Monday, February 12, 2018


Condensed from an article of Joel Pabustan Mallari

Pampanga  used to occupy large portions of Luzon—including parts of Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, Zambales, Tarlac and extending as far north as Nueva Vizcaya. Over the years, new provinces and towns were carved out from this area, and today these places that are no longer part of the province, continue to  retain their Kapampangan names. On the other hand, other places have names with Kapampangan meanings, or that were derived from the Kapampangan language.
1. BINUANGAN, Bulacan
This town must have gotten its name from  ‘binuangin’--a Kapampangan term for an early species of rice, a short variety with red stripes on its hulled seed. A barangay in Bataan shares a similar name.

2. CABIAO, Nueva Ecija
 “Cabiao” comes from the Kapampangan word ‘kabio’, meaning ‘to pound rice’. The time for ‘kabio’ ushers in the season of plenty for frmers, as rice becomes ready for sale and for eating. The capital city of San Fernando has a barangay called ‘Quebiawan’, derived from the same verb.

Bataan, a Tagalog province has a barangay in the municipality of Abucay called “Capitangan”, which means “midnight” in Kapampangan (“hatinggabi” in Pilipino). Like San Fernando, Capitangan is known for its crucifixions during Holy Week.

4. GABON, Bataan
In Abucay, there is a barangay that goes by the name, “Gabon”.  No, its  name was not derived from the African country of Gabon, but from the Kapampangan word “gabun”, meaning ‘soil, ground or land’.
5. MADLUM CAVE, Sibul, Bulacan
Sixteen kilometers off San Miguel, Bulacan, in Sibul, can be found the Madlum Cave, so named because of its creepy darkness—“madalumdum”, in Kapampangan, which was contracted to 'Madlum". It is believed that a stone image of the patron saint of the town—San Miguel—was first found in Madlum. The caves are characterized by limestone stalagmites. During World War II, Madlum was occupied by Japanese soldiers.

Matulid River is a stream within Bulacan and is nearby to Wawang, Pinaganakan and Banaba. It is one of the 3 major tributaries of the mighty Angat River. The river flows on the boundary between between Pampanga and Bulacan, running on almost a straight course, hence “matulid”, meaning ‘straight’.

In Rizal province, one of the peaks in the famous limestone mountain there has a Kapampangan name—“Pamitinan Mountain”. “Pamitinan” means “used for hanging”, as in stalactite patterns, a feature in the limestone caves found there. Pamitinan Mountain, along with the Puting Bato, are the two facing rock mountains that entrapped Bernardo Carpio in Tagalog of folklore.

The Bulacan town was once a part of the vast Pampanga realm, and it was famous for its sugar produce and sweets—“mayumu”. It was actually settled by Kapampangans until the early 1900s, until Tagalog started trickling in. When it became a town of Bulacan, it retained this Kapampangan word to describe it s a “town of sweets”—San Miguel de Mayumo.

9. TAYSAN, Batangas
When a Kapampangan goes to Taysan, Batangas, he would immediately recognize that the name of the town means  a “grinding or whetting stone” in his native language--a taisan. It is also the name of a soft, sugar-sprinkled cake, a local delicacy shaped  like a whet stone. Local lore has it that “Taysan” was  corruption of the word “atisan”(or a place atis fruit grew) or “tiisan” (to bear with fortitude). But even historians are not too sure. Could it have been that a transplanted Kapampangan  artisan introduced the ‘taisan’ in Batangas? It is interesting to know that Bamban, too, has a place named after grinding stones—the sitio of Panaisan.

10. TAKLANG ANAK, Calaca, Batangas
Lest you think that this barangay between the town of Lemery and Calaca smells bad because of its name, think again. “Taklang Anak” is a small, round juicy fruit that resembles a child’s droppings. The yellow-orange colored fruit (Garcinia dulcis), was first found either in  Arayat or Candaba, according to the noted botanical scholar, Fray Manuel Blanco. But how this Kapampangan fruit reached Batangas and gave this barangay its name is unknown.

11. TAKLANG DAMULAG, Nueva Ecija
Oh yes, there is a mountainous place in Nueva Ecija named after carabao manure or taklang damulag. It must have had  a large population of carabaos that regularly littered its streets with their dung. Whatever the case, “Taklang Damulag” was probably the most fertile land in Nueva Ecija, in those days, as carabao manure--then, as now--is used to enrich agricultural soil. Today, Taklang Damulag is a training ground inside the army division in Fort Magsaysay, Palayan City, Nueva Ecija. In 2011, it was the site of  a 100 mile ultra-trail racing event, the first endurance run in Southeast Asia.

12. TALAGUIO, Doña Remedios Trinidad, Bulacan
Talaguio is a sitio of barangay Kabayunan, and is located northwest of Mount Tabernaculo and northeast of Mount Maon and Mount Mayapa, where llarge conservation areas can be found,like the Angat Watershed. Talaguio is one of the 3 tributaries of the Angat River through where the Sierra Madre mountain range feeds its waters. ‘Laguio’ means ‘name’ in Kapampangan.

