(Lungsod ng Angeles; Kapampangan
: Ciudad ning Angeles
), geographically located within the province of Pampanga
in the Philippines
, is locally classified as a first-class, highly-urbanized
city. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 267,788.
Angeles is served by the Diosdado Macapagal International Airport inside the Clark Special Economic Zone (formerly Clark Air Base and now renamed Clark Freeport Zone), which is located in the northwestern part of the city. Being the former home of the largest United States Air Force base outside of the continental United States, it was significantly affected by the base pullout brought about by the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in 1991 as the economy of Angeles was heavily dependent on the U.S. base at that time.
Angeles has been dubbed the "Entertainment Capital of Central Luzon." According to the Center for Kapampangan Studies, the dish sisig originated in this city and has been on the menu since the 1730s. Thus Angeles has also become known as the culinary center of Pampanga.
Creation of the town
In 1796, the gobernadorcillo
or town head of San Fernando
, Don Ángel Pantaleón de Miranda, and his wife, Doña Rosalia de Jesus, along with some followers, staked out a new settlement, which they named Culiat because of the abundance of vines of that name in the area. The new settlers cleared the woodland and cultivated the area for rice and sugar farming. Don Ángel built his first house with light materials at the northwest corner of the intersection of Sapang Balen and the road going towards the town of Porac. It was later donated to the Roman Catholic Church and became a cemetery known as the "Campo Santong Matua," the site where the Nepomuceno Coliseum is situated.
On May 12, 1812, the new settlers tried to make Culiat a self-governing town but the friars resisted the move, led by Fray Jose Pometa. Ten years later, on February 11, 1822, Don Ángel filed a petition for the independent township of Culiat from San Fernando though it was denied. This was followed by another petition within the same year, jointly signed by Don Ángel, his son-in-law, Dr. Mariano Henson, and the latter’s father, Severino Henson. He donated 35 hectares for the construction of the first Catholic Church, a convent and a primary school while Doña Agustina Henson de Nepomuceno, the niece of who would become the first gobernadorcillo of Angeles in 1830, Don Ciriaco de Miranda, gave land for the new public market. Don Ángel paid the complete amount required by law just for the political separation of Culiat from San Fernando. There were only 160 taxpayers then but the law required that it should have at least 500 taxpayers.
Located some north of the capital town of Pampanga, Culiat became a barrio of San Fernando for 33 years and on December 8, 1829, it finally became a separate municipality, at which time it was renamed “El Pueblo de los Angeles” (The Town of the Angels, in English) in honor of its patron saints, “Los Santos Angeles de los Custodios” (Holy Guardian Angels), and the name of its founder, Don Ángel, coinciding with the rise of new barrios such as Santo Cristo (as the poblacion or town proper), Cutcut, Pampang and Pulong Anunas. The progressive barrios developed some new industries like a sugar mill and a wine distillery. The transition of Angeles from a jungle clearing to a barrio, to a town and finally to a city took 168 years and in all that time, it survived locusts’ infestations, wars, epidemics, volcanic eruptions and typhoons to become one of the fast rising towns in the country. When it received its first official municipal charter, the town contained some 661 people, 151 houses and an area of 38.65 km².
On March 17, 1899, General Emilio Aguinaldo transferred the seat of Philippine government to Angeles. It then became the site of the first anniversary celebration of the Philippine Independence, which was proclaimed a year earlier in Kawit, Cavite. It was highlighted with a parade, led by the youngest ever Filipino generals, Gregorio del Pilar and Manuel Tinio. It was viewed by General Aguinaldo from the Pamintuan’s residence, which became the Presidential Palace from May to July 1899 and now houses the Central Bank of the Philippines in Central Luzon. Aguinaldo’s sojourn was short however, for in July of this same year he transferred his government to the province of Tarlac following Angeles’ occupation by the American forces.
On August 10, 1899, U.S. forces began the attack on Angeles confident in capturing it in a few days. However, the Filipino Army defending the town refused to give in so easily and fiercely fought back and for three months, they battled the Americans in and around the town. It was only after the battle on November 5, 1899 that the town finally fell into American hands. The Battle of Angeles was considered to be the longest in the history of the Filipino-American War in Pampanga. This led to the establishment of an American camp in Barrio Talimundoc (what is now Lourdes Sur), located next to the railroad station, in order to establish control over the central plains of Luzon. In January 1900, General Frederick D. Grant
organized the first U.S. Civil Government in Angeles by appointing an alcalde
or municipal mayor, thus it was the beginning of American colonization in Angeles.
