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Not to be confused with Tarlac City.
For other uses, see Tarlac (disambiguation).
Province of Tarlac
Tarlac Provincial Capitol
Tarlac Provincial Capitol
Flag of Tarlac
Official seal of Tarlac
Nickname(s): Melting Pot of Central Luzon
Location within the Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 15°30′N 120°30′E / 15.5°N 120.5°E / 15.5; 120.5Coordinates: 15°30′N 120°30′E / 15.5°N 120.5°E / 15.5; 120.5
Country Philippines
Region Central Luzon (Region III)
Founded 1872
Capital Tarlac City
 • Type Sangguniang Panlalawigan
 • Governor Susan Yap-Sulit (NPC)
 • Vice Governor Carlito S. David (NPC)
 • Total 3,053.60 km2 (1,179.00 sq mi)
Area rank 45th out of 81
Population (2015 census)[2]
 • Total 1,366,027
 • Rank 18th out of 81
 • Density 450/km2 (1,200/sq mi)
 • Density rank 13th out of 81
 • Independent cities 0
 • Component cities
 • Municipalities
 • Barangays 511
 • Districts 1st to 3rd districts of Tarlac
Demographics (2000)[3]
 • Ethnic groups
 • Languages
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
ZIP code 2300–2318
IDD:area code +63 (0)45
ISO 3166 code PH-TAR
Website visit-tarlac.com

Tarlac (Kapampangan: Lalawigan ning Tarlac; Pangasinan: Luyag na Tarlac; Ilocano: Probinsiya ti Tarlac; Tagalog: Lalawigan ng Tarlac) is a landlocked province located in the Central Luzon region in the Philippines. It is bounded on the north by the province of Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija on the east, Zambales on the west and Pampanga in the south. The province comprises three congressional districts and is subdivided into 17 municipalities and one city, Tarlac City, which is the provincial capital.

The province is situated in the heartland of Luzon, in what is known as the Central Plain covering the provinces of Region III. Tarlac covers a total land area of 305,345 hectares (3,053.45 km2).[4]

Early in history, what came to be known as Valenzuela Ranch today was once a thickly forested area, peopled by roving tribes of nomadic Aetas who are said to be the aboriginal settlers of the Philippines, and for a lengthy period, it was the remaining hinterland of the Central Plain of Luzon. Tarlac is the most multi-cultural of the provinces in the region for having a mixture of four distinct groups, the Kapampangans, Pangasinans, Ilocanos and Tagalogs. It is also known for its fine food and vast sugar and rice plantations in Central Luzon.[5]


Tarlac's name is a Hispanized derivation from a talahib weed called Matatarlak. Tarlac was originally divided into two parts: the southern division belonging to Pampanga and the northern division belonging to Pangasinan. It was the last province in Central Luzon to be organized under the Spanish colonial administration in 1874.

During the Philippine Revolution of 1896, Tarlac was among the first eight provinces to rise against Spain, alongside neighbouring Pampanga. It became the new seat of the first Philippine Republic in March 1899 when General Emilio Aguinaldo abandoned the former capital, Malolos, Bulacan. This lasted only for a month before the seat was moved to Nueva Ecija in Aguinaldo's attempt to elude the pursuing Americans.

On October 23, 1899, Gregorio Aglipay, military vicar general of the revolutionary forces, called the Filipino clergy to a conference in Paniqui. There, they drafted the constitution of the Philippine Independent Church. They called for the Filipinization of the clergy, which eventually led to a separation from the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines.

Tarlac was captured by American forces on November 1899. A civil government was established in the province in 1901.

During World War II, Camp O'Donnell in Capas became the terminal point of the infamous Bataan Death March of Filipino and American soldiers who surrendered at Bataan on April 9, 1942. Many prisoners died of hunger, disease and/or execution. The general headquarters of the Philippine Commonwealth Army was established from January 03, 1942 to June 30, 1946 and the 3rd Infantry Regiment of the Philippine Constabulary was founding again from October 28, 1944 to June 30, 1946 and military stationed in the province of Tarlac and some parts in Central Luzon due to Japanese Occupation.[further explanation needed] Local troops of the Philippine Commonwealth Army units has sending the clearing military operations in the province of Tarlac and Central Luzon from 1942 to 1945 and aided them by the recognized guerrilla groups including Hukbalahap Communist fighters and attacking Japanese Imperial forces.[incomprehensible] But in the aftermath, some local guerrilla resistance fighters and Hukbahalap groups are became retreating Imperial Japanese troops around the province and before the liberation from the Allied forces.[incomprehensible]

In early 1945, combined American and Filipino military forces with the recognized Aringay Command guerillas liberated Camp O'Donnell. The raid in Capas resulted in the rescue of American, Filipino and other allied Prisoners of War.

