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January 1, 2018

Economic Survey of Lian, Batangas by Pastor M. Layosa, 1927

This page contains the complete transcription of the 1927 ethnographic paper written by one Pastor M. Layosa from .jpeg scans of the originals made available by the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections. Corrections for grammar had been made in certain parts but no attempt was made to rewrite the original paper. Original pagination is indicated for citation purposes.

[Cover page.]

Customary Law Paper No. 195.

(Extracts from)



Pastor M. Layosa.

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(Selected by F. D. Holloman; Manila, June 1931.)

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1. Geographical and descriptive data.
2. Population: Social condition; Habits of the People; etc.
3. Industries: Sugar; Rice; Land-Holdings and Tenancy; the “Kasama” system, etc.
4. Objectionable credit giving: Pacto de Retro; loans to merchants and traders; petty loans; etc.
5. (Whole thesis, 78 pp. net, legal size; local; Thesis Catalogue #541; Business-Library No. HC456.L428, cop.2.)

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February 23, 1927.

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Serial Letter F.

Nos. 4 and 5.

(Thesis for the Degree of B. S. in Commerce,
College of Lib. Arts, University of the Philippines)
By Pastor M. Layosa.
Manila, Feb. 1927. EXTRACTS.

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Lian is located in a very rich valley surrounded on the north by [the] Palico River and on the south, east, and west by small mountains and hills. So riah a valley is it that the Jesuits acquired the ownership of the town. The poblacion is almost a perfect square having seven straight streets running from north to south and seven running from east to west. The poblacion has approximately a square mile in area. Taking the whole municipality, the area is about 500 square miles.

The town is badly handicapped. In the first place, its location is very poor. It is shut off from the provincial road by [the] Palico River which inundates heavily during the rainy season, thus preventing traffic. During the dry season, this river has a bamboo bridge which is for the use of pedestrians only. The river, however, is shallow during this season. There are boats in the river when water is deep and the bridge is washed away. In the second place, the town is a hacienda belonging to the Jesuits. The rents are high, and a great part of the produce of the people goes in this manner. Around 1915, the late Antonio Roxas rented the land and until now, it is still rented. The rent is higher now than before and the people are very dissatisfied. Also, the people who secure a higher education leave because there is no room for expansion…………………

The town has a population of 5,104 souls according to the Census of 1918, but it has probably increased some since that date. Males and females are almost equal, the female only predominating by a small number. The male

[p. 2]

population is 2,513 and the female is 2,591. The Tagalogs compose the bulk of the population but there are some Ilocanos and Visayans which are, however, negligible in number. There are no foreign elements in the community, the single Chinaman mentioned in the 1918 Census has departed………………..

Social Conditions. The people possess and ordinary standard of living. They dress well and neatly. Although they live in nipa houses, yet their houses are all well-kept and tidy. There are also many houses made of strong materials many of which were built during the sugar boon of 1920.

The town is very democratic. Everyone is equal, rich and poor go about without any social distinctions. There is no preferential place for this or that person just because he is rich nor is there any discrimination just because he is poor. The inhabitants simply mix with each other with admirable sincerity and companionship. This is true in social, religious and civic gatherings.

Pauperism is absent in our town and poor houses like those found in the United States towns are not needed. The people, as a whole, can live decently with their scant earnings and palay harvests. Nobody is very rich but extremely poor people are accidental. Perhaps few will believe that servants there can be counted on the tips of the fingers of one hand. Although a man is very poor, he will not allow his child to serve for somebody else partly because of personal pride and partly because he can use the children in his own household work. Servants only arise when the parent is reckless and irresponsible, but this is exceptional. Paupers come only during the fiesta of the town but immediately depart after the affairs………………..

Habits of the People. Generally speaking, the inhabitants are industrious. Labor is supplied by the townspeople and I know of no case in which it is

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imparted from other towns. Agriculture, fishing, and basket weaving are the main industries of the town. Commerce and trade are also important industries………………..

