Town of Masantol, Pampanga
Masantol is situated in the western part of Pampanga and close to Manila Bay. It was called at one time as San Miguel de Masantol and used to be a part of the historic town of Macabebe. On the strength of a motion filed by three town patriarchs namely Manuel Fajardo, Gregorio Bautista and Juan Lacap on June 26, 1877 to separate the barrios of Bebe, Bulacus, Caingin and Nigui from Macabebe, a new Spanish pueblo called San Miguel was inaugurated on May 1, 1878.. The Spanish Governor General who approved the creation of a new town was Domingo Moriones y Murillo. However, it was not until November 30, 1893 when the Catholic Parish of San Miguel was approved by a royal decree.
On July 26, 1904 the town was consolidated one more time with Macabebe. However, in 1907, it was returned to its former status as an independent municipality with its own town executives and municipal council.
According to the 1995 national census, Masantol has a population of 45,327 and has the following twenty six (26) barangays:
Although this town is still called Masantol which means abounding in santol trees, there are that not many santol trees growing anymore in this area. Several tropical fruit trees grow in backyards but not in large numbers or in mass production. According to Mr. Manny Fajardo, a descendant of one of the founders of the town and the son of a former mayor of Masantol, that if the town will be renamed today, the appropriate name should be "Masugpo" in Tagalog or "Maparo" in Kapampangan.because of the abundance of shrimps in the fishponds and rivers in this town.
Shrimp raising has become very profitable. Large acreage of rice plantations have been converted into fish ponds producing shrimps and milkfish.. Fishing in rivers and in Manila Bay has been negatively affected by the industrial pollution coming from the factories operating along the sides of the Pampanga River. Rice farming is still the main source of livelihood.
Many resourceful and hardworking Masantolenos have been seeking employment in other parts of the Philippines and in other foreign countries such as the USA, Canada, Europe, the Middle East and in other Asian countries. These enterprising expatriats mostly professionals send home portions of their earnings to their relatives still residing in their hometown. Although not lacking in ambition and skill in politics, no Masantoleno has served yet as a Philippine senator or district representative or even as a provincial governor.
However, Masantol had a director of lands in the sixties in the person of Atty. Alejo Manalang and a Public Service Commissioner, Atty. Zacarias V. Sunga who also served as Special Assistant to President Diosdado P. Macapagal when he was elected president of the Philippine Constitutional Convention in 1972. Masantol had produced generals in the Philippine Army like General Jesus Castro and General Gaudencio Gaddi, both survivors of the Bataan Death March of World War II. Masantol has had a delegate to the Constitutional Convention in the name of Atty. Zozimo Canilao. It has also a career government employee who is the chief of the Public Defender's Office of the Philippines which is considered the largest law office in the Orient employing more than a thousand lawyers and an equivalent number of support staff. He is Atty. Reynold S. Fajardo, son of Atty. Manuel S. Fajardo Sr., mayor of Masantol in 1927-29 and the first lawyer from Masantol to graduate from an American university. In the executive branch of the Philippine government, Dr. Efipanio A. Lacap, is the Undersecretary of Health of the administration of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
Masantol is also proud of her people who migrated to other countries because many of them became successful businessmen, lawyers, doctors, engineers, nurses and other professionals in their adopted countries.
With a note of sadness but with heads held high, the people of Masantol take pride also of their sons who joined Tarik Sulaiman, a courageous Macabebe warlord in fighting the invading Spaniards in 1571. In World War II, many Masantolenios joined the guerillas led by Colonel Bernardo Poblete known as Jose Banal of the famed Huk Regiment of the USAFFE and aligned themselves with Americans in restoring peace and order. Many Masantolenos who until today are known as "born soldiers" are enlisted in the Armed Forces of the Philippines and the United States of America for the preservation of democracy. (http://www-rcf.usc.edu/~camiling)
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.