January 2, 2018

Sabang, Ibaan, Batangas: Historical Data

Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of Sabang in the Municipality of Ibaan, 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.

[p. 1]

HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE OF THE BARRIO SABANG

PART I: HISTORY

1. Present official name of the barrio – Sabang

2. Popular name of the barrio, present and past derivation –

The word “Sabang” means a place where two or several rivers meet. [The] Sitios included are Sa Ibayiw and Batis.

3. Date of establishment:

It was established in 1832.

4. Original families –

Caiga, Alvarez and Mendoza

5. List tenientes from the earliest time to date –

Martin Caiga, Agapito Mendoza, Culastico, Caiga, Ciriaco Peramo, and Jose Papio.

6. Story of old barrios or sitios within the jurisdiction that are now depopulated or extinct – NONE

7. Data on historical sites, structures, buildings, old ruins, etc.

The former Sabang Bridge named after the Provincial Board member M. Cabrera was constructed in 1913 by [the] Italian Marchitti Brothers and on Dec. 15, 1941, it was blown up by the USAFFE to hinder the advance of the Japanese forces. It was rebuilt in 1952 by the U.S. Rehabilitation Administration.

8. Important facts, incidents or events that took place – None

9. a. Destruction of lives, properties, and institutions during wars especially in 1896-1900 and 1941-1945 –

Because of the blowing up of the Sabang Bridge at the start of World War II, motor transportation between Ibaan and Batangas was cut off and this barrio was not molested by the Japanese and together with the neighboring [barrio?] of Tinga became the Headquarters of the Fil-American guerrillas and the center of all underground schemes for the resistance movement.

b. Measures and accomplishments toward rehabilitation and reconstruction after World War II –

After the war, the Sabang Bridge was reconstructed and the once-abandoned road was repaired and continued its former usefulness as interprovincial road between the provinces of Batangas and Quezon.

PART TWO: FOLKWAYS

10. Traditions, customs and practices in domestic and social life:

The people of this barrio have traditions common to other barrios in the municipality of Ibaan. When a child is born, the neighbors and relatives, especially the young people, keep vigil over the newly-born infant until after he is baptized by the priest. For fear of [a] bad omen such as becoming bewitched are being stolen by evil spirits and the child may become frightened and become sick. Among these evil spirits are [the] patianak, iki, aswang, wakwak, tigbalang and mankukulam.

The baptism is usually accompanied by merrymaking and feasting that the parents incur debt to feed the whole barrio.

[p. 2]

Courtship – In [the] earliest days, courtship was often done by parents of the young maiden. It was often accompanied buy hazardous and long periods of service before the promise of marriage life is given to the young man.

Marriage – Marriage is usually arranged before Christmas and in the months of January and May. Although [a] few marriages are also celebrated during any other months of the year.

Death – When a person dies, all the friends, neighbors, and relatives from far distant places, come to pay their respect and condolence and they vigil over the dead from the first night until buried. For nine consecutive nights, prayers are offered for the repose of the departed soul.

Punishment – The most common punishment for ordinary offences wash by whipping the offender twenty x on the back of his heap [head?] while lying on the bench with his face against the bench.

11. Myths, legends, beliefs, interpretations, superstitions:

In ancient times and even up to the present generation, the people of this locality have had many queer beliefs regarding the different phenomena of nature and associate them with myths, legends, superstition and give these natural phenomena varied interpretations as they affect their daily lives.

The eclipses are believed to have bad effects on the suitors whose proposals to maidens will meet their doom as in the case of "Pinaglahuang Pag-ibig" and to those who are newly engaged, it means a temporary break, as a third person has intervened in the happiness of the two lovers. But to those who are long engaged, it means and everlasting happiness.

Earthquakes are believed to be the wrath of God. Others believe that it is the meeting of heat and cold under the earth. They do not know that earthquakes of the tectonic type are caused by the loosening of huge boulders and falling one after another.

When is setting of eggs has been subjected to an earthquake, they are believed to become infertile. These eggs will either be sold or used in the house.

When a person is walking along the road and an earthquake occurs, he should stop and hold on to something solid or lie down flat on his breast lest he falls down to the ground and become an epileptic person.

When the clouds are moving fast, it is believed a typhoon is brewing somewhere. The rain is believed to have been brought up to the sky by [a] rainbow and when the load becomes heavy the rain falls.



