again in 1888, robbers forced their way into Santa Ignacia, looting all they could get including the timbre del tribunal (official seal).

In 1899, during the administration of Don Manuel Briones, Presidente Municipal, a revolutionary government was established in Santa Ignacia but later, was taken over by the administration of the United States of America.

On January 1, 1914, after the intervention of the Provincial Board of Tarlac and upon the insistent demand of the people that the first Municipal Council of Santa Ignacia was inaugurated composed of Don Isidro Alviar as the Presidente Municipal; Don Eulogio Madriaga as the Vice-Presidente, and Don Santiago Aviguero, Don Pedro Guerrero, Don Silvestre Lacuin, Don Alipio Pascasio and Don Antonio Colimay as Councilors.

Subsequently, the municipality has evolved as a surging commercial town today. 

Then and now, Santa Ignacia’s fertile and rich agricultural lands are its chief livelihood, which is largely based on farming. Its major crops are rice and different fruits and vegetables.

Endowed with the Ilocano tradition of pottery making, the rustic town of Santa Ignacia is well known for the production of high quality earthen pots and other terracotta products.

Beyond agriculture and terracotta, Sta. Ignacia creates itself as an emerging town of intrepid entrepreneurs and hardworking artisans. It produces fine handicrafts, sculpture, smoked fish stuffs, and the famous inangit product.

 

 

THE COSMOPOLITAN CITY OF TARLAC

 

The city of Tarlac has had a colorful and significant history. Its story may very well be the story of Tarlac province itself, which came into being only in 1873-74, eighty six years after Tarlac town was formally founded in 1788.

Tarlac town may be the earliest native settlement occupied by the Spanish military force, this side of Pampanga.  Based on records, Tarlac was organized into praesido (fort) as early as 1593. It was one among several forts set up to maintain Spanish sovereignty in the area. The fort was located in a sitio called Porac.

By 1686, Tarlac was raised to a Spanish pueblo. That same year, it became an ecclesiastical town but still dependent on Porac for civil administration. Priests from Magalang, Pampanga administered it.

In 1788, Tarlac was raised to a civil town independent of Porac while remaining a town of Pampanga province. Tarlac town regained its civil town status when it became one of the towns of the newly created province of Tarlac in 1873. Thus, its population steadily grew. From 900 souls in 1732, it rose to 2,273 with 1,230 paying tributes. By 1855, Tarlac had 7,920 inhabitants (12 Europeans and 7,908 indigents). They spoke Pampango, Ilocano, Tagalog, Pangasinan, Español, and Zambal. This number increased to 12,340 in 1890.

Since then, the magnitude of its population has enormously increased. The 2000 actual census on population conducted by National Statistics Office, Region III, shows that Tarlac town (now Tarlac City) has a population of 262, 481. Based on the 1995 census conducted by the NSO with in Tarlac City, the Kapampangan language represents 75.22% as spoken by the people, Tagalog (14.58%), Ilocano (8.55%) and other ethnic languages (1.65%), respectively.

Its early settlers came from Bacolor, Pampanga, among them were Don Carlos Miguel and Don Narciso Castaneda, who before 1788, with their families and followers trekked through the forests and hills of Porac and Bamban until they finally reached and settled down in what is today called Tarlac City. They cleared the forest and tilled the fertile soil until a settlement emerged along the riverbank, which flowed across the town.

The community rapidly grew with settlers coming from Zambales, Pampanga, Bataan, Pangasinan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and elsewhere. The kapampangan language became the lengua francain the community, as it was part of Pampanga province in those days. The two leaders, Miguel and Castaneda succeeded in carrying out their pioneering venture through benevolent leadership, which elicited the cooperation of their followers. Thus, roads were built; barrios were established without monetary expenditure, only through the common efforts of everyone. It also marked the beginnings of Tarlac as a melting pot ofCentral Luzon, with a mixture of divergent people working decidedly for the common good.

Later, it was unanimously agreed by the growing populace to request the authorities in Manila to convert the community into a town. Don Carlos Miguel prepared the needed resolution and forwarded it to the Spanish authorities. In 1788, a decree was issued by Captain General Don Felix Berenguer de Marquina, proclaiming Tarlac as town under the territorial jurisdiction of Pampanga, whose capital then was Bacolor.

The first gobernadorcillo (later called municipal) was Don Carlos Miguel in 1788. Together with Don Narciso Castaneda, he established the foundation of Tarlac town.  Don Luis Briones in 1789 followed him. It was during his term as the second gobernadorcillo that the Legend of San Sebastian started. It is said that sometime that year, an armed band of tulisanes were stopped from marauding the town by the young boy who turned out to be no less than San Sebastian himself.

Tarlac is represented prominently in the eight rays of the Philippine flag because it was among the first provinces to join the revolution in 1986. The K.K.K of Andres Bonifacio found early adherents among Tarlaquenos, headed by Don Francisco Tanedo, after whom the town’s principal thoroughfare was named. Don Francisco Tanedo was killed in the encounter with the Spanish guardia civil at the outset of the revolution. His early death inflamed the citizenry and his relatives. Followers were bent on capturing the town by any means, but were dissuaded by Don Eusebio Tanedo Iro,who volunteered to see his friend, General Monet (former politico-military) governor of Tarlac and at that time, the highest military official in Pampanga. Denying that the Tarlaquenos at that time were involved in the revolution, Don Eusebio was able to obtain orders from General Monet to stop military operations in Tarlac. However, peace did not reign long in Tarlac because Generals Francisco Macabulos and Jose Alejandrino already started their offensive against the Spanish forces .On June 25, 1898, Spanish soldiers surrendered in Tarlac.

The Miguels, descendants of one the pioneers of the town, Don Carlos Miguel, changed their family name to Tanedo in 1872 upon the promulgation of the Claveria decree on surnames. It is said that the Miguel preferred the masculine version of Castaneda, and Tanedo was also in compliance with the designated starting letter for all Tarlac surnames. It is therefore, not surprising that many Tarlaquenos to this day bear such surnames as   Taala, Taar,  Tabamo, Taban, Tabaquero, Tamayo, Tamondong, to name a few.

President Emilio Aguinaldo proudly proclaimed the Philippine Republic onJanuary 23, 1899in Malolos, Bulacan. Assemblance of an independent government was formed, with a law making body, Malolos Congress, a cabinet headed by Apolinario Mabini (who was foreign affaires minister), a judiciary, and of course, an army led by General Antonio Luna. A state university, the Universidad Literaria de Filipinas, was also opened.

