Saturday, 5 January 2008

Salapungan da ring Memalen ning Matuang Culiat

Pampang, Balibago, Anunas, Pulungbulu, Malabanias, Talimunduk
and other ancient placenames that hint at the town’s pre-Culiat existence
By Joel Pabustan Mallari and Roel Manaloto

Agapito Del Rosario, a present baranggay named after Agapito Jose Del Rosario y Abad Santos.. San Fernando-born Del Rosario (he was the son of Isabelo del Rosario, the Kapampangan martyr who played his violin moments before the Americans executed him) was the famous Socialist mayor of Angeles (1940-1942) and one of the founders of the Upsilon Sigma Phi, the oldest Greek-letter fraternity in Asia. Together with his uncle Pedro Abad Santos, leader of the biggest peasant organization in Central Luzon, and other peasant leaders, Del Rosario rallied the peasants to become a potent force in Philippine politics. They fielded candidates representing the peasantry in the 1940 local elections, including those in the key towns of Angeles and San Fernando. Shortly after Japan invaded the Philippines in December, 1941, Mayor Del Rosario was put on the list of officials to be arrested immediately. After securing the safety of his family, he met with other anti-Japanese leaders in Manila, where he was eventually caught and imprisoned at Fort Bonifacio. When he refused to swear allegiance to the Japanese flag, he was executed, just like his father before him. He was only 41 years old.
Amsíc a barrio named after an erect, branched, glabrous or nearly glabrous herb, 1m high or less; also spelled amsík, amisík or amsí (Solanum nigrum L.). It is known in English as the many varieties of nightshade, hierba mora in Spanish and kunti in Tagalog. This herb belongs to the same family of balasenas (eggplants) which differed (slightly) from what Mariano Henson noted as a kind of timber-tree. This area once belonged to sitios Anunas and old Pampang. The old location was on the merging point of the Pasig (Potrero downstream) River and the upstream of Abacan River. It was one of Culiat’s three new additional barrios in 1829 with San Nicolas of the Poblacion and San Jose.

Anunas is a baranggay that took its name from the native fruit-bearing custard apple (Anona reticulata Linn.). It is a native of tropical America and introduced only in the Philippines sometime ago. This tree belongs to the family of Anona said to be derived from the Malay name menona (minuna in Kapampangan?) having 3 varieties in the Philippines to which atis and bena-bana (guyabano) belong. The village used to be known as Pulung Anunas and was one of the 4 new barrios of Culiat in 1812, together with Sto. Rosario, Cutcut and Pampang.

Balibágo is one of the busiest entertainment districts in Central Luzon. Its name came from the much-branched tree of 4 to 12 m height, Hibiscus tiliaceus Linn. During the early days it was valued in making ropes for its flexible bark. This is actually common in the tropics and throughout the Philippines, especially in places near the sea. This plant that belongs to the hibiscus family includes the favorite variegated species common in gardens which also includes varieties of gumamela and malutú (or malibago). Thus the placename balibago should not be mistaken as having been derived from the synthesis of the two words bale + bago (“new house”). In fact bago is not a Kapampangan term for new; otherwise it should have been called as balebaiu. In Cuta, an old sitio of barrio Anilao in the town of Bongabong, Oriental Mindoro, the light but sturdy balibago tree has been a favorite timber source in the construction of old-fashioned bangka since the early days. An old village in Marinduque, as well as a sitio in Magalang, has also been named after this tree.

Balíti is the name of an old village now under the political boundary of Sapang Bato, as well as of a barrio in San Fernando. It belongs to the many “strangling” figs, of Ficus family, 800 or more species in all tropical countries, a few in warm temperate regions, and about 100 in the Philippines, most of which can be found in Pampanga alone. Fr. Pedro Chirino, S.J. (1604), described how early Chinese immigrants were growing balíti trees onto corals. These early immigrants would insert the roots into the coral’s crevices and place them onto water basins until the roots clasped the host corals. This practice led to what is popularly known today as bonsai, a common sight along the stretch of the Mc Arthur Hi-way in Mabalacat and Bamban.
Bángcal was an old sitio now reduced into a mere street of Balibago, very near the Abacan River. Its name came from the mangrove tree plant known locally as bangkal (Leichhardt tree, Nauclea orientalis of Rubiaceae family) which originates possibly from Indo-China and Malesia; occasional in thickets and widely distributed in the Philippines, India, Southeast Asia and Australia. An old barrio of Guagua is also named after this tree.

Benigno Aquino one of the newly renamed barrios of the city in honor to the late Kapampangan martyr Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr. Most parts of the baranggay comprise the area of the old Marisol Subdivision.

Capáya obviously from kapáia tree, Carica papaya Linn. It is in common cultivation throughout the Philippines and frequently spontaneous, all the year. This perdigones tree was introduced from Mexico by the Spaniards at an early date and now found in all tropical countries.
Claro M. Recto a barrio next to Salapungan going to the north along the old railroad; named after the famous legislator and patriot.

Cuayán is adjacent to baranggay Anunas in the west end. It was once a sitio of Anunas. Its name is a generic term for almost all types of bamboos and some grass species like kuaian tutu (Bambus- blumeana, J.A. & J.H. Schult Bambusa Schreber). This widely known grass family is known for its various economic values such as lande (of bamboo splits) and sauali-making. The residents divide their barrio into: (a) babá, the center of social activities where the visita is located and (b) bábo or sepung cuaian, the outermost and least peopled area of the barrio. This ordinary bamboo name is a common placename throughout Central Luzon.

Culiat, the old name of Angeles town; derived from at least two possible plant names. One is from the plant kuliát, Gnetum indicum Lour. Merr. a woody vine that abound in the place or a shrub of the the same Gnetum family. While the other one is a Diospyros specie, of the black wood family. This family of trees includes the famous Philipine ebony wood, and talang (Diospyros discolor Willd. [D. philippensis Desr.]). Types of talang includes the known kamagong and/or mabolo in many Philippine languages. Culiat Street is said to be the area where the old San Fernando barrio of Culiat was located, near the chapel of Apu Mamacalulu. An old barrio of Tandang Sora in Quezon City is also named Culiat (or Coliat).

Cutcut is the barrio on the boundary with Porac town. It means “to sink the feet,” a reference to the abundance of fine sand in the area. Meanwhile, Angeles historian and visual artist Daniel Dizon points to the present public cemetery located in Cutcut as kutkutan or Camposantung Matua. Incidentally the private Holy Mary Memorial Park, also located in Cutcut, is just a stone’s throw away from the old cemetery. Cutcut is where the town’s first primary school, first muscovado sugarmill and alacan or alambique (alcohol distillery) were built by the founders of Culiat. There are barrios in Capas, Tarlac that have also been named cutcut.

Cutud is the southeastern barrio on the boundary with Mexico town. Cutud is the Kapampangan word for the verb “to cut” or the noun “a cut piece.” Thus the place could have been a cleared forest or, as historian Mariano Henson pointed out, an area where the road has been cut.
Lourdes Northwest, Lourdes Sur and Loudes Sur-East apparently named after their common patron saint Nuestra Señora de Lourdes with respect to their respective geographical locations.
Lúyus (or Lúius) is another old village near the old location of Pandan. Its name comes from the native palm “bunga” Areca catechu Linn.. It is certainly of prehistoric introduction, most probably from India through Malaya. This is the palm that produces betel nuts, much used by “Kapampangang mámama” or Kapampangans (as well as other natives in the Austronesian world) who chew betel as a mild stimulant.

