With the opening of World War II in the Pacific, Japanese forces bombarded Pearl Harbor in December 7, 1941; crippling the strong American naval power. After the bombardment of Pearl Harbor, Japanese forces proceeded to the Philippines on the following day. They launched deadly attacks in Manila and other military installations. General Douglas MacArthur, commander of United States Armed Forces in the Far East (USAFFE) declared Manila as "Open City"in December 26, 1941. Due to overstretched and lack of supplies, American commanders ordered their units to gradually abandon their defense lines and they withdrew to Bataan and Corregidor.

In Magalang, the combined Filipino and American forces was composed by the 11th Division led by Brigadier General William Brougher. The units under the western line of 11th Division was composed of 11th Infantry; who they set up their defenses from Magalang-Concepcion road in barrio San Antonio to Mt. Arayat. The 11th Infantry was initially commanded by Col. Glen Townsend and he was replaced by Capt. Russel W. Volckmann. 11th Infantry was composed of three battalions, the 1st Battalion was placed as reserve force, the 2nd Battalion, composed of Igorot troops was commanded by Major Helmert J. Duisterhof, who were put in charge along Magalang-Concepcion road, and the 3rd Battalion were deployed east of Mt. Arayat. On January 1, 1942, Brig. Gen. Brougher ordered the 11th Infantry to withdraw its forces gradually and they will retreat to the town of Guagua. While they preparing for eventual withdrawal, Capt. Volckmann conducted an ambush on two Japanese columns who are encamped in the nearby town of Concepcion. After the ambush, two columns of Japanese reinforcements came and the first column successfully occupied the defense lines in Mt. Arayat. The second column, composed of infantry and artillery, attacked the defense line along Magalang-Concepcion road. Major Duisterhof and the Igorot second battalion bore the brunt of the assault. Despite repeated attacks, the second battalion armed with 75 mm machine guns, inflicted fifty percent losses to the Japanese. The enemy attempted to outflank the 11th Infantry line by pushing them through dense sugarcane fields, but they met with failure. After the 11th Infantry's eventual withdrawal from Magalang, Japanese effectively occupied Magalang on the same day. The enemy entered the town proper with no resistance. And the Japanese set up their military detachments around the town. Magalang Elementary School was made into military garrison and military hospital, the church steeple of San Bartolome Church was set up as military observation post, the Pampanga Agricultural School was made into Japanese military training camp. and the mansion of Cayetano Rivera was converted into Japanese military headquarters of the town. The mansions of Daniel O. Lacson, Faustina Baron-Lacson, Tomas Dizon, Atty. Jose Morales, and Dr. Nicolas Wijangco were also converted into Japanese civilian outposts. The municipal mayor at that time was Jose M. Navarro. When he was ambushed by the guerrillas in 1943, the Japanese appointed Atty. Isidoro Ayuyao as the new mayor of Magalang. 

After the fall of Bataan, the defender of Magalang, Capt. Russel Volckmann escaped from the infamous Death March, together with his friend, Capt. Donald Blackburn. They find a escape route to Mt. Arayat, and they are welcomed by the Magaleño socialist leader, Eusebio Aquino, who also as one of the high ranking officers of Hukbalahap. After their brief stay with Tatang Bio, Volckmann and Blackburn with the help of Huks managed to find their route all the way to Northern Luzon to take over the leadership of the largest guerilla force in Northern Luzon, the United States Army Forces in the Philippines- Northern Luzon (USAFIP-NL). This guerrilla group was responsible for eliminating the large force of General Tomoyuki Yamashita based Cordillera mountains in 1945. On September 3, 1945, Yamashita surrendered unconditionally,

Photo Credit:

http//.www.historynet.comhow-did-the-japanese-draft-citizens-in-world-war-ii.htm/Retrieved: December 26, 2016.


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

Guardia, Mike, American Guerilla: The Forgotten Heroics of Russel W. Volckmann, Havertown, Pennsylvania, Casemate Publishing, 2010 

Morton, Louis, The Fall of the Philippines, Washington D.C., Center of Military History, 1993 


