LAND AND RESOURCES
A. The Name of Lubao.
BABA and LUBAO are popular names used by the early Kapangpangan (or Kapampangan) settlers to describe the physical nature of the place. Geographically, the names point toward the extreme low topology of the town. Hence, throughout the history of Lubao, the popular word “low” became synonymous or associated to the meaning of the town. Historically, the etymologies of the names, BABA and LUBAO, are significant in the cosmological evolution and epochal development of the town as the Cradle of the Kapampangan Kingdom that later influenced the configuration of the Kapampangan Empire.
B. Early People of Lubao.
Lubao’s earliest political leaders were believed to come from the ancient roots of Rajah Soliman. Rajah Matanda, the father of Rajah Soliman of Maynilad (Manila), and Rajah Lacandula of Tunduk (Tondo) were, likewise, believed to be descendants of the courageous and powerful Soliman’s clans of Lubao. The succeeding leaders of Lubao included Datu Macabulus, the last chieftain of the Kingdom of Lubao when the Spanish conquistadores arrived in the village to subjugate the people. Later, the clans of the Soliman and Macabulus produced a valiant leader named Francisco Soliman Macabulus, the patriotic hero of Tarlac. Spanish accounts also identified Don Nicolas Ramos, chief and governor of Lubao, and Don Juan Lising, also a chieftain of Lubao as early leaders of the town. Similar documents also mentioned the role of Don Juan Macapagal, the chieftain of Arayat, in persuading the Kapampangan revolutionaries in Lubao to halt their uprising against the Spaniards in 1660. The present Macapagals of Lubao are descendants of this clan.
C. Foundation Date of Lubao.
Lubao was already a prosperous kingdom with an organized system of government when the Spaniards led by Martin de Goiti and the Augustinian missionaries set foot in the village. The administration of its political affairs was ruled by Datu Macabulus and Council of Elders in Balas (now Sta. Cruz).
Historical accounts indicated that Martin de Goiti, together with Lt. Antonio Carvajal and the Augustinian missionaries founded Lubao on September 14, 1571 after Datu Macabulus and the Council of Elders of Lubao received the Spaniards with conciliatory promise of capitulation. In the Catholic tradition, September 14 is the Feast Day of the Triumph of the Cross. It is also called as the Victory of the Cross. It is the glorious moment when the Savior won the victory against man’s sinfulness. Similarly, the foundation date of Lubao and the Province of Pampanga is the greatest moment in the history of Christianity in Luzon. The date is the advent of the Christian faith particularly the Catholic devotion. It is the Victory or Triumph of the Cross because it conquered the paganistic and atheistic nature of the Kapampangan illiterate religion
In this most prosperous community among the Kapampangans, Martin de Goiti declared and proclaimed before Datu Macabulus, the Council of Elders and inhabitants of the Kapangpangan (Kapampangan), the establishment of the Provincia de la Pampanga, which was the first province to be formally organized by the Spanish conquistadores in Luzon. As a citadel, Lubao was Pampanga to the Spaniards and coursed it as the center of their government.
Lubao is one of the twenty two municipalities of the Province of Pampanga. It is located at the western 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 14o 56’ 07” latitude, and 120o 36’ 04” longtitude.
As most cradles of world civilizations took place along riverbanks, Lubao’s strategic location dictates the pattern of how the earliest Kapampangans established their own. Its proximity to the Western Luzon mountain ranges, where the Philippine aborigines (Aytas) were believed to have first settled magnifies the historical process of how ancient movements or migration of people had evolved. Strategically nestled along flat greenfields and prosperous estuarines, Lubao’s location is advantageous and important for agriculture and trade. Historically, Lubao was a vast kingdom that comprised all its surrounding villages or settlements. It included the Bataan towns of San Juan de Dinalupihan, Llana Hermosa, Orani, Samal, Abucay, Balanga, and Orion); some portions of Zambales; and the town of Floridablanca, and according to oral traditions, Sasmuan, Guagua and Betis were also ancient confederated villages of Lubao until they were declared independent pueblos (towns) by the Spanish missionaries.
Lubao’s terrain is generally flat. Its elevation is between 0-3 meters only. Broad plains constitute about 64.30% of the total land area. It is traversed by two major rivers: the Gumain and the Kaulaman Rivers, and numerous small creeks serving as drainage basin. The southern portion of Lubao is part of the coastal area of the Pampanga province. The specific zone serves as the fishing ground of the municipality. Its slope is higher on the northern-western part with an elevation of 11 meters. The slope then shifts to an elevation of 8 meters on the western side. On the southern portion, elevation becomes deeper, ranging from 3 to 0 meters up to the location of the three island barangays along the coast of Pampanga Bay.
F. Land Area and Barangays
Lubao has a total land area of 15,731.11 hectares. It is a first class municipality composed of forty four (44) barangays. These barangays are segregated according to the following groupings:
a. Urban Core. This is composed of barangays San Nicolas I, Sta. Lucia, Sto. Tomas and San Juan. This group of barangays is nestled in the mid-eastern part of the municipality. San Nicolas I serves as the poblacion area and is the seat of the Municipal Hall, the Escolastica Romero District Hospital, the Philippine National Police, and other local government offices. The San Agustin Church, the Lubao Cemetery, and elementary and secondary schools are situated in this barangay. Barangays Sto. Tomas, San Juan, and Sta. Lucia serve as small commercial and trading hub of the town.
b. Central Business District. This composes barangays Sta. Cruz, Concepcion, Remedios, Lourdes, Sto. Nino and Prado Siongco. Sta. Cruz is the site of the pubic market and is the business center of the town. It also hosts numerous rural banks, commercial and office establishments, food stores and restaurants, the Sta. Cruz Parish Church, elementary and secondary schools and other technical learning centers. The other barangays, which are located along the Mc-Arthur Highway (now Gapan-Olongapo Road) are ancillary spots for resorts, restaurants, hotels, bus stops and terminals, eateries, lumber and hardware stores, small manufacturing industries (furniture, sash factories, etc.), subdivision sites, and memorial parks. The Somascan Minor Seminary administered by the Congregation of the Clerics Regular of Somasca, CRS, is located in barangay Prado Saba.
c. Sub-urban Zone. This is composed of barangays San Nicolas II, Sta. Barbara, Sta. Catalina, Sta. Monica, San Matias, San Pablo II, San Roque Dau I, and Don Ignacio Dimson (San Roque Dau II). These barangays are the populated barangays forming around the urban core. They are gradually becoming urbanized. The economy is a mixture of agriculture trading, industries, and general services.
d. Rural Villages. The rural villages are Balantacan, Calangain, Del Carmen, Dela Paz, San Agustin, San Antonio, San Isidro, San Jose Apunan, San Miguel, San Pablo 1st, San Pedro Palcarangan, San Pedro Saug, San Rafael (Baruya), San Roque Arbol, San Vicente, Sta. Maria, Sta. Rita, Sta. Teresa I, Santiago, Sto. Domingo, Sto. Cristo and San Francisco. Basically, these are agricultural barangays that mainly produce palay at two to three cropping per year. Piggery, poultry and backyard livestock-raising supplement the livelihood of the residents. Inland fish-farming and vegetable productions are also sources of income for the people.
e. Fishing Villages. Fishing villages include the island barangays of San Jose Gumi, Bancal Sinubli, Bancal Pugad, and Sta. Teresa II (Lambiki). The average size of each of the island barangays is four to six hectares. Houses are mostly made of nipa and wood. Streets are narrow, partly concreted, and serve as temporary shelters during storms. The barangays are surrounded by large tracts of fishponds, and are enclosed by narrow rivers. The main source of livelihood is fishing.
G. Physical Characteristics and Features
Geographically, Lubao is located at the western part of the province of Pampanga and is one of the twenty one municipalities. It is bounded by the municipalities of Guagua (north), Sasmuan (east), Floridablanca (west), and Orani, Bataan (south).
Its topographical terrain is generally flat. The elevation ranges from 0-3 meters only. Broad plains constitute about 64.30% of the total land resources making it a prime agricultural area. It has numerous small tributaries such as estuaries or creeks that end at the Pampanga Bay. The southern portion of Lubao serves as the fishing ground of the town. The north western slope of the municipality is higher with an elevation of eleven (11) meters. This area covers barangays San Roque Dau I and II, Sto. Domingo, San Francisco, San Jose Apunan, San Miguel, San Vicente, Sta. Rita, Del Carmen, Dela Paz, San Pablo I and II , San Pedro Saug, San Pedro Palcarangan, Sto. Nino, and Prado Siongco. The slope then shifts to an elevation of 8 meters and below on the areas of San Roque, Arbol, Lourdes, Sta. Cruz, Sta. Maria, and San Agustin towards the south. The southern part of Lubao has slopes that range from 0 to 3 meters elevation. These are the easily flooded barangays of San Nicolas I and II, San Juan, Sta. Lucia, Sta. Catalina, and Sta. Barbara, all in the poblacion area; and San Rafael and San Jose Gumi (both located along the coastal area of the municipality). Three barangays (Sta. Teresa II, Bancal Sinubli and Bancal Pugad), situated along the coastal waters of the Pampanga Bay, are classified as island barangays.
The total land area of Lubao is 15,731.11 hectares. With its 44 barangays, Prado Siongco is the largest (85.16 hectares) while San Nicolas, with only 65 hectares, is the smallest.
Lubao is a part of vast floodplain formed during the early periods. The presence of its two main river channels and enormous tributaries may have created the flat region. This is evidenced by the flood sediments of sand, gravel, and clay, which characterize its soil. With slight rains, the town is slightly flooded, and is largely flooded during continuous rains.
The coastal area comprises 3,810.12 hectares or 24.29% of the total land area of Lubao. Of the town’s fishing grounds, 599.53 hectares or 3.90% is covered by nipa and mangroves, while the riverbed is 1,051.06 hectares or 6.84%. The river beds are the sources of quarry materials (gravel and sand) and cobblestones. Gravel and sand are raw materials for building and road construction while cobblestones are used as stone wash for textiles.
a. Soil. Soil found in Lubao consists of La Paz silt-fine sand, and Angeles coarse sand and hydrosol. La Paz silt loam and La Paz fine sand are best for growing crops such as rice, sugarcane and vegetables. Angeles coarse sand is best as quarry materials (gravel and sand). Hydrosol, which is found along the southern towns of the municipality, is best used for fishpond purposes and mangroves/nipa swamp.
b. Climate. The climate of Lubao falls under “C” type based on the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) classification. There are two (2) distinct pronounced seasons, the wet and the dry seasons. The dry season occurs during the months of May to October with a monthly average rainfall of 13.9 inches. Temperature during the period remains steady between 26 to 28 degrees centigrade. The months of July, August and September fall under the wet season which is characterized by heavy rains. The months of March, April and May are the driest or hottest periods. The dry or hot season is marked by total absence of rain. Temperature during the dry season ranges from 29 to 34 degrees centigrade.
c. Rivers. Lubao (also lubo) also refers to the low lying condition of the municipality. Hence, Lubao is a town of many rivers. It was along these rivers where the early Kapampangans established their Malayan civilization. These rivers served as the waterways of the earliest Kapampangans in trading and bartering their gold, rice and other stuffs with their Malayo-Polynesian neighbors. During the Spanish period, these rivers were used by the Spaniards as their highway to their missionary works in Luzon. Similarly, the riverbanks also served as Spanish military forts and trading ports. Today, the many rivers or tributaries of Lubao serve as way of life for its people.