Singsing Magazine. “The Augustinians in Pampanga”, vol. 3 No. 1.
wikimedia.commons: Cabiao seal, Cabiao town photo
San Miguel de Mayumo:
Taklang Anak, photo by Antonio Soraiano Guia Jr., via Michael Pangilinan FB page
 Maps (Talaguio,Matulid)) :

Friday, February 2, 2018


Song genres like the basultu, kuraldal, harana, kundiman,  juvenile songs and many others written and composed by anonymous, often unlettered folks all bear witness to the immense richness of Kapampangn culture. Here is a comprehensive list of popular, as well as less-known folk tunes from the Kapampangan region:

This may very well be the national hymn of Pampanga, as this plaintive folk song—about  the promise of a girl to give her heart to the man who finds her lost ring—is known all over the country. It is an example of a ‘basultu’, a people’s song that often has an allegorical theme. “Atin Ku Pung Singsing” has been recorded by many artists including Nora Aunor and Freddie Aguilar, and a Tagalog version exists.
by Mabuhay Singers


It has been a tradition in old Pampanga for a swain to sing a serenade song to the object of his affection during the period of courtship. This dramatic kundiman, is sung from the point of view of a young man as he espies his true love from a distance—Isyang, daughter of Apung, charmed by her beauty and graceful movements as she carries a basket-full of rice cakes on her head.

sung by Earl Policarpio


Another harana song, in which the singer exalts ‘Atsing Rosing’ by offering her a fantastic assortment of gifts:  a necklace of stars,  a half-moon crown, a hammock made of clouds held by a blue rainbow rope. The singer summons heroes Rizal and Bonifacio to guard the lovely Rosing.
sung by Andy Alviz


This harana song is different in that the singer does not refer to his heart’s desire, but instead, describes in poetic terms the intense moment of their evening encounter—the falling of rain, cloudy, star-less skies—the only light being the brief flash of lightning.
sung by Totoy Bato


There are many songs in Spanish called “No Te Vayas” (Don’t Go), and these were eventually introduced to Filipino. The most well-known is  the popular “No Te Vayas de Zamboanga” by Juan Cuadrado, Sr., which even merited an English version (“Don’t you go, don’t you go to far Zamboanga!”). This Pampango version was provided by Imang Fely Tinio.
sung by Mr. Ernie Turla


This very popular ‘basultu’ has so many versions, lyrics-wise—from romantic to the comic (“Inyang malati ku, linub kung kutseru, sira ya'ing kalesa, pile ya'ing kabayu”) . Even the beat is sung in varied ways—from slow and wistful, to bouncy and upbeat. This version has a more nostalgic feel to it.
sung by Jonas David & April de los Santos


Another “basultu” which is perfect for dancing. Many grandmothers also sang this as a lullabye to put their ‘apos’  to sleep. The singer calls a friend’s (“kaka”)  attention and then proceeds to sing his observations of him and of things around him, in a light, playful and teasing manner.
sung by Juan Miguel Louise B. Soto


The lilting “Oyan na ing Papel” has  a repetitive tune and short lyrics that give a directive for Maring to catch a piece of paper being blown by the wind. The windblown paper that contains Pepings’s wedding details, including riding an unrepaired cart to the ceremony
Sung by ArtiSta.Rita


A playful song of many contradictions that talk about a flat mountain, a tree that grows like a vine, a banana tree that grows in a flower pot, monggo that needs a trellis, a santol-bearing mango tree, a hen that’s also a chick, and a rooster that lays eggs. Indeed, this is something for Ripley’s!
sung by Je Manansala


Our love affair with things American began immediately—language was not a barrier. This narrative song begins in fractured English, which is immediately translated literally in Kapampangan—to hilarious effects. This popular song is known to tagalogs as “One Day, Isang Araw”.
Tagalog Version


This old non-sensical song bout n imaginary election among river fishes surprisingly provides a glimpse into folk lifestles, beliefs and attitudes. This ‘basultu’ was contributed by Magdalena Dayrit of San Fernando which Dr. Alejandro Perez included in his 1968 book ‘Pampanga Folklore’.


This is a play song that is sung in consonance with a game of the same title,  variationof ‘talanan dutung’. It starts with a line of  children holding hands, with the lead child holding fast to a wooden wall, gate, tree trunk, or nay wooden object. With held hands swaying, as they sing. At the last note of the song, the players break the line and scamper to look for a wooden object to touch. A player who fails to do so becomes the next “taya” or ‘it’.

 SERENATA, A Tresury of Kapampangan Songs, musical notations by Edwin Lumanug, Holy Angel University Press, 2009.
Atin Ku Pung Singsing:, uploaded by alpc 2008, Jan. 26, 2012.
Aro, Katimyas Na:, uploaded by Earl Policarpio, Jan. 12, 2014
Atsing Rosing:, uploded by Kapampangan Mekeni, Mar. 9, 2015
Dalumdum ning Bengi:, uploaded by Kapampangan Mekeni, Mar. 9, 2015
Eka Mamako:, posted by Ernie Turla, May 1, 2007
Inyang Malati Ku:, uploaded by Benny Guinto, Nov. 23, 2011
O Kaka, o Kaka:, uploaded by Juan Miguel Louise B. Soto, Aug. 30, 2017
Oyan na ing Papel:, uploaded by sisigman,  Oct. 9, 2007
O Patag a Bunduk:, uploaded by Je Manansala, Nov. 12, 2012
One Day, Misan a Aldo:, uploaded by robie317, Feb. 10, 2017
Piesta da reng Asan:
Sisingle, Sisingle:

Wednesday, January 17, 2018


One of the most significant milestones in one’s life is the Wedding, in which two people are united in marriage. “Kasal”, is our term for marriage, “kasalan”, the wedding ceremony. The customs and traditions of present-day unions were primarily influenced by a blend of Filipino, Spanish, American and Chinese models. One thing is certain though—when Kapampangans get married, they leave no stone unturned to make sure that theirs is a wedding to remember—the flashier, the better! Here are 12 notable Pampanga weddings in 1936, half of which were held in the “marry” month of June!

