The Town of Lubao, Pampanga
"Land of the Brave"
by Alejandro S. Camiling, CPA with Teresita Z. Camiling, BSE, MA
Prior to the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in the Philippines in the 16th century, Lubao was one of the three oldest settled communities in Pampanga with advanced culture and civilization. It was then a large territory, which extended to the present boundaries of the provinces of Bataan, Tarlac and Bulacan. Believed to have been founded by Malays, it was once governed by a native chief named Datu Macabulos assisted by a council of elders. Even the famous Rajah Soliman and Rajah Lakan Dula, descendants of the ancient royalty of Brunei were presumed to have loyal Lubenian warriors who fought with them in many wars to repel foreign invaders. As the Lubenians are known for their bravery and valor in battles, the Spaniards had to skirt Lubao when they were colonizing the Pampanga hinterland. In 1572, the power of the Christian cross converted many Lubenians to the Roman Catholic faith and their first church, one of the oldest churches in the Philippines was constructed in barrio Santa Catalina and transferred to its present site thirty years later.
Lubao which was once also called Baras derived its present name from a Kapampangan word meaning "outside of the narrow sea between two isles", is typically rural and it is endowed with fertile land and water resources very rich in marine life. Farming and fishing are the main sources of livelihood of its industrious people. Its current geographical area is situated in the southwestern part of Pampanga bounded in the north by the municipality of Floridablanca, in the east by the municipality of Guagua, in the south by the town of Sasmuan and in the west by the Province of Bataan.
Lubao catapulted to international prominence when one of its favorite sons, President Diosdado P. Macapagal was elected to the presidency of the Republic of the Philippines on November 14, 1961.
His dedication to public service is carried on by his three offsprings namely, former Pampanga Vice Governor Cielo Macapagal-Salgado, former president of the Philippines Gloria Macapagal Arroyo who also served as Senator as well as Vice President and former Undersecretary of Finance Diosdado Macapagal, Jr.
This peaceful and prosperous first class municipality showed its love and divine compassion for thousands of Pampangans who became unwilling victims of the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. Lubenians shared their economic wealth and provided these unfortunate and homeless people the shelter they needed until such time they were able to be on their own. This was made possible through the generposity, resourcefulness and efficient leadership of the then Honorable Mayor Lilia G. Pineda who was also the president of the Pampanga and Central Luzon Mayors League.
Lubao has an annual income of more than fifty million pesos to run the municipal government and to finance the town's carefully planned capital projects such as concrete roads, school classrooms, barangay halls, artesian wells, etc..
Second to the town of Porac in land area in Pampanga, it covers about 156 square kilometers under its present jurisdiction. Its population of 113,358 souls (as of the 1995 census) is spread over the following forty-fiver (45) barangays:
Lubao is proud to have reared many Lubenians who excelled in government service and/or in their respective professions and undertakings. To name a few, in addition to the "Poor Boy From Lubao" lovingly called Cong Dadong, are:
Rogelio de la Rosa
Jesus "Romy" Tayag
Jose Salvador Manuel
Theresa Zuсiga Camiling-Gutierrez
Rodrigo M. Sicat, PhD
Teresito L. Lingad
Salvador B. Dimson, Jr
Zenaida C. Ducut
Alejandro Z. Barin, Jr.
Mylyn Pineda Cayabyab
William Fassoth Sr.
On January 30, 1945, more than a hundred men of the United States Army's 6th Ranger Battalion and Alamo scouts and 275 Filipino guerrillas under the command of Captain Juan Pajota and Captain Eduardo Joson liberated the Cabanatuan, Nueva Ecija Prison-Camp. More than five hundred Allied prisoners-of-war and civilians including William Fassoth Sr.and his twin brother, Martin Fassoth were rescued.
William Fassoth Sr., son of John Fassoth, a former member of the Legislature of Hawaii and Anna Decker Fassoth who owned a sugar plantation and sugar mill in Maui, Hawaii, was an American capitalist who invested in the Philippine sugar industry. He leased 457 hectares of land from the Dinalupihan Estate owned by the Roman Catholic Church and another 100 hectares from private individuals. He raised cattle and other domesticated animals in his farm and planted sugar cane for milling at the Pampanga Sugar Mills (PASUMIL) in Del Carmen, Floridablanca, Pampanga. In 1915, he married the former Catalina Dimacali of Santo Tomas, Lubao, Pampanga. The Fassoths settled and raised their family in Lubao where they also had a palay hacienda and a rice mill.
