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Municipality of Bacolor
The half-buried San Guillermo Parish Church
Official seal of Bacolor
Etymology: Level ground
Athens of Pampanga
Map of Pampanga with Bacolor highlighted
Map of Pampanga with Bacolor highlighted
Bacolor is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 14°59′54″N 120°39′10″E / 14.998428°N 120.65265°E / 14.998428; 120.65265Coordinates: 14°59′54″N 120°39′10″E / 14.998428°N 120.65265°E / 14.998428; 120.65265
Country Philippines
RegionCentral Luzon
District3rd District
FoundedOctober 8, 1762 [1]
Barangays21 (see Barangays)
 • TypeSangguniang Bayan
 • MayorEduardo "Diman" G. Datu
 • Vice MayorWilfredo H. Balingit
 • RepresentativeAurelio D. Gonzales Jr.
 • Councilors• Ron Earvin Dungca

• Emily Valerio

• Lucky Ferdinand Labung

• Joel Samia

• Ariel Sta. Cruz

• Ener Lampa

• Nilo Caballa

• Voltaire San Pedro
 • Electorate49,279 voters (2019)
 • Total71.70 km2 (27.68 sq mi)
11 m (36 ft)
 (2015 census) [4]
 • Total39,460
 • Density550/km2 (1,400/sq mi)
 • Households
 • Income class3rd municipal income class
 • Poverty incidence9.39% (2015)[5]
 • Revenue₱137,654,961.27 (2016)
Service provider
 • ElectricityPampanga 2 Electric Cooperative (PELCO 2)
Time zoneUTC+8 (PST)
ZIP code
IDD:area code+63 (0)45
Climate typetropical monsoon climate
Native languagesKapampangan

Bacolor, officially the Municipality of Bacolor (Kapampangan: Balen ning Bakúlud), is a 3rd class municipality in the province of Pampanga, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 39,460 people. [4]

Bacolor is the birthplace of Father Anselmo Jorge de Fajardo, considered the "Father of Kapampangan literature"[6] for writing the 1831 Kapampangan "kumidya" Don Gonzalo de Cordova.


Don Guillermo Manabat, a rich landlord, is believed to be the founder of Bacolor in 1574.[7] Historical records show that Bacolor has been in existence as a proposed settlement as early as 1571, the same year Manila was founded by the Spanish. When the Spaniards arrived in Bacolor they found Bakúlud; its original name meant "level ground" because the site was formerly part of the Luzon coastline until eruptions from Mount Pinatubo raised it above the ocean floor.

The first settlers of Bacolor were believed to be Malays that came from Atjeh in Sumatra led by Panday Pira. It is believed to have been founded by Monmon, first cousin and sister-in-law of Malangsic, a son of Prince Balagtas. However, historians recorded the official foundation of Bacolor in 1574 through a landlord named Guillermo Manabat, whose palatial house and resting place is now the site of the San Guillermo Church, hence the church's name. The name Bakúlud was changed to Bacólor with the advent of the Spanish.

Bacolor officially became the capital of Pampanga in 1755. According to Spanish chronicler Fray Gaspar de San Agustin, before 1755, Mexico town “es la corte de Pampanga,” while Bacolor “es la capital” and Guagua “es igualmente.” Historian Dr. Luciano Santiago theorizes that before Bacolor was formally recognized as provincial capital, it was already informally functioning as capital although other provincial administrative offices were elsewhere in Mexico and Guagua.[8]

Monument to Simón de Anda y Salazar in Bacolor

During the British occupation of Manila, when Manila fell to the British, it became capital of the exiled government of Governor General Simón de Anda y Salazar from October 6, 1762 to May 30, 1764. The provincial offices were temporarily moved to Factoría (now San Isidro, Nueva Ecija). Through a decree of the King of Spain on November 9, 1765, Bacolor became Villa de Bacólor, one of the only three villas in the Philippines and was granted a special coat of arms. Simón de Anda organized an army of natives for the defense of Bacolor and with the aim of recapturing Manila.

