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January 4, 2018

Caysasay, Taal, Batangas: Historical Data

Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of Caysasay 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 CAYSASAY

The present official name of the barrio is Caysasay. The story of the beginning of Caysasay harkens back to the misty dawn of the Spanish era in the Philippines. No recorded history of Caysasay could be found, but there had been legends interwoven with its past. It appears that long before the Spanish came, Caysasay was once a little thriving town along the back of the river. Now a mere brook which empties into what is now the Pansipit River. It was believed that the name “Caysasay” was derived from the name of a certain kind of bird called [the] kingfisher (or kasaykasay in Tagalog), which usually stays on twigs of trees along the bank of the river in order to catch fish for food. The foreigners who first came to this place found difficulty in the speaking the word “kasaykasay.” To make the word easier to pronounce, the word is shortened “kaysasay” and applied the name to the place where this bird was found. Since then, this place was called Caysasay.



Several traces of the little town’s economic progress in the past still remain. The old and massive stone walls which still stand and the many more stone walls which had been completely demolished and which are now occupied by the homes of the people living there are tangible manifestations that this place once showed signs of activity and economic progress during the past. To give due protection to the lives of the natives in particular and to insure the steady economic progress of the whole vicinity in general, a high rectangular watchtower made of adobe stones was constructed at the highest point of [the] land within the vicinity. From this watchtower were observed the incoming plunderers of the sea, especially the Moro pirates & the Chinese pirates who came from time to time to rob the place. Part of this watchtower still stands defiantly in place. Watchmen or sentinels were stationed at the gateway into this place in order to check up travelers who returned late at night. But the continued progress undertaken by this community did not last long for the Spanish soldiers, who were very much infuriated for their failure in chasing a white goose within the vicinity, ended their search by setting the whole vicinity on fire. Not one of the old structures was spared. The natives fled for the safety of their lives, but after the elapse of time, the natives returned to the place in order to start life anew. These natives were the former ancestors of the people who are now living in this place.

The settlers lived under a barangay system, a pattern of village government common in pre-Spanish Philippines. The head of the barangay was called Teniente Cabeza or Cabeza de Barangay. As remote as could be traced, the following persons had become Cabeza de Barangay at different periods from the past until the present: Patricio Lota, Dalmacio Lota, Nepomuceno Tolentino, Salvador Lota, Gabriel Lota, Dionisio Marcellana, Rufino Lota and Elias Lota, the present teniente del barrio.

[p. 2]

The burning of the homes during the Spanish time was repeated only when in 1911, one half of the total homes in the barrio was reduced to ashes of unknown origin. The people, then, made the necessary rehabilitation to the point reached as what the barrio appears today. There are now only 30 homes left in the barrio for many of the families, especially those whose sons and daugthers have graduated [from the] universities, move to the town of Taal and to some other places in order to have a better chance to practice their professions. The migration of the educated group did not in any way affect the general cultural [missing word] of the people left, for at present, the adults in the barrio still maintain a hundred per cent literacy.

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

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