By July 1899, with the tides of war turning against Aguinaldo, Tarlac became the last capital of the short-lived republic which was then on the run. Among the deputies who were in Tarlac to attend sessions of Congress included Fernando Ma. Guerrero of Manila, representing Leyte; Daniel Tirona of Cavite, representing Batanes; Tomas Mascarado of Batangas, representing Sorsogon; Servillano Aquino of Tarlac, representing Samar; and Fransisco Macabulos of Tarlac representing Cebu.

Since 1788, the town has significantly progressed making it the nucleus of Tarlac province. It has encountered countless hardships in the course of its existence. Through the years, Tarlac has survived natural and political crises among others, yet, has proven itself as a fast emerging cosmopolitan in the region.

Proclaimed as a component city onApril 19, 1998 by virtue of Republic Act No. 8593 to be known as the City of Tarlac, Tarlac City is bustling with economy, industry, commerce, tourism, culture, ethnicity and spirituality.

As a cosmopolitan city, it nestles a great future of wealth and prosperity. With the emergence of mega-structures along its periphery, Tarlac City is in the road map of economic boom and miracles. Undoubtedly, its cosmopolitanism makes itself as the next terminal of progress and development.

 

 

LA VICTORIA: PUEBLO PATRIMONIO DE TARLAC
(HERITAGE TOWN OF TARLAC)

 

Victoria was originally called Canarem, after lake canarem. It was a barrio of the town of Tarlac when the latter was still part of Pampanga province. It was renamed La Victoria by governor-general Manuel Gorospe through a decree issued on March 28, 1855, to commemorate the victory of the carlitas, the supporters of Queen Isabela during the Civil War.

The earliest inhabitants of the town came from the Ilocos regions. Between 1849 and 1851, Victoria’s fertile lands lured them. The settlers chose to reside along the lake where fish was abundant. Their first settlement was known as Namitinan, which became barrio San Vicente de Bautista of Tarlac town in 1852.

The other pioneers came from the towns of Sta. Lucia, Ilocos Sur and from Badoc, Ilocos Norte. They built their homes adjacent to each other. In 1852, with the increasing number of population totaling 4, 600, the Spanish authorities designated Don Andres Rigor and don Vicente Taguinaldo to serve as cabezas de barangay.

On November 25, 1854, the residents led by two cabezas de barangay, filed a petition to the government in Manila and demanded that Canarem (still a barrio then) be separated from its mother town, Tarlac, a town in Pampanga at that time. The petitioners argued that they were already paying more than of 200 tributes, and that the Ilocano settlers called for the separation of Canarem from Tarlac, so they did not need to do community work outside their own. Governor General Gorospe approved the petition to separate Canarem and turn it into a new municipality. He, then, signed the decree making Canarem a civil town on March 28, 1855. As stated earlier, it was renamed Victoria, meaning victory to commemorate the victory of the loyal followers of Queen Isabela of Spain over the moors.

Although it became a municipality, ecclesiastically, Victoria remained under the jurisdiction of Tarlac town. Thus, on December 13, 1865, a group of principales led by Don Nicolas Rigor, Dionisio Marcelo, and Gabriel Valdez petitioned the Spanish authorities to establish Victoria as a parochial town ecclesiastically independent from Tarlac. The requirements for the opening of the new parochial town were already completed including the nearly finished convento and the tribunal house. Despite the scarcity of parish priests at that time, Governor General Jose dela Gandara y Navarro (1866-1869) brought up the matter to the consultative body of the Spanish monarch on November 26, 1866.  As a result, the parochial town of Victoria was created on April 27, 1867.

On July 31, 1866, Governor General Fernando de Norzagaray issued a mandate instructing the governors of Pampanga and Pangasinan to establish the boundaries of Victoria and Tarlac.  Seven years earlier, prior to this mandate, Fray Saturnino Pinto, the parish priest of Tarlac, ordered the pulling out of the fixed boundaries. This act was supported by some principales of Tarlac who objected to the creation of the municipality of Victoria for this would decrease the number of parishioners under Fray Pinto. As an offshoot of this incident, the boundaries of Sitio Baguia was also removed by Tarlac’s officials, and placed in Sitio Malawit. This reduced the size of Victoria by some two kilometers in width. It would appear that some elites among the Tarlaqueños during that time were against converting canarem into a town. Further, they found an influential ally in the person of the parish priest, Fray Pinto. It is purported that the parish priest gave the final approval to incorporate the sitios of Bulala, Paltoc, Narsigan, Pulong Ganla, Pulong Palico, and Kalamkan into the town of Tarlac, with the assistance of rich and influential landowners who in the course of time became the owners of those lands.

CULTURE AND BELIEFS

There were waves of migration, which formed Victoria: the Kapampangans and the Ilocanos. Being Christianized by the Spanish colonizers, Immaculate Concepcion became the town’s patron saint. The passion during Lenten Season is sung in three dialects. For example, in poblacion area, the Kapampangan version is chanted in San Fernando, Tagalog in San Gavino and Ilocano from the rest of the town proper. While Ilocano and Kapampangan are spoken in most of the town, Tagalog is also widely spoken in public places to facilitate universal understanding.

The presence of the three languages in the same town did not produce a pidgin tongue. Each language retained its integral and basic characteristics. While this continues to be the outstanding feature of the town, Victoria is a town of heritage (pueblo de patrimonio) treasured with beautiful history.

Today, Victoria has come a very long way. Now a third class municipality, it unveils its rich cultural heritage as it preserves its century old dwellings and other Spanish architectural designs of various edifices. As they may be partly ravaged by war or have remained intact and grandiose through the years, they capture the memoirs of the good old past.

Victoria may not be a prominent town but it is gradually becoming one. The magnetism it holds is its people’s smiles and simplicity and the hospitality they behold. The creativity of its people is manifested in their industry and resiliency; patience and perseverance as shown in their ability to stride above all trials, are distinguishing traits that they are very well known for.

Although modernization has influenced the progress and development of the town, the rich Victorian culture is sustained. Evidently, Victoria’s cultural heritage is a reminiscence of its traditional prominence and affluence.

