In a land area of 3,053.4 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the civil province of Tarlac. Tarlac is a landlocked province of the Philippines located in the Luzon Island. Its capital is Tarlac City. Tarlac borders Pampanga to the south, Nueva Ecija to the east, Pangasinan to the north, and Zambales to the west. It is a part of Central Luzon, which is composed of Aurora, Bataan, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Tarlac, and Zambales.
As of yearend 2009 the total population of the diocese is 1,243,449 of which 83 percent are Catholics or equivalent to 887,089.
Tarlac today once a thickly-forested area, people by roving tribes of nomadic Aetas said to be the aboriginal settlers of the Philippines.
Aeta are an indigenous people who live in scattered, isolated mountainous parts of the Philippines. Aetas are considered as the earliest inhabitants of the Philippines, preceding the Austronesian migrations. They are nomadic and build only temporary shelters made of sticks driven to the ground and covered with the palm of banana leaves. The well-situated and more modernized Aetas have moved to villages and areas of cleared mountains. They live in houses made of bamboo and cogon grass. Aetas are found in Zambales, Tarlac, Pampanga, Angeles, Olongapo, Panay, Bataan and Nueva Ecija. But because of the Mount Pinatubo eruption, some of them move to resettlement areas in Pampanga and Tarlac.
Pampango or Kapampangan is spoken by more than half of the population followed by Ilocano spoken. Tagalog is widely understood.
- DIOCESE OF TARLAC
Created: Feb. 16, 1963
Erected: May 10, 1963
Comprises the Civil Province of Tarlac
Titular: Saint Sebastian
The Diocese of Tarlac comprises the whole province of Tarlac. Before its creation on Feb. 16, 1963, the province belonged to two different dioceses. Its capital town of Tarlac and the southern towns belonged to the then Diocese of San Fernando, Pampanga, and the northern towns to the Diocese of Lingayen-Dagupan. Today it is a suffragan of the Archdiocese of Pampanga. It is the melting pot where Kapampangans, Ilocanos, Pangasinenses, Tagalogs, and the Aetas live together in harmony and peace.
The province of Tarlac is right in the heartland of Central Luzon which comprises Region III. This location between Manila and the Northern provinces has made it the important trading center that it is today. Tarlac is landlocked by Pangasinan on the north, Nueva Ecija on the east, Pampanga on the south, and Zambales on the west.
Originally Tarlac was part of the provinces of Pampanga and Pangasinan. It was organized as a province of its own close to the end of the Spanish regime. With its neighboring provinces in Central Luzon, Tarlac was among the first to rise up in arms against Spain in 1898. When Malolos was abandoned as the second seat of the First Philippine Republic as the Americans overran the country, Tarlac, Tarlac became the new seat of the new government for a few months.
From more recent times, in World War II, the town of Capas in Tarlac is remembered as hallowed ground where the infamous "Death March" ended at Camp O'Donnell, after the Filipino-American forces surrendered in Bataan. The prisoners were made to walk the entire distance from Bataan to Capas, with hardly any food, half of them dying along the road. In the fifties and the sixties, Tarlac was again the seat of more rebellion, this time by the Hukbalahaps during the term of President Ramon Magsaysay.
The entire diocese is being renewed and evangelized in accordance with the spirit of the Second Plenary Council of the Philippines. Large parishes are being divided into manageable sizes. Parish pastoral councils are undergoing revitalization along the lines of renewed evangelization. And the laity is gradually being introduced to new methods and concepts.
The Diocese of Tarlac has St. Sebastian for its titular patron.
- History of Tarlac
Several accounts show that Tarlac was once a thickly-forested area where tribes of nomadic Aetas thrived. The name "Tarlac" was drawn from a talahib like weed called "Matarlak" by the Aetas.
Tarlac's name first figured in written history as a praesidio or military port designated with the task of defending communities from the frequent lowland raids of the Negritos and Balugas.
Tarlac was the last province in Central Luzon to be created by the Spanish colonial government and was inaugurated as a regular province on May 28 of 1873 with Don Juan Guillen as its first politico-military governor.
History also reveals that initially, Tarlac belonged to the provinces of Pampanga and Pangasinan. Tarlac was among the first to revolt against the Spaniards, being one of the "eight rays of the sun in the Philippine flag" the "terranos de guerra". Officially the revolution in Tarlac started on Jan. 24, 1897, the so-called "Cry of Tagumpay".
The town of Tarlac became the seat of the Aguinaldo government from June 21 to Nov. 10, 1899. This was a few months after Malolos, Bulacan was abandoned by General Emilio Aguinaldo as the seat of the Philippine Republic.
Tarlac Cathedral was the site of the Philippine Revolutionary Congress, after its transfer from the Barasoain Church in Malolos.
A Philippine province is headed by a Governor. A Provincial Council (Sangguniang Panlalawigan) is composed of a Vice Governor (Presiding Officer) and Provincial Board Members. A Philippine city or municipality is headed by a Mayor. A City Council(Sangguniang Panlungsod) or Municipal Council (Sangguniang Bayan) is composed of a Vice Mayor (Presiding Officer) and City or Municipal Councilors. A barangay is headed by a Barangay Captain, who is also the presiding officer of the barangay council. The Barangay Council is composed of seven (7) Barangay Kagawads. A similar unit called a Youth Council (Sangguniang Kabataan) is headed by an SK Chairperson with a similar rank to a Barangay Captain. The council is composed of SK Members.