In 1902, The U.S. Army studied relocating their post from Barrio Talimundoc to a fertile plain in Barrio Sapang Bato, which supposedly had better grass for their horses. A year after that, U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt signed an executive order on September 1, establishing of land in Sapang Bato as Fort Stotsenburg (which later would expand to in 1908 to become Clark Air Base). It was centered on what was Clark Air Base's parade ground in modern years.
The Americans quickly commandeered the Holy Rosary Parish Church and converted it into an army hospital while the choir loft served as a dental clinic. The convent, which now houses Holy Family Academy, was the barracks for medical officers and enlisted men. The sacristy was the only portion where Angeleños could hear mass. When the Americans finally vacated the church in 1904 and relocated to Fort Stotsenburg, Rev. Vicente Lapus, the parish priest, listed a total of $638 for portions of the church destroyed, looted church items and treasures, and arrears on rentals.
Second World War and Japanese occupation
Within hours of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor
, Japan attacked the Philippines, targeting the American military presence, as well as the Philippine Army, and taking over the civilian government. During the Japanese occupation in the country, 57,000 Filipino and American prisoners of war
passed the town of Angeles. They were forced to join the Death March
going to Camp O'Donnell
in Capas, Tarlac. Angeleños showed their sympathy by handing them foods, milk, boiled eggs, rice cakes, cigarettes and water. Angeleños followed them up to the train station in Dau to give moral and spiritual support, and even helped the escapees.
War historians considered the bombing of Fort Stotsenburg on December 8, 1941 at 12:30 p.m. as one of the most destructive air raids in World War II because almost all the American war planes were wrecked to the ground. In thirty minutes, the air might of America in the Far East was completely destroyed.
On the early morning of the New Year’s Day of 1942, the first Japanese troops entered Angeles occupying it up to January 1945. During the Japanese invasion, another type of local government was set up on January 22, 1942. Eventually, the U.S. forces defeated Japan in the Far East through the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. After three years of atrocities committed by Japanese forces, the town and the rest of the Philippines were finally liberated by the American troops in 1945.
Independence and cityhood
After World War II, the Philippines gained independence from the United States on July 4, 1946 but then would be tied to a neo-colonial relationship. The "Treaty of General Relations" signed on independence day itself signified the Americans' withdrawal and surrender of possession, control and sovereignty over the Philippines, except the use of their bases. It was followed by the Philippine-American Military Bases Agreement in March 14, 1947, allowing the U.S. to maintain territorial integrity and sovereignty over Clark Air Base and Subic Naval Base
for the next 44 years. Clark occupied 63,103 hectares and served as the tactical operational U.S. air force installation in the entire Southeast Asian region that had the capacity to accommodate the U.S. military transport planes, which served the entire Western Pacific.
Through the years, although Fort Stotsenburg continued to expand to become what is now known as Clark Air Base, Angeles, despite its proximity to the American camp, did not progress fast and remained fairly small until the end of World War II. It was finally inaugurated on January 1, 1964 as a chartered city under Republic Act No. 3700 and then it entered a period of tremendous growth that has resulted in its present position as the "Premier City in Central Luzon." It was then Mayor Rafael del Rosario’s brainchild that Angeles became a city. He gained the distinction of being the last municipal mayor of Angeles. He was assisted in the preparation of the City Chapter by Attorney Enrique Tayag, a prominent resident of the town. Congresswoman Juanita L. Nepomuceno of the first district of Pampanga sponsored the bill in Congress, which was approved by then President Diosdado Macapagal, the ninth Philippine president and a native of the province of Pampanga.
Due to the presence of the U.S. base, Angeles has become home to a large colony of expatriates as many Americans chose to permanently settle in Angeles, particularly in the Balibago district. During the American colonial period (1898-1946), more than 800,000 Americans were born in the Philippines and a large concentration of Filipino mestizos or Filipinos with American ancestry were located in this city. It is said that aside from the high Amerasian population in the city, prostitution was another consequence of the U.S. bases' presence in the country. Since the early days of Clark Air Base, Fields Avenue, a honky-tonk area frequently visited by the U.S. servicemen, has been known as a center for prostitution, which increased greatly after the end of World War II.