Malabáñas (or Malabánias), formerly part of Mabalacat town, has at least two possible name provenances. One is from the prefix mala- (a word base for “resembling”) and bañás, a kind of timber-tree (Dacrycarpus cumingii [Parl.] de Laubenf.) as Henson noted. But the root word was recorded to have come from the Mangyans of Mindoro. In fact it is not entered in any Kapampangan, Tagalog (including Mindoro’s Southern Tagalog), Ilocano, Pangasinense vocabularies. Another possible etymology is the word bañás or banias (water lizard specie, Hydrosaurus pustulosus). According to Fray Diego Bergaño’s 1860 dictionary, bañás is an old Kapampangan term for a barag (monitor lizard, Varanus salvator), which is also a close relative of dapu (of crocodile family). Since Malabanias is situated near the Abacan River, passing boats probably looked to people on the riverbanks as having the appearance of floating bañás, (Old Kapampangan folks still say “Balamu galakgak ka!” to a person who is skinny and gawky enough to look like an iguana.

Malupá is another village now part of Porac town, located near Manuali (Porac) and Cuayan (Angeles City). Its name was derived from the prefix ma – (“abundant”) and the root word lupa, an herb with stinging hairs, Fleurya interrupta, Linn. In Fiji island, this plant occurs in areas “from near sea level to about 525 m as a weed in villages, roadsides, waste places, pastures, and cultivated areas, sometimes being found along forest trails or on hillsides.” In Hawai’i, it is known as an uncommon garden weed. Its native area is questionable; probably southeastern Asia as it was almost certainly an inadvertent aboriginal introduction throughout the Pacific portion of its range. Northern Tagalog speakers knew this herb as lipa, and among Southerners, as nipai.. The stinging hair of this plant is related to the famous poison ivy and bule (bean family); and capable of inflicting severe skin allergies and serious irritation for days.

Mánga is another barrio next to Pulungbulo going to Mexico town. It was named after the mangga tree (Mangifera indica L.) of Anacardiaceae (balubad family). This tree originated in South and Southeast Asia. Wild mango trees are known to have come only from North-East India and Burma, and so it appears plausible that the species evolved from there. The name mango, almost identical in countless languages, is derived from Tamil, the most important language of Southern India, and was transferred to the West by the Portuguese. The general term for “mango” in Tamil is mamaran, but the fruit is usually referred to either as manpalam (also transcribed mambazham which means “ripe mango fruit,” or mangai which means “unripe mango fruit”. It appears that the latter term was picked up by Portuguese sailors; since sea trade required unripe fruits at that time. The North Indian names for mango derive from Sanskrit amra, itself probably a Dravidian loan and thus related to the Tamil words and even to English mango. The genus name Mangifera (“bringer of mango”) contains Latin ferre “carry, bring”, cf. Lucifer “bringer of light” or Christopher “he who carries Christ”. Thus the word mangga was definitely influenced by early conquistadores in Philippines. The closest indigenous term for this family of mangoes is a specie known as “Pahu” or “Pau” (Mangifera altissima Blanco) in Kapampangan, ‘Paho’ among the Tagalogs, ‘Pahutan’ among the Visayans, and ‘Pangamangaen’ among the Ilocanos.

Márgot comprises most parts of the old Tacondo area going to Sapang Bato. It is said that the name came from a certain lady named Margot, Margaret, Marga etc, or most probably from an old “borrowed” Kapampangan term marga’ha. This term was one of the peculiar entries in the Kapampangan-English Dictionary by Michael Forman which means as “volcanic ash” or “lava [rare]”. Its proximity to the slope of Mt. Pinatubo and its location across several headwaters of the Abacan River might provide clues to the prehistoric eruption of the said active volcano.
Mining is another barrio of Angeles City. The origin of its toponym is unknown even during the time of historian Mariano Henson.

Palengking Hapon is the old train station near the railroad crossing of Sta. Teresita now part of Baranggay Agapito Del Rosario. It was starting in 1942 when the Japanese controlled all networks of transportation which included this old railroad in Angeles.

Palusapis derived its name from a timber-tree, Anisoptera thurifera Bl. a good source of sturdy timber used in making furnitures, house posts and early types of boats. It is now part of Porac, next to Sapang Ebus and Manuali (both remote barrios of Porac).

Pampang is actually divided into the new and the old Pampang. Matuang Pampang used to be the entire old Pampang village which got its name from its location along the brink of cliffs which line the Abacan River (later relocated to its present site where the Pampang Public Market now stands). This word was generally applied to all riverbank communities in all parts of the Kapampangan Region.

Pandan derived its name from specie of Pandan tree, Pandanus luzonensis Merr. Its present location is along the Angeles-Magalang road. The placenames of Pandan and Pampang have a good trace of Indonesian connection. As quoted from Fr. Edilberto Santos’ notes:
“a geographical and statistical dictionary of the Dutch Indies, published in Amsterdam as late as 1896, contains names of places in these Indonesian islands which right away bring to mind those found in the abovementioned Philippine province. According to it, there are (in Java) two villages, one river, and one bay bearing the name Pampang: and (in Sumatra) three villages and one river bearing the name Pampangan.14 There are (in Java) seven villages, a mountain and an island, a cape and an inlet bearing the name Pandan.”

Pasbulbulu, now a barrio of Porac. Derived its name from “Pasbul” for “gate” or “door” and “bulu”, the sauali bamboo Schizostachyum lumampao (Blanco) Merr.

Patirik-tírik is currently a part of Barrio Sto. Cristo. Its name’s provenance may mean many things to lexicographers. Tírik could be taken as setting up something straight or erect (as candles, post, building), like the most recognized origin of the placename, the Spanish-Period cemetery; or in Old Kapampangan, it refers to fish corral, or a pool of water where an enclosure was installed for confining or capturing fishes. This last theory is credible since the place is the most depressed area in the city. Lastly, a far-out opinion on the place’s etymology is that the area was once a lair for prostitutes, before they moved to “Area,” the now notorious red district between Sta. Teresita and Pampang.

Pulúngbulu located on the northeastern section of Sapang Balen Creek. Its name came from the compounded words pulúng (“forest of”) and bulu (Schizostachyum lumampao [Blanco] Merr.).
Pulúng Cacutud is the last barrio going to Magalang town. Its name also came from the compounded words Pulúng (“forest of”) and cacutud (“slice” or “cut of trees”). It is known by old folks in the area as Pulung Kaputut (“a piece of forest” or “a tiny forest”). A barrio in Mabalacat is named Cacutud probably of the same origin as Pulung Cacutud.

Pulúng Maragul is the place where the new City Hall is located. It is literally translated as “big forest,” probably to differentiate it from Pulung Maragul a.k.a. Pulung Kaputut (“small forest”), which is also in the same vicinity. It seems that the places with pulu (literally, an island) as part of their toponym were once forested with either ilib (cogon grass, Imperata cylindrica [L.] P.Beauv.), kuaian tutu (Bambus- blumeana, J.A. & J.H. Schult Bambusa Schreber) and other indigenous trees, thus forming island-like sanctuary in the middle of sandy lands.

Salapúngan is taken rom the root word salapang, this means “a splitter”. Fray Diego Bergaño likened the idea to the split tongue of a barag. Presently, the place well represents its meaning; it is a place of intersection going to at least two road ways, one to the city proper (Sto. Entierro St.) and the other going any of the roads northwestwards (like the Magnolia St.) . It best represents rotonda of the modern traffic scheme.

Sampaloc is a sitio found on the frontage of barrio Cuayan after Pampang. It was named after the tamarind tree Tamarindus indica Linn. of the Caesalpiniaceae (a tropic family closely related to the bean family like bule and kamangiang). This tree originated in Eastern Africa, but is now growing all over the tropics. Its etymology came from the Arabic tamr hindi which simply means “date of India” (“date” being a general name for the fruits of various palm trees); needless to say, tamarind neither stems from India nor is it related to palm trees. In spite of this deficiency, loan translations of this name have made their way into English, German (Indische Dattel) and Russian (Indiyskiy finik. It is no wonder that contemporary Kapampangans include taramindu or tamarindu to their collection of glossaries which pertains to the dried ripe fruits of this tree.
San Jose was one of the early barrio of the then Culiat town, named by the people after their patron saint San Jose Labrador or Apung Jose Talapagobra.

