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Wednesday, April 24, 2024

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Santa Rita


Duman Festival

Duman Festival is, arguably, the only festival of its kind that is held in the evening and features festive dining until the wee hours of the evening. The festival always aims to offer native delicacies and dishes of the town to the people of Pampanga and to inspire awareness on Kapampangan culinary traditions among the younger generation and among those who have lived outside of the province for so long.




Santa Rita de Casia Parish Church

The heritage Church is under the jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of San Fernando.
Fr. Pedro de San Nicolas served as minister of both Porac and Sta. Rita in 1722, but it was only in 1726 when Sta. Rita had its own priest and therefore became an independent parish. Fr. Francisco Royo built the present church in 1839; Fr. Juan Merino completed it in 1868. These two priests also opened the road linking Sta. Rita with Porac and Guagua. During the Revolution, the townspeople hid their last Augustianian parish priest, Fr. Celestino Garcia in their houses until the forces of Gen. Maximino Hizon captured him in Bacolor and took him all the way to Lepanto in the Cordilleras.
Building of the church had to be delayed until late 19th century due to economic adjuristicial conditions. The single-nave church is 55m long, 13m wide and 10m high. It has a large and well lit transept. The solid brass facade has baroque characteristics and the single columns are relatively slender.

5 Heritage bells

There are five heritage bells in this town: the Señora de la Cornea was installed at the belfry in 1869; Dolorosa bell in 1878; and the bells of Virgen de Lourdes, San Jose and Santa Rita—all installed on May 20, 1911. The last three pieces of relic bells are scheduled to be declared “Centenary Bells” by Archbishop Paciano Aniceto.
The installation of these bells was initiated by Fr. Braulio Pineda, the first Filipino priest of the town and a native of Sta. Rita, before the 1898 Revolution against Spain broke out and after the cessation of the Filipino-American war in 1903, according to Msgr. Eugenio Reyes. Enrique Guanlao, president of the parish pastoral council, has indicated in a paper that H. Sunico Jaboneros manufactured the five bells. By the time that Reyes was appointed parish priest here in 2009, only the tandem of the medium-sized Dolorosa bell (kampanang menor) and the huge Santa Rita bell (kampanang mayul) gave the town a sense of time and ceremony.
Reyes learned that a steel hammer was used to strike the brass-made Santa Rita bell whenever it was rung, further damaging the bell. The wooden flanks holding up the bells and the wooden flooring of the belfry were crumbling. In 2010, Reyes and Teresita Guanzon raised funds to repair the bells.
On Aug. 3, 2010, Royal Bells Philippines (RBP) took them down for repairs. They were restored 47 days later and were blessed by Bishop Pablo Virgilio David. A note from RBP describes the Santa Rita bell as “the most beautiful sounding bell of its vintage and style that we have ever rehabilitated.” Reyes says the pair of bells has been attached to an automated system. But the bells may still be rung manually, Reyes says. Their last kampanero (bell ringer), a man named Cesar, is still alive. Guanlao says the bells are an important part of the lives of Sta. Rita folk. The bells announced weddings, processions, feasts, floods, fire, deaths, the Angelus and the end of the 8 p.m. recitation of the rosary. In this small town of gentle people, the agunyas (the sound made by the bell) for the dead is gender-specific. The Santa Rita bell announces the death of a man, while the Dolorosa does so for a woman.

The reliquary

The parish is the site where the Holy Relic of Saint Rita de Cascia is enshrined. The parish first obtained the First Class Relic of the saint through the help and assistance of His Excellency, Most Rev. Riccardo Fontana of Spoleto-Norcia, Italy, the archdiocese to which Cascia belongs. Archbishop Fontana forwarded the Relic through the mediation of the Apostolic Nunciature in Manila to Archbishop Paciano Aniceto who in turn handed it over to the parish of Santa Rita de Cascia on August 17, 2008. The First Class Relic is from the flesh “ex carne”of the Saint. As noted in its accompanying Certificate of Authenticity, the relic was part of the last batch extracted from the incorrupt body of Saint Rita in 20 August 1972.
The reliquary is laid open for public veneration every August 17. St. Rita of Cascia (1381) was born in the Italian town of Roccaporena. When her husband and twin sons died, she entered the Augustinian Nuns. The next 40 years of her life saw St. Rita devoting herself to a life of prayer, and works and deeds of charity as dictated by the rules of St Augustine. At age 60, while meditating before the cross, a wound seeming afflicted by a thorn appeared on her forehead. St. Rita began boring the sign of stigmatization which is considered being one with Jesus. Because of the stigmata, she suffered in pain for the next 15 years which she courageously accepted. St. Rita died on May 22,1457. Her intact and incorrupt body is kept and honored in the shrine at her hometown on Cascia, Italy.

