A town that is part of a progressive province that has existed for hundreds of years, Mexico has a rich culture and colourful tapestries of religious traditions. The town is dominated by Catholic faithfuls, a fact not surprising for it was founded by Catholic priests in 1581 and believed to be the seat of the provincial government under the Spanish regime before the town of Bacolor became capital in 1755.
The town’s patron saint is Sta. Monica, the mother of St. Augustine, a woman of profound faith and an inspiration for domestic peace and stability. Her feast is celebrated by the people of Mexico every 4th of May. It is usually observed with the usual celebration of Mass and community activities such parades, singing, and food feast. The townfolks also observe the traditional Catholic Lent, which usually falls during March or April. The faithfuls re-enact the death of Christ (Sinakulo) and feast during Easter Sunday, when Jesus Christ is believed to have risen from the dead. Others join the parade of flagellants and crucifix.
The people of Mexico are Kapampangans or Pampangos. They also speak the Kapampangan language, one of the surviving languages of the Philippines, that is still spoken in Pampanga and some parts of Tarlac, Bulacan, Nueva Ecija and Bataan. The Kapampangans are known for their extraordinary cuisines, artistry (especially in lantern-making, wood carving and metal crafts), religiosity, gallantry, valor, and leadership.
Mexico alone has produced three among the greatest Kapampangan leaders – Don Francisco Maniago, the master-of-camp of the Kapampangan Independence Revolt of 1660; Don Ruperto Laxamana, one of the founders of the Masonic Triangles of Pampanga; and General Maximino Hizon, known as the greatest Kapampangan revolutionary hero who led the Kapampangan fighters against the Spaniards under General Emilio Aguinaldo’s revolutionary flag. Mexico people did not only dominate the revolts during the Spanish ear. Through the years, thousands more joined the movements during the Japanese and American wars, particularly the Hukbalahap days. The people of Mexico are true-blooded revolutionaries and often lead calls for social reforms. One notable socialist and freedom fighter is Rodolfo Salas, known as Kumander Bilog during the Marcos regime.
And while its men embody the Kapampangan trait of leadership and valor, the women of Mexico, just like in the neighboring towns of Arayat and Magalang, are also a picture of great beauty and religiosity. In 2003, Carla Gay Balingit, a native of Mexico town, was crowned Bb. Pilipinas and represented the country in the 2003 Miss Universe pageant.
Mexico is also the home of now famous Kapampangan culinary expert Lillian Lising Borromeo. The town was recently put on the tourism map because of her traditional San Nicolas cookies that are moulded from an 18th century-old wooden San Nicolas pattern. She is also frequented by tourists for her original Kapampangan heirloom recipes.
Majority of the people of Mexico come from families of farmers since the town has been an agricultural area for hundreds of years, although about one-fourth of its existing land is now being used for commercial investments.
Through history, Mexico is one of the largest rice and corn producing towns of Pampanga. To date, Mexico’s yellow corn production reach 11,311 metric tons a year while its rice production was recorded at 29,980 metric tons in 2010.
But with the growing demand of skilled workers and professionals from all over the region, Mexico is becoming home to young generation workforce. The people have a high level of literacy and majority can read and speak the universal American English language and the national Philippine language, Wikang Filipino, aside from their native tongue. There are at least 18 public schools within the municipality and at least five (5) private colleges.
Mexico’s last recorded population was 141,298 in 2007. In 2003, the recorded number was 125,857.
(Sources: Angels in Stone, Augustinian Churches in the Philippines by Pedro G. Galende, O.S.A., municipal records from the Office of the Mayor, Sta. Monica Fiestang Balen Souvenir Program 2006, interviews from Lillian L. Borromeo, Wikipedia, and Mexico Socio-Economic Profile)