San Nicolás formerly known (partly) as Talimundoc for “rocky, dry upland or hilly area.” Part of the barrio intersects with Lourdes Sur East. It was named after their patron saint San Nicolas Tolentino.

Santo Domingo formerly known as Tibág (either “steep gorge” or “crumbled earth, rocks etc” or “landslided area on the mountain side or riverside,” or colloquially, “demolition.”) At present a sitio named tibag is located in the boundary of San Jose and Sto. Domingo near the Sapang Balen Creek, also running parallel along the old railroad. It is a popular squatting area for newcomers in the city.

Santa Teresita known before as part of the malángo village. Large droves of lango (housefly Musca domestica) infested the area due to garbage dumps in the palengking laun (old marketplace of San Nicolas) and old Pampang.

Santo Cristo obviously named after their patron saint Santo Cristo del Perdon, the image of the Crucified Christ.

Santol came from the popular fruit tree, Sandoricum koetjape (Burm.f.) Merr. This fruit and sampalok, when unripe, are used as panaslam for the daily sigang (sour soup) of Kapampangans. This old village is now part of Barrio Anunas. The santol tree is believed native to former Indochina (especially Cambodia and southern Laos) and Malaya, and to have been long ago introduced into India, the Andaman Islands, Malaysia, Indonesia, the Moluccas, Mauritius, and the Philippines where it has become naturalized. The southern town of Masantol, formerly a barrio of Macabebe, was also named after the tree.

Santo Rosario, the poblacion or town proper of old Culiat, apparently deriving its name from its patron saint Nuestra Señora De Santissimo Rosario de la Naval. The same thing is true with one of the oldest streets of the city, the Santo Rosario Street.

Sapalibutad from sápa (“creek”) and libutad (“middle”). This placename does not say if the river is between two villages or between two land formations. It is a barrio south of Pulung Cacutud touching the boundary of Mexico in the east.

Sapangbato is the westernmost village of the city. Its name came from Sápang (“creek of” or “river of”) and bato (“stone”). Apparently, huge boulders of volcanic origin littered (and still litter) this hillside-riverside barrio. The site may have contained a quarry of calcareous rocks (such as adobe and planas), dacite and pumiceous rocks used in the early times in the construction of pisamban (Catholic churches such as the Holy Rosary Parish Church), bale batu (colonial houses like the Bale Herencia), large kamalig (rice granaries) etc. This old barrio comprises some of the upland sitios like Sitio Babo populated mostly by the Baluga (Kapampangan speaking Aita) and Sitio Baliti. Sapangbato is one of the old sites of the frequently moving Fort Stotsenberg, which was integrated later into Clark Air Base.

Suklaban is an old sitio of Mining. Its name means “to bend down” since travelers on their way to Mexico town had to bend their way through a thick forest of bamboos.

Tabun a baranggay on the northeast end of the city, beside Capaya; its name means “irrigation dam” which is explained by its proximity to the Abacan River. Many other places in Pampanga are named after the tabun.

Talimunduc, now called Lourdes Sur-East; according to Mariano Henson, it means “hilly landscape.” It seems that the talimundok area wasn’t confined to the present barrio but extended up to San Nicolas which was also once called Talimundok (as Henson also noted), and all the way to the northwestern side of the city beside the Abacan River (Matuang Pampang). Thus, Talimundok may have had the general meaning of being elevated.

Tacóndo, an old village, once a part of Margot and Sapang Bato. Mariano Henson notes that the word came from a corruption of the Negrito phrase tacur dú (“long hill”). The place had long been inhabited by the Islands aborigines.

Taratpipit is a purok of Sto. Domingo named after the high-pitched common fantail warbler (Cisticola juncidis). This bird is extremely widespread (except North and South America and Antarctica). Outside the breeding season these birds are very difficult to spot. The high scratchy notes of their call coincide with the low points in their courtship flight.

Tibágin is a sitio of Sta. Trinidad near the barrio of San Nicolas; tibagin refers to an easily eroded area, which makes sense since the location is very near the Sapang Balen Creek.

Virgen delos Remedios, one of the newly created barrio located between the barrios of Sta. Teresita, Ninoy Aquino and Claro M. Recto; named after Virgen Delos Remedios (Indu ning Kapaldanan), which is also the patroness of the whole Pampanga Province.

Some of the famous old streets of Angeles City indicate the prevailing influence during the time they were named, e.g., Rizal Street named after the national hero, Burgos Street after Fr. Jose Apolonio Burgos of Gomburza, Jake Gonzales Boulevard in honor of “Jake” Gonzales who was killed in an aircraft accident while on a Jaycees mission. Prominent mayors (and Presidentes Municipales or Alcaldes) and pioneering families and other personalities who made an impact on the city’s history have streets named after them, such as Lazatin St., Dr. Clemente N. Dayrit St. (Clemendez), Nepomuceno St., Henson St. Miranda St. Navarro St., E.Mallari St., F. Jacinto St., T. Bugallon St., P. Deang St. Justino Surla Street. Quite notable are streets named after prehistoric personages such as Lacandula Street after the famous ruler of Tondo during the time of Spanish contact in Manila,; Panday Pira Street after the famous metalsmith worker of Apalit, Pampanga; streets of barrio Sta Teresita like Prince Balagtas, Noble Araw, Lady Maylag, Malangsik, Anca Widjaya, Madjapahit etc. are all derived from the genealogical tree of the so-called Kapampangan Empire, established and consolidated from A.D. 1335 to A.D. 1400.
Abácan River (Sapang Abakan) derived its name from the word abákan meaning “lunch time”. This is one of the major rivers emanating from the foothills of Mt. Pinatubo. Its name might have been associated with early river people or boatmen who took their lunch meals along this river. The length of the river snakes down to the towns of Magalang and Mexico before merging to the rest of the rivers collectively known as Guagua-Pasak River and empties far down south in the Pampanga Bay. But the big question is, who named this famous river? Were they the early people of Culiat, or the people somewhere in Magalang or Mexico towns? The term for a river is sapa, regardless its size or length. Sapang Balen was so named for its role and location in the pioneering days of the balen (poblacion); it straddles at least two old streets of Culiat (Sto. Rosario and Miranda). The Arrayo River might have derived its name from the word márayo or máraio meaning “far” or “remote”. Its location is on the upstream section of the Abacan River. Pasig River (or Pasig-malangi River) is located on the northwest section of the city after barrio Cuayan. Pasig is another term for a riverbank in Kapampangan while malangi meant as “dry”. It was called as Pasig-malangi for the river is always seen nearly empty of flowing water; it contains deposits of Angeles Fine Sand, while Sapang Bayo River is located part of Pasig-malangi River. Its name came from the word “baiu” for “new”. This might explain the river’s new course at the time it was discovered by the people who knew the old topography, the team from the National Mapping and Resource Information Authority (NAMRIA) who recorded it in 1951.

