LUBAO is a 1st class municipality and is one of the 22 towns of the province of Pampanga. It is located at the southwestern part of the province. It is bounded by the municipalities of Guagua on the north, Sasmuan on the east, Floridablanca on the west and Orani, Bataan on the south. It is about 56’07” latitude, and 120ͦ 36’04” longitude.
It has a total land area of 15,731.11 hectares and is politically subdivided into 44 barangays: Balantacan, Bancal Sinubli, Bancal Pugad, Baruya (San Rafael), Calangain, Concepcion, Del Carmen, Dela Paz, Don Ignacio Dimson, Lourdes (Lauc Pao), Prado Siongco, Remedios, San Agustin, San Antonio, San Francisco, San Isidro, San Jose Apunan, San Jose Gumi, San Juan, San Matias, San Miguel, San Nicolas 1st, San Nicolas 2nd, Spablo 1st, San Pablo 2nd, San Pedro Palcarangan, San Pedro Saug, San Roque Arbol, San Roque Dau, San Vicente, Santa Barbara, Santa Catalina, Santa Cruz, Santa Lucia, Santa Maria, Santa Monica, Santa Rita, Santa Teresa 1st, Santa Teresa 2nd, Santiago, Santo Domingo, Santo Nino (Prado Aruba), Santo Tomas, Santo Cristo.
Lubao’s terrain is generally flat and its elevation is between 0-3 meters only. Its broad plains constitute about 64.30% of the total land area. Its southern coastal area comprises 3,810.12 hectares or 24.29% which serve as the town’s fishing grounds. It is traversed by two major rivers: Gumain and Kaulaman.
According to the 2007 census, it has a population of 143,058 people in 23,446 households. It is noted for rice, sugarcane, fish and sampaguita production.
As the first Augustinian missionary center in Central and Northern Luzon, it is predominantly a Roman Catholic town.
Lubao has produced two Presidents of the Philippines: Diosdado P. Macapagal and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. Other famous “Lubenians” include movie stars Rogelio and Jaime dela Rosa, movie director Gregorio Fernandez, movie actor Rudy Fernandez, pianist Cecil Licad, Huk commander Silvestre Liwanag, alias “Linda Bie,” and others.
Prehistory and Indigenous Civilization
The name Lubao was derived from the indigenous word “lubo” which means low. “Lubo” is characteristically muddy and flooded; later, the term evolved into “lubao,” which is the town’s present name. The Austronesian word is associated with the low or depressed elevation of the town. Hence, Lubao is synonymous to its ancient name Baba.
The aborigines of Lubao are the Aytas who are also popularly known baluga to the lowlanders. The Aytas were nomadic, hunters, superstitious and paganistic. They first settled in Lubao via the Gumain River, a major tributary, which gets its water from Mounts Abu, Cabusilan and Pinatubo and then streams to the Balukeke River in San Pablo Matua until it finally empties at the present day Calangain River along the Pampanga and Manila Bay areas.
Along this low, yet fertile and sandy (mabalas) riverbanks of the area, strategically settled the pioneering balugas which defined them as the earliest pangpangans (riverbank settlers). The ancient balugas built their communities (balayan) along the banks of these small rivers or estuaries (sapang malati) which is why they were called tau lati or pangpangans or simply river bank people.
As the settlement flourished, the early pangpangans (later Kapampangans) of Lubao strategically concentrated themselves in Caongutan or Lalam Ungot (a swampy hamlet in Sta. Cruz). Hence, the cosmogenesis of the Kapangpangan realm.
Soon, intrepid Austronesians (Malays) started to amalgamate with the natives and taught them trade, education, government and religion. Barter was the mode of exchange, Sanskrit the orthography; monarchy the government, and Islam the religion. It was in the same area where they politically organized themselves and the ancient pagaga (cemetery) was located.
Shortly, Lubao was the trading emporium of the kapangpangans (riverbank people) that shaped Lubao as the Cradle of Kapampangan Civilization. Similarly, Lubao or Baba became synonymous to Kababan because it was the center point of trading and enterprises in the Kapampangan sphere. Its ancient port was believed to have direct trade links with Brunei, Malacca, Sumatra and Guangshou (China).
