The name "La Pampanga" was given by the Spaniards who found the early natives living near the river banks. It also served as the capital of the archipelago for two years from 1762–1764 during the British invasion of Manila. The word pampang, from which the province's name originates, means river bank. Its creation in 1571 makes it the first Spanish province on Luzon Island in the Philippines (Cebu, being the first settlement founded in 1565). The Province of Pampanga is the culinary capital of the Philippines.
Pampanga is the first province and the richest spoil created by the Spaniards in 1571. It was named after the Indung Kapampangan River, the largest river in the former empire. Ancient Pampanga's territorial area used to include portions of the provinces of Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pangasinan, Tarlac and Zambales in the big Island of Luzon of the Philippine Archipelago.
Pampanga, one of the richest provinces in the Philippines, was re-organized as a province by the Spaniards on December 11, 1571. For governmental control and taxation purposes, the Spanish authorities subdivided Pampanga into towns (pueblos), which were further subdivided into districts (barrios) and in some cases into royal and private estates (encomiendas).
Due to excessive abuses committed by some grantees of private estates, the King of Spain prohibited in 1574 the awarding of private estates (encomiendas). However, the royal decree was not fully enforced until the year 1620. In a report of Philippine encomiendas on June 20, 1591, Spanish Governor Gomez Perez Dasmarinas reported to the King of Spain that La Pampanga's encomiendas were Bataan, Betis y Lubao, Macabebe, Candaba, Apalit, Calumpit, Malolos, Binto, Guiguinto, Caluya, Bulacan and Mecabayan. The encomiendas of La Pampanga at that time had eighteen thousand six hundred and eighty whole tributes.
Pampanga which is about 850 square miles (2,200 km2) in area and presently inhabited by more than 1.5 million people, had its present borders drawn in 1873. During the Spanish regime it was one of the richest Philippine provinces. Manila and its surrounding region were then primarily dependent on Pampangan agricultural, fishery, and forestry products as well as on the supply of skilled workers. As other Luzon provinces were created due to increases in population, some well-established Pampanga towns were lost to new emerging provinces in Central Luzon.
The historic province of Bataan which was founded in 1754 under the administration of Spanish Governor General Pedro Manuel Arandia, absorbed from the province of Pampanga the municipalities of Abucay, Balanga, Dinalupihan, Llana Hermosa, Orani, Orion, Pilar, and Samal.
The old Pampanga towns of Aliaga, Cabiao, Gapan, San Antonio and San Isidro were ceded to the province of Nueva Ecija in 1848 during the term of Spanish Governor-General Narciso Claveria y Zaldua. The municipality of San Miguel de Mayumo of Pampanga was yielded to the province of Bulacan in the same provincial boundary configuration in 1848.
In 1860, the northern towns of Bamban, Capas, Concepcion, Victoria, Tarlac, Mabalacat, Magalang, Porac and Floridablanca were separated from Pampanga and were placed under the jurisdiction of a military command called Comandancia Militar de Tarlac. However, in 1873, the four latter towns were returned to Pampanga and the other five towns became municipalities of the newly created Province of Tarlac.
On December 8, 1941, Japanese planes bombed Clark Air base marking the beginning of the invasion of Pampanga.
Between 1941 and 1942, occupying Japanese forces began entering Pampanga.
During the Counter-Insurgencies under the Japanese Occupation from 1942 to 1944, Kapampangan guerrilla fighters and the Hukbalahap Communist guerrillas fought side by side in the province of Pampanga, attacking and retreating the Japanese Imperial forces for three years and few months of fighting and invasion.
The establishment of the military general headquarters and military camp bases of the Philippine Commonwealth Army was active from 1935 to 1946 and the Philippine Constabulary was active from 1935 to 1942 and 1944 to 1946 in the province of Pampanga. During the military engagements of the Anti-Japanese Imperial Military Operations in Central Luzon from 1942 to 1945 in the province of Bataan, Bulacan, Northern Tayabas (now. Aurora), Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales, the local guerrilla resistance fighters and Hukbalahap Communist guerrillas, helped the U.S. military forces fight the Imperial Japanese armed forces.
In the 1945 liberation of Pampanga, Kapampangan guerrilla fighters and the Hukbalahap Communist guerrillas supported combat forces from both Filipino and American ground troops in attacking Japanese Imperial forces during the Battle of Pampanga until the end of the Second World War. The sending the local military operations of local Filipino soldiers and officers of the Philippine Commonwealth Army 2nd, 21st, 26th, 3rd, 31st, 32nd, 33rd, 35th, 36th and 37th Infantry Division and the Philippine Constabulary 3rd Infantry Regiment was recaptured and liberated the province of Pampanga and fought against the Japanese Imperial forces during the Battle of Pampanga.
