Town History:

  San Fernando
  San Luis
  San Simon
  Santo Tomas


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Pampanga High School
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The Town of San Simon, Pampanga
"The Emerging Business Haven of Central Luzon"
by Alejandro S. Camiling, CPA with Teresita Z. Camiling, BSE, MA

  St. Simon Apostle Parish Church, San Simon
St. Simon Apostle Parish Church, San Simon

San Simon, an emerging business haven in Central Luzon particularly in the province of Pampanga had its humble beginnings in 1770 as a farming village when it was founded by Don Mariano del Pilar de los Reyes and named it Barrio Del Pilar. It was located in a productive agricultural area between the towns of San Luis in the North and Apalit in the South. As the population kept on growing in the local community, the leading citizens of the progressive village initiated a petition to consolidate a portion of the southern part of the town of San Luis and a land area from the northern part of the municipality of Apalit to form an independent municipality. Appraised of the economic potential of a new town and confidence in the management capability of the leaders, the Spanish Governor General at the time during his second term as chief administrator of the Philippines, Don Simon de Anda y Salazar approved the official creation of the town on November 15, 1771.

The town was named in honor of the Spanish Governor General who approved its creation and of the Apostle Simon Peter, the Patron Saint of the illustrious town of Apalit. Like any other typical Spanish town (pueblo) it was administered by a “Capitan del Pueblo” and had a municipal policy making body called today as Municipal Council. The Catholic Parish Church, the Public Market, the Town Plaza and homes of prominent families were located within the proximity of the Municipal Hall. The people of San Simon celebrate two town fiestas, one in honor of Lady of the Pillar, the patron saint of the first barrio and the other in honor of the Apostle Simon Peter. In 1898, the retreating military forces of General Antonio Luna on their way to Nueva Ecija burned the parish church. In 1979, through the effort and financial contributions of the Ibanez, Guevarra, Santos, Punsalan, Pangan and other families, the church was rebuilt and named as Nuestra Senora Del Pilar.

Among the early settlers of the town were the de los Reyes, de los Santos, Macapagal, Pangan, Punzalan, Puyat, Santos and Simbulan families.

By the year 1835, the town had eight barrios. However, since the late 1940s, the number of barrios increased to fourteen in a land area of 5,736 hectares and by the early years of the 21st century, the population grew to more than 39,000 people. As of this writing, the barrios in San Simon are the following:

 Barangays of San Simon 
Concepcion San Juan San Pedro (Cutcut)
De la Paz San Miguel (Calonge) Santa Cruz
San Agustin(Tulauc) San Nicolas (Sompong) Santa Monica (Pangkiari)
San Isidro (Litlit) San Pablo Libutad Santo Nino
San Jose San Pablo (Pulo)  

Available records at the Municipal Hall list the following town executives from 1898 to June 2004:

 Juan Agulo
 Kapitan del Pueblo
 Solomon Ibanez
 Kapitan del Pueblo
 Diego de los Santos
 Kapitan del Pueblo
 Macario Santos
 Kapitan del Pueblo
 Basilio de los Santos
 Kapitan del Pueblo
 Manuel Ibanez
 Kapitan del Pueblo
 Mariano Pangan
 Kapitan del Pueblo
 Mariano Vergara
 Kapitan del Pueblo
 Sisenando Pineda
 Presidente Municipal (San Luis)
 Pablo Cruz
 Presidente Municipal (San Luis)
 Teodoro Punsalan
 Presidente Municipal
 Macario Perez
 Presidente Municipal
 Urbano Guevara
 Presidente Municipal
 Servillano Ibanez
 Presidente Municipal
 Ramon Tuano
 Presidente Municipal
 Catalino Ibanez
 Domingo Pineda
 Patrocinio Yabut
 Acting Mayor
 Patrocinio Yabut
 Elected Mayor
 Agustin Sese
 Acting Mayor
 Ramon Ibanez
 Appointed Mayor by Japanese
 Felipe Almario
 Eusebio Francisco
June–Dec 1946
 Appointed Mayor
 Fernando Galang
 Appointed Mayor
 Jose S. Yabut Sr.
 Elected Mayor
 Gregorio Santillan
 Elected Mayor
 Jose S. Yabut Sr.
 Elected Mayor
 Felicisimo Pamandanan
1960 (6 months)
 Officer-In-Charge (OIC)
 Cornelio S. Sanga
 Elected Mayor
 Lamberto Punsalan
 Elected Mayor
 Ruben Dagdag
 Acting Mayor
 Jose Yabut Jr.
 Elected Mayor
 Gaudencio Pineda
1986-Jan 1988
 Appointed Mayor
 Manuel S. Bondoc
 Elected Mayor
 Azor L. Sitchon
 Elected Mayor
 Rodrigo M. Canlas
 Elected Mayor