Just like any town in the province, fiestas are still popular traditions, which are pompously celebrated by all. Fiestas are time-honored thanksgiving celebrations in honor of the patron saints that the people revere.  Lenten season is observed with holiness and religiousness. Penitents devotedly practice panata by carrying wooden cross and the kalbaryos are also set up along the roadsides where the pasyon or the passion of Christ is sung. Processions are held on the afternoon of Good Friday and the salubong during the early dawn of Easter Sunday.

Come summer season, when flowers are in bloom, young ladies are once again enjoined to wear their gown for the Santa Cruzan as the highlight of May Festival.

Love for arts abound in this town. Talents are found everywhere. Local bands mushroom in almost every corner. Performing artists enthusiastically display their skills and prowess that awe the townspeople to surprises especially during the town fiesta.

Victoria may be a quiet town not imminent, so to speak, but this is an analogue to the humility of the town folks. Victorians would rather act than speak. They are people of performance and achievements rather than pronouncements and empty talks. For once, the sleepy town has finally risen up.

TOPONOMY OF TARLAC TOWNS AND VILLAGES

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Reminiscent of the indigenous origin of Tarlac, most of its towns and villages are aboriginally named based on faunal, floral and geographical nature. The place-names indicate the pre-historic conditions of Tarlac. The names also provide the ingenuity of the early people of Tarlac as regards their way of life, traditions, customs, mores, and other cultural elements that helped configured their identity, what Tarlac is about nowadays. This is toponomy, the study of the origins and meanings of Tarlac towns and villages. It is note worthy that some Tarlac names of places contain stories (contrary to tales and myths), which serve as empirical groundwork in laying the foundation of the unknown ancient roots of Tarlac as a unique and multi-dimensional province.

 Tarlac

 Tarlac (Themeda arundinacea (Roxb.) Ridl.) is species of wild grass that selectively and abundantly grows in moist and sloping hilly areas. The reed is aboriginally called tallak and is popularly known tanglar among Ilocanos and malatarlak to the Kapampangans. The word Tarlac is an orthographic term probably used by the Spaniards. The early orthography of the Filipinos uses k instead of c. Letter c is Spanish in origin. 

Tarlac City, the capital town of Tarlac province, has numerous villages (barangays) that are indigenous in nature and are mostly floral in origin. The following barangays are named after trees: Agoho or agoo (Casuarina equistifolia Linn.) is commonly called aguso; Amucao (Musa errans Blco.) is a wild banana plant with plentiful seeds; it is also called sagin butulan or butuan; Balete (Ficus benjamina Linn.) is popularly described as dwelling place of dwarf-like spirits (nunu) and ghost (maglalage); Balibago (Hibiscus tiliaceus Linn.); Balanti (Homolanthus populneus Geisel.); Baras-baras (Euonymus cochinchinensis Pierre) and Capehan (Coffea arabica Linn). Bantog or buntog (Dysoxylum decandrum Merr.) is a tree. Buntog is a tree reaching a height of 10 to 20 meters, and the juice of the fresh bark is bitter and commonly used for coughs.

 Care (Cajanus cajan) is pigeon pea. (Barangays) Batang-batang (Cissampelos paraeria Linn) and Tariji (tari-tari-Blechum pyramidatum Lam.) are species of vines.

Binauganan (bayug or baugin-Bambusa arundinacea Vill.) is a strong bamboo used for making houses, decorations, and handicrafts. Dalayap (Citrus aurantifola Swingle) is a fragrant lime used in leche flan making; Ungot (Coco nucifera Linn.) is the source of virgin oil (larung ungut) and its latik is commonly used dressing rice cake (kalame) dressing, Banaba (Legerstroemia speciosa Linn.) is an excellent medicinal plant for curing kidney problems and is called mitla among the Kapampangans.

 Matatalaib (talaib-Saccharum spontaneum Linn. Subsp. Indicum Hack.) is called palat or cogon, and is commonly used in cubed house (bale kubo) making.  Maliwalo means plenty of catcher fish that commonly thrives in rivers, ditches, irrigation canals and rice paddies. Catcher fish have sharp fins that can cause fever when accidentally pricked by them.

Villages that indicate direction include (Barangays) Calingcuan (extreme curved line), Sepung Calsada (end of the road), Salapungan (junction, cross road), and Burot (probably burol, hill). Panampunan derived its name from the Kapampangan word apun (to take shelter); hence, panampunan literally means a sheltering site for people or animals.

(Barangays) Tibag and Tibagan connote soil erosion. Both barangays are prone to erosion because they are situated along Tarlac River. Sapang Maragul means wider river, while Sapang Tagalog is a narrow river. Balingcanaway is believed to be a species of bird. However, it is also possible that balingcanaway is balingcawayan (Pittosporum pentandrum Blanco Merr.). It is a tree, which occasionally reaches a height of 20 meters. The whole tree is smooth except for the inflorescence. Women, following childbirth, use its leaves in their bath.

 Mapalacsiao refers to baggase (bagasu). Paraiso (Lygodium japonicum ) is commonly called anay or miracle tree. Carangian is a medicinal plant that derived its name from karanian (Ouratea angustifolia Vahl.). The plant is a smooth, small, and with many branches. Its flowers are numerous, yellow, very small, and its seeds are erect, with a green embryo. The roots and leaves are bitter and are used in the form of decoction as a tonic and for curing stomach ache. 

 Bora probably derived its name from the large fern borador (Cibotium barometz Linn.). The stipes of the plant is one meter or more tall, and is covered with dense yellow hairs at the base. The long hairs from the rhizomes are used as a styptic for coagulating the blood to arrest hemorrhages.

Cutcut refers to the old graveyard of the town of Tarlac. Laoang or lawa means lagoon or river. Ligtasan (v. to escape safely, adj. safe, n. safety) means safety place. Mabini means plenty of seeds or seedlings. Maligaya and Mapalad connote fortune, luck, or wellness; and Culipat is believed to be a bird.

(Barangays) Villa Bacolor and Sinait were named after the pioneering settlers of the villages. The pioneering settlers were from Bacolor, Pampanga, and Sinait, Ilocos Sur respectively.

 Molave, a village of San Isidro is also called bulaon (Vitex parviflora Juss.). A popular place in Matatalaib called Lalam Goma was named after the rubber tree (Habea brasiliensis Mull.). 

Bamban

Bamban (Donax cannaeformis (Forst. F)K. Schum.) is a weed that is used in making baskets. Some of its villages include Anupul (Poikilospermum suaveolens Merr.), a strong vine (wake or baging); Culubasa (Cucurbita maxima Dusch.) is a popular vine and commonly used as vegetable, jam, rice cake, candies, and medicine; Dapdap (Erythrina variegate Linn.) is a type of tree and Bangcu (bangkau-Rhizophora stylosa Griff.). It is also possible that barangay Bangcu is a popular place for making native benches.

