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    Tarlac City is the nucleus of the Province of Tarlac. Tarlac City’s history may be likened to the History of Tarlac Province itself Through the years, Tarlac City, formerly known as Tarlac town, has survived natural and political crises among others, yet, has proven itself as a fast emerging cosmopolitan in the region. It was formally founded in 1788. It has been said that this town was formerly a part of Porac, Pampanga. 

    Tarlac City started out as the earliest native settlement occupied by the Spaniards during the Spanish Period. Tarlac was organized into a praesido (fort) as early as 1593 and was located in a sitio called Porac. By 1788, Tarlac was raised into a civil town independent of Porac. 

    Its early settlers came from Bacolor, Pampanga, among them were Don Carlos Miguel and Don Narciso Castaneda, who before 1788, with their families and followers trekked through the forests and hills of Porac and Bamban until they finally reached and settled down in what is today called Tarlac City. Later, the community was converted into a town in which Don Carlos Miguel prepared and forwarded the resolution to the Spanish authorities.

The first gobernadorcillo (later called municipal) was Don Carlos Miguel in 1788. Together with Don Narciso Castaneda, he established the foundation of Tarlac town. Don Luis Briones in 1789 followed him.

José Alejandrino
Alejandrino with his wife, 1901.
Personal details
BornDecember 1, 1870
Binondo, Manila
DiedJune 1, 1951 (aged 80)
Manila, Philippines

The little community grew rapidly as settlers from Zambales, Pampanga, Bataan and elsewhere flocked the town. 

Tarlac became the most multicultural of the Central Luzon Provinces with a mixture of four district groups, the Pampangos, Ilocanos, Pangasinenses, and Tagalogs, sharing life in the province thus making it The Pampanga dialect became the native language of the town as it was part of Pampanga province in those days.

Francisco Macabulos
Major General
Personal details
BornSeptember 17, 1871
Lapaz, Tarlac
DiedAugust 30, 1922 (aged 50)

Tarlac is represented prominently in the eight rays of the Philippine flag because it was among the first provinces to join the revolution in 1896. The K.K.K of Andres Bonifacio found early adherents among Tarlaquenos, headed by Don Francisco Tanedo, who was killed in an encounter with the Spanish guardia civil during the beginning of the revolution. On June 25, 1898, Tarlac was liberated by GeneralsFrancisco Macabulos and Jose Alejandrino and Spanish soldiers surrendered in Tarlac.

It has a significant share in the history of our nation since it was the last capital of the First Philippine Republic and seat of the Revolutionary Congress convened in San Sebastian Cathedral under General Emilio Aguinaldo from June 21 to November 12, 1899.
Although short-lived and battered by issues during that period, the cabecera became a witness to that historical event. It was the home of very significant laws enacted by the Aguinaldo Government.

Declarations issued in the cabecera of Tarlac: 
June 28, 1899: Prescription of fees for civil and canonical marriages 
June 30, 1899: Establishment of the Bureau of Paper Money 
June 30, 1899: Clemency granted to the Spanish prisoners who defended the Baler Church 
June 30, 1899: Proclamation of Philippines-Spanish Friendship Day 
July 24, 1899: Prohibition of merchant vessels flying the American flag from territories held by the Philippine Republic 
July 31, 1899: Provision for the registration of foreigners 
September 15, 1899: Organization of the Supreme Court and the inferior courts 
November 12, 1899: Promulgation of the General Orders of the Army 

This town was also the home of one of the Philippines’ old universities. When Malolos fell to the Americans, there was a cessation in the education of Filipinos residing in Bulacan. The Universidad Cientifico-Literaria de Filipinas was re-established in Tarlac as decreed on August 9, 1899, utilizing the San Sebastian Cathedral Convent as its building. It was where the first and last graduation ceremony of the said university was held, where the diplomas were signed by General Emilio Aguinaldo.

Arthur McArthur Jr.
The Boy Colonel
Personal details
BornJune 2, 1845
Chicopee Falls, Massachusetts
DiedSeptember 5, 1912 (aged 67)

On November 12, 1899, General Arthur MacArthurand his troop captured the seat of the Revolutionary Congress, signifying the ‘beginning of the end’ of the revolution. The capture of President Emilio Aguinaldo by the American forces on March 23, 1901, in Palanan, Isabela, effectively ended the First Republic. 
Before this fantastic episode in the History of Tarlac City, the town of Tarlac was made independent through Real Orden of 1788 by Governor-General Felix Berenguer de Marquina. Proclaimed as a component city on April 19, 1998 by virtue of Republic Act No. 8593 to be known as the City of Tarlac.


In stories passed on by word of mouth, the name “Tarlac” is believed to have originated from an incident when foreigners tried to converse with the Aetas, the early settlers here. They asked the name of the place they were living in and tried to communicate using sign language. As they pointed on the ground, the Aetas thought they were referring to the grass and answered “tarac” which means “wild cogon grass”. Another version of the story says the Aetas replied “malatarlac” which meant the same. Another Zambal term tal-lac, which means “wooden poles stuck along the river banks to diminish the strong current and was used to facilitate fishing,” was also said to be the name’s origin.


Because this heartland was endowed with natural resources, the community rapidly grew with settlers coming from nearby provinces. Due to its location and vast agricultural lands, it literally became the center of trade in the Province. It also has crossroads to the different provinces in the North, South, East and West.
Investors started to flock in, as centuries passed, and became progressive especially when expressways were built in its peripheries.
Fast-forwarding to 1993, the conversion of the humble municipality into a city began when Resolution No. 316 was passed by the Sangguniang Panlungsod: “A resolution requesting the Honorable Congress of the Republic of the Philippines, through the Honorable Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Tarlac, to cause and facilitate the conversion of the Municipality of Tarlac into a component city.”

On May 1997, Governor Jose “Aping” Yap, who was then Representative of the 2nd Congressional District of Tarlac, filed before the House of Representatives House Bill 6863: “An Act converting Municipality of Tarlac into a component City to be known as City of Tarlac.”
After resolutions were passed by different agencies, civic organizations and the seventy-six (76) barangays to support the cityhood bid, the House of Representatives and the Philippine Senate approved the proposal converting the municipality into a component city of the Province.
Former President Fidel V. Ramos signed House Bill 6863 into law (Republic Act No. 8593) on March 1998 followed by a plebiscite on April 18, 1998 which resulted to an overwhelming confirmation of the conversion.
The Commission on Elections proclaimed the cabecera of Tarlac Province as the City of Tarlac on April 19, 1998.