The thriving trade in Lubao attracted mostly the Chinese merchants in trading their clothes, earthen wares, iron, camanguian and other stuffs in exchange for gold and rice of the natives. The Chinese called the place Liu Bao, which refers to the six treasures in Chinese geomancy: gold, wood, water, fire, earth and air that suggest Lubao’s abundance and immensity of these treasures. The Lubao-China trading relation is evident among the earthen ware materials (kapsa) that are commonly scattered in the environs of the ancient Lubao trading post in Lalam Ungot.
Culturally and territorially, Lubao was a mitochondrion of power that produced the roots of great men of valor that included Soliman (Maynilad) and Lakandula (Tunduk). The aboriginal language evolved which is today the lingua franca of the kapampangan world. Traditionally, its territoriality was believed to include all regions that surrounded it, which later on were detached by the Spaniards to facilitate the collection of tributes and jurisdiction disputes among friars.
From a small baluga settlement it developed into a powerful Austronesian (Malay) kingdom that helped shaped the configuration of the great Kapampangan Empire. As a kingdom, it was governed by datu (king) and lupun (council).
Spanish Period (1571-1898)
Lubao was a prosperous kingdom with an organized system of government and with strong military fortifications when the Spaniards led by maestro de campo Martin de Goiti, together with Lt. Antonio Carvajal, selected Spanish soldiers and Augustinian friars, set foot to conquer Lubao on September 14, 1571 (Feast Day of the Triumph of the Cross). The Spaniards aptly chose the date because of its guiding providence and holiness. The date is the foundation day of Lubao.
Learning lessons from the ill-fated battles of their neighboring Kapampangan neighbors in Bangkusay and Betis against the Spaniards, the Council of Elders, headed by Datu Macabulus, the last known King of Lubao finally, accepted submission to the crown of Spain in behalf of its people.
On that date, Martin de Goiti, in behalf of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, sealed amity with Datu Macabulus by giving him a miraculous cross with the crucified Christ as a symbol of peace and unity. Faithful to his Mohammedan faith, Macabulos buried the Cross a little farther the town station and left the place, and went to Porac until he reached Tarlac, a hamlet of Pampanga and settled there.
Lost for a long period of time, the Holy Cross reappeared after a powerful mudlow most likely during the early or middle years of 1700 as orally accounted by the elders of Lalam Ungot and the Spanish accounts that described the extreme poverty of the Lubao Church during those times.
Today, the Cross is permanently sheltered in the Holy Cross Parish in Santa Cruz. The holy image is sacredly endeared and venerated as Apu Santo Cristo de Lubao or simply Apu, and is probably one of the oldest sacred crucifixes in the country today.
Immediately after conquest, Captain Martin de Goiti and the Augustinian missionaries led by Fr. Juan Gallegos founded, re-organized and started to Christianize the pagano-Muslim people of Lubao. Because of the flooded nature of the town, they exclaimed: lo bajo! (very low).
A distance away from the trade and government posts in Caongotan (Lalam Ungut in Sta. Cruz), the first Augustinian church was erected along the riverbanks of Gato (now Santa Catalina) that was made of indigenous materials mostly wood, bamboo and thatched nipa.
Soon, Christian conversion grew. On May 3, 1572, the church of Lubao was accepted as a visita (chapel) of Tondo, which marked its foundation date.
One of the inhabitants named Agustin Cubacub with his wife Mulao and children were converted into Christianity by master of camp Martin de Goiti and Capt. Lorenzo Chacon on December 18, 1572. Later, Cubacub was then assigned as principal or chieftain of Lubao by Governor Lavezarez who succeeded Miguel Lopez de Legaspi.
From 1591-1593, the confederated towns of Lubao and Betis had about five thousand tributes or 20,000 souls (Christian converts) which was far enormous than the population of Cebu, Mactan, Manila and Vigan with 2,000 souls for each town only. At that time, Betis was a part of the huge territoriality of Lubao.
Due to its power and affluence, Lubao was a royal (king) encomienda. It has an alcalde-mayor and a deputy that exercised the town’s justice system. Gaspar de Ysla was the first chief magistrate of Lubao. This political structure characteristically indicates Lubao as Pampanga’s central government.