AGRICULTURE AND ECONOMY
A. Agriculture. Lubao is the largest rice producing town in the province of Pampanga. Out of 15,731.11 hectare land area, 66.60% or 10,476.1 hectares are being utilized for agriculture. Of this, 8,890.2 hectares are used for crop production.
a. Rice Production. Lubao produced 50,409.60 metric tons of rice in 1999. In the year 2001, the production decreased to only 38,916.40 metric tons. The decrease was due to lack of irrigation water and the conversion of some rice lands to subdivisions.
b. Other Crops. The area planted to other crops (other minor crops include mongo, peanuts, root crops, fruits and vegetables) covers an estimated 1,038.5 hectares and yielded 641.3 metric tons. Fruit trees such as mangoes cover an area of 20 hectares. In 2002 mango production was recorded at 1,000 metric tons. Calamansi covered two (2) hectares that recorded a production of 637 metric tons.
c. Camia and Sampaguita. Camia and Sampaguita flowers are lucrative livelihood in some barangays of Lubao. An estimated 103.5 hectares are planted to these plants on backyards and front yards of many homes. The flowers are sewn as garlands or processed as perfumes.
B. Fishery. The fishing industry in Lubao is classified as to two types: inland and brackish fishing. The overall area covered by fishing is about 3,543.16 hectares. Brackish fishponds cover 2,685.50 hectares or 75.79%. These cover the entire coastal waters of Lubao. Inland fishponds constitute 857.66 hectares or 24.2%. Brackish fishponds are generally for the production of milkfish (bangus), prawns (sugpu), crabs (ema) and large tilapia. Inland fishponds produce tilapia, mudfish and catfish.
C. Livestock and Poultry. Only few commercial livestock and poultry raisers are found in Lubao. Backyard piggery and poultry are common in almost all barangays due to the available feeding materials taken from the agricultural produce of the farmers.
D. Trade and Industry. Agri-businesses are the most common commercial enterprises or trades in Lubao. In 2003, about 396 agricultural-based enterprises were registered at the municipal trade and industry office. These include the operation of fishponds, cono/rice mills, palay/rice buying and selling, agricultural suppliers for piggery and livestock. Other business establishments include hardware and construction suppliers, lumber, sash and furniture shops. Restaurants, small hotels and resorts that serve as stop-over shops for tourist and provincial buses and commuters are also found along the stretch of the Gapan-Olongapo Road. Rural and saving banks are also established in the town. Similarly, money exchange, lending, investment, credit, mortgage and pawnshop centers are also available for business entrepreneurs. Medical clinics and drugstores are also accessible.
PEOPLE AND CULTURE
A. Population. The 2000 Census of Population and Housing of the National Statistics Office indicated that the total population of Lubao is 125, 699, a population increase of 106,096 over the last 97 years only.
a. Elementary Schools. Lubao has 43 public elementary schools and one primary school in the year 2003. Lubao East District has 21 elementary schools and Lubao West District has 22 elementary schools and one primary school. During the school year 2002-2003, Lubao elementary schools registered 18,649 pupils, a total of 471 classrooms and 520 teachers. The classroom-pupil ratio is 1:40, while the teacher-pupil ratio is 1:36.
b. Secondary Schools. Lubao has six national secondary schools. During the school year 2000-2001, the total student enrolment was 5,691. There were 147 teachers and 99 classrooms. Student to teacher ratio was 1:40. Lately, two (2) more national high schools were established. Private secondary schools include the Holy Rosary Academy, Sta. Cruz Academy, Holy Cross Central Institute, Lubao Institute and Maccim Royal Academy.
c. College and Technical Schools. Except for the Somascans Minor College Seminary, Lubao has no other collegiate institutions. College students enroll in private and state colleges and universities in nearby towns and provinces or cities. The Lubao Vocational School was also established in the town.
C. Health and Social Welfare. The main health facility of Lubao is the government-run Escolastica Romero District Hospital. It has 25 bedrooms and 532 health personnel including those at the three (3) Rural Health Units of the town. Privately owned health facilities are mostly found in Sta. Cruz, the commercial center of Lubao. There are 8 medical, 4 dental and 2 optical clinics, with 28 medical practitioners. Medical laboratories and drugstores are also available. Social welfare services are regularly conducted by the social workers.
D. Religious Denominations. Lubao is predominantly a Roman Catholic town. The National Statistics Office Survey of 1970, 1990 and 2000 shows that 90 percent of the residents of Lubao are Roman Catholics. Other religious denominations include Iglesia ni Cristo, Aglipayan, Islam, United Church of Christ in the Philippines, Lutheran Church in the Philippines, Philippine Episcopal Church, Iglesia Evangelista Methodista en Las Filipinas, United Methodist Church, Salvation Army, Convention of the Philippine Baptist Church, Buddhism, Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Philippine Benevolent Missionaries Association, Seventh Day Adventist, Evangelicals, Bible Baptist, Southern Baptist, Association of Baptist Churches in Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao, and Association of Fundamental Baptist Church in the Philippines.
E. Ethnic Groups. The National Statistics Office (2000) reported that about 5% of Philippine ethnic groups are now found in Lubao. Since Kapampangan (95%) is the major language of the residents, the sizeable immigrants are influenced by the culture of their host town.
F. Local Administration. At present, the local administration of Lubao is governed by the 1991 Local Government Code of the Philippines. As mandated, the following key administrative positions are designated to ensure the systematic and organized governance of the municipal system. These positions include the Offices of the Municipal Treasurer, Accountant, Assessor, Engineer, Planning and Development Coordinator, Budget Officer, Health Officer, and Civil Registrar. Likewise, the following offices similarly compliment administrative functions in the municipal government: Offices of the Municipal Agriculturist, Legal Officer, Environment and Natural Resources Officer, Administrator, Social Welfare and Development Officer. The Municipal Government of Lubao as of year 2003 had 233 employees distributed in 34 offices and various divisions.
G. Presidents of the Philippines. Profounded by ancient traditions, Lubao as the Cradle of the Kapampangan Civilization, produced great men of will and valor. Antiquated by time and history, the traces of the sublime and humble greatness of its ancestors still live in the hearts and souls of its people today.
Lubao is naturally blessed with people cloaked with instinctive traits: gallantry, gentility, genius, godliness. The grandeur of Lubao as a citadel and the greatness of its people as a portrait of history are yet to be installed in the annals of local, national and world histories.
Following the pathways of the ancient Kapampangan tradition of greatness, two Philippine Presidents are native of Lubao: Presidents Diosdado Pangan Macapagal (9th President of the Philippines) and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (14th President of the Philippines).
H. Prominent Citizens. Through out history, Lubao has produced proud Filipinos like the roots of the gallant Soliman, Lacandula, and Macabulus who are living testimonies that bear witness to the greatness and dedication they shared for the country.
Proud and resilient, the following are some of the numerous prominent citizens of Lubao that demonstrated prominence in their respective fields and endeavors: Leandro Ibarra, Secretary of Interior of the Philippine Revolutionary Government under Emilio Aguinaldo; Francisco Soliman Macabulus, whose parents were originally from Lubao, is a known revolutionary freedom fighter of Tarlac. Rogelio de la Rosa, popular stage and movie actor, was elected senator in the early ‘60s. He campaigned for the Presidency but aborted his candidacy before the scheduled election. He joined the department of foreign affairs as an ambassador for many years. Jaime de la Rosa, Rogelio’s brother is also a popular movie actor; Jose B. Lingad, World War II military officer, served as provincial governor of Pampanga, congressman of the first district and Commissioner of the Bureau of Customs, the Games and Amusement Board and the Bureau of Internal Revenue; Hugo E. Gutierrez Jr., a pillar of the legal profession, served as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the Philippines; Dominador Danan was designated as Bureau of Prisons Director and Caloocan City Chief of Police in the ‘60s; Colonel Jesus Tayag, President Diosdado Macapagal’s security officer, was appointed as Chief of Police of Caloocan City; Captain Jose Salvador Manuel, youngest Chief of Police of Lubao at the time of his appointment, was credited for saving the lives of many Lubenians from the cruelties of the Japanese soldiers during World War II; Angel P. Macapagal served as vice-governor of Pampanga and was elected as congressman of the first district of Pampanga in the ‘60s; Anastacio R. Bernal, an architect by profession, was elected municipal mayor of Lubao and was appointed as Chairman of the Board Examiners for Architects; Concordia Kabiling Vitug, a doctor of pharmacy, was designated as Chairperson of the Board of Examiners for Pharmacists in the Philippines by Pres. Diosdado Macapagal. She was the founding president of the Lubenians of California, USA and the Hormiga de Hiero Association, USA; Benito Manalansan, a successful lawyer, became General Manager of the National Rice Corporation (NARIC) of the Philippines; Conrado Manalansan, a well-known sugar and rice planter, was appointed to head Sugar Quota Administration; Emigdio L. Lingad, a political science scholar in California, was elected congressman of the second district of Pampanga; Jesus C. Razon, a prominent lawyer, served as foreign department director and deputy governor of the Central Bank of the Philippines. He was appointed as the founding chairman of the Philippine Deposit and Insurance Corporation; Floro Dabu, famous medical doctor, became a Secretary of the Department of Health of the Philippines; Amable M. Aguiluz was President Diosdado Macapagal’s financial adviser whom he appointed as Budget Commissioner and Treasurer of the Philippines. He was the founding president of AMA Computer University System; Diosdado Aguiluz, another confidant of Pres. Diosdado Macapagal, served as director of the Bureau of Prisons of the Philippines; Cornelio Regala, well-known business and government executive, directed the Philippine Bureau of Printing; Jose Regala, an eminent member of the legal profession, became the administrator of the City of Manila; Antonio Ibarra, a topnotch lawyer and tough prosecutor, became Assistant Solicitor general of the Philippines in the ‘60s; Orlando Macaspac, honest and efficient police officer, rose to the rank of general in the Philippine National Police; Roman Kabiling, wealthy sugar and rice planter, devoted many years of public service as municipal mayor of Lubao; Salvador Dimson, an engineer by profession and a descendant of the famed Dimson clan, served as municipal mayor for several terms; Cielo Macapagal Salgado served as vice-governor of Pampanga and is presently the director of the Philippine National Bank; Zenaida C. Ducut, lawyer, became a congresswoman of the 2nd District of Pampanga; Conrado P. Jimenez, physician, was the municipal mayor of Lubao, Pampanga from 1986-1992; Lilia G. Pineda, municipal mayor for several terms (1992-2001), is a member of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Pampanga; Juan Miguel “Mikey’ Arroyo, actor, became vice-governor of Pampanga and at present is a congressman of Pampanga’s 2nd district; Dr. Rodrigo M. Sicat, book writer, professor and researcher; Dennis G. Pineda is the current mayor of Lubao, Pampanga (2001 to present).
In the fields of business, agriculture and other professions, Lubao is fortunate to have many individuals who excelled in their respective undertakings. Self-made millionaires: Regalado Montemayor, founder of X’or Studios and Rodolfo “Bong” Pineda. Bong Pineda is the benefactor of many young people who need monetary assistance in pursuing their education and patrons of poor people who need financial help for medical care and other personal necessities. The rice and sugar industries are grateful for the contributions of Don Martin Gonzales, Don Rufino Dimson, Don Pedro Barin, Dona Teodorica Arrastia-Reinares, Colonel Eloy Baluyut, Pragmacio Vitug, Urbano Manalansan, Dionisio V. Zuniga, and Atty. Alejandro Z. Barin.