Baltangan da ring Memalen ning San Fernando

Kebiauan, Telabastagan, Sindalan, Kalulut, Bulaun, Maimpis and other villages that the colonizers failed to hispanize
By Joel Pabustan Mallari

Baltangan is the name of an old village near the northwest boundary of San Fernando. Its old dictionary definition includes (a) crossing (crossroads); and/or (b) along or across the border, edge, margin, bank, shore or in some extent against the breeze or moving wind.
The old site of this village actually covers part of Sto. Domingo (of Angeles City) down to Essel Park Subdivision and Telabastagan (of San Fernando) and Calibutbut (of Bacolor). At the heart of this old site now runs the polluted old river known as the Sapang Aslam among the people of Sto. Domingo. This river once supplied residents with freshwater bios such as parusparus (Telescopium sp.), susung balibid (Telescopium sp.), bia (goby), etc. This old crossroads once had a rugged terrain which can hardly be seen now due to the breadth of residential and commercial structures. Folks still recall the old gasgas (dirt road) located across the river connecting the villages of Salapungan, Mangga and Pulungbulu (all of Angeles City) towards the southern part of Telabastagan (of San Fernando), going to the western section of San Fernando (Calibutbut of Bacolor), and northwest to Porac. Today this site still serves a similar purpose of its setting; it is near the entry point of the circumferential road going to the Clark Economic Zone and also near where the boundaries of the cities of Angeles and San Fernando meet in reference to the Mac Arthur Hi-way.

Plant names
A barrio at the mid-southwest boundary of San Fernando was named Alásas, apparently derived from the tree alásas (Ficus ulmifolia Lam.) of the balíti family. Balíti is a basic term for all the “strangling” figs, of Ficus family. Some of the known species include not only alásas but also buku-bukuan (Ficus pseudopalma Blco.) pakiling (Ficus odorata [Blco] Merr.), auili ( Ficus hauli Blco.), and the common baliti varieties (Ficus benjamina L. and Ficus indica L. etc..Bulaon was named after the bulaon tree (molave or smallflower chastetree Vitex parviflora Juss.). This type of tree is known as lagundi in Guam and the famous molauin in Tagalog. It is one of the preferred wood materials for making balutu (canoe type boat), lunas of sarul (plowshares’ base), furnitures etc. Calúlut, one of the oldest barrios in San Fernando, was named after an erect tree about 8 m high with oblong leaves, axillary inflorescence, and many seeded fruits known locally as kalulút. This tree is a decoction for its bark; fresh leaves are administered in fevers. It is also known as anabiong and anubing by the people in the Kapampangan-Tagalog boundaries and anardong among the Ifugaos. It is a favorite material for wood carving for its softwood character just like the sacred bulul figures of the Ifugaos. Old folks say one would spend about 6 days just to fell one matured tree of this kind. Another barrio with lesser population is Lára located near the boundary between Porac, Bacolor and Angeles City. The name of this barrio was derived from the plant name lára. This plantname is a generic term for all types of local chilis (in English) or sili in many languages of the Philippines.

The Philippines was once recognized as the number 1 exporter of bananas in the world. It is no wonder why Barrio Ságuin was named after this fruit. In fact varieties of ságin are known to local Kapampangans such as paltikus, saba, latondan, matabia, seniorita etc.; the fruit has also a special place on the Kapampangan table as pesa, sisig pusu, sigang, putchero, barbekiung ságing… This herbaceous plantain was called plantano by the Spaniards, who saw a similarity to the plane tree that grows in Spain; they later adopted the Kapampangan term. Baritan is an old barrio whose name was derived from a kind of grass, green forage, or horse-fodder known as barit, sakate or kumpay, which proliferated in the area due to the pipita (waterlogged areas) which extended up to the old place of Ponduan.

River culture
The San Fernando River collects its waters from the network of small rivers flowing from the barrios of San Jose Matulid, Sabanilla, San Miguel and Balas of Mexico and rivers such as Sapáng Calulut (of San Fernando and Mexico) and Sapa Creek of Mexico’s southwest section. This river snakes down towards the various rivers and creeks of Bacolor town. An outline map of soil survey which shows the natural drainage and general relief of Pampanga Province in 1956, shows the connection between the Pasig River (in Porac and Angeles City) and San Fernando River. This might support the early significant role of the old Ponduan as one of the busy trading ports of the province at least during the late Spanish Period onwards.

Kabalasan (or Mabalas) River which is a major tributary of Sapang Balen from Angeles City runs its waters on the southeastern part of the city joining the Sapa Calulut River and Sindalan River before it loses much of its water towards Maimpis as the smaller Maimpis River. It was called Kabalasan River because this part of the river was sandy, or mabalas in Kapampangan. The current of these various rivers and creeks “bends and slows down” halfway through Barrio Sindalan, thus gaining a meandering shape— marked by old townfolks as sinandal. The water of these rivers and creeks continues to decelerate, thus becoming meímpis, i.e., thinning of river flow or shallowing of water. This spot is what known today as Barrio Maimpis.

Northwest, one of the many small creeks is known as Malino River. Its name is appararently derived from the word malíno, meaning “clear” as the location is close to the headwaters of almost all the rivers mentioned above. Thus the barrios of Sindalan, Maimpis, and Malino are apparently named after the association of each barrio to the various behaviors and characters of their respective rivers.

Barrio Pandaras and Pandaras River were named after the adze or adze-like tool, daras, used for making the old-fashioned, canoe-type boat known to old Kapampangans as balutu. Sapa Palaui Creek was named after the small village of Palaui (Palawi), which probably derived its name from the word pálaui which means “going or close to contamination,” a term ordinarily used to refer to various stocks of grains such as pále (rice, Oryza sativa L.) and balatong (mjcklxc), or even pulbura (for gunpowder or fireworks), ápi (shell lime) etc.

Just because the pueblo San Fernando was created in relatively recent times does not mean the villages that comprise it are just as young. In fact, the parts are much older than the whole. The linear pattern of settlements was already seen along every important rivers of the pueblo. Examples of this settlement pattern are the old sitios of barrio Del Carmen. By following the downstream direction of the Maimpis River, one can observe river-related toponyms of sitios, from Dungan, Pangulu, Centro I & II, Pigulut to Mauli I & II. Dungan means port, the place where boats and ships dock, load and unload passengers and goods; pangulu is the headwater; centro is a hispanized term pertaining to the middle part of the river (or riverbank); pigulut literally means as back end (of the bending river) and mauli the downstream section of river flow. The sitios’ names describe the significant influence of the river on the lives of early settlers (or passersby) in the old area of Del Carmen.

Another old barrio is Ponduan which is near the present location of the public market, the cityhall and the pisamban. Ponduan literally means “stock areas,” usually located along port areas just like the dungan. Historically, it was in Ponduan where the cascos and small Chinese junks docked and did their trading activities before going to or after coming from the ancient town of Mexico, stocks of maiumung muscovado (sugar) and other trade goods on board.

Barrrio Patrons
It was a common folk practice to name places after the patron saints, due either to the religiosity of Kapampangans, or to Spanish authorities’ deliberate conversion of native placenames for political expediency. Unfortunately, hispanized names make it difficult for historians and ethnographers to trace provenances and study early culture.

The barrios De La Paz Norte, De La Paz Sur, Del Carmen, Santo Rosario, Dolores and Lourdes have all been named after the Blessed Mother’s various titles (Del Rosario, on the other hand, was named after a historical figure). The rest follow: San Agustin (St. Augustine), San Felipe (St. Philip Neri or the Apostle?), San Isidro (St. Isidore), San Jose (St. Joseph), San Juan (St. John the Evangelist), San Nicolas (St. Nicholas of Tolentine), San Pedro (St. Peter the Apostle), Santa Lucia (St. Lucy), Santa Teresita (St. Therese of Lisieux) and Santo Niño (Holy Child). Barrio Juliana may have derived its name from Santa Juliana or from a local resident now forgotten.

More home-grown placenames
Butarul is another old village name which means “waterway.” The area probably had this type of water channels which fed on the waters of either or both Sapang Aslam River from Angeles City and the Palaui Creek of San Fernando. Contemporary descriptions of this word include the undulating slopes associated with talimundok.

