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January 2, 2018

Labak, Lipa City, Batangas: Historical Data

Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of Labak in the City of Lipa, 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]

Division of Batangas
LIPA CITY SOUTH DISTRICT
City of Lipa

October 7, 1953

HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE OF THE BARIO OF LABAK

PART I – HISTORY

Going southwest from the boundary of Lipa and Rosario is the barrio of Labak, Lipa City. On its establishment in 1763, a group of eight families from the barrio of Bagongpook, Lipa City, arrived and adopted the name of the barrio where they came from, to their newly-found village. They discovered the land covered with thick forest and inhabited by wild animals. To earn a living, the people cultivated a piece of land to a “Kaingin system” and planted [a] few coffee plants in their backyards. A year after came [a] group of people from the barrios of Bulacnin, Inosloban, Banaybanay, Marawoy, and from the towns of Batangas, Ibaan, Taysan, and Alitagtag. As time went on, the villagers became acquainted with each other. They moved their houses closer and since then, the barrio was made up of three sitios, namely Bulacnin, Batangan, [page torn]
Inosloban, named after the three groups of villagers who arrived and settled in this region.

In 1781, coffee was in demand. Two coffee merchants came to the barrio and told the people that coffee plants would thrive well in the [page torn]
lob-ak, meaning low-land. Those who heard this word “Lob-ak” [page torn]
the powerful man with the consent of his followers adopted “Lob-ak” as the official name of the barrio.

In 1797, pests unfortunately destroyed the coffee plants [page torn]
only major source of income of the barrio people. Food became [page torn]
their survival, they had to eat vines, corn stalks, papaya branches [page torn]
and lukto, [the] young of the grasshoppers. Those who could not secure [page torn]
for their families resorted to robbery and lawlessness.

It took about twenty-five years for the people to cultivate [page torn]
barrios into “Kaingin.” By this method of tilling the soil, they were able to exist a bit although they could hardly make both ends meet.

In [date unclear], the gobernadorcillo of the town sent a letter to the barrio ordering the people to elect their barrio lieutenant to govern the people for a term of three years. Noting the barrio heads from the first to the present, they were as follows:

1. Mr. Santiago Torrete – 1868-1871
2. Mr. Mariano Mandigma – 1871-1874
3. Mr. Guillermo Maandal – 1874-1877
4. Mr. Fernando Miranda – 1877-1880
5. Mr. Fernando Magbuhat – 1880-1883
6. Mr. Florentino Marasigan – 1883-1886
7. Mr. Maximo Calingasan – 1886-1889
8. Mr. Isidro Roxas – 1889-1892

[p. 2]

9. Mr. Francisco Carubio – 1892-1895
10. Mr. Venancio Recede – 1895-1898 who was in power when the Spanish rule ended.
11. Mr. Esteban Samonte – 1898-1903
12. Mr. Nicolas de Chavez – 1903-1909
13. Mr. Narciso Carubio – 1909-1929
14. Mr. Pedro Café – from 1929 until the present. When the Spaniards left, the teniente del barrio could be the head of his people as long as they liked him, so it was unlimited.

When the Americans came in 1898 to 1941, the living conditions of the barrio people progressed. The landowner, Mrs. Consuelo de Lozada, told her laborers to plant coconuts and other farm crops, raised in the land other than coconuts would all be theirs except [a] 10% share of palay for the overseers. The people then started the coconut plantation and farmed the in-betweens of the coconut palms for farm crops. There were contentment and happiness in the hearts of the common people.

Children of school age were sent to school in neighboring barrios like Bayang Luma, now Padre Garcia, Tampayak, San Miguel, Pagolingin, Anilao, and Pinagkawitan. There were times when a child, upon completion of Grade Four, ceased schooling to help the family in farm work. Girls, upon reaching the age of ten, were trained to weave sinamay and do household works.

The Catholic religion inherited from the Spaniards found its way to the establishment of a “luglugan” where people assembled every night to pay homage to God. They also had the “lutrina,” a procession, they then returned to their starting place and ate pieces of bread that were hanged in what they called “balag” that was inside the tuklong. Before they parted from each other, another prayer was recited for the peaceful morning.

