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January 4, 2018

Balokbalok (Pagaspas), Tanauan, Batangas: Historical Data

Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of Balokbalok 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 BALOKBALOK

Part One: HISTORY

1. Present official name of the barrio – Balokbalok.

2. Popular name of the barrio, present and past; derivation and meanings of these names.

A. Balokbalok, a name derived from a tree of the same name.

3. Date of establishment:

In 1840, after a road had been constructed through this place, people began to build houses along this road, particularly at the place where they discovered a spring near a balokbalok tree. From that time on, the people called the place Balokbalok.

4. Original families:

The families from whom the present settlers originated were those of Justo Hernandez, Constantino Mazo, Felipe Tesoro, Mariano Pedraja, and Felix Uniporme.

5. List of known tenientes from the earliest time to date:

1. Valentin Javier
2. Pedro Mueco
3. Alejandro de la Peña
4. Sebastian Castillo
5. Martin Tapia
6. Regino Mueco
7. Mateo Opulencia
8. Eugenio Lanting
9. Macario Pedraja
10. Nicanor Hidalgo

6. Story of old barrios or sitios within the jurisdiction that are now depopulated or extinct:

There is no depopulated or extinct sitio within the jurisdiction of this barrio.

7. Data on historical sites, structures, buildings, old ruins, etc.

Only two ruins, those of sugarmills belonging to Col. Juliano Panganiban and Crispin Garcia, both of the poblacion, can be seen in this place. The mills are said to have started operations since the latter part of the Spanish domination and continued to operate as late as the advent of our Commonwealth Government. Locally improvised and crude as they were, they were able to supply sugar to the barrio for its “panutsa” (sugared peanut) industry.

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

Being a small barrio, nothing of much importance took place here, except that at one time when the Civil Guards came to this place, they destroyed trees in the yards and the crops in the fields and confiscated those found in the homes.

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Cabezas de Barangay were selected. They acted as heads of the barrio. The first cabeza of this barrio was Cabezang Felix Uniporme.

9. (a) Destruction of lives, properties and institutions during wars, especially in 1896-1900 and 1941-1945:

During the war of 1941-1945:

One life was lost in this barrio. A man was asked by a Japanese soldier to surrender his firearm. When he had nothing to surrender, he was killed.

Movable properties were destroyed in their hiding places; others were looted.

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

Since there was not much damage to lives and property suffered by this barrio during World War II, normalcy and order were immediately restored after the surrender of the Japanese. The barrio people returned to their homes and resumed their common industries such as farming and “panutsa” (sugared peanut) making.

Part Two: Folkways

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

A. Birth and baptism:

When a child is born in Balokbalok, it is the first concern of the parents to have him baptized at once, even temporarily. This temporary baptism is locally known as the “buhos.” This is usually done at the house of the child, especially when he gets sick and in danger of dying. This local ceremony is done with someone acting as a priest and baptizes the child, giving him his name in the name of the Father, of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. With this, it is believed, he becomes a Christian and even if he dies, he will not go to hell. Sponsors are also selected in this ritual.

In the actual baptism, or baptism with religious services, sponsors are selected. These sponsors invite some of their friends to accompany them to the church. These invited friends are called the “abays.” They give something to the sponsors – something that will help him in the preparation of the baptismal party usually given by the child’s parents.

Peculiar customs are observed in connection with baptism. One of these is the racing to the church door after the baptismal ceremony. It is believed that the child [who] reaches the door first will be a born leader and will be the most prosperous among those baptized with him.

B. Courtship and marriage:

A queer custom of courtship and marriage that has been observed in this barrio is the “pangangasawa.” This is done by the man who wants to give notice to the maiden he loves and her parents of his profound love for the lady. He fetches water, brings firewood, pounds rice and helps in the farm work. After a period of constant servitude to the lady, the lady’s parents will ask the serving man

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bring his parents to their house in order to talk about his loves’ fate. This is called the “bulungan.” In this, the girl’s parents name all the dowry for their daughter. If the man’s parents accept the terms of the dowry, the wedding is planned; but if the man’s parents cannot accept the terms, the wedding is cancelled. The young man has to look for another.

