Saturday, August 26, 2006


Clark Airforce Base was the paradox of love and hate in the heart of the Kapampangan Nation. Kapampangans, especially those from Angeles and Mabalacat, loved it because it gave them jobs, goods, cash, and style; But most Kapampangans hated it because it was an abomination.

It was an abomination because it was a mighty alien fortress within a host nation that can not defend itself.

It was an abomination because it was a nest of giant cash-wielding, free-spending kabalat kapáyâ foreign monsters who could afford to have a goodtime amidst the widespread suffering and poverty of its short raddish-skinned host.

It was an abomination because it was an infringement of the Kapampangan's sovereignty: It was a foreign base on Kapampangan soil!

So, inspite of all the tears shed on lost jobs, lost cash, lost goods, and lost style when the Americans finally pulled out in November of 1992, there was also an equal if not a greater amount of relief and hope for the Pinatubo ravaged Kapampangan: "Salamat at misublî ne quecatámu iñg Clark!" At last, Clark is ours again!

But to which Kapampangan does the "we" in that word "ours" refer to? The old rich families like the Hensons of Angeles and the De Guzmans of Mabalacat who still claim to have titles to the land grabbed by the Americans, or the poor ancient Aita families who swear by Apung Namalyari Kûn Támu that the land was theirs since time immemorial even before the rich Angeles and Mabalacat gentry grabbed them with pieces of paper signed by the court in unintellegible Spanish?

For most Kapampangans however, Clark, with its vast tract of potential agricultural lands and well furnished housing areas, was the perfect resettlement site for all the lahar ravaged Kapampangan Families of Bacolor, Porac, Angeles, Mabalacat, and Bamban. It would have been the ideal womb for the rebirth of a new and prosperous Kapampangan Nation.

That hope was sooner betrayed. Clark was not to be in Kapampangan hands; Not to the old rich Families of Angeles and Mabalacat, not to the ancient Aita families who swear by Mount Pinatúbû, and most especially not to the thousands of lahar ravaged Kapampangans.

While the rest of the Kapampangan region slowly died of hunger, disease and homelessness, Clark was looted, rumours have it, by domestic foreigners in Philippine Airforce uniforms.

While Kapampangans were forced to lived in tents without decent sanitation, water or electricity, these domestic foreigners in uniform lived with their families in the comfort of the US furnished base housing units, with clean water and free electricity.

While thousands of Kapampangan families were forcibly torn from the embrace of their Indûng Tibuan so as to be resettled in the jungles of Bukidnon and Mindoro, these domestic foreigners in uniforms hauled in the rest of their families from the Visayas or the Ilocos to live off Clark.

What Gordon did to Subic, the mayors of Mabalacat and Angeles could not do. When the Tagalog government in Manila put Clark under the management of the Clark Development Corporation [CDC], the Kapampangans, or what is left of them after the forced diaspora, were again promised new hope. The new Clark was to generate new jobs.

The first thing the CDC did however was open up duty free shops which maimed the surviving local economy. As a coup de grace, the next thing it did was import non-Kapampangan labour.

Clark was once a paradox of love and hate in the heart of the Kapampangan Nation. Now, all it could be is a paragon of hate. For Clark remains an abomination. It is not only a symbol of the betrayal of the hopes of the Kapampangan Nation, but all the more, it remains a foreign base within Kapampangan soil.

Keep Kapampangan lands in Kapampangan hands!

Siuala ding Meangubie
CURRENTS 2nd Week July 1995

Ing Taluîng Batiáuan

With the destruction of the most ancient town of Bacolor, the cultural and historical seat of the entire Kapampangan Nation, and the looming precariousness of the economically booming town of San Fernando - Angeles City's sure safety from Mount Pinatubo's destructive mudflows has finally put her into focus: Would she now take upon her shoulders the honour of becoming the seat of Kapampangan culture?

It is the unfortunate gift of citihood that Angeles has become politically and economically separated from Pampanga. A growing number of young Añgeleños have come to understand this as an essential separation as well: That Angeles must severe its ties from the rest of Pampanga; and that her identity should no longer continue to remain Kapampangan.

But Angeles City's political separation is not a separation of essences, but a mere accident of being: The heart and soul of Angeles was and is essentially Kapampangan. Political separation does not entail ethnic and cultural separation.

Geographically speaking, Angeles City lies at the very heart of the Kapampangan Nation, a nation whose influence stretches from the barrios northeast of the town-capital of Tarlac all the way down to the coastal barrios of Mabatang and Calaguiman in the towns of Samal and Abucay of the province of Bataan.

Sun Tzu's Art of War states that to effectively destroy a kingdom one must attack it not only from without but, most importantly, also from within. The Kapampangan Nation has constantly been under attack from without.

