January 4, 2018

Altura, Tanauan, Batangas: Historical Data

Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of Altura in the City of Tanauan, 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 ALTURA

Part One: HISTORY

1. Present official name of the barrio: ALTURA

2. Popular name of the barrio:

Alturang Matanda (Northern and southern part of Altura)
Alturang Bata (Western part of Altura)
The word Altura is derived from the Spanish word which means altitude. It must be understood then that the barrio of Altura is situated in a high place.

3. Date of establishment: 1800

4. Original families:

North Altura – Panganiban and Oruga families.
West Altura – Vispo and Castillo families.
South Altura – Maranan, Rivera, and Noprada families.

5. List of tenientes from the earliest time to date and cabezas de barangay during the Spanish time:
Cabezas de Barangay:  1.  Modesto Panganiban
 2.  Bartolome Panganiban
 3.  Epifanio Panganiban
 4.  Victor Panganiban
 5.  Pio Castro
Late ex-tenientes:  1.  Juan Vispo
 2.  Pedro Oruga
 3.  Natalio Noprada
 4.  Gelasio Panganiban
 5.  Victor Panganiban
 6.  Lucino Panganiban
 7.  Gregorio Mabuti
 8.  Juan Panganiban
 9.  Pastor Gonzales
10. Clemente Vispo
11. Antonio Vispo
12. Felipe Malabuyo
13. Miguel Manaig
14. Celedonio Vispo  
List of ex-barrio tenientes:
1. Severino Lucido
2. Juan Landicho
3. Marciano Oruga
4. Ignacio Panganiban
5. Victor Quimio

Present Incumbent:
1. Dalmacio Castillo – First
2. Aniceto Lumbres – Second

Rural Councilors:
1. Tomas Castillo
2. Victor Quimio
3. Nicolas Vispo

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.: NONE

8. Important facts, incidents or events that too place:

(a) During the Spanish Occupation - NONE

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(b) During the American Occupation to World War II – NONE

(c) During and after World War II –

One morning, sometime in April, 1945, before the rising of the sun, the people of Altura were in great commotion. More than ninety Japanese soldiers were seen resting under a mango tree. The presence of the Japanese soldiers was reported to the guerrillas and the American soldiers then stationed at Talaga and Canlubang. Before the American soldiers arrived, a detachment of guerrillas under the command of Paulino Balicia and the late Lt. Sixto Malana, came. There was an exchange of fire for almost an hour. Because the Japs were well-armed and fully equipped, the guerrillas retreated without any casualty, however. The Japanese left the place, leaving four dead comrades behind them. The following day, another Japanese soldier was found dead about a kilometer north of the scene of battle. The four dead Japanese were supposed to be officers with the ranks of captain and colonel because of their insignias. Two Japanese sabers, three silk flags, several hand grenades, rifle sight lenses, some sacks of rice, rotten meat, and several bundles of clothes were found near the dead officers. Later, in the afternoon, about seventy American soldiers came, but the Japanese soldiers had gone already.

9. (a) Destruction of properties and institutions during the wars:

(1) From 1896-1900: NONE

(2) From 1941-1945: Take by the Japanese soldiers:
Rice – 50 cavans
Cattle – 15 heads
Pigs – 42
Chickens – 365
Eggs - 1400

(b) Measures and acomplishments toward rehabilitation and reconstruction following World War II:

(1) Second class provincial road was constructed from Talaga to Malaking Pulo, passing through Altura.

(2) The public primary school building was repaired.

(3) In 1951, the Altura Institute was founded by Atty. Prisco Panganiban.

(4) The people raised and are still raising different kinds of vegetables in large scale to supply the local and Manila markets. This greatly helps our infant republic in the way of increasing the food supply of the country.

Part Two: FOLKWAYS

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

(a) Birth:

When a baby is born, it is a sign of good luck to the family. The same is said also of the birth of twins.



(b) Baptism:

The godfather or godmother of a child should drop the coins on the table of the church’s clerk to produce a ringing sound, for it is believed that it would make the child active and witty. The child should be brought out of the church door

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first after baptism to outdo all the rest in all endeavors in this life.

(c) Courtship:

Suitors should begin their courtships by helping the parents of the girls they love in all their work. Every evening, they should kneel at the doors and wait for the blessings of the parents before entering their houses. Once they get into the good graces of the parents, time is not distant for the culmination of their desires.