The wedding celebration of this barrio is rather quaint and interesting. Before the wedding, a “bilik” is temporarily built for the purpose of serving the guests. In other words, it is a temporary mess hall. All the preparations of food and the expenses are shouldered by the groom. Usually, breakfast is served at the bride’s residence. Most common among the wedding delicacies served during the breakfast are the “suman,” “kalamay,” “puto,” chocolate and “iyusi.” The “kalamay” is never forgotten because it is believed that with “kalamay,” the newlyweds will have a bonding and prosperous life.

The happiest part of the wedding celebration is the “dapitan” or the time when the bride is transferred from her house to her husband's house. The groom is left at the bride's house with all the bride’s party; no relative of the bride is allowed to go with the “mamamaysan” or the groom’s party in the taking of the bride to the groom’s house. No article, utensils or anything that the groom’s party used in the serving of the breakfast is left and the “bilik” is untied and cleaned up. The bride should never look back as soon as she has gone down from her house in going to her husband's house, or should she do so, it is the belief that she would always like to live with her parents and dislike the company of her in-laws.

As his bride arrives at the house of the groom, clay pots are thrown before her. If the pots break into many pieces, the couple will have many children. Upon reaching the house, the bride at once goes to the kitchen and puts out a fire in the stove or wet the front of the stove. In doing this, it is believed, the bride will always be at peace with her in-laws; there will not be trouble between them. After a while, the groom follows the bride to his house, but the couple returns to the house of the bride for their first night sleep. This is in case the house of the bride is near that of the groom’s.

C. Death and Burial:

Customarily, when a person dies in this place, the neighbors, friends, and relatives of the dead person go to the house where the dead is laid in state, to pay their respect. The women, particularly, wear dresses of simple color, mostly black, to show that they are mourning with the deceased's family. These people usually give voluntary contributions either in terms of money or anything that will give consolation and help to those left by the deceased.

The “puyatan” always goes with the occasion of death in this barrio. If the dead body is to pass over by night, the neighbors, relatives and friends have to watch him until the break of day. This is called the “puyatan” or “lamayan.” To prevent drowsiness, card and other games are played. The dead person should never be left unwatched, for it is the belief that evil spirits are apt to take him away.

Before the dead is taken to the cemetery, it is first taken to the church for a religious service. In the taking out of the coffin from the house, it is a silly custom to close all the windows of the house as the coffin containing [the] dead person is being brought out, because it is feared that someone in the house might look out of the window and it

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would mean bad luck to the family of the dead, for it is the belief that if anyone should look out of the window when the dead is being carried out of the house, someone and the family will surely follow him to the grave.

From the time of his death, prayers are said for him for nine consecutive nights. Special prayers are said for him at the fourth and ninth days after his death. [A] Special lunch is served to those who attend the special prayers. In these occasions, it is the custom not to put the plates one over the other in taking them away from the table. It is the belief that if you put these plates one above the other, death in the family will follow one after another.

For one year, the devoted members of the family of the deceased wear black to signify that they are in mourning for the dead. At the last day, or the “babaang luksa,” a special prayer is again said for the departed one. A special lunch is again served in this occasion.

D. Visits and Festivals:

When visitors come to his barrio, they are welcomed by the people in their most hospitable way.

The people in this place spend much of their earnings during the barrio fiesta. They prepare the house for the visitors; by new curtains and decorate it with plants. They reserved chickens and a pig or two for slaughter during the fiesta. The special dishes served are fried chicken, roasted pig, “kaldereta,” “dinuguan,” and pickles. During the May festivals, the daily “alay” or floral offering to the Virgin and to the patron saint of the barrio is made. This is made colorful by fireworks.

No. 11. Myths, Legends, Beliefs, Interpretations, Superstitions:

A. Earthquakes:

it is the belief in this barrio that when two big rocks near the sea strike each other, an earthquake is caused.

B. Lightning and Thunder:

When there is lightning and thunder, one must not look into the mirror, for he might be struck by lightning and thunder and that way.



C. Eclipses:

One must not take a bath when there is an eclipse because if this taking a bath coincides with the very time of the eclipse, he will die.

D. Birth of Twins:

Twins must be both girls or both boys, otherwise, one of the twins will die.