After the Second World War, The operations in the main province of Pampanga was downfall insurgencies and conflicts between the Philippine Government forces and the Hukbalahap Communist rebels on 1946 to 1954 during the Hukbalahap Rebellion.
The 1991 eruption of Mount Pinatubo displaced a large number of people with the submersion of whole towns and villages by lahar.
The province has a total land mass of 206,247 hectares (509,650 acres). Its terrain is relatively flat with one distinct mountain, Mount Arayat and the notable Pampanga River. Among its municipalities, Porac has the largest land mass with 314 square kilometres (121 sq mi); Candaba comes in second with 176 square kilometres (68 sq mi); followed by Floridablanca with 175 square kilometres (68 sq mi). Santo Tomas, with an area of 21 square kilometres (8.1 sq mi), is the smallest.
The province of Pampanga has two distinct climates, rainy and dry. The rainy or wet season normally begins in May and runs through October, while the rest of the year is the dry season. The warmest period of the year occurs between March and April, while the coolest period is from December through February.
Farming and fishing are the two main industries of the province. Major products include rice, corn, sugar cane, and tilapia. In addition to farming and fishing, the province also supports thriving cottage industries that specialize in wood carving, furniture-making, guitars, and handicrafts. Every year during the Christmas season, the province of Pampanga becomes the center of a thriving industry centered on handcrafted lighted lanterns called "parols" that displays a kaleidoscope of light and color. Other industries include its casket industry and the manufacturing of all Purpose Vehicles present in the Municipality of Sto. Tomas.
The province is famous for its sophisticated culinary industry. Kapampangans are well known for their culinary creations. Well known food products range from the ordinary to the exotic. Pampanga's Best and Mekeni Food are among the better known meat brands of the country producing Kapampangan favorites such as pork and chicken tocinos, beef tapa, hot dogs, and longanezas (Philippines-style sausages and cured meats.)
Speciality foods such as the siopao, pandesal, tutong, lechon (roasted pig) and its sarsa (sauce), are popular speciality foods in the region. The more exotic betute tugak (stuffed frog), kamaru (mole crickets) cooked ala adobo, bulanglang (pork cooked in guava juice), lechon kawali, and bringhe (a green sticky rice dish like paella) are a mainstay in Kapampangan feasts. Native sweets and delicacies like pastillas, turonnes de casuy, buro, are the most sought after by Filipinos including a growing number of tourists who enjoy authentic Kapampangan cuisine. The famous cookie in Mexico, Pampanga, Sanikulas, which is known as the mother of all Philippine cookies are one of the best and the best are made in Mexico, Pampanga by Mrs. Lillian Borromeo.
Tourism is a growing industry in the province of Pampanga. Clark Freeport is home to Clark International Airport, designated as the Philippines' future premier gateway.. Other developing industries include semiconductor manufacturing for electronics and computers mostly located within the freeport.
Within the Clark Special Economic Zone are well established hotels and resorts. Popular tourist destinations in the province include: St. Peter Shrine in Apalit, Mt. Arayat National Park in San Juan Bano, Arayat, the Paskuhan Village in the City of San Fernando, the Casino Filipino in Angeles City, and for Nature and Wildlife "Paradise Ranch and Zoocobia Fun Zoo" in Clark. Well known annual events include the Giant Lantern Festival in December, the annual hot air balloon festival in Clarkfield during the month of February, the San Pedro Cutud Lenten Rites celebrated two days before Easter and the Aguman Sanduk in Minalin celebrated on the afternoon of New Year's Day.
Telephone services in the Province are provided by the Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), Digitel, Datelcom, the Evangelista Telephone Company, and the Pampanga Telecom Company in the town of Macabebe. The province has 24 public telegraph offices distributed among its towns while the facilities of PT&T and RCPI were set up to serve the business centers in Angeles City, San Fernando City and Guagua.
Several Internet Service Providers and available in the province. These include the Angeles Computer Network Specialist, Information Resources Network System, Inc., Mosaic communications Inc., Net Asia Angeles City, Phil World On Line and Comclark Network and Technology Corp.
United Parcel Services (UPS) and Federal Express (FedEx) provide international courier services for the province and the rest of the country. Their hubs are located within the Clark Freeport Zone. These international courier are complemented by four local couriers operating as the communication and baggage of the province. There are 3 postal district offices and 35 post office stations distributed in the 20 municipalities and 2 cities of the province.
