Plaza de la Libertad during Commonwealth Government Inauguration c. 1935
In this town, Plaza de la Libertad or Freedom Park is one of the famous landmarks located on the center of the town proper. It is sandwiched between by two famous landmarks, the San Bartolome Church on the west side and the Casa Tribunal known today as municipio on the east side. We are fortunate that Magalang has the only one of this kind of plaza in the whole Pampanga. According to the Luther Parker collections, the plaza was constructed around 1864. It was mentioned that the plaza was planted with beautiful Dapdap trees which marked the demarcation of the plaza. Spanish authorities in those times patterned the new town proper to other town proper models in Spain. Plaza de la Libertad witnessed some of the important historical events that happened in Magalang. In this plaza, where Fr. Ignacio Manzanares, OSA celebrated its first mass after the transfer of Magalang from barrio San Bartolome. It is the same person also who led the transfer of Magalang together with some prominent families. It was attacked and burned by the bandits in 1868 led by the notorious bandit leader, Isidoro Guinto. After they burned the plaza, they proceed to the church convent where they ambushed Fr. Ramon Sarrionandia, OSA, who started the construction of the present church edifice. Fortunately, Fr. Sarrionandia survived the ambush. During the revolutionary period, the plaza was made into brief battleground, the forces of the rebel officer, Pedro Pedroche positioned in the plaza and they attacked the positions of Colonel Lorenzo D. Camaya who was holed up inside the church convent, together with his Spanish prisoners. And when the Americans captured Magalang in November 5, 1899, Major General Arthur MacArthur personally ordered the burning of plaza and the rest of the town proper. 

Plaza de la Libertad during Bonifacio Day c. 1925

During American period, the plaza was become a place for every social occasions. In this period, when the beautiful gloriettas were added. Political rallies and campaigns were held in this plaza; lavish balls of social elite groups like Mountain Side club, were also held in this plaza. Some prominent politicians and businessman attended the annual ball of the club like presidents Sergio Osmeña and Manuel A. Roxas; Senator Benigno Aquino Sr., Jose Abad Santos and other handful of prominent persons in different fields. In this plaza, where the oldest statue of Dr. Jose P. Rizal was constructed; through the efforts of civic organization, Katipunan Mipanampun in 1923. During the socialist uproar in 1937, numerous peasants marched also in this plaza to air their discontent regarding to their conditions as tillers. During Japanese occupation, Japanese officers and local officials of Magalang held their political rallies here in this plaza to encourage the Magaleños to support the cause of Japanese sponsored government. During the liberation, American tanks were positioned in the plaza to contain the remaining Japanese forces in the town. 

Plaza de la Libertad c. 1963
After the war, the plaza was still used for different social gatherings of the town. In this plaza where the one of the darkest episodes of Magalang happened. On the night of December 28, 1963, the alleged hit men of Faustino del Mundo popularly known as Commander Sumulong assassinated the Magalang's beloved mayor, Benedicto T. Dayrit. Shortly, after his death, the local officials decided to rename the plaza into Benedicto T. Dayrit Plaza. It was reverted back to the original name later years. In this year also when the Mountain Side Club ceased to exist due to the trauma of the assassination. In 1979, the plaza was initially cited through the help of cinema. The classic movie, Ina, Kapatid, Anak held their some movie scenes in the plaza. In the same period were the well known mushroom edifices were added and native pine trees were planted replacing the old Dapdap trees. Recently, some scenes of the television drama show, The Good Son were also shot here in this plaza  

Plaza de la Libertad c. 2011. Shot from the church belfry
Today, the plaza was popularly known to the present generation as patio. The last renovation of the plaza was taken place in 1994. The huge salakot shaped covered court was later added. The plaza was still known today for the venue of campaign sorties of local officials during election period, religious gatherings, and other social events. Recently, it was again utilized for the celebration of town fiesta particularly for colorful festivals and events. The plaza was also venue for students from different schools in Magalang for conducting their practices for their school activities, plus, a dating place for couples! The sides of the plaza was known for baratillo later known as tiangge during town fiesta and Christmas season. This year, the municipal government initiated the major renovation project of the plaza. I wished that this project will become successful, we must not forget the reminders and contributions of the Plaza de la Libertad not only to our local history, but also as Magaleños. 

Photo Credits:

Plaza de la Libertad during Commonwealth Government Inauguration c. 1935, provided by Mrs. Josefina M. Castro. Note that another identical photo is in the possession of Mr. Alex R. Castro. 

Plaza de la Libertad during Bonifacio day c. 1925, provided by Mrs. Josefina M. Castro. 

Plaza de la Libertad c. 1963 taken from Capagmasusian Qng Aldo Pangasilang ning Magalang, Diciembre 28-29, 1963. 

