The province lies in the
southern portion of the central plains of Luzon. It is bounded on the east and southeast
by Bulacan, on
the north by Tarlac and Nueva Ecija, on the west by Zambales and on the southwest by
Towards the south, Pampanga opens up to Manila Bay. The terrain is flat except for some
hills in the
northwest, which form part of the Zambales Range, and for Mount Arayat in the northeast
the bay are extensive swamplands. The climate is very distinct with the rainy season from
October and the dry season from November to April.
Map of Pampanga and
Also known as the Kapampangans,
or Pampangueños (pronounced as pam-pang-genyos), the Pampangos
(pam-pang-go) inhabit the province of Pampanga ( pam-pang-ga) and some
towns of Bataan and Tarlac.
The language they speak is called Pampango
The name "Pampanga"
comes from the word pangpang meaning riverbank, a fitting name for a flat
country crisscrossed by a hundred small branches of the Pampanga River.
The Pampangos share the general
culture and traditions of the lowland Christian Filipinos, especially of their Tagalog
neighbors to the east and south. However, they speak a distinct language, which is a
source of ethnic pride.
Spanish chroniclers and early
anthropologists have remarked on the distinctiveness of that language and they have
proposed theories that the Pampangos may
have come to the Philippines from Java or elsewhere in Southeast Asia.
It has been popularly believed and
theorized that the Kampampangans, linguistically distinct from the Tagalogs who surround
are descended from migrants from the Malang Region in Central Java
sometime in the distant past. Whether or not they did come
from Java, thriving settlements existed along the marshy banks of the coast and the rivers
when Spanish conquistadors came in
Arayat Church in Pampanga
in Guagua, Pampanga
When the Spaniards did come in that year, the Pampangans initially refused to submit to
the conquerors and chose to resist them.
Martin de Goiti was sent to reduce the recalcitrant people of Pampanga. After conquest was
finally achieved, the province of
Pampanga was established shortly thereafter. Originally, Pampanga comprised the whole of
the Central Luzon region. The
subsequent creation of other provinces like Bataan, Nueva Ecija, and Tarlac, reduced the
size of the province.
During the Spanish period, Pampanga was an important source of food, forced labor and
lumber for the Spanish colony. Rice, which
was produced in great abundance, was levied as tribute. In the 17th century, there were
two great disturbances that rocked the
province. In 1645, Francisco Maniago led a revolt against the tribute payments being
exacted by the colonial officials. In 1660, the
forces of Melchor de Vera, under the orders of Andres Malong of Pangasinan, tried to
incorporate Pampanga into a Pangasinan-based kingdom but were thwarted at Magalang.
Pampanga was one of the first provinces to join the revolution of 1896 and San Fernando
served as a temporary capital of the Philippine Republic in 1899.
Rice and sugar are the principal products of the province. Cottage industries
providing livelihood to many people also produce some of the most beautiful crafts, such
as mats, hats, and embroidered gloves, appreciated by both the local and international
Pampanga is also known for its
delicious meat products (tocino and longanisa), pastries, and sweets.
The Pampangos apply themselves to the
same industries as the Tagalogs but are renowned for certain crafts for which they excel.
They are exceptional jewelers and goldsmiths, as well as furniture makers and woodcarvers.
Antique jewelry and furniture from
Pampanga are considered valuable heirlooms by Filipino families and as priced possessions
by antique collectors.
Pampanga is known
for its exceptional jewelers
Furniture industry is
the important specializations of Pampanga
Sisig is a native Pampango dish
Pampangos are renowned throughout the
archipelagos as excellent cooks. They have ingeniously incorporated indigenous, Spanish
and Chinese elements into their cuisine that have made the Pampanga food preparation and
culinary arts both exotic and sumptious.
Among the more known specialities of
the Pampangos include buro, which is meat, fish or vegetables preserved
in brine or fermented with rice, tapa, or dried beef or venison, tocino,
or cured pork, longaniza or spiced pork sausages, aligi,
or crab fat, and sisig, or sizzling pig cheeks.
The province of
Pampanga had been held under the influence of the Catholic Church since the beginning of
Some of the most colorful and interesting observances are connected with Christian
holidays. During Good Friday, several towns in Pampanga hold atonement rites.
Masked flagellants parade in the streets of beating their bare backs with
whips and kneel before
the church. Others are "crucified" onto wooden crosses in
passion plays that mark the important Christian day.
Every year, during Christmas time, Pampanga becomes the hub of a thriving industry
centered on the making of colored lanterns alit
with blinking patterns of light. On the 24th of December, the provincial capital, San
Fernando becomes the focal point of the Giant
Lantern Festival. A kaleidoscope of lights and tinsel from giant lanterns come
together to compete and showcase the ingenuity of
Fernando, Angeles City, Apalit, Arayat, Bacolor, Candaba, Floridablanca, Guagua, Lubao,
Mabalacat, Macabebe, Magalang, Masantol, Mexico, Minalin, Porac, San Luis, San Simon, Sta.
Ana, Sta. Rita, Sto. Tomas, Sasmuan (Sexmoan)
Back to Top
Back to Regional Cultures
rites in Pampanga
Self-flagellation on Good Friday
Carrying the Cross
Actual crucifixion on
regularly staged in Pampanga