For amusements, there was the “Moro-moro,” which was played by three princes and fifteen princesseses in a stage; the “subli,” a dance by two or four pairs of grown men and women with castanets; and the “pandango,” a dance by [a] pair of adults with the accompaniment of a guitar while the dancers sing.

Then the peaceful life of the community was blocked by the outbreak of World War II in 1941, which lasted for almost four years. During the Japanese Occupation, day after day, some Japanese soldiers were making friends with the barrio residents. Unaware of what would happen, the people did not leave their homes, until on February 27, 1944 [probably 1945] when the same Japs assembled in three big houses of the village where every individual they saw were killed as they went from house to house. Babies were thrown upward and the bayonets caught them as they fell. Then, at noontime, three houses were burned simultaneously.

After liberation, the people returned to their respective homes in April 1945. Several months later, claims for damages of residents were submitted to the Philippine War Damage Commission which, after the lapse of several years, they received sums of money in return for the merciless damage the people encountered at the hands of the treacherous enemies.

The people again started a new life. Their children were sent to school though it was ten kilometers away from home. Parents of these school children

[p. 3]

were bothered much during rainy days for the fear that their children might be carried by the big floods. Long had they been aspiring for at least a Grade One class for their barrio, but it was not realized until December 8,1952 when an extension class was organized with the authority of the Bureau of Public Schools. Miss Cecilia E. Briones was the first Public School teacher assigned to this barrio since its establishment in 1763.

PART II – FOLKWAYS

During the courtship stage, the man visited the girl to propose his love. The girl’s parents often decided the matter. If they approved of him, he began serving the family, fetching water, gathering fuel, and did everything in the house to prove his sincerity. The parents of both sides met to set a date for the marriage, the kind of wedding ceremony, the party, the girl’s side preferred to. The day before the wedding, the bride and the bridegroom took their confessions. They were married the following morning in the church. During those days, they believed that if the bride stood ahead of the groom, her rights were respected by the man, and if she stepped on his feet immediately after the priest turned his back on them, he was hen-pecked. As the couple approached the ladder in the bride’s house, rice and centavo pieces were thrown at them, to lead a prosperous marriage life. Relatives and friends gave them gifts like dresses, perfumes, silverware, or dishes and sometimes money. After the party was over, the new couple and company transferred to the man’s house. Upon entering the sala, she sat flat on a new mat, meaning to live as if she were a real member of the groom’s family.

During the woman’s conception period, she ought to take in every food she desired to, or else the food mark would be seen in the baby’s body upon the delivery of the child. [A] Pregnant woman should be extra careful of her movements for once she slipped down, it was probable for the child to be born hare-lipped.

When the child was eight days old, he was baptized. If there was no party, they said, “The child was liable to scabies and a shorter life.”

When someone in the community died, the corpse was placed in a coffin MADE of wood. Beside the coffin was a glass where people put their alms. Prayer was recited before it was taken to the church for the priest’s holy benediction. Before burial, another prayer was recited in the cemetery. For nine consecutive nights, prayers were said for the repose of the dead. On the fourth and ninth days, there would be the so-called 4th and 9th day anniversaries. On these anniversaries, relatives and friends of the dead gathered together and ate particular foods common to the barrio folks for the eternal repose of the dead’s soul. Then, on the one-year anniversary of the dead, there would be another get-together of the sympathizers of the dead, eat and pray once more.

HOW THE SUN AND MOON GOT THEIR LIGHTS

Why are the sun and moon bright? At first, these two heavenly bodies were created opaque objects. When God was about to place them in heaven, He heard words from within, that they would give light to the world upon the blessings of the two mortals in the underworld. The Creator was astonished as to who could ever be the two beings even ahead of Him. He wanted to seek the truth. So, the Holy Trinity went out together with God the Father carrying the sun and the moon. When they were tired, they rested on a certain stone. As they talked to one

[p. 4]

another, God the Son saw some footprints of two kinds. They stood and followed them. Much to their surprise, the footprints ended in the same stone. God the Father said, “This is the home of the first mortal. Then, they heard three Latin words, Sanctus Oier, Sanctus Forte, and Sanctus Mortales.” God the Father responded, “Misereri,” the stone moved at an instant. Two thumbs almost halfway through the holes of the stone were seen by God, the Holy Ghost. God the Father said, “Who art thou? I wish thee to come out, then be baptized and be with us.” God the Holy Ghost then poured water into the thumbs, but suddenly they were cut. God the Father knelt on the stone, and said, “Thou will stay there forever.” He placed the sun and moon each above the two holes and recited a few Latin words. Immediately, the sun and moon brightened, which until now, He could see them shine up in heaven, the sun at the daytime and the moon at night.