It remained the capital of Pampanga until the provincial seat of government was transferred to neighboring San Fernando in 1904. Moves to transfer the provincial capital to San Fernando actually began as early as 1852 with an expediente from the alcalde mayor. The King of Spain granted the request in a real cedula dated 11 September 1881.[9] Despite royal approval, the transfer was not executed until August 15, 1904, by virtue of Act No. 1204.[10]

The coming of the American colonizers broke up the military form of government and instead political and economic reforms were introduced. A civil form of government was organized and was inaugurated on February 13, 1901 by Com. William H. Taft which took place in the old Escuela de Artes y Oficios de Bacólor, later known as the Pampanga School of Arts and Trade and now the Don Honorio Ventura Technological State University, the first state university in Pampanga.

The first provincial Civil Governor was Don Ceferino Joven and the first Municipal President of Bacolor was Don Estanislao Santos. Pampanga was acknowledged as the first province to have organized civil government in the Philippines by General Grant, the then President of the United States of America.

When the Second World War broke out, Japanese fighter and bomber planes invaded the municipal town in Bacolor on December 1941 until the town was occupied by the Imperial Japanese forces in 1942. Pampangan guerrillas and Hukbalahap Communist groups joined in an insurgency centered around the municipality of Bacolor, supported by local soldiers and military officers of the Philippine Commonwealth Army. Their attacks against the Japanese occupation continued until 1945, when Filipino and American forces liberated the municipality of Bacolor.[further explanation needed]

In 1956, the sitio of Mesalipit was converted into a barrio.[11]

On the morning of October 1, 1995, over 20 feet (6.1 m) of lahar from the slopes of Mount Pinatubo and surrounding mountains buried the entire barangay of Cabalantian among many others, killing hundreds of people. 18 out of the 21 barangays of Bacolor were buried. The lahar flows from the mountains raised the town to its current level of an approximate 37 meters above sea level. Subsidence caused the constant reclaiming of parts of Pampanga by the sea.


Bacolor is politically subdivided into 21 barangays.

  • Balas
  • Cabalantian
  • Cabambangan (Poblacion)
  • Cabetican
  • Calibutbut
  • Concepcion
  • Dolores
  • Duat
  • Macabacle
  • Magliman
  • Maliwalu
  • Mesalipit
  • Parulog
  • Potrero
  • San Antonio
  • San Isidro
  • San Vicente
  • Santa Barbara
  • Santa Ines
  • Talba
  • Tinajero


Climate data for Bacolor, Pampanga
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 30
Average low °C (°F) 19
Average precipitation mm (inches) 8
Average rainy days 3.7 4.1 6.5 11.2 21.2 24.9 27.7 26.5 25.5 21.8 12.6 5.6 191.3
Source: Meteoblue [12]


Population census of Bacolor
YearPop.±% p.a.
1903 13,493—    
1918 15,302+0.84%
1939 19,129+1.07%
1948 22,920+2.03%
1960 29,634+2.16%
1970 40,212+3.10%
1975 46,044+2.75%
YearPop.±% p.a.
1980 50,942+2.04%
1990 67,259+2.82%
1995 13,097−26.40%
2000 16,147+4.59%
2007 25,238+6.35%
2010 31,508+8.41%
2015 39,460+4.38%
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[4][13][14][15]

In the 2015 census, the population of Bacolor, Pampanga, was 39,460 people, [4] with a density of 550 inhabitants per square kilometre or 1,400 inhabitants per square mile.

Local government[edit]

Façade of the town hall

Like other towns in the Philippines, Bacolor is governed by a mayor and vice mayor who are elected to three-year terms. The mayor is the executive head and leads the town's departments in executing the ordinances and improving public services. The vice mayor heads a legislative council (Sangguniang Bayan) consisting of councilors from the barangays or barrios.