Barrio San Ildefonso is the largest barrio of Magalang. San Ildefonso was one of the original barrios of Magalang since its town proper was still located in San Bartolome or presently known as balen melacuan. When Magalang was transferred to the present site in 1863, San Ildefonso remained as one of the barrios of present Magalang. Some of its territory was seceded to the newly created town of Concepcion. According to some Spanish documents, San Ildefonso was sometimes mentioned as San Yldefonso or San Hildefonso.  However, due to large land area, in 1876, the Spanish government created the barrio San Fulgencio and they carved out from sitios previously belonged to San Ildefonso; Balitucan, Balud and Turu, however, the order was never materialized. San Ildefonso was one of the transient points of Spanish army and Filipino revolutionaries fighting in Camansi in Mt. Arayat during revolution. It also become one of the Huk strongholds during the war and post war periods. San Ildefonso once again turned into insurgency hotbed when the resurgent Huks led by the men of Commanders Alibasbas and Sumulong holed up in San Ildefonso. Then, the young lieutenant and West Point alumnus Fidel V. Ramos setup its base in Balitucan to track down the Huks. At present, San Ildefonso was one of the important agricultural centers in Magalang. Its land was devoted to cultivation of rice, sugarcane and corn. Some small scale industries was established in this barrio. The patron saint of the barrio is St. Ildefonsus of Toledo; and the feast day is January 23. Due to large territory, San Ildefonso was divided into several large sitios or hamlets and the following names and their origins are mentioned below:

Balibago- this large sitio of San Ildefonso was derived from the Malabago or Balibago tree. This tree was useful in medicine and other handicrafts. The scientific name of this tree is, Hibiscus tliaceus. 

Balitucan- the largest sitio of San Ildefonso. The place name was derived from the word, Bilitug, which means toasted rice or corn kernels. Ibilitug, and Bilitugan means to toast. Bilitugan on the other hand which is means, carajay or toasting pan. 

Balud- this place name was derived from the term Balud, as half-breed Sambal and Negrito; mountain people. This sitio was sometimes called as Balud Maisac. Another possible origin is derived from the word, Balut which is a kind of grass with tangled roots.  

Cabayung Sarul- this term was derived from Kapampangan term, Sarul, which means plow and it with the help of Cabayu; (horses) to plow the land. 

Culcul- another place name of sitio Mapiña, derived from the word, culcul, which means, a hole in a ground, not deep, but like those on the road that is not smooth or plain, level or even. Culculculcul, the place or the road that has many holes or pock-marked with holes. 

Malabug- this term was derived from the Kapampangan word, labug which means, turbid, obscure and muddy. 

Malatumbaga- this place name was derived from the tree specie, Malatumbaga. The wood of this tree is used to make finest furniture and stone houses. The scientific name of this tree is Aglaia harmsiana. Another term is tumbaga which means, a metal similar to copper but harder. This sitio was separated from San Ildefonso in 1969; and it was known today as barrio Escaler. 

Mapiña- or Mapinia, this place name was deived from the term, pinac, which means, marshland, pond or small lake. Pinac, mapipinac, mepinac means marshy but without grass.  

Pasiro- this term was derived from the Kapampangan term, sirul which means, to strike the head with bare knuckles. another term is the corrupt word for sarul, a Kapampangan word for plow. 

Pitabacan- this place name was derived from the Kapampangan term, Tabac which means a bolo or a long knife, pitabacan means a thing slashed with a sweep of bolo or a long knife. This term describing this place at that time was devoted to sugarcane. When they harvest, they will struck the cane using tabac

Sua- this place name was derived from a kind of citrus fruit known in Filipino as Lucban or Suha. Pomelo is the general name of this citrus fruit and its scientific name is Citrus hysteria. 

Timbol- this street was located in Balitucan. It was derived from the former land owner of sitio Balitucan. Don Isidoro Timbol. His landholdings was later sold to Don Tomas Dizon, and his grandchildren are the present landowners of Balitucan.

Turu- the place name was derived from the Spanish word toro which means a male cow or bull. Another term is derived from Tiruan and Pepaintuturauan, which means, a direction pointer made of boulder like a weather vane's arrow is pointing. This sitio was separated from San Ildefonso in 1963, and it was named Turu

Photo credit: 

Mt. Arayat facing Balitucan; https://mw2.google.com/mw panoramio/photos/medium/15608551.jpg; retrieved: December 17, 2016


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, pages 123, 126, 127, 128, 130 and 131; 2016


Emilio Aguilar Cruz

The large Suing family is one of the old families of Magalang. Their origins are traced all the way to the old town proper of Magalang in San Bartolome; whom it is called today as balen melacuan. Suings traced their ancestry to the couple of, Ambrosio Suing and Maria Cortes. The couple has two children, Santiago and Saturnina. After Ambrosio died, Maria married Fermin Bulanadi and they had one child, Camila. When Magalang was swept by a large flood brought by the overflow of Parua river, Maria convinced Fr. Ignacio Manzanares, OSA; the parish priest of Magalang to transfer the town proper from San Bartolome to San Pedro Talimunduc; in the foothills of Mt. Arayat. Her wish was materialized when her family and other members of principalia transferred the town to San Pedro Talimunduc in December 13, 1863. Four years after the transfer, his son, Santiago served as gobernadorcillo of Magalang in 1867. Santiago married Modesta de Ocampo, his full sister, Saturnina married Macario Policarpio and some of her grandchildren migrated to Mindanao; and his half-sister, Camila married Nicasio Paras. 