Fr. Domingo de Salazar, the first bishop of the Philippines, wrote to the Royal Majesty of Spain in 1583 to inform them about the abuses committed by the encomenderos that led to the drought in Lubao. The hunger was brought about by the scarcity of harvest due to the forceful taking of great number of people to work in the mining sites in the Ilocos regions.
Because of the abuses, the people of Lubao revolted against them in 1585. Unfortunately, the revolt failed due to the report made by a woman loyal to the Spaniards which led to the execution of the mutineers.
On April 9, 1591, an ordinance was made by the Spaniards that forbids the people of Lubao to wear silk or to engage in trade transactions with Chinese merchants to prevent them from bartering their rice and gold with the Sangleys. The order was collaborated by Don Nicolas Ramos and Don Juan Lising, chieftains and governors of Lubao.
The Lubao Revolt of October 1660 (also called Pampanga Revolt) led by Francisco Maniago of Mexico was staged due to the grave and oppressive treatment they received from Juan de Corteberria, chief overseer of timber-cutting in the area. The rebellion was quelled through the efforts of Juan Macapagal of the village of Arayat.
As an offshoot of the rebels’ pacification, a request was made by the mutineers to build a military defense force (fortress) to safeguard them against invading intruders and for other military purposes; hence, the Fortaleza de Mamalas which was built under the supervision of Captain Juan Jimenez de Escolastica during the same year in Lalam Ungut was realized. The term Fortaleza implies that Lubao was a citadela (small city) or capital town those times.
In 1732, the population of Lubao was only 1,732 which was a tremendous decreased from the 1591 report of tributes. The event was probably due to a powerful mudflow that struck and buried the town and made people to move (minalin) to nearby places. Thus, the catastrophe changed the geographical condition of the town.
In 1896, Lubao’s population increased to 21,151.
British rule (1762-1764)
When Manila was occupied by the British in 1762, the students of Arts and Theology of the Estudio de Manila were transferred to the convent of Lubao for the continuation of their studies.
Chinese merchants were restricted in Lubao and other towns of the province as a consequence of the secret plot to massacre Governor General Simon de Anda y Salazar on December 24, 1762, who at that time established his seat of government in Bacolor, Pampanga. Prior to the scheduled rebellion, the plot was revealed to Governor Anda and crushed the Chinese rebels. Hence, Chinese are hardly found in the town nowadays.
Spanish rule in the 18th and 19th Centuries
From 1750 to 1862, the term of office of local executive officials (alcaldes) was one year only. Juan Mendoza was the municipal head in 1750 and the last to serve for one year term was Juan Capili in 1862.
The first gobernadorcillo (municipal head) who served for two years was Rufino Pangan (1863-1864) and Julian Vitug (1891-1892).
During the revolutionary period (1896-1897), the town was put under the control of the revolutionary forces. Leandro Ibarra became the Secretary of Interior of the Philippine Revolutionary Government under Emilio Aguinaldo.
The Augustinian church of Lubao became an emergency station of the revolutionary forces and temporarily made it as the seat of Aguinaldo government in 1898 and was used as hospital by the American soldiers in 1899.
American Period (1898-1942), World War II and Japanese Occupation
As Lubao was put under the control of the Americans, serenity flourished which the town folks called “peace time.” The alcalde mayor was Luciano Dimatulac (1898-1899).
On July 30, 1900, Atty. Leandro B. Ibarra was appointed by General Mac Arthur as one of the two Associate Justices of the Philippine Supreme Court.
In 1903, the town’s population was 19,603 and 29,157 in 1939. From 1901 to 1905, the town’s municipal mayor was Eugenio Fernandez.
In 1922, the Camino Viejo or Dalan Matua that traversed along the town’s river banks of Santa Catalina, Remedios,Santa Cruz, Calangain, Baruya and Almacen, Hermosa, Bataan was reverted to its present route today calledMc Arthur Highway. The railway station was also constructed.
The period of serenity in the town had brought the cultural and literary geniuses of the town to greater height and glory. The Hormiga de Hierro (Panas a Bacal), a socio-cultural organization was organized by Ambrocio Gonzales in 1901. The flowering of sarzuelang Capampangan flourished which included “Ing Sinta Alang Pacundangan” by Ambrocio Gonzales; “Calulung Martina” by Engracio Ibarra; “Sumpa ning Pengari,” and “Tauling Sisi” by Jose Guilas Vitug. In 1929, playwright Urbano Macapagal wrote and staged the bespectacled “Bayung Jerusalem, Sumpang Metupad, Atul ning Banua, Numan Carin ating Dios and Lua ning Tulisan” that included Diosdado Macapagal, Rogelio de la Rosa, Eliodoro Congco, Soldedad Reyes, Purita de la Rosa, Jaime de la Rosa, Isabela Lumanog, Ladislao Lumanog, and Israel Macapagal as stage players.
