History of Tarlac

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  • Topic: Tarlac, Luzon, Provinces of the Philippines
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  • Published : January 27, 2013
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History of Tarlac

Calls for the “Filipinization” of the Catholic church took shape during the “Paniqui Assembly,” but later led to schism of Fr. Gregorio Aglipay from the Catholic Church and led to the establishment of the Philippine Independent Church (also called Aglipayan), regarded as the concrete testament to the revolution. The province was once a hotbed of Huk and communist rebellions that helped influence the government ‘s land reform programs. Tarlac is a landlocked province situated in the heart of Central Luzon, known not only for its vast sugar and rice plantations, but is best described for its unique cultural diversity. Its richness in culture and the hospitality of its people make the province one of the best places to visit in Central Luzon. Otherwise known as the “MeltingPot” of the region, it is composed of mixed settlers coming from Pampanga Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Zambales, Pangasinan, the Ilocos Region and to include also the Chinese settlers. The fusion of aditions and culture resulted in a wide array of good food and delicacies, from the simple but mouth-watering “pinakbet” of the Ilocanos, the sisig of the Kapampangans, the Chicharon and “inuruban” rice cakes of the Camilenos, the kinalting buko of Victoria and Gerona to the best cuisines of restaurants which can be found in the province[...]

The Beginnings of Tarlac Province, 1593-1873

The province of Tarlac is situated in the heartland of Luzon, in what is known as the Central Plain and which comprises the provinces of Region III 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 southern part. Tarlac covers a total land area of 305,345 hectares. It has 17 towns and one city, Tarlac City, which is also the provincial capital. Early in history, what came to be known as Tarlac today was once a thickly forested area, peopled by roving tribes of nomadic Aetas 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. (Pre-ProvincialStage:1593-1858)

A common misnomer first cited by a local historian – Marcos Tañedo and popularized by a historical group (Tarlac Historical Society) in the late 1950s and unfortunately adopted by a recent Tarlac City festival devoid of a historical basis was the derivation of Tarlac from a talahib-like weed called ‘Malatarlac’ by the aboriginal Aetas. An old Spanish-Tagalog dictionary by Pedro Serrano Laktaw in late 1800s already referred to ‘Tarlac’, without the prefix – ‘mala’, as a native sugar cane. Early documents were actually referring to the place as a marshland rather than a plant, which is more feasible as it had its application in other parts of the Philippines. The Tarlac toponym or place-name was first mentioned in written history (1593) as a praesidio or military port that pointed to the need of defending early communities from the frequent lowland raids by Negritos not subjected to reduccion. At that time, 30 soldiers were requested for the Tarlac fort, being a ‘presidios among the Çambales’, together with that of San Andres de Mexico, San Phelippe de Malabuc, and the La Playa Honda. “Throughout the first centuries of Spanish rule the villages of sedentary farmers nearest the mountains were exposed to the headhunters,” as Daniel Doeppers was to contend. The war against the Zambals and Negritos consisted of a six pronged raid on the Western margin of the plain using a few Spanish soldiers and hundreds of the Pampangans whose villages had been victimized. Tarlac was chosen among the initial base in protecting the established communities from the attacks of the tribes. It was most likely that a number of Kapampangans remained after the counter-attacks were waged, resulting in the peopling of the lands of Upper Pampanga where Negrito and Zambal tribes used to thrive. Tarlac’s embryonic history is also closely intertwined...
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