Every day, as sure as the sun rises, most of our daily reads come in the form of national newspapers and tabloids that carry the latest bad news, showbiz chismis, sensational crime stories and political exposés. The big three, in terms of readership and circulation, include PDI, Manila Bulletin and Star. National magazines are even more varied and target specific—there’s a magazine for him, for her, for cuisine fans, for Manila’s 400, for entrepreneurs, call center agents, advertising people and even pet lovers. Whatever your interest, there’s a publication today that is certain to appeal to you.
Just a little over a century ago, Kapampangans only had one local newspaper that they read from cover to cover. El Imparcial/ E Mangabiran (The Impartial) was the first bi-lingual Spanish-Kapampangan newspaper that came out in the region, published by Mariano Lim in 1905. The local paper, it was said, was an offshoot of a national conference of newspapermen that was held in Bacolor the year before. Some contend however that the paper was circulated to boost the gubernatorial ambitions of the publisher.
E Mangabiran was a 4-page publication that came out thrice a week. The Spanish section had Jose Maria Rivera of Tondo as its first editor, while the local section was edited by well-known Kapampangan men of letters that included Crisostomo Soto, Felix Galura and Aurelio Tolentino. It is no wonder that literary pieces were included with regularity on the pages of E Mangabiran. The prose narrative, “Lidia” of Galura, for instance, was serialized in the said paper, delighting its loyal readers who were titillated by the love triangle of Lidia, Hector and a secret admirer known only as F.D. In 1912, the publication of E Mangabiran was transferred to Manila and it was around this time that Justice Jose Gutierrez David joined the editorial board.
E Mangabiran lasted until 1916, but another local paper, Ing Catala (The Parrot) took its place and became the most popular newspaper of Pampanga from 1917 to the 1940s. The independent weekly paper was published in San Fernando under the editorship of Atty. Serafin de Ocampo. Another paper that came out of Bacolor was Ing Alipatpat (The Firefly), which made a brief appearance from 1917-1919.
By the 1930s, Pampanga had seven newspapers—indicative of the intellectual activity and literary bent of the people. Aside from Ing Catala, there was also the weekly Ing Katipunan of publisher-owner Pedro Sison. Ing Katiwala, another weekly, was also published in San Fernando with Justino A. David as managing editor.
Angeles had its own Ing Cabbling, a weekly newspaper edited by Jose F. Sanchez. Ing Catimawan (1929-1940) was the first know Pampango magazine that came out fortnightly. It was published in Manila by Faustino Pineda Gutierrez. With a huge circulation of 10,000 copies, it was Pampanga’s answer to the popular national magazine, Liwayway. Ing Catimawan was the first to introduce writers’ fees as a favorite section of the magazine includes contributed literary materials from reader-writers. Also coming out from the presses of Manila were Timbangan, a vernacular paper published twice monthly, and Ing Capampangan, a fortnightly paper edited by E. Y. Cunanan.
The war put a halt to the publication of Kapampangan newspapers, but in 1957, The Voice of Central Luzon was established by Armando Baluyut, husband of renown poetess Rosario Baluyut. Today, it still is in print, known simply as The Voice. The late Fyodor “Ody” Fabian was one of its most recent and most fiery editors. The Observer is another popular tabloid in English published in Pampanga. In 1974, a Kapampangan magazine—Ing Campupot—was launched. The national newspaper chain Sun.Star launched Sun.Star Clark that eventually became Sun.Star Pampanga.
The rekindled interest in Kapampangan culture in the new millennium gave rise to a host of publications with pure Kapampangan slant like Pampanga Magazine and the more recent K Magazine, with Elmer Cato as Founder-Publisher. K Magazine folded when diplomat Cato was assigned to the United Nations in New York. In its stead came Singsing, the official magazine of the Center for Kapampangan Studies of Holy Angel University, which continues to enjoy local, national and international following, with feature articles ranging from light to scholarly reading.
“To read is to lead”, one contemporary adage says, and there is no better time to pick up a Kapampangan newspaper or a magazine than now. It is not just about getting updated about current events, but it is also a special way of rediscovering the beauty of our language, the tie that binds us as one Kapampangan nation.