January 1, 2018

Agoncillo, Batangas: Historical Data

Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the town of Agoncillo, Batangas, the original scanned documents at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections not having OCR or optical character recognition properties. This transcription has been edited for grammar, spelling and punctuation where possible.

[Cover page.]

DIVISION OF BATANGAS
DISTRICT OF LEMERY

COMPILATION

of

HISTORICAL DATA

Regarding barrios and towns of the

MUNICIPALITY OF AGONCILLO

PROVINCE OF BATANGAS

[Signature]
CIPRIANO V. ALBERTO
District Supervisor

[p. 1]

DIVISION OF BATANGAS
DISTRICT OF LEMERY
AGONCILLO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL


April 29, 1953

The Division Superintendent of Schools
Batangas, Batangas
Through the District Supervisor, Lemery

Sir:

We, the undersigned, chairman and members of the local committee for the municipality of Agoncillo, province of Batangas, have the honor to submit the inclosed report on the historical data for the poblacion of Agoncillo and its barrios as required by and embodied in General Memorandum No. 34, s. 1952.

Very respectfully,

JOSE M. TRINIDAD
Principal and Chairman

MS. FLORENTINA MAGNAYE – Member

MISS ELISEA B. ENCARNACION – Member

MISS AUDREA F. CAROLINO – Member

MR. SIMPLICIO CATENA – Member

[p. 2]

DIVISION OF BATANGAS
DISTRICT OF LEMERY

COLLECTION AND COMPILATION OF HISTORICAL DATA REGARDING BARRIOS AND TOWNS OF LEMERY AND AGONCILLO, DISTRICT OF LEMERY

Executive Order No. 486 by the President of the Philippines, for reasons stated therein, directs the collection and compilation of data on the history and culture of each barrio, town, city and province in the Philippines. It directs further the preparation of the manuscripts thereof, using the outline appended to said Executive Order, and the submittal of the prepared manuscripts not later than June 30, 1953, as per Memorandum No. 34, s. 1952.

In pursuance to this Executive Order and its Appendix, and in compliance with the requirements in Memorandum No. 34, s. 1952, regarding the matter, barrio and town committees were formed as early as July last year, to gather and compile necessary historical data for all the barrios and towns comprising the Lemery District, and to prepare the corresponding manuscripts for each barrio and town thereof.

No little amount of time and effort was exerted by the local committee appointed in gathering and compiling the necessary data and in preparing the manuscripts. Some difficulties were also met in so doing owing to the fact that generally old men and women of the barrios or town from whom to draw from their fund of knowledge and experiences of the history and culture of the communities were either no longer living in or residing far outside of these communities. As best as they could, however, the committees assigned secured the data herein reported from as many people as could be found presently living in the communities who could contribute even a bit of information on the historical and cultural data of their communities. Some of the data herein reported, therefore, could not be considered as reliable as might have been desired.

Finally, it is hoped that these historical and cultural data gathered and compiled for the different barrios and towns in this district would serve as further implementations in the development of our curriculum and its enrichment.

[Signature.]
CIPRIANO V. ALBERTO
District Supervisor

[p. 2]

DIVISION OF BATANGAS
DISTRICT OF LEMERY

COMPILATION

of

HISTORICAL DATA

regarding barrios and towns of the

MUNICIPALITY OF AGONCILLO

PROVINCE OF BATANGAS

CIPRIANO V. ALBERTO
District Supervisor

[p. 3]

COMPILATION

of

HISTORICAL DATA

for the

POBLACION

of

AGONCILLO

PROVINCE OF BATANGAS

[p. 4]