Married: 30 September 1936, Paco Church, Manila
Sponsors: Dña. Victoria H. vda. De Rodriguez, Don Jaime Hernandez
The groom was a successful insurance agent of the National Life Insurance Co. insurance agent at the time of his marriage.

Married: 25 January 1936, Sto. Domingo Church, Manila
Sponsors: Dña. Victoria H. vda. De Rodriguez, Dña. Rosa del Rosario Valdezco, Dr. Teofilo Villongco, Hon. Cayetano Rivera
Carmeling, a 19-year old Centro Escolar de Señoritas beauty,  and her beau Virgilio Rodriguez ( eldest son of sugar planter  Dña Victoria Hizon Rodriguez and the late Godofredo Rodriguez of San Fernando), had already planned on getting married after college, when the 1935 Manila Carnival intervened. A friend of Carmeling’s father badgered him into allowing her  daughter to run for Miss Philippines.  Thinking that her chances of winning were slim, Carmeling’s father persuaded his reluctant daughter to run. To their utter surprise, Carmeling won the Miss Mindanao title. Her name had already been announced in national newspapers when Carmeling resigned her title to marry the man she loved.


Married: 12 April 1936, San Guillermo Church, Bacolor
Sponsors: Dña. Bartola S. de Dizon, Hon. Mariano Buyson Lampa
Dr. Jesus Eusebio was the eldest son of Don Andres Eusebio,  a prominent sugar planter and businessman, with Asuncion Santos. Jesus was already a practicing ophthalmologist when he proposed to his fiancee, Josefina Buyson. Pitang, as she was called,  was one of the children of Mariano Buyson and Dña. Maria de la Paz Miranda Angeles.  Their well-documented wedding at San Guillermo Church was officiated by Fr. Andres Bituin. The church was decorated with flowers especially brought in a day before by Manila’s foremost florist, Mr. Francisco Hilario. The bride was resplendent in a gown made by Pacita Longos, the most famous couturier of the era. Reception followed at the Buyson residence. Entertainment was provided by Serafin Payawal and Tirso Cruz, Manila’s best big bands.

Married: 4 April 1936, Lourdes Church, Manila
Sponsors: Dña. Francisca Pascual de Pahati, Hon. Eusebio Orense
Atty. Carmelino Alvendia was the valedictorian of his University of the Philippines law class in 1930. He was the winner of the Callaghan Prize given by the U.P. College of Law. He taught Mercantile Law at  Far Eastern University, and worked with Orense and Belmonte law firm. He hails from Floridablanca, Pampanga.


Married: 25 April 1936, San Fernando Church, Pampanga
Sponsors: Justice Jose Abad Santos, Dña. Miguela Hizon Teopaco
The groom is one of the 8 children of Primo Hizon and Maria Perez of Mexico. Primo was a U.S.T chemistry graduate who carried out researches and scientific studies of diseases and their cures. He would go on to found Hizon Laboratories Inc., the very first pharmaceutical manufacturing company in the Philippines. The pharmaceutical firm still operates today, run and managed by Hizon descendants.

Married: 3 June 1936, San Beda Church, Manila
Sponsors: Dña. Josefa Rodriguez, Dr. Andres Luciano
Amado is the son of Antonio Luciano, former mayor of Magalang who served for 2 terms, with Nicolas Quiason.

Married: 7 June 1936, San Ignacio Church, Manila
Sponsors: Don Mariano J. Santos, Dña. Nieves S. Santos, Justice Anacleto Diaz, Dña. Sotera Z. Diaz
Demetrio is the son of Mariano and Nieves Songco Santos. Her bride, Amparo, was two years older. He was 24 when they got married, and he would precede her in death, passing away at just age 43 in California, where they settled with their 6 children. Amparo died in 1985.

Married: 20 June 1936, Mexico Church, Pampanga
Sponsors: Dña. Maria Hizon, Don Rafael de Leon
Augusto Hizon comes from a very large family—parents Ramon and Maria Hizon had seven daughters and five sons. Coming from a landed class, the Hizons owned haciendas in the province. They also figured in politics, known for being staunch Liberal Party members.”  Augustor’s brother, Rodolfo Hizon, became a post-war mayor of San Fernando mayor. A sister, Corazon, reigned as Miss Pampanga 1933. Meanwhile, Manuela, who hails from Mexico, was the daughter of Don Rafael de Leon, a PASUDECO stockholder,  with Rosario Basa (daughter of patriot Jose Maria Basa).


Married: 24 June 1936, San Ignacio Church, Manila
Sponsors: Dña. Remedios Soto de Malig, Don Emilio A. Santos
Benito (“Beniting”, “Ben”) Goldman is of Polish-American-Filipino descent. His grandfather, Poland-born Herman Golding, emigrated to the U.S. from Bremen, Germany in January 1856. His father,  Benito “Bennie” Golding Sr. (Herman’s son), married Rosenda Francisco Abriol Santos of Sta. Ana. His bride, Bacolor-born Corazon Malig, was the daughter of Lazaro Malig and Remedios Soto. The couple settled in the U.S. with their children. Benito would pass away first; leaving Corozaon a wido, She died at home in Waldorf, Maryland on 19 April 2003, age 88.

