January 2, 2018

Camastilisan, Calaca, Batangas: Historical Data

Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of Calantas in the Municipality of Calaca, 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 CULTURAL LIFE OF THE BARRIO OF CAMASTILISAN

Part One: History

Camastilisan, one of the leading and peaceful barrios of Calaca, has its own historical events clothed to be its own treasure alone. This barrio resides within the jurisdiction of the town of Calaca for quite a long, long time ago. From the provincial road, it is just less than a kilometer away but it covers a long distance extending to Salong and Machinan.

The name Camastilisan is officially engraved on the leaves of nature that was brought down from its earliest days up to the present. Her popular name stands proudly on the heart of the barrio and was put to record by the municipality for the use of time. Yesterday’s view of the prospective barrio would give us a lively idea how nature borne the true meaning of its name, Camistilisan. How could one imagine if he were a leading member of a family group of the time that the barrio was gifted by nature, credited to have been surrounded by tall and green trees of different kinds, that stood upright for recognition and strength of its inviting admiration for dreams and beauties. The common tree plants that lived up for almost all sectors of the barrio are the “Camastilis.” These trees grow in big, looked in uniform, attractive and inviting which seemed to steal and catch the attention of every passerby of its hidden charm from which the unequalled name Camastilisan was derived.

We have the following tenientes from the earliest time to date as far as reliable sources could give. From 1896 Mr. Lucas Morillo, Mr. Felix Alamag, Mr. Florencio Garcia, Mr. Lupe Villalobos, Juan Villalobos, Mr. Viviano Gatdula and at present, Mr. Alfredo Reyes. The barrio Camastilisan did not have any change or become depopulated for since then, it continues to be the people’s means of livelihood and better economic stability. There were no ruined buildings nor sites of important historical events except one during the Japanese occupation. In 1944, one of the fishing nets owned by Mr. Santiago Relevo was burned. Then, the following year 1945, another net of Mr. Pedro Relevo was also burned. All of these fishing nets turned to dust.

After World War II, there were no accounts to be recorded like places of interest, personalities, political, educational, economics, religious, other events and developments, except the loss of [a] few lives done by the atrocities of the Japanese soldiers, the properties looted, and the enforced labor.

For the barrio alone, no measure and accomplishments toward rehabilitations and reconstructions

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were made because of the delay, maybe, of the economic program set for the said barrio.

Part Two: Folk Ways

The traditions, customs and practices in domestic and social life is observed in these ways:

Birth: - At the time of birth, especially the first-born child, the couple prepared wine, bulanog, and a sort of little firework “labintador” showing whether the child is a boy or a girl. They ate and drank, thanking God for the safe delivery of the child. Both parents of the couple would select as to who should be the first child’s born godmother and godfather.

Baptism: - Full preparation if the couple is in a position to have it, like pigs, goats, chickens, suman, and other things for the occasion. At [the] first hour in the morning, the child’s father brings some presents “regalo” to his compadre and comadre. Both of them invite friends to attend the party. The whole day is described as “Day Dreams” for enjoyment. Before the godfather and godmother leave the house of their compadre, they leave an envelope containing money or jewels in the hand of the child. This is their gift or something else for the baby.

Courtship: - The traditional custom is that the parents of the man are the ones who looked for the future bride of their son. Both parties arranged for the day of [the] marriage. The man is supposed to serve for a certain period of time agreed upon. The man helped the parents of the girl [in] whatever kind of work [was] handled at home. For instance, he rose early in the morning to fetch water, to gather fuel, to pound rice, to plow the field, etc. Sometimes, the man failed to satisfy the wishes of the girl’s parents. In this case, the man is disqualified. Then, another suitor could try his luck. But if the first man succeeded, then the two would be married according to the prevailing custom.

Death: - In the case of death, the old custom which is still carried at present has for some sentimental reasons. As a sign of respect and love for the departed souls of their dear ones, they wore black clothes for a period of one year. They offered prayers and sacrifices of true devotion to our Lord for the salvation of sins, if ever there were committed on earth. They had the ninth day “Walong [siyam na] Araw,” and the last day of the one year day since the death called in Tagalog “Babaang Luksa” for the departed ones.

Visits: - The barrio folks are very hospitable if visits are ever made. When you visited a relative, friend and compadre, you would feel very satisfying. You would notice that to the best they could, they would offer you something such as tobacco, ikmo, bunga and apog the common name for “nganga” and other things they could possibly have at home.

Punishments: - In the early days, there were established rulings followed strictly according to their old laws. There were times when you had done

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wrongs against them that you were hogtied, hanged and beaten. If you stole, your hands would be burned. Sometimes, you were drawn. There were punishments that you would be thrown into the deep well. Sometimes, your tongue, lips and ears would be cut up.



The Myths: - Legends, beliefs, interpretations and superstitions of the origin of the world is that the world is flat. That you could reach the edge of the world. That the moon, sun and stars move, that is why there is day and night. That the lands, mountains, lakes, rivers, plants, animals and seas were created by God. That the earthquake is held by the strongest man, Bernardo Carpio. That if he is angry, he moved the world. That if there are eclipses, it would bring good luck. That lightning and thunder, clouds, rain, wind, storm and change of climates and other natural phenomena are also created by God. The belief of the birth of twins or more is that it would bring the family in prosperity. In the case of sickness that spread all over the barrio and caused deaths, they said that some persons of unknown origin called “Salot” came to get [the] lives of the people. A witch is a form of ugly woman who possessed magic power of evil spirit. This ugly woman when seen by a child in the pasture looked like the child’s very own mother. She gave the child something which looked like bread. The child took it at once for he thought that she was his mother. The child went with the woman into the woods. He became wild. When the parents of the child learned what happened to their child, they would hunt for him. Oftentimes, when the parents captured their child, he would refuse to go with them anymore. The parents would bathe the child with vinegar in order to remove the evil spirit. After some days, the child will become good [and] behave well.

Magic: - A man who [was] said to have magic power could make things transformed to something else. He became very strong and could carry heavy things which other men could not carry except when grouped together. He could make the woman love him even if she disliked him. This man had an “anting-anting.”

The popular song during the early days was Lulay. The music and the dance was the Fandango.

Riddles:

Dalawang batong mabilog
Malayo ang abot. (Mata)

Isang malaking babae
Sa tagiliran natae. (Gilingan)

Kabiyak na itlog
Mag-aalipod. (Buwan)

Ang baboy ko sa Pulo
Balahibo’y pako. (Langka)

Baka ko sa Maynila
Abot ditto ang unga. (Kalugkog)

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Proverbs and Sayings –

Be thrifty if you want to be wealthy.
Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.
He who will not toil will not live.
Haste makes waste.
A tree is known by the fruit.
Never do but one thing at a time, and never put off till tomorrow what you can do today.
Time is gold.

One of the primitive methods of measuring time is by the use of the patula [patola] flowers. When it blooms in the afternoon, it shows that it is almost 6:00 o’clock. This is very useful when it is a gloomy day or when it is raining very hard, that is, when the sun is not shining.

The other one is by the crowing of the cock early in the morning by the position of the stars, moon, and sun in the sky.

Part Three: Other Information

With regards to the information on books and other documents treating the Philippines and the names of their owners, the barrio of Camastilisan does not possess any one of them. The same as Filipino authors born or residing in the said barrio, there is nothing to be recorded even at present.

Prepared and submitted:

(MISS) MARCELINA R. SECRETO
Teacher

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

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