Angeles was formerly called Barrio Culiat, after the vines that grew abundantly in the area at the time when the first settlers founded the town is now the city’s old district. Spanish-period structures particularly along its oldest streets –Santo Rosario and Santo Entierro are preserved today as delicate reminders of events in Philippine history.
Historic Camalig Restaurant
It was lunch time when we arrived in Angeles City. We went to the Camalig, a restored Spanish rice granary along Santo Rosario Street to sample Armando’s Pizza.
Built in 1840 by the town’s first mayor Don Ciriaco de Miranda primarily as a shed made of light materials, it was restored in the early 1900s to it present form by the post-colonial mayor Capitan Juan Nepomoceno.
The father of the current owner Armando’s Pizza, the late Armando Nepomoceno inherited the 150-year old building thus Historic Camalig Restaurant is also billed as “The Home of Armando’s Pizza.”
While waiting for our orders to be served, we toured the old Camalig to view its gallery of ancient photographs of early Angeles personages and exhibit of relics from a bygone Angeles town. Surrounded by rustic old-world Filipiniana, we enjoyed our Armando’s Pizza served warm in a traditional bilao.
Along Santo Rosario Street is the home of Don Angel Panteleon de Miranda and wife Doña Rosalia de Jesus. The couple led their followers from burgeoning city of San Fernando to settle in what is then a forested area they established as Culiat in 1796. By the end of the 19th century, Barrio Culiat has become a prosperous town.
In 1824, the couple built their house made of stone and wood. During the Philippine-American War 1899, the Miranda House served the headquarters of the retreating forces of the Revolutionary Government.
Holy Rosary Parish
In 1830, the Augustinians renamed Culiat to Angeles after the name of its founder who “paid from his own purse a part of the expenses of the construction of the church” and also as way of custom its patron: Los Santos Angeles Custodio, The Holy Guardian Angels.
The present Renaissance-style stone church was built through polos y servicios or forced labor under the Spanish government. It was completed in 1896 which at that time, the church is the tallest in the whole of Pampanga. The twin belfries where used as watchtowers by Filipinos during the Philippine-American War.
Enshrined in the main altar is the image of the Nuestra Señora de Santissima Rosario de la Naval.
Old Municipal Hall
Across the church is the old municipal hall. Constructed in 1922 during the term of Mayor Juan Nepomoceno, the building today houses the Museo Ning Angeles. Unfortunately, the museum was closed during our visit.
A two-story ancestral house, Bale Herencia was used as a residence, Catechism school, office of a town councilor, mini-casino and then commercial establishment. Today, it serves as venue for formal events and art exhibits.
During the Philippine-American War, Angeles was where the president of the fledging Philippine Republic, General Emilio Aguinaldo set up his traveling government. The Pamintuan Mansion was his official residence in Angeles.
It is in this mansion where Aguinaldo watched from the second storey window while waving the original Philippine flag a grand parade in celebration of the first and only anniversary of the shirt-lived republic. Today, the mansion houses Central Bank’s regional clearing office.
On our way back home after our half-day Pampanga road trip, I can’t help but notice the majestic Mount Arayat overlooking vast emerald green rice fields.