DIVISION OF BATANGAS
DISTRICT OF LEMERY
AGONCILLO ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE OF THE PEOPLE

PART – I: HISTORY

1. Present Official Name of the Town:

About seven kilometers away from Lemery and a kilometer away from Taal is the town of Agoncillo. The inhabitants of the eleven barrios of Balangon, Coral na Munti, Bangin, Pook, Pamiga, Guitna, Pansipit, Panhulan, Subic, Bilibinwang, and Banyaga filed a petition to the municipal government of Lemery, endorsed to the Provincial Government then forwarded to Malacañan requesting the creation of a new municipality. By virtue of the power vested in the President of the Philippine Republic, Executive Order No. 140 was promulgated creating the new municipality under the name of Pansipit. This Executive Order was suspended for certain reasons. On April 28, 1949 the suspension was lifted by Executive Order No. 212. The name Pansipit was changed to Agoncillo. The whole of Guitna and parts of Pook and Pamiga formed the town site of the poblacion.

2. Popular name of the Town, Derivation and Meaning:

The greater portion of the new town was popularly known before by the name of Guitna, which means middle or center, the place being in the center of the adjoining barrios. Later, as the place was made the town site of the poblacion for the new municipality, its name was changed to Agoncillo, in honor of Don Felipe Agoncillo, one of the favorite sons of Batangas.

3. Date of Establishment:

Long before the Spaniards came to the Philippines, the barrio of Guitna had this name. When Executive Order No. 140 was approved, its old name was changed to Agoncillo on April 28, 1949.

4. Original Families:

Most of the tracts of land of Guitna, now Agoncillo, were owned by the wealthy families of Mr. Francisco Carolino, Facundo Balba and Lorenzo Canubas. These three families were able to acquire the land through hard toil. Their tracts of land were cultivated by their kasama with the proper administration given in their farm management, more pieces of land were added.

5. List of Tenientes from the Earliest Time to Date:

Tenientes were appointed and changed every three years by the gobernadorcillos during the Spanish time. The first teniente was Teodoro Carolino, succeeded by Basilio Mendoza. Three years passed and Tomas Patolot, one of the bravest sons of the barrio and a very capable leader, came next. Rafael Mendoza soon followed and Pedro Canubas the next. He was succeeded by Leon Masongsong, Pedro de Sagun and Benito Mendoza. Soon after the Japanese occupation, Pedro Carolino was appointed teniente del barrio and then Benito Mendoza was appointed to the position. Mr. Mendoza was followed by Mr. Juliano de Chavez and held the position up to its creation as the poblacion of the new municipality. Mr. de Chavez was an able leader, and to his credit goes the influence of the present satisfactory peace and order conditions of Agoncillo.

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6. None.

7. Date on Historical Sites, Structures, Buildings:

The center of elementary education during 1918 to the present is Guitna, new Agoncillo. The site of the school is about a hectare. On this site was constructed a four-room building of two stories in 1932. The building was destroyed by the Japanese Army during the Japanese occupation. The building was rehabilitated under the management of the War Damage Commission. In 1952, a two-room building was constructed with the P.T.A. Fund. The site of the town plaza was donated by Mr. Jacinto Mendoza, its first Mayor. Under his leadership, the municipal building and the municipal market were constructed. The municipal building was constructed in 1950 and the municipal market in 1952-1953.

8. Important Facts, Incidents, or Events that took Place:

(a) During the Spanish regime, there was no trouble.
(b) During the American occupation, nothing happened.
(c) During and after WWII. Many people were besieged by the Japanese who were stationed in Pansipit. There were many of them who were subjected to inhuman punishment and were only set free upon the surrender of their firearms as they were suspected of being guerrillas or were in connivance with the guerrilla movement. All their prime commodities were confiscated by the Japanese with the promise to pay afterwards but remained unfulfilled.
(d) The Japanese invasion forces fortunately spared the residential houses from wanton vandalism.

9. (a) Destruction of lives, properties and inhabitants during wars especially in 1896-1900 and 1941-1945.

As previously stated, especially during the Spanish time and American time, there were no destructions of any kind. During the outbreak of World War II until liberation, there was but little destruction of properties.