 Pandan (Pandanus gracilis Blco.) is aboriginally (also an Ilocano term) called purac and is known as pandan lalaki or screw pine. Pandan leaves and fruits are known as effective cure for kidney and arthritis problems. Pandan mabango is popularly used as flavoring (milled and glutinous rice, drinks, and desserts). Pacalcal (Melanopelis multiglandulosa Reinw.) and Calumpang (Sterculia foetida Linn.) are species of trees. Layak is vine. Matalusad means slippery and Taisan is a fine stone used for sharpening tools or weapons.

Capas

 Capas (Ceiba pentandra Linn.) owes its name from bulak (Kapampangan), kapok (Tagalog). Capas is an Ilocano term. Kapas-kapas is a vine that is also popularly called pusa-pusa. Its flowers are used as mixtures in preparing pinakbet.

 Popular villages of this town that bear indigenous names include the following: Susuba (to go upstream, to ascend), Cubcub (to surround, to subdue, to attack, to invade), Cutcut (v. to bury, n. graveyard), Lawy a general term for rattan or yantuk, Manlapig (to loop, to fit), Talaga (well, spring, ditch), Maruglu (duglo-Mucana sericophylla Perk. is species of vine), Mangga (Mangifera indica Linn.) and Kalangitan (elevated ground, plateau). Malutung Gabun refers to the deep red color of the place where pottery-making material is taken. Patling is believed to be a type of bird.

 Concepcion

Concepcion is originally a part of the town of Magalang, Pampanga. It is a town of lush greens, rice fields, trees and rivers. Calius (Calius lactescens Blco.) is a tree whose fine branches are used to make Christmas tree and decorations. Balutu or balbalutu (Cynodon dactylon Linn.) is a species of grass that commonly grows along rice fields and riverbanks. Its stems can be used to tie or bundle farm crops and harvests. The ancient boat called balutu was inspired from the grass because of the nicety of its stems and prominence in water.  Magao or magau is locally called sulasi (Ocimum sanctum Linn.) Sulasi is an erect, herbaceous or half-woody branched plant, one meter high or less. The stems and younger parts are covered with spreading hairs, and its flowers are pink or purplish. The plant is used for treating pasbu or pasma and for other medicinal and industrial purposes. Kulatingan (Pterospermum obliquum Blco.) is a species of tree.

 Dungan and Parulung have relatively synonymous meaning. They indicate downward movement (from a higher elevation to a lower level usually river. These terms are commonly used to indicate direction for rivers or rice fields). Thus, dungan is a boat terminal and parulung is a rolling hill.

 The rustic villages of Lilibangan (grazing land), Malupa (fertile land), Parang (meadow), Tinang (suitable land), Minane (mound of termites), and Kural Kambing (goat pen) indicate the rich agriculture nature of the places. As green fields, these villages are excellent sources of farm products such as rice, sugarcane, vegetable, fish and meat. Places that describe shapes include Mabilog (circle, round), and Telabanca (boat-shaped). Other rural barangays are Talimunduc (hill), Dutung Matas (forest with tall trees), Panalicsican (hunting/forested site), Pitabunan is synonymous to the term banlik (a place prone to soil topping), Café (Coffea arabica Linn.) and Almendras (Terminalia cattapa Linn). Castillo is reminiscent of the Spanish fortress built in behalf of the Kapampangan warriors in the famous Pampanga Revolt of 1660.

 Other villages include Darabulbul (bursting bubbles from a spring), Mapacu (Athyrium esculentum Retz.), Buntuk Babi (pig head), Magunting (scissor shaped), Balas (sand), and Lalam Kuayan (bamboo shades). Balen Melakwan literally means town that was left behind. It was originally the settlement of Magalang, the mother town of Concepcion before it was covered with mud.

 Anao

 Anao (Livistona rotundifolia Lam.) is aboriginally called anawo-a palm tree that is used to make hats and rain capes. At present, the town of Anao is popular for ilang-ilang (Cananga odorata Lamk.) production. Some of its barangays are Balete (Ficus benjamina Linn.) which is believed to be the old name of Anao, Bantog (buntog-Dysoxylum decandrum Merr.), Casili (Capsicum anuum Linn.) and Baguindoc (probably baging bundoc-a wild forest vine).

 Camiling

 Camiling is a town of many indigenous trees. Kamiing (Adinandra luzonica Merr.) is a known aboriginal tree that belongs to the wild cashew plants. The Ilocanos of the town popularly call the tree camiring and later camiling. Its villages that bear names of trees include Anoling (Pisonia umbellifera Forst.), Cabanabaan (Lagerstroemia speciosa Linn.), Malacampa or makopa (Syzygium samarangense Blume.), Pao (Mangifera altissima Linn.), Papaac or kamansi/bread fruit (Artocarpus communis Forst.), Tambugan (tambuyugan-Ficus umigera Mig.), and Tuec (tui-Dolichandrone spathacea Linn.). 

Bamboos are important products of the town, hence, the villages of Cayaoan (Bambusa spinosa Blume.) and Cayasan (to scrub, to clean the surface as in bamboo).

 Many villages of Camiling are story telling. Barangay Lasong or al-song (asong in Kapampangan) is a wooden mortar, while al-o (along in Kapampangan) is the pestle. The al-song and al-o are used in pounding mature or half-ripe rice grains to produce clean grains. Usually, healthy growing rice plants (thus, barangay Matubog) are good sources of rice grains. Half-matured rice grains (hence, barangay Manupeg) are excellent grains for tupeg and inuruban or duman products. Empty rice grains and hull are simply pushed or thrown away (thus, barangay Marawi) to the ground to feed chickens and ducks.

When harvest is plentiful, people celebrate (Barangay Nagrambacan) with festivity and thanksgiving to the Lord Almighty.

Probably, early farmers traditionally group (Barangay Nagserialan) in a specific place to discuss farming matters with regard pests and diseases control and prevention, harvesting tools and procedures, land preparation management and the like. Usually, the farmers’ schools are the open spaces of the fields held under thick and shady tree canopies (Barangay Palimbo), and one example of these shady trees is arusip (Antidesma bunius Linn.) where Barangay Palimbo-Caarosipan (arusip canopy) has derived its name. It is also possible that farmers used tree trunks as markers (thus, barangay Sinulatan), which served as planting calendars and for other purposes.

