January 1, 2018

Duhatan, Balayan, Batangas: Historical Data

Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of Duhatan, Balayan, 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. The original pagination is provided for citation purposes.

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HISTORY AND CULTURE OF THE BARRIO, DUHATAN

Just five or six kilometers a little northwest of the poblacion of Balayan and Municipality of the same name, lies a hilly and irregularly bordered barrio known as Duhatan or Ruhatan as common names to the people. The barrio, being on the extreme west of the municipality, is the borderline between the Municipalities of Balayan and Lian on the northwest and Balayan-Calatagan on the southwest. So many decades ago, resource persons as the oldest inhabitants of the place say, almost half a portion of the barrio would have been annexed to Lian had it not been for the father of the late Don Vicente Novales, the grandfather of the incumbent Mayor of Balayan. The survey for Lian, surveyed by a certain Spanish mestizo by the name of “Don Villamarin,” was stopped and forced to move westward the boundary for Lian for personal reasons of the latter. Some hundreds of hectares of land, therefore, were saved for the Municipality of Balayan.

As to the name Ruhatan or Duhatan, which is now the official and registered name of the barrio, ever since the arrival of the Spaniards, the place has been called such, the old people say. No trace of any written record about some past details of the place could ever be compiled. The name as handed down from decade to decade, from the oldest to the present inhabitants, is an explanation in itself.

Duhat is a rather wild fruit that thrives in abundance in the vicinity in and out. In the yards are duhat trees, in the woods, the same are rampant. A tree that bears green fruit while immature and purplish when ready for the people’s appetite for fruits, has made the barrio well known even to adjoining places. During the month of May until the following month, the fruit is in full abundance that even people of various places flock to this barrio for some baskets full of [the[ said fruit for hogs’ feed. Therefore, the place was said to be duhatan, meaning a place of duhat trees.

The barrio proper is composed of some smaller sitios namely Tangoy, Danao, Malinpoog, Talon, Talag and Tungkong Bato. All are hilly with the exception of Tangoy, Talon and a portion of Tungkong Bato which have vast wide parcels of lots that are level and fertile. Establishment of the barrio was long before the Spanish regime. Improvement, however, started at the start of the American rule over the islands.

The first group of families that started the improvement was that that came from the Municipalities of Calaca and Nasugbu, both of Batangas province. Forests were cleared and utilized for palay raising and later on converted to vast sugarcane farms when the Municipality of Balayan was famous for the so-called “Muscovado” sugar. The outbreak of the Filipino Rebellion against the sovereignty of Spain had caused the barrio to be depopulated. The inhabitants who were members of the Katipunan joined the strong Filipino forces stationed in Looc, a stronghold of the Filipino rebels. Looc, a hilly and mountainous barrio was by that time the only Filipino defense line in western Batangas which was not conquered and devastated by the Spanish soldiers. The rebellion came to an end. The inhabitants returned to Duhatan and resumed their working and clearing ability of the thickly forested land.

The Americans came in 1898. Another moro-moro took place which did not last long nor gain too much bad effect on the progressing economic stability of the people. People were confident of the latter’s democratic treatment and dealings with them. The inhabitants did not abandon the place. A steady economic and educational progress of the barrio was being pushed on but by the arrival of the Japanese invaders in 1941.

The Army road built by our Philippine Army men which passed through Duhatan to the Municipality of Calatagan had caused confusion and fear

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among the people, much so, after the Filipino forces abandoned the different ports of western Batangas for Bataan. Again came another blunder to the agricultural progress of the vicinity. The general feelings of the people was but survival and no more of progress of any sort. They fled to some evacuation centers like Lian and Nasugbu to evade Japanese torture. Some lives and properties perished due to the enemy’s strovities [atrocities?] in so short a time. This was the second short period of depopulation of Duhatan. The war ended. The refugees returned. And now, the place is on its way to rapid progress economically and socially.

FOLKS WAY [FOLKWAYS]

Whereas, in other places as in progressive towns and cities, centers of civilization in particular, Filipino customs and traditions are being abandoned, in Duhatan the same are still actively practiced. The nightly family prayers, close family ties, and close neighborhood links are still alive among the hearts and thoughts of the, as others may brand us, conservative peoples. Social relationships existing among them are very sacred and of value.

