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KAPAMPANGAN CULTURE

Jojo Dingal
College of Education

The Kapampangans
The Kapampangans live in the
provinces of Pampanga and some
border towns of Bataan
(Dinalupihan and Hermosa) and
Tarlac (Bamban, Capas,
Concepcion and Tarlac
City). Pampanga, which
etymologically means "Pampang"
or riverbank, is bounded on the
north by Tarlac City and Nueva
Ecija, on the east by Bulacan,
southeast by Manila Bay, on the
southwest by Bataan and on the
west by Zambales.

The province has a total land area of


218,068 hectares representing 12 percent
of Regions III total area. It is composed of
21 municipalities with 538 barangays and
one city. The total population (as of 1995
census) is 1,635,767.

The province of Tarlac, whose name was


derived from a talahib weed called
"Malatarlac" is situated at the center of the
Central Plains of Luzon Island. It is
landlocked by four provinces of Region III,
namely: Nueva Ecija (east), Pangasinan
(north), Pampanga (south) and Zambales
(west). It covers a territory of 305,345
hectares.

The province abounds in skilled


labor.
Foremost of these are the
woodcarvers of Guagua; red clay potters
of Sto. Tomas; blacksmiths of Apalit and
giant lantern makers of San Fernando.

The Clark Special Economic


provides a fine investment area.

Zone

also

BELIEFS AND PRACTICES


Just like the other ethnolinguistic
groups, the Kapampangans have rich
customs and traditions governing the
rites of passage.
Some of these
practices are still being observed
nowadays.

BIRTH PRACTICES
In one of the barrios of
Guagua, Pampanga, close
relatives of a woman who
is about to deliver a child,
together
with
their
neighbor, make noise like
shouting, beating tin cans
and
exploding
firecrackers in order to
help expel the fetus
faster.

Baptismal Rites Practices

In many
Kapampangan houses,
the baby's baptismal
dress serves as a
souvenir and
decoration for the
sala. It is put on a
frame and hung in the
sala like a picture.

Courtship and Marriage The pamanhikan, where the male,


with the permission of the parents, is to visit the girl in the
latter's house.

Death and Burial. The wake (makipaglame) lasts for


at least three days and two nights after which
everybody participates in the libing (interment).

MAL A ALDO

Pampanga is one of the provinces of the


Philippines with really colorful (and at times
bloody) Holy Week practices and rituals. It's
quite close to Manila too. Which is why it's a
good place to experience Holy Week, Mahal na
Araw or Mal a Aldo.

HOLY WEDNESDAY
The highlight of the day would be the
Holy Wednesday Processions. Several
towns have very elaborate carrozas,
particularly Bacolor, Sasmuan,
Guagua, Santa Rita, Betis and San
Fernando.

HOLY THURSDAY
Pampanga is quite (in)famous for Holy Week
flagellation. And this usually peaks on Holy
Thursday and Good Friday. There are other
traditions including Dakit Cordero in Mabalacat
(2:30 p.m.) and Santo Tomas (4 p.m.). and the
Pasyon Serenata in Brgy. San Basilio, Santa Riat
(8 p.m. to 12 midnight) and Sitio Maligaya in San
Basilio (also 8 p.m. to 12 midnight).

LUBENAS
Lubenas came from the word novena, which means
nine days, referring to the nine-day simbang gabi. But
while the rest of the country was content with
attending dawn masses for nine consecutive days,
Kapampangans went a step farther by holding a
procession on the eve of every simbang gabi, i.e.,
they had a procession after dinner, which means they
slept late, and then woke up before dawn for the
simbang gabi (or simbang bengi in Kapampangan).

SUPERNATURAL BELIEFS

NUNU.
AN OLD MAN
WHO
RESIDES IN
MOUNDS

Mangkukulam
feasts on flesh and
blood of men/women;
possessing dreadful evil
power

Tianak / Pantyanak are


evil spirits who inhabit
forests and bamboo
thickets. They are usually
described as taking the
form of a baby left in the
forest to lure unsuspecting
victims.

Dwende are spirit


that assume the
form of man,
usually described
as tiny beings.

Kapre are nocturnal


giants that live atop tall
thick trees. Usually
described as harmless,
they nevertheless play
tricks on unsuspecting
victims. They are said to
smoke cigar and are 30
to 50 feet tall.

Magkukutud are
beings endowed with
supernatural powers
to separate their
upper body from their
lower body.

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