Historical records show that Bacolor has been in existence as a prosperous settlements as early as 1571. When the Spaniards under the leadership of Ferdinand Blumentrit arrived that found “Baculud”. Its original name meaning high level ground.
The first settlers of Bacolor were believed to be Malayans that came from Atjeth Sumatra led by Panday Pira. It is believed to have been founded by Monmon, first cousin and sister-in-law of Malangsic, a son of Prince Balagtas.
However, historians recorded the official foundation of Bacolor to have occurred in 1574 through a landlord named Guillermo Manabat, whose palatial house and resting place is now the site of the San Guillermo Church, hence the church’s name.
The name Baculud was changed to Bacolor when the Spaniards came to the place. It was recorded to have been the first capital of Pampanga for two centuries (1698-1904) before San Fernando was declared the capital town of the province in July 1904. In 1757, the provincial building, Casa Real, was constructed at the place where the Bacolor Elementary School is located.
In the year 1762 after the fall of Manila to the English invaders, Governor General Simon de Anda retreated and made Bacolor the seat of the Spanish Government. It was the seat of government from October 6, 1762 to May 30, 1764 and practically served as the Capital of the Philippines. Thru, a decree of the King of Spain on November 9, 1765, Bacolor became “Villa de Bacolor”, one of the only three villas in the Philippines and was granted a Special Coat of Arms. Simon de Anda organized an army of natives with which he finally recaptured Manila from the British invaders.
The coming of the American colonizers broke up in the military form of government and instead political and economic reforms were introduced. A civil form of government was organized and was inaugurated on February 13, 1901 by Com. William H. Taft which took place in the old “Escuela de Artes y Officios de Bacolor”, (formerly named Pampanga School of Arts and Trade) now known as the Don Honorio Ventura College of Arts and Trade. The first Provincial Civil Governor was Don Ceferino Joven and the first Municipal President of Bacolor was Don Estanislao Santos.
Pampanga was acknowledged as the first province to have organized civil government in the Philippines by General Grant, the then President of the United States of America.
Bacolor’s festivity is celebrated every 10th day of February and the La Naval Fiesta is being held every 3rd Sunday of November.
Bacolor took the center stage of the national history in the last decade of the 20th century when the Mt. Pinatubo eruption devastated 95% of the whole town, burying 18 out of its 21 progressive barangays.