In music, the world’s famous concert pianist, Cecile B. Licad calls Lubao her hometown. In the movie industry, Lubenians who made headlines were Jaime de la Rosa, Africa de la Rosa, Engracio Ibarra, and movie director Gregorio Fernandez. The debonair movie and television stars Rudy Fernandez and Letty Arrastia (known as Letty Alonzo, wife of the late movie and TV personality Mario Montenegro) are also Lubenians.
Lubao has also several literary great writers that included the award winning poet laureate Delfin T. Quiboloy; short story writer Constancio T. Quiboloy, whose articles were published in the Manila Sunday Times Magazine, The Tribune, Focus and Kislap-Graphic; Kapampangan playwright Urbano Macapagal of “Bayung Jerusalem;” the
Delfin Turla Quiboloy
energetic Francisco Cunanan, an administrative assistant to the mayor’s office and Editor-In-Chief of the Kapampangan newsletter, “Ing Sulu”; Bienvenido Santos, the author of two masterpieces “The Scent of Apples” and “The Volcanoes” although born and raised in Manila, he considered himself from Lubao, hometown of his father; and Jose Luna Castro, Editor-In-Chief of the Manila Times. Contemporary literary writer Ernie C. Turla is the author of “Kapampangan Songs and Poetry” and editor of “The Divine Fairy Tale.”
In times of war to defend the ideals of democracy and freedom, legions of Lubenian soldiers fought brave and hard during the Japanese Occupation. Three of the well-known guerilla commanders in the forties were Abelardo Zuniga (alias Kumander Verzosa), Abelardo Dabu and Silvestre Liwanag (alias Kumander Linda Bie).
During the World War II, the people of Lubao rescued, protected and fed thousands of American and Filipino prisoners of war when the infamous Death March from Bataan passed through the patriotic and historic town of Lubao.
The town’s priests born in Lubao include Msgrs. Diosdado Victorio, Pedro Puno, Fidel Dabu and Francisco Cancio, Catholic Vicars Forane.
I. Common Traits. The identity of the people of Lubao is found in their cultural heritage. Although the nature of the people of Lubao is a chemistry of aboriginal (Ayta), oriental (Malayo-Polynesian or Austronesian) and occidental (Hispano-American) consciousness (kamalayan), the peoples’ gentility is basically characterized as traditional and contemporary in manner. The nature is commonly simple with less strain of contradictions.
One of the hallmarks of their character is said to spring from the natural endowment of their genteel language. Largely aboriginal and Malayo-Polynesian (Austronesian) in structure and form, their riverbank Kapampangan nature shapes the matrix and template of the Lubenian’s character and traits. 1. Interpersonal relationship (pamakiabe). This is a character that is held to be germane among the people. They like and love people around them and those who come for help. Helpfulness is not only demonstrated during casual moments but also during the most trying times; 2. Strong Family Ties (Matibe’t Madaup a Pamilya). The people of Lubao are said to be naturally family-centered. Like any other Kapampangans, they possess an authentic, genuine and strong love for the family; 3. Respect for elders (Pamigalang karing matua). This unwritten law is a moral commandment that is known among the people of Lubao. Enshrined in their hearts, this general rule is a credo mastered by all especially kissing the hands of the elders (pamaniklaud); 4. Joy and Humor (Saya ampon Tula). The cheerful and fun-loving character of the people of Lubao is not only found in their ardor but also in their active and energetic dialect; 5. Industry and Perseverance (Sipag at Kapibabatan); 6. Faith in God and Religiosity (Kasalpantayanan king Apung Guinu at Kapanaligan).The religiosity of the people of Lubao is as ancient as the aborigines. Faith in God and religiosity are evidently innate even before the arrival of the Spaniards; 7. Courage and Intelligence (Tapang at Kabiasnan). These qualities are regarded as seals of the Kapampangan traditional leadership that reigns supreme among its people yesterday, today and perhaps, even in the future.
EARLY TRADITIONS AND PRACTICES
Long before the arrival of the Spaniards in Lubao, the people had already a flourishing civilization.. The following are some of the early traditions and practices of the people:
a. Toponyms. Toponym is a name given to a place. One fascinating facet in order to understand the ancient history of Lubao is to have a glimpse on the names of places around it. This toponyms offer a topographical portrait vis-à-vis the aboriginal beginning of Lubao. The ancient people of Lubao assigned names to its villages based on how the places were recognized: topographic features, flora and fauna, cultural or economic significance. Their choice of name for a place indicates its characteristics or value: vegetation, climate, geology, food, settlement, land use, language and territorial distinctiveness. Examples include Gumi refers to something bushy like balbas (beard). Lambiki is a type of mangrove (bako). Balantacan refers to a common grass that abundantly thrives in the same barangay. Its white seeds when threaded by children are made into necklaces called kuwintas baluga. Their seeds are used by the aytas as sulbatana (pellets for their guns). Panday Pira, the Kapampangan cannon maker, called his cannon balls lantaka after the seeds of balantacan.
b. Social Classes. The prosperous intercourse of Lubao with its Austronesian and Chinese neighbors did not only bring economic boom among the Kapampangans but also established a more formal structure and functional political system. The society was divided into three classes: the chiefs or datus (mamuntukan or mamunu), the freemen or timawa (manawa), and the slaves (ipus).
c. Government. The balay (means house but it refers to family in this context) was the smallest unit of the balayan (community). An aggrupation of balay is called pulu. A pulu is a unit of families with the same affinity or consanguinity. The relationship is called the midaya-daya or the mikama-kamaganak system. It was highly federated because the eldest member of the pulu was the supreme head of the cell. Hence, pulung Diwa, pulung Paule, pulung Manganti, pulung Vitug, pulung Cunanan, pulung Macaspac, pulung Malit, pulung Danan, pulung Layug, pulung Sicat and others were the common during those times. Family relationship is extremely cohesive and adhesive that decision making is highly patriarchal. Although they had unwritten laws, the group faithfully followed them without belligerence. Mores were instinctive and moral laws were strictly observed with utmost courtesy by all members. All types of works were communal. Balayan is the expanded form of today’s balen or town. Kabalayan or kabalenan was the heart of the political structure. Early kabalayans were located along river banks that later spread on higher or upland areas. During the pre-Spanish times, the balayan of Lubao was a large dominion or kingdom that was headed by a datu. Sibabalayan or siping-siping balayan was the assembly or confederation of nearby villages or kingdoms. The confederation is now called lalawigan.
d. Role of Women. Women of Lubao played important roles during the pre-colonial times. Although the society was highly patriarchal, women were vice-husbands. They played as substitute when the head of the family was absent. Fray Gaspar de San Agustin (1998) described the women of Lubao as “very brave and strong.” Even today, the mother assists in her husband’s chores in farming, fishing, and in any entrepreneurial jobs. Together with her children, she religiously and painstakingly performs her household errands with utmost industry and perseverance. As a mother, she is particular about cleanliness, neatness and organization inside the home. Basically, she is demanding and output-oriented. Because she is commonly industrious, she sparingly requires every child in her family to be productive. She rarely welcomes complaints because complaining is not her natural brand. She is known as a strict disciplinarian, an authoritarian to her children.
e. Food. Lubao is a hamlet of exotic estuarine products and abundant field crops. Its immense crops make its people the master of the art of preparing and preserving these plentiful resources. Examples of these indigenous foodstuffs include the following:
Tugak (frog). Batute is fried frog stuffed with exotic blend of garlic, onion, tomato, salt, local spices (tangle, kuse, kulitis), and ground frog meat. Payus is grilled ground frog meat mixed with local spices and wrapped in banana leaves. Arobu or adobo is a sautéed frog in vinegar, soy sauce, and local spices. Tinola is a boiled frog meat with ginger, papaya and pepper leaves. Torta or tidtad tugak is a sautéed ground frog meat mixed with white or sweet potatoes and egg. Sigang is boiling frog meat in sour tamarind (sampaluk) stock. Used for sour stocks are: tamarind tenders tops (lagu), flowers (sampaga) and fruits (bunga). Santol, kamias, mangga, kalibangbag and palapat are also used. Fried (piritu) and grilled (ningnang) frogs are the easiest to prepare.
Kamamaru (Cricket). Rice and sugarcane field crickets are cooked with local spices and are prepared as dried “adobo,” sautéed in garlic, onion, and tomatoes. The kamamaru is superbly a delight. Salibubang (Beetle). These insects are simply fried and are readily eaten by exotic food enthusiasts. “Durun” (brown grasshoppers) are also similarly prepared as the salibubang. Dagis (Rat). Brown rats hunted along rice and sugar cane fields are popularly known for their exotic taste and medicinal value. Skinned and sun dried, the meat is cooked as malanging arobo and later fried. Ayup (Birds). Exotic birds such as egret (tikling or tagak), heron (bako), quail (pugu), and the like are either cooked as arobo, simply fried (piritu) or grilled (ningnang).
Talangka (Palm crabs). Lagang talangka is boiled-dried with salt and is dipped in vinegar. Burung talangka is eaten by extracting the meat and fat from the crabs after slightly soaking them in boiling water. When mixed with steaming rice, it simply tastes heavenly. Tabang talangka is a pure extract from the fat and meat of palm crabs and flavored with lime juice. When it is sautéed with garlic, the taste is beyond compare. Ningnang talangka is grilled palm crab. Aslam sasa (nipa vinegar) or kalamunding (citrus) is the best sauce (tiltilan) for grilled palm crabs. Eels and reptiles. Arobung talunasan, large greenish eel cooked in vinegar and soy sauce is one of the most common menus for eel. Palus (common eel) is sautéed in soy sauce, vinegar and spices. Lagat igat tastes great; it is boiled eel in young tamarind shoot (lagung sampaluk). Eels can simply be fried or grilled. Monitor lizard (barak) and python (bitin) have delicious meats. These are also stewed in soy sauce, vinegar and spices. Lelut barak and lelut bitin are porridges that are delightful to most lovers of these exotic menus. Their meats taste like chicken because monitor lizard and python mostly feed on fowls.
Fish. Generally, all types of fish are grilled, fried or boiled. Sinigang, bulanglang and pangat are boiled preparations in different soup bases. Boiling fish (sinigang) in tamarind or santol flavored stock and green banana fruit or flower is a delicious menu. Bulanglang is boiled milkfish (bangus) or salat-salat (mixed variety of fish) in ripe guava stock and vegetables. Boiled fish with plain tamarind soup is called pangat.
As a rule, fishes are boiled in sour stock (inaslaman) of santol, kamias, or sampaluk. Among fishing villages, palapat is a common flavoring and in remote rural areas, kalibangbag is the substitute.
When fish is cooked in vinegar, ginger, pepper, onion and tangle, it is called paksi. Fried large fish cooked in sweet-sour sauce and spiced with chili, pepper and ginger is called iskabetsi. Mudfish makes a delectable stock when sautéed in ginger and onion and garnished with pechay and black pepper; it is called pesa. When a large fried mudfish (bundaki) is cooked with ripe bananas, pechay, garlic and onion, it is called putsero.
Biabia (tiny gray fish), dulung (tiny white fish) and alamang (brine shrimps) are sautéed in garlic and onion. The excellent sauces (tiltilan) come in variety of choices from vegetable fruits such as santol, unripe mango, kamias, tamarind or fresh tamarind sprouts.
Rilyenung bangus (stuffed milkfish) is milkfish stuffed with a concoction of milkfish fillet, raisins (pasas) and spices. When fried, it is absolutely delicious. Rilyenung apalya is stuffing ampalaya with a mixture of ground meat, spices and eggs.