The villages of Bilad and Pindangan are located along rivers (Barangay Carael) where types of fish and meat abundantly thrived during those days. Bilad means to dry something under the sun and pindang (dried meat/fish) or pindangan is a prominent drying place for these stuffs. Deer meat and beef (Barangay Bacabac) are good sources of pindang. The meats are carefully sliced from the slaughtered animals (Barangay Bancay) before they are processed into dried meat (pindang).

 The word bancay (bangkay in Tagalog or bangke in Kapampangan) also refers to dead vines, trees or human.

Carael literally means many rivers, and Barangay Bobon means well or spring. Sawat is probably the aquatic herb saua (Nelumbium nelumbo Linn.) and is popularly called lotus. Sinilian means to mix something (like meat or vegetables) with pepper (Capsicum annum Linn.), Surgi means to move or divert (like water) from one place to another. Probably, this is an irrigation method used by farmers before and is still practiced today.

 Libueg has probably taken its name from the tree buigan (Ficus pedunculosa Miq. var. conferttifolia (Merr.). Hence, libuigan means a place planted with the species of these trees. However, libeg also refers to the murky or dark color of water. Birbira means to strike with force (as when an arrow is released).

 Gerona

Gerona got its name from the great egret (Egretta alba). The town is formerly called barog (forest). Today, egrets or tagak are still visible in the vicinities of the town. Gerona is a border town of Ilocano and Kapampangan speakers; hence, the people conveniently use both languages.

A sugarland by nature, its flatland is suitable for sugar production. In fact, some of its villages were named after the traditional sugarcane trade of its early people.          Abagon derived its name from the sugarcane carriers called bagon. The word abagon is the adulteration of mabagon, which literally means “many sugarcane carriers.” The bagon takes the sugarcanes to the sugar mill stations either in the towns of Tarlac or Paniqui for processing. When the contemporary sugar mills were not yet popular, farmers used the traditional cabiaoan as the most accepted method of milling sugarcane. The sugar mill (gilingan) is known in Kapampangan as atlung bola (stone grinders). (Barangay) Apsayan (to make something flat, to direct, to straighten) took its name from the sugar cane extraction process. The procedure requires the sugarcane to pass through the first grinder to initially extract the sugarcane juice, then to the second grinder and the last grinder. The atlung bola is either manually operated or driven by animals. 

Sugarcane juices are collected and cooked on large pots called bawa (thus, Barangay Bawa), which is called kawa in Kapampangan. (Barangay) Amacalan took its name from the actual cooking process of the sugarcane juice into vinegar, wine (basi), and later becomes inuyat (thickened syrup), and tinaklub or panutsa (hardened sugar).  Panutsa can also be made into muscuvado (brown sugar) when crashed properly into crumbs or inalsin (Ilocano). Molasses (pulut) is another by-product of the cooking process. Molasses is an excellent food supplement for farm animals like horses and carabaos.

Ayson is akin to the Kapampangan word ayusan (to arrange). The term may refer to the sugarcanes that were neatly and rigidly arranged on the cane carriers before they were taken to the milling station.

Gerona, as an old forest site, is still grown with herbs, shrubs and trees. Buenlag has probably taken its name from an aromatic herb, with creeping, branching, and stout rootstock called bueng (Acorus calamus Linn.) among Kapampangans, and lubigan in Tagalog. Caturay (Sesbania grandiflora Linn.) is a popular tree whose large white flowers are eaten as excellent salad. Magaspac (Aphananthe philippinensis Planch.) is called the sandpaper tree or pakiling/alasas in Kapampangan. Its rough leaves are used as cleaning materials. Malayep (Citrus aurantifolia Swingle) is also called dalayap among Kapampangans and Ilocanos.Tagumbao (Jatropha curcas Linn.) is commonly known as galumbang (Kapampangan) and purging or psychic nut tree (English).

Matapitap has probably taken its name from pita (Areca mammillata Becc./Areca catechu) tree. Matayuncab is an erect, branched, half-woody plant tayum (Indigofera suffruticosa Miller), which is a rich source of natural indigo. Parsolingan has taken its name perhaps, from a tree called sulinag (Vaccinium luzoniense Vidal). Parsolingan is believed to cause skin itchiness. Pinasling is wooden stick used for many purposes (striking, whipping, harrowing, crashing, clearing and the like).

The word bularit refers to “poor man’s cockfight arena,” thus, (Barangay) Bularit. Sulipa (Gardenia pseudopsidium Blco.) is also called the malabayabas tree. The leaves are crowded at the ends of branchlets, and its flowers are fragrant, white but turn yellow when matured, 7 to 10 centimeters long, and 5 to 10 centimeters wide. The seeds are many and are embedded in pulp.

 (Barangays) Singat (to put a support to control a moving object), Salapungan (junction), and Calayaan (plenty of luya or laya; are also rustic villages of the town. Barangay Oloybuaya refers to crocodile head. Padapada means the same species, people, kind, or order. 

As a beautiful forestland, Gerona’s barangay Tangcaran means beautiful picnic ground.

La Paz

 Historically, La Paz is part of Arayat, Pampanga. Its original villages were Cawayan (Bambusa blumeana Linn.) and Bayug (Bambusa arundinacea Vill.). The town’s old site is formerly located at (Barangay) Matayumtayum (Marsdenia tinctora R.Brown). Tayumtayum is a twining half-woody plant with very slender and smooth branches. The plant yields an indigo dye and a good black dye for the hair. Matayumtayum means abundant tayum vines.

Bantog  (or buntog-Dysoxylum decandrum Merr.) is a species of tree whose fresh, bitter bark juice is used to treat coughs. Thus, Bantog Carikutan means “bantog trees thriving in thick grasses. Lomboy (Syzygium cumini Linn.) is also called duhat (Tagalog) or duat (Kapampangan). Macalong refers to the tree kalo (Artocarpus blancoi Merr.), also called tipolo or antipolo. Macalong literally means plenty of calong or antipolo trees.

Cupang  (Parkia timoriana Merr.) is a large tree, 20 to 50 meters in height. Hence, (Barangay) Lauangcupang refers to “kupang trees growing along a river.” The root word of (Barangay) Caramutan is amut (roots), which means plenty of grass or trees that enormously thrive in the place. Caut may refer to a species of grass kauat-kauat (Paspalum conjugatum Berg.) that gregariously grows along trails and streams. Comillas is also believed to be a type of grass.