The storms are believed to be God's wrath upon the many sins of man. The changes of the weather are believed to cause sickness and the changes of the climate are attributed to [the] growing old age of the earth. All other natural phenomena are often attributed to the will of God.

The first man and woman are believed to be Adam and Eve and the birth of twins or more is taken to bring prosperity to the family.

Sickness is believed to be the result of negligence or the curse of God. In fact, they attribute everything that happens to the will of God. Even good fortunes, evils and calamities are attributed to divination. Some people believe that when there is a sick person in the family and the whole flock of chickens cackle at night as if they were frightened, the sick person will die and will not be able to recover.

When dogs howl at night with [a] dreadful sound as if they are sensing song mishaps, it is a sign of [a] bad omen that some calamity may happen in the neighborhood.

[p. 3]

12. Popular songs, games and amusements:

There are no amusements among the people of this place except fishing by hook during leisure time.

13. Puzzles and riddles:

1. Balong malalim puno ng patalim – bibig
2. Dalwang batong itim malayo ang nararating – mata
3. Nanganak ang aswang sa tuktok nagdaan – saging
4. Kabayo kong puti sa bontot nagdaan – saging
5. Ibabaw ay cogonan ilalim ay kawayanan – bahay

14. Proverbs and sayings –

1. Ang walang pagod magtipon walang hinayang magtapon.
2. Sa bula hinahanap sa bula rin nawala.
3. Ang taong palatolog ginto namang mahulog ay hindi mapupulot.
4. Nasa Dios ang awa nasa tao ang gawa.
5. Ang bayaning nasugatan nag-iibayo ang tapang.

15. Methods of measuring time, special calendars

The early inhabitants of this town who were almost all illiterates resorted to crude and various methods of reckoning time. The most common among them are based on the crowing of chickens as the following:

1. The first crowing of the chickens early in the evening is reckoned as nine o’clock P.M.
2. The second crowing is eleven.
3. The third crowing is midnight.
4. The fourth crowing in the early dawn is about four.
5. The fifth crowing which is called “dalasan na” is about five-thirty in the morning.

Those living near a large forest reckoned the time on the sound made by the twittering of a large bird called “Kalao” which makes a large shrill noise which is heard throughout the whole community. When it makes a sound in the morning, it is about seven o’clock, then it makes another sound at twelve noon, then another at four o’clock in the afternoon.

A young owlet commonly called “bahaw” in the locality makes a loud shrill noise early at dawn and the time is reckoned to be five o’clock in the morning. At this time, the farmers get up and begin to pound the rice for the use of the family for the whole day. If they do not have to pound rice, they do some other jobs such as fetching water from the spring, or pasturing their work animals. Other, most industrious farmers who provide feeds for their cattle during the night, start plowing in the early morning before the sun is up.

Those who travel from one town to another wake up when they hear the rapid crowing of the chickens. Another method of reckoning time is based on the whitening of the eastern horizon (Pamumuti ng Silangan). The people start on their journeys, and the time is about five o’clock in the morning. At daybreak, it is usually reckoned as six o’clock, when the sun is overhead, twelve o’clock. At sunset, [it] is reckoned as six o’clock in the evening.

Special Calendars

In the absence of the printed calendars, the division of the different parts of the year is usually reckoned by the presence of migratory birds. Early in the month of May when a group of small birds called “Pirukit” and these birds begin to sing loud twittering after the first and second rain at the end of the dry season, the farmers hurry in preparing their fields for planting. And they know that this period of the year corresponds to the month of May, because the melody produced by the song of these birds is similar to “Hasik-hahasik” meaning sow, sow your rice.

[p. 4]

Next to this is what the farmers call the “San Piro-San Pablo” (the feast of Saints Peter and Paul) which corresponds to the end of June when it is the last time to sow the rice in the field.

The birds are generally the harbingers of the seasons. When it is harvest time, a certain kind of insectivorous birds locally known as “pakiskis” migrate in large numbers and they also make shrill noises that the farmers know that this period of the year corresponds to the month of September or the harvesting season. The funny thing about these birds is that they disappear after the harvest time and if one could find one or two of these birds at any time of the year, they do not make any noise as they do during harvest time.

Then comes the period called “tagkabuti,” the growing of mushrooms in the fields and forests which corresponds to half of July and the whole month of August.

From the manuscript of ex-Mayor Miguel Mercado, retired Principal.

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

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