Shellfish. Ema (pond crabs), alimasag (sea crabs), and paro (prawns are bigger variety than shrimps) are best served when boiled. The best fish pond crabs have hardened fat (menyipit taba). Shrimp varieties are enormous and the most popular are the dapil (white variety) and paro plaisdan (grayish or dark brown variety). Shrimps cooked (sigang paro) in sour fruit stock (panaslam) and banana heart (pusu sagin) or fruit (bunga) is an excellent menu. Shrimps sautéed in fresh or green mango is called lagat paro.
Sautéed meat of lukban (clam), “kutsiring” (small type of clam), or talaba (oyster) flavored with vinegar or lime, onion, pepper and chili (lara) is also called lagat.
Susu. Edible snails such as susung dagul (round snail), susung papa (triangular snail) and susung bilibid (elongated snail) boiled with papaya, pepper and citronella/lemon grass (sale) is called tinola. Lagat susu is seasoned with sour vegetables (tamarind or kamias), and tuber or taro stems (tangke/tulud gandus). Pigang susu is sautéed in onions and garlic, tubers/taro (gandus) or string beans (kamangyan) and boiled in coconut milk.
Meat. Meat is cooked in a variety of ways. In routine cookery, the most popular native dish is the adobo or arobo. This is meat sautéed in onion and garlic, and flavored with black pepper, laurel, soy sauce and vinegar.
Asadu is braised meat in vinegar or citrus juice and soy sauce. Final step in cooking this viand is sautéing in garlic and onion mixed with other ingredients such as bell pepper, potatoes and peas (garbanzos).
Menus for ground meat are torta, and imbutido or budin. Giniling (ground meat) is cooked as torta. It is a sautéed mixture of ground meat, diced potatoes, green peas, raisins and eggs. Imbutidu is a molded mixture of ground pork, flour, eggs, and spices. When the mixture is placed in oval-shaped molders, it is called budin; and when rolled like a big sausage in tin foil, it is called imbutido. The molded products are steamed and finally fried. Murkun is a mixture of hard boiled eggs, sausages, cheese and spices. After the mixture is rolled in thinly-sliced meat, the meat roll is neatly fastened with thread to keep it in shape when fried. Bistig is a thinly-sliced meat marinated with garlic, soy sauce, and citrus juice. The final menu is sautéed and garnished with onion rings. Laga or liga is a stewed meat enhanced with vegetables and spices like pechay, cabbage, ripe saba (a variety of banana used for boiling), onion leaves, potatoes and black pepper. Putsero is also pork stewed in tomato sauce and enhanced with string beans, pechay, and ripe bananas. Tidtad is a viand of pork, stomach muscles, intestines and blood; it is sautéed in garlic and onion and allowed to tenderize in vinegar and spices. Litsun is roasted pig; Litsun kawali is a fried loin (liempo); Pititian is fried pork fat; and sitsaron is pork cracklings. All of them are dipped in sauce (sarsa) or spiced vinegar. Tapa is a dried flake of carabao beef. It is synonymous to pindang.
Some fermented foods common to Lubao are tagilo and balari. Both are prepared by fermenting rice with fish, shrimp or meat. Tagilo is the general term used to call all types of rice fermented mixtures. Tagilo asan and tagilo paro are fermented rice mixed with fish and shrimps, respectively. Both types of tagilo are sautéed in garlic and onion. In some instances, tagilo asan is prepared with shredded labung kuwayan (bamboo shoot strips) to add unique flavor to it. Balari is fermented rice mixed with stomach muscles (dungus) of hog, cow or carabao and fats. It is also sautéed in onion and garlic. Tagilo and balari are eaten in great gusto when served with any of the following: mango or cashew shoots (putat mangga or putat balubad) or amplaya tops (langguk apalaya), boiled ampalaya, banana heart (pusu sagin) or eggplant (balasenas), string beans (kamangyan), bule or sigarillas (winged bean). Fried or grilled fish, especially large mud fish (bundaking bulig), is excellent when eaten with tagilo or balari.
Cakes and Sweets. Rice cakes (kalame) are made from glutinous rice (lakatan). Generally, rice cakes are topped with latik (fried coconut milk). Some of the most popular rice cakes in Lubao are kalame nasi – common white or brownish rice cake; pisalubung, rice cake made of ground glutinous rice; biko – rice cake flavored with squash; kalame ubi, rice cake flavored with yam; and duman, green or black colored rice cake. Other cakes include kalame kamuting dutung (cassava cake) and kalame gandus (tuber cake). Bibingkang nasi is a rice cake topped with thickened coconut milk and baked in circular or rectangular molding pans. Bibingka is a round-shaped rice cake made of ground rice called tapung or galapung, sugar, eggs and garnished with fresh grated coconut when served. It is baked in round clay molder with hot ember above and underneath the clay stove. Inangit is a rice cake made of glutinous rice, coconut milk, anise and salt. It is best eaten when served with sampelut, a sweetened porridge made of marble sized molded ground glutinous rice (bilug-bilug), banana fruit (sagin saba), sweet potato (kamuting gapang), jackfruit (yangka), anise, ground rice (galapung), coconut milk (piga). Ale (yam) is a special dessert flavored with eggs, condensed milk, cheese, lime (dalayap) leaf extract, margarine, and brown sugar.
Lelut mais is sweetened glutinous rice porridge flavored with corn kernel and coconut milk (piga) and sugar. Lelut balatung is also sweetened glutinous rice porridge flavored with roasted crushed mongo beans and coconut milk. Sampuradu is sweetened glutinous or ordinary rice porridge with cocoa and milk. Baruya is fried ground glutinous rice stuffed with sweetened mongo filling. Its crispy taste is mouth watering, especially when it is served with tea (tsa). Dila-dila is boiled tongue-shaped glutinous rice garnished with freshly grated coconut, toasted sesame seeds and white or refined sugar. Boiled in simmering water, it floats into the boiling water when already cooked. Putu lasun and putu kutsinta are steamed rice cakes made of fine or ground rice, anise, and baking powder. The former is flavored with refined or white sugar, while the latter, with brown sugar and lye. Tamalis is an appetizing rice cake made of fine rice, chicken meat, ground pork, shrimps, coconut milk, annatto (atswete) and salt. It is thickly wrapped with banana leaves and steamed. Suman are specialized glutinous rice rolled in banana or palm leaves. After thorough steaming, they are zestfully served with sugar. Some of these specialized suman are: suman nasi – glutinous rice flavored with coconut milk and salt or sugar and rolled in banana leaves; suman bulagta - glutinous rice wrapped in banana leaves. It is served with fried coconut milk or freshly grated coconut and sugar. Suman ebus – is wrapped in palm leaves; suman kamuting dutung, grated cassava mixed with brown sugar, and
wrapped in banana leaves; and suman mais – ground corn with grated coconut and sugar, wrapped in banana leaves.
Rice cakes are superbly delicious when served with hot tea or with native refreshing drinks. Tsa or the native tea is boiled tea leaves, mango, avocado and pandan. When tsa is well-boiled (madalise), none can surpass its great taste and aroma. Betirul tsuklati, a chocolate mixture made of ground cacao (kako), peanut (mani), fresh carabao milk (gatas damulag) and egg yoke (malutu ning ebun) makes rice cake eating extremely mouth-watering, and absolutely enjoyable. During hot weather, ginilu, a refreshing drink made of extracted coconut milk, gelatin, sugar, pandan, and ice, offers equal enjoyment and pleasure to kalame lovers. Another summer refreshing delight, the halo-halo is a blend of many sweetened fruits in syrup (banana, jackfruit, yam, beans, sweet potato, and macapuno) topped with shaved ice and evaporated milk. De leche is prepared with shaved ice, sugar and evaporated milk only.
Leche flan is the most popular dessert (pagmayumu) in Lubao. A native inspired dessert during the construction of the Lubao church, when egg white or albumen (kalaru) were donated and used as cement material, the egg yoke (malutu ning ebun) were made into leche flan. The luscious dessert is made of egg yoke, milk, sugar and lime (dalayap) extract. It is steamed and later, moderately baked for excellent gusto.
Served as a dessert, the famous atsara is pickled papaya made of grated papaya, sibuyas Tagalog (onion) and is flavored with heavy sugar syrup, vinegar, ginger, pineapple and salt. The pickled papaya goes well with roasted, fried and grilled viands like roasted pig (litson babi), roasted cow (litson baka), fried pork loin (litson kuwali), pork cracklings (sitsaron babi), fried pork intestine (sitsaron bulaklak), fried chicken and fowls, and fish. Rustic sweets include the meyumuan kundul (sweetened sweet gourd) flavored with pandan. It is simply made of thinly sliced or stripped sweet gourd, pandan, anise, and heavy syrup of white sugar. Sweet gourds are also candied. Other rural favorites that are prepared during ordinary days include postri and tamarindu. Postri is a sweetened fruit such as ripe bananas or guavas cooked in heavy sugar syrup. Tamarindu is sweetened tamarind jam made of sugar, fine/ground rice (tapung) and ripe tamarind (milmal). Bagkat mani is a round shaped fried sweetened peanut. Bagkat mais is crumbed fried sweetened corn kernels. Kulting mais (boiled corn kernels) is topped with freshly grated coconut and salt. An appetizer, it is everybody’s delight during rainy season.
f. Games and Amusements. Traditionally, children and older people love playing some of these indigenous games and amusement. Young children love to play the bale-balayan. Bansay is a game usually played by 5 to 10 members in a team. Kawe or dilu is swimming. Piku is another interesting game. Tiltilan or the slipper relay is another exciting girls’ game using slippers (sapin or istepin) as the relay object. Ebun-ebun is a relay that uses egg as its object A male game pitsa uses two pieces of sticks (bamboo or wood) and a shallow hole on the ground. A short stick (cue stick) called the batu is about 4 to 5 inches long. Lundagan is high jump Others include abitan lubid, sintak, suplata, tambubung and goma. Ayo is a game using tiny shells (sige) between two players Buralul means kite. Lulu is a race game. Kurang-kurangan is a pottery making game Salikutan is hide-and-seek. Sabung is cockfighting. Betu-betu Ipis is a game of ordinary deck of cards. Loting is a two-number game. Today, ball games such basketball, volley ball, soft ball, base ball and computer games are popular through out the town.
g. Medicine. Alternative medicine among the early people of Lubao was largely aboriginal in nature and is still practice these days. Crude physical therapy and rehabilitation are also known and practiced by the people. Some of thse include the following: Ilut is commonly applied to all types of physical injuries and disabilities. Pasbu is a disorder of the body attributed to indiscriminate practice of taking cold baths after rigid activities like playing ball games, whole day work, and the like. In order to cure the disorder, banyus is prescribed. It is a warm bath with concocted and boiled medicinal herbs (lagundi, sambung, salbak). The banyus is typically complemented with the ilut approach or physical therapy. Depending on the healing and recovery of the patient, asap is administered. Asap is an indigenous steam or vapor bath to induce sweating. In this method, a person is covered with thick blankets while underneath is a plate of ember (báya) to stimulate sweating. Another crude physical therapy is the akdut. It is done by applying oil on the surface of the skin, usually at the neck, the back and other parts of the body. Bintosa is another method to relieve muscular pains. While some of these folk traditions are still practiced today, scientific medicine has become more popular and acceptable to the people.
h. Fishing and Farming Tools and Methods. Inventive and tenacious, the ancient people of Lubao had adapted and mastered upon themselves the physical nature of their environment. The physical condition of the farmlands and rivers made them excellent farmers and fishermen. Some of these time tested tools and methods include the pasabal is a broad triangular shaped fishing structure that embodies a large volume of waters. It is permanently and strategically erected along the various tributaries of the Lubao Bay area. The pasabal is also called baklad; bumbun is a fishing method where throngs of shrubs are planted in deep gullies of swamps and rivers. Each colony of shrubs becomes the shelter or sanctuary of large schools of fish for one month (metung a danum).