At the coming of the Spaniards, the Kapampangan Nation occupied almost the entire stretch of the Central Plains of Luzon. Then, throughout the centuries, provinces were carved out of her vast territories: Governor-General Simon de Anda gave the lands of Burakan and Tundû to loyal Tagalogs displaced by the Brittish invasion of and eventually became the province of Bulacan; Another governor-general carved out the entire province of Nueva Ecija to become his own personal hunting ground; Bataan was separated so as to facilitate the governance of its west coast; and Tarlac was organised as a commandancia politico-militar to pacify the northern frontiers and eventually became a separate province.

The Kapampangan Nation was finally reduced to a tiny province and a few scattered towns. Yet the assault continues from without. In a population survey conducted in 1980, the number of Kapampangan speakers dwindled to about 66.7 percent in Candaba and to 74.5 percent in Tarlac, Tarlac. The survival level of a language group in a given area is seventy five percent.

But the assault from within had already begun. The number of Kapampangan speakers in Angeles City in 1980 was only 76.8 percent. The number continues to decrease. If the Kapampangan Nation is to survive, it must prevent an attack from within. If the core caves in, then the rest of it crumbles until it totally disappears.

One sensible move is to pass a legislation declaring Kapampangan as Angeles City's official language. Another is to encourage the revival of her rich Kapampangan cultural heritage in schools and the local media.

Angeles City owes it not to the province of Pampanga alone to remain Kapampangan; Angeles City owes it to the entire Kapampangan Nation to remain Kapampangan; To the Kapampangans fortunate enough to remain here, and to the unfortunate Kapampangans shipped to the Visayas, Mindanao, or even abroad.

Siuala ding Meangubie
CURRENTS 3rd Week June 1995

Kapampangan ya ing Angeles!

The number of Kapampangan speakers in Angeles City continue to dwindle through the years. The 1980 census listed the number of Kapampangan speakers to only about 76.8 percent. The survival level of any language group in a given area is seventy five percent. No new surveys have yet been made recently but the results may only be too obvious.

It is an obvious fact that Angeles City's population is teeming with a great variety of foreigners, both international and domestic - Australians, Germans, Ilocanos, Visayans, etc. - who contribute hugely to the coffers of the government. For the sake of cosmopolitanism, local economists and politicians argue, Angeles City must inevitably shed her Kapampangan Identity.

But cosmopolitanism, if it were to become a reality, can not just remain floating in midair. It has to take firm root; rooted to the very ground and culture of its given area. Cosmopolitanism, if it were to become real for Angeles City, has to be firmly rooted to her distinct Kapampangan Identity.

Local businessmen and politicians here envy Olongapo and Subic for their miraculous recovery. If Angeles has to have an edge over Subic and Olongapo's scenic beaches, these would have to be her colourful history, her people's distinct character, and her rich Kapampangan Heritage. Olongapo and Subic have no cultural heritage to speak of but faded lust, abandoned half-breeds, and Gordon.

Local businessmen and politicians here marvel and ape Cebu's economic boom. Unknown to them, the Cebuanos have no one else to thank but their own stubborness to remain Cebuano as well as the unique way they used their cultural heritage as capital. If anyone else in the Philippines had successfully copied the Japanese in utilising culture and identity as capital to boost their economy, the Cebuanos would be it. Despite her cosmopolitanism, Cebu remains solidly Cebuano. Her artificial market economy would never have gained ground were it not for its distinctive Cebuano flavour.

In contrast, Angeles City's businessmen-politicians are no longer the hard working, patient, farsighted Kapampangan entrepreneurs of the past who were deeply rooted to their Indûng Tibuan, but are now of the new breed of flotsams - shortsighted, fastbuck opportunists out for a quick and easy profit - which litter the entire Philippine business scene. Unpatriotic and self-serving, these businessmen-politicians continue to import cheap Visayan labour inspite of the increasing number of their unemployed cabalen. Self-serving because these cheap imported Visayan labourers are valuable added voting assets.

The new breed of Angeles Kapampangan is a little bit of a show-off, yet ironically, he is well too easy to please his thankless foreign guests. Never mind if speaking Cebuano is a must to get efficient service in Cebu, or speaking Tagalog if you were in Manila, or speaking Ilocano in Baguio (plus an added stabbing or beating if you are caught speaking Kapampangan), in Angeles City, the Kapampangan Añgéleño speaks the language of the guest...You don't have to learn Kapampangan! Is this being too civilised? Or is it subservience? If the Kapampangan Añgeleño has to learn anything from history, it would be the dictum that made Rome, the most cosmopolitan of all ancient cities, great: "When in Rome, do as the Romans do."

Kapampangan ning Angeles, magpa-Kapampangan kayu!

