MABALACAT CITY is a newly converted city in the Province of Pampanga. Its corporate existence was obtained upon the enactment and passage of Republic Act No. 10164 otherwise known as “An Act converting the Municipality of Mabalacat in the Province of Pampanga into a Component City”, and subsequently ratified in a Plebiscite held on July 21, 2012 with 78% affirmative votes of the total votes cast. The conversion of Mabalacat into a city coincide its tercentennial founding anniversary, 1712 – 2012.
Mabalacat was named after the Balacat tree (Ziziphuz Talanai), which is a forth class timber. The name Ma-balacat in the native kapampangan dialect means “full of balacats”. There is no official record on the foundation of the town, but according to folk tales that were passed through generations, the first settlers were purely negritos (known as balugas or aetas). A negrito Chieftain named Caragan led his tribe in the virtual forest of balacat trees and settled themselves within its plentiful resources. Caragan was later married to Laureana Tolentino from whom he adopted is family name. Laureana became the first Cabeza De Barangay of Mabalacat, a title now equivalent to Barangay Chairman.
Later on, because of the fertile soil and the abundance of wild animals and fowls, lowlanders have driven back the negritos to the nearby mountains and hills and claimed the land for themselves. The town’s vast agricultural lands were owned by a few families such as the Dizons, Tiglaos, Guecos, Ramoses, Dominguezes and the Castros.
Mabalacat is a 1st class city with an annual income of P504,149,053.16 as of 2011 and a projected income of 581,142,657.24 for the year 2013. The city is classified as Urban City in the 1st District of Pampanga, Region III (Central Luzon). In 1936, President Manuel L. Quezon has put-up Camp del Pilar, the first training cadre in Dau Checkpoint at Fort Stotsenberg, which is later known as Clark Air Base. According to old residents, from liberation to 1949 all judicial cases of Clark Air Base were referred to and heard at the Justice of the Peace Court of Mabalacat. Marriages solemnized by the Municipal Trial Court of Clark Air Base are still recorded in the Civil Registrar’s Office of Mabalacat City.
Mabalacat is situated within 15 degrees 10’N to 15 degrees 16’N latitude and 120 degrees 28”E to 121 degrees 38” longitude. Politically, it is bounded by Bamban, Tarlac on the north, Porac-Zambales on the west, by Angeles City on the south, and the town of Magalang on the west. It has a total land area of 165.8 km2 (64.0 sq mi) – more than double that of neighboring Angeles City’s. Roughly four-fifths of the land area of the former Clark Air Base belongs to Mabalacat whose boundary extends up to Zambales ranges. The soil is charcoal black and shiny, a sign of fertility, and is suitable for growing rice, sugarcane and other root crops. Mabalacat never gets inundated by floods from heavy rain because it is situated on an elevated plain, upper Pampanga.
It is situated on an elevated plain known as the “Upper Pampanga”, about 107 meters (351.0 ft) above the sea level, this is why the city never gets inundated by floods brought about by monsoon rain although some low lying areas near the creek are being threaten.
Mabalacat has two pronounced seasons, wet from June to November and dry during December to May. The temperature in the area ranges from 26 to 31 degrees centigrade.
In 1853, Mabalacat had a population of 2,611 and four barangays, namely Babangdapu, Duquit, Malabni and Paglimbunan. However, in 1903 its population increased to 7,049 and already had 19 barangays… Bical, Bundagul, Dapdap, Dau, Dolores, Iba, Mabiga, Mamatitang, Mangalit, Matas, Mauaque, Paralayunan, Poblacion, Quitaguil, San Joaquin, Sta Ines, Sta Maria, Sapang Balen and Sapang Biabas. Later on, in 1948, its barangay increased with the addition of Fort Stotsenburg, barangay Quitaguil was renamed into San Francisco.
Today, this 1st class city has reached a total population of 215,610 as of 2010 national census, an increase of 12,303 from that of 2007 census of 203,307. The number of registered voters is 96,678 as of 2010. It has now twenty-seven (27) barangays, namely: Atlu-bola, Bical, Bundagul, Cacutud, Calumpang, Camatchiles, Dapdap, Dau, Dolores, Duquit, Lacandula, Mabiga, Macapagal Village, Mamatitang, Mangalit, Marcos Village, Mauaque, Paralayunan, Poblacion, San Francisco, San Joaquin, Sta Ines, Sta Maria, Sto Rosario, Sapang Balen, Sapang Biabas and Tabun.
POLITICAL, ECONOMIC AND CULTURAL ASPECT
Mabalacat City has withstood the catastrophic event caused by the eruption of a volcano. On June 15, 1991 Mount Pinatubo known to the negritos as Apo Mallari that lay dormant for more than 600 years, erupted and left Mabalacat covered with volcanic ash and other pyroclastic debris destroying acres of farmlands, crops and livestock. The pulled-out of US troops from Clark Air Base had left thousands of residents jobless instantly. The business in the area started to collapse particularly those establishments depending on the American servicemen and their dependents.
On August 29, 1992, a year after its eruption, Barangays Dolores, Tabun and part of Cacutud were totally buried by lahar coming down from the slope of the mountain. In a matter of two days Dolores and Tabun which were densely populated became deserts of lahar. Thousands of houses including schools and churches were buried 20 feet deep. Another barangay, Sapang Balen, was also buried by lahar during the rainy days of 1993 forcing its residents to flee from their residence and left permanently.
Twenty-one years after the dreadful tragedy, Mabalacat is now a component city of Pampanga. The incumbent mayor is Honorable Marino “Boking” P. Morales, serving his first term. He was first elected in May, 1995 election, re-elected in 1998 and again in 2001.
The first mayor of Mabalacat was Joaquin Concepcion (1916-1919) followed by Jose Siopongco (1920-1923). For a period of 96 (1916-2012) twenty-seven municipal mayors took turns in running the affairs of local government with Wilfredo C. Halili having served the longest term of 20 years on account of the absence of election during the days of martial law.