Married: 27 June 1936, Sto. Rosario Church, Angeles, Pampanga
Sponsors: Don Jose de Leon y Joven, Dña. Josefa Rodriguez
The bride, Ester, was the daughter of Alonzo de Leon and Vicenta Paras of San Fernando. Besides being a sugar planter, Alonzo was a respected leader in finance and agriculture.


Married: 8 August 1936, U.S.T. Chapel
Sponsors: Don Rafael Consing, Dña. Potenciana Cuyugan Lumanlan
Arturo Lumanlan is the son of Porac sugar planter Bonifacio Lumanlan, with Potenciana Cuyugan. Consuelo was the eldest child of Rafael Consing with Porfiria Quintana. She would outlive her husband by many years. Arturo’s sister, Juanita Lumanlan-Nepomuceno became Pampanga’a governor and congresswoman.

Married: 27 June 1936, Knox memorial Church, Manila
Sponsors: Dr. Mariano Lamson, Dña. Camila Panlilio

All photos, Pampanga Social Register, 1936, by Kabigting., various articles
Ninu't Ninu Qng Capampangan, by Kabigting

Friday, January 5, 2018


In the 1920s, Hollywood beckoned with promises of fame and fortune to aspiring actors, ingénues and starving artists. The first wave of Filipinos to arrive in Los Angeles coincided with the rise of Hollywood. They, too, were lured with the prospects of employment that the blossoming film industry offered. In 1929, MGM Pictures sounded out a casting call for extras for the movie “The Pagan”. Hordes of Filipinos went to audition, and many passed the 5 foot height limit set for these extras. Generally, these uncredited and underpaid Filipinos  portrayed  savage natives and service-type roles. Through the years, a few Kapampangan artists have made headway in the American film and TV industry. Let’smeet some of them.
U.S. Film Credits: Anna and the King of Siam (1946), The Border Bandits (1946), An American Guerrilla in the Philippines (1950)
Filipino star-wannabes would wait for the postwar 1940s before they could see one of their own claim a legitimate acting role in a Hollywood film. Kapampangan Rosa del Rosario (aka Rosa Stagner, b. Dec. 15, 1916), an American-Filipina mestiza from Bacolor, was already an established star in pre-war Philippine movies when she, on a visit to the U.S., caught the eye of an American director who was casting Asians for his  movie. She won the role as one of the king’s 14 wives in the film classic, “Anna and the King of Siam” in 1946 (to be redone as the musical “The King and I” in 1954). As wife number 7, del Rosario  was unbilled  in this Rex Harrison starrer.  That same year, she  appeared as Celia in the “The Border Bandits”, opposite Johnny Mack Brown and in 20th century Fox ‘s, “An American Guerrilla in the Philippines” with Tyrone Power. Del Rosario is well known for being the first flying female superhero of Philippine films--Darna. She died on Feb. 4, 2005 in Modesto, California.

U.S. Film Credit: Sword of the Avenger (1949)
Rogelio Dela Rosa (b. Nov. 12, 1916/d. Nov. 26, 1986) from Lubao was the first true Filipino male superstar, with a career that spanned over 3 decades. He had his first Hollywood break in 1949 when he was cast as the lead for a movie that was  shot with both Tagalog and English version. Thus, two separate casts-one American, one Filipino, supported him.

Entitled “Sword of the Avenger” (Tagalog: “Ang Vengador”), Dela Rosa was billed  as Ramon Delgado, with Sigrid Gurie as his leading lady (in the local version, dela Rosa played opposite Pacita Francisco). The story was set in Spanish Philippines.  The falsely accused Roberto Balagtas (dela Rosa) was imprisoned, but managed to escape with a treasure map. He finds the treasure by fighting off Chinese smugglers, and becomes a wealthy man. Assuming the name Don Diego Sebastian, her returns to exact revenge. The movie, which was shot  in Hollywood, was directed by Sidney Salkow, who was better known as the director of the popular TV series “Lassie” and “The Addams family”.

U.S. Film Credits: Grubstake (1952), This Could be the Night (1957),  Women in Chains (1972), Fuzz (1972), Chu Chu and the Philly Flash (1981), and Buddy Buddy (1981)
Ruby Neilam Salvador Arrastia, is known in Hollywood as the actress-singer-dancer Neile Adams—and the first wife of the hottest new male star of 60s Hollywood, Steve McQueen. Born on Jul. 10, 1932, to Jose Arrastia of Lubao with Carmen Salvador (sister of character actor Lou Salvador Sr.), she moved to the U.S. after the war.  Adams became a proficient dancer and found herself being cast in musicals. One of her early appearances was in “Pajama Game”, staged at the Carnegie Hall. She moved on to TV and films,  with credits in the 1952 western “Grubstake” and as Patsy St. Claire in “This Could Be The Night” (1957).

