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SAN CLEMENTE: Food Bowl of Tarlac

San Clemente, formerly a sitio of Camiling is located on the westernmost part of Tarlac. Oblong in shape, it is between the municipality of Camilng in Tarlac and the municipality of Mangatarem in Pangasinan. Its early settlers were the industrious Ilocano who came from Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur. They settled in sitio San Clemente in search of fertile agricultural lands. To be able to farm, they burned and cut down trees.

Based on archival records, San Clemente was created as a town by virtue of a superior decree dated November 14, 1876. It consisted of barrio Macarang, which was taken from the town of Camiling, and barrio Taguipan that was detached from Mangatarem, Pangasinan. The superior decree establishing San Clemente as a town was affirmed by a royal order dated June 10, 1879.

Records indicate that the early settlers of this town, said to be the Dumlao, Trini-dad, Loria, Espiritu, Martin, etc., were mostly of the Ilocano stock who came from the Ilocos Region in a quest for better economic opportunities in the abundantly fertile agricultural lands. These prominent people were indeed endowed with the vision to transform their adopted abode into a wholesome place to live. Thus, local governance has always been viewed at the socio-economic development perspective. The local chief executive position then did not only entail the laborious task of administration but also the shelling-out of sizable pecuniary contributions to pursue a project… up to the extent of donating tracks of land for public utilization. The public plaza, market, municipal building, school buildings, church, etc., were constructed on donated lands.

Structures in the locality reminiscent of the past era of colonization such as church, school buildings, houses, bridges, etc. have gradually given way to the modern day’s engineering designs for relative purposes. The venerable tradition of the Filipino hospitality however, remained alive and in practice – where every visitor is genially accorded the honored guest treatment.

To these days, the descendants of the early families still maintain their residency to perpetuate the legacy of productivity left by their ancestors. Consciously instilled, industry, which characterizes their Ilocano predecessors, is likewise evident. Through the years, the industrious townspeople toiled enough to realize the economic sufficiency everyone claims for. Modesty aside, modern day technological advances for domestic comforts are ubiquitous in majority of the households. The people rely mainly on farming as a source of livelihood; nowadays, local labor resources have gone their way overseas for better and more lucrative opportunities to improve their lot.

The municipality owes its growth mainly to the industry of its townspeople and to the public officials who took the cudgel one after another in the quest for prosperity. The election held in 1915 catapulted the first highest municipal official by the title, Presidente Municipal, the equivalent of Municipal Mayor in today’s structure. The chronology of the mayoralty terms of office is purposely detailed hereunder in order to give tribute and relive the legacy they have in one way or another mustered during their time.

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