Landing is the name of at least two places in San Fernando, one near or part of barrio Maimpis while another one is in proximity of Barrio Lara. Old folks claim that either or both sites once served as secret battle airfields during World War II. According to Fr. Venancio Samson, who is translating Bergaño’s dictionary, the term “landing” may have an earlier provenance not necessarily associated with airplanes’ landing fields. He cites a 1913 sketch (map) which already has “landing” as a placename (in San Fernando). In 1913, aircrafts were not yet a common sight in the country, at least not as common as to make people name a place after them. The term “landing” can be compared to words like lande (bamboo splits used as floors and walls), landi (immodesty), etc. Another barrio with an unexplained etymology is Pasbul (door or gate); nothing in the village at present might explain the name.

Lunac is the old name of De la Paz; in Kapampangan (as well as Bahasa Melayu and Bahasa Indonesian) it means “soil where water passes or stagnates.”

Panipuan is a placename of at least two barrios, one in San Fernando and the other in the town of Mexico. These barrios were once both a part of Mexico; the split came probably when San Fernando was carved out of Mexico and Bacolor in 1754. Its toponym may have been derived from several terms such as (a) pipaniplan or pipalutan (the place for harvested ricefield); (b) pipanipunan which means “a collecting area” or “a place of gathering”; (c) the root word puapu, a kind or type of a paduas (fishing implement with hook, string and rod) used for fishing or for frog catching since the place conveniently has several headwaters of small rivers and creeks; and (d) the plant ipo (Antiaris toxicaria [Pers.] lesch.), a term common to Kapampangans, Tagalogs and Bisayas..

Barrio Magliman is another barrio which probably had a connection to barrio Magliman of next-door Bacolor, as in the case of the two Panipuans of San Fernando and Mexico. Its name is derived from a conjugation of the rootword liman. Magliman (or mangaliman) is the verb used by an infanticipating woman when she asks a favor, usually for something to eat. But it can also be associated to maglimas, that is, “to get rid of the water” (from waterlogged areas like bana, pinak, etc.) either by constructing a tabun (irrigation dam) or manually, using a container; the objective is usually to facilitate the catching of fish. This theory is bolstered by the presence of rivers and creeks in the vicinity of both Magliman barrios, which have a long history of rice farming and fishing.

Makabakle whose root word is bakle (Sp. atravesado, obliqued or crosswise) means “lying across” (Sp. atravesado algo, i.e., balangtai, which may be the root word of the name of the next barrio in Bacolor, Cabalantian, although it is widely accepted as having been named after the tree balanti).

The name of Barrio Malpitic (also called as Palpitik) is probably an abbreviation or corruption of the word malapitik: mala means “like” and the rootword pitik means any of the following: (a) flick (with a finger); (b) carpenter’s or boat carver’s line marker; (c) spark and its sound (as in ignition), like pisik; (d) the sound of sudden tension or waving (of cord, rope, bridle, whip etc.); (e) smarting pain on the skin, or muscular numbness due to exhaustion. Another possible etymology is salpitik, which is the Kapampangan for “graded paper” or “brave person.”
Quebiawan (Kebiauan) is another barrio near Malpitik and Maimpis. Its name obviously came from the noun kebiauan meaning “a place where sugar cane juice is extracted.” The process uses rotating cylinders locally known as atlu bola, which were made of either wood or stone. There was a time when Pampanga was the country’s number-one supplier of sugar.
Surplus is another barrio name with a World War II provenance. Discarded military vehicles, uniforms and paraphernalia probably littered the place after the war, or were traded there.
Telabastágan literally means “frame-like;” it can be the bastidor-like frame used in weaving fishing nets or dase ebus (native mat made of palm leaves of Corypha utan Lam.). Some old folks associate its origin to the early game venue of jueteng.

Ing Makulyat nang Ibatan ning Angeles

CULIAT: San Fernando’s Northernmost Barrio
It was named after a vine… or was it a tree?
By Joel Pabustan Mallari and Arnel D. Garcia

Mariano Henson wrote that the origin of Angeles’ former name is the plant Culiát, Gnetum indicum Lour. Merr. a woody vine that abound in the place then. Today, this vine is said to be an endangered specie. The few surviving kuliat can be found in Palawan and in the botanical garden of U.P. Los Baños in Laguna. Recent botanical researches done by the Kapampangan Archaeological Volunteers (KAMARU) of Holy Angel University show, however, that some of the Gnetum species still thrive in the thin forests of Sapang Bato, Angeles. In fact, the people there, as well as residents in upland Porac, still sell kuliat seedlings occasionally. Collection of botanical lexicons shows that there are at least two plant species named kuliat (var. culiat, kuliyat). The first one is the known woody vine mentioned by Mariano Henson (and a shrub of the same Gentum family), while the other is a Diospyros specie, of the black wood family.
Gnetum belongs to the class of Gnetophyta of the Gymnosperms classification that grow in the tropics, 30 species, growing usually as trees or as vines with large leathery leaves. The name Gnetum indicum (Loureiro) Merrill IInterpr. Herb. Amboin. 77. 1917), based on Abutua indica Loureiro (Fl. Cochinch. 630. 1790), has been applied in the sense of G. Montanum, but may in fact be the correct name for G. parvifolium. The taxonomic identity of G. indicum has often been questioned, and many herbaria followed F. Markgraf (Bull. Jard. Bot. Buitenzorg, sér. 3, 10: 406. 1930), who dismissed it as being of uncertain application and placed most material so named in his new species, G. montanum.

Many species are used in a variety of ways: the bark provides a strong fiber used for making ropes and nets; the sap flows very freely from cut stems and can be drunk to quench thirst; the young leaves of some species are used as a green vegetable; and the seeds are roasted and eaten (the outer, fleshy layer contains irritant, needlelike crystals, and is not generally eaten).
The second kuliat plant belongs to a family of trees which includes the famous Philippine ebony wood, and talang (Diospyros discolor Willd. [D. philippensis Desr.]). Types of talang include the known kamagong and/or mabolo in many Philippine languages. It is called as Maitem in Malay; Camagón, Ébeno agrio, Guayabota, Matasano de mico, Sapote negro, Zapote de mico, Zapote negro, Zapote prieto… in Spanish. The Diospyros blancoi A. DC. is known as Tai wan shi (as D. discolor ) in Chinese, and in English as Mabola-tree, Mabolo, Velvet persimmon, Velvet-apple; Pommier velours in French and Ke gaki (as D. discolor) in Japanese. Historically, this family of black woods became the important source of timber (ebony) and fruits (talang, mabolo, and persimmon). It is one of the favorite raw materials for the old muebles made by local Kapampangan woodcarvers.

Relevant to this is the discovery of old black tree stumps exposed by the early activities of lahar in the 1990s, and even by pre-1991 erosion of the Abacan River banks. Folks of Angeles City like Erning Calara (80 years old and a resident of Amsic) say that long before 1991, they found 7 to 8 pieces with an average of 3 to 4 ft in diameter and were in situ on the exposed eroded riverbank of the Abacan River (very near the areas of Anunas and Amsic). Calara says that these hardwoods, which even loggers and firewood collectors were not able to move or cut with their chainsaws and axes, were prehistoric kuliat trees, according to those who were present, including Apung Quitong (ex-Mayor Francisco Nepomuceno). When the river current carried some of them they struck the steel posts of some bridges, bending them without acquiring even a dent. Continuous lahar deposition reburied the trunks. During the lahar years in the 1990s, huge trunks and parts of root system of trees were recovered. Among wood fragments recovered were a pterocarpus specie (Apalit or Narra?) and bulaon (Vitex parviflora Juss.), one of which is on display at the Museo ning Angeles. These trunks are believed to be 800 years old, probably part of the forests which blanketed the province of Pampanga at that time. A local engineer found a similar trunk in August of 1991 which has a radiocarbon date of 2,970 years old. This particular tree debris was rooted at 20 ft. below the present ground level of the city. Historian Ed Sibug still recalls the oral reports of early dredging (or deepwell?) activities sometime in 1991 in barrio Pulungbulu, in which workers discovered botanical debris (waterlogged pieces of wood and bamboos) slot in the sandy soil unearthed from about 30 ft deep. According to taxonomist Elmer D. Merrill (1876-1956), this type of trees (like bulaon and apalit) grows best in dry thickets and is common throughout the Philippines. If the old folks like Calara of Amsik together with the early oral reports and radiocarbon dates, are reliable, the prehistoric landscape of Culiat and of the neighboring municipalities was definitely much lower than the present ground surface of this modern city, and that it had suffered several series of mudslides and lahars that continually altered it. In fact some old barrios of this city were once called Talimundok (elevated grounds) even if they are no longer elevated, which means the landscape was padded over time.