Plaza de la Libertad c. 2011 from the possession of the author. 


Bartolo, Louie Aldrin L. and Dizon, Lino L.; The Magalang Book: The Historical Life and Culture of a Kapampangan Town (1605-2015); Manila, National Commission for Culture and the Arts, 2016.

Documentos Historicos del Municipio de Magalang, Pampanga, Islas Filipinas, 1909, 1911, Luther Parker Collections, Box No. 3, Folder No. 56, Document No. 320, University of the Philippines Library, Diliman, Quezon City.

Magaleño Social Elite Clubs, www.amlatmagaleno.blogspot.com.  



Image of San Agustin of San Agustin, Magalang, Pampanga

Magaleños are known for their deep religiosity and faith. That's why Magaleños religiously follow every beliefs and traditions which was entrenched to their faith ever since. If Angeles had the miraculous, Apu Mamacalulu, Magalang had also the miraculous San Agustin. The saint itself was known as one of the Doctors of the Church; and also, the patron saint of religious order, Augustinians; who brought Christianity to the Philippines and also, the religious missionaries assigned, and eventually founded Magalang during Spanish period. The miraculous story of the image of San Agustin probably started during the Spanish period.  A popular account revealed that a certain group of tulisanes led by a certain Antero Dizon encamped in the nearby forests of Mt. Arayat. One of his men carved a small image of San Agustin in a tree trunk. However, due to their notoriety to the Spaniards, they left the place and the carved image was also abandoned. Some of the barrio folks of the nearby sitio Dapa found the small image in the forest and they brought it to Dapa. As years passed by, the small image was noticed gradually grew bigger and become miraculous. It was reported that through the miraculous image, it cured smallpox and other kinds of diseases. Sometimes, the image was too heavy and nobody can lift it. It can roam also around the barrio, if no candles are lighted in front of the image. 

Altar of San Agustin

Due to growing number of devotees of San Agustin, the landowner of the barrio, Don Raymundo Feliciano donated a piece of land, and a chapel was built for the miraculous image. Many intercessions of San Agustin was also witnessed by the barrio folks; when the whole barrio was in danger. One account revealed that, some of the barrio men were pursued by the suspected Huks. They were able to hide themselves inside the haystack but; they were able to track down by the pursuing Huks. When the Huks reached their hideouts, they fired multiple gunshots on the haystack, and they expected that they will kill them. After they fired the haystack, the Huks left the place. However, the barrio men noticed that they do not have any gunshots pierced on their bodies. Miraculously, they were saved by San Agustin from the danger! At present, many devotees flock to the small chapel of San Agustin in sitio Dapa every Friday, to offer prayers, seeking his intercession.  Aside from curing different diseases and ailments; San Agustin was believed also to grant wishes for couples who are childless. The miraculous image itself was only taken out during the barrio fiesta of San Agustin in August 28; and during the misa de maytinis held during Christmas eve. The image itself was brought to San Bartolome Parish Church, together with other patron saints of barrios, who are under the pastoral jurisdiction of the parish. 

Photo Credits:

The photos used in this article was personally taken by the author.


Cruz, Ceferina et. al., Historical and Cultural Life of Magalang, Pampanga; 1954, National Library of the Philippines page 18. 



E Ca Tatacut
Nang: Louie Aldrin L. Bartolo

E ca tatacut
Ala cung marinat a balacan
Nune busilac a pamicasuiu
Ampo tuneng sampat a tula

E ca tatacut
Era ca ibili qng aclis
Era ca ibili qng ligalig
Era ca ibili qng lungcut

E ca tatacut
Yca mu ing canacung liag
Yca mu ing canacung isnaua
Yca mu ing canacung sampat

E ca tatacut
Era ca paburen qng antac 
Masqui manabu cu qng casaquitan
Angga qng tauli cung pangisnaua

Photo Credits:



Nung Ninu Ca Man
Nang: Louie Aldrin L. Bartolo

Nung ninu ca man
Tanggapan ra ca qng bie cu
Alang taung milalang qng yatu
Na casing pante ning Dios

Aliua mu ing santing ing magdala
Nune ing ganaca mu ing magtas
Lalawan cu man ing cecang santing
Lalu cung paniglon ing cayapan mu

Matula cu qng masuelu mung mata
Cumabie cu qng mayumu mung timan
Metagkil cu qng mayap mung gamat
Gamat na tune masabal at ayasahan 

Nung sana ica na ing panayan cu
Ipasiag cu ing pilub luban cu queca
Igulisak cu ing lagyu mu qng sabla
At isalicut da ca qng pusu cu capilan pa man

