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January 4, 2018

Apacay, Taal, Batangas: Historical Data

Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of Apacay in the Municipality of Taal, 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 OF APACAY

The present official name of the barrio is Apacay. According to the latest census taken, it has a population of 419.

The place, which was still a sitio, was already called Apacay when Salcedo explored the interior of the Pansipit River in 1572.

The sitio was established a barrio in 1576 when the town of Taal was founded.

The original families were pure Malayans belonging to the tribe of Raha Kumintang.

There is no complete list of the past teniente del barrios, but some may be mentioned here. They are Domingo de Roxas, Filomeno Manalo, Andres Marcellana, and Gaspar Serrano. Cornelio de Roxas is officially listed as the present teniente del barrio, but for all purposes, Agapito Serrano, the son of Gaspar Serrano, is performing the functions of the teniente del barrio because time is already catching up [with] the old man de Roxas.

There are no sitios whatsoever within the jurisdiction of the barrio.

There are no structures or buildings of any kind that can be considered of historical value that were erected in the place. The only ruins that can be said are the abodes of the people that were destroyed by the terrific volcanic eruptions of the legendary Taal Volcano in the years 1709, 1715, 1716, 1749, 1754, 1808, 1878, 1904 and 1911.

The people are peaceful and contented. From the Spanish time up to now, they have only pursued the common purpose of life of producing, eating, sleeping and merrymaking in their own small way. There were no incidents or events that can be considered as epoch-making in the history of the barrio. The recent establishment of a barrio school last Nov. 18, 1952 was, as the people put it, “The only concrete achievement of the community.”

There is still no one in the barrio who has gotten a college degree, though the [they?] hope to have some in the near future. The people, either due to their nature or to the circumstances, stop schooling after finishing the elementary grades to farm the lands for their forebears, with a few exception of those who are lucky enough to go through high school but who return to the land, after all.

[p. 2]

But if the people are slow in their educational progress, certainly they are not so in economics. Where before, they farmed the lands for the landlords, now the people own almost all the land that they work on.

Before, the people were taking their religion in stride, but with the founding of a Catholic church in the neighboring barrio of Halang, they are becoming more conscious of the spiritual needs as they have never been before.

World War II had done but very little damage to Apacay. The Japanese were not able to carry out their threat of elimination to the place mainly because of its location, it being located about one kilometer from the main road. The barrio of Halang, which is located along the road and where the trail to Apacay starts, tasted the ire of the Japanese and there was no doubt that Apacay would have suffered the same fate had it not been for the timely arrival of the American liberation forces.

II

The people have their own domestic and social life, which is discussed here under the different heads:

(a) Birth: The midwife or “hilot” takes care of the delivery of the baby, with a few exceptions of the more discriminating who call a physical from the town. The neighbors flock to the house of the one who gave birth to help in any way they could and to bring things with them. If the baby had been delivered safely, the parents prepare a little feasting. They believe that the lives of the chickens killed are sacrificed in place of the baby.

(b) Baptism: As soon as possible, the newly-born baby is at once baptized. The Ninongs or Ninangs are usually the ones who have something to speak of and the olds have the principal choice in the selection of sponsors. Even though how poor the family is, they somehow make a little baptismal party.

(c) The storybook custom of a suitor working for months for the family of his lady-love is still practiced in the barrio despite the encroachment of the modern civilization. The custom is practiced in different degrees. Sometimes, it is done in a small scale where the boy helps only in the household chores like fetching water, getting firewood, pasturing the working animals with the occasional work on the farm. But sometimes, the party of the girl makes inordinate demands like asking the family of the boy to provide them a hundred men to do work on the farm, or anything which they may deem, for a certain period of time. Sometimes, the boy and the girl are in love with each other before the “suyuan” takes place, but there are also instances when the parents are the ones who are making the contract without the knowledge of the concerned.

(d) If the courtship’s demands are fulfilled satisfactorily, the family of the young man will go to the house of the bride-to-be to discuss the details of [the] marriage. In this “bulungan,” things like [the] date of the marriage, selection of sponsors and even the number of cows and hogs to be slaughtered are discussed. It is to be mentioned that everything like



[p. 3]

the bridal dress, transportation, etc. are incurred by the groom’s family. It is the custom that at the eve of the marriage, the groom’s family will give a party for the family of the girl. After the ceremony, a wedding party follows at the house of the bride, where the family of the groom serves. The sponsors and their guests will be the ones to eat first. They are followed by the bride’s party. The groom’s party will partake of whatever is left. Immediately after the wedding, the newlyweds will kneel before the big men of the barrio to receive their blessings and counsel. After the eating is over, all will gather around a table to start the “sabugan.” It is a practice wherein the two parties want to give greater money to the newlyweds. This “sabugan” takes the place of gifts given by the guests, which is practiced in the town. After the sabugan, the newlyweds will go to the house of the groom, ushered by the guests.