Mount Pinatubo eruption and Angeles today
On June 15, 1991, Angeles was affected by the cataclysmic eruption of nearby Mount Pinatubo, with up to 60,000 people being evacuated
from the city. It was the second-largest volcanic eruption of the twentieth century and, by far, the largest eruption to affect a densely populated area. Angeles and Clark were badly hit and the agricultural lands, as well as other businesses, were covered by tons of lahar. There were no casualties reported inside Clark since two days before the initial eruption, the 18,000 personnel and their families were transported to Subic Naval Base in Zambales and Guam
, most of whom were returned to the United States.
The eruption of Mount Pinatubo forced the hand of the U.S. to prematurely abandon its military installation at Clark Air Base. This is in addition to the voting by the Philippine Senate in 1991 to no longer extend the Laurel-Langley Act, which allows the presence of U.S. military forces on Philippine territory, thus ending the long chapter of Filipino-American relations in the history of Angeles. The U.S. military never returned to Clark, turning over the damaged base to the Philippine government on November 26, 1991
In 1993, cleanup and removal of volcanic ash deposits began. The former base re-emerged as Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) approved by then President Fidel V. Ramos on April 3 of the same year and in 2001, Clark International Airport was renamed Diosdado Macapagal International Airport in honor of Diosdado Macapagal, the father of current President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. The airfield infrastructure was improved and destined to be the premiere airport in the country in the next five years and one of the most modern in Asia. The creation of CSEZ has helped to offset the loss of income and jobs previously generated by the presence of the U.S. base in Angeles. Today, Angeles and Clark together form the hub for business, industry, aviation and tourism, as well as the entertainment and gaming center of Central Luzon.
- Fort Stotsenburg, named after Colonel John M. Stotsenburg, a captain of the 6th U.S. Cavalry, was the location of the permanent quarters of the American forces in Sapang Bato, Angeles. It is also known as the "Parade Ground," which served as a venue for many important celebrations by the Americans before the Philippine-American Military Bases Agreement ended in 1991.
- Old Pamintuan Residence was served as the seat of government of the First Philippine Republic under General Emilio Aguinaldo from May to July 1899 and the Central Headquarter for Major General Arthur MacArthur, Jr., the father of General Douglas MacArthur. It now houses the Central Bank of the Philippines in Central Luzon.
- Founders' Residence (Bale Matua), located at the heart of Santo Rosario, is the oldest building in the city. It was built in 1824 by the city founder, Don Ángel Pantaleón de Miranda, and his wife, Doña Rosalia de Jesus, and was inherited by their only daughter, Doña Juana de Miranda de Henson. This house, which is made of high stone and an ornate gate, nostalgically symbolizes the glorious past of Angeles amidst the overwhelming onslaughts of modernization.
- Camalig was built in 1840 by Don Ciriaco de Miranda, the first gobernadorcillo of Angeles, and was used as a grain storehouse along Santo Rosario Street. It was restored in 1980 by Armando L. Nepomuceno and is now the site of Armando's Pizza and Camalig Restaurant.
- Post Office Building (Deposito) is a building that was constructed in 1899 for the purpose of depositing religious statues and carriages of the Catholic Church, hence the name Deposito. It was also used as the headquarter of the 11th Film Exchange U.S. Army from 1946 to 1947 and was then used as a jailhouse for recalcitrant U.S. troops during the Philippine-American War. On February 6, 1967, the Angeles City Post Office moved to this building. It is now the site of Angeles Physical Therapy Rehabilitation Center.
- Holy Rosary Church (Santo Rosario Church) was constructed from 1877 to 1896 by the "Polo y Servicio" labor system, a kind of forced labor imposed on Filipino peasants by the Spanish colonial government. It was used as a military hospital by the U.S. Army from August 1899 to December 1900. Its backyard was the execution ground to the Spanish forces in shooting down Filipino rebels and suspects.
