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 (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 (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 (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 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 (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 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 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 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’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 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). 


 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. 


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. 


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. 


 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.



  1. Interesting facts about Tarlac..This one made me proud to be a genuine Tarlaqueno, true Filipino and a zealot disciple of Sicatism.Kudos Dr. Rod Sicat!

  2. I have been speculating last night what makes man a discoverer of undiscovered facts; and a most perplexing problem it is. Many men who are very clever – much clever than him never originate anything.

  3. I salute you, Sir! You’re a great historian; a contemporary writer who gives a clear link of our past and present culture. Your work serves as reminder of our very rich heritage. More Power. God Bless.


  5. Interesting….. this can be a great help for students who adore local history…. meron na po bang hard Copy Edition ito… anyway, HAPPY FATHER’S DAY PO……

  6. A good reading. Very few ever trod this road sir. It’s interesting to know that there are still people who love to tell forgotten stories of the past. A treasure bound for the future.

  7. Thank you sir for this blog..its an addition information especially to students who love history..I’m also thankful that you wrote something about our municipality-GERONA..I’ll inform my friends to visit this blog.

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