In 1904, the town of San Simon was merged with the municipality of San Luis and about three years after, it became again an independent municipality. In 1920, the geographical boundaries of San Luis, Apalit and San Simon were officially established.

Like most Kapampangan people, residents of San Simon retain their Kapampangan language and traditional culture and arts brought about by their Malay ancestors and enriched by Chinese, Spanish, American, Japanese and other ethnic and foreign cultures. The principal industries in San Simon are farming, fishing and poultry and swine industries.

Following the advancement of technology and industrialization, the climate for investment in San Simon is very promising because of its geographic location and the incentives initiated by Mayor Manuel S. Bondoc and the Municipal Council presided then by Vice Mayor Azor L. Sitchon. Through their effort and efficient leadership, the town with an annual gross income of about 500,000.00 Philippine pesos in 1988 as a 6th class municipality became a 4th class municipality with an annual gross income of more than 3,500,000 Philippine pesos by the end of the 20th century. When Mayor Azor L. Sitchon, an Economics graduate with honors from the famed Ateneo de Manila University took over the administration as elected mayor, he not only continued the completion of the projects and programs of his predecessor, Mayor Manuel S. Bondoc but he also initiated his own new economic programs and infrastructure projects including a modern public market and a new Municipal Hall along the national highway in barrio San Agustin (Tulauc) and made it centrally accessible from all directions. Barrio San Agustin (Tulauc) became a commercial center and the seat of municipal government, thus contributing to the increase of municipal tax revenues. Total target tax revenues from business taxes, real property taxes and other fees were projected to be more than 7,000,000.00 Philippine pesos. It is acknowledged that the significant economic growth in San Simon was brought about by the Comprehensive Municipal Development and Land Use Plan enacted by the Municipal Council. The zoning ordinance reclassified the entire stretch of Quezon Road as Industrial and Commercial Zone, but limited only to light and medium size industries and those that are environmental friendly.

Another factor that contributes to the potential economic growth of San Simon in the 21st century is its geographic location. It is strategically located in the central part of the “W” Growth Corridor of Central Luzon and it is accessible from major road networks and arteries coming from the different provinces of Central Luzon and Metro Manila. From the North Luzon Expressway, one can take an exit through the San Simon Toll Plaza, which is about 45 kilometers from Metro Manila and seven kilometers from San Fernando City, Pampanga and approximately 20 kilometers from the Clark Special Economic Zone in Angeles. City.

Taking advantage of the conducive local business environment, tax incentives and availability of skilled workers, many manufacturing and commercial firms have been established or relocated in San Simon. The infusion of private capital investment was about ten billion pesos and expected to increase to more than twenty bullion pesos by the early years of the 21st century. Among these enterprises are the following:

 Name of Business Firm  Product Line
 SKK Steel Corporation  Steel Billet
 Sta. Monica Feed Mills  Animal Feeds
 Mass V Group Inc.  Battery Importation
 Buildcom  Constructive Materials
 SG Farms  Repackers of Magnolia Products
 Terra Cotta Artworks Inc.  Ornamental Potteries
 Powerpoint Battery Manufacturing Corp.  Automotive Batteries
 Grand Ceasar Ceramic Tiles  Ceramic Tiles
 Selecta Feeds Inc.  Animal Feeds
 Ingot Casting Phils. Inc.  Industrial Valves
 Comtex International Corp.  Hosiery Products
 Radiance Commercial Phils. Inc.  Gas Steel Cylinders
 Philippine Sanimaster Mfg. Corp.  Kitchen wares
 Alman Anodizing Corp.  
 Jonathan Commercial Concrete Products  Construction Materials
 INGASCO Inc.  Industrial Gases
 4B Construction & Asphalt Plant  Asphalt Products
 Asia Pacific Recyclers Corp.  Lead Smelting
 Kyoto Health Foods Inc.  Food Products
 Princess Leah Resort & Restaurant  Resort & Restaurant
 First Clarkway Industrial Park  Industrial Park/Eco-Zone
 San Simon Industrial Park  Industrial Park/Eco-Zone