In the late 1930s, Rogelio de la Rosa became the most popular romantic idol in the Philippine cinema. Carmen Rosales proved to be his most durable onscreen partner, and their “love team” is said to be among the most successful in the history of Philippine movies. Elected to the Philippine Senate from 1957 to 1963, he decided to run for the presidency as an independent candidate but withdrew from the election shortly before Election Day, which resulted to the victory of his brother in law, Diosdado Macapagal.
On August 31, 1939, the parish of San Rafael de Baruya was created through a decree issued by Manila Archbishop Miguel O’Doherty. Rev. Fr. Arsenio Yusi was the first parish priest.
The quietude of the town was disturbed at the onset of World War II which the people called gubyernung Hapon. During its eruption on December 8, 1941, several young men of Lubao (including Jose B. Lingad) enlisted themselves in the United States of America Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) to join fellow Filipinos to fight the Japanese Imperial Army.
Silvestre Liwanag (alias Kumander Linda Bie), Abelardo Zuniga (alias Kumander Verzosa) and Abelardo Dabu prominently fought with the invaders as guerillas of the Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon (HUKBALAHAP).
Similarly, the national warehouse or bodega located in the town served as arsenal of the American Army and so it became one of the main targets of the Japanese bombing missions. Most houses and establishments were razed by fire and the town was swamped with huge smoke. Lost of lives and properties was largely suffered due to the massive attacks and bombings launched by the Japanese that included the church.
After the United States-Philippine forces surrendered to the Japanese in May 1942, most of the 80,000 prisoners of war captured by Japan’s Imperial Army at Bataan were forced to undertake the infamous Bataan Death March. As they passed through Lubao, many prisoners were bravely rescued, harbored and fed by the people until they were reunited with their families and relatives.
After the war, the townspeople eagerly waved flags and flashed their hands with victory sign, danced and chanted “Victory Joe” to the Filipino-American soldiers that passed through the streets of the town. The people called this period “liberation.”
On July 4, 1946, the noble people of Lubao proudly raised and sang the Philippine flag and anthem once more on its sacred soil minus the American symbols.
Contemporary period (1946-present)
Much had been lost and disturbed during the war but the people were not perturbed by the ravage of war. Public and private schools reopened and reconstruction begun.
On May 22, 1951, the parish of Santa Cruz was established with Apu Sto. Cristo de Lubao as its patron. From 1951 until 1959, Fr. Wilfrido V. Baltazar was the first parish priest.
Diosdado P. Macapagal won his first election in 1949 to the House of Representatives. In 1952, he started the construction and diversion of the Porac-Gumain River to the Pampanga Bay Channel to minimize flooding during rainy seasons. In 1957, he became vice-president of President Carlos P. Garcia, and in 1961, he defeated Garcia’s re-election bid for the presidency.
Soon, Lubao’s fame surfaced to the prominence because the “Poor Boy from Lubao,” became the 9th President of the Philippines, serving from 1961 to 1965. As President, he worked to suppress graft and corruption and to stimulate the Philippine economy. During his term, he placed the Philippine economy second only after Japan. He is also known for shifting the country’s Independence Day from July 4 to June 12, commemorating the day Filipino patriots declared independence from Spain in 1898. He introduced land reform and conceptualized the construction of the North Luzon Expressway.
His victory gave distinction to the brilliance of some Lubenians in the national government that included Jose B. Lingad (Labor), Amable M. Aguiluz (Treasury), Eloy Baluyut (Agriculture), Dominador Danan (Prisons) and Estanislao Bernal (Forestry) and others.
Escolastica Romero District Hospital was built and was named after President Macapagal’s grandmother. From its original site in Santa Lucia, the municipal building was transferred to its present site (San Nicolas 1st) and refurbishing of the church was made.