WITCHES: It was believed that during the rainy and dark nights, the so-called “tigbalang” strolled around pulling banana or coconut palms, sugarcane, and threw stones at the roofs of houses. Sometimes, during the nights, they took out stray animals and when somebody in the house heard [a] noise outside, the head of the family would at once pursue the “tigbalang” and drive home the animals. Upon reaching the part of the house, he could see the witch inside the house. Uttering a short prayer, “Jesus, Mary, Joseph, help me for I am afraid of what I can see.” It would disappear.

In a thick bamboo grove, the Tigbalang could be heard beating the bamboo, singing kundimans, whistling and playing around the grove. According to the barrio folks, this was the only witch dwelling [in] the place. When they cut down the bamboo, no more stories of the kind were heard in the community.



RIDDLES
Tagalog English

1.  Napupuno ay di nadadagdagan
     Nagkukulang ay di binabawasan.
                                                     Niyog

1.  It gets full but we don't add, and lessens though we do not subtract.
                                               Coconut
2.  Walang binhing itinanim
     Taon-tao'y kinakain.
                                                     Kabote
2.  We do not plant for it has no seed,
     Every year, we gather and eat.
                                               Mushroom
3.  Isang prinsesang maganda
     Punong-puno ng mata..
                                                     Pinya
3.  A beautiful princess\ full of eyes.
                                               Pineapple
4.  Buhok ni Adan, hindi mabilang
                                                     Ulan
4.  Adam's hair, he could not bear.
                                               Rain
5.  Kung araw ay bumbong,
     Pag gabi ay dahon.
                                                     Banig
5.  It is rolled at daytime,
     and spreads at night.
                                               Mat
[p. 5]

 6.  Dumaan ang Negro
      Patay lahat ng tao.
                                         Gab-i

 6.  The dark passes
       All of us die.
                                                  Night

 7.  Ako ay nagtanim ng isang granada,
      Sa tabi ng aking pulta,
      Pito ang daho'y pito ang sanga,
      Pitong pare ang nanguha.
                                                    Pitong Sacramento

 7.  I planted a granada near our gate,
      It has seven stems,
      And seven leaves,
      The priest gathers them.
                                                  Seven Sacraments

 8.  Isang paniong parisukat,
      Pag binuksa'y nag-uusap.
                                                   Sulat

 8,  A rectangular handerchief,
      When open it speaks.
                                                 Letter

 9.  Alisto ka pandak,
      Dadatnan ka ng mabigat.
                                                   Dikin

 9.  Get ready short,
      You will carry a load.
                                                 Pot ring

10. Buhay na sunong ng patay.
                                                   Balag

10. The living is carried by the dead.
                                                 Trellis
Proverbs
Tagalog English

 1.  Ang hipong tulog
      Ay nadadala ng agos.

 1.  Sleeping shrimp,
      Is carried by the current.
 2.  Ang tubig na matining
      Ay tusukan at malalim.
 2.  Still water runs deep.
 3.  Ang tunay na kaibigan
      Sa gipit nasusubukan.
 3.  A true friend is known in need.
 4.  Pag may hirap, may ginhawa.  4.  After pain follows gladness.
 5.  Hindi lahat ng kumikinang ay ginto.  5.  All that glitters are not gold.
 6.  Ang maniwala sa sabi-sabi
      Ay walang bait sa sarili.
 6.  He who believes in tales,
      Has no mind of his own.
 7.  Ang kita sa bulabula
      Sa bulabula rin mawawala.
 7.  Easy come, easy go.
 8.  Kung anong inihasik
      Ay siyang aanihin.
 8.  You shall reap as you had sown.
 9.  Ang laki sa layao,
      Karaniwa'y hubad.
 9.  Spare the rod and spoil the child.
10. Walang matiyagang lalaki,
      Sa tumatakbong babae.
10. There is no patient man
      To an evading woman.

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

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