The town of Lian is primarily an agricultural locality. Agriculture is the main pursuit and the main occupation of the people, others being secondary in importance. The rice and sugarcane fields are part and parcel of their simple living. The great, great grandfathers of the present population tilled the soil and until now they have stuck to it. Nor is there any prospect for Lian to become an industrial locality unless an unexpected thing happens which is but a remote probability………………..

Every land for farming is cultivated, and only marshes and forests where posts for houses and fuel are taken, are exceptions. The land is cultivated on the inquilino system which will be discussed more completely in the following chapter. Suffice it to say here that the inquilinos number about 400. Lian has 515 inquilinos to be exact, the number of inquilinos in Binubusan being not available.

Sugar Industry. [The] Sugar industry is the most important point of income accruing to the inquilinos. However, since rice is preferred as it is less difficult and occupies less of the farmers’ time………………..

The Rice Farming. Equally important as the sugarcane farming is the production of rice. The area planted with this staple in the whole municipality is 571 hectares, 441 [blurred word], and 10 centers. This is about one-fifth of the whole area of the town. This area constitutes irrigated lowlands from which the so-called lowland rice is produced. Besides this area, rice is produced in highlands which the natives call “hasik.” Rice in this case is a rotation crop of sugar. There is also the “kaingin” system where wilderness

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is cleared during the month of May and planted with quick rice crops. Highland and “kaingin” rice production is too insignificant to merit discussion. Suffice it here to say that they supply the temporary needs of the poor people during the months of October to December………………..

LAND HOLDINGS AND TENANCY. The Hacienda…… The whole town is a hacienda owned by the Jesuit orders of the Colegio de San Jose of Ermita, Manila, and now leased to the Viuda de Hijos de Pedro P. Roxas since March 15, 1925………………..

The Holdings. All the lands of the hacienda are rented to the town people. A certain piece of land properly surveyed is contracted by the lessee called “inquilino” in which the consideration is that he will pay a certain amount as stipulated is to be paid in cash or in kind.

The poblacion as we know is divided into town lets numbering about 580 with a total area of 207,164.77 square meters. Each lot is rented by the town people at ₱.25 per square meter first class and ₱.20 per square meter the second class. Each holder of the lot contracts with the hacienda for three years at the end of which a new contract is again to be made. Total rent for the poblacion in 1925 was ₱456.90.

Holdings of agricultural lands are of two kinds, the highland and the lowland. The highland consists of those arable lands fit only for the production of sugar, corn, upland rice, and other minor products as beans, mongo, bananas and mangoes. This is divided into three classes, the first, second and third, paying a cash rent of ₱6.50, ₱5.63, and ₱4.67 per hectare, respectively. Payments are made during the month of March up to June after the sugar harvest.

In the case of lowlands where rice exclusively is grown, the rest is paid in kind. Prior to Don Celso’s administration under the Jesuits, the rest amounts to 6 cavanes, 4 gantas, and 4 chupas of palay paid after the threshing

[p. 5]

usually in the months of April and May. During Don Celso’s administration, the rest was that much too, but it was made a cash rent at ₱1.25 per cavan the price being fixed by the hacienda but usually the current price. After Don Celso, the rest may be made in either way in cash or in rice. Soon after the Roxas interests leased the hacienda from the Jesuits, the rent was raised up to 9 cavanes and 15 gantas for the first class and 5 cavanes and 19 gantas for the second class. The Roxas interest is more prudent in classifying the lowlands into two classes, because in this way, rents are leased on the capacity of the land, thus more justifiable. No classification was made prior to this time and we can imagine the chagrin of these people which are forced by circumstances to rent less fertile land. The total rent in palay for 1925, excluding the barrio of Binubusan, is 4610 cavanes, 21 gantas, and 7 chupas. All in all, the total rent for the whole municipality is ₱59,425.40 including land tax, salaries and other expenses netting them ₱23,575.47.