- Holy Family Academy Building was once a convent and was served as a military hospital of the U.S. Army in 1900. It was later used as troop barracks, officers' quarters and arsenal by the Japanese Imperial Military Forces in 1942.
- Bale Herencia, built in 1860, is situated in Lakandula Street corner Santo Rosario Street. It is a picturesque house with the unsavory reputation of having been built for the mistress of a parish priest. The current owners now use it as a banquet hall.
- Juan D. Nepomuceno's Center for Kapampangan Studies houses a library, museum of archives and gallery, research center and theater, put up by the Holy Angel University in 2002 to preserve, study and promote Kapampangan history and culture.
- Lily Hill was a strategic observation post for monitoring Japanese movement in World War II. Remains of Japanese aircraft were found here at the end of the war. Along this hill can now be found Lily Hill Duty Free Store.
- Bayanihan Park (formerly Astro Park) is now home to a year-round mini-amusement park and it is an ideal spot for sports and recreational activities having basketball and volleyball courts and huge space for jogging and other recreational activities. This is where the famous and historical "Salakot Arch" is now located.
- Salakot Arch is a landmark of Angeles City. From 1902 to 1979, Clark remained a U.S. territory, guaranteed by the Military Bases Agreement in 1947. In 1978, the Philippines, under the dispensation of the former President Ferdinand Marcos, and the U.S. finally agreed to establish Philippine sovereignty over the U.S. bases and thus the Clark Air Base Command (CABCOM) of the Armed Forces of the Philippines came into being, following the signing of a revised Military Bases Agreement on January 7, 1979. To commemorate this unprecendented and bold event, the government constructed a special structure based upon the design of a salakot or native hat, which soon became a widely recognized symbol of this renewed Filipino spirit from the long and archaic tradition of Philippine-American relations and the weaning away from it. Angeles will soon see and realize its full potential as a dynamic might on its own without the American base after the onslaught of Pinatubo volcano.
Angeles City is politically subdivided into 33 barangays
- Agapito del Rosario
- Claro M. Recto
- Lourdes North West
- Lourdes Sur (Talimundoc)
Lourdes Sur East
Marisol (Ninoy Aquino)
Pampang (Santo Niño)
Santo Rosario (Poblacion)
Virgen Delos Remedios|
In the 2000s, the local government of Angeles and Clark Development Corporation rebranded the Fields Avenue tourist belt as a high-end destination with fine restaurants and luxury hotels and resorts, and Clark Air Base as the Clark Freeport Zone, home for the city's emerging technology industry. The finishing of roads, such as the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway
, has improved trade and transport. The project connects the industrial, transport and business hubs of Pampanga, Zambales, Bataan and Tarlac. The project is crucial to bolstering growth in Central Luzon.
The city has cottage industries producing rattan furniture, coconuts, and charcoal briquettes. It also has many thriving export businesses in handicrafts, metal crafts, toys, houseware and garments. Apart from the Clark Freeport Zone, industrial areas include the Angeles Livelihood Village and the Angeles City Industrial Estate.
Call centers supporting e-Telecare, CyberCity, Sutherland and IRMC, plus other American IT industries are major employers as well. The establishment of a number of shopping malls also fueled the city's economy, including SM City-Clark, Robinson's Place, Jenra Grand Mall, Nepo Mall, Saver's Mall and the proposed Ayala Shopping Mall, next to the City Hall.
In 2007, Texas Instruments began work on a $1-billion semiconductor facility inside the Clark Special Economic Zone, scheduled to begin production in 2008. There is also a proposal of constructing a new Formula One quality circuit in a 2,000-hectare lot fronting the North Luzon Expressway between Angeles City and Subic Bay, from which
the country may soon play host to prestigious international car-racing events and possibly bid to become one of the venues of the world-renown Formula One series.
Welfare groups and NGOs
- The Philippine Children's Fund of America is an American charity dedicated to provide educational, medical, health and nutritional programs to needy children while addressing community empowerment through the provision of training and livelihood opportunities to many Filipino families.
- Bahay Bata Center is a project launched by the Clark Centennial Rotary in 2001. It is an institution that seeks to uplift the welfare of the said children, placing them in a safe and caring environment and giving them all the basic necessities of life like education, psychological support and spiritual guidance.