Husband and wife appeared in a memorable episode in “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”. Separately, Neile Adams had a recurring role in the TV series “Five Fingers” as Rita Juan in 1960, and went on to guest star in top TV shows thrugh the 60s,70s and 80s, like “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”, “Love American Style”, “Bob Hope Show”. “The Bionic Woman”, “ The Rockford Files”, “Fantasy Island”, “Vega$” and “Hotel”. In 1986, Adams wrote “My Husband, My Friend”, a biography of her husband Steve, who had died of cancer in 1980. Coincidentally, Neile’s son (Chad McQueen) and grandson, Steven R. McQueen (Jeremy Gilbert in “The Vampire Diaries”), are both actors. A nephew, Enrique Iglesias, is a singer and an occasional actor.

U.S. TV Credits: Hawaiian Eye (1959)
International jetsetter Minda Feliciano was the daughter of Manuel Valdez Feliciano, a district engineer, and Amparo Santana of Batanes. Born as Arminda Feliciano on June 1, 1931, her town of origin is sometimes listed as either Angeles or Guagua. That may be due to the peripatetic career of her father, who was assigned in different provinces like Bataan, Nueva Ecija and Surigao.

When she moved to the U.S., she started modeling and auditioning for acting roles and, in 1959, won a regular slot (she played the hula-dancing receptionist, Evelyn) in the popular TV series,”Hawaiian Eye”, produced by Warner Brothers. Her trips around the world led to a chance meeting with actor Michael Caine. The two were soon engaged, but somehow, things didn’t fall into place and the couple parted ways. Michael would marry the exotic beauty, Shakira Baksh in 1973 , win 2 Oscars and be knighted in 2002.

Linked with singer Tony Bennett, Feliciano would form a more lasting relationship with Norman John McClintock Lonsdale, a true English blue blood. Romance bloomed and they were wed in 1997. In the Lonsdales’ sprawling Oxfordshire estate, the couple entertained film star friends like Joan Collins, Peter Sellers, Britt Ekland and Roger Moore. Minda and Norman would be together for 12 happy years until his death in 2009. Minda Feliciano currently lives in London in her ivy-colored house fronting the scenic Thames River.

U.S. TV Credits: Judy Garland Show (1963),  An Evening with Carol Channing TV Special, 1966), The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour (1967), The Tim Conway Comedy Hour (1970), Three’s Company (1976), Good Times (1976), The Ropers (1978), The Comedy Playhouse (1986)
Behind the camera, Kapampangans have also left their mark in the American entertainment industry. Leading the way is the venerable George Sunga, who first joined CBS as a production supervisor of “The Judy Garland Show” in 1963, and later, “The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour”. He went on to produce the hit TV shows  "Good Times," (1974)  "The Jeffersons," (1975) , “All in the Family” (1974)  “Three’s Company” (1976) and many other successful serials. In 1989, Sunga was elected  officer of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.  For his commitment to diversity in television, an award in his honor was created and given yearly at the Media Access Awards. The Sungas are from Guagua, Pampanga.

U.S. Film Credits: Aladdin (1992), Mulan I & II (1998,2004), Redwood Curtain (1995), ER (2010), Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2016) 
The toast of West End and Broadway, Angeles-born Lea Salonga (b. Feb. 22, 1971), has also penetrated the U.S. showbiz industry, both as actress and singer. While still with the hit musical ‘Miss Saigon’ . she was tapped to sing key songs for such movies as “Aladdin” (1992) and  “Mulan” I and II ( 1998, 2004). She had a once-in-a lifetime experience of singing “A Whole New World” at the 1993 Oscar Awards, which went on to win Best Song. Salonga was also seen on a 1995 TV film produced by Hallmark Hall of Fame, “Redwood Curtain”. The film chronicles the search of an Amerasian piano prodigy for her biological father, aVietnam veteran. Other credits include guest appearances in hit TV series “ER” , “As The World Turns” and most recently, as Filipina Aunt Myrna in “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”.

U.S. Film Credit: I.T. (2016)
Federico “Rico” Morales Hizon, whose parents come from Mexico and Mabalacat, respectively, made a name for himself as an international journalist, but his credentials now include acting in a Hollywood film. In the 2016 film“I.T.” topbilled by Pierce Brosnan, the Singapore-based BBC correspondent portrayed himself in this nail-biting thriller directed by John Moore.

U.S. Film Credits: Ghost (1990), Honey, I Blew Up the Kid (1992), Mortal Kombat (1995), the Phantom (1996), Spiderman 2 (2004), Iron Man 3 (2013), Frozen (2013), Big Hero 6 (2014), Moana (2017)
The visual effects/lighting genius behind contemporary classic Disney movies is half-Kapampangan (courtesy of his mother) Winston Quitasol. His talents are put to good use in films  that require visual effects, allowing him to push the technical and technological boundaries  of film effects to produce all kinds of fantastic scenes and imageries. As a visual effects technical director, Quitasol is responsible for lighting various elements (like a character or FX) for a specific scene and composing the said elements to a live action background via computer work. The realistic effect is achieved through his mastery of computer tricks. On the other hand, as a senior lighting artist, he determines how a shot should look by observing the environment of the approved scenes or finding an art director’s  color key. By positioning his lights in the computer, he can match the look and then render out all the elements he needs to composite the final scene.