Photo Credits:



All we know that agriculture is very important in every aspect of our lives. It provides food and even economic benefits. Thus, the insular government of the Philippines supported agricultural education. They established agricultural schools in some provinces in the Philippines. We are lucky that they revitalized the existing agricultural experiment station located in the foothills of Mt. Arayat in Magalang. They decided to put up a school way back in 1901 but it was only in 1918 when it was formally implemented. The American authorities put up Pampanga Agricultural School and later it was renamed into Pampanga Agricultural High School which is known today as Pampanga State Agricultural University. In an news account according to the local Spanish language periodical, La Vanguardia; many students are attracted to pursue agricultural education. And many of them are came from different provinces in the Philippines. As stated by the periodical published in June 21, 1934:

"Surpassing the enrollment record last year, the Pampanga Agricultural High School's enrollment had been increased due to a new trend. The students are preferred to take practical studies than academic studies. The registration of the new students was extended until the 25th day of this month, and it will expected that more students are matriculated in this school than last year. The unexpected increase of enrollment in the agricultural school of this province; seems to indicate that many parents are sending their children to this school so that their children can attend practical studies; and academic studies seem don't produce satisfactory results. And despite of economic crisis that affected in the neighboring provinces, which the province of Pampanga is still unaffected; parents are convinced, that in order to ensure the empowerment of their children and to promote economic development of the province. And this is also the best way to make their children to learn and perfect themselves in the work for the stable economic of the province and for the whole country. This is verified by the fact that the enrollment in the high schools in Bacolor and San Fernando is lower compared to last year.    

Photo Credits:



La Agricultura Atrae a Muchos en la Pampanga, La Vanguardia, Thursday, June 21, 1934, Manila page 3. 



Aside from rich historical events happened in Magalang, the town itself had experienced several paranormal activities. There are several stories that ordinary Magaleños experienced paranormal activities. Some of these are came from our forebears who experienced also the same activities. In the latest publication of the Center of Kapampangan Studies' magazine Singsing, which they focused on paranormal activities in Pampanga, i contributed two articles that pertains to the paranormal activities in various places in Magalang. The most popular of them is the Magalang Elementary School. 

We all know that Magalang Elementary School popularly known as Central, is one of the center of paranormal stories that every people told. The school itself was established in 1901 by a Thomasite, Mr. William S. Irey. The present site was acquired in 1915 and it is still occupied until present. However, when Japanese occupied Magalang in 1942. Several big houses and offices including the school was converted either military or civilian garrisons. The school was made into military garrison, hospital and later, an execution grounds. Several prisoners were executed and buried in the school premises. After the war, several paranormal stories were mushroomed about the school. Students, teachers and administrators experienced different paranormal activities especially in old school buildings like Gabaldon and Industrial Arts buildings. One account tells that a apparition of a former administrator was saw dancing in Gabaldon building premises. Another apparition of a black lady was also experienced in Industrial Arts building. The black lady was saw by the students and teachers sitting on its teacher's table. The huge narra tree on the Science garden was believed to be the house of black dwarfs; where my cousin was "played" by the black dwarfs, but later it was leaved by the black dwarfs with the help of a faith healer. The offices and classrooms are also subjected to several paranormal stories. A young girl was spotted in former district office and a young boy was roaming inside the principal's office. These are some stories that myself couldn't yet completed due to numerous claims and accounts that students, teachers, administrators and even parents that they shared to me. 

In my present teaching station in Sta Cruz Elementary School, there are several paranormal accounts that some students shared to me. In Home Economics building, some students spotted a apparition of a former teacher who they saw hanged and her body was bloodied in the Home Economics comfort room! And even my classroom itself was subject to some accounts too! One of my former students spotted a black nun was seating on my teacher's table! And sometimes, that black nun was roaming around our vegetable garden just behind of my classroom! In the Industrial Arts building, an apparition of an old woman was took placed during my first teaching years in our school. It was around the afternoon and i'm finished wrote my lesson plan, suddenly an old woman appeared on the window and she even calling me! After a second, the old woman suddenly disappeared. 

In the beautiful mansion of Dr. Andres J. Luciano in the town proper of Magalang, paranormal activities in that mansion was also observed. An account of Mrs. Teresita Suba, a former caretaker of the mansion revealed some of the paranormal activities in the mansion. One day, she saw the apparition of Dr. Andres J. Luciano together with his family in the mansion's windows! like Beatriz Feliciano de Luciano, his second wife; and his children, Amado Henry, Aristedes, Angeles and Maria Elvira. During the war, the mansion was robbed by the guerrillas. In the 2005 movie Nasaan Ka Man, the setting was shoot in the mansion premises, where the actress Claudine Baretto experienced paranormal activity where in a scene that the actress' hair strand was raised without any force!  