A mother brings birth to a child and the father of the newly born infant goes to the to-be-godfather or godmother not later than a day. It is awkward, they say, if prolonged time has passed without giving due notice to the concerned. Such is a sign of close respect and sympathy existing in the “Padrino or Madrina” relations among the people. On baptismal days, the parents of the infants usually renders a party in honor of the godfather or godmother in which case the same leaves a certain amount or anything of material value to the child or godchild. This is a sort of present, a souvenir.

With reference to courtships among young men, it may not be said as so much antiquated in nature as compared to so many decades ago. Common wooing goes on, shown by frequent visitations and serenading. The lass admits the bachelor’s love, either divulges the existing entanglement between them to their parents and the matrimonial day follows. No more are the days when bachelors have to serve the parents of the bride-to-be for some long and doubting years. No more!

The Duhatan fellows are pure Catholics though a few are Protestants and still others Seventh Day Adventists. As great lovers, therefore, of the Almighty, barrio fiestas, however meager is the harvest of the year, never fails to be celebrated. It would then be hail to the people, the celebration of the said fiestas but for their sacred belief in the blessing handed down to them by the Redeemer and his associated, the saint patron.

A more distinctive practice among the people could be noticed in the burial of the deceased. However occupied each family of the barrio is, a member or two of each family never fails to attend to the burial of the deceased, a sign of sympathy and cooperation. While the coffin is being laid in the grave, each attendant picks up a piece of soil and throws it at the coffin. That signifies the enlightenment of one’s sickness. What a superstitious belief it may be. But that really is a common practice.

With reference to hospitality, especially in the reception of visitors, the people of Duhatan never lag behind. “Kapag maikli ang kumot bahala ng mamaluktot or ang pagkain ay sa lahat.” These are the most hospitable expressions which could be heard from the lips of tough how poor a couple is. Suffering from tight financial pressure, still each home and each family is cordial in receiving visitors. A tradition that people never forget.



The belief in the underground power as termed by the believers

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as “nuno” or goblins can easily be witnessed among the old. That lying down on the ground, especially in the forest without the utterance of the names of “Jesus, Mary and Joseph,” some ill misfortune may befall on anybody who lies down. It may be said, this [is] a belief without scientific bases, but some instances sometimes may draw one to believe in the hidden powers and the mysteries they create. And herbolarios, quack doctors, cure his patient [who] was punished by the said “nuno” and he got well. With the use of some herbs, and coupled with some family prayers for some days, the patient revives his vigor. What a great puzzle to the non-believer in the unseen power as they are called.

The aged persons also believed, much different from scientists, they say the earth, the sky and everything that affects the living conditions of men on earth are all due to the will and creating power of [a] unique God in heaven. To refute their arguments will mean a non-believer to the Almighty. That sickness and every ill misfortune and shortcomings are all the will of God. Implanted in the thoughts of the most conservative old folks, never can they be made to deviate from their knowledge of things they had adhered to.

The musical tastes are mostly inclined to the kundiman songs and lulay or pandango dances. Any way the youngsters, with the introduction of modern musical pieces and modern dances deviate and evade the former. Morals and behaviors are based abstractly from sayings and proverbs. Some of which are:

1. Golden rule
2. Spare the child and spoil the rod. [Obviously, “Spare the rod and spoil the child.”]
3. Beautiful hands are those that help.
4. Take care of yourself and God cares for you.
5. [A] Clean conscience is worth [a] thousand pesos.
6. Work mindfully and do the best you can, there [are] so many more.

The method of measuring time especially the old is always inaccurate. The position of the sun or the moon at their appropriate time of shining and the crowing of the cocks before midnight and after midnight are the most common measures of time, though such is never reliable.

The unfortunate date of the year for the people is the Nov. 1st of the year, the All Saints’ Day and the Halloween night. Most calendars available in the homes are those by Honorio Lopez, Tagalog. In this calendar, the people pick out fortunate dates for their farm works, planting and harvesting rice.

Much interested in folktales, that the story of Mariang Makiling who they said dwelt in the Sampiro mountain is up to this day, still known even by the younger generations. Mariang Makiling, they said, was a very charming woman gifted with a supernatural power, dwelt in a part of the mountain of Duhatan. An enchanted maiden was she that she could do things common people never could do. She never rejected requests but a time when an inhabitant did never comply with is commitment that Makiling abandoned the place. No trace of her could now be heard. Often, the people would say, “Oh Mariang Makiling.” Oh! Motherly maiden you abandoned us.

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Notes and references:
Transcribed from “History and Cultural Life of the Barrio, Duhatan,” 1953, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.

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