Plaza de la Libertad circa 1963
Since we launched the Magalang Book and this blog, the aims of the book and the blog is not only to promote, inform and educate about the rich local history of Magalang, but also it will promote the historical corrections to our local history. Before we launched this two, we noticed that there are so many historical facts about the town are incorrect, forgotten or unwritten by past studies. One of this is the Magalang's foundation date. Here are some bits of explanation regarding the two foundation dates of Magalang:

APRIL 30, 1605- when Augustinians organized pueblos or towns in Pampanga, one of their mechanisms imposed during the pacification of Pampanga is the reduccion system. In this system, all of the fragmented barangays were abolished and their inhabitants were forced to live near to their missions or within the sounds of the church bells or so called bajo de la campana. Magalang was one of the products of reduccion system. When the Augustinian chapter accepted Magalang in April 30, 1605, it was formally organized as pueblo or town placing all the natives under the organized town of Magalo, (old name of Magalang) and its town proper was located in Macapsa. The town is under the administration of the Augustinians and it was placed under the patronage of San Bartolome Apostol. Fr. Gonzalo de Salazar was appointed first pastor. However, Magalang during that time has large vast territory. The former territories of Magalang which includes the present city of Mabalacat, towns of Concepcion, Capas and Bamban and city of Tarlac all located in Tarlac province. Fr. Gaspar de San Agustin noted that some parts of Zambales mountains and the province are also former territories of Magalang. Mabalacat including Bamban and Capas were seperated from Magalang in 1680; but in 1712, they were turned over to the Augustinian Recollects due to underdevelopment. In 1686, Magalang's territory was reduced again when Tarlac was seperated from Magalang. Magalang was transferred to San Bartolome in 1734 due to natural calamities and series of revolts. Its territory was composed of the present towns of Concepcion and Magalang. In 1858, a Royal Decree was promulgated to establish the town of Concepcion, covering the barrios in the northern bank of Parua River. However, in that same year when a large flood struck the town. It was only in 1863 when Concepcion was formally created, and Magalang once again transferred its town proper from San Bartolome to San Pedro Talimunduc. Thus its former town proper, San Bartolome earned its place name as balen melacuan or forsaken town

DECEMBER 13, 1863- when the large flood struck Magalang once again, a disagreement rose on the members of the principalia.  The disagreement was ended when Pampanga alcalde mayor Ramon Barroeta issued a decree on December 13, 1863, it formally transferred the town from barrio San Bartolome to San Pedro Talimunduc and laid the foundations of the new town of Concepcion. When Concepcion was created, it is still depending on Magalang's political and religious affairs. That's why in that time, Fr. Ignacio Manzanares, OSA who facilitated the town's transfer was the parish priest of Magalang, and also of Concepcion. Pablo M. Luciano served as gobernadorcillo of Magalang that time, but his authority was still extended to Concepcion. Until 1864, when Concepcion was politically separated; and in 1866, when Concepcion established its own parish. The concept of celebrating this date was only conceived in 1954. The basis of this celebration concept is the Historical and Cultural Life of the Municipality of Magalang in the Province of Pampanga, written in 1954This write up is an example of Historical Data Papers or HDPs, written by the public school teachers to write the local history of their towns and their barrios way back 1950s. However, due to lack of primary and secondary sources especially archival resources, they only depended on interviews and oral accounts of different prominent persons in Magalang without credible evidences and sources. HDPs are also used as political tool to give emphasis on local personalities or even their families who may appear important but actually are not. HDPs are not regarded by most historians due to lack of documentation and credible sources. The copies of Magalang HDP is still intact in the National Library of the Philippines and even in the school library of Magalang Elementary School. Without historical verification, research or study regarding this date, "Magalang Day" or "Aldo ning Magalang" was formally commemorated. Former president Ramon Magsaysay eventually signed Proclaimation No. 98 series 1954 declaring December 13 as special public holiday in Magalang. It was signed in December 4, 1954. By then, Magalang started to celebrate its "Foundation" day. This date of commemoration was further strengthened when former president Ferdinand E. Marcos signed Proclaimation No. 1805 series 1978 on November 23, 1978 declaring December 13 of every year as "Foundation day" of Magalang. The basis of this proclaimation was based again on HDPs; and the first sentence of this proclaimation stated that town of Magalang, Pampanga was "founded" on December 13, 1863. Until present, this proclaimation was still in effect; thus the town still celebrating this date as their "foundation" day.  It is only an act of Congress or another presidential proclamation issuance will supersede the existing proclamation, if they will wish to change the existing "foundation" date. 

We must remember that Magalang is one of the oldest towns in Pampanga. After the transfer of the town in December 13, 1863, it continued its existence as the original town of Magalang when it was established since April 30, 1605. It took only changes in regards of territory and jurisdiction. But, it didn't changed its political, economic and religious status which possessed the town since it was established in April 30, 1605. Commemoration of foundations of the towns is very important to every towns in Pampanga to showcase their historical and cultural treasures but, the date of the commemoration must be historically correct and must be follow religiously.

It is up now to the Magaleños to judge of what is the exact date will be commemorated; and to be folllow as the true foundation date of Magalang.    

Photo Credit: Capagmasusian Qng Aldo Pangasilang Ning Magalang, 1963


Apilado, Digna B. 1999, History from the People; Kasaysayan Mula sa Bayan, Proceedings of the 1998 Centennial Regional Seminar-Workshop Series on Oral and Local History; Volume 16, National Historical Institute and Philippine National Historical Society, Paperchase Printing Services, Quezon City, page 104.

Bartolo, Louie Aldrin L., and Dizon Lino L.,2016, The Magalang Book; The Historical Life and Culture of a Kapampangan Town (1605-2015); National Commission for Culture and the Arts, Manila, page 23.

Dizon Lino L., 2008, Alaya, Kapampangan Research Journal; Juan D. Nepomuceno Center of Kapampangan Studies, Holy Angel University, Angeles City, page 28.

San Agustin, Fr. Gaspar, Conquistas de la Islas Filipinas 1565-1615, San Agustin Museum, Intramuros, Manila pages 1051, 1099-1100. 

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