(b) Measures and accomplishments toward rehabilitation and reconstruction following World War II:

(1) Creation of the new municipality of Agoncillo.
(2) Contruction of Agoncillo Central School.
(3) Erection of the Municipal Building of Agoncillo.
(4) Construction of Public Market.
(5) Construction of Municipal and Provincial Roads.
(6) Construction of a deep pump well.

PART II: FOLKWAYS

10. Traditions, Customs and Practices in Domestic and Social Life:

Agoncillo is an agricultural place but also a business center. The people in this place are industrious and live peacefully. Their customs and traditions can be pictured out in different stages of life from birth to death.

Birth:

A mother who is on the road to delivery takes a bath, takes a walk and [does] light work that will make her feel at ease. Her meals con-

[p. 6]

sisted mostly of choice food, delicious and rich in nutrition value like eggs, fruit, and milk. After the mother has delivered, a sort of family party, with a few invited guests from the neighbors is held as an occasion of thanks to God for the health of the mother and child. The common midwife (hilot) usually attends to the necessary treatment that a mother needs during this stage.

Baptism:

A child is usually baptized to embrace the faith of Catholicism and Christianity. The celebration of the baptismal party is held, either elaborately or simply depending upon the economic status of those concerned. The godmother or godfather chosen usually gives cash to the child as a gift. The amount varies in size, in proportion to the size of the party. The basis for the selection of the godfather or godmother is either the close intimacy and enviable relation of the parties concerned, or the traits or qualities that the mother admires and wishes her child to emulate.

Courtship:

The traditional practice relative to courtship in this place, which still could be traced to families of the conservative type, is first for the man to woo and appear within the good grace of the parents of the girl. Once the man has the permission to talk with her in certain conditions could easily be secured. The visits should be limited to a certain time in the evening, only twice a month, and the distance between the girl and the man should be far enough to forestall the temptation of doing immoral acts. The next step is to offer a gift of fish, cakes and other edible things as a token of the manifestation of the sincere affection of the man for the girl. This will be followed by the help extended to the farm work of the girl’s family. The third step in the process will be the conference of the parents of the parties involved to talk on the conditions desired by the girl's parents. Once full agreement is reached, the date of marriage is set and the selection of sponsors is made. Most often, the gift given to the would-be couple consisted of cash, house or a piece of land, besides an elaborate wedding party, the burden of which falls on the man’s lot.

Marriage:

The traditional practice in connection with marriage is rather interesting. After the marriage ceremony, breakfast will be served. This will be followed by a certain scheme of raising funds for the new couple. The couple will sit opposite each other with the plates and bundles of cigarettes are sold to relatives of both parties. The relatives of the boy will get a cigarette and place the payment on the plate of the girl and vice-versa. The amount collected will be given to the newly married couple.

There is also the practice of throwing water to the stairs of the house of the girl before the couple goes up. The couple, if tradition should have its way, should be away from each other for four days from the wedding day.

Death:

Whether we like it or not, death knocks at our door. If any member of the family dies, the whole family cries. Responsive neighbors who learned of the death go to the house of the bereaved family to express their condolences. At this time, the neighbors notify the relatives of the dead. All neighbors, friends and relatives give aid to the bereaved family, most often in the form of money. They help in

[p. 7]

making the wreath and the coffin when [the] family cannot afford to buy these. When night comes, the members of the family, friends and relatives watch over the corpse will morning. Coffee, bread and cigarettes are served to those who pass the night. The interment usually takes place the next day. The coffin is carried to the church by several persons or men, and there the priest gives the blessings and the people pray. Then it is carried to the cemetery and all those who joined the funeral join in saying the prayers before the dead is placed inside the tomb.

11. Legends, Beliefs and Superstitions:

When the world was created, men and women of different nations or countries had their own superstitions, legends and beliefs. And even here in this place, people have also different customs, beliefs and sayings. Like in marriage, deaths, baptismal and the like, superstitions and beliefs can’t be removed from the minds of the people also Science proved it otherwise.