Dumarais (dumara-Anas luzonica) is a wild duck. Kapanikian means plenty of bats. Lara means pepper (Capsicum annuum Linn.); Mayang means plenty of maya (Harpactes ardens), and Mapaludpud or paludpud means plenty of hard trunks of trees.  

 Mayantoc

 Mayantoc derived its name from yantoc (rattan). Mayantoc means plenty of rattan. Lawi is the general term used by the Aytas to denote the various species of rattan. Examples of these are babuyan (Calamus filispadix-has fruit but not edible), bulilat (Calamus mindoronensis-has brown and yellow collored edible fruit), didi (Calamus grandifolius), huhukong (Limuran calamus ornatus-used to decorate furniture), kunakling/kulakling (Limura calamus ornatus-used to decorate furniture), labney (has edible fruit, most expensive because it is big and becoming rare), lawin maorit (Calamus mevultii) and tupig (Calamus discolor).

 According to folktale, Ambalingit probably derived its name from the balbalingit expression that is used to describe the sweet fragrance of the plant tara (Hedychium coccineum tara).

 The village of Bigbiga took its name from the tall water plants that thrive along rivers and sloping places of the village. Biga (Alocasia macrorrhiza Linn.) is an Ilocano term, and is popularly called gandus among Kapampangans. Baybayaoas is a wild species of bayabas or guava (Psidium guajava Linn.). Kapampangans call this type of guava as biabas denas because it bears plenty, yellowish or pinkish, and tiny sweet fruits. Calabtangan (Anamitra cocculus Linn.) means plenty of labtang. This plant is a large, woody vine with corky, gray bark and white wood. Labtang is better known as a fiber and as a fish poison than as a medicinal plant. The bark is made into rope for tying animals and hauling.

Caocaoayan means plenty of species of bamboos like kawayan (Bambusa blumeana Linn.), bayug or baugin (Bambusa arundinacea Vill., Bambusa spinosa Roxb.), kiling (Bambusa vulgaris Schrad.), boo or bulu (Schizostachyum horsfieldii and Gigantochloa levis Blco.), bikal (Schizostachyum lima). Pitombayog denotes seven colonies, trunks or pieces of bayog (Bambusa arundinacea Vill.). Bayog is most useful for building purposes and for the manufacture of furniture and household utensils.

 Labney and Mamonit are species of rattan. Maniniog (Cocos nucifera Linn.) means plenty of coconut trees, and Mapandan (Pandanus gracilis Blco.) means abundant pandan plants. Presumably, (Barangay) Nambalan derived its name from the ambal (Pycnarrhena manillensis Vidal) plant. This plant is a climbing shrub, which grows to a meter or more in height. It is claimed that the plant is a remedy for snakebites. Nambalan is also associated to balay (house); hence, nambalayan means to live in a house or place.

Carabaoan is a village situated on a hilltop. It is suitable for grazing animals. (Barangay) Binbinaca took its name from giant-shaped stones or rocks that are shaped like cows. Pasturelands are located along panoramic rolling hills (Barangay Gossood), and are made green and arable as they are surrounded with streams and springs (thus, barangay Cubcub). It is in the foothills of these pasturelands where farmers shepherd their flocks, watch over them at glance (hence, barangay Taldiapan) and lead them to their pens or kural as pitch dark comes. The animal pen, where herds are gathered and kept, is the tangcarang (Hence, barangay Tangcarang). Tangka (to gather, to keep) is a Kapampangan and Tagalog term.  

 (Barangay) Gayonggayong refers to a hunting trap (patibung in Kapampangan and Tagalog) that is cunningly covered with leaves, grass, and soil to camouflage it as quicksand or kumunoy (hence, gayonggayong). As an effective trap, wild animals are caught inside it. The catch is struck with sharp-pointed sticks and is brought home by the hunter as food. 

(Barangay) Rotrottooc derived its name from the tinkling sound produced by bending or falling plants (i.e bamboos, trees), sounds of tree lizard or tuko (Urosaurus ornatus), and cobra (Hurria ryachops), or the sound produced by the bone joints when pressed.

 Moncada

 Moncada’s old name is Caarosipan (Antidesma bunius Linn.). Arosip is small, smooth, dioecious tree. Its fruit is fleshy, red, sour but edible, ovoid and contains a single seed. The plant is called isip (Kapampangan), bignay (Tagalog) and ayhip (Ayta). (Barangay) Caarosipan implies plenty of arosip.

Moncada was later named Capaoayan due to the massive influx of Ilocano migrants from Paoay, Ilocos Norte. According to other stories, Moncada got its name from the word muskada .

Barangay Ablang-Sapang is a river where clothes are traditionally washed, and (Barangay) Calapan means to gather something together (i.e. rice, vines, grass, fruits, fish). Maluac refers to a well-plowed land ready for planting seeds. (Barangay) Mabini has probably derived its named from one of the Philippine heroes, Mabini. However, it is also derived from a Kapampangan term bini or binhi (Tagalog). Hence, mabini literally means plenty of healthy seeds or seedlings. Rice seedlings, for example, are usually planted in well-plowed land only.

Aringin probably derived its name from a species of tree called arangen (Ganophyllum falcatum Merr.), while Camangaan refers to a place planted with numerous mango (Mangifera indica Linn.) trees. Banaoang refers to the defile or opening of a mountain. It is probable that early settlers of the place came from Banaoang, Santa, Ilocos Sur. (Barangay) Lapsing has probably taken its name from an erect but small tree named lapting (Ficus hauili Blco.) whose leaves are said to be anti-rheumatic when applied externally.

 Paniqui

Paniqui or pampaniki (Ilokano) means bat. It is believed that during mango peak season, the bats migrate from Zambales to Paniqui to search for mango fruits. For this reason, the town could have derived its name from the short-nosed fruit bat (Cynopterus brachyotis) or the Philippine pygmy fruit bat (Haplonycteris fischeri).

 Apulid (Cyperus stoloniferus Retz.) is a fragrant tuber with long creeping rhizome, and is considered as a good stimulant for the heart. (Barangay) Borang derived its name from a large fern borabor (Cibotium barometz Linn.) while (Barangay) Balaoang probably took its name from balauag (Zingiber zerumbet Linn.), which is a smooth, erect, herbaceous plant. A decoction of this plant is prescribed for asthma, and a topical for rheumatism. (Barangay) Canan could have taken its name from a slender herbaceous, more or less hairy, vine called kana (Cardiospermum halicacabum Linn.). The leaves of the plant are also considered anti-rheumatic and are used to increase menstrual flow.