- Women’s organizations include Women’s Legal Bureau, Ing Makababaying Aksyon Foundation, the Nagkakaisang Kababaihan ng Angeles City Multi-Purpose Cooperative (NKAC or United Women of Angeles City Multi-Purpose Cooperative) and the Women’s Health Care Foundation (WEDPRO), which actively sponsors a clinic in the city.
Festivals and local celebrations
- Philippine International Hot-Air Balloon Fiesta is held annually between January and February at Clark Field, Angeles City, Pampanga. Considered to be the biggest aviation sports event in the country, it features multicolored hot-air balloons with more than a hundred balloon pilots from around the world
- La Naval Fiesta is held every second Sunday of October in commemoration of the Virgin of the Holy Rosary, whose intercession saw the victory of the Spanish fleet over the Dutch invaders. The city celebrates this fiesta with typical religious programs and homes display the finest traditions of hospitality in entertaining guests with the finest food and drinks
- Tigtigan Terakan keng Dalan (Music and Dancing in the Streets) is held every last Friday and Saturday night of October. It is the biggest street party held each year in the city, which lasts up to the wee hours of the following day. Attended by celebrities and citizens alike, it features music from amateur and OPM bands
- Apu Fiesta (Piyestang Apu) is held on the last Friday of October. Devotees from all over Pampanga flock to the Apu shrine every Friday to venerate the supposedly miraculous image of Jesus Christ lying in the sepulcher. It is also every Friday when people buy household items, clothes and audio-video equipment in a makeshift market called tiangge at bargain prices
- Sisig Festival (Sadsaran Qng Angeles) is also held every year in the month of December, celebrating the Kapampangan dish, sisig. It is now held at SM City-Clark but it was usually celebrated along the stretch of McArthur Highway in Balibago.
- Lea Salonga is a Tony Award-winning singer and actress who is best known for her portrayal of Kim in the musical, Miss Saigon. She spent the first six years of her childhood in Angeles City before moving to Manila.
- apl.de.ap, born Allan Pineda Lindo in Sapang Bato, Angeles City, is a member of the Grammy-award winning group, The Black Eyed Peas. He is famous throughout the Filipino community after the release of his life story of his homeland Philippines in a song called "The Apl Song" found on the Peas' 2003 album, "Elephunk.
- Vanessa Minnillo is an American television personality born in Clark Air Base, Angeles City and raised in Seattle, Washington and Charleston, South Carolina. She was Miss Teen U.S.A. 1998 and was a host on MTV's Total Request Live.
- Efren "Bata" Reyes, referred to as "The Magician," is a very popular Filipino pool player. He is a former world champion and considered to be one of history's greatest practitioners of pool.
- Hilda Koronel, born Susan Reid, is an award-winning actress who starred in around 45 films, many of which are critically acclaimed, since 1970. Her father is an American who was a serviceman in Clark Air Base.
- Cris Judd is an American actor and popular choreographer to Michael Jackson and Usher, but he is best known for his failed marriage to American actress, Jennifer Lopez. He spent his childhood years in Clark Air Base.
- Arwind Santos is a local basketball player, playing for Far Eastern University in the UAAP and the Magnolia Ice Cream Spinners in the Philippine Basketball League. He was selected PBL's Most Valuable Player (2004), two-time UAAP's Most Valuable Player (2004-2005) and one-time UAAP's Most Valuable Player (2005).
- Donita Rose is a famous local television host and a former MTV VJ in Asia. Although born in the U.S., she moved to Angeles City, where her American father was stationed at the U.S. base, when she was five years old.
- Rodolfo Luat is one of the highest-ranking pool players of the Philippines. Popularly known as "Boy Samson" since the 1970s because of his powerful break, he holds many Asian individual and team titles.
- Peter Valdes is an American-based Software Entrepreneur who was awarded one of the 10 Most Inspiring Technopreneurs in the Philippines in 2006. He was a co-founder of the globally successful Tivoli Software (an IBM Company).
- Kristine Johnson is a co-anchor at WCBS-TV, making her the first Filipino-American to serve as the face of a major network newscast in New York and the entire U.S. East Coast. She was previously an anchor of Early Today and Weekend Today. She was born in Clark Air Base and is currently residing in New Jersey with her husband and two children.