All of the present Suings in Magalang traced their ancestry to Santiago. One of his grandchildren is Modesto who married to Isabel de los Santos. The couple has two children, Apolonia and Narciso. Their son, Narciso was one of the well known tailors in the town and he was married to Rosario Paras. After Rosario's death, he married Leoncia Lansangan. 

Another grandson, Saturnino Suing Aguilar married Maxima Dizon Pineda; and their children are, Lucila, Jose, Amelia, Felix married Modesta Paras, Antonia married Sisenando Maliwat, Dionisio married Enrica Garcia, Iluminada married Gaspar Biernes, Raymundo, Sofia married Ursulo Gaña, Jaime married Paula Soto and Conrado. 

Saturnino's sister Ciriaca married Apolonio Cruz, and their children, Emilio Aguilar Cruz, the famous painter, art critic, and writer married Felicidad de Jesus, Dominador married Marina Lardizibal and Belen married Melquiades Lopez. The other siblings of Saturnino and Ciriaca are Erinia, and Blasica married to Cirilo Soliman.

Another grandson of Santiago, Bonifacio Suing married Praxedes Guevarra and their children are, Francisco, Alejandra, and Rufino married Consolacion Mutuc. Rufino's children are Margarita married Cecilio Pamintuan, Victoria married Felix David, Lucia married Justino Sanchez; (after Lucia's death, Justino married Lucia's younger sister, Carmen), Lilia, Rustico married Lagrisma Pangilinan, Consuelo married Mariano Pabalan; a son of Luisa Pabalan, foundress of renowned Pabalan Delicacies;  Amelia married Ernesto Dizon, businessmen Enrique married Lourdes Yabut and Ruben married Gertrudes Lacsina.

Another grandson of Santiago, Melecio Suing married Narcisa Navarro and their children are, Francisca married Arsenio Francisco, and Eugenia married Juan Roque The children of Eugenia are Natalia, Simeona married Nicolas Calara, Jesus. Rosendo, Abel and Dominga. 

Famous present generations of Suings are Ernesto Aguilar and Janus Ray Calara; both are former councilors of Magalang; Lorenzo "Larry" J. Cruz, son of Emilio Aguilar Cruz and owner of Abe's Farm, businessman Reynaldo Calara and banker Leandro Suing. 

Photo Credit:

http://media.philstar.com/images/the-philippine-star/lifestyle/arts-and-culture/20150914/Emilio-Abe-Aguilar-Cruz.jpg; retrieved, December 3, 2016


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 pages 115-116.  


Alasas plant

In this another toponym series, i will show another set of toponyms of places located in barrio Sta Cruz. This barrio is considered one of the large barrios of Magalang. It was seperated from nearby barrio San Pedro in 1887 and has its first barrio's cabeza de barangay, Alberto Mañago. Sta Cruz is one of the barrios composing the poblacion or town proper of Magalang. It was bounded by barrios San Vicente on southeast, Camias on southwest, San Francisco in west, San Pedro I in northwest and San Nicolas I on north. Majority of lands located in this barrio was owned by Don Ladislao Dayrit y Canlas; a former presidente municipal of Magalang; and later one of the delegates of Malolos Congress during revolution. His grandson, Benedicto T. Dayrit served as mayor of Magalang in late fifties. He was dubbed as one of the best mayors of Magalang in his time. Unfortunately, he was assassinated by alleged Huks during a dance ball of Mountain Side Club he attended; held in Plaza de la Libertad in December 28, 1963. 

Here are the toponyms or place names together with their origins and meanings; that are located in barrio Sta Cruz:

Alasas- this is the old name of barrio Sta Cruz. It was derived from a small tree with its small leaves has good for scrubbing utensils and wood products. It is closely related to the pakiling whom has also scrubbing properties but with wide leaves. It is also related to large baliti tree.  Its scientific name is Ficus ulmifolia

Bornal- a sitio located within the old heliograph tower in Sta Cruz. It was derived from Kapampangan word imburnal, means smoke outlets for cabiaoan; an early carabao-driven sugar mill. The tower itself was mistakenly identified an old sugar mill; but it was structure built by Spanish army whom served as their heliograph tower. This structure helped them to track down the insurgents in Mt. Arayat.

Caputut- it is derived from Kapampangan word putut which means cut or to cut. It describes the road network or a waterway have been cut or been continued the half of the road or sindu de ing caputut a dalan. 