From January 20, 1945 to August 15, 1945, Tarlac was recaptured by combined Filipino and American troops together with the recognized guerrilla fighters against the Japanese Imperial forces during the liberation and beginning for the Battle of Tarlac under the Luzon Campaign.[further explanation needed]

United States and Philippine troops during a military exercise in Crow Valley, Tarlac

Military testing ground[edit]

Recently,[when?] the Philippine Army has used Crow Valley in the borders of Barangay Patling and Santa Lucia in Capas, Tarlac as a testing ground for both Philippine forces and allies. Many of the Philippine military testings were done on March 17, 2006[6] most likely as a part of Operation Enduring Freedom - Philippines.


The landlocked province is situated at the center of the central plains of Luzon, landlocked by four provinces: Pampanga on the south, Nueva Ecija on the east, Pangasinan on the north, and Zambales on the west. The province covers a total area of 3,053.60 square kilometres (1,179.00 sq mi)[4]. Approximately 75% of the province is plains while the rest is hilly to mountainous.

Landscape along Tarlac City
Tarlac Labelled Map.png

Eastern Tarlac is a plain, while Western Tarlac is hilly to mountainous. Because of this, the province includes a large portion of mountains like Mt. Telakawa (Straw Hat Mountain), located at Capas, Tarlac. Mt. Bueno, Mt. Mor-Asia and Mt. Canouman are located also in Capas as well as Mt. Dalin. The other mountains are Mt. Dueg and Mt. Maasin, found in the municipality of San Clemente. Also noted are Mt. Damas of Camiling. The whole of Mayantoc and San Jose are mountainous so it is suitable for the highest natural resources and forest products in the province such as coal, iron, copper, vegetables, fruits, log fires, sand, rocks and forest animals such as wild boar and deer. The main water sources for agriculture include the Tarlac River at Tarlac City, the Lucong and Parua rivers in Concepcion, Sacobia Bamban River in Bamban and the Rio Chico in La Paz

Administrative divisions[edit]

Tarlac is subdivided into 17 municipalities and 1 component city, all encompassed by three congressional districts. There are a total of 511 barangays comprising the province.

  •  †  Provincial capital and component city
  •      Municipality


The 17 municipalities and 1 city of the province comprise a total of 511 barangays, with Cristo Rey in Capas as the most populous in 2010, and Malonzo in Bamban as the least.[7]

Further information: List of barangays in Tarlac


Like the rest of Central Luzon, the province has two distinct seasons: dry from November to April and wet for the rest of the year. It is the coldest province in the region, with an average of 24 °C (75 °F).[citation needed]

Climate data for Tarlac
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 32.1
Average low °C (°F) 21.1
Average rainy days 1 2 2 3 13 16 22 21 20 10 8 4 122
Source: Storm247 [8]


Population census of
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 859,708 —    
1995 945,810 +1.80%
2000 1,068,783 +2.65%
2007 1,243,449 +2.11%
2010 1,273,240 +0.87%
2015 1,366,027 +1.35%
Source: National Statistics Office[2][7][7]

The population of Tarlac in the 2015 census was 1,366,027 people,[2] with a density of 450 inhabitants per square kilometre or 1,200 inhabitants per square mile.

The predominant ethnic groups are the Kapampangans that mainly predominate the southern portion of the province and the Pangasinans that mainly predominate the northern portion of the province. Both ethnolinguistic groups intermingle together in the capital city. Ilocanos and Tagalogs constitute a considerable minority in the province.

Kapampangan and Pangasinan are both mainly used throughout the entire province, as well as Ilocano and Tagalog. English is widely understood as well.

The San Sebastian Cathedral in Tarlac City


Spanish influence is very visible in the province as shown by religious adherence. Roman Catholicism is professed by 83% of the population.[citation needed] Aglipayan is an important minority religion while some other Christian groups are also present. The St. Michael Archangel Parish Church was the oldest religious structure in the entire province until it was burned in 1997.


