January 4, 2018

Alalum, San Pascual, Batangas: Historical Data

Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of Alalum in the Municipality of San Pascual, 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.

[Note to the reader.]

At the time when this document was created, the barrio of Alalum was still a part of Bauan rather than San Pascual. The latter did not become a separate municipality until the year 1969, after the passage of Republic Act No. 6166.

A COMPILATION OF HISTORICAL DATA REGARDING
THE BARRIO OF ALALUM

History and Cultural Data of Alalum

Part I – History

1. Present official name of the barrio - - - - Alalum

2. Popular name of the barrio –
Since the beginning, the place has been named Alalum. The word alalum means a tree that grew in the center of the barrio. There are two sitios included in Alalum. They are Pook ng Malungayan and Pook ng Karo. The latter no longer exists and Pook ng Malungayan was changed to Pook ng Bagong Silang.

3. Date of establishment –
The barrio was established during the Spanish administration but nobody at present can tell the exact date.

4. Original Families –
According to the hearsay of the old folks, there were only about 50 original families.

5. List of tenientes –
So far as can be recalled, the following were the tenientes in the order of their incumbency: Domingo Anabu, Guillermo Malabanan, Damaso Karaig, Leon Velasquez, Maximo Aguirre, Pedro de Rosales, Simon Bughao, Fructuoso Sandoval, Severo Dimapasoc, Alejandro Manalo, Lino Panopio, Melquiades Dimatatac, Zacarias Aguirre, Gonzalo Cusi, Leon Lopez, Guillermo Manalo, Leon Dimatatac, Cayetano Cusi and Melecio Perez.

6. Story of the old barrios –
The Sitio – Pook ng Karo was once a populated place though it was far from the barrio proper. Time passed by, but the population did not increase. Instead, there were frequent deaths. The place became so lonely with very few families scattered far apart. These families decided to move to the barrio proper and joined their relatives there. Hence, the place is depopulated.

7. Data –
There is a deep ravine between Palsahingin and Alalum. During the rainy season, the flood rises so high that pedestrians cannot cross it. People who go to town on Sunday to buy their prime necessities come home the next day or, sometimes, after two days. They wait for the flood to go lower.

[p. 2]

But during the administration of the late Andres Buendia as Municipal President way back in 1917, a stone bridge was built. It meant a great help to the people. Later on, another bridge was built, when the new road was constructed. This bridge was destroyed by the Japanese soldiers during the war.

8. Important facts –
(a) There were no important incidents or events that took place in Alalum during the Spanish occupation.

(b) During the American Occupation, there were some who helped in the campaign. Some of them are still living and they are receiving pensions from the government. They are Mr. Zacarias Aguirre, Mr. Fructuoso Sandoval, Mr. Lucio Dimatatac, Mr. Eulogio Aguirre, Mr. Cirilo Sandoval, etc.

(c) During World War II, ten (10) young men from Alalum joined the army. Only one (1) returned. That one is Mr. Emeterio Marquez, now a sergeant in the P.C. Company. The other nine who died either in Bataan or in Capaz were Victor Lopez, Santiago Panopio, Feliciano Lopez, Pedro Lopez, Victor Aguirre, Antonio Gutierrez and Jose Rosales. The bereaved families of these heroes are now receiving pensions from the U.S. government with the exception of one, the widow and children of the late Antonio Gutierrez. The reason is still unknown.

9. Destruction of Lives and Properties –

(a) During the war in 1896-1900, only three or four lives were lost. But when the people assembled in the poblacion due to an order of the American authorities (zona), the homes and properties they left were lost or badly destroyed. About 50% of the houses were burned. When the owners returned, they suffered difficulties before they could re-establish their homes.

(b) As was told already, in the war 1941-1945, only those who joined the army perished. It may be interesting to note that many families from the poblacion and even from Aplaya evacuated to Alalum at the beginning of the war. This war did not cause much damage regarding lives and properties.

After the war, most of the male persons in this barrio worked in different army installations. They received good pay and in this way, the people lived in abundance.

PART II

10. Traditions, Customs, and Practices in Domestic and Social life –

(a) Birth – The delivery of babies is mostly done in the home, seldom in the hospital. The mother is attended by a midwife who learned her profession through experience. Anyway, when there is danger in the delivery, a physician is then called.

(b) Baptism – When a new baby is born, the father and the mother jointly choose a person to be the godfather or the godmother of the baby. This person is the one whom they most sympathize with. The baby is taken to church and baptized according to the name the parents chose. Sometimes, there is elaborate preparation in the parents’ home. The neighbors and friends are invited and they enjoy it. The godfather or the godmother gives the baby a certain amount of money. It is called “pakimkim.”

(c) Courtship – A young man who has decided to marry calls on the woman he admires [at] most once or twice a week. Sometimes, he does it more often. When the young man and the young woman are already in good terms, the young man begins to help the young girl’s parents in all their work. He supplies them with water and firewood. He works on their farm in case there is any, etc. etc.



After several days, the man’s parents go to the girl’s house with something that will please the parents, usually a butchered pig. There and then, the marriage is arranged.

