The Kapampangan Region is currently comprised of the entire province of Pampanga; Tarlac City and the towns of Bamban, Capas, Concepcion, La Paz, and Victoria in Tarlac; San Miguel in Bulacan; Cabiao in Nueva Ecija; and the towns of Dinalupihan and Hermosa and two linguistic island barrios, Mabatang and Kalagiman, in Bataan.

Pampanga province consists of two cities and twenty municipalities.  Its capital city is the City of San Fernando, which is known as the "Christmas Capital of the Philippines."   Angeles City received its Charter in 1964 while the City of San Fernando became a component city in 2001.  Three of its towns became temporary seats of the national government: Bacolor, which became national capital during the British invasion of Manila in 1762, and San Fernando and Angeles, "de facto" seats of government in 1899.  In fact, the first and only anniversary of Philippine independence was celebrated in Angeles on June 12, 1899.

The former Clark Air Base in Mabalacat has now been converted into a special economic zone and civil aviation complex housing the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport.  Also to be found at Clark is the "Museong Kapampangan" which houses memorabilia of illustrious Kapampangans.  These include writers Aurelio Tolentino, Amado Yuzon and Juan Crisostomo Soto, Governor Honorio Ventura, national artist Vicente Manansala, President Diosdado Macapagal, Rufino Cardinal Santos, Senators Ninoy Aquino and Gil J. Puyat, and Chief Justice Jose Abad Santos.   

Mt. Arayat, the 3,564 foot mountain in Barrio Bano, Arayat is home to the Mt. Arayat National Park.  Kapampangan mythology and folklore revolves around this "sacred" mountain.  In fact, the Sinukwan Festival held every year in December, immortalizes the legend of Aring Sinukuan.

During the cold months, hundred of thousands of wild ducks from China make their home in Candaba and its neighboring towns.  These migratory birds make the Candaba Bird Sanctuary an ideal site for birdwatchers.  Candaba is also home to one of the oldest, if not the oldest, houses in Pampanga.  The two-hundred year old Reyes house is conspicuously located in the Candaba town square.  When in Candaba one must not fail to try out the burong bulig, a type of pickled fish. 

The former town of Betis in Guagua is home to the Santiago Apostol Church, designated by the National Museum as one of our "national cultural treasures."  Huge ceiling murals, supposedly credited to 19th century painter Simon Flores, fill the interior of the church.  Betis is also home to some of the best wood carvers in the country.  Other churches worth visiting are the San Luis Gonzaga Church in San Luis, and the Sta. Monica Church in Minalin, which together with the Betis Church, are considered by the Cultural Center of the Philippines as among the major architectural works of the Philippines.  And the Church of St. Peter in Apalit, again together with the Betis Church, are featured in the book "Great Churches of the Philippines."

The City of San Fernando is home to three of the most popular festivals in Pampanga.  These include the Giant Lantern Festival and Sinukwan Festival in the month of December, and the Lenten Rites in Barrio San Pedro Cutud.  Another festival worth visiting is the Apalit Fluvial Procession in honor of Apu Iro (St. Peter) during the month of June.  Other noteworthy festivals are the Aguman Sanduk of Minalin and the Kuraldal of Sasmuan.

Beyond the boundaries of the province of Pampanga, the Kapampangan town of San Miguel de Mayumo in Bulacan province is home to the Biak-na-Bato National Park, known for its vistas, caves, natural pools and historic importance.  It was here that the revolutionary government of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo promulgated the short-lived Biak-na-Bato Constitution in 1897.

Tarlac City in Tarlac province is home to Hacienda Luisita which houses the Ninoy Aquino Museum.  The town of Concepcion is hometown to Sen. Benigno Aquino, Jr. whose death in 1983 became the catalyst for change in modern Philippine history.  The second stop of the Bataan Death March was in Sto. Domingo in Capas, where thousands of Filipino and American soldiers were carted from San Fernando.  The O' Donnel Concentration Camp was their final destination.

The Kapampangan Kingdom was a thriving community when the Spaniards arrived in the 16th century.  Archaeological digs in Porac indicate that Kapampangans had an advanced culture even before the Spaniards arrived.

The province of Pampanga was created on December 11, 1571.  It was the first province in the country and the only one founded during the same year as the City of Manila.  It must be stressed however that this event spelled the beginning of the shrinking of the great "Indung Kapampangan" which has been reduced today to a mere linguistic island in Central Luzon.

According to the research of historian Mariano A. Henson, the boundaries of the original province of Pampanga stretched northeast to the missions of Cagayan and its mountains which included the towns of Pantabangan, Caranglan and Puncan in Nueva Ecija, southeast to the Bulacan towns of Hagunoy, Calumpit and all the neighboring towns of the Baliuag River, east to the mountains and lands of Baler, Tayabas, and southwest to Bataan, which included Dinalupihan, Llana Hermosa, Orani, Samal, Abucay, Balanga, Pilar and Udion (Orion).

As late as 1841, Pampanga was still divided into "lugal a atiu babu" or Upper Pampanga (Angeles, Cabiao, Capas, Gapang, La Paz, Mabalacat, Magalang, Porac, San Isidro, San Miguel de Mayumu, Santa Rita and Tarlac) and "Paroba ning Capampangan" or Lower Pampanga (Apalit, Arayat, Bcolor, Betis, Candaba, Guagua, Lubao, Macabebe, Mexico, Minalin, San Fernando, San Luis, San Simon, Santa Ana, Santo Tomas and Sexmoan).

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    Footnotes to History
by Ivan Anthony S. Henares

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by Alex R. Castro

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Ivan Anthony S. Henares
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