Comparative etymological patterns suggest antiquated Kapampangan words for kuliat, such as kulat, kulul, kalat, uakat, pakat etc. Kulat and kulul are indicative of old color behavior while uakat and pakat indicates the plant’s strangling character similar to the widely known baliti trees and cognates such as auili, alasas, pakiling, isis, etc. Prehistoric pigments were mostly red and black in various forms while the tropical settings like the Philippines host a vast biodiversity of climbing plants. Thus the kuliat tree can be associated to kulat as red to dark stain of plant liquids or the old red color from soil or plant saps; and kalat, uakat and pakat are associated with the general behavior of plant creepers. Related to this, the early common practice done by foresters and carpenters recognized the special function of waterlogged trees, such as the strength and resistance to bukbuk and ané (all wood pests) and also the dark finishing character of these woods as they mature, which provides a beautiful sheen of wood fibers (aspe) when used as furnishings.

Consequently it can be assumed that the placename kuliat might have been derived from the black hardwood tree and not from the plant vine specie as generally accepted by Angeleños, including historians. The information from Mariano Henson’s notes identified the only botanical source of his study of the vine as the book “Useful Plants of the Philippines Vol. I” by Dr. Wm. H. Brown.

Friday, 4 January 2008

Ding Mikapatad a Suku at Malyari

How the volcanic activities of Arayat and Pinatubo shaped landscapes and mindscapes in the Kapampangan Region

By Joel Pabustan Mallari

Chain folkstories
The strong imaginative character of figurative understanding of natural landmarks in Kapampangan is not an exclusive and unique culture to claim. But it may be looked upon as a way of how the people treated this landscape then and now and then. Mythically speaking, the mountains of Arayat and Pinatubo always been looked as “gods” and “supernaturals”. Mt. Arayat is often impersonated variously as Suku, Sinukuan, and Apulaki in some folktales; while Mt. Pinatubo is often regarded as the brother (or sometimes a sister) of Mt. Arayat known as Maliari, Namalyari by the Aitas, Mayari in some folktales, Pungsalang etc. The general run of the story indicates the partitioning of rulership of one whole day, which is during daytime the “sun god” who resides from the Mt. Arayat rules and during the night stretch the “moon god” that hails in the Pinatubo mountain takes over. The daytime ruler have brighter eyes that makes the day time bright and the nighttime ruler with his/her one eye blinded (struck by his/her brother’s spear) by his/her brother reduced his/her glow thus becoming dimmer at nighttime.

Geophysical trait
Mt. Arayat was often regarded as the eastern mountain which has some basis especially if it is considered by its “other spelling” as alaya. This term is noted in the 1860 Bocabulario of Fray Diego Bergano. It is in this aspect where questions of direction arise. One question is regarding to the relativity of its being “eastern”, east of what? East of Pinatubo, perhaps. If that is the case, who lives beside the Pinatubo area – at present this “area” is predominantly peopled by at least 2 groups of Aitas and the Kapampangans.

What determines the direction of east and west can be relatively relied on the cycle of the sun’s movement: the sun rise from the east and sets from the opposite end, in the west. If that is so, Mt. Arayat’s location justifies its being “eastern” and relatively locates Pinatubo as the west end. Indeed, the location that sets them apart actually forms a virtual division that creates a place for the affected observers. Thus the demarcation of this observers’ location places its position to the present provinces of Pampanga and Tarlac.

Philosophical “sun”
By extracting the key concepts of chained folktales, the “god” that the people see are considered figuratively as both “sun” and “king” combined. Epistemologically speaking, the Kapampangan “aldo” and “ari” share concepts among their cognates to other Southeast Asian languages (Austronesians). Natural phenomena in the sky are significantly considered to them as “god” or “god’s works”, example in Indonesia, “matahari” is the sun, while “bahaghari” and “pinanari” is the rainbow word to the Tagalogs and Kapampangan respectively which both literally mean as sun’s loincloth. The fact that the ancient word “ari” in Kapampangan meant as the sun is very similar to Tagalog “arao”, thus making it as a significant reference at least for the early sense of direction, the ancient setting of time and so forth which heavily dictates the evolving culture of the early people(s) in the area. This concept may have been regarded and revered such that the sun becomes a “king” for its importance and “highness” and is woven to folkstories as part of early people’s memory handling. In fact, a prominent Kapampangan surname – Mallari and the known Aitas’ god Namalyari bear the same etymological meaning as “precious sun”, which only indicates the significance of this brightest celestial body known and popular to ancient people.

Finding ancient kapangpangan setting
Kapangpangan or kapampangan as a place actually refers to the region of riverbanks or coastal areas. This setting is dependent on the ever changing and active movements of river patterns since most of the major rivers in the present lower half of the Central Plain have their headwaters originating from the slopes of Mt. Pinatubo. In some geological studies, it was hypothesized that the palaeoshoreline of Pampanga is traceable up to the area of Guagua and Bacolor, thus making the old kapangpangan setting located on the middle part up to the present Tarlac-Pampanga.

On the other hand, as it was generally known that the sun rises in the east, the initial impression is something to be expected at least for the early settlers of this region. In consequence, it already explains the understanding of how the ancient people see the location of Mt. Arayat as “alaya”, the dawn which makes Mt. Arayat as the “eastern mountain”. This might also explain the old term “sucu”, which is defined by Fray Bergano as “the terminal or end (indeterminate end)”, and in this case the rising point and fullness of the sun’s light (and shape). Can this explains or contradicts the “growth” of the other, which is the literal definition of the Pinatubo name? Other namesakes associated to Pinatubo include Pungsalang, which is regarded as the “god of enmity”. Is it because of Pinatubo’s early active state as what early people probably witnessed when it brought ancient volcanic disaster in the region? The dim image of Pinatubo might be associated to the setting sun as it was idiomatically called before as sucsucan ning aldo, which literally means the “sun that pricks” referring to the location on the western direction, known as albugan, or kalunuran. It is in same way the term paroba is assigned which refers to the westward direction directly opposite paralaya. Just imagine how stunning is the imagination and their strong dense of direction of this early people, seeing Suku as a “bright god”, the “precious sun” that ascends from the east at the back of the silhouette of Arayat mountain and attains its “pangasucu” at noon time and being complemented by the setting grace of Maliari in the west as it is drowned by the ruggedness of Zambales Mountains especially when it becomes meguintalang, the reddened sun as it nears the horizon mentioned by Fray Diego Bergano in his 1732 work.

Another cycle of natural phenomena breaks this daily pattern at least every several generations which is the erupting activities of Mt. Pinatubo. The eruptive history of this volcano has had records of its last two periods prior to the last 1991, namely the Maraunot eruptive period (~3,900-2,300 yr B.P.) and Buag eruptive period (~1500 yr B.P.) which affected the lives of these early inhabitants. The fact that archeological findings already presented evidences of large habitation sites in Porac and in San Marcelino, Zambales, at various stages of time as early as even before the Maraunot eruptive period in Porac. This only proves that these particular areas were once populated and repopulated for several period during the course of the Pinatubo eruptive history.