Quitasol has worked on a slew of high profile Hollywood films , and his first unforgettable assignments was the megahit “Ghost” from 1990, starring Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore. His more recent works include “Spiderman 2”, “Surf’s Up”, “Iron Man 3”, “300: Rise of an Empire , “Frozen”, “Big Hero 6”, “Moana” and “Olaf’s Frozen Adventure”. Quitasol works at the Walt Disney Animation Studios, California State University-Long Beach

U.S. TV Credits: Bill and Yed’s Excellent Adventures (1990), King of the Hill (1993), Futurama (1999), The Simpsons, Season 19: Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind (2007).
Animator Jesus “Jess” Española, from Lubao, is the only full Filipino winner of the
the prestigious primetime Emmy Award for his 2008 work on “The Simpsons ( ‘Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind’ episode). Raised by his single mother, Española struggled to finish high school by taking on odd jobs like baby-sitting and washing dishes. He saved enough money for his  Fine Arts course at the University of the Philippines. Española  found work as an animator for Burbank Animation in Makati, then moved to Fil-Cartoons, which was contracted to create animation for Hanna Barbera cartoons like the popular Flintstones, Scooby Doo and Jonny Quest. So adept did Española become, that he was sent to the head studio in the U.S. where he found employment when the Philippine office closed.

His first assignment was at Film Roman for “King of the Hill,”, one of the primetime shows of Fox, that also includes Matt Groening’s “The Simpsons”. Soon, he was doing character layouts for “The Simpsons”, rising to become its assistant director. Espanola’s win at the Emmys validates the common knowledge that Filipino animators are among the best in Hollywood.”A lot of Filipino artists are in the cutting edge of the animation industry. I guess I am lucky that I worked with "The Simpsons," said Jess, the poor boy from Lubao who made good.

U.S. TV Credits: The Fairly Odd Parents (2014), Sullivan and Son (2014), Sing It (2016), My Little Pony (2016-17), The Great Indoors (2016-17)
In the CBS TV sitcom “The Great Indoors”, Kapampangans were treated to a January 2017 episode in which the characters of actors Joel McHale and Stephen Fry,  spoke  in Kapampangan—albeit, with a thick American accent—so they could disguise their secret plan to leave young campers in the wild without their smartphones. The language got a lot of online attention after Pampanga-born Christ Sundita posted it on facebook. It turned out that the  idea was conceived by story editor/ writer, Kristine Songco (b. Dec. 6, 1985),  a Cal State Fullerton honors graduate in 2007.  She worked on Nickelodeon shows like “The Mighty B!”, “Fanboy” and “Chum Chum”. Her writing gigs have come to include  “The Great Indoors”. Or that much-talked about ‘Kapampangan’ episode, Kristine sought the help of her father in crafting the dialogues. The Songcos are a prominent family from Guagua.

U.S. Film & TV Credits: Project Almanac (2015), Ghost Whisperer (2010), The Secret Life of the American teenager (2008-2013), Mozart and the Whale (2005)
From appearing in commercials (American Online, MTV, Time Warner Cable, Domino's),  Allen Evangelista transitioned to TV easily,  beginning with ABC's "Once and Again" , "Alias", and a lead role in "Mozart and the Whale". Evangelista was born in Los Angeles to a Kapampangan mother, Aurora (from Angeles), and Alfredo Evangelista from Manila. He last visited Pampanga when he was 7 years old. After starring in popular teen shows, he snagged his first major film in 2015 with “Project Almanac”, where he essayed the role of Adam, the 16-year old tech-savvy geek who builds a time machine. The youthful-loking Allen was, in fact, already 33 years old at that time.

U.S. Film & TV Credits: Grey’s Anatomy (2012), The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete (2013), Bad Worlds (2014), Get a Job (2016), Spiderman: Homecoming (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Young Ethan Dizon (b. 2002), is the son of  Eric Dizon,  who traces his ancestry to the Dizons of Mabalacat. His mother is actress Corinne Chooey, while two younger brothers are also actors. Ethan made his acting debut as a 3 year-old child actor in the CBS hit series, “How I Met Your Mother”, He then had guest roles in  “Grey's Anatomy”, and “'Til Death”. His film credits include: “Get A Job”, “Bad Words” ( with Jason Bateman), and the “The Inevitable Defeat of Mister and Pete”, where he is best-known for playing Pete.  In 2018, he will be seen in “Avengers: Infinity War”. A gifted artist, he was nominated for Best Actor at the NBCU Short Film Festival 2014 in "Paulie", where he played the title role.

ROSA DEL ROSARIO PHOTO: www.viewsfromthepampang.blogspot
Avenger: Constantino, Ronald, editor, The Golden Years: Memorable Tagalog Movie Ads, from the collection of Danilo Dolor.
NEILE ADAMS PHOTO: wikicommons, wikipedia
GEORGE SUNGA PHOTO: youtube, Archive of American Television
Three’s Company:
Redwood Curtain Poster:
I.T. Poster: IMP awards
JESS ESPANOLA PHOTO: courtesy of Ruston Banal Photography
The Simpsons:
Project Almanac:imdb. Project Almanac entry
KRISTINE SONGCO PHOTO: Kristine Songco FB page
Mister & Pete:

Wednesday, December 27, 2017


When one goes to Clark today, he passes avenues like C.M. Recto, G. Puyat, M.A. Roxas, K. Laxamana---all names of Filipino statesmen, heroes and personalities. But in the not-so-distant past, when Clark was still a piece of America in Pampanga, its  major thoroughfares and buildings bore ‘stateside’ names like Dyess, O’Leary, Kelly, Levin, Mitchell, Wagner among others. Not many Kapampangans know the faces behind these names today, so here are a few of them.

