Thursday, October 8, 2020


1. CULIÁT (Angeles)

The town was inaugurated in 1829, and was given two names by its founder, Don Angel Pantaleon de Miranda: ‘Culiat’, a woody vine (Gnetum indicum Lour.) that grew in abundance in the area cleared by his tenants and future residents of the place. Another name given was “Angeles” in honor of the ‘Los Santos Angeles Custodios” (Holy Guardian Angels), titular patrons of the town, and of the founder himself. Only oldtimers use Culiat nowadays; to modern-day residents, Angeles is preferred, as it has a more cosmopolitan ring for a city.


Before the coming of the Spaniards, the town was called by its ancient name “Balayan ning Pambuit”, then located at barrio Palinlang (or Paglinglang), as the  poblacion was still forested. In vernacular, the place was originally called “dayat”, which means ‘an irrigated riceland or seedbed. Its most visible landmark is Bunduk Alaya (from ‘paralaya”, thus,  eastern mountain).

3. BACULUD (Bacolor)

The town known for its people of arts, literature and culture was called “Baculud”, from the word “macabaculud”, an upland surrounded by low-lying lands—which refers to Lubao.  Its name has the same etymological origin as the city of Bacolod.  Founded in 1571, “Bacolor” is the Hispanic name of this former capital of Pampanga.

4. CANDAUE (Candaba)

Candaba originally had an older variant name—Candaue, Candawe—which refers to a place where the municipal cemetery is now located. In old maps, the ancient settlement was marked as “Candave”, “Candava”, and eventually localized to “Candaba”. Already a rich settlement in 1571, it also has one of the oldest barrios in the province—Mandasig—founded by Mandic, the wife and first cousin of Malangsic, one of the children of Prince Balagtas, as related in the 1539 will of Pansomun.

5. CAUMPAUI (Floridablanca)

Before the town was named either after the count of Floridablanca, Jose Moniño (1728-1803) or the white pandacaqui flower, there was a certain place called “Caumpaui” existing in the area in 1847, that was established earlier by Spanish missionaries as a “hacienda” and administered from Lubao. It was transferred to the new town in 1867. Floridablanca is considered as Pampanga’s youngest town,

6. WAWÂ (Guagua)

The ancient prosperous town was originally called in “Wawâ”, which means “the mouth of a river”, based on its location. The spelling was Hispanized into “Guagua”in 1590, in much the same way that the “wa” of Palawan was written in old Spanish maps as “Paragua”.

7. BABÂ (Lubao)

“Babâ” is Kapampangan for “low”, in contrast to “baculud”. “Lubao” or “tubao”, is an extinct word meaning “to arise, or emerge, or float from water” (its modern form is the dipthong “gatao” or “gato”, to float) . “Babâ Lubao” thus means “to rise from the low depths of the water”. Old residents still refer to themselves as “tau cu Babâ”.

8. SAN MIGUEL (Masantol)

Masantol used to be a barrio of Macabebe, as recorded in the 1853 census. It was known as San Miguel, formed from the Macabebe barrios of Bebe, Bulacus, Caingin and Nigui sometime in 1877 or 1878. It was renamed Masantol, meaning  “a place full of santol (Sandoricum koetjape Merr.) fruit trees” after 1903.

9. MASICÚ (Mexico)

Before it was christened as Mexico in 1577, the place was called “Masicu”—and pronounced that way-- which may been derived from the “síko fruits” (chicos) that supposedly grew in the area, hence, “ma-sicu”. Another version had it that the town was “elbowing other towns”—hence, “macasicu”. In any case, the name was Romanized to “Mexico”, before the replacement of ‘X” with “J”, after the 19th century.

10. PÚRAC (Porac)

“Púrac”or “Pórag” was how the name of Porac was pronounced in the 1850s. “Púrac” was a flowering rattan plant (Calamus curag) which must have grown and proliferated in the area, now known as Porac.

11. CABAGSÁC (San Luis)

“Cabagsác” was the former name of the town of San Luis, a contraction of “cabág bagsac” , or “bagsácan cabag”, which means “ a drop-off place of  fruit bats”. The name was extended to “San Nicolas Cabagsác”, to honor its Spanish Augustinian priest, Fray Nicolas de Orduño.

12. VIRGEN DEL PILAR (San Simon)

Tradition has it that the former name of an Simon town was “Virgen del Pilar”, its titular patroness whose fiesta is celebrated every October 12. It is also to honor the memory of its founder, Mariano del Pilar.

13. PINPÍN (Santa Ana)

The ancient name of Santa Ana is “Pinpin” (variations: Pimping, Pingping, Pimpin) after an important person who may have lived during the time of Malangsíc. It was then placed under the advocation of Santa Ana when the Spaniards came, a name the town adopted.

14. SANTA RITA DE LELE (Santa Rita)

As a neighbor of the major town of Bacolor to where residents would go for their daily marketing and commercial transactions, the town was known as “Sta. Rita de Lele”.  It was also called “Sta. Rita Baculud”.

15. BALIWAG (Santo Tomas)

The traditional name of Santo Tomas is “Baliwag”, a new town in 1773. It is derived from the term “maliwag”,someone prone to habitual tardiness. It was rechristend Santo Tomas in 1792.

16. SASMOAN (Sexmoan)

Sasmuan was written on maps for over a century as “Sexmoan”, the Spanish transcription of the old town’s name, until 1991, when it reverted back to its vernacular version—Sasmuan. “Sasmoan” means “a place of convergence”, a meeting place where Kapampangans met when they were waging war with the Chinese. The sexual connotation of Sexmoan in English prompted the municipal government to return to the old name.


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