Potable water supply in the province reaches the populace through three levels namely: Level I (point source system), Level II (communal faucet system), and Level III (individual connections). A well or spring is the pinpointed water source in areas where houses are few as the system is only designed to serve 15 to 25 households. As of 1997, there were 128,571 Level I water system users in the province. The communal faucet system (Level II) serves the rural areas while the Level III system is managed by the Local Water Utilities Administration (LWUA). The system provides individual house connections to all second and first class private subdivisions.
Electric power is distributed to majority of the towns through the distribution centers of the Pampanga Electric Cooperative (PELCO) which include PELCO I, II, III. Small parts of Candaba and Macabebe are also supplied by Manila Electric Company (MERALCO). Angeles City and small parts of Mabalacat, Bacolor, and Porac are supplied by Angeles Electric Corporation (AEC). City of San Fernando is supplied by San Fernando Electric Company (SFELAPCO).
The province of Pampanga is strategically located at the crossroads of central Luzon and is highly accessible by both air and land. The province is home to two airstrips: Basa Air Base in Floridablanca, which is utilized by the military, and Clark International Airport in Clark Freeport Zone. Pampanga also has five existing municipal ports which function as fish landing centers. These are situated in the municipalities of Guagua, Macabebe, Masantol, Minalin, and Sasmuan.
Land travel to the province is made easy by numerous buses that travel the routes of Manila-Pampanga-Bataan, Manila-Pampanga-Zambales, Manila-Pampanga-Tarlac, Manila-Pampanga-Nueva Ecija, Manila-Bulacan-Pampanga, and Manila-Pampanga-Dagupan. These buses are serviced by:
The 94 kilometres (58 mi) four-lane Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEx) to date, is the longest toll expressway in the Philippines. Its southern terminus is located at the Subic Bay Freeport Zone in Zambales, and passes through the Clark Freeport Zone in two interchanges: Clark North and Clark South. The expressway is linked to the North Luzon Expressway through the Mabalacat Interchange. Its northern terminus is located at the Central Techno Park in Tarlac City, Tarlac.
Like other Provinces in the Philippines, Pampanga is governed by a Governor and Vice Governor who are elected to three-year terms. The Governor is the executive head and leads the Province's departments in executing the ordinances and improving public services. The Vice Governor heads a legislative council (Sangguniang Panlalawigan) consisting of Board Members from the Districts.
Just as the national government, the Provincial government is divided into three branches: executive, legislative and judiciary. The judicial branch is administered solely by the Supreme Court of the Philippines. The LGUs have control of the executive and legislative branch.
The Supreme Court of the Philippines recognizes Pampanga regional trial courts and metropolitan or municipal trial courts within the province and towns, that have an over-all jurisdiction in the populace of the province and towns, respectively.
Façade of Halls of Justice (view from the rear of the Capitolio)
Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, "The Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980", as amended, created Regional, Metropolitan, Municipal Trial and Circuit Courts. The Third Judicial Region includes RTCs in Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Palayan and San Jose, inter alia: xxx. There shall be - (c) Seventy-five Regional Trial judges shall be commissioned for the Third Judicial Region: Twenty-two branches (Branches XLI to LXII) for the province of Pampanga and the city of Angeles, Branches XLI to XLVIII with seats at San Fernando, Branches XLIX to LIII at Guagua, Branches LIV and LV at Macabebe, and Branches LVI to LXII at Angeles City;
The law also created Metropolitan Trial Court in each metropolitan area established by law, a Municipal Trial Court in each of the other cities or municipalities, and a Municipal Circuit Trial Court in each circuit comprising such cities and/or municipalities as are grouped together pursuant to law: three branches for Cabanatuan City; in every city which does not form part of a metropolitan area, there shall be a Municipal Trial Court with one branch, except as hereunder provided: Three branches for Angeles City;
In each of the municipalities that are not comprised within a metropolitan area and a municipal circuit there shall be a Municipal Trial Court which shall have one branch, except as hereunder provided: Four branches for San Fernando and two branches for Guagua, both of Pampanga.
Francisco Tongio Liongson, Doctor of Medicine. - Born on December 3, 1869 in Bacolor, Pampanga, he served as Pampanga's Health Board President (1902), Governor (1912-1916), and First Senator (1916-1919).
