There is no official record on the foundation of Mabalacat, but according to folk tales that were passed through generations, the first settlers were purely negritos (also known as aetas or balugas). A baluga chieftain named Caragan led his tribe in the rich balacat forests and settled themselves within its plentiful resources. Caragan was later married to Laureana Tolentino, from whom he adopted his family name. Laureana became the first Cabeza De Barangay of Mabalacat, a title now equivalent to Barangay Captain.
Attracted by the fertile soil and the abundance of wild animals and fowls, lowlanders however, have driven back the negritos to the nearby mountains and hills and claimed the land for themselves. During the Spanish era, the town’s vast agricultural lands were owned by a few families such as the Tiglaos, Dizons, Guecos, Ramoses, Dominguezes and the Castros.
Mabalacat became a town in 1712. It was named after the balacat tree (Zizyphus Zonulata Balaco), a fourth class timber. Then, a settlement of a negrito tribe, the area was a virtual forest of balacat trees. “Ma-balacat” in the native kapampangan dialect means “full of balacat”. Suc as the ones planted around the patio of Our Lady of Divine Grace Parish Church.
In 1860 a military command was established by the Spanish authorities due to lawlessness and depredations perpetrated by the balugas. The Pampanga towns of Bamban, Capas, Concepcion, Victoria, Tarlac, Mabalacat, Magalang, Porac, and Floridablanca were created into what was called a “Commandancia Militar”. However, in 1873 the Military Command returned Mabalacat together with the towns of Magalang, Floridablanca, and Porac to the mother province, Pampanga.
Mabalacat is known as the birthplace of the dreaded Japanese World War II suicide bombers-the Kamikaze. A marker commemorating the Bushido war project, which killed hundreds of American Navy Personnel while sinking and destroying U.S. Navy Fleet in the Pacific in the late 1944, is found at the northern area of the town.
The first Kamikaze airfield in Barangay Tabun is the site of Japanese pilgrims and tourists, paying homage to the spirits of the dead Kamikaze pilots.
In 1853 Mabalacat had a population of 2,611 and four barangays, namely, Babangdapu, Duquit, Malabni, and Paglimbunan. In 1903 its population increased to 7, 049 and already had 19 barangays. These were Bical, Bundagul, Dapdap, Dau, Dolores, Iba, Mabiga, Mamatitang, Mangalit, Matas, Mawaque, Paralayunan, Poblacion, Quitangil, San Joaquin, Santa Ines, Santa Maria, Sapang Balen, and Sapang Biabas. In 1948 its barangays increased to 20 with the addition of Fort Stotsenburg. Barangay Quitangil was renamed San Francisco.
Dau expressway exit, Mabalacat’s commercial nerve. The largest barangay is Dau, which became a barrio in 1936 by virtue of Presidential Proclamation Number 1. Dau, now with a population of 46,696 and a business nerve-center whose commercial input and output run parallel to that of downtown’s, is categorized by the National Census and Statistics Office as a rural area while San Francisco, the second largest barangay, along with San Joaquin, Santa Ines, Poblacion, Calumpang and other barangays are categorized as urban in view of their proximity to the town proper. Sapang Balen, with a population of 203 persons, is the smallest barangay. DAU became synanimous with PX shopping up to late 80′s. Motorists, visitors, and residents flock to Dau to get a good buy for cheep U.S. made and imported items from groceries to automobiles.
Total Population: 171,045
Household Population: 170,970
Number of Households: 35,134
The town has a land area of 16, 580 hectares – more than double that of Angeles City’s. Roughly four-fifths of the land area of Clark Air Base belong to Mabalacat whose boundary extend up to the Zambales Ranges. The soil is charcoal black and shiny, a sign of fertility, and is suitable for growing rice, sugarcane and other rootcrops. Before 1712 Mabalacat was a barrio (barangay) of Bambang, now Bamban, Tarlac. Like Porac, Santa Rita, Magalang, and Angeles City, this town never gets inundated by floods from heavy rain because it is situated on an elevated plain known as the “Upper Pampanga”.
Atlu-Bola, Bical, Bundagul, Cacutud, Calumpang, Camachiles, Dapdap, Dau, Dolores, Duquit, Lakandula, Mabiga, Macapagal Village, Mamatitang, Mangalit, Marcos Village, Mawaque, Paralayunan, Poblacion, San Francisco, San Joaquin, Santa Ines, Santa Maria, Santo Rosario, Sapang Biabas, Sapangbalen, Tabun
Mabalacat has an average annual income of PhP 56,698,280.87 derived mostly from municipal license fees, land tax, Internal Revenue allotment, roads and bridges fund. In 1997, there were 2,447 business establishments registered in the Municipality of Mabalacat, consisting of 79 manufacturers mostly involved in sash factory, iron works, ceramics, bakery and 1,806 trading companies. The financial needs are served by eleven banks, mostly concentrated in Dau. Public utilities include the Mabalacat Water System, Pampanga Electric Corporation II (PELCO II), three telephone companies namely, Datelcom Corporation (DATELCOM), Smart Communications (SMART) and Digital Telecommunications Philippines, Incorporated (DIGITEL) and one cable television network (PRO-SAT) which runs solely for Mabalacat. There are thirty educational institutions in Mabalacat composed of one private College, two Secondary public, two private High Schools and twenty five public Elementary schools divided into two districts, Mabalacat North and Mabalacat South.
Sites to visit
KAMIKAZE EAST AIRFIELD
It is from this airfield where Japanese Kamikaze pilots took off for their last mission on October 24, 1944. Also known as “human bombs”, Kamikaze pilots were trained to assault their targets by committing suicide.
MARCOS SANTOS RESIDENCE
This is the place where Rear Admiral Onishi of the Japanese Imperial Army organized the Kamikaze pilots during World War II.
Located at Olea creek in Brgy. Sta. Ines, it is said to be the landing site of Simon de Anda y Salazar when they retreated from English invaders in the 18th century. Salazar is the Spanish leader who declared Bacolor town as the seat of Spanish government and the capital of the Philippines in 1762.
Festivals & Events
As legend goes, early settlers were clearing the forests, Cabezang Laureana’s workers found, hidden among the bushes, a statue of the Niño Jesus (some say it’s the image of the Blessed Virgin). On February 2, the same statue was presented by Caragan as a gift to Padre Maximo Manuguid, the priest of the early Mabalacat Church which at that time was made of sawali and cogon grass. From then on, the town fiesta was observed on the second of February.