The use of nets is the popular fishing procedure among fishermen and farmers which include the baslig is the biggest fishing net used by big time fish operators in the river. Large boats pull the large fishing net to catch enormous harvests; dalungkit maragul is a proto-type of the baslig. It has a medium-sized net that is drawn by a boat. As the net glides into the waters, the catch is kept at the pocket of the tool; dalungkit malati is a small version of dalungkit. As its net is hoisted into the water, its pyramid-shaped curtain glides into the surface of the water and pouches the harvest in its pocket; sakag is a proto-type of the small dalungkit. Its net is made of a thin material; its curtain is triangular in shape, collapsible and can be lightly carried by the fisherman everywhere. It is manually glided or drawn to catch harvest. Wooden stilts (suekus) are used by gliders during high or neap tides. The driest tide (meniktikan) is the most thrilling period for sakag gliders. Harvests include alamang, dulung, biabia, bia, biang pukpuk, buntukin, dapil, balanak, likauk, alimasag, ema and others. Salatsalat is the general term for the harvest. Patinga is a thinly-knotted fish net which is usually 10-15 meters or more in length and 2-3 meters in width. The ridges of the net are sewn with inserted wooden materials as floaters (pagato). Sinkers (pabatu) are used to keep the tool firm when hoisted into the waters. Biakus is a strong fishing net whose side edges are snapped with strong poles. The top edges of the poles are stalled with C-shaped hoods to connect both ends together when hoisted on both corners of a rushing stream or river. The poles are methodically lodged and fixed on both shores of the rapids. The catch is bagged on the large and elongated pocket (susu) of the net, thus, the harvest. Saklit is a fishing method that is drawn and glided by fishermen on the surface of a fishpond or river. Usually, 10 to 20 gliders pull the net. During the gliding of the net, the fish stubbornly soars in the air and dives back in the water. As the net reaches the shores, the robust catch are taken in large basins (banyera).Palapad is a long stringed-net directly planted along the tame shores of swamps and rivers. The net is strategically fenced along hordes of mangroves. As low tide commences, the schools of fish drift into the surface of the receding waters, thus, they are pursed all over the enclosure. The fisherman conveniently collects the catch from the surface of the ground. Bukatut is a net that is mounted into the gates of fishpond piers (pasbul prinsa). The catch from the pond is usually bagged into the net’s pocket. The catch does not emanate from the rivers, but inside the fishponds. Pukut is a gliding net drawn by fishpond harvesters during harvest. The net has a large pocket (bulsa or susu) to collect the produce. Gayad is a fencing net used to stop the fish from drowning along the sticky shores of the fishponds. The tool is synonymous to pamakud or panyabat. It is simply used to curtain the shores of the pond to refrain the fishes from running away from the gully or furrow of the fishpond. Panti is akin to patinga. However, each of them has a specific use and purpose. The former has broader (magaspang or malagad) hole or eye (mata), while the latter has narrower (masak). Panti is used to harvest crabs (ema), while patinga is used to raise fish (asan). The former is hoisted in the fishpond, while the latter in the swamp or river. Metal rods with hook ends called kaleke or salungkit are used to extricate holing crabs along shores of rivers and swamps. Dala is the upland dweller’s (tau sakan) fishing net. It is called dala because of its light weight and handiness. It can be handily carried, placed on the shoulder or head, or pursed on the fisherman’s basket (buslu) when one goes to the river to catch fish. The buslu is made of thin bamboo strips that are intricately woven to form a basket-shaped cage.
Paluksu is a fishing tool used by farmers to catch catfish (itu) and mudfish (bulig) from river falls or rapids. Made of 2 to 3 meters of bamboo or other wooden materials, soaring fish are holed, thus, caught inside the tool’s intricate pocket. Balisasa is a bamboo trap that is hoisted (umang) against rice paddies (pilapil). When the fish gets trapped, it is collected with ease and the fish trap is re-hoisted. Palwe is a stripped and rounded bamboo stick string (tali or sinulad) and hook (taga). Yellow or white earthworms (bulating maputi) are used as baits to catch fish along river banks and rice paddies. Sticks or poles used along river banks are usually bigger and sturdier in size than those used in paddies. One fishing stick can have 2 to 3 baits. Padwas is a fishing or frog catching tool. The material is basically bulu (type of bamboo). In river fishing, the pole or stick is attached to a hook and bait (apan). Maputing bulati attracts almost any type of fish. One only needs a bait to catch frogs. Usually, coiled earthworms (kidkid) are inserted into a strong thread to form ring shaped bait. Using a catch net (salap), the frog hunter skillfully plays the pole to have hefty catch. Fish catchers do not use catch net. Using the padwas requires patience and utmost skill.Pamamagale or mamatukba is akin to pamamadwas. The method needs a strong pole and specialized hook to withstand the power of the catch. A frog is inserted to the hook which is used to bait large mudfish (bundaki). An extremely tedious method, the hunter patiently and rhythmically tilts and hops the bait on top of calm waters of the river until a mudfish aggressively seizes the bait, thus, the catch. This exciting method is popular during summer times.
Salakab is used by both farmers and fishermen. It is made of elongated bamboo strips that are intricately woven by rattan (yantuk). Its pointed ends easily penetrate into the mud to take the catch by covering its handle (talanan). As a handy tool, it can catch almost anything. When used as verb, salakab means to catch by covering.
Early farmers of Lubao used various farming methods and tools during the preparation, planting and harvesting of their field crops particularly rice. Ancient land preparation involved the use of sharp and pointed stones and sticks. The manual work procedure was called ampil. The process begins with the clearing of land to remove grasses and shrubs followed by tilling or cultivating to allow the soil to soak with water and finally, it ends with the planting of the seedlings. Rice planting was done once a year. Rice plants were taller and deleafed (kabal) before the milk stage (butikas).Later, farming tools such as the plow (sarul) and arrow (aswe) were made to facilitate the farming methods of the inhabitants. Metal implements were designed with wood handles’ and local carabaos were employed to facilitate field works.
Growing of palay in seedbeds (kama) and later transplanted in the fields, was the common method. Another way to do it is by freely planting (durondu) or simply broadcasting (salbag). Weeding (gamas) was practiced to allow rice plants to grow abundantly. Madre kakao trees were planted around rice fields to serve as repellants and insecticides against pests and diseases. The use of scare crows (tawan tawan) was practiced to drive away birds that eat ripening rice grains. Early farmers simply used their bare hands (agud) and later, fashioned sharpened sticks and stones (batung matalas) to cut rice panicles during harvest (palut) period. Rice harvests were barely threshed (dara) using the feet or by smashing (paspas or batbat) the rice stalks on the threshing board. Bare hands and sticks were used in of separating rice grains from the rice straw. Wooden pounders (asung) were used to mill rice. Different sizes and shapes of winnowing baskets called igu or bikse were used to clean rice grains. The winnowing process is called tatap. Empty grains are called sepu. Storage areas called kamalig had large storage baskets called baluyut or salikap.Threshing method later employed the use of carabaos and horses. The use of threshing fork (salungkit) was introduced to facilitate the process. The sledge (garosa) and cart (gareta) were used to make farm activities easier for farmers. The sledge carried harvested and dried rice panicles that were piled in rows called balita or belita. Bundles of small balita were later heaped and neatly stacked (turopa). Skillfully loaded on sledges, the stacks of rice were then transported to the threshing area called damara. The cart was used to transport rice to milling (kono or kiskisan) or buying (pisaliwan) stations.
Long before metal pipes were used in constructing flowing wells, the river bank Kapampangans of Lubao had already practiced making running water (giripu) by using strong bamboo poles as tubes to convey potable and irrigation waters.
i. Language. The ancient Kapampangans had spoken and written language called Kapampangan that traces its roots from the Ayta and Malayo-Polynesian (Austronesian) stocks. Originally born from the tongues of the aborigines, the riverbank language bloomed into a popular Austronesian language in the ancient marketplace of Minangun in Lubao.
Today, the Kapampangan language is largely spoken with fluency by every Negrito tribe. The Kapampangans patriotically call the language amanung sisuan.
j. Education. The language and writings of the ancient Kapampangans of Lubao were formally taught to children in schools which were constructed out of simple makeshifts made of bamboos and thatched materials (pinaud). Tables and benches were indigenously made of local sources such as ipil, bilulu, or bamboo. Basic reading, writing and arithmetic were taught in the Kapampangan vernacular. Similarly, parents and elders already taught their male children the practice of hunting, farming, fishing, house building and others. Girls were also taught housekeeping that included cooking, sewing, selling and to some extent, farming and fishing.
The educational culture of the Kapampangans in Lubao fascinated the Spaniards when they arrived on the coastal shores of the village in 1571. Not only that they were fascinated by the educational propensities of the inhabitants but were likewise surprised to discover prosperous economy and rich cultural treasures and tapestries among the people.
k. Money and Coinage. Foods (pamangan) and goods (gamit) were the earliest media of exchange (palit) used by the early Kapampangans of Lubao. Early people exchanged fish and livestock for commodities such as rice, salt, fruits and vegetables; land (gabun) for carabao (damulag); and services (saup or sugu) for harvests (pupul). In some places in Lubao, these ancient practices are still used today. Another early reported medium of exchange (money) used by the early people of Lubao was the “sigay” (sige) 2,000 years prior to the coming of the Spaniards. The cowry shell (sigay or sige) is harvested from the sea. Expensive shells were raised in deep seas. The unitary value of a shell was relative to its size and quality. High quality shells were considered expensive and valuable in the market place. Small seashore shells were considered inferior in quality, less expensive and bear little purchasing or exchange value. Small shells were the commoners’ common money. Gold was also used as a medium of exchange. It was one of the most expensive medium used by the early Filipino traders in the transactions of their goods. Gold was commonly brought by the Upper Kapampangans in the market place which they used as a barter commodity. Gold was one of the chief causes of fights between the Chinese traders and Spaniards in Lubao and in other market places in the Philippines during the Spanish period. Gold was also one of the reasons why the Spaniards came to conquer the Philippines.
l. Superstitious Beliefs (Ariya). The ancient people of Lubao were superstitious. Superstitions are believed to have originated from the Aytas, the aborigines of Lubao. Having settled along the riverbanks of Lubao, they established communities with their paganistic and animistic nature. Hence, their nature became the sphere of their culture. Many of these superstitious beliefs still survive. Ariya as they are popularly called in Lubao are still practiced and believed by some of the people even in the advent of contemporary medicine. Superstitions are found in the following practices: spirits and Healing, climate forecasting, wedding and mothering, death and ghosts, birth marks and Signs, houses and plants, ailments and cure, charms and jinxes, visitors and guests and the like.
m. Proverbs (Kasebyan). Proverbs are expressions of wisdom and experience. They are considered as the people’s canon and regarded as literature of wisdom by the early people of Lubao. Traditionally, the wisdom of the Kapampangan sages is reputedly infallible (kabiasnan ali apakli) because they have survived the test of times, hence, are still kept. Proverbs are collections of short moral sayings composed or compiled by a number of unknown people. The most commonly accepted view is that these people were respectable sages who offered moral and religious instruction to the younger people of Lubao. Axiologically, these kasebyan are the portrait of the ancient “persona” of the Kapampangans of Lubao. These unwritten laws are immemorially enshrined in the soul of every loving citizen of Lubao; they make them culturally proud and liberally simple people. Tested by time, these proverbs are deeply kept and sacredly held by most Lubenians as the living and sterling legacies and teachings of their great ancestors.
