The Kapampangan Culture

Pampango Youth ClubThe Kapampangan (Pampanggo, Pampango, Capampangan, Pampangueño, Pampangan) are one of the largest ethnic groups of the country, generally occupying the land about the flood plains and marshes of the Pampanga River of Central Luzon. Hemmed in by the Zambal to the east, the Pangasinan to the north, and the Tagalog to the south and northeast in a land that is not segmented by highly textured topography, they have managed to maintain a distinctive language that has some affinity with Sambal. It may be noted that Sambal, on the other hand, is genetically related with the Sinaunang Tagalog of Tanay, Rizal. The populations are dense in the urbanized centers of Angeles City (174,962), San Fernando (139,342), Lubao (92,123), Mabalacat (92,778), and many other areas, with an estimated aggregate of some 2,864,949 (NSO 1990).

Their agriculture is based on intensive wet rice cultivation, their land being situated in the rice bowl of Central Luzon, with extensive flood plains watered by the Pampanga River, especially the Candaba swamps, the southern part of the province of Pampanga is noted for its fishing industry. The vast flatlands are planted to rice and sugar cane. Woodcraft is highly developed especially in Betis where the most skillful of wood carvers could be found; other areas are known for mat-making, pastries, and various preserved meats.

The people are known for their culinary talents. Deeply mainstream, the Kapampangan are foremost entrepreneurs and national leaders.

Pampanga Province

Pampanga ProvinceThe earliest settlers of this province already called their thriving communities Pampanga, after the river (that the Spanish colonizers only later named as the Rio Grande de la Pampanga) on the banks (pampang literally means “river bank”) of which the first Kapampangans (pioneering Malays and Indonesians) established and nurtured their way of life, industry, government— in short, civilization. During the Spanish regime Pampanga was already considered as one of the richest Philippine provinces. Even Manila and surrounding regions were then very much dependent on Pampanga’s agricultural, fishery, and forestry products as well as on the supply of skilled workers and breed of courageous, intelligent, spiritual, and artistic nation builders. Up to this day, Pampanga—the place, its people, and their passions—continue to make an indelible mark on the country’s unfolding social, cultural, and economic tapestry. Continue reading