E. Sickness:

A kind of sickness caused by the “nono” or the underground little people cannot be cured by drugs or injections. If you give injections, it will anger the “nono”

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and the sickness will be worse instead of being cured.

F. Witchcraft:

People here believe in which is called “tikbalang,” If one is bewitched, he lost his way. The witches, the people say, resemble the kin of the bewitched.

G. Death:

When somebody dies in a certain home, it is believed that at the fourth and ninth days, the soul of the person who died will visit the loved ones. Thus, when the mother of a child dies, the relatives use a blanket of gay colors such as red, orange, yellow or pink, to cover the child. They believe that in so doing, the soul of the mother feels angry with the child when she finds the blanket. Her soul is led to believe that the child does not care for her death. So, the soul of the mother will go away, never to return to see her loved ones again. The child, then, sleeps soundly.

Whereas if the child is not covered with a blanket of gay colors and instead with one of white, blue, green or cool colors, the soul is led to believe that the child feels sorry, too, for her death. Hence, the soul of the mother tries to come near and cuddle the child in her cool arms. The child will soon be awake, because of the unusual touch. Thus, she cries and frets the whole night, disturbing the household in their sleep.

H. Epidemics:

When there is an epidemic in a certain place, people put the sign of the cross on the gates of their homes or on the doors. They believe that by doing this, Jesus, our Savior, who died on the cross, will prevent the epidemic from spreading into their homes. Thus, the people living in the house with the sign of the cross will be free from that sickness, while those living in the houses without the sign of the cross will be victims of the epidemic.

I. Animals:

When a hen cackles at midnight and a rooster crows as an answer to it, it is believed that there is a maiden romancing with her lover in the neighborhood.

J. Insects and Birds:

When a black butterfly flits around or a black bird swoops near, it is believed that it brings a sad message. The message may be that someone dear or known to the person who sees the black butterfly or the black [bird] is dying or died on that day.

No. 12. Popular Songs:

Naty

Naty sandaling pakinggan
Ang hibik ko’t panambitan
Sa lambing ng kundiman
Ibubulong kong marahan
Sisiw akong walang bagwis
Lawin pa nama’y dumaragit
Dinala sa himpapawid
Winasak mo yaring dibdib.

Kaylan pa ma’y isa-isip
Sinasamba kita’t ninanais
Sa ganda mo o diwata

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Ako’y laging humahanga
Isisigaw hanggang langit
Ikaw Nating iniibig.

Ang Ligaya ng Isang Magulang

Ang ligaya ng isang magulang
Sa mundong ibabaw
Ang ganda ng anak at mabuting asal
Ang siyang ikinararangal
Lalo’t ang anak niyang iniibig
Ay totoong marilag at mabait
Ay lagi nang tahimik ang puso niya at dibdib.

Ganyan na ang isang bituin
Na bagong sumikat ang ngala’y si Meding
Walang kupas ang kanyang ningning
Isang tanglaw ng lahing nasa dilim;
Ang sino mang hindi maligaya
Sa kay Meding ay walang puso’t kaluluwa
Walang kupas ang kanyang ganda
Isang dalagang lahing Pilipinas.

Mga Binata at Dalaga

Ang mga binata’t dalaga’y nagsasaya
Sa gitna ng daan sila’y nagtatawa
At ang bawa’t pusong sabik sa pagsinta
Kagalakang tunay ang hangad nila.

Sasaliw ang awit’t tugtugan
Upang lumagi sa kasayahan
At ang tanging araro ng buhay
Ang siyang liligaya, walang hanggan.

Bulaklak kang sumilang sa nayon
Di dagling mahalda’t nakatikom
Kabangoha’y sadyang mahinahon
O anong hirap mapatugon.

Tayo’y Mamasyal

Si Luding at ating daanan
Ipagsama natin sa pamamasyal
Kung siya’y sasagot nang ayaw
Ang panyo mo’y ipahiram.

Kaibigan, ikaw ba’y sasama
Saan baga tayo pupunta
Sa Los Baños laging masaya
Doon ay maraming dalaga.