Town hall[edit]

The municipal building is the former site of the Venturas house, one of Bacolor's most prominent families. On July 8, 1953, the new town hall was completed during the tenure of Mayor Manuel de Jesus. Its construction was a project of Senator Pablo Ángeles y David, a native of Bacolor.[16]


Welcome arch

The main landmark of the town is the San Guillermo Parish Church known as the 'sunken church', one of the structures that was half-buried by the lava flow from the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991. The church has since been renovated and is currently operational and may be accessed through what were once the second floor windows, now converted into doorways. The sunken church and town of Bacolor were used to shoot the 2009–2010 ABS-CBN primetime television series May Bukas Pa. The municipality also appeared in the 2006 movie Summer Heat by Viva Films. The Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes in Cabetican is also famous for its annual pilgrimage and barrio fiestas.

Other notable landmarks in Bacolor include Memorial Kilometer Posts of the Bataan Death March along the MacArthur Highway; the oldest trade school in Far East, the Don Honorio Ventura Technological State University; the Simón de Anda y Salazar monument at the town hall; monument to the Kapampangan writer and revolutionary leader Juan Crisostomo Soto (1867-1918); and Monument to Felix Galura Y Napao.[17]

Bacolor's festivals are the Feast of San Guillermo and Nuestra Senora del Santissimo Rosario (La Naval) which are celebrated every 10th day of February and 3rd Sunday of November, respectively.

The Sunken Shrine[edit]

Original Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes (the Sunken Shrine is to the right, not in photo).

Buried by the devastating lahar flows of Mount Pinatubo eruption in June 1991, the Archdiocesan Shrine of Our Lady of Lourdes of Cabetican (abbreviated as "Maluca") remains at the center of Marian Concordia Pilgrimages and Healing in Pampanga. Originally built as an annexe to the older, smaller shrine, it is under the care of Fr. Ronnie Cao, Healing Priest and Rector of the Archdiocesan Shrine.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ Municipality of Bacolor | (DILG)
  3. ^ "Province: Pampanga". PSGC Interactive. Quezon City, Philippines: Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d Census of Population (2015). "Region III (Central Luzon)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. PSA. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  5. ^ "PSA releases the 2015 Municipal and City Level Poverty Estimates". Quezon City, Philippines. Retrieved 1 January 2020.
  6. ^ Santiago, Luciano (2002). Laying the Foundations: Kapampangan Pioneers in the Philippine Church, 1592-2001. Angeles City: The Juan D. Nepomuceno Center for Kapampangan Studies. ISBN 971-92417-1-3. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
  7. ^ "Bacolor". Kapampangan Online. Archived from the original on May 3, 2013.
  8. ^ "Tantingco, Robby P. The Moveable Capital of Pampanga. Singsing, Vol. 4 No. 1" (PDF). Center for Kapampangan Studies.
  9. ^ "Henares, Ivan Anthony. 1881-1904: How San Fernando Became Capital of Pampanga. Singsing, Vol. 4 No. 1" (PDF). Center for Kapampangan Studies.
  10. ^ "Henares, Ivan Anthony. Timeline of San Fernando History. Singsing, Vol. 4 No. 1" (PDF). Center for Kapampangan Studies.
  11. ^ "An Act Creating the Barrio of Mesalipit in the Municipality of Bacolor, Province of Pampanga". Archived from the original on 2012-07-19. Retrieved 2011-04-12.
  12. ^ "Bacolor: Average Temperatures and Rainfall". Meteoblue. Retrieved 5 May 2020.
  13. ^ Census of Population and Housing (2010). "Region III (Central Luzon)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. NSO. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  14. ^ Censuses of Population (1903–2007). "Region III (Central Luzon)". Table 1. Population Enumerated in Various Censuses by Province/Highly Urbanized City: 1903 to 2007. NSO.
  15. ^ "Province of Pampanga". Municipality Population Data. Local Water Utilities Administration Research Division. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  16. ^ "Municipal building". Archived from the original on 17 January 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2012.
  17. ^ "Historical sites". Archived from the original on 17 January 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2012.

External links[edit]