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This Kapampangan Town Was Once Named "Sexmoan." Yes, You Read That Right

Sexmoan. Population: 28,004.
IMAGE WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
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Blame it on the Spanish. Sasmuan is a small coastal town in the province of Pampanga, but the peaceful community was given an R-18 name when the Spaniards came and colonized the Philippines back in the 16th century.

Apparently, the Spaniards couldn’t figure out what the locals were calling the town, and approximated the spelling as “Sexmoan.” What the locals were really calling the town was “Sasmuan,” which is believed to derive from the Kapampangan word “sasmo,” which translates to “a meeting place.” Some also propose that the name derived from the word “sasa,” a type of local bamboo.

Photo by WIKIPEDIA.

While it was spelled “Sexmoan,” the locals and the Spaniards still pronounced the name of the town as “Sasmuan.” It was only later, when English became more common in the Philippines, that people began to take notice of how suggestive the town name was.

Things got even better—or worse, depending on how you look at it—when the local port was labeled “Sex Fishport.” Filipinos even got into the habit of calling the town “Sexymoan.” This was by accident, of course.

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Sasmuan Fish Port.
Photo by WIKIPEDIA.

Eventually, the townspeople got tired of being the butt of the joke and filed for a formal change of name. It took a couple of years, but they did it: The Eighth Congress passed Republic Act. No. 6976 in 1991, declaring the official name change of Sexmoan to Sasmuan.

Too bad they couldn’t do much about the first two numbers of the republic act though: 69. Seriously, we don’t make this stuff up.

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Anri Ichimura
Section Editor, Esquire Philippines
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