Fitting puzzles of Arayat, Pinatubo and Kapampangan
It is in this synthesis of understanding, where the early spot of the old coastal area of Pampanga can be partly traced. Firstly, if the location of Mt. Arayat proves to be directly found on the east, it relatively locates the opposite land most likely the earlier deltaic plain now thickly covered by the present land area of Tarlac-Pampanga boundary. Secondly, this area is actually the central portion that covers most likely the ancient fanning action of sediments brought by the major rivers that originate from the slopes of Mt. Pinatubo. According to geologist Christopher Newhall, around 2,000 years after the rise of the sea level, another major eruptive history of Mt. Pinatubo occurred, dubbed as the Crow Valley Eruptive Period (~6,000-5,000 yr B.P.) which was during the early part of this activity where at least four thick pyroclastic flows also form prominent layers and terraces in the present Sacobia River. Today this area covers much of the present site of the Tarlac-Pampanga boundary which was formerly known as La Alta Pampanga during the Spanish Period. These fluvial deposits blankets the lower area of the future sugar land of Tarlac Province, emplaced, voluminous pyroclastic-flow deposited among the headwaters of the O’Donnell River which were the source of fluvial sediments forming the present rich sandy loams. Thus if there were already people residing in this old area, most likely that they later migrated southward moving away from the Pinatubo area towards the newly reclaimed land in the south which is now part of coastal Pampanga. The location of Mt. Arayat and the mountain group of Pinatubo in Zambales provide focal point of direction and location of people(s) found living or situated between them which is prescisely the old Kapampangan setting, the old deltaic plain. It is in this case that the old alluvial plain which is relatively much lower in elevation compared to the present area of the Tarlac-Pampanga boundary, that the early settlers in the area have seen the highness of altitude of both mountains. It is this perspective that these two giant natural features appear more striking as landmarks to the immediate universe of these early settlers. The palaeoenvironment of the former plain made them farmers of the plain and fishermen of the rivers and coast. It is probably for the same reason that the sun and the moon played both as “ari”, the “mikapatad a aldo at bulan” in sustaining their dependency of livelihood and the intricate weaving of their belief system toward their old kapangpangan land.

Wednesday, 2 January 2008


Ancient Kapampangan Cotton Fashion

By Joel Pabustan Mallari

In an archaeological survey in Candaba sometime in 2002, several artifacts were recovered evidencing an ancient rich culture which includes weaving as supported by the presence of earthen spindle whorls associated to the so-called “Metal Age” (500 BC AD 500) of the Philippines. In an ordinance issued in Manila during the time of Gómez Pérez Dasmariñas dated on the 9th of April 1591, the so called Indians referring to the native inhabitants of the Philippines were forbidden to wear Chinese stuff. Among these stuffs presumably include the famous trade silk. It is on this same account that all the Kapampangans already wore cotton – “chiefs, timaguas [sic] and slaves without distinction of rank”- William Henry Scott. He further comments that “though it was not grown locally; it was acquired raw from provinces from the south in exchange for rice and gold.” Indeed these Kapampangans were not only rich with these resources but also wove cotton fabric John Larkin noted in his book “The Pampangans”. This old tradition of cotton weaving was also recorded by Fray Diego Bergano in 1732 by the following entries:

BULAC, a bush and the fruit it bears, are both called bulac, cotton. But with the distinction, there is a bigger tree, and its produce can be used only for mattresses and cushions and it is called bulac castila (kapok?) So it is customary to add to the produce of the bush, bulac susuldan or pagpaguin. Other forms: Manimulac, the cloth made of cotton becomes threadbare for being worn out; maguinbulac, becomes very very white…;

CABID, a certain measure of cotton for spinning: four threads makes a cauing, four cauings make a cabid; ten cabids make one tul, which is one skein;

LAMBAL, the thread for sewing silk, or cotton. Active verb and its constructions, to make or cut a length of thread from the spool. P. 3. the spool, or skein. Calambalan, one length of thread for the needle. Pa, palambal, to provide a needle with a length of thread. P. 1. the thread. P. 3. that which is to be sewn with such a thread, like a baro, dress;

LULUN, to roll up, like the reed-mat / palm-mat beddings. P. 1. that which is rolled up, Lilun. Maca, presently rolled up…Lulunán, nominative, said in a wider sense, of the freshness, or tenderness of the labong, the stick around which they roll up /twine the raw cotton;

PUYUD, a bundle of cotton on the distaff, ready for weaving, or spinning;

SALAB, to bring near to the flames, to dry, or to singe, or scorch, like pork; or to give a bent shape to a piece of bamboo; or to apply the flame to a bundle of flax or hemp/cotton…;

SULAD, the fashion, the finish, the spun; to spin; the spun, or on behalf of whom. Sildan, or, silaran, or, sinulad, (that is what they call the cotton that is spun into thread…;

TUBAL, to soak the raw cotton before dyeing;

TUL, ten cabigs equal one Tul, a measure of raw cotton bales. If you want more, inquire from a woman spinner, spinster;

These entries indicate a complex industry which is not limited to household consumption but for a wider market. While a blue colored cotton was seen common to Kapampangans as it was explained in an entry “sapat”, which Fr. Bergano assumed as “it is used to mean steeping, or soaking raw cotton to dye it blue / in blue dye”. This color might have been a native favorite as what was documented in Jean Mallat’s work which was one of the rarest of all 19th century French publications containing Philippine illustrated material. He further noted that “in Pampanga they make cloths of all kinds, pots of baked clay which are taken to Manila and in the environs of the bay…”


As a product of conviality

By Joel Pabustan Mallari

In the warm and humid tropics, various cultures have devised ways and means to make living more bearable, if not comfortable. The Philippines is no exemption and nowhere is this solution as obvious as in the Filipino use of a variety of materials for making sleeping mats.

Various species of reeds profusely grow in swampy areas, as well as a number of palm species, and rattan. These materials remain cool in the heat of the day, are smooth to touch, and porous enough to let ventilation through. Throughout the country one encounters a variety of mat making traditions using indigenously grown materials and embellishing these creations with highly imaginative designs. From the Badjao/Samals, Tausugs, Maranaos, Tbolis of Highland Mindanao, Tagbanuas, and the various people of Samar, Romblon, and of the Cordillera all have their unique versions of native mats and woven articles like hats. The commonness of sleeping mats throughout the country attest to the artistry and the superb skills required accomplishing the intricacy evident in this woven works of art.

In a 1940 ethnographic report done by Ricardo E. Galang, kupiang ebus or native hats made from the leaves of ebus (Corypha utan Lam. Arecaceae) are reportedly made in the towns of Arayat, San Luis, San Simon and Apalit. Folk traditions maintain that the magkukupia (hat makers) from Sucad of Apalit, once supplied the local markets not only of Pampanga but also those of Tarlac, Manila, Baguio, Bataan and Zambales. Dr. Ricardo Galang notes that these towns also produced petates (palm mats, Kapampangan dase) and bayones (bayung) In Sto.Domingo, Minalin, turung or kupia making is seasonally done up to this time.

