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Bacolor, Pampanga

Balen Baculud
The half-buried San Guillermo parish church of Bacolor
The half-buried San Guillermo parish church of Bacolor
Official seal of Bacolor
Nickname(s): Athens of Pampanga
Bacolor is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Region Central Luzon (Region III)
District 3rd District
Founded 1574
Barangays 21
 • Mayor Jose Maria O. Hizon
 • Total 71.70 km2 (27.68 sq mi)
Population (2010)[3]
 • Total 31,508
 • Density 440/km2 (1,100/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
Income class 3rd class

Bacolor is a third class municipality in the province of Pampanga, Philippines. According to the 2010 census, it has a population of 31,508 people.[3]


  • History 1
  • Barangays 2
  • Demographics 3
  • Local government 4
    • Town hall 4.1
  • Tourism 5
    • The Sunken Shrine 5.1
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Don Kamatis, a rich landlord, is believed to be the founder of Bacolor.[4] Historical records show that Bacolor has been in existence as proposed settlement as early as 1571. When the Spaniards arrived they found "Baculud"; its original name meant "level ground" because the site was formerly part of the Luzon coastline until eruptions from ancestral Mount Pinatubo raised it above the ocean floor.

The first settlers of Bacolor were believed to be Malays that came from Atjeth Sumatra led by Panday Pira. It is believed to have been founded by Monmon, first cousin and sister-in-law of Malangsic, a son of Prince Balagtas. However, historians recorded the official foundation of Bacolor to have occurred in 1574 through a landlord named Guillermo Manabat, whose palatial house and resting place is now the site of the San Guillermo Church, hence the church's name.

The name Baculud was changed to Bacolor when the Spaniards came to the place. It was recorded to have been the first capital of Pampanga for two centuries (1698 to 1904) before San Fernando was declared the capital town of the province in July 1904. In 1757, the provincial building, Casa Real, was constructed at the place where the Bacolor Elementary School is now located.

Monument to Simón de Anda y Salazar in Bacolor

During the British Occupation of the Philippines, when Manila fell to the British, it became capital of the exiled government of Governor General Simón de Anda y Salazar from October 6, 1762 to May 30, 1764. The provincial offices were temporarily moved to Factoria (now San Isidro, Nueva Ecija). It remained the former capital town of Pampanga until the provincial seat of government was transferred to neighboring City of San Fernando in 1904. Through a decree of the King of Spain on November 9, 1765, Bacolor became "Villa de Bacolor", one of the only three villas in the Philippines and was granted a Special Coat of Arms. Simon de Anda organized an army of natives with which he finally recaptured Manila from the British invaders. (This is wrong. The British left due to the terms of the Treaty of Paris (1763) and they left by embarking from Manila and Cavite in the first week of April 1764, and sailing out of Manila Bay for Batavia, India, and England.)

The coming of the American colonizers broke up the military form of government and instead political and economic reforms were introduced. A civil form of government was organized and was inaugurated on February 13, 1901 by Com. William H. Taft which took place in the old "Escuala de Artes y Officios de Bacolor" (formerly named Pampanga School of Arts and Trade) now known as the Don Honorio Technological State University the first state university in Pampanga.

The first provincial Civil Governor was Don Ceferino Joven and the first Municipal President of Bacolor was Don Estanislao Santos. Pampanga was acknowledged as the first province to have organized civil government in the Philippines by General Grant, the then President of the United State of America.

In 1956, the sitio of Mesalipit was converted into a barrio.[5]

On the morning of October 1, 1995, over 20 feet (6.1 m) of lahar from the slopes of Mount Pinatubo and surrounding mountains buried the entire town of Cabalantian among many others, killing hundreds of people. 18 out of the 21 barangays of Bacolor were buried. The lahar flows from the mountains raised the town to its current level of an approximate 37 meters above sea level. Subsidence caused the constant reclaiming of parts of Pampanga by the sea.


Bacolor is politically subdivided into 21 barangays.[2]

  • Balas
  • Cabalantian
  • Cabambangan (Pob.)
  • Cabetican
  • Calibutbut
  • Concepcion
  • Dolores
  • Duat
  • Macabacle
  • Magliman
  • Maliwalu
  • Mesalipit
  • Parulog
  • Potrero
  • San Antonio
  • San Isidro
  • San Vicente
  • Santa Barbara
  • Santa Ines
  • Talba
  • Tinajero


Local government

Façade of the town hall

Like other towns in the Philippines, Bacolor is governed by a mayor and vice mayor who are elected to three-year terms. The mayor is the executive head and leads the town's departments in executing the ordinances and improving public services. The vice mayor heads a legislative council (Sangguniang Bayan) consisting of councilors from the barangays or barrios.

Town hall

The municipal building is the former site of the Venturas house, one of Bacolor's most prominent families. On July 8, 1953, the new town hall was completed during the tenure of Mayor Manuel de Jesus. Its construction was a project of Senator Pablo Angeles David, a native of Bacolor.[7]


Welcome arch

A landmark in the town is the San Guillermo Parish Church known as the 'sunken church' and was one of the structures that was half-buried by the lahar flow. The church has since been renovated and is currently operational and may be accessed through what were once the second floor windows, now converted into doorways. The sunken church and town of Bacolor were used to shoot the 2009 television series May Bukas Pa. The Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in Cabetican is also famous for its annual pilgrimage and barrio fiestas.

Other notable landmarks in Bacolor include Memorial Kilometer Posts of the Bataan Death March along the MacArthur Highway; the oldest trade school in Far East, the Don Honorio Ventura Technological State University; the Simón de Anda y Salazar monument at the town hall; monument to the Kapampangan writer and revolutionary leader Juan Crisostomo Soto (1867-1918); and Monument to Felix Galura Y Napao.[8]

Bacolor's festivals are the Feast of San Guillermo and Nuestra Senora del Santissimo Rosario (La Naval) which are celebrated every 10th day of February and 3rd Sunday of November, respectively.

The Sunken Shrine

Original Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes (the Sunken Shrine is to the right, not in photo).

Buried by the devastating lahar flows of Mount Pinatubo eruption in June 1991, the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes of Cabetican (abbreviated as "Maluca") remains at the center of Marian Concordia Pilgrimages and Healing in Pampanga. Originally built as an annexe to the older, smaller shrine, it is under the care of Fr. Ronnie Cao, Healing Priest and Rector of the Archdiocesan Shrine.


  1. ^ "Municipalities". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Province: Pampanga". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010". 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  4. ^ "Bacolor". Kapampangan Online. Retrieved April 12, 2011. 
  5. ^ "An Act Creating the Barrio of Mesalipit in the Municipality of Bacolor, Province of Pampanga". Retrieved 2011-04-12. 
  6. ^ "Province of Pampanga". Municipality Population Data. LWUA Research Division. Retrieved 16 August 2013. 
  7. ^ "Municipal building". Retrieved 12 December 2012. 
  8. ^ "Historical sites". Retrieved 12 December 2012. 

External links

  • Philippine Standard Geographic Code
  • Philippine Census Information
  • Local Governance Performance Management System
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