Villa Epifania

The Grand Old House of Sta. Rita[ is the film site of "Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang", "Tanging Yaman" and many other films.
The villa was named after Dona Epifania who came from an equally rich and powerful Floridablanca-based clan, the Alvendias. The ancestral lot was owned by the Guanzon patriarch Don Agapito Guanzon (Captain Pitong) the then Captain Municipal (equivalent to today’s municipal mayor) of Sta. Rita.
Capitan Pitong’s son, Don Olympio Guanzon (former Pampanga Governor) would later inherit the lot and an earlier old house in the same lot by 1925. The old house would later be dismantled to give way for the villa and would later pass on to Don Felipe Guanzon. The villa was designed and constructed by Architect Mariano Pineda, a native of Sta. Rita and relative of the Guanzons. Pineda would later join the Federal Architects of America.
Constructed between the years 1931-1932, the house was one-of-a-kind at that time; it was the only all-concrete house in Sta. Rita and the architectural design is incomparable with other historical landmarks in the town. The whole house is made of concrete with few exemptions, like the upper wall on the western side of the house facing the north.
This part showcases a gallery of windows as old as the house itself. The main walls of the house are concrete, about a foot thick on all the major sidings. The concrete materials were imported from Guiguinto in Bulacan. The villa’s wood portions are of the finest Philippine hardwood (narra, camagong and molave) and the furniture is of King Louis style. The furniture was acquired for the villa in 1931 and was bought from the Philippine Carnival in Manila and allegedly made by the prisoners of Bilibid prison. An azotea flanks the north side of the house which gives a perfect view of the western farm lands in Sta. Rita, a major portion of which were once owned by the Guanzons and other notable lords from the Pineda, Lansang and Gosioco clans.
The doors of the former house that stood in the lot found their way into the second floor of the house. The doors and windows are made of colored glass with hues of green and orange. Wrought iron bars and grills protect the glass frames of the windows and the doors. A "portico" with granite staircase, will greet the visitor upon approaching the house and above it is a grand veranda accented with baroque pillars. Another small porch is located at the second floor near the grand veranda.
This porch though smaller is equally grand; the truth is there is no point in comparing the architectural designs from one another. An architect friend once said that the designs of the villa are “asymmetrical”, each with its own beauty and dominance in the house. No two sides are actually the same. The irregular symmetry unfolds into a united design, “baroque yet classical”.
The inside of the house is much the same design. However, a lot is still in store for an inquisitive visitor. The villa also offers other verandas at the second floor and a minor rooftop and chimneys for the kitchen. Not bad for a house made in 1932 at a hefty value of (reportedly) P90,000.
It was used as headquarters by the Japanese officers, USAFE guerillas and alkaldes during World War II and would late pass on as a relic of the past. But such beauty would not go unnoticed and soon enough it caught the eyes of location directors. The house was first featured in the Lino Brocka film “Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang” in 1976. Later in the 90s it was used as the backdrop for the movie “Tanging Yaman.”
The villa is located along Ocampo Street in San Jose, north of the town church and west of the municipal hall facing the east. The villa had served as a house that would later shape the political and social life of the town. From this villa came illustrious names in business and politics. The grandeur of this residence has done well to lift the bearings of this clan.
At present, the villa is unoccupied except by a caretaker (but the keys are held by the family of the late Epifania, the same owner of the Lourdes Church and Grotto at San Jose Del Monte City, Bulacan).

Dominican Convent

San Matias Sta.Rita Pampanga

Heritage Site

Ancestral House of Maglalang’s

San Jose Sta. Rita Pampanga 

Ancestral House of Ricafort’s

San Jose Sta. Rita Pampanga

Ancestral House of De Castro’s

San Vicente Sta. Rita Pampanga

Ancestral House of Zapanta’s

San Vicente Sta. Rita Pampanga

Dona Irene

San Jose, Sta. Rita Pampanga

Guanzon House

San Jose, Sta. Rita Pampanga. Site of Tanging Yaman

Miranda’s Old House

San Vicente Sta.Rita Pampanga 

House of Ames Heritage Site

Sta. Monica Sta. Rita Pampanga



Plaza/Recreational Area

Santa Rita Town Plaza Covered Court

Located at Poblacion, Sta. Rita, Pampanga



Local Restaurant

Fret Hangout

San Jose Sta. Rita Pampanga 0919 439 8923
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Alviz Farm

San Agustine Sta. Rita Pampanga

Mahogany Farm

Becuran Sta. Rita Pampanga


SHOPPING Grocery/Supermarket

Souvenir Shop

Ocampo-Lansang Delicacies

Located at San Jose, Sta. Rita Pampanga

Baby Ising Delicacies
Located at San Vicente, Pigulut, Sta. Rita Pampanga


Aico Supermarket

Located at San Matias,Sta. Rita Pampanga



Vista Verde Resort

Diladila Sta.Rita Pampanga
Swimming Pool and Recreational Area

MC Jay Resort

San Agustine Sta. Rita Pampanga
Swimming Pool and Recreational Area


Point Person

Adolfo C. Zapanta
(045) 900-4136/(045) 900-2277/0918-322-0076
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