Siuala ding Meangubie
CURRENTS 4th Week May 1995

Gabun-Daî-Amánu: Trinitarian Elements of Kapampangan Identity

Like the losing pieces on a checkerboard, every rainy season cascading mudflows eat up one historic Kapampangan town after another. If there was one thing that would dampen the Kapampangan's proverbial sense of superiority, this would have to be it.

The Kapampangan was never the same after Mount Pinatubo. In rehabilitating the lahar-ravaged region, some government and non-government agencies thought it best to transplant thousands of lahar-stricken families to Mindoro, the Visayas, and Mindanao. A congressman from one of the Kapampangan districts countered that this action would kill the Kapampangan rather than save him. Yet how could the measure be tantamount to killing when it was obviously meant to save lives? So the agencies went on with their projects. Kapampangan families were sent to Mindoro, Bukidnon, and, as the Abu Sayyaf confirmed, to Basilan. Perhaps the comment was just another ploy in the never-ending game of politics.

Kapampangan is an ideology. The name was derived from the vernacular pangpangan which roughly means "the river banks," and ka- which is used as a prefix to denote immensity, as in the words kabuntuk [buntuk means "head" hence "having a large head"] and kayárung [árung being "nose" hence "having an immense nose"]. Roughly translated, Kapampangan means "Greater Pampañgan," which would include portions of Tarlac, Bataan, Nueva Ecija and Bulacan.

However, the term Kapampangan is applied not only to the name of the place, but the people and language as well. Indeed, it is this trinity of Indûng Tíbuan [gabun/land], Daî [tau/people], and Amánung Sísuan [amánu/language] which make up the Kapampangan identity. These three elements are inseparably one and the same. To take one from the other would yield not a Kapampangan.

To demonstrate this metaphysical concept: To a full blooded Kapampangan, a person who speaks Kapampangan who is not of the race nor of the land is nothing more but an overstaying alien; The latter is not qualified to be a Kapampangan. In another instance, a person who is of the land and of the race but can not speak Kapampangan disqualifies himself. As a few fullblooded second generation "Kapampangans" living in Manila proudly declares in Tagalog: "Ang tatay at nanay ko Kapampangan pero kami Tagalog na." Our parents are Kapampangans but we are now Tagalogs.

Kapampangan is an ideology. The congressman was right in one way. The concerned agencies may be saving lives, but they are not saving the Kapampangan. By uprooting the Kapampangan from his Indûng Tibuan, they are unwittingly extracting one essential element of his identity. One of these elements can not be without the other two. By uprooting the Kapampangan from his Indûng Tibuan, they are unwittingly destroying his identity. The destruction of his identity is the destruction of the Kapampangan.

Whose lives are being saved then? Kapampangan lives? When a Kapampangan is sent to Mindoro, Mindanao, or the Visayas he brings with him the language of his birth but it will eventually be demanded of him to use the language of the new place. His offsprings would eventually find no need to keep using Kapampangan. In the succession of a generation or two, the new environment shall have completed its work in destroying the Kapampangan strain. What we will have are a breed of Visayans sporting surnames like Macapagal, Lapid, Manaloto, Galura, Lacsamana, Tayag, or Pamintuan.

If Mount Pinatubo does not let up with its havoc, and if the ultimate solution for the Kapampangan is egress, then the Kapampangan would finally cease to be.

Siuala ding Meangubie
CURRENTS 1st Week April 1995
Author's Note:
Through the years, I have learned to change my views on this one. I believe that the most dominant element in determining our identity is our INDUNG TIBUAN. It is the Spirit of the land of our birth that shapes the person to what he is regardless of his parents' original ethnolinguistic background. Our Indung Tibuan has the power to transform someone's spirit and turn him into a Kapampangan regardless of his ethnic backgrounds. Of course when that happens, that person will speak Kapampangan! Bolang la retang magsasa-Kapampangan mu uli mong panaquitan da na ngeni! Pasimbalang!
Author's Note:
The unnamed congressman in this article is Oscar Rodriguez, now mayor of the City of San Fernando. A visionary, Mayor Oscar Rodriguez, has enacted laws that ensured the protection of the Kapampangan language and cultural heritage of the city he governs.

KALADUA: Root of the Agrarian Problem in Pampanga and the Essence of Kapampañgan Nationalism

The Kapampangan has always been touchy when it comes to the question concerning land. His history has been marked in blood by social unrest that has its roots in the agrarian problem. Even now with the eruption of Bunduk Pinatúbû, thousands would rather have themselves buried in lahar than be removed from their lands. As a result, both past and present, the Kapampangan region has always been a thorn in the national government's backside.