During the Philippine Revolution of 1896, Tarlac was one of the first eight provinces to rise in arms against Spain. It became the new seat of the first Philippine Republic in March 1899 when Emilio Aguinaldo abandoned the former capital, Malolos, Bulacan. This lasted only for a month, as the seat was moved to Nueva Ecija in Aguinaldo's attempt to elude the pursuing Americans.
On Oct. 23, 1899, Gregorio Aglipay, military vicar general of the revolutionary forces, called the Filipino clergy to a conference in Paniqui. There, they drafted the constitution of the Philippine Independent Church. They called for the Filipinization of the clergy, which eventually led to a schism in the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines.
Tarlac was captured by American forces in November 1899. A civil government was established in the province in 1901.
During the World War II, Camp O'Donnell in Capas became the terminal point of the infamous "Bataan Death March", involving Filipino and American soldiers who surrendered in Bataan on April 9, 1942. The camp was so overcrowded that many allied prisoners who survived the grueling march died here of hunger and disease.
In the early 1950s, Tarlac was the hotbed of the Huks, a local communist movement. It was suppressed at first but had resurgence in 1965.
Tarlac is the home province of former Philippine President Corazon Aquino and her husband, Benigno Aquino, Jr., whose assassination at the Manila International Airport in 1983 started the protest movement against the Marcos dictatorship, which culminated in the EDSA Revolution of 1986.
Tarlac is also the home province of General Carlos P. Romulo (from the town of Camiling), who served as president of the University of the Philippines, Philippine ambassador to the United Nations, president of the General Assembly and chairman of the Security Council. Tarlac is also the home province of Onofre D. Corpuz, also from the town of Camiling, who served as president of the University of the Philippines and secretary of education
Tarlac's connectivity with its neighboring provinces and beyond is feasible with the presence of jeepneys and bus services. The province has several inter-provincial bus terminals, all located in the city of Tarlac. Inter-provincial bus transport services like Victory, Five-Star, Philippine Rabbit, Dagupan, Baliwag are some of the buses serving Tarlac and its nearby provinces.
The annual per capita income (in Philippine Peso) is 24,809 (excludes Tarlac City; USD571 as of April 2011.
Principal crops are rice and sugarcane. Other major crops are corn and coconut; vegetables such as eggplant, garlic, and onion; and fruit trees like mango, banana, and calamansi.
Because the province is landlocked, its fish production is limited to several fishponds. On the boundary with Zambales in the west, forestlands provide timber for the logging industry. Mineral reserves such as manganese and iron can also be found along the western section.
Tarlac has its own rice and corn mills as well as sawmills and logging outfits. It has three sugar centrals. Other firms service agricultural needs such as fertilizer. Among its cottage industries, ceramics making has become important because of the abundant supply of clay.
Some of the major industries here are the making of the delicious and famous Chicharon and Iniruban in the municipality of Camiling, Ylang Ylang products of Anao and the Muscovado sugar products of Victoria. Besides those products, the province also boosts its sugar products in the Philippines. It is next to Negros Occidental which is the nation's sugar capital. Tilapia (a freshwater fish) is also improving in Tarlac and it will soon be the Tilapia capital of the Philippines.
Telephone companies provide international and direct dialing capabilities. In addition, these lines will also have call forwarding and conference features provided by Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT). There are also telegraphic and internet services available in the region.
Cellular phone service is also now available by top cellular phone providers of the country.
There is one AM station and 2 FM radio stations in the territory while there is one Catholic FM radio station owned and operated by Radio Maria.
There are 2 TV stations owned and operated by ACQ-Kingdom Broadcasting Network and the ABS-CBN Corporation.
The province has a road system that links its 17 municipalities and its lone city. The road network is radial and circumferential in form and is concentrated in the eastern part of the province where development is remarkable. The western part of the province, mainly occupied by the municipality of San Jose, has limited links being currently designated as protection area.
National roads provide for both intra- and inter-provincial movement in the place. The MacArthur Highway is the province's north-south corridor. It links Tarlac with Pangasinan and Pampanga in the north and south. The Tarlac-Camiling Road is a link which providing access to and from Pangasinan. Access to Nueva Ecija in the east is via Tarlac-Zaragoza Road via La Paz.
A 100-km road project has been identified in the past linking Tibag, Tarlac City with the Botolan Plains and Iba in Zambales.
Eastern Tarlac is a plain, while Western Tarlac is hilly to mountainous. Because of this, the province owns a large portion of mountains like Mt. Telakawa, which is the highest mountain in the province located at Capas, Tarlac. Mt. Bueno is located also in Capas. The other mountains are Mt. Dueg and Mt. Maasin, found in the municipality of San Clemente. Also noted are Mt. Papaac, Bacsay, Cayasan and Birbira of Camiling. The whole of Mayantoc and San Jose are mountainous so it is suitable for the highest natural resources and forest products in the province such as coal, iron, copper, vegetables, fruits, log fires, sand, rocks and forest animals such as wild boar, deer etc.
Tarlac is subdivided into 17 municipalities and 1 city. These divisions are further subdivided into 511 barangays. The province comprises three congressional districts.
City: Tarlac City
Municipalities: Anao, Bamban, Camiling, Capas, Concepcion, Gerona, La Paz, Mayantoc, Moncada, Paniqui, Pura, Ramos, San Clemente, San Jose, San Manuel, Santa Ignacia and Victoria.
Literacy rate (simple literacy) in the diocesan territory is 94.42 percent.
Belenismo in Tarlac Festival
Belenismo sa Tarlac is a festival that started in 2007, the Belenismo in Tarlac is a showcase of the colourful, authentic and artistically inspired Belen (nativity sets) displays throughout the town's municipalities, business establishments and churches.