For elementary and high school education, the people of San Simon are served by thirteen elementary schools, two barangay public high schools and three private schools. For marketing, there are two public markets in San Simon, one in the old poblacion area and another one located in the industrial zone area. For telecommunications, the town is served by DIGETEL, PLDT and DATELCOM

The following prominent Filipinos have/had their heritage or roots in San Simon:

  • Rufino Almario – Poet and Author
  • Marta Santos de Asis – Business Entrepreneur, Owner of Famous Dry Cleaning
  • Gen. Paulino Briones – Philippine Army – Recognized Guerrilla
  • Col. Paulino Briones, Jr. – Assistant Chief, TRAFCON, Philippine Constabulary
  • Agapito Calanoc – Poet and Novelist
  • Candido P. Caluag – Poet, Writer and Orator
  • Felix Capulong – Vice President, Chinese Insurance Corporation
  • Cesario P. Cunanan – Supervising Teacher
  • Esteban P. Cunanan – Poet and Author
  • Datu Patricio S. Cunanan – Governor in Davao, Municipal Judge in Mati, Davao
  • Atty. Pacifico Garcia – Corporate Lawyer
  • Bonifacio Gomez – Governor in Mindoro, President of Mindoro Sugar Central
  • Dr. Ricardo Gutierrez – Outstanding Socio-Civic Leader and Dental Surgeon in California
  • Cirila Punsalan Macapagal – Versista and Woman Poetess
  • Capt. Cielo de Leon – Nursing Corps, Philippine Army
  • Atty. Leonardo de Leon – Assistant Director, National Bureau of Investigation (NBI))
  • Demetrio Macapagal – Catholic Music composer and grandfather of President Diosdado P. Macapagal
  • Atty. Eligio Mallari - Commissioner, Commission on Human Rights 2001-2008 and President, Philippine Trial Lawyers Association, Inc. 2003-2005
  • Judge Florentino Mercado – Municipal Judge of Apalit, Pampanga
  • Atty. Felicisimo Pamandanan – Philippine National Bank Legal Counselor
  • Catalino G. Punsalan – Governor of Occidental Mindoro
  • Atty. Cicero J. Punsalan – Lawyer, Provincial Board Member and Vice Governor of Pampanga
  • Felix B. Punsalan – Poet Laureate, Dramatist, Historian, Writer and Stage Director
  • Col. Leon F. Punsalan – Regular US Army
  • Leonardo Punsalan – Governor in Oriental Mindoro
  • Dr. Narciso Punsalan – Mayor of San Jose, Mindoro
  • Atty. Primitivo B. Punsalan – Philippine National Bank Legal Counselor
  • Atty. Silvestre M. Punsalan – Lawyer, Poet Laureate, Novelist and Philippine National Bank Chairman
  • Simeon B. Punsalan – Supervising Teacher
  • Teodoro Punsalan – Mayor of San Luis, Pampanga
  • Roman P. Reyes – Poet Laureate, Dramatist, Stage Actor and Director
  • Judge Macario P. Santos – Court of First Instance, Dumaguete City
  • Major Dante Simbulan – Philippine Army
  • Dr. Donato Simbulan Jr. – Director, St. Michael Hospital in Cotabato
  • Major Isauro Simbulan – Armed Forces of the Philippines
  • Lt. Ruperto Simbulan – US Navy
  • Sergio Taruc – Division Superintendent of Antique
  • Conrado S. Yabut – Division Superintendent of Abra
  • Engr. Moises Yabut – 1st Provincial Engineer of Pampanga

Following the character traits of their ancestors, many residents of San Simon seek better educational and economic opportunities in other towns and cities in the Philippines and in many foreign lands. Wherever they are, they are always grateful and extend their assistance in any way they could to their beloved hometown.

Note: The authors extend their gratitude to Engr. Ma. Stephana G. Dimacali and Ms. Angelica G. Gozum of the Office of the Mayor of San Simon, Pampanga for providing important information used as reference in writing this article.


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.