(Barangay) Cabayaoasan means plenty of guavas (Psidium guajava Linn.). Calibangbang  (Bauhinia malabaria Roxb.) is a small-sized but stocky tree, and its leaves are sour and are used chiefly for flavoring meat and fish. Salumague is called the tamarind tree or sampalok (Tamarindus indica Linn.). This plant is a large tree that stands 12 to 25 meters in height. The young leaves, flowers and young pods are used for seasoning food like sinigang. The seeds, surrounded by a brownish pulp, are cooked as jams called tamarindo while the malasebo seeds are eaten outright either with or without salt.

Cayanga is popularly known as gumamela (Hisbiscus rosasinensis Linn.). The plant is an erect, much branched, smooth shrub and is used for ornamental purposes. Gumamela buds, ground into a paste, are applied as a poultice to boils, cancerous swellings, and mumps. (Barangay) Manaois probably got its name from an erect, branched shrub called anaiop or malasambung (Buddleia asiatica Lour./Blumea balsamifera Linn.), and Nipaco derived its name from the plant paco or pako (Athyrium esculentum Retz.).

 (Barangay) Coral means animal pen. Other villages include Nagmisaan (place of worship), Nancamarinan (storage room for farm harvest which is sometimes called kamalig), Patalan (cabinet for storing food, lansena by the Kapampangans), Tablang (wooden plank), Sinigpit (strips of bamboos used to tie rice seedlings, plant leaves), Samput (tenth), Aduas (adua or dua-two), and Rang-ayan (good life). 

 Pura

 It is claimed that Pura derived its name from the all-Ilocano settlers of the town. It is also probable that the town Pura derived its name from the plant purac. Purac or porac is popularly called pandan (Pandanus luzonensis Merr.) or screw pine. The tree is slender; the stem is one decimeter in diameter; it has several to many branches, and is 5 to 8 meters high, with few short prop roots. The leaves are 1.5 to 1.75 meters long, 2.5 to 2.75 centimeters wide, with a narrowly acuminate apex, and spinescently separate margin. The fruit (syncarpium) is solitary, subglobose, about 9 centimeters in diameter; the drupes are yellowish red, with about 3.5 centimeters long. The tip of the fresh or dried prop root in decoction is used a diuresis.

Some of the villages include Balite (Ficus balete Merr.), & Cadanglaan (plenty of lagundi Vitex negundo Linn.). Lagundi is also called the five-leaved chaste tree. It is an erect, branched shrub 2 to 5 meters in height. The leaves are used in aromatic baths and when leaves are applied to the forehead they are said to help relieve headache.

(Barangay) Linao which literally means clear could have taken its name from linu (Scaevola frutescens Mill.), which is a big, spreading shrub with loose bark and stout stem and branches. Linu’s ripe fruit juice is used to clean opacity of the eyes while its leaves are smoked like tobacco.

 (Barangay) Maasin refers to plenty of sugar. Asin refers to sugar crumbs that resemble salt tidbits. As a sugarcane plantation, maasin indicates the presence of cabiaoan (sugar-making) in the area.  Today, Maasin is still a sugarcane village that produces sugar stuffs. Matindeg is plenty of wooden studs.  (Barangays) Maungib (plenty of caves), Naya (a species of bird), Nilasin (divided, separated), Poroc or porac (plant), and Singat means (v. to crack; n. fortunate) are other barangays of the place. 

Ramos

The town of Ramos is formerly called bani (Pongamia pinnata Linn.), which is a species of tree. It is a smooth tree growing to a height of 8 to 25 meters. Compound leaves are 20 to 25 cm long, with 5 to 8 leaflets that are smooth, ovate, 6 to 15 cm long, with a larger terminal one, pointed at the tip and usually rounded at the base. Flowers are numerous, purplish, pink or nearly white, 1.5 cm long, on axillary and hairy racemes 12 to 20 cm long. Pods are woody, smooth, and oblong, 5 to 7 cm long, 5 to 8 mm thick, beaked at the apex, single seeded measuring 3 to 5 cm long.

The plant is distributed along the seashore and border of lakes. The seeds yield a thick, reddish brown oil known as pongam oil (also called pangamol or hongay oil) employed medicinally and as an illuminant and in the manufacture of soaps and candles.
A decoction of leaves is given to children for cough and is used in treating a variety of gastric maladies (tympanism, dyspepsia, diarrhea). The leaves are also used as bath for rheumatic joints. Juice of stems, leaves, and roots for painful joints.

Two of the town’s villages bear indigenous names: Coral (pen, enclosure) and Guiteb (dangerous place). Coral-Iloco may refer to an Ilocano community.

San Clemente

San Clemente has also villages with aboriginal names, such as Balloc (literally means high), which owes its name from a tall tree balok (Milletia merniliik.Perk.); Bamban (Donnax cannaeformis Forst), and Catagundingan which refers to the tagun (Indigo suffruticosa Miller), or tayum.  Thus, catagundingan means plenty of tagundi plants. Daldalayap (plenty of dalayap-Citrus aurantifolia Swingle), and Doclong (which probably derived its name from the tree duktulan (Syzygium luzonense Merr.), Maasin (plenty of sugar tidbits), Nagsabaran (to meet in a place), and Pit-ao (to appear, appeared) are other barangays with aboriginal names.

San Manuel

 The town of San Manuel also has indigenous names for its barangays: Colubot (kolobot-Citrus hystrix DC. Var. torosa Blco.), Lanat (Neolitsea lanceolata Merr.), and Pacpaco (paco-Athyrium esculentum Retz., pakupakuan-Drymoglossum heterophyllum Linn.), and (Barangay) Mangandingay (to burp).

Sta. Ignacia

 Binaca (herd of cows) is the old name of the town of Sta. Ignacia. A rustic town, most of its villages include Barangays Baldios (towards God), Botbotones (Euphorbia pilulifera Linn.), and Caanamongan means a place where plenty of domesticated animals are found. Cabaruan refers to plenty of new things or people. Barangay Cabugbugan derived its name from bugbugaiong (Abrus precatorius Linn.) or kansasaga in Tagalog and Kapampangan. This plant is a slender, branched, annual vine reaching to a length of 9 meters or less. The seeds are used in the manufacture of rosaries, necklaces, fancy bags, and other ornamental articles. Its bast fibers are suitable for cordage.

