The Kapampangans: A Quick Guide on Getting to Know Them17 September 2022
The Kapampangan people, or Pampangueños and Pampangos to some, are the sixth largest ethnolinguistic group in our country. With more than 2 million in population, you have probably met or talked to one yourself. Some say they are quite a handful, while some are amazed by their unique charm. So if you're planning on relocating to Pampanga or living with these much-admired yet much-misunderstood people, here's a quick guide to survive and conquer the Kapampangans.
Things You Need to Know about Kapampangans and Their Province
1. Pampanga has a rich history to share.
In 1571, Spanish conquistador, Martin de Goiti named Pampanga after the natives living along the riverbanks (pangpang ilog). It was the first province founded by Spaniards on Luzon island. The province also played a vital role in the founding of the Catholic Church, and as a result, Pampanga produced the country's first Filipino priest, cardinal, Jesuits, and the most devout Catholics. It was, at one point, the provisional capital of the Philippines from 1762 to 1764 during the British occupation of Manila. Pampanga is also among the eight rays of the sun depicted in our Philippine flag which represents the provinces that allied against Spain in the late 19th century.
2. Pampanga produced two Philippine presidents.
Pampanga is where Diosdado Macapagal, the 9th president of the Philippines, was born and nurtured. The 14th president of the Philippine Republic and the first woman president, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, was also a Pampanga native. Truly, the province gave birth to a good number of people with political aspirations. It also produced a chief justice (Jose Abad Santos) and a Senate president (Gil J. Puyat).
3. Kapampangan language is distinctive from Tagalog.
Even though Pampanga and Metro Manila are not too far apart, the Tagalog and Kapampangan languages differ significantly. The province may be close to Manila, but early anthropologists suggested that the language may have come from Java in Indonesia. More importantly, the Philippine language of Kapampangan is an important one that is taught and even formally studied in universities and schools.
4. Kapampangans love to celebrate! They have more than 10 Festivals in a year.
Up to date, the province celebrates 18 festivals with a wide range of themes including religious or public statements, culinary happenings, and even international attractions. Here's the updated list so you can plan your visit.
- Aguman Sanduk Festival, January 1 in Minalin
- Philippine International Hot-Air Balloon Fiesta, 2nd week of February in Clark Special Economic Zone
- Caragan Festival, 3rd or 4th week of February in Mabalacat
- San Pedro Cutud Lenten Rites, Good Friday of Holy Week in San Fernando
- Pinukpukan Festival, May 1 in Floridablanca
- Sampaguita Festival, First week of May in Lubao
- Apung Iru Fluvial Procession, June 28 to 30 in Apalit
- Apung Monica Fluvial Procession, August 27 in Minalin
- Pyestang Tugak (Frog Festival), October in San Fernando City
- Fiestang Kuliat, October in Angeles City
- Makatapak Festival, November in Bacolor
- Duman Festival, Last week of November in Sta. Rita
- Sinukwan Festival, December 1 to 7, and Ligligan Parul (Giant Lantern Festival), Saturday before Christmas in San Fernando City
- Sisig Festival (Sadsaran Qng Angeles), December in Angeles City
- Dukit Festival, December 27 to 28 in Betis Guagua
4. Kapampangans converse loudy.
Kapampangans talk loud when they are together. They take pleasure in hearing their voices and the sounds of their native tongue. They refer to their language as amanung sisuan, or "suckled word," and adore it like a child's love for his mother. When they came across someone speaking Kapampangan in a busy area, they would gush like they were old friends even if it's the first time they met. They may appear to be squabbling, but what they're doing is tracking their six degrees of separation to find blood relation or a common acquaintance. Well, you can't blame them for savoring each other's company for there are only 2 million Kapampangans compared to 22M Tagalogs, 20M Cebuanos, and 8M Ilocanos.
5. Pampanga is crowned as the Culinary Capital of the Philippines.
Kapampangans are the best cooks and the province is the universally accepted food capital of the country. While other regions are known for single dishes and desserts, Pampanga has a whole menu of culinary delights ranging from colonial cuisines to exotic eats and down to native desserts. Their skill in cooking dates back to the Spanish colonization when the Kapampangans have access and are taught in the friars' kitchens. The cooking techniques are passed down and innovated through the generations. Some of Pampanga's best are sisig, tocino, halo-halo, pancit palabok or luglug, buru, and toronnes de casuy.
6. Kapampangans are known to be highly opinionated and contentious.
The natives are known to be notorious bashers and the possible reason is that their colonial masters spoiled them during the Spanish era. They are deeply passionate when it comes to food tasting. Kapampangans don't sugarcoat and will definitely tell you if the food doesn't please their taste buds. State a contrary opinion and you’re dead for they can argue til dawn on various topics. Some say they feel intellectually superior because they were sent to exclusive schools in Manila and Madrid while their other compatriots are only allowed to attend parochial schools.
7. Pampanga is home to people with fine tastes.
The refined Kapampangan tastes and aesthetics are still the results of their early exposure to the opulent lifestyles of their colonial masters. The increase of feudal lords and wealthy families in Pampanga also nurtured artists and turned rural towns like Bacolor and Guagua into thriving cultural and political centers. It has a roster of globally known Kapampangan writers including Bienvenido Santos, Aurelio Tolentino, Amado Yuzon, and Crisostomo Soto; performers including Cecile Licad, Lea Salonga, and Apl de Ap; and artists like Vicente Manansala, Fernando Ocampo, Juan Flores, and BenCab.
8. Kapampangans are proud of their race and heritage.
Some call them conceited and ethnocentric but you can't blame them if they truly believe that they are superior in everything. After all, they are hailed as the brave and bold Kapampangans, the best cooks, and home of the prettiest women, the first woman author, the first vernacular Zarzuela, the longest literary work, and the first novel in English in the country. The natives are fiercely patriotic, not to the Filipino Nation, but to the "Kapampangan Nation" which they claim to be older by a thousand years. Others may deny their ethnicity but Kapampangans will announce theirs even when no one's asking.
8. Kapampangans are known to be resilient and risk-takers.
Their resiliency was honed and tested when Mount Pinatubo erupted on June 1991. The lahar continued to cause an economic downturn in the region by destroying infrastructure worth billions, transforming different landscapes, and killing people and animals even years after the cataclysmic eruption. This is also the possible reason why most Kapampangans are stronger, tougher, and a bit reckless.
Would You Love to Have Kapampangans around You?
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