It is a first-class municipality in the province of Pampanga, Philippines.
According to the latest census, it has a population of 104,284 people in 18,438 households.
The town of Guagua belongs to the Second District of Pampanga
, along with the towns in the southwestern part of the province. It is about 9.5 kilometers off the capital city of San Fernando and 77 kilometers away from Metro Manila
. The town is bounded on the north by the towns of Bacolor
and Sta. Rita
; on the south by the towns of Sasmuan and Lubao
; on the east, Macabebe
; and on the west, Porac
"Wawa" which means "mouth of a river" or "alua or bukana" in the vernacular, was the original name of the town of Guagua as first known in the year 1590. Evidently, the town is strategically located along a river which played a vital role in trade and transportation in the early eras.
Guagua was already a prosperous settlement way before the Spaniards came to take control of the town in the year 1561. Indeed, there were archeological artifacts excavated in a nearby town which affirmed a pre-historic community in Guagua.
Early inhabitants opted to stay in the town because it was here that they could engage in barter trade with people from different islands, along with other means of livelihood like fishing and farming. The navigable river with which the town was endowed allowed shipping vessels to transport commodities to and from other chief localities, particularly the imperial Manila. The first cargo boat to arrive in Guagua was the "Doña Dominga" on May 7, 1884. Much later it was followed by the steamships "Kaibigan" and "Kababayan," which anchored at the pier in Bo. Sto. Niño, better known as the Yangco Landing.
In 1892, when the Manila
-Mabalacat railroad was inaugurated, Guagua was virtually the port of embarkation to and from Manila that served the province. Commerce was further improved when the San Fernando-Guagua line of the railroad was chartered on November 17, 1907.
The Chinese have long been part in Guagua's social and economic mainstream. In the 18th century, they sought refuge in the town to escape discrimination and persecution in Manila. After their near total slaughter, the Chinese lived in relative peace while they freely practiced their craft and mingled hand-in-hand with the local residents. The Chinese residents were merchants, masons, woodcarvers, carpenters, agriculturists, and laborers. Their influence on the cultural and economic life of Guagua cannot be overlooked. The town could not have prospered so readily without the Chinese' economic services.