Pedro Tongio Liongson, Lawyer. - Born on January 31, 1865 in Bacolor, Pampanga, he served as Bacolor's Justice of the Peace and interim judge of Pampanga's Court of First Instance (1892-1898), member of the Malolos Congress (1898-1899), Judge Advocate General of the Army of the First Philippine Republic (1899-1900) and Bacolor's Municipal Councilor 1901.
José Abad Santos - born in San Fernando, Pampanga, the 5th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines. He was appointed acting president by President Quezon with full authority to act on behalf of the President of the Philippines in areas unoccupied by the Japanese. He was killed by Japanese forces during the occupation of the Philippines in World War II.
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo - 14th President of the Republic of the Philippines. She is the daughter of the 9th President of the Republic Diosdado Macapagal. She was the country's second Female President after Corazon Aquino. She also was the country's first Female Vice President during the tenure of the now Deposed Former President Joseph Ejercito Estrada. She currently serves as the representative of the 2nd District. She is currently under hospital arrest in Veterans Memorial Hospital due to crimes of graft and corruption filed against her.
Joe Lingad, a one-term governor and congressman. Served as Secretary of Labor during Macapagal administration. Identified with the political opposition during the Marcos regime, he was assassinated in 1980 while campaigning for election as Pampanga governor.
Gil J. Puyat. Senate President of the Philippines from 1967 to 1972. Former Dean of Business, University of the Philippines (1940), Philippine Senator (1960–1972), Rotary President and Businessman (Finance and Insurance). He is the third child of Don Gonzalo Puyat. Founder of the Manila Bank, Manila Bankers Life and Loyola Group of Companies.
Francisco Alonso Liongson, playwright. Born on July 1, 1896 in Bacolor, Pampanga. Considered one of the Philippines outstanding Spanish playwright and was the founding president of Circulo Escenico, the Philippines premier Spanish dramatics club (1922-1980).
Rogelio dela Rosa, a native of Lubao, Pampanga. one of the most popular Filipino matinee idols of the 20th century and was elected to the Senate in 1957—the first film actor who was able to parlay his fame into a political career, paving the way for other Filipino entertainers-turned-politicians. He had an equally famous brother, Jaime dela Rosa, also a matinee idol in the 1950s.
Melanie Marquez, beauty queen turned actress from Mabalacat. Miss International 1979 and was voted as the Most Beautiful Miss International in 2000. Sister of another local actor, Joey Marquez.
Vanessa Minnillo, American television personality born in Clark Air Base, Angeles City and raised in the US. She was Miss Teen USA 1998 and is currently a host on MTV's Total Request Live.
Donita Rose, born in the US, she moved to Angeles City, where her father was designated at the US Clark Air Base, when she was five years old. She went on to become a famous local actress and MTV VJ in Asia.
Lea Salonga, Tony Award-winning singer and actress who is best known for her portrayal of Kim in the musical Miss Saigon. She spent the first six years of her childhood in Angeles City before moving to Manila.
Aurelio Tolentino, original member of the Katipunan and nationalist playwright. He was born in Guagua. He was one of the so-called seditious playwrights whose works became the foundation for the nation's political theater. His most famous work is "Kahapon, Ngayon at Bukas" written in 1903. The Tanghalang Aurelio Tolentino, commonly known as the Little Theater of the Cultural Center of the Philippines is named after him.
Brillante Mendoza, Filipino film director who won Best Director for his film Kinatay at the recently concluded 62nd Cannes Film Festival in France.
Yves Flores is a model and actor who was a "Housemate" in Pinoy Big Brother (PBB) Teen Edition 4, and most recently appeared in the hit primetime TV series "Got to Believe." He was born in Pampanga and his family later moved to Tarlac.
Apl.de.ap- a world-renowned musical artist, is a founding member of Black Eyed Peas.
Ato Agustin - from Lubao, Pampanga. Better known as Ato "The Atom Bomb" Agustin, is a former Filipino professional basketball player. He played college ball for the Lyceum of the Philippines, before moving on to play professional basketball in the Philippine Basketball Association. PBA one-time MVP, multiple championship as a player and solitary title as coach. One of the fastest coach to win a title. One-time MBA Champion and Best Guard (1998 maiden season).
Chris Tiu, team captain of Ateneo Blue Eagles in UAAP Season 71 Men's Basketball Championship. Currently host of Pinoy Records. He has a Chinese-Kapampangan ancestry.
Efren "Bata" Reyes, referred to as "The Magician" a Filipino billiards player who hails from Angeles City. He is considered to be one of history's greatest practitioners of billiards.