A. Pre-Spanish Period
a. Ayta Negritos: The aborigines of Lubao. They are the original inhabitants of the town who were believed by most Philippine historians to have migrated to the Philippines through waters or land bridges. They are described as physically small in stature, dark-skinned, curly-haired with broad nose. They are an extremely ancient people and are close representatives of the world’s earliest modern humans. The Aytas were believed to have settled along the western slopes of the western Luzon areas, particularly, Zambales and Bataan Mountains after they had cruised their way from their original land (Africa), which is called the cradle humanity. Scientists and historians agree that they must have come to this island of Luzon between 25,000 to 30,000 years ago.
They are popularly called baluga in Lubao based on their color or hair. Ethnologically, they are called Aytas because their ethnic language is commonly impressed with words “ay” like balay (house), palay (rice), taytay (bridge), and the like. By and large, the Aytas’ dialect became the mother of the ancient Kapampangan language.
b. Indo-Malayan Settlers and the Dawn of the Early Kapampangan Civilization
The maritime Indonesians were much taller than the Aytas. Historians indicated that these sea-faring and tool using Malayo-Polynesians or Austronesians started their intercourse with the aborigines between 4,000 to 3,000 BC. Unlike the naked appearing Aytas, they wore clothing. Throughout their intercourse with the aborigines, their farming methods helped the Aytas develop their rice growing skills and later on, improved their native farming system. Their crude tools were also carefully polished and shaped to suit to their hunting, fishing and farming needs.
Primarily, the interest of these people was to barter their provisions such as potteries, clothes and metals with the Aytas’ gold and native crops. Thereafter, some of these seafarers inter-married with the inhabitants of Lubao. Inter-marriages made some of the seafarers settle in the aborigines’ settlements and communities. The long march of the Indonesian intercourse with the aborigines of Lubao had gradually contributed to the dawning of the Kapampangan civilization. Hence, Kampangan historians quoted that “the Kapampangans trace their roots from the Sultanate of Achem, Achin, Atcheen or Atjeh, in Northern Sumatra, Indonesia.”
Another sea-faring Asian neighbor, the Malays, through the use of their boats reached the country from 300 BC to as late as the 14 and 15th centuries AD. The Malayans came to the area and other parts of the country via the Borneo connections. Using the western routes, the Malayans (Malay refers to consciousness in the Kapampangan language) reached the shorelines of the place and other parts of the country for the purpose of trading or barter of goods, friendship or fraternity and for other reasons.
The Malays were civilized in culture and brought the metal technology to the country including those in Lubao. Iron smithery, jewelry making, pottery making and cloth weaving by loom were introduced to the people. Largely, they also intermarried with the people and formed expansive settlements in the fast growing kingdom of the Kapampangans (riverbank people).
Lubao as Ancient Kapampangan Trade Center. Owing to the strategic location of Lubao, with its navigable water lanes, mineral resources (particularly gold, found in the surrounding mountains in the northern Luzon areas), flourishing agriculture, and its culture adaptive to people among its Austronesian neighbors, Lubao was indubitably established as the most popular center of trade in the Kapampangan sphere.
According to oral accounts, the trading center was anciently built along the riverbanks of Balas in Minangun Kamias. As a market place, Aytas from different tribes came down from the highlands or mountains (kabundukan) to trade their stuff consisting of dried meat (pindang), gold (gintu) and different goods to their lowland counterpart. Dried meats of deer, wild pigs, monkeys, ducks, birds, pythons and the like were carried by the highlanders (mostly came from distant tribes of western and eastern Luzon areas or Upper Pampanga) in their back packs or baskets (lubon). The lubon was handily designed by the highland Kapampangans to suitably contain their packed goods, to exchange or barter their commodities. Dried shell (siguay or sige), a type of mollusk, was used as the medium of exchange among vendors and sellers, which was probably introduced in the country including Lubao 2,000 BC.
c. Chinese Settlers and Traders in Lubao
Historians point out that Philippine commercial relation with the Chinese started in the 9th century. Lubao as a trading emporium in the Luzon region was evidenced by the trading with the Chinese which dated back to the Sung Dynasty (960 -1279 AD) until the Ming Dynasty (1368 AD-1644 AD) or henceforth. The Lubao-Chinese trade relation was already established even before the Spaniards arrived to settle in Lubao in 1571. According to local accounts, Chinese scholars called Lubao “Liu Bao.” Specifically, Blair and Robertson (Philippine Islands, Vol. 8, 1973) …as many as twenty and thirty Chinese ships that are laden with brought iron, earthen wares, cloths and silk came to Lubao to trade their stuff to the natives.
The Lubao-China trading relations was validated by the archeologist of the Center for Kapampangan Studies at the Holy Angel University, Angeles City, through the sample earthen wares that were collected along the areas of the ancient Minangun Market in Balas (now Sta. Cruz). White porcelain pieces were of Chinese origin made during the Ming Dynasty, while large brownish jars with dragon designs belonged to the stone ware type which also originated from China. The blue and white porcelains and the stone wares, which surfaced during the torrents along the riverbanks of sitio Lalam Ungot (ancient market place), date back to the Sung (A.D. 960-1279) and the Ming Dynasty (A.D. 1368-1644).
Lubao and the Configuration of the Kapampangan Empire
Fundamentally characterized with rich trade, commerce, culture and government, the Kapampangan Kingdom was born at the bosom of Lubao’s prosperous economy and strong political system. As the center of ancient trade and government, the affluent Kingdom of Lubao had huge and confederated influences and control over other kingdoms. Thus, during the early times, Lubao was referred to as the orbit of the Pangpangan sphere. Lubao as Pampanga was the center of the Lower Pangpangan economy and government. Its influences extended far and wide.
Local Kapampangan writer, Mariano A. Henson (1963), in his book “The History of Pampanga and Its Town,” quoted Fray Zuniga, an Augustinian missionary, saying:
“…for 200 years the province of Pampanga has its boundaries from north to southeast with the Bulacan towns of Hagonoy, Calumpit and all the neighboring towns of Baliuag River, except Quingua; from northwest to northeast with the missions of Cagayan and its mountains; in the northeast it included the towns of Caranglan, Pantabangan, and Puncan of Nueva Ecija near where the Rio Grande de la Pampanga originates in the Caraballo mountains to the lands and mountains of Baler, Tayabas (now Quezon) province; and from northwest to southwest with Bataan province or Rinconada comprising its towns, Dinalupihan, Hermosa, Orani, Samal, Abucay, Balanga, Pilar and Udiong (Orion).”
Thus, Felix B. Punsalan, another Kapampangan author in 1956 said:
…ing Capangpangan malapad yang labuad manibat qng padurut ning Menila angga ya Cagayan. King tauli nang bilin Fernando Malang Balagtas (palipi nang Principe Balagtas), ing Capangpangan tutulduana ing sucad at dagul na ibat ya Menila angga ya Ilocos, Bataan, Tarlac, Bulacan, Pangasinan at Zambales… (…the Capangpangan Empire is extensive that begins within the boundaries of Manila until Cagayan. In the last will (testament) of Fernando Malang Balagtas (grandson of Prince Balagtas), its territories covers Manila to Ilocos, Bataan, Tarlac, Bulacan, Pangasinan and Zambales…).
B. THE SPANISH PERIOD (1571-1896)
a. Arrival of the Spaniards. The powerful Muslim Kingdom of Lubao was ruled by Datu Macabulus and was assisted by the sages of the town called the Council of Elders when the Spaniards arrived in 1571 along the coast of Mamalas (Balas), now barrio Sta. Cruz. When Captain Martin de Goiti reached Lubao, the kingdom was found to be well-fortified and with rebellious people. Nonetheless, the gradual fall of Lubao made its Council of Elders, led by Datu Macabulus, accept submission to the crown of Spain in behalf of its people. The patriotic act of the Datu (head) and the Lupon (council) was considered to protect the life and conserve the prosperity of the village. Thus, Datu Macabulus was the last known “king” of the Kapampangan Kingdom.
Hence, Lubao was the last Kapampangan kingdom to surrender to the Spanish conquistadores in Luzon. Its submission to the Spanish rule was sealed with a memento of the black cross of the Crucified Jesus (now the patron of barrio Sta. Cruz) and marked the foundation date of Lubao by Martin de Goiti on September 14, 1571. In the Catholic tradition, it is the feast day of the Triumph of the Cross.
Lubao as the Cradle of the Kapampangan Civilization is the heartland of Pampanga when the Spaniards established the Provincia de Pampanga on this victorious date. Aptly, the date must be celebrated by Lubao and the province of Pampanga because it is not only divine but providential.
Despite of the fact that the Kapampangans were armed with inferior arms, Martin de Goiti was particularly impressed by the military ingenuity of the people of Lubao. Similarly, he was also surprised over the well fortified palisade fortresses of Lubao and Betis and admired the natural fighting boldness, arrogance and rebellious character of the Kapampangan warriors.
b. The Cross. The Holy Cross was the signal of the birth of Christianity in the province of Pampanga, henceforth, in Luzon. The Cross was a symbol of Spain’s long history of colonization, which made her distinct from other occidental conquerors. By royal decrees and as a matter of policy, all conquered lands, provinces and towns were accompanied by missionaries. Martin de Goiti, through the decree of Miguel Lopez de Legaspi, ordered and brought the Augustinians in Lubao, who immediately and painstakingly started the Christianization of the pagano-Muslim people of Lubao. Few months after the Augustinian missionaries established and acculturated themselves with the natives, through the help of the early Christian converts in Lubao, a small chapel made of bamboo (kuwayan) and thatched nipa (pinaud) was built by the people through the kind supervision of Fr. Juan Gallegos in a village called Gato (Sta. Catalina) which was later accepted as a visita of Tondo on May 3, 1572.
c. Lubao as an Encomienda of the King of Spain. Soon after Lubao was subjugated by the Spanish conquistadores, this prosperous village was declared by Miguel Lopez de Legaspi as a King’s encomienda. Being a royal or king’s encomienda, the encomendero owned the affluence and prosperity of the encomienda: the citadela, its seaports and the inhabitants of the citadel. As a royal or king’s encomienda, reports on the Accounts of Encomiendas (1591-1593), indicated that “Lubao and Betis (as one royal encomienda), which belong to his Majesty, has about five thousand tributes, or twenty thousand (20,000) souls. It has four Augustinian convents. Justice is exercised by one alcalde-mayor and his deputy.” The account indicates that the confederate villages of Betis and Lubao had unparalleled populations than any encomienda in the country when the
conquistadores finally settled in these prosperous villages. With an alcade-mayor and deputy, it was a premier center in the country. With such accounts, Lubao was the most enormous Spanish encomienda in the country as compared to the encomiendas of Sugbu (Cebu), Matan (Mactan), Maynilad (Manila) and Bigan (Vigan). Each had a maximum population of 2,000 at the time of the conquest.
d. Abuses of the Encomenderos: Prelude to the Lubao Revolt of 1585. Lubao as a royal encomienda suffered early agrarian abuses against the Spanish encomenderos, hence, the Lubao Revolt. Unfortunately, the uprising failed because it was reported by a woman loyal to the Spaniards. Philippine history books indicated that the leaders were executed.