Rice plantations in Gerona

The economy of Tarlac is predominantly agricultural. It is among the biggest producers of rice and sugarcane (the principal crops) here in Central Luzon. Other major crops are corn and coconuts, vegetables such as eggplants, garlic and onions, and fruit trees like mangoes, bananas and calamansi.

Because the province is landlocked, its fish production is limited to fishponds but it has vast river systems and irrigation. On the Zambales boundary to its west, forest land provides timber for the logging industry. Mineral reserves such as manganese and iron can also be found along the western section.

Tarlac has its own rice and corn mills, sawmills and logging outfits. It has three sugar centrals. Other firms service agricultural needs such as fertilizer. Among its cottage industries, ceramics has become available because of the abundant supply of clay. Some of the major industries here involve making are Chicharon and Iniruban in the municipality of Camiling, Ylang Ylang / Ilang-Ilang products of Anao and the Muscovado sugar products of Victoria. The province also boosts of sugar products in Luzon. Tilapia production is also improving in Tarlac and is aiming to be the Tilapia capital of the Philippines.


Belenismo sa Tarlac

Belenismo sa Tarlac was launched by Isabel Cojuangco-Suntay, sister of former Ambassador Eduardo Cojuangco Jr., to transform the province into the Belen Capital of the Philippines. The Belen Festival began in September 2007, with the first Belen-making workshop conducted on December 16, 2007. Organizers have intended the festival to become an annual event in the province. Senator Loren Legarda led the awarding of the first Belen-making competition where Tarlac PNP Office Belen, built by at least 24 policemen, won the first prize.

Belenismo in Spanish means the art of making Belen, a representation of the Nativity scene in which the Holy Family (Joseph, Mary and the infant Jesus) is visited by the three wise men who came to the manger through the guidance of a star.[9]

Melting Pot Festival

The Malatarlak Festival, celebrated every January in Tarlac City, is one of the most remarkable festivals in the province. In 2011, the City Mayor then changed the name of the festival to Melting Pot Festival, but it is still remembered by its former name. The festival is a commemoration to the first people who built civilization in the province, the Aetas.

Chicharon Iniruban Festival

It is a festivity that is yearly celebrated in the town of Camiling during the last week of October. It is intended as a preparation for All Saints' Day and a Thanksgiving Celebration for the good harvest and for the good quality of meat products especially the chicharon or Bagnet. It also features the exotic and delicious rice cake Iniruban, as called by Ilocanos. The festival's highlights are the street dancing competition, Miss Iniruban beauty pageant, and the municipality's agri-trade. It is the oldest cultural celebration in the province introduced in 2000.

Provincial capitol[edit]

The highest seat of political power of the province is located at a hill in Brgy. San Vicente, Tarlac City. The present structure was finished in 1909. During the Japanese occupation, the provincial capitol was vacated and used as the provincial headquarters of the Imperial Army. The capitol suffered great damages during the Second World War, but afterwards, in 1946, the United States of America helped rebuild and improve its structure. Because of its historical background, the picture of the capitol façade appears in the current 500 peso bill.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "List of Provinces". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 21 August 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Region III (Central Luzon)". Census of Population (2015): Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay (Report). PSA. Retrieved 20 June 2016. 
  3. ^ "Tarlac: Population Reached a Million Mark (Results from the 2000 Census of Population and Housing, NSO)". Philippine Statistics Authority. August 13, 2002. Retrieved 15 December 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Province: Tarlac". PSGC Interactive. Quezon City, Philippines: Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  5. ^ "History of Tarlac". Tarlac Province Official Portal. Retrieved 30 August 2015. 
  6. ^ "Tarlac Military Testing Ground". Retrieved 30 August 2015. 
  7. ^ a b c d "Region III (Central Luzon)". Census of Population and Housing (2010): Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay (Report). NSO. Retrieved 29 June 2016. 
  8. ^ "Weather forecast for Tarlac, Philippines". Storm247.com. StormGeo AS, Nordre Nøstekaien 1, N-5011 Bergen, Norway: StormGeo AS. Retrieved 22 April 2016. 
  9. ^ "Belenismo sa Tarlac". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 30 August 2015. Tarlac aims to become ‘Belen’ capital of RP 
  10. ^ "Tarlac Provincial Capitol". Retrieved 30 August 2015. 

External links[edit]