The Rural Bank of Lubao, Inc. was established on July 12, 1965 to serve the thriving agro-business economy of the community.
In 1969, Delfin T. Quiboloy rose to prominence in literature due to the poetic masterpieces he had written that included “Indung Kapampangan” (Mother Pampanga).
On September 21, 1972, the scary effect of Ferdinand Marco’s Martial Law was felt by the people due to the curtailment of their press freedom and civil liberties. Oppositionists and critics from the town were arrested that included Jose B. Lingad, a WWII veteran and guerilla warrior, governor of Pampanga in 1947, and congressman. In his honor, the former Central Luzon General Hospital was named after him.
Led by former Mayor Conrado Jimenez, scores of Lubenians joined the People Power Revolution (also known as the EDSA Revolution and the Philippine Revolution of 1986), which was a nonviolent and prayerful mass street demonstrations in Metro Manila aimed to pressure the strongman to vacate the presidency. From February 22 to 25, 1986, freedom loving Lubenians stayed in front of Malacanang Palace with thousands of protesters.
The Parish of San Antonio de Padua in barrio San Antonio was established on November 10, 1986 through the ecclesiastical decree of the Most Reverend Oscar V. Cruz, DD, of the Archdiocese of San Fernando, Pampanga. Its first parish priest was Rev. Fr. Teodoro P. Valencia (1986-1995).
On November 6, 1984, the cornerstone of the Somascan Minor College Seminary in Prado Saba was formally inaugurated by Msgr. Celso Guevarra, then Bishop of Balanga,Bataan. The five hectare compound was donated by the Dimson family.
Later, the parish of San Roque in San Roque Dau 1st was also established on October 1, 1990 by Archbishop Paciano B. Aniceto of the Diocese of San Fernando, Pampanga. San Roque Parish’s first resident priest was Re. Fr. Donny G. Ocampo.
On the afternoon of July 16, 1990, Lubao was rocked by a powerful earthquake with intensity 7.8. As a probable consequence of the quake, Mount Pinatubo erupted with strong explosions on June 7, 1991, which heavily covered the entire town “snow-like” due to the sulfur smelling white ash that carpeted the place. Fleeing upland residents from nearby towns went to the churches and schools of the town as their temporary evacuation shelters.
In 1992, Lilia G. Pineda, wife of businessman Rodolfo “Bong” Pineda, rose to prominence when she was elected as the first woman mayor of the town. Her headship was continued by his son, Mayor G. Pineda from 2001 to 2010, and was later succeeded by Mayor Mylene P. Cayabyab.
During the EDSA Revolution of 2001, the people of Lubao also joined in the four-day popular revolution that peacefully overthrew Philippine President Joseph Estrada from January 17 – January 20, 2001.
Sooner, Lubao returned to its being the cradle of glory and vibrancy. Maria Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo succeeded deposed President Joseph Estrada and was installed as the 14th President of the Philippines and is the country’s second female president. She served as senator, vice-president and Secretary of Social Welfare and Development. She was elected to a full six-year presidential term during the May 2004 elections, and was sworn in on June 30, 2004.
In the 2009 rankings of Most Powerful Women by Forbes Magazine, she was ranked as the 44th most powerful woman in the world. She is the first Philippine and Asian leader to chair the 15-member nations of the powerful Nations National Security Council.
She led in the various educational and infrastructure projects in Lubao which included the rehabilitation and construction of rural farm to market roads and bridges; expansion and widening of the major highways, specifically Mc Arthur Hi-Way and Gapan-Olongapo Road, upgrading of the Porac-Gumain River Control System, desilting of major river systems, massive renovation and conservation of the San Agustin Church, expansion of the Escolastica Romero District Hospital, awarded scholarship grants to poor but bright students, established cooperative centers, and construction of school buildings and health centers and other service offices and the like.
Never tiring in serving her townspeople, she was elected congresswoman in the 2nd congressional district of Pampanga and convincingly won as the district’s representative during the May 11, 2010 national elections.
Similarly, Lilia G. Pineda was elected second woman governor of Pampanga.
Lubao as the Cradle of Kapampangan Civilization prides itself in its timeless monuments: simple, proud and noble people; Christianity; and good governance in public service. These are immemorial traditions embellished in the persona of its people which they cherish forever because they are inherently germane in their soul.