B. Games and Amusements:

1. Old folks amuse themselves by playing pakito.

2. The young folks amuse themselves by playing ballgames and going to the shows.

No. 13. Puzzles and Riddles:

1. Two stores that open and close at the same time. (Eyes)

2. Two balls of thread that can reach as far as the sky. (Eyes)

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3. Two posts running a race. (Feet)

4. Coming in, going out, it always carries a whip. (Thread and needle)

5. It has no trunk nor roots, yet it is full of blossoms. (Starry sky)

6. I have a cow in Manila whose cries reach as far as this place. (Thunder)

7. When it conceived, it died; when it gave birth, it lived again. (Plum tree)

8. It is black as a crow; it is white as snow, it has no feet but it can walk. It talks even with a king. (Letter)

9. There are five sisters but they have a common breast. (Hand)

10. It visits everyone, but its arrival is not known. (death)

11. I took care of it while it is young; when it grew up, I beheaded it. (Palay)

12. It walks but it has no feet. It cries but it has no eyes. (Fountain pen)

13. When far we know what it is; but when it is near we still ask who he is. (Dead)

14. We can reach it with our hands, yet we put a bridge to it. (Fire and tongs)

No. 14. Proverbs and Sayings:

1. There is no hard rice for a hungry person.
2. If a house is made of concrete and the people living in it are wicked, a hut is preferable if people who live in it are kind and hospitable.
3. An abaca fiber chosen from the best quality will be of no use if it is single.
4. A hero when he is wounded becomes braver.
5. It is nice and noble to help others, especially when you have a noble aim in doing so.
6. A habit can hardly be set aside.
7. Bend the bough while it is still young; for when it grows to be a tree, it is already hard to bend.
8. If you like to learn, study while you are young. When you grow old, even if you study you will find it hard to retain things.
9. Respect the rights of others so that they will respect you, too.
10. Mouths are not weapons but they hurt.
11. Whatever is bad to you, do not do unto others.
12. A courageous person usually succeeds.
13. Think first before you leap.
14. It is a debt, be sure to pay it.
15. Industry is the sister of wealth.
16. Judge a person not by what he says but what he does.

No. 15. Methods of Measuring Time:

1. The old folks, not knowing how to use timepieces, use the sun to measure time.

2. The young folks use timepieces.

No. 16. Folktales:

Ang Alamat ng Makahiya

Noong unang panahon ay may isang batang babae na Marieta ang pangalan. Siya ay mabait, masunurin, at may magandang kalooban. Siya ay mahinhin at labis na mahiyain. Nang siya ay lumake na at naging dalaga, ay may

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lumigaw sa kanya. Nguni’t maging sa harapan nito ng binata ay siya ay laging kimi at nadudungo.

May isang binatang bukid na naghain ng kanyang pag-ibig kay Marieta. Ito naman ay lihim ding umiibig sa binatang bukid. Bagaman at nahihiya siyang ipabatid ito ay nakilala at nalaman din ng binata ang lihim na pagsinta nito. Sila ay lihim na nagmahalan at nagsumpaan na sila lamang ang mag-iibigan.

Hindi natagalan at nalaman ng mga magulang ni Marieta ang lihim nilang pagmamahalan. Kaya sila ay tumutol at hinadlangan pa ang pag-iibigan ng dalawa.

Ang dalaga naman ay nagkasakit dahil sa matinding sama ng loob. Kaya ito ay nangayayat at namatay kaagad. Ang mga magulang ni Marieta ay labis na nagsisi sa ginawa nilang pagtutol sapagka’t ang sabi nila ay kung hindi nila tinutulan ang pag-iibigan ni Marieta at ng binatang bukid ay marahil anya ay buhay pa ang kanilang bunsong si Marieta.

Inilibing ang dalaga, nguni’t sa libingan niya ay may sumibol na halamang may tinik. Ang dahon nito ay tumitikom agad na animo’y nahihiya kung masalang po mabunggo ito. Mula noo’y tinawag na makahiya ang halamang ito.

. . . . E n d . . . .



Names of Persons Consulted:
1.  Gregorio Tapia 76 years old
2.  Damaso Austria 78 years old
3.  Mariano Tesoro 70 years old
4.  Arcadia Pedraja 60 years old

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

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