So what is it about land and the Kapampangan? The answer is simply found in his long forgotten cosmology, in the question dealing with the nature of his soul, his kaladua.

The word kaladua is derived from two Kapampangan words: kala, which simply means soul, and aduâ, which means two. The Kapampangan believes that he is in the possesion of twin souls: one being his personal soul which could be removed from his body at will - to mangalug as when one is hungry, to travel at night and hurt one's enemies as in the case of the powerful mangkukusim, to visit ones relatives in the form of the kambubulag when one is near death, or simply travelling when one dreams - , the other being the soul of the land which sustains him in life but returns to earth at the moment of death.

The ancient Kapampangan believed that when a person dies, if he is good, his personal soul goes to the White Rock on Bunduk Aláya and become one with Apung Sinukuan; His other soul would return to earth and strengthen his mother, his Indûng Tibuan.

Simply put, the Kapampangan and his Indûng Tibuan, the land of his birth, are one and the same. Their souls are as one. The twin souls must always come together otherwise the Kapampangan simply can not be. With this in mind, one now can easily understand the old saying: Ing taung alâng gabun, tau yang alâng kaladua, a man without land is a man without a soul. If one has taken to note, the name Kapampangan applies not only to the person but also to his land and his language as well.

The Kapampangan is touchy when it comes to the question of land because the question deals not only with an accidental preoccupation but with the deeper question concerning himself: his very being, his soul. When one touches his land he not only touches something he merely posses, rather he touches his very essence, his very self. Now one could understand why the unnamed rajah of Macabebe reacted with such violence when the Spaniards decided to take his land, they were taking his soul and his life as well. One now could understand why the thousands in Lubao and Betis chose death rather than surrender in the battles of 1571, or the countless who fought the Americans in the 1900s, or the Japanese in 1941 to 1945; somehow, deep down in their psyche, they knew their sacrifice would further strengthen their mother, their Indûng Tibuan, to whom their souls would return at the hour of death.

Siuala ding Meangubie
CURRENTS 4th Week February 1995

Just Cause for a Kapampangan National Liberation

Maniauad cayung catalaruan, ing panugaling Filipinu? Dapot e yu camalayan na ing anuadan tamu camatayan, ing pangasintang ning quecatamung panga-Kapampangan, ing pamaglau ning quecatamung mal a Indung Tibuan, ing panga-ipus ning quecatamung dai.

Nanu ing maguing tamung calma? Maging taung alang caladdua, maguing bangsang alang catimauan, metung a bangsang mapaquiapos? Ing eganagana quecatamu maging dinam, pilalung sala't capintasan dinam.

Anuadan yu ing pamaguing-Filipinu dapot e cayu durucu kng dine nung lilingad da iti quecayu... Dapot dapat samantalanan tamu ing diria at sama da quecatamu ring maqui-upaya. Nio ali ra catamu atanggap-tanggap ausan Filipinu dapot cuanan da catamu pang ausan dugong aso kng peca-arapan tamo? Masanting! Manimuna tamu qng pamibubu ning quecatamung pangasarili! ITICDO TA YA ING ASIAS NING BANGSANG KAPAMPANGAN!

Ala lang babie capanayan? Lakuas masanting! Manalig tamu qng quecatamung sarili at qng sarili tamung caguiuan! Liuas kng panaguimpan tamung maging tamu mung dimut a lalauigan, PANAGIMPAN TAMUNG MAGUING TAMUNG METUNG A BANGSA! Palabungan ta ya ing timaua at e maca-alipan a caisipan!

Ing pamanupaya e ya pane cayapan. Mitmu ya iting carocan nung ya na ing maguing sangcan ning pangayalipan! Alang manalipan nung alang payalipan!

"You ask for parity of rights, the Filipino way of life, and you do not realize that what you are asking for is death, the destruction of your national identity, the disappearance of your homeland, the ratification of tyranny. What is to become of you? A people without a soul, a nation without freedom; everything in you will be borrowed, even your very defects. You ask for Philippinization and do not blush for shame when it is denied you...What you do is take advantage of the prejudices of our rulers. So they refuse to integrate you to the Filipino 'nation' and call you dugong aso to your faces. So much the better! Take the lead in forming your own individuality, TRY TO LAY THE FOUNDATIONS OF A KAPAMPAÑGAN NATION. They give you no hopes. All the better! Hope only in yourselves and in your own efforts...Instead of aspiring to be a mere province, ASPIRE TO BE A NATION; develop an independent, not a colonial, mentality...Resignation is not always a virtue; it is a crime when it encourages oppression. There are no tyrants where there are no slaves."

siuala ding meangubie
Amun ning Kapampangan a Simoun qng Kapampangan a Basilio
meangu qng El Filibusterismo nang Jose Rizal