(e) Death is observed like anywhere else. It consists of people in the community going to the house of the deceased to share with the family in their bereavement, of those who are close, especially the males to keep vigil at night for the time that the demised lies in state, and of the people giving whatever they can to help the family of the deceased. The only unique custom there is they never buy [a] coffin from a funeral parlor, but, instead, they make it themselves. Once the deceased is buried, which is almost attended by all the folks in the barrio, there begin the usual prayers at night for nine nights. During the 4th and 8th night, prayers are also said during the day. There is also a prayer after the fortieth day. After one year, there is a “laglag luksa” and there is food to partake.

(f) Visits: The people are very hospitable and they will not let a visitor go down the stairs without eating something, whatever it may be.

(g) Festivals: One of the good traits of the people is their dislike of lavish festivals. Unlike other neighboring barrios, which hold fiestas once a year, they do not have any. Their only festival, if it can be called one, is the occasional visit to the barrio of Our Lady of Caysasay, wherein the people gather together and pray together.

(h) Punishments: If anyone commits a crime, they are punished according to the law, and in addition, the malefactors and even the family are being given the “snub” by the folks. And, if anyone does a thing which may not be illegal but immoral, he is condemned by the barrio people and they do not want his company.

The people believe that the world and everything in it, including man, was created by God. But they also have their share of backwardness. Examples are: they still believe in “quack doctors.” They are superstitious, like believing that it is bad to take a bath on Fridays. They believe in the seven maids who will kill anyone in the family once they get inside the house and across the gate, will stop them from entering the house. Some believe that persons get sick because someone with evil spirits wish ill luck to them as they call it “gahoy.” Some still believe in “aswang,” “tikbalang,” “kapre,” “mangkukulam,” etc. They believe that if a black cat crosses your path, it is a sign of a bad omen.

[p. 4]

The people are still fond of our kundimans and those who frequent the town know some English top tunes. The folks are not esthetically-minded as they are too busy in their farms. The chief for amusement among young men is going out at night serenading their lady-loves. Among the old folks, indulging in cockfighting during Sundays is the chief diversion.

Some of their puzzles and riddles are:

1. Isang biajas ng kawayan, punong-puno ng kamatayan. (baril)
2. Narito-rito na’y hindi mo pa makita. (hangin)
3. Nagsaing si kalumparit, kinain pati anglet. (bayabas)
4. Isang biging palay, punong-puno ang bahay. (ilaw)
5. Nagsaing si Ka Tuntong, nabulak ay walang gatong. (bulak ng sabon)
6. Kawayan ko sa bundok, abot ditto ang putok. (balangaw)
7. Hinalo ko ang nilugaw, nagtakbo ang inihaw. (bangka)
8. Manok ko sa Talisay, abot dito ang kaykay. (kidlat)
9. Bahay ni Ate, iisa ang haligi. (payong)
10. Isang princesa, isang daan ang mata. (pinya)
11. Baboy ko sa kaingin, nataba’y walang pakain. (kalabasa)
12. Baboy ko sa parang, nataba’y natapang. (sili)
13. Isda ko sa Mariveles, nasa loob ang kaliskis. (sili)
14. Kabiyak na niyog, aali-alipod. (buwan)
15. Buhok ni Adan, hindi mabilang-bilang. (ulan)

Some of the proverbs and “salawikains” are:

1. Ang buhay ng tao’y parang gulong, magulungan at makagulong.
2. Kapalara’y di man hanapin, lalapit at lalapit kung talagang akin.
3. Kung anong oras ng pagkadakila, siya ding lagapak, pagbagsak sa lupa.
4. Pag may isinuksok, may titingalain.
5. Ang lumakad nang marahan, matinik man ay mababao, ang lumakad ng mabilis, matinik man ay malalim.

As to the methods of telling time, the old folks still tell time by the sun. The younger ones use watches. They are already using the modern calendar.

There are no folktales whatsoever connected with the barrio.

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

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