Fray Diego Bergaño in his 18th century Vocabulario dela Lengua Pampango en Romance, notes that the towns situated at the Candaba Swamp are known for the weaving of ebus mats, as dase. Recent ethnographic survey shows that there are a few families from San Luis and San Simon who are still engaged in the dying industry of dase-making. The old magdadase (dase weavers) of San Luis still recall the old days of this industry and with teary eyes narrate the tiring but colorful days when almost all town folks of all ages knew this art of weaving. This fine craftsmanship of the Kapampangans has always been associated with the panaun ning kasakitan, days of hard times (like during the time of war). As they say, this period was then the time when most of the ordinary folks living around the area of the Candaba Swamp burn their midnight oils. Since after the day’s toil they still need to find time to weave a piece of dase. It is in fact that the culture of “maglame” did bear a deeper meaning to their lives as magdadase. Pressing need to bring in extra earnings for their insufficient income and the high demand of the local and neighboring market, they tend to find effective ways to work fast and creative. Thus the gathering of several magdadase to one’s sulip (house ground floor) aiming to finish their individual weaving assignments. During this time, the burden of working overnight is replenished with the active moment of accompaniment of singing and guitar playing, bugtung-bugtungan and other forms of dalitan of volunteers. And this affair does not only end to this oral amusement but it plays hot with kapangan and gigutan to keep up till the pamanulauk ning manuk. As they say “mipapaglame bang dakal alalang dase, atin kanta-kanta, pamangan at dungut-dungut king pamaglutu bang dakal agauang dase”. In fact there is an old bugtung about the once common use of this article which relates the importance of this ebus-made article. It runs as follows: “Mig quera cu babo ebus, lalam sasa cu me tudtud.” Literally, “The sleeping mat is laid down upon the floor (of buri); the roof is of nipa”. In the old days, ordinary pinaud (native house with nipa thatching) usually have simple articles inside it, and dase is surely one of them which is just as important as the kalang (clay oven) in the kitchen. While another popular joke rendered as a song was recalled among the old magdadase complements the matter as “Lame-lame alang magkera king dase”. In fact, according to them, lame-lame actually refers to “dakal a gagauang dase kambe ning metung a paritan at dula king radiu”. The art and science of dase weaving starts from the fine selection of ebus leaves. This comes from the specie of Corypha utan (syn. C. elata Roxb, C. gebang), which is widely known in Southeast Asia. This palm tree known as ibus in Bikol, buri and buli among various Tagalog speakers was once a useful tree not only for its leaves, but also for the cluster of small fruits of about an inch in diameter which were once commonly sold as street food offered to school children. Its flower sap was also made into tuba, and in Mindanao, they boiled the sap of ebus just to make sugar called bagkat in Kapampangan and Tagalog. Until the 1970s, ebus palms were still abundant in Central Luzon especially in and around the Candaba Swamp up to the northwest portion of Mt. Arayat. Indeed, the people from Ilug Maisac (in Tarlac) and Mago (spelled as Magao, a village located between Concepcion and Nueva Ecija) supplied the magdadase of San Luis and magkukupia of Apalit until the early 80s and these were delivered by bancas via the Pampanga River. As it was recounted by the magdadase, every delivery of tulud ebus (young ebus leaves, tiluran refers to every single leaf) usually comes sagia (fresh green). From this, they have to be sundried or mebilad at melanat, before the process of individual tistisan and lapakan which is the removing of tingting (midrib). After which, the rolling of the fibers comes next by making loops/circles termed as eikid (or aikid), and eikiran (or aikiran) for the process, while the processed loops is then called balangkat. Every balangkat will be stripped (locally called as gisian) using a batakan, the process is then called bulayan, and binule for every ebus strip. The process involves the pulling of meikid The batakan (in some places it is called panabas) is made from an ordinary wooden bench (similar to the pangudkud ngungut), except that it has specially made pataram (small metalblades usually in a set of 6 pieces). This special bench is so small, that it is bangkung kikilikan for it is very light and transportable that whenever there is work to be done they easily carry it to the place of the maglame. Weaving is commonly called lalala, while the binule that is already part of the weaving process is called as sundu, and so pamisundu-sundu refers to the intricacy of the process being done. The biggest dase which is the usual size available then is the so-called ualuan or ualuan talampakan (around 8-9 ft by 12 ft), and smallest is apat-a-karangan (about 2-3 ft long), while other standard sizes include the didosi (12 talampakan) and didies (10 talampakan). Every size of dase is determined by the available length of mebule which also indicates the age, growth and seasonal characteristics of the ebus palm supplied. Thus, relative to the kauran (rainy season), dase making is better during the kaleldo or summer time. Among the favorite designs except for the plain non-dyed pieces which are in demand are the teladama design and the siper (zipper) type. The teladama design has a checkered board design while the siper has minimal dotted lines with special double-weave finish on all margins which projects durability. Among the colors most requested by dase buyers is malutu (red dyed), dilo and berdi (dyed yellow and green respectively). The violet or red-violet and blue are rarely requested. The dyeing materials include the commercial food coloring mixtures which they call alelina or alelinang butil-butil. The process of coloring takes place immediately among selected ebus but strips after mebule before weaving. Kapampangans have developed this certain cottage industry, in which Apalit for instance, has this mat industry . Mat industry is said to be a home industry among the Apalit mothers and women and in general, the girls learn the job at a very early age . It is a customespecially among the poor and the middle classes, and with the exception of a very few rich families, that a woman who does not know how to make dase is very lazy and is not one whom the Apalit young men regard with much respect.



Neolithic Beginnings

By Joel Pabustan Mallari

Candaba already had boatmakers at the time the Pyramids of Egypt were being constructed, or 3000 years before Christ was born

ONE of the celebrated archaeological artifacts in the Philippines is a stone adze (locally known as daras), listed by the National Museum as having been unearthed in Candaba although some sources claim it came from Tarlac (the provenance papers may have been part of the documents destroyed or looted in World War II, so we will never know for sure). Today it is widely known as the Candaba Adze. It is estimated to be 5000 years old, which makes it as old as the Pyramids of Egypt. Kapampangans consider the Candaba Adze as their Holy Grail because it points to a Kapampangan civilization, or at least a Kapampangan boat-building industry, long before the Christian colonizers came, in fact 3000 years before Jesus Christ was born.

The adze, which early Kapampangans called ipan alti (lightning tooth), was made from basalt with a length of 36.4 cm, width of 9.8 cm and thickness of 4.53 cm. H. Otley Beyer presented this stone to the National Museum during his active involvement in the 1930s. The recovery of this artifact is a crucial factor in establishing a chronology of prehistoric events which could possibly include the early seamanship around the Manila Bay area.

The early people in the region had learned that a tool with a definite shape and clean edges was far more effective than a flaked stone. They had learned that if they attached it to a pole they could lift it over their shoulder and bring it down with greater momentum of force, exactly the same principle in using a sarulgamat (hoe), palakul and palatio (axes), piku (pick mattock) and masu (hammer).

The Candaba Adze also provides clues on the early peopling of the region. Relative to this was the indication of the Neolithic Period of balen (nation) based on material type and morphology. Consequently this could be the earliest evidence of prehistoric civilization in the region that gives a clue on the settling phase of the people and the beginning of maritime trade (and possible movement) via the Pampanga River located on the western section of the Candaba Swamp. Daras are the pointer of wet rice cultivation which begins from forest clearings that give way to the erection of houses for the rice cultivators and other domesticated crops towards the establishment of a balen. This stone tool was obviously designed to cut down trees and carve boats to be used for the exploration of other pulu (settlements or islands) beyond the seas. The size of this particular adze indicates it was used for larger boats; in fact it is probably the largest artifact of its kind found in the entire rim of the Austronesian (ancient sea-faring people) Asia-Pacific Region.

Related to the Candaba daras is the archaeological site in Arubo, Nueva Ecija where unearthed flaked stones point to Palaeolithic Age, and the recovered stone implements in Hacienda Dolores, Porac, which include asung-asungan (mortar and pestle), taisan (grinding pad for metal blades like palang), and ipan alti (adzes), with associated dates ranging from 12th to 15th Centuries.

As an aside, in Jalung, Porac, old farmers collect ipan alti (sometimes called ipan duldul, thunder tooth), which they believe have been cut by lightning and thunder (which brings curse and energy) to fell large dutung (trees).

Important discoveries on the Neolithic-Period socio-economic development of the settlements around Pampanga River might have been difficult to achieve without the Kapampangan mandarás (old boatmakers).

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