Mabuco- a sitio located near the town proper along Gueco St. It was derived from the word Filipino word, buko means coconut; mabuco means full of coconuts or Cocos nucifera whom describing the place itself until the present. Another term is derived from Kapampangan word, bucu which means, a node of cane or bamboo; in this case, a place where sugarcane or bamboo was planted. 

Salincuan- a sitio located near Paranum bridge; its name was derived from the Kapampangan word, salingco, which means, to turn at an alley or side street. Lungub ka king kantu papuntang Paitan which this place has been known for. 

Sulput- a sitio going to the nearby barrio Camias. It was derived from type of burry love grass, also known as amorseco. Its scientific name is Chrysopogon aciculatus. 

Photo Credit: 

Ficus ulmifolia; http://phytoimages.siu.edu/imgs/benctan/r/Moraceae_Ficus_ulmifolia_32041.html; retrieved: December 3, 2016


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 pages 123, 127, 130, and 136. 

Dizon , Lino L., Alaya; Kapampangan Research Journal No. 5 (November-December, 2008); Angeles City; Juan D. Nepomuceno Center of Kapampangan Studies, Holy Angel University, 2008 page 151. 


Toponymy is the study of the place names (toponyms) their origins, meanings and use. Before, the study of toponymy is exclusively to language and literature. According to Dizon, toponymy is appreciated only in fictional realms of literature and folkore. However, he pointed out that toponymy can provide the historians or historian archaeologists with valuable insights, leads, and hypothesis. He particularized the role of toponymy among these functions:

1. Dating settlements, especially old settlements where founding dates are unrecorded.
2. Assessing the ethnicity or origins of the occupants of a settlement, and
3. Recognizing past geographical features that may no longer be extant.

In this post, i will show the different toponyms of different sitios, barrios and other geographical features in Magalang together with their meanings and names of origins. The posts are divided into different series depends on place names of barrios or other geographical features located in Magalang presently and historically. 

In my first series, regarding toponyms of different places of Magalang; this post will initially devoted to the different toponyms of sitios and places located in my home barrio San Francisco. This barrio is one of the oldest barrios of Magalang, thus it has old sitios with their names whom their meanings are listed below:

Batiawan- an old name of barrio center of San Francisco. It was derived from Kapampangan word batiao or batio which means, to observe from the distance, or by craning the neck or to observe from a watchtower; like a sentinel. Batiawan also a term for watchtower. According to old folks in this place, a concrete watchtower was built formerly in the present Feliciano rice mill, whom the Spanish army was used to track down the insurgents hiding in Mt. Arayat. 

Calubsuban- a place between barrios San Francisco and Camias whom the name was derived from a tree which is scientific name is Jambosa vulgaris. It was called yambo in Filipino and calubcub in Kapampangan. Another meaning is a kind of tree has a hollow trunk. 

Camachiles- a sitio between in barrios San Francisco and San Jose whom its name was derived from word, camatsilis, known as Manila tamarind. Its scientific name is Pithecolobium dulce, and its fruit is used in cooking sigang or panaslam in other dishes. 

Libutad- a sitio between barrios San Francisco and San Jose; its meaning was the center of the field.

Mabatu-bato- a large sitio in San Francisco derived from the word batu, a common name for stone. Mabatu means a place full of stones or large rocks.  Another word, bato-bato, derived from a bird species related to turtle dove or ring dove.

Mapaco- a small sitio in barrio San Francisco whom its name was derived from a plant called pacu or ferns. Its scientific name is Asplenium esculentum; this plant was one of the favorite ingredients in some Kapampangan dishes. Another meaning is pecauan which is means, the edge or approach of one or other part of river or canal. 

Pulu- a small sitio in barrio San Francisco going to barrio Sta Lucia whom its name was derived from the word pulu or island; an island in the river. 

Tambacan- once the largest sitio of barrio San Francisco, its name was derived from the word tambac, which is means, a dump or heap. 

Tinabi- a sitio in barrio San Francisco whom its name was derived from Kapampangan word, tabi, which is means, to forced him/her to go outside. In this case, this sitio was located near of the stream or sapa or outside of the riverbanks. 

Photo Credits:

Ferns: https://www.pinterest.com/schwabby/digital/tattoo/direction, retrieved: December 1, 2016

Jambosa vulgaris: https://br.pinterest.com.pin/525021269033986136, retrieved: December 1, 2016


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, pages 124, 125, 126, 127, 128, 130 and 131; 2016

Dizon, Lino L. Kapampangan Research Journal, Angeles City: Juan D. Nepomuceno Center for Kapampangan Studies, Holy Angel University, December, 2007-2008, pages 124-125.