CAMP STOTSENBURG, named after Col. John Miller Stotsenburg
The future Clark Air Base started as an unnamed camp established six miles northwest of Angeles town by soldiers of the 5th U.S. Cavalry regiment on Dec. 26, 1902.  It was the tradition to name camps after American soldiers killed in the Philippine-American War, and that was how Col. John M. Stotsenburg, killed in action on April 23, 1899 near Quinga, Bulacan, came to be immortalized when the cavalry post was named after him. A graduate of West Point (1881) and  the Infantry and cavalry School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas (1897), Col. Stotsenburg was assigned to the Philippines to lead the 1st Nebraska Regiment as their battalion commander. In an unplanned engagement on April 23, Col. Stotsenburg ordered an immediate advance to fight the Filipinos. Moments later, he was shot in the chest and killed; he was only 40 years old.

CLARK FIELD, named after Maj. Harold Melville Clark
The first airplane landing field were just long dirt landings scraped from the ground in 1919. Eventually, a more expansive airfield was built, asphalted and expanded before World War II. The airfield would be named after Maj. Harold M. Clark, a Philippine-educated American (Manila High School, 1910, future president Manuel A. Roxas was a classmate), who received his pilot’s wings in March 1917. One of the first aviators in Hawaii, Clark was flying his seaplane in the Panama Canal Zone when it crashed on May 2, 1919. The young pilot was killed but his name would live on, overshadowing the original camp name, and by the 1960s, the camp complex  together with its airfields, would be known Clark Field or Clark Air Base.

BOBBITT THEATER, named after Col. Aubrey Malcolm Bobbitt
The popular movie house of Clark that was favorite of  American servicemen, their families, as well as Wagner High teens, screened the latest blockbuster films from the 60s thru the 90s--from “The Thing” “Saturday Night Fever” ,”Jaws”, to “American Werewolf in London”. Bobbitt stood next to the BX, across from what used to be the main gas station, in the same parking lot of what was once the American Express Bank. It was named after Col. Aubrey M. Bobbitt (b. Jan. 25, 1940/d. Aug. 29, 1971), base commander and the commander of the 6200th Air Base Wing, in September 1972. Col. Bobbitt had an illustrious 29-year career in the U.S. military, serving in Newfoundland, Europe and the Philippines. He died at the USAF Hospital of heart attack. Bobbitt Theater, post-Pinatubo, it became a hotel, a cocktail lounge (“Forbidden City”), and is  now part of the Widus Hotel and Casino complex.

BONG HIGHWAY, named after Maj. Richard Bong  (now Manuel L. Quezon Avenue)
Bong Highway has such a local ring to it, sounding much like a common Pinoy nickname. But this major Clark road which leads to the Mimosa main gate (now a Filinvest  property),was named after a World War II Medal of Honor recipient, Major Richard Ira "Dick" Bong (b.Sep. 24, 1920/d. Aug. 6, 1945). One of t host decorated fighter pilots, Major Bong is known for downing 40 Japanese aircrafts in his lifetime. Tragically, he died in California while testing a jet aircraft before the war ended.

DYESS AVENUE, named after Ofcr. William Edwin Dyess (now, C.M. Recto Highway)
William Edwin "Ed" Dyess (August 9, 1916 – December 22, 1943) was an officer of the United States Army Air Corps during World War II. He was in command of the 21st Pursuit Squadron tasked to defend Clark. He was captured after the Allied loss at the Battle of Bataan and endured the subsequent Bataan Death March. After a year in captivity, he escaped and spent three months on the run before being evacuated from the Philippines by a U.S. submarine. Once back in the U.S., he recounted the story of his capture and imprisonment, providing the first widely published eye-witness account of the brutality of the Death March. He returned to duty in the Army Air Forces but was killed in a training accident months later.

KELLY THEATER, named after Capt. Colin Purdue Kelly Jr.
One of the historic buildings in Clark Air Base was the Kelly Theater, constructed in 1953, the only cinema house in Clark and the venue of many stage plays and cultural shows. There was an earlier Kelly Theater built earlier—in 1947—that was converted from an old gymnasium. Both theatres were names after B-17 pilot Capt. Colin P. Kelly Jr. (b.Jul. 11, 1915/d. Dec. 10, 1941)  who died in action against the Japanese forces in 1941. Kelly’s damaged plane, while returning from a bombing run, blew up near Clark Field after being engaged by enemy forces. Capt. Kelly was declared America’s first hero of WWII by US President Franklin D. Roosevelt.  The memorial statue of the fallen captain was inaugurated on the theater grounds on 10 Dec. 2007—the 66th year of his passing. Kelly Theater, located at the cor. Ninoy Aquino Ave. and Foxhound St., survived Mt. Pinatubo, but eventually everything from the seats to the roof and front walls were stolen.

MEYER LEVIN GYMNASIUM, named after Master Sgt. Meyer Levin
The gymnasium facility on Dau Avenue, east of the Parade Ground was named after Meyer Levin in 1955, a master sergeant of the U.S. Army Air Corps. Raised in Brooklyn, New York, Levin (b.Jun 5, 1916/d.Jan. 7, 1943)—who had wanted to become an aviator—became a bombardier and flew with Capt. Colin Kelly after the Japanese attack of Clark Field. During his last mission on January 7, 1943, Levin volunteered to bomb the Japanese convoy ships that was approaching Australia. The weather worsened, and as the plane used up its fuel, the crew bailed out as the planed ditched the water. Levin remained in the plane to release the rafts that saved his crew. He died in the crash and is listed as one of those missing at Manila National Cemetery. Levin was awarded the  Distinguished Flying Cross (for successfully bombing the Japanese warship “Haruna”) and a Purple Heart for his heroic war feats.