In the field of business, agriculture and other professions, Lubao is fortunate to present to the whole world many individuals who excelled in their respective undertakings.
Self-made millionaires Regalado Montemayor, founder of X'or Studios and Rodolfo Bong Pineda, the benefactor of many young people who need monetary assistance in pursuing their education and poor people who need financial help for medical care and other personal necessities are also natives of this community. The rice and sugar industries owe a debt of gratitude for the major contribution in rice and modern sugar growing technology of Lubenian rice and/or sugar magnates Don Martin Gonzales, Don Rufino Dimson, Don Pedro Barin, Dona Teodorica Arrastia-Reinares, Colonel Eloy Baluyut, Pragmacio Vitug, Ursino Manalansan, Dionisio V. Zuniga and presidential confidant and legal adviser Atty. Alejandro Z. Barin.
In music, the world famous concert pianist, Cecile B. Licad calls Lubao as her hometown. In the movie industry, Lubenians who made the headlines were Jaime de la Rosa; Africa de la Rosa, Engracio Ibarra and movie director Gregorio Fernandez. The debonair movie and television star Rudy Fernandez and the beautiful and expressive Letty Arrastia known as Letty Alonzo, wife of the late movie and TV personality, Mario Montenegro are also Lubenians.
Success of many Lubenians in various professions is attributed primarily to the existence of not only good public and parochial schools in Lubao but also the establishment and operation of non-sectarian private institutions such as the Lubao Institute which is owned by Jeremias and Maria Rosario Garcia and the Santa Cruz Central Institute which is managed by the Jimenez family.
Lubao was once also a center for the production of stage plays known as Zarzuelas and the hometown of great writers. Some of Lubao's great writers are award-winning poet laureate Delfin T. Quiboloy; short story writer Constantino T. Quiboloy, whose articles were published in the Manila Sunday Times Magazine, the Tribune, Focus and Kislap-Graphic; Kapampangan playwright Urbano Macapagal of "Bayung Jerusalem" fame; the energetic intellectual Francisco Cunanan, an administrative assistant to the mayor's office and Editor-In-Chief of the Kapampangan newsletter, "Ing Sulu"; Bienvenido N. Santos, the author of two masterpieces "The Scent of Apples" and "The Volcanos" although born and raised in Manila, he considered himself from Lubao, hometown of his parents and so with Jose Luna Castro, Editor-In-Chief of the Manila Times.
In times of war to defend democratic ideals and freedom, Lubenians are always ready and willing to answer the call of duty. Three of the well-known Philippine guerrilla commanders in the forties who fought valiantly against the Japanese Imperial Forces during the Japanese occupation of the motherland were Abelardo Zuniga (aka Commander Verzosa), Abelardo Dabu and Silvestre Liwanag (aka Commander Linda Bie) of Lubao. During World War II Lubenians rescued, protected and fed thousands of American and Filipino prisoners of war when the Death March from Bataan passed through the patriotic and historic town of Lubao.
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About the Authors:
Andro and Tess Z. Camiling are conscientious researchers and writers of Kapampangan history, language and culture. They wrote “Pampanga: History and Culture", "Pampanga: Towns and Barangays", "The Province of Pampanga and Its People” and other articles including “Malay Relation With Kapampangan Language and Culture”, "Spanish Relation With Kapampangan Language and Culture", biographies of eighteen (18) famous Kapampangans and the history of the towns of Apalit, Lubao, Masantol, Mexico, Minalin, San Fernando, San Luis, San Simon and Santo Tomas of the Province of Pampanga, Philippines. Andro is a true-blue Kapampangan based in California USA where he was employed and retired as an accounting/financial director at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and practiced his CPA profession as a management and tax consultant. He is a Pampanga High School Centennial Awardee as an Outstanding Alumnus in the Field of Accountancy and a recipient of the City of San Fernando’s 2011 Outstanding Fernandino Award for Culture. His wife and co-author of the aforementioned articles, the former Teresita Manalansan Zuniga of Lubao, Pampanga, Philippines is a retired public school teacher in Pasadena, California. She was honored and awarded with Certificates of Recognition by the California State Assembly and the California State Senate for her outstanding dedication to teaching when she retired in 2003. Andro and Tess are dedicated socio-civic-religious leaders in their community and served as long-term presidents of their town non-profit charitable organizations in the USA.