Lastly, a known creature, Kalaryut was subject to different stories that even our forebears eventually passed to their grandchildren. In a sleepy sitio Mapaco in barrio San Francisco, where the kalaryut is roaming. According to some accounts, kalaryut is a tall creature but it has chain knuckles on his legs and had huge feet. Sometimes, it will transform into different animals like become a pig, duck and a chicken. In daytime, it will transform into a stranger. There are also signs that kalaryut is in your premises; one sign is that you will hear a chain knuckles that will cross your rooftop, and other one is you will hear a whisper from an unknown person. There are different stories that pertains to the kalaryut, according to my grandmother, Adoracion Mamangun Canlas, 72, when she was still young, she will go home in Mapaco together with his aunt, Eusebia Dayrit Cabrera fondly known as Apung Biang; and suddenly, she saw a huge pig trailing many ducks. She eventually asked his aunt about she spotted, but his aunt covered her eyes for not to scare and she told her that it is the kalaryut! My mom, Cecilia Lacson Bartolo, 54, experienced also the presence of kalaryut during her childhood days. One evening, she and his siblings are sleeping in the house of Apung Biang. Eventually she and his siblings were scared after a sound of chain knuckles crossed the rooftop of the house. Apung Biang, who had third eye or sixth sense scolded the creature to leave the house because her grandchildren are scared. Suddenly, the kalaryut left. A relative of my grandmother, known for his bravery challenged the kalaryut, who was transformed into a human carrying a bunch of eggplants. After he challenged a duel, the kalaryut eventually left and the bunch of eggplants fell on the ground!  

There are some paranormal stories and accounts that had been subjected to every discussion, but on thing is for sure, we are still living on the earth will full of mysteries. 

Photo Credits:



Bartolo, Louie Aldrin L., The Haunted Elementary School in Magalang, Singsing, Paranormal Pampanga, Holy Angel University, Juan D. Nepomuceno Center of Kapampangan Studies, Angeles City, 2017, page 47.  

Bartolo, Louie Aldrin L., Kalaryut in Magalang, Singsing, Paranormal Pampanga, Holy Angel University, Juan D. Nepomuceno Center of Kapampangan Studies, Angeles City, 2017, page 54.  


Torre Heliografico at Sta Cruz, Magalang, Pampanga

Torre Heliografico is one of the part of my childhood memories. When i was still young, i saw a tall structure in barrio Sta Cruz which make me curious. One day, i asked my former school service driver of what is that tower. He told me that was a former sugar boiling tower or known as bornal or imburnal. He told me that this tower once produces muscovado sugar and well known sweetener, panotsa. Another tower with the same structure is located in barrio San Isidro. The tower marked the location of the former farmland of my late grandfather who later sold the land to the Cariyana Monastery. However, when i first met Dr. Lino L. Dizon in 2011, he told me that those towers are former communication towers built during the Spanish period! He told me about their findings together with Mr. Joel P. Mallari who they conducted they comprehensive study of the towers in 2006. The story of these magnificent towers began during the revolutionary period.

Torre Heliografico at Cariyana Monastery compund

Those towers are built upon the orders of Spanish general Ricardo Monet in 1897. Those towers are made to send signals by using mirrored devices in Morse Code by flashing reflected sun rays to a another station. Heliograph describe that an instrument constructed with small mirrors made o turn upon both a horizontal and vertical axis, mounted upon a tripod, so arranged as to make the flashes appear and disappear in rapid succession, is to a limited extent use in the army; and by its messages may be transmitted much faster than with flags or torches, and can be used at longer ranges. The towers helped the Spanish army to destroy the revolutionary forces in Camansi in Mt. Arayat led by General Francisco Macabulos. Many towers are built encircling the towns of Magalang, and others in Mabalacat and Concepcion, Tarlac. After the revolution, these towers were abandoned and destroyed by natural calamities and treasure hunting. At present, only two towers are only remained intact. One in barrio Sta Cruz and in barrio San Isidro inside the premises of Cariyana Monastery. Recently, the towers declared as Important Cultural Properties by the National Museum of the Philippines.  

Photo Credits:

Torre Heliografico at barrio Sta Cruz; photo by Joel Pabustan Mallari, taken in 2006. 

Torre Heliografico at barrio San Isidro in Cariyana Monastery; photo taken in 2017 by Leo Villacarlos. Retrieved at iorbitnews.com. 


Dizon Lino L., 2008, Alaya, Kapampangan Research Journal; Juan D. Nepomuceno Center of Kapampangan Studies, Holy Angel University, Angeles City, pages 151-152, 193-194.