Bishop Domingo de Salazar attributed the revolt as the second reason for the great change and the scarcity of food to the notorious abuses and brutalities committed by encomenderos against the people. These abuses led to the revolt in Lubao and other Kapampangan villages in 1585.
e. Lubao Revolt of 1660-1661. The insurrection of the Kapampangans against the abuses of the Spaniards in 1660 was a narrative that is recorded in Philippine history. Popularly called as the Pampanga Revolt of 1660-1661, the event took place in Lubao. The event started in the early days of October, 1660, when the loyal population of Pampanga made their first rebellious movement being exasperated by the overseers of wood-cutting, who had been ill-treating them. Setting fire to the huts in which they had lodged, they declared, by the light of the fierce flames, their harsh intention; and to be the leader of their revolt, they appointed an indian chief named Don Francisco Maniago, a native of the village of Mexico and a master-of-camp for his Majesty.
f. The Fortaleza de Mamalas. Owing to the demand of the Lubao mutineers against the grave abuses of the Spaniards in the early days of October, 1660, Governor General Sabiniano Manrique de Lara ordered the building of a strong fortification, not only as a military defense force (fuerza) against the black intruders of the hills, but for keeping or other purposes. The Fortaleza was later called by Captain Juan Jimenez de Escolastica, the Spanish soldier who took charge in the construction of the fortress, as the “Fortaleza de Mamalas.” It was aptly called because it was located along the sandy shores of the village of Balas (now in sitio Lalam Ungut, Sta. Cruz), which is the ancient “kapangpangan” trading interior. As host of the powerful Fortaleza, the town may aptly be called Citadela de Lubao (City of Lubao).
g. Spanish Influences. The three centuries settlement of Spain in Lubao had contributed enormous influences to the life of the people (1571-1898). The three hundred and twenty seven years of government had brought the cultural transformation of the people of Lubao from their paganistic and Mohammedan mindsets to Christianization.
A. Catholic Faith
a. Iglesia Apu Sto. Cristo de Lubao. The church of the Holy Cross is located in barrio Sta. Cruz. Apu Sto. Cristo, a black wooden Cross of the Crucified Jesus Christ is the gift of the Martin de Goiti and Spanish missionaries to the people of Lubao when they settled in the place on September 14, 1571. Highly revered by the people, the sacred image is celebrated with the traditional curaldal every September 14 (Triumph of the Cross) and May 3 (Sta. Cruz Fiesta). May 3 is the most celebrated and admirable curaldal in Lubao. As it begins, huge number of devotees, from all ages and walks of life, joyfully and invigoratingly dance in spectacular awe and breath. The national road is wrapped and filled with huge devotees. The intensity of the curaldal becomes passionate and spirited when the image of Apu Santo Cristo de Lubao is getting close to the church to end the procession. As the marching bands play the batalla tunes, the fervent devotees’ lavishly cry “Viva! Viva! Viva! Apu Santo Cristo!” The devotees’ curaldal becomes heightened; the marching bands delightedly charm the devotees with their inspiring batalla tunes. The power of the music and the passion of the curaldal are simply phenomenal. The street dance is simply irresistible and unexplainable. Its spirit is so human, yet, so emotionally divine. As fireworks zoom and boast into the sky, their radiant glitters add power and gaiety to the sounds and sights of the phenomenal curaldal.In Lubao, almost all barangays piously dance the curaldal as a thanksgiving to God for the favors received. Generally, it is held in every barrio fiesta. Among fishing villages, libad (river procession) is done, followed by a more passionate and immense curaldal ritual. The coastal (lati) curaldal tradition is traditionally more fervent than the non-coastal devotees’ (sakan) version. It is interesting to note that this ancient practice has remained not only among former Kapampangan coastal hamlets in Bataan, Bulacan, and Manila, but is also observed in many Philippine provinces. Curaldal is synonymous to ati-atihan in Tondo, Cebu and other islands in the country.
b. Iglesia San Agustin de Lubao. The San Agustin Church of Lubao was originally built by the Augustinian missionaries along the lakeshores or waterfronts (paroba) of the village of Gato now barangay Sta. Catalina. Immediately after Martin de Goiti subjugated the mostly Muslim populated community, a Spanish missionary of the Order of San Agustin started evangelization. Using local materials, the church was built with light structures of indigenous woods, bamboos and thatched nipa by Fray Juan Gallegos with the help of Maestro de Campo Martin de Goiti. However, due to the intermittent and continuous floods in Sta. Catalina, the Augustinian missionaries decided to move the church to its present site (San Nicolas I) thirty years later (1602).
Few months after its construction, the Iglesia San Agustin de Lubao was officially accepted by the Archbishopric of Manila as a visita of Tondo on May 3, 1572.
In 1572, the year in which priests were assigned to Christianize the province of Pampanga and Bulacan, the number of converts increased regularly. Betis was annexed as a visita to Lubao in 1572.
On March 5, 1575, Father Provincial Alfonso Alvarado was deputized to take care of the convent of San Agustin of Lubao and Father Juan Gallegos was named resident priest. In 1591, Lubao, together with Betis, had four convents and 20,000 souls (Christian converts).
In 1580, a school for Latin and Humanities was established for the inhabitants and missionaries from Spain and Mexico. .
On May 12, 1596, the Estudio de Gramatica (School of Grammar and Rhetoric) was transferred from Candaba to Lubao with the school’s superior Fr. Alonso de Mentrida who taught Grammar. Lubao experienced a positive influence in its moral and cultural progress due to the school.
In 1599, the convent of Lubao contributed 100 pesos and 50 bushels of rice and 100 chickens for the construction of the San Agustin Monastery and its infirmary in Manila. Lubao was a missionary center. The book of baptisms was often signed on the same day by several priests administering the sacraments.
In 1621, it had a convent, three priests and 3,000 souls. By 1732, it had 1,785 souls. In 1760, Lubao had 2,985 souls, nine of which were Spaniards. In 1896, the population increased to 21,151.
The Lubao Church was slightly damaged during the earthquake of 1645. During the occupation of Manila 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 under the supervision of Fr. Diego Noguerol. The celebration of masses and of the sacraments was in the Pampango language.
Construction of the Church. Fr. Juan Gallegos, assigned to Iglesia San Agustin de Lubao in 1572, organized the town in its initial stage using light materials. Fr. Francisco Coronel founded the town at its present site and started the construction of the present church building in 1613, this time using strong materials. Fr. Jeromino de Venasque continued the construction of the building in 1635. He was followed by Fr. Francisco Figueroa in 1638, the year it was completed. The structure of the church was the work of Fr. Architect Antonio de Herrera, who also constructed the Church of San Agustin in Manila. According to Fr. Gaspar de San Agustin, the church of Lubao was “one of the most sumptuous structures in the Philippine Islands.” Apart from being finely constructed with bricks, it had large proportions that resulted to a comfortable dwelling. A document dated 1829 disclosed that the church of Lubao was constructed by its people with masonry stones and bricks, very massive and big in size. It was constructed using indigenous materials including stones, egg white, lime, molasses (pulut) and heavy quality timbers such as Acli (Albizzia acle Merr.), Anibiung (Artocarpus cumingiana Trec.), Bulaun (Vitex parviflora Juss.), Apalit or narra (Pterocarpus indicus Willd.), Tindalo (Pahudia rhomboidea Prain.), Saplungan or yakal (Hopea plagata Vid.) and others. Fr. Antonio Bravo did some repair works in 1877. Fr. Antonio Moradillo worked on the interior decoration in 1893. The murals depicting scenes from the life of Saint Agustin were done during this period. Fr. Moradillo also built the chapel of the cemetery (San Nicolas). The buildings were occupied by the revolutionary forces of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo in 1898. The dome, transept and roof were restored in 1954. They were damaged in 1945 and in 1962 by strong typhoons.
The church measures 82.45 meters long and 21.12 wide. The walls are 2.46 meters thick. It has one nave originally painted by the Italian artists, Dibella and Alberoni. The five story belfry is 31 meters high. It remains untouched. Two of the bodies are square and three are octagonal. The church is almost entirely made of locally manufactured bricks. It has remarkable solidity and durability definitely one of the rare monuments of Philippine architecture in the 17th century. It is outstanding for its magnificence and fine-looking classic architectural style. It has never succumbed to any earthquake or typhoon. Today, the mural paintings of 1893 are gone. Its interior is enormously fine-looking and overwhelming with its classical and contemporary style. The magnificent convent houses are being converted to museum and are used for religious purposes.
Style of the Church. The flat, even the drab surface of the façade is crowned by an imaginary triangular pediment and fluted Ionic pilasters reminiscent of the Neo-Classical architectural style. The central retablo is planked by coupled pilasters on the first level and single columns on the second. Rectangular opening with triangular segments flank the central retablo. The curves-and-lines combination is the only decorative element in the façade. However, the scarcity of ornamentation becomes an exuberance of
simplicity that creates a sense of serenity which is typical of the Neo-Classical style.
The stone and brick bell tower with its unpolished appearance complements the simple façade of the church. The profusely ornamented convent at the opposite end leads balance to the entire complex. Today, its beautiful fences that are made of concrete and steel materials accentuate the Neo-Classical style of the church. The large entrance gate bespeaks the magnificence of the church. The rear patio of the convent has been restored with neo-orthodox ambiance that compliments and dignifies the antique walls of the church.
Church Antiques. First Book of Baptism 1621 to 1640–Shown on its first page, Tomas Paguio was baptized March 6, 1621. First Book of Marriage: July 11, 1622 to 1675. First Book of Interment: January 1, 1770 to 1790.
c. Iglesia de San Rafael de Baruya. The idea of creating Baruya as a parroquia began in 1936. On January 17, 1939, Rev. Fr. Santiago Guanlao, parish priest of the San Agustin Church of Lubao wrote a letter to Manila Archbishop Miguel O’Doherty requesting the establishment of the Parroquia San Rafael de Baruya. In a decree from the Archbishop, the “parroquia” was established on August 31, 1939, Baruya became the seat of the parish with Saint Raphael the Archangel as her patron saint. Prior to its creation as a parish, the people has already nurtured their deep and faithful reverence and devotion to St. Raphael, an angel of the Lord and a leading character in the deuterocanonical and canonical book of Tobit.
d. Iglesia de San Antonio de Padua. 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, the archbishop of the Archdiocese of San Fernando, Pampanga. The parish is located along the northeastern side of the town.
e. Iglesia de San Roque Dau. In 1922, the Capilla de San Roque Dau was built for the Catholic faithful of the area. The chapel was then administered by the visiting priests of the San Agustin Church in Lubao until June 6, 1940. When the Parish of the Nuestra Senora del Carmen was created in barrio Pulung Masle, Guagua, Pampanga, the supervision of the chapel of San Roque Dau was transferred to the new parish of Our Lady of del Carmen until May 14, 1956. On May 15, 1956, the chapel was administered by the Parish of the Nuestra Senora de Consolacion, San Isidro, Guagua, Pampanga. On October 1, 1990, the chapel was finally established as the Parish of San Roque by Archbishop Paciano B. Aniceto of the Diocese of San Fernando. As a parish, it comprises the three barrios of Guagua, namely, Maquiapo, Lambac and Magsaysay, and San Roque Dau of Lubao.
d. Seminario Minor de Somascanos. On July 21, 1984, a five hectare piece of land was donated by the heirs of the Dimson family for the erection of the Somascan Minor Seminary at Prado Saba, which was accepted by Dr. Adriano Lomazzi, a regional superior of the Somascans in the Philippines. On September 8, 1984, the construction works for the Minor Seminary started. On November 6, 1984, the formal blessing for the cornerstone was done by Msgr. Celso Guevarra, then Bishop of Balanga, Bataan. The prayers were led by the Most Reverend Father General Pierino Moreno, Somascan General Superior. On March 31, 1985, all seminary students of Las Pinas Somascan Seminary (Metro Manila) were transferred to the Lubao Minor Seminary. Led by Rev. Fr. Bruno Schiavon, one of the pioneering founders of the Congregation of the Clerics Regular of Somasca (CRS) in the Philippines, the completion of the transfer went until October 27, 1984. Fr. Schiavon was the rector until 1992. At the height of the People Power revolution on February 26, 1986, the Seminary was inaugurated by Msgr. Paciano Aniceto, then Bishop of Iba, Zambales and Archbishop Oscar Cruz, then of the Diocese of San Fernando, Pampanga. In addition to the Seminary, the solemnity of Mary Mother of Orphans was celebrated on September 27, 1987. A statue in her honor was erected in the Seminary garden and was blessed by Fr. Bruno Schiavon. Since the foundation day of the Somascan Minor Seminary in Lubao in 1984, about 342 seminarians had already finished the initial formation in the college.