Many years ago before the arrival of the Spaniards, Guitna, now Agoncillo, had no name. When there were festivals held in this place, people from other or neighboring barrios just simply said, “Let’s go to the center of all the neighboring barrios to attend the wedding party of my cousin,” which means the center of the neighboring barrios. From that time, people called this place “Guitna,” derived from its location. When the Spaniards came to the Philippines, this place had this name “Guitna” which means center. Now, it has become a municipality, it is no longer called Guitna but Agoncillo.

Superstitious Beliefs:

(a) It is bad to leave when somebody is still eating for [an] accident will be met. To avoid it, the plates are turned clockwise before leaving.
(b) The belief that if the cat washes his or her face and fire laughs in the oven, visitors will arrive.
(c) When a girl sings before the stove while cooking, she will marry a widower.
(d) Whatever is done in the first day of the year is likely to prevail throughout the year round.
(e) Noise made by cows or carabaos during the New Year is a sign of [a] good harvest.
(f) To leave when a member of the family is sick is to meet certain bad luck.
(g) To look during the burial ceremony is a sign that another member of the same family will die.
(h) Eating twin bananas will bear twin children.

12. Popular Songs, Games and Amusements:
(a) Popular songs:
(1) Serenade in the Barrio (4) Sit-chirit-chit
(2) Planting (5) May Isang Bulaklak na Ibig Lumitaw
(3) Baby in the Cradle (6) Ala-ala Kita sa Gabing Pagtulog
(b) Games and Amusement:
(1) Sikyo
(2) Tubigan
(3) Pata

(c) Puzzles and Riddles:
(1) My pig Bolo has a pair of nails.
(2) She is frightened in one but not in two.

[p. 8]

(3) You pulled it but you are carried.
(4) A house which has only one post.
(5) He doesn’t eat when you don’t ride it.
(6) When he stands, he is short and when he sits he is tall.

14. Proverbs and Sayings:

(1) He who believes in tales shows that he has no conviction of his own.
(2) A sleeping shrimp is carried away by the current of the stream.
(3) A man of words lack action.
(4) Knowledge if wealth.
(5) Those who don’t look back to the place where they come [from] cannot reach their destinations.
(6) Still water is deep.
(7) A barking dog seldom bites.
(8) A rolling stone gathers no moss.
(9) What you sow is what you will reap.
(10) Every hour has its end.
(11) A name is better than riches.
(12) Seeing is believing.
(13) For all good things, there is always criticism.
(14) Anything far is near if one strives to reach it.

14. Methods of Measuring Time:

People living especially in the remote barrios measure the time by means of:
(a) Opening of the buds:
(1) Ten o’clock, flowers open their buds at ten o’clock.
(2) Four o’clock, flowers open their buds at four o’clock.
(3) Patola flowers open their buds at four o’clock.
(b) Closing of the leaves:
(1) Elena and acacia leaves close their leaflets at 3 o’clock.
(c) Singing of the birds:
(1) The hornbill which is sometimes called the clock of the forest sings every hour.
(d) Crowing of the cocks:
(1) Mostly, they crow at twelve o’clock midnight and early at dawn.
(e) Kissing – Lizards kiss the ground at six o’clock.
(f) The insects, such as the crickets, sing at six o’clock.
(e) Looking at the sun – When the sun is overhead, it is 12 o’clock.

Respectfully submitted:

15. Other folkways: None.

Respectfully submitted:
JOSE M. TRINIDAD - Chairman
SIMPLICIO CATENA - Member FLORENTINA MAGNAYE - Member
JULIO BISCOCHO - Member ANDREA CAROLINO - Member
EMILIANO MENDOZA - Member ELISA ENCARNACION - Member
JOSEFA ARANDIA - Member CLARITA M. CABELLO - Member
LORENZO SERRANO - Member



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Notes and references:
Transcribed from “Compilation of Historical Data Regarding Barrios and Towns of the Municipality of Agoncillo, Province of Batangas,” 1953, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.

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