Brief History: Bakúlud was already a thriving settlement before the fall of L?sòng Guo (Luzón: AD 13th – 16th century) in 1571. According to ancient folklore, the people of Bakúlud traced their descent from Munmon, wife of the augur Dapatmagmanúk, niece of the Lakandúlâ of Tungdu, daughter of the east wind Tímug, granddaughter of the Kalangítan of Pásig, and great granddaughter of the sun god of Brunei.
Spanish missionaries from early on had noted the exceptional Christian piety and generosity of the people of Bakúlud as compared to their other converts in the islands. In 1576 for instance, only five years after the conquest and evangelization of L?sòng Guo, a Christian noble of Bakúlud, Don Guillermo Manabat, helped organized the first community of converts in Bakúlud. The first convent was built on his land under the protection of his namesake, San Guillermo, El Ermitaño.
If the Agustinians fondly called the Kapampángan people as the Castillians among the Indios, the people of Bakúlud were said to be the Castillans among the Kapampángan. In his Conquistas de las Islas Filipinas, Gaspar de San Agustin wrote: “The people are very politic, appreciative of valor and principles. They are very good Christians, more respectful to their ministers than the other natives of Pampanga. They are very ostentatious in their public functions, and love imitating the Spaniards in dress and in all actions possible. Those who see the processions they make during Holy Week will not miss those of the cities of Spain.”
It was no wonder then that many of the Philippines “firsts” during the colonial administration were natives of Bakúlud. In his book Laying the Foundations: Kapampangan Pioneers in the Philippine Church, 1592-2001, eminent scholar Dr. Luciano P.R. Santiago offers an extensive list of noteworthy pioneers from the town of Bakúlud: The first native Filipino founder of perpetual pious trust funds or capellañas was Don Diego Guinto of Bakúlud who donated a capellaña to the Agustinian Order in 1592, nine years ahead of any Spaniard in the colony to do so. Three years later, two more noblemen from Bakúlud would follow his example, Don Phelipe Balagtas and Don Andres Sungcay. In the year 1605 alone, 37 prominent men and women from the Bakúlud nobility had donated their inheritance as perpetual pious trust funds to the Agustinian Order. The generosity of the people of Bakúlud would have astounded even the greediest of Spanish officials. In 1608, Bacolor, as the Spaniards fondly called it, was listed as one of the top five most prosperous territories of the Agustinian Order in the entire colony.
Dr. Luciano’s list of Philippine pioneers from Bakúlud continues on: The first native Filipino priest was Kapampángan nobleman Bachiller Don Miguel Jeronimo de Morales of Bakúlud who was ordained in 1654. On April 1, 1672, just the day before Pedro Calungsod of Cebu was martyred, a young warrior-catechist by the name of Nicolás de Figueroa of Bakúlud died in combat for the Christian Faith in Guam. In 1816, the first Filipino delegate to the Spanish Royal Court in Madrid was a Spanish mestizo priest by the name of Licenciado Don Joseph de Vergara. His mother was a Kapampángan noblewoman from Bakúlud by the name of Doña Rita Masangcay y Coronel. In 1822, the second Filipino to represent the Philippine colony to the Spanish Royal Court was a Kapampángan priest from Bakúlud, Padre Anselmo Fajardo. Better known as The Father of Kapampángan Literature, Padre Anselmo Fajardo wrote Don Gonzalo de Cordoba, one of the longest if not the longest plays in Philippine Literature and the first ever written in any Philippine language. It contained 31,000 lines and was staged for seven consecutive nights in 1831. The first woman author was Doña Luisa Gonzaga de Leon of Bakúlud whose Ejercicio Cotidiano was posthumously published in 1844. In 1872, Sor Bibiana Zapanta of Bakúlud became the first missionary nun sent to help evangelise Mindanao. In 1885, the first native Filipino to found an orphanage was a Kapampángan noble woman from Bakúlud, Sor Asuncion Ventura.
Despite the fact that Bakúlud’s loyalty to Spain was disturbed in the Kapampángan Independence Revolt of 1660, Gaspar de San Agustin wrote that “even if it does not presently have the same number of people it used to have, due to the rebellion of the province under the governorship of Sabiniano Manrique de Lara,” Bakúlud was made the capital of Pampanga, with a an Alcalde Mayor that stayed there for six months of every year.
Bakúlud further proved its loyalty to the Spanish Crown during the British Invasion of 1762-64. After the British occupation of Manila, Governor General Simon de Anda y Salazar moved the seat of the Spanish colonial government of the Philippines to Bakúlud. In Manila, a contingency of riflemen from Bakúlud, the Fusilleros de Bacolor, joined Commander José Manalastas in storming the camp of British General Draper. Because of its loyal service to the Spanish Crown during the British Occupation, the Spanish King, through Governor General Anda, conferred the title Villa de Bacolor to the town of Bakúlud.
Bakúlud continued to produce statesmen and warrior-poets throughout history. During the turbulent and twilight years of the 19th century, Kapampángan writers saw the rise of the triumvirate (Tungcûngcalang) of the poet-heroes Galúrâ, Byron and Soto: Outstanding poet and playwright Felix Galúra signaled the start of the Philippine Revolution against Spain in Bakúlud when he led the attack at the Casa Real. Mariano Proceso Pabalan Byron, famed writer of Ing Managpe, the first zarzuela written in any Philippine language, served under Revolutionary General Tomas Mascardo. The most prolific of the three, Juan Crisostomo Soto, saw action against the invading Americans in the mountains of Porac. He was the author of Alang Diós and started the literary genre of poetic debate called Crissotan.
Author: Michael Raymon Tayag-Manaloto Pangilinan (Siuálâ ding Meángûbié)
Sources: 1. Gaspar de San Agustin, Conquistas de las Islas Filipinas; 1565-1615, 1st Bilingual Edition, Intramuros: 1998.
2. Dr. Luciano P.R. Santiago, Laying the Foundations: KAPAMPANGAN PIONEERS in the Philippine Church, 1592-2001, Angeles City: 2002.
3. Mariano A. Henson, Pampanga and Its Towns (AD 1300-1965), Angeles: 1965.
Barangays (21): Balas, Cabalantian, Cabambangan, Cabetican, Calibutbut, Concepcion, Dolores, Duat, Macabacle, Magliman, Maliwalu, Mesalipit, Parulog, Potrero, San Antonio, San Isidro, San Vicente, Santa Barbara, Santa Ines, Talba, Tinajero (Source: DOT)
Total Population (2002): 16,147; Household Population: 16,147; Number of Households: 3,029 (Source: NSO)