B. Government. When the Spaniards inaugurated Pampanga in the village of Lubao as an alcaldia or province on September 14, 1571, they organized a political or administrative system for the purpose of systematic governance. Although Governor-General Miguel Lopez de Legaspi heavily relied on the efforts of the Augustinian missionaries to organize and manage ecclesiastical and political affairs, they also employed the leadership of the local leaders to take charge and facilitate the trust, confidence and cooperation of the people. Realizing the political and natural shrewdness and intelligence of the natives and their leaders, the Spanish rulers and friars saw to it that their settlement in Lubao would be peaceful and free from any abuse. As trusting people, they willingly welcomed the Spaniards with peace and amity as they were used in holding respect for their Malayan and Chinese counterparts. As the people of Lubao and other Kapampangans were known for their gallantry and civilization, the Spaniards entrusted the Kapampangans of Lubao with greater affection ardor, respect, fortitude, and fraternity. When the Spaniards started their permanent settlement in Lubao, Miguel Lopez de Legaspi and his successor Guido de Lavazares divided Pampanga province into encomiendas or areas of jurisdiction, which were awarded to loyal Spaniards who had manifested utmost services to the Spanish monarch’s conquest of new territories.
c. Socio-Cultural. In 1580, the Augustinian’s School of Latin and Humanities (Colegio de Artes y Gramatica) was first established by the Spanish missionaries to serve the natives of Lubao, the Kapampangans of the province, and other religious missionaries from Spain and Mexico. The first Augustinian printing press in the country, which was bought by the Agustinians from Japan in 1614 (or earlier), was established in the convent of Lubao The first book ever printed by the printing press was “Vida del Glorioso San Nicolas de Tolentino” (The Life of St. Nichols) by Fr. Phelipe Tallada. Other books printed by the said press included the “Arte y Reglas de la Lengua Pampanga” by Fr. F. Coronel in 1617; “Relacion de el Martyrio de el S. F. Hernando de S. Josef. En Japon y del Santo Nicolas Melo en Mofcovia…” by Fr. H. Becerra in 1618; “Relacion del Martirio del B.P.F. Navarette…in 1618; Libro a naisuratan amin ti bagas ti DOCTRINA CRISTIANA …by Fr. F. Flores in 1620; and the “Catechismo y Doctrina Christiana en la Lengua Pampanga by Fr. F. Coronel in 1621. The printing press was later sold to the Jesuits due to the great expenses that it entailed and the little profit that it provided the Agustinians, but to the regret of the missionaries. Spanish culture like fiestas, zarzuelas, Santa Cruzan, Christmas, New Year, Holy Week and other Thanksgiving Day celebrations influenced the socio-cultural life of the people. The Hormiga de Hierro was founded by Ambrosio Gonzalez (1876-1957) in 1901.
C. AMERICAN PERIOD
Upon the overthrow of Spanish rule in Mexico by the Mexican War of Independence in 1821, the Philippines were put directly under the administrative control of Madrid. In 1892, several secret societies were organized to act against the Spanish authorities. In 1896, General Emilio Aguinaldo led a rebellion against the Spaniards. After the United States proclaimed the establishment of US military rule on December 21, 1898, Aguinaldo and his associates refused to acknowledge US domination. Hence, Aguinaldo established a provisional government in Malolos, Bulacan on January 23, 1899. One of the leading citizens of Lubao, Don Leandro Ibarra, occupied a prominent position in the revolutionary government, that of Secretary of Interior. Lubao became the capital of the Philippine Revolutionary Government under Emilio Aguinaldo when they fled against the pursuing Americans, and the San Agustin Church became the temporary and emergency seat of the Aguinaldo government.
In 1898, a group of military men of over two companies of the Philippine militia organized by the Spanish government in Lubao turned their allegiance against the organizer and joined the Philippine Revolutionary forces, which put an end the Spanish domination in the town. These men of valor were well equipped with up to date equipment and ammunitions: 250 rifles with ammunition of 75,000 bullets. As fine fighters of the Philippine Revolutionary Government, they were assigned to fight against the Spaniards in Masambong, Caloocan until August 12, 1898, and they had occupied as far as Lico, San Lazaro and Oroquieta, in the city of Manila, where they clashed with American soldiers. Until 1939, these courageous men held the banner Asociacion de Veteranos de la Revolucion – Departamento de Lubao.
At the end of the insurrection in 1902, US civil government replaced the military authority, and on July 4, 1902, William H. Taft, later president of the US, became the first civil government. Thereafter, the municipal government of Lubao was organized with the following local executives: Eugenio Fernandez (1901-1905), Urbano Beltran (1905-1907), Quintin Romero (1907-1910), Esteban Vitug (1910-1913), Juan Rivera (1913-1919, Julian Vitug (1919-1923, Angel Morales (1923-1925), Quintero Aranita (1925-1928), Angel Morales (1928-1931), Alejandro Barin (1931-1934), Angel Morales (1934-1938), and Roman Kabiling (1938-1944).
World War II. Like any places in the Philippines, Lubao was attacked by the Japanese on December 8, 1941 and a massive invasion took place two weeks later. The subsequent Japanese occupation and warfare caused widespread destruction in the town. Scores of people died and damage of properties was enormous. The San Agustin Church served as hospital and arsenal for the American Army. People escaped and evacuated along riverbanks and mountains. Young male citizens of Lubao enlisted in the US Army to defend the flags of the country and America.
Immediately after the fall of Bataan, the infamous Death March passed through Lubao. Its loving people helped save countless marchers by giving them food, water, medicine, sanctuary and refuge at the risk of their own lives.
During the Japanese occupation, underground movements of guerilla units of the United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) and Hukbo ng Bayan Laban sa Hapon (HUKBALAHAP) were organized in Lubao and had endless encounters with the Japanese soldiers. Three well known Lubao guerilla commanders fought hard with the Japanese soldiers during this period, which included Abelardo Zuniga (alias Kumander Versoza), Abelardo Dabu and Silvestre Liwanag (alias Kumander Linda Bie). The municipal mayors of the town were Roman Kabiling (1938-1944) and Eloy Baluyut (1945-1951).
After the defeat and official surrender of the Japanese on September 2, 1945, the rehabilitation of the town started. On July 4, 1946, the Republic of the Philippines was proclaimed. As part of the Philippine cooperation with the United States in 1947, many young men of Lubao enlisted in the US Navy in Olongapo City and US Air Force in Clark Field, Angeles City. US Military bases personnel passed through Lubao during their trips and trainings.
D. Diosdado P. Macapagal’s Term. Lubao’s favorite son, Diosdado P. Macapagal was elected the 9th President of the Philippines (1961-1965). As government executive, he appointed some fellow Lubenians as members of the cabinet and in other government line agencies. Pres. Macapagal helped in the restoration of the San Agustin Church; ordered for the construction of the Porac-Gumain River Control System, the new Lubao Muinicipal Hall, Escolastica Romero Hospital, health centers, school buildings, roads and others. President Diosdado P. Macapagal is remembered in Philippine history due to these achievements: 1.Upon his recommendation, the Philippine Congress enacted the Agricultural Land Reform Code, which he signed into law on August 8, 1963. This code provided for the purchase of private farmlands and distributing them in small lots to the landless, tenants on easy terms of payment. This wise agricultural reform was not, however, fully implemented because of the strong opposition of the rich and influential landlords and many members of Congress who were rich landlords themselves; 2. The propagation of the Filipino language. For the first time it was used in diplomatic passports, diplomatic credentials, school diplomas, traffic signs, and stamps. Also, the names of typhoons were Filipinized – Atang, Berta, Kading, etc.; 3. The date of “Independence Day” in the Philippines was changed from July 4th to June 12th; 4. The official filing of the claim of the Republic of the Philippines over Sabah (North Borneo) on June 22, 1962. Britain and Malaysia opposed it; and 5. Formation of MAPHILINDO, a loose confederation of Malaysia, Philippines and Indonesia, in Manila on August 5, 1963.
E. Marcos Regime. Ferdinand Marcos ruled the Philippines from 1965 to 1986. First elected as president in 1965, he earned a reputation as a reformer and was re-elected in 1969. Due to increasing unrest from Communist and Moro factions, Marcos suspended the constitution, declared martial law and seized dictatorial power in 1972. During the dark days of martial law, Lubao was one of the most critical towns that criticized the regime and also one of the earliest groups that trooped in front of the gates of Malacanang Palace during the People Power revolution in 1986.
F. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo’s Term. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo is the 14th President of the Philippines (4th President of the 5th Republic). She is the daughter of former President Diosdado Macapagal. She was the country's first ever female vice president in 1998. Arroyo was launched into the presidency in 2001 by the EDSA II Revolution that toppled Joseph Estrada from power amid accusations of widespread corruption. Arroyo was re-elected in 2004, defeating actor Fernando Poe, Jr. In 2005, Arroyo was selected as the fourth most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine. President Arroyo is the first Philippine and Asian leader to chair the 15-member nations of the powerful United Nations National Security Council. As she is pursuing economic reforms and programs for the country, President GMA today through the assistance of Congressman Juan Miguel “Mikey” Macapagal Arroyo share their common vision and mission in helping Lubao to resurge to its glorious past. Efforts are currently being undertaken by the town’s local executives to improve and expand infrastructure projects, construction and rehabilitation of farm to market roads, inviting investors and manufacturers, and other activities to promote the well being of the people of Lubao. With the blessings of the Almighty God, Lubao is gradually rising again.
LUBAO:The Cradle of Kapampangan Civilization
Brimming with history and cultural heritage, Lubao is not only the oldest of all Kapampangan towns but is aptly called the Cradle of the Kapampangan Civilization (Duyan Ning Kamalayang Kapampangan). As the portal of a great civilization during its time, Lubao is colored with rich historical landscapes and cultural vestiges.
Lubao is blessed by God with many unique features such as its fertile greenfields that abound with abundant forest mangroves which teem with variety of aquatic sanctuaries; enormous brackish fishponds that breedprawns and milkfish; rich swamplands that house sanctuaries for birds and inland ponds; criss-crossing estuaries and tributaries that nestle estuarine flora and fauna; a regrowing business center of trade, commerce, and industry; a host for the religious, entrepreneurs, artisans, artists, overseas contract workers, farmers, and fishermen; the home of simple, bold, spiritual, and God-fearing citizens; and foremost, the hometown of humble and pious Excellencies: Diosdado Pangan Macapagal and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, presidents of the Republic of the Philippines.
Lubao as the Cradle of Kapampangan Civilization brims with antiquity through its timeless monuments: Catholicism, devout people, and good government.