(d) Marriages:

The first step to be taken leading to the marriage ceremony is the bringing of bundles of fuel of the same length and the filling of the water jars of the parents of the girl. On all local market days after that, presents of fish and other local delicacies should be cooked and served. There seems to be no ending of lending the hands up to the day of the marriage. On the wedding day, coins are placed in the shoes of the would-be couple, for it is believed that these will make earning their living easily. In going up the house after the ceremony, the couple is given sweets and water in the same spoon and glass. Rice is showered on them. After the dinner is over, the bride goes to the house of the groom. One night must pass first before the new couple meets again.

(e) Death:

When the dead is brought down from the house, an old woman breaks on the ground a coconut dipper full of water. No cleaning of the house and its surrounding should be done until four days have elapsed. The family should not eat ginger and one kind of sticky rice to prevent cluster of deaths in the family. The fourth day, ninth day, and the first anniversary of the death are days of praying, mourning, and feasting.

(f) Burial:

Children closely related to the dead are made to stop over the grave before closing it so that the ghost may not visit them.

(g) Visits:

When there are visitors in the house, other members of the family not concerned in the conversation should talk in [soft?] voices. Scolding of any member of the family should be avoided. There should be no clattering of the plates in the kitchen, and no beating of dogs and cats. During meal time, visitors are served first.

(h) Festivals:

The yearly festival in the celebration of the birthday of the patron saint, Saint Roque.

11. Beliefs and Superstitions:

(a) Rivers were dug by the giants supposed to be the first people in the world. Anything very old is as old as the diggers of the rivers, they say.

(b) The spots on a full moon are women spinning cotton. When there is an eclipse, the moon is swallowed by a monster locally called “laho.” When the moon comes out through the mouth, the next harvest is plentiful. When through the rectum, it will be a por one.

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(c) The earthquakes are caused by the movements of a giant, Bernardo Carpio. He lies prostrate on the ground guarded by four angels, one angel for each foot and for each hand. The slightest tremor is caused by the movement of the smallest finger of the giant.

(d) Lightning is believed to be young white pigs that spring from the ground. They run swiftly on the surface and explode when bumped against any hard object, thus causing the thunder. When sprinkled with vinegar before exploding, the young pigs can be eaten like the ordinary pork. Vinegar is considered to be the antithesis of the lightning and thunder. It is also applied on the burnt part of the body of someone struck by lightning.

(e) Saint Lorenzo, the god of the wind, when angry spouts so much wind that causes the typhoons. People beg the saints in their prayers to stop the terrific wind. When the prayer is heard, the wind subsides.

(f) Sickness – Many people still believe in [the] “nuno” and other bad spirits. Souls of the departed relatives, when angry or glad of their living kin, cause the sickness. Offerings of prayers are necessary to hasten the recovery. For some who are known to be “mambabalis” can make persons sick. To be immune from the malignant looks of such persons, one should have leaves of atis and talisman stones in their pockets or greet them first when you meet them on the road. The saliva of these people, when rubbed on the stricken part of the body, is said to be the right medicine.

12. (a ) Popular Songs:

Sit-sirit-sit, alibambang
Salaginto’t salagubang
Ang babae sa lansangan
Kung gumiri’y parang tandang.

(b) Games & Amusements:
Luksong tinik Cockfighting
Luksong lubid Playing cards
Hari-harian Huwego de Prenda
13. Riddles and Puzzles:

(a) There is a pig in Malaking Pulo, with hair of nails. (Jackfruit)

(b) I got one from one but two remained. (Shells)

(c) It is taller when sitting than when standing. (Dog)

(d) A very deep well full of blades. (Mouth)

(e) Two madre cacao stakes always racing. (Legs)

(f) Hair of the priest, cannot be parted. (Water)

(g) There is a grain which is too big for the house. (Light)

14. Proverbs and Sayings:

(a) Never put off for tomorrow what you can do today.

(b) A sleeping shrimp is always carried by the current.

(c) A barking dog seldom bites.

(d) A splashing stream is always shallow.

(e) A petted child is always naked.

(f) He who does not look from whence he came shall never reach his destination.

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15. Methods of measuring time, special calendars:

(a) Measuring time:

(1) The different positions of the sun.
(2) The different positions of the stars and the constellations at night.
(3) The crowing of the cocks at night.
(4) The homing of the fowls.

(b) Special calendars: NONE

16. Other folktales: NONE

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Notes and references:
Transcribed from “Report on the History and Cultural Life of the barrio of Altura,” 1953, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.

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