Unveiling the Rich History and Cultural Charms of Calumpit

Calumpit, officially known as the Municipality of Calumpit (Bayan ng Calumpit in Tagalog), is a first-class municipality in the province of Bulacan, Philippines. With a population of 118,471 people according to the 2020 census, Calumpit is known for its rich cultural heritage and natural beauty.

The name “Calumpit” is derived from the indigenous hardwood species called “Kalumpít”, which is similar to apalit and narra trees. These trees thrive in the Población-Sucol area, particularly in front of the St. John the Baptist Parish Church.

The Historical Tapestry of Calumpit

Calumpit, a town rich in historical significance, has lived through epochs that have shaped the Philippines as a nation. It was first established as an Augustinian ministry center in Northern Luzon in 1572, under the administration of Don Marcos de Herrera and Sargento Mayor Juan Moron. Initially dedicated to Saint Nicholas of Tolentino, the town’s patronage was later shifted to Saint John the Baptist in December 1576.

Just a few years later, on December 28, 1575, Calumpit was declared an Alcaldia (Province) by Governor-General Francisco de Sande. This development included nearby settlements such as Malolos, Hagonoy, Macabebe, Apalit, and Candaba. Alcaldia de Calumpit was a distinct entity separate from the Province of Bulacan, Lubao, and Betis, reflecting the significant administrative role it played during that period.

Calumpit’s people exhibited a strong spirit of resilience and resistance. The town was a hub of revolutionary activity during the Philippine Revolution in 1896, with citizens actively participating in battles against the Spanish Empire. This spirit carried forward to the Philippine–American War when Calumpit became the headquarters of General Antonio Luna. The town suffered severe damage during this conflict, with key structures like the bridge, convent, and church completely razed.

The town’s significance was further underscored during World War II, with the Calumpit bridge serving as a strategic asset. The bridge was destroyed by U.S. forces to obstruct Japanese advancement towards Bataan. The locals endured three years of Japanese occupation from January 1942, resulting in considerable loss of life. However, the spirit of resistance remained undeterred, with the USAFFE guerrilla movement and the 4th Battalion of the Del Pilar Regiment launching their operations in the town. Calumpit was eventually liberated in January 1945 by a combined force of Filipino and American troops.

The legacy of Calumpit’s history extends into the Third Republic era. On November 18, 1959, former mayor Fausto Carlos was found guilty of murdering a suspected Hukbalahap rebel, Artemio Mutuc, and received a life sentence. This episode served as a grim reminder of the turbulent past that Calumpit had endured.


Calumpit, a municipality located in the province of Bulacan, is situated approximately 50 kilometers away from Manila and is in close proximity to Malolos City, just a mere 5 kilometers away. Spanning across 5,625 hectares, this region is predominantly agricultural, with two-thirds of its flat terrain dedicated to farming. The town is well-connected with 144.33 kilometers of concrete roads, ensuring seamless access to its 29 barangays.

The climate in Calumpit displays two distinct seasons — the rainy season, typically occurring from late May to November, and the dry season from December to April. According to the Department of Agriculture (Philippines), Calumpit’s soils, mainly consisting of silt loam and some clay loam, are highly suitable for agricultural activities.

One of the town’s vital natural resources is the Calumpit River, formed by the confluence of the Angat and Pampanga Rivers. This river, the longest in Bulacan, has served as the lifeblood of the region for centuries, supporting trade, commerce, and agriculture. Even today, it remains an invaluable asset, providing ample opportunities for fishing and irrigation.

The geography of Calumpit, characterized by its fertile soils, extensive road network, and essential waterways, plays a pivotal role in the lives and livelihoods of its residents.

Heritage Sites and Cultural Landmarks

Calumpit’s tapestry of rich history and vibrant culture makes it a fascinating destination for tourists. Its annual town fiesta, orchestrated around the feast of Saint John the Baptist, offers an engaging blend of religious devotion and community revelry. The two-day fiesta, complete with river processions, singing, dancing, and water sprinkling rituals, paints a vivid picture of the town’s deep-rooted faith and communal spirit.

The village festival in Santa Lucia — a historic barangay dating back to 1575 — is another key cultural event that draws both locals and visitors. The highlight of the festival is the novena dedicated to Saint Lucy, whose image in the Santa Lucia Church is believed to be miraculous. The festival transforms the streets of Santa Lucia into a vibrant spectacle, adorned with colorful banderitas and enlivened with the fervor of the pilgrimage.

A visit to Bagbag Bridge is akin to a journey back in time, as it was the site of a significant battle during the Philippine-American War. Today, it stands as a testament to the bravery and resilience of the Filipinos under the leadership of General Gregorio del Pilar. This bridge, thus, adds a layer of historical richness to Calumpit’s diverse tourist offerings.