STA. CRUZ is synonymous to Lubao. It is also the ancient political nucleus of the Kapampangan sphere; hence, the birthplace of the Kapampangan empire and civilization.
Historical documents indicate that Sta. Cruz bear the ancient name Balas due to the sandy nature of the village. Aptly, the cradle of Kapampangan civilization was born along the riverbanks of balas (today the sadsaran in Balantacan and Calangain which were former villages of Sta. Cruz) and later on developed as a powerful and prosperous settlement in caongotan (now called Lalam Ungut). Hence, the people of Sta. Cruz with the entire sphere of Kababan (Lubao) and the Kapampangan Kingdom and its Empire had already an advanced system of government and a mixed religion of paganism and Islam even before the arrival of the Spaniards. The civilization was introduced by the ancient Malays (today called Austronesians) to the aborigines (Aytas) through barter system.
The Arrival of the Spaniards
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, other selected Spanish soldiers and Augustinian friars set foot to conquer Lubao on September 14, 1571. In the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar, the date is one of the most important religious celebrations because it is the Feast Day of the Triumph of the Cross. In Greek, it is called “Raising Aloft of the Precious Cross” and in Latin, Exaltatio Sanctae Crucis or literally, “Raising Aloft of the Holy Cross”. (“Exaltatio” is “Exaltation”, “Triumph”). It is the glorious moment when the Lord Jesus Christ won the victory against man’s sinfulness. It is the date to rejoice in songs and praises because it is the day when the gates of Heaven finally opened for man’s salvation. It is also celebrated with great gladness and tidings because it is mankind’s reunification with his Almighty Creator. In reverence to the Feast Day of the Cross, the Spaniards deemed necessary the offering of a black miraculous Holy Cross to the people of Lubao as a sign of their amity with them and their acceptance of the Christian faith. Hence, God providentially chose Lubao to lead in the propagation of the Good News of the Lord Jesus Christ with the Augustinian Church as its missionary center in the propagation and configuration of Christendom in the central and northern Luzon areas.