Inside the prestigious grounds of Holy Angel University stands the Center for Kapampangan Studies, an area covered in tinted glass walls that may look like an ordinary office from the outside. It was a weekday afternoon when I came to visit. Though I’ve been to the University many times before, it was only a few years ago that I’ve heard about this center. After much anticipation, it was finally time to roam around.
I secured a visitor’s pass at the main entrance. At the logbook I had to write my purpose for visit, so wrote what I came here for. The lady guard probably did not believe me (or did I look too suspicious?) so she kept probing me . I said I have no other business but to go the Center for Kapampangan Studies. I took the opportunity of her curiosity so I asked for some directions. After much deliberation of my visit, I was free to go inside.
It was my first time to go to the center so I was relying on signboards to keep me on track. Another guard at the Don Juan D. Nepomuceno buildinh pointed me towards the direction of the Laus Deo Semper. Within those tinted glass walls was the CKS. From the outside, it looked like and ordinary office. There was only way to find out if I came to the right place.
The entrance of the gallery greeted me with a huge retablo (altar) masterfully crafted by skillful Kapampangan artisans that display icons of patron saints of the different towns of the Province, including the Virgen delos Remedios at the center, which is the patroness of Pampanga. This larger than life retablo was a breathtaking display of the religious devotion mixed with uncomparable skills of Kapampangans. I was blown away for a moment and took time examining this amazing work of art.
The gallery may seem small but the area was spacious enough to make room for a few exhibits that are unique to the province like antiques, memorabilia and a nice display of important events in Kapampangan history . The ambiance of the place and the silence of the area was conducive to my viewing and learning pleasure. It was a nice afternoon to escape and get transported to another era.
A library stood at the other side of the gallery which can be doubled as a great study area and a nice place to just brainstorm and get creative. I loved the vibe that this room gave me. The lighting and interior design was classic.
The upper floor offered more museum space for more displays and a small library featured historian Dr. Ambeth Ocampo’s extensive Filipinana collection.
The Center for Kapampangan Studies goes beyond the museum to promote and preserve Kapampangan culture. The team behind it constantly makes their purpose and presence known by organizing events, writing articles, research and publishing works to keep the Kapampangan culture and spirit growing.
I enjoyed this tour at the center. I encourage Kapampangans, especially the young generation to come visit this place to learn more about our culture and hopefully inspire more to love and care for our heritage. I admire the people behind these projects. May they continue to advocate and preserve this one of a kind province that is Pampanga.
The Center for Kapampangan Studies is located in the Don Juan D. Nepomuceno building at Holy Angel University, Sto. Rosario street, Angeles city. Admission is free and is open during weekdays from 8am-8pm and on Saturdays from 8am-5pm. I once went there on a holiday but it was unfortunately closed for the day.