 Caduldulaoan refers to the dwelling place of many dwarfs or elves, and Calipayan means plenty of lipai or lipay (Entada phaseoloides Linn.). Lipay is a very large, woody climber (liana). The stems are as thick as a man’s arm, angled, and much twisted. The bark is dark brown and rough. The seeds are hard and circular, with flattened sides, about 5 centimeters across, and chocolate-brown in color. The large pods and seeds are used by children as playthings.

(Barangay) Macaguing has probably taken its name from baguing (vine), hence, plenty of strong vines.

 Barangay Nambalan took its name from balay (house). Hence, Nambalayan or nambalan means to live in a house, place or community. Barangay Padapada refers to the same group of people, plants, and places. (Barangay) Pinpinas means a place where plenty of soft clay is found, and Taguiporo means to clean and clear a land properly. Pugo is a quail (Coturnix) and Timmaguab refers to a cliff. 

 Victoria

The town of Victoria is historically associated with (Barangay) Canarem (Diospyros lanceifolia Roxb.). The prominence of the tree is probably the reason why the Canarem River was named after it. Baculung could have taken its name from the people of Baculud or Bacolor, Pampanga who were believed to be the pioneer of the place. Bacolor or Bakolod (Syzygium antonianum Merr.) is a tall tree. However, others relate baculung to the word culung (v. to place something inside, to trap something, n. pen).

 Balayang probably derived its name from balay, which means house. Thus, Balayang means a community of people with more or less similar cultural background. Akin to balayang is balayung. Balayung is the Ayta term for apalit (Kapampangan) or narra (Pterocarpus indicus Willd.). As a large tree, its huge canopy makes a good shelter for a community.

Balbalutu took its name from the grass balutu (Cynodon dactylon Linn.). Batang-batang (Cissampelos paeira Linn.) is a slender, hairy or nearly smooth woody twiner. The fruit is fleshy, nearly spherical, red, and somewhat hairy. The fibers of its bark are made into rope.

Bulo or boo (Schizostachyum horsfieldii, Gigantochloa levi Blco.) is a place where this species of grass abundantly grows. Barangay Cabuluan is synonymous to the etymology of Barangay Bulo. Barangay Calibungan might have derived its name from the weed libun (Emilia sonchifolia (Linn.) DC.). Hence, calibungan means a place where plenty of these weeds are found. While lansones plants do not grow in this barangay, it is noteworthy that the Manobos in Mindanao call lansones (Lansium domesticum Correa) kalibongan.

 Bangar (Sterculia foetida Linn.) is a tree that reaches a height of 20 meters or more, and its wood is used for cheap and temporary construction, boxes, and the like. The fruit contains a number of peanut-like, oily kernels, which are edible and laxative when eaten raw.

 Bantog has probably derived its name from buntog (Agathis philippinensis Warb.). The plant is a large tree with a pyramidal crown and whorled branches, reaching a height of 50 to 60 meters. Locally, this is used as incense in religious ceremonies, torches to facilitate fires, and smudge for mosquitoes, etc.

Palacpalac derived its name from the tree palak-palak (Palaquium lanceolatum Blco.). Barangay Lalapac may have taken its name from lapak-lapak (Bryophylum pinnatum (Lam.) Kurz.), popularly known as katakataka. This plant is an erect, branched, smooth, and succulent herb. Its fresh leaves, when ground, are applied to burns, and poultice on boils.

Mangolago derived its name from lago (Carthamus tinctorius Linn.). The plant is an erect, branched, and smooth herb that reaches 90 centimeters in height. Its flowers are source of dye. The dye is a brilliant scarlet, but not permanent. The flowers are used in coloring foods yellow and as a culinary ingredient. Mangolago literally means to gather lago.

 Masalasa has taken its name from a tree called sala (Mallotus philippinensis (Blume.) Muell.-Arg.). The plant is valued as a fast dye and medicine. Literally, masalasa means plenty of this species of plants.

Maluid means prosperity, victory, jubilation.

San Jose

 San Jose is a town of forest, terrains, and terraces. Definitely a rustic village, most of the town’s barrios derived their names from indigenous origins. Barangay Iba took its name from the plant iba (Cicca acida (Linn.) Merr.). This plant is a small, smooth, deciduous and 4 to 9 meters in height. Its fruit is fleshy, sour but edible, greenish white and rounded. The unripe food is eaten cooked as a sour flavoring. It can be made into jams and jellies, and can also be pickled.

 Mababanaba means plenty of banaba or mitla. (Barangay) Pao derived its name from the native mango tree pao; and Labney is a species of rattan.

Lubigan (Acorus calamus Linn.) is a popular medicinal plant. It is an aromatic herb, with creeping, branching, and stout rootstock. The powdered rhizome is used for sachet and toilet powders. Its oil is used in the preparation of aromatic cordials and liquors, in flavoring beer, and for making perfumes.

Lawacamulag derived its name from lawa (river, lagoon) and mulag (damulag-carabao). Literally, lawacamulag means a river or lagoon where carabaos bath. The village is a known green field and farmland.

 Sula means a place planted with thick weeds and trees. Maamot means plenty of roots. The roots refer to forest weeds, trees, bamboos, vines, and the like. Hence, barangays Sula and Maamot are the forestlands of the town. 

Concluding Statement

This research does not attempt to circumvent present and popular histories of towns and villages of Tarlac. The primary purpose is to provide linguistic data bank and empirical knowledge on how the early people of Tarlac endowed them with understanding of their cultural environment. One endowment is the early people’s ability to assign names of their places, which are still surviving today.

Names of places are dynamic. Many of them are kept and are shared elements of Tarlac cultural heritage. Some place-names exclude Spanish place-names that are of recent origin. Similarly, other place-names were purposely omitted due to lack of data, toponymy information, and etymology references.

No historical references were used in the research analysis of this article. 

References:

 Co, Leonardo L (1989). Common Medicinal Plants of the Cordillera Region. Quezon City: Bustamante Press.

Quisumbing, Eduardo (1978). Medicinal Plants of the Philippines. Quezon City: Katha Publishing Co., Inc., and Dr. Eduardo Quisumbing.  Medicinal Plants of the Philippines. www.bpi.da.gov.ph/Publications/mp/mplants.hmtl

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