MITCHELL HIGHWAY, named after Brig. Gen. William Lendrum Mitchell,  (now J. Abad Santos Avenue)
One of the most travelled roads in Clark—the Mitchell Highway-- stretches all the way from the Mars Station, then passes close to the Parade Grounds, and leads all the way to the Friendship Gate. It was named Philippine-American war veteran, Gen. William “Billy” Mitchell (b.Dec. 29, 1879/d.Feb. 19, 1936), regarded as the father of the United Sates Air Force. Gen. Mitchell also saw action during World War I in France, and even commanded the American air combat units in that country post-war. In 1924, he returned to Pampanga to revisit  Camp Stotsenburg where he even gave flying lessons to Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, whom he had helped capture. The North American B-25 Mitchell—an American military aircraft design—was also named in his honor.

WAGNER HIGH SCHOOL, named after 1st Lt. Boyd David Wagner
The beginnings of Wagner High School and Middle School could be traced back in 1957-58 when the Grades 7-12 of Wurtsmith High transferred to individual wooden buildings at the former Chapel Center. That site that will eventually be renamed Wagner High School. The school was named after 1st Lt. Boyd David Wagner, of the U.S. Army Air Corps, who commanded the 17th Pursuit Squadron that was ordered to protect Clark. On Dec. 14, 1941 shot down four Japanese airplanes, and 2 days later, downed another enemy aircraft at Vigan. Thus, he became the first American World War II Ace, and for which he earned him a Distinguished Service Cross. Wagner was nearly blinded in the Lingayen Gulf battle, but survived and evacuated to Australia where he recovered.Later, he was sent back to the U.S. to train new fighter pilots. On  Nov. 29, 1942, Col. Wagner disappeared while on a flight from Florida to Alabama. His plane wreckage was found six weeks later, some 4 miles north of Freeport, Florida. His remains are buried at Grandview Cemetery, Johnstown, Pennsylvania.

WURTSMITH MEMORIAL SCHOOL, named after Maj. Gen. Paul Bernard Wurstmith
 The Clark Dependents’ School opened in 1947 to accommodate school-age children. In 1950, it was moved to another used office building that would be renamed in 1954 as Wurtsmith Memorial  High School. It was name in memory of Maj. Gen. Paul Bernard Wurtsmith (b. Aug. 9,1906/Sept. 13, 1946), who became a flying cadet in 1927. Over the next 13 years, he served in command positions and his fighters’ feats include downing 78 enemy aircraft in the defense of Darwin in Australia, against the Japanese. In 1945, he commanded the 13th Air Force in the Southern Philippines campaign. Wurtsmith was killed when his plane crashed in the mountain area near Asheville, North Carolina. The Clark school that bears his name would have a new air-conditioned building on the former site of the Stotsenburg base picnic grounds in 1961. Construction of an expanded campus complex began in 1989, and the newly-renovated Wurtsmith High opened for schoolyear 1990-1991. The Pinatubo eruption (which occurred just a week before the end of the school year) forced the transfer of the graduation rites to Subic. The school was later demolished and replaced with Fontana Casino.

A hill in Clark bears a peculiar name, because it was not named after a person, or even after a flower, as its name suggests.

Lilly Hill first appeared on an 1898 map, and is thought to have been derived from the Kapampangan  word “lili”, which means “lost”. The Americanized name was apt because it was easy to get lost on that hill which stood separately from other hills in the area. Used as an observation point by Americans from 1903--42, it was also used by the Japanese for the same purpose. It would become the stronghold of the Kembu Group which defended Clark from late 1944-45. Post-war, a USAF aircraft warning and control unit was put up in the summit until 1962. A Buddhits shrine was built on the hilltop by the Japanese in 1998 on  the 54th commemoration of the Kamikaze. It features a large 5-ton granite statue of Kannon, the "Goddess of Peace ".

Camp Stotsenburg:
Pix of Camp Stotsenburg: Alex Castro Collection
Pix of Col. John Stotsenburg:
Clark Air Base:
Pix,:Harold Clark: An Annotated Pictorial History of Clark Air Base,  by David Rosmer
Bobbitt Theater:
Pix of Bobbitt Theater:
Bong Avenue:
Pix: Welcome to Clark Air Base, Guardian of Philippine Defense booklet
Dyess Highway:
Pix: Welcome to Clark Air Base, Guardian of Philippine Defense booklet
Kelly Theater:
Pix: An Annotated Pictorial History of Clark Air Base,  by David Rosmer
Pix of Colin P. Kelly: Aces of WW2,
Meyer Levin Gym:
Pix: An Annotated Pictorial History of Clark Air Base,  by David Rosmer
Mitchell Highway:
Pix: Welcome to Clark Air Base, Guardian of Philippine Defense booklet
Wagner High School:
Pix of Boyd Wagner: Photograph by Carl Mydans for TIME & LIFE Pictures),  (Colourised by Doug)
Pix: Wagner High School, 1971, collection of K. Morgan
Wurtsmith Elem. School:
Pix of Wurtsmith School:
Lily Hill:
Pix: An Annotated Pictorial History of Clark Air Base,  by David Rosmer