Town of Mexico, Pampanga
The town of Masicu which might have derived its name from an exotic fruit tree called Sicu or Chico or as other historians wrote that it was named so because of the great abundance of water within the settlement, is situated on the eastern side of the capital town of San Fernando. Masicu used to include in its geographical jurisdiction some areas of San Fernando and Angeles before these metropolitan areas were organized as independent municipalities. The Spaniards romanticized the towns name to Mexico. Some people say that the difficulty of Spaniards in pronouncing its original name and their familiarity with the country of Mexico might have been the reason for renaming it as Mexico. Other people believe that the assignment of Catholic priests and soldiers from Mexico during the Spanish occupation of the Philippines might be responsible for renaming the town in honor of their beloved home country.
When water transportation was still the primary means of travelling, the town of Mexico had a river port for passenger and cargo ships. It was then the primary trading center in Eastern Pampanga. The construction of good roads and railroads passing through San Fernando and Angeles diminished the commercial activities in Mexico. The town proper was transferred before the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution to its present location which is on the junction of the national road leading to the towns of Sta. Ana, Arayat and Candaba.
One of many famous native sons of Mexico is General Rafael Maniago of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, a descendant of the valiant warlord Francisco Maniago who led the Kapampangans in revolting against Spain in 1660. This 17th century uprising was caused by the natural love of freedom of the Kapampangan people, the frequent recruitment of Kapampangan men to cut timber for the construction of Spanish galleons and hatred for the vandala meaning the sale by force of native products particularly rice to the Spanish authorities at prices and payments determined by the Spaniards. Franscisco Maniago and his troops were later pacified with the intercession of an Augustinian friar, Fr. Andres de Salazar who conferred with Governor General Lara who agreed to meet the demands of the Kapampangan people which included the general pardon to all rebels, payment of P14,000 to the Kapampangans as initial installment of the total government indebtedness amounting to P200,000 and the timber cutters were given time to attend to their domestic activities.
Another Filipino hero who hailed from the town of Mexico was General Maximino Hizon who played an important role both during the Philippine Revolution against Spain and during the Filipino-American War. He served as supreme commander of all Filipino forces in Pampanga who fought the Spaniards and Americans.
Many prominent Pampangan families like the Bondoc, Canlas, Cunanan, Dizon, Hizon, Inventor, Jimenez, Lacandola, Laus, Laxamana, Lazatin, Lising, Lorenzo, Lumba, Makabali, Manalang, Maniago, Meneses, Nuqui, Ocampo, Panlilio, Padilla, Pinpin, Punsalan, Quioc, Salas, Sampang, Santos, Tala and many others trace their roots to the historic town of Mexico.
World War II caused little property damages in Mexico but many of her sons died bravely in the battlefields of Bataan defending their beloved country against the Japanese Imperial Forces. Many joined the Hukbalahaps trying to regain the lost democracy.
One of many Filipino leaders who fought for governmental reforms and to terminate Martial Law in the 70s through the 80s is a Mexicanian native named Rodolfo Salas (Commander Bilog). He strongly advocated social justice for everyone regardless of social and economic status and countenanced the elimination of graft and corruption in governmental bureaucracy.
Mexico, known as the cradle of the Socialist Movement in Pampanga is still a farming community with sugar and palay as its principal crops. The town has the honorable Ernesto Punsalan as municipal mayor and its population of 79,301 people as of the 1995 census is distributed among the following forty three (43) barangays:
The town of Mexico was not significantly damaged by the 1991 eruption of Mt. Pinatubo nor by the annual flow of lahar in other towns. The good people of Mexico responded to the call of duty to care for calamity victims who lost their homes. Thousands of these people who lost their homes are now resettled in Mexico.
About the Authors:
Andro and Tess Z. Camiling are conscientious researchers and writers of Kapampangan history, language and culture. They wrote “Pampanga: History and Culture", "Pampanga: Towns and Barangays", "The Province of Pampanga and Its People” and other articles including “Malay Relation With Kapampangan Language and Culture”, "Spanish Relation With Kapampangan Language and Culture", biographies of eighteen (18) famous Kapampangans and the history of the towns of Apalit, Lubao, Masantol, Mexico, Minalin, San Fernando, San Luis, San Simon and Santo Tomas of the Province of Pampanga, Philippines. Andro is a true-blue Kapampangan based in California USA where he was employed and retired as an accounting/financial director at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and practiced his CPA profession as a management and tax consultant. He is a Pampanga High School Centennial Awardee as an Outstanding Alumnus in the Field of Accountancy and a recipient of the City of San Fernando’s 2011 Outstanding Fernandino Award for Culture. His wife and co-author of the aforementioned articles, the former Teresita Manalansan Zuniga of Lubao, Pampanga, Philippines is a retired public school teacher in Pasadena, California. She was honored and awarded with Certificates of Recognition by the California State Assembly and the California State Senate for her outstanding dedication to teaching when she retired in 2003. Andro and Tess are dedicated socio-civic-religious leaders in their community and served as long-term presidents of their town non-profit charitable organizations in the USA.