(d) Marriage – Once the date of the marriage is agreed upon, both parties get ready for it. The ceremony is performed by a priest in the church. This day is a great day for the members of the family and sometimes for the majority of the barrio folks. There is an elaborate preparation in the bride’s house and good food is served the whole day. When everybody has been served, the bride goes to the groom’s house with all the other people, laughing, yelling, etc.

(e) Death and Burial – When a member of the family dies, all the relatives mourn. The women wear black dresses for a year. The men sometimes put a black band around their arms, especially when they wear coats, or a piece of black ribbon on the left breast. Everyone shows respect to the dead. It is forbidden to sweep the floor or the yard until after the ninth day. It is the belief that the dead is humiliated if he is buried without a coffin. In case you do so, all the members of the family will be swept to death.

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There is a mass prayer on the fourth and on the ninth day besides the daily prayer. On the ninth day, all the relatives and sympathizers attend the mass prayer. On this day, pigs and cows are butchered and good food is served.

(f) Visits – The people are very hospitable. When visitors come, they do the best they can to make them feel happy. During meal time, the best food they can afford is served.

(g) Festivals – Every year, the barrio people celebrate a fiesta. They spend hundreds and hundreds of pesos for the occasion. Before the day comes, the houses are repaired and thoroughly cleaned. Every home is ready for a feast. Everybody dresses elegantly. There is usually a program composed of speeches, songs, folk dance, a drama, and a “balagtasan.”

(h) Punishment – No punishment is inflicted by the people themselves because the wrongdoers are taken to the Court of Justice for proper action.

11. (a) Myths, legends, beliefs, interpretations and superstitions – No interesting myth or legend is known or told by the people of the locality. Some people have, of course, read some myths or legends, but they are not worth recording.

(b) Beliefs, interpretations and superstitions -

1. Some ignorant people still believe that some sicknesses are caused by the “nono” or “ike” or “aswang.” When these “nono,” “ike” or “aswang” get angry with the person concerned, they make him or her sick. The sick person can recover, only by offering an apology. In case the offense is great, he is never forgiven, and naturally dies.

2. When a firefly enters the house, there is a thief in the cornfield or rice field of the owner of a house.

3. After the rain, the rainbow is a sign of good weather the following days. During good weather, it is a sign of the coming rain.

4. [The] Number thirteen (13) is unlucky. When there are thirteen persons in the house, one of them will die very soon or will meet some misfortunes.

5. Eclipses – People believe that there is something in the air, locally known as “lahu.” When the “lahu” swallows the sun or the moon, there is an eclipse.

[p. 5]

6. Earthquakes – Saint Lorenzo holds the earth in his palm. When he moves his hand, the earth shakes. Naturally, there is an earthquake.

7. Witchcraft – Some people believe in witches. These witches can get [the] interior organs of the sick, unnoticed. If you happen to eat those things collected by the witch, you become a witch, too. The witch goes around at night. He can assume any form, as of dogs, pigs and other animals. He becomes ill if he can’t go around. He goes very fast and can travel through seven towns during the night.

12. (a) Popular Songs – As the people of the locality are not music-minded, there is no popular song. Anyway, the young men and women try to learn the songs they hear from the radios or from the shows. They attend dances once in a while.

(c) Games and Amusements – The most common games, especially to the young folks, are baseball and softball. The children play patintero and piko. Some of the amusements of the people are bingo, pakito and dama. The men are fond of fighting cocks but they never go to the cockpits. These fighting cocks are for commercial purposes. Gamblers from Manila, Bulacan, and Pampanga pay good prices for these cocks.

13. Puzzles and Riddles –

1. I have a pet bird with a muddy beak. It can say a word but it cannot speak. (fountain pen)

2. Here it comes but you don’t see it. (wind)

3. Which is older, the egg or the hen?

14. Proverbs and Sayings –

1. A sleeping shrimp is carried away by the current.
2. It is easy to be born, it is hard to be a man.
3. What comes from water, goes to water.
4. God helps those who help themselves.
5. A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds.

15. Methods of measuring time –

(a) At present, the people tell the time by the use of clocks and watches. The old folks, especially those who cannot tell time by the timepiece, tell time in

[p. 6]

another way. A stick or a pole is set up straight. They tell the time by the length of the shadow of the stickor the pole.

(b) No special calendar is used in the locality.

16. Other Folktales –

No person in the locality knows of a folktale worth recording. What they know are about those that they have read from books, and what they have heard from people from other places.

PART III

17. No books and documents treating of the Philippines can be found in the locality.

18. There is an author residing in Alalum. He is Mr. Pedro Aranas. He wrote the book “Geograpiyang Awit.” This book tells about the countries, oceans, seas and bays. It tells about the size of important cities of the world, the height of each mountain and the length of the biggest rivers. It tells about the form of government in each country. It was written in manuscript form. The form was sold to “Libraria y Imprenta de Ja Martinez.” Hence, it is the property of Libraria y Imprenta [of] J. Martinez.



Data submitted by:

NICANOR BOONGALING

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Notes and references:
Transcribed from “A Compilation of Historical Data Regarding the Barrio of Alalum,” 1953, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.

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