The contracts between the haciendero and the inquilinos are very simple as regards the leasing of the agricultural lands. The contracts with Jesuits gave the date when the contract was drawn, the consideration which includes the permit in the cultivation of certain pieces of land at a certain location at so much a rent. The inquilino may have that privilege so long as he pays his rent as stipulated. Non-payment will mean a breach of contract so that the hacienda may lease the holding to another. However, the Jesuits are very lenient. Rents may not be paid promptly especially where there is a poor harvest provided you pay it the next year when you are able to pay. No provision is given which provides the intensity of culture required, fencing, irrigating, and what plants to grow. The inquilinos have their say on the matter. What the Jesuits are concerned [about] are that you pay rent and that is all.

[p. 6]

When the hacienda was leased by Roxas interests from the Jesuits, the contract was made stricter. The rents were made higher, boundaries were more exact by proper surveys, and the time was limited to three years after which a new contract has to be drawn. Payments should be made promptly, otherwise you have to forfeit your privileges. Within the three year period, the inquilinos can do anything they like as to cultivation, etc., the same as during the time of the Jesuits.

The relation between the haciendero and the inquilinos may be fittingly characterized as not cordial. There is a deep-rooted dissatisfaction towards the haciendero. Payments are made yearly with grim reckoning because they believe that they are paying an unduly high rent. Then, there is also the natural grudge present in all peoples under somewhat strict landlordship. However, the Roxas interests cannot practice what they are doing at Nasugbu, at a neighboring estate and through which Lian is directly administered. In that town, the relation between the haciendero and the people accounts to vassalage. At Nasugbu, a landraster [unsure word] can be ousted and driven away when he provokes the anger of the administrator. He should sell his product at the hacienda prices usually lower than what it should be; he cannot take his “salde” or balance when he likes; he cannot take his balance but he can owe money on which interest is collected and in the sugar central, you have to follow what the administrator says, as the canes should be placed in the car arranged in the way fuel [erased word] are arranged when they are exported to Manila – very well arranged.

They cannot do these things in Lian because the people are more rebellious and more united so that grievances are supported by all. The hacienda may not be fearing the people but these attitudes of the people certainly have made the Roxas interests respect the rights of the people.

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The “Kasama” System, a Form of Shared Tenancy. For our purpose, we shall use the terms tenant and landlord, the landlord being the inquilinos.

The inquilinos usually do not cultivate the lands they are renting from the hacienda. What they do is to take a number of tenants which will cultivate the leased land. This is what is called the “Kasama” system in the Tagalog regions. I shall discuss the system in connection with the cultivation of rice and sugar, the two principal crops.

In rice cultivation, the terms of this system vary. Usually, however, the land is leased by the inquilinos who share the expenses and products equally with the tenant. Working animals and farm implements are now being supplied by the tenant. This is now the case because there are many tenants who are willing to supply the work animals if they will be given the privilege of cultivating the lands. In most cases, the inquilinos capitalize the enterprise. He advances money used by the tenants for his personal use, supplies funds for the expenses in the cultivation and planting of rice, and provides the tenants with seeds. Planting is being done by men, women and boys usually paid from ₱.50 to ₱1.00 a day, depending on the distance of the fields with food consisting of rice, dried or freshwater fish and bagoong. After planting, the rice is left there to grow by itself until the fruits ripen, the tenant only regulating the irrigation. Harvest time comes in the latter part of December and January when men, women and children turn out in mass for the harvest. The harvesters get a 1/16 to 1/8 of the rice he has harvested. The threshing time is the day of reckoning of the tenants and inquilinos. The tenant tells his landlord that the rice is going to be threshed on a certain day. The inquilino then supervises the work. After the land rent, seeds and miscellaneous expenses had been deducted, the palay is divided equally between them. The tenants cart the rice of the inquilinos to their

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house free of charge. Usually, advances to tenants in cash are paid in palay, this being the scheme of shrewd wives of the inquilinos. So, as we see, the inquilinos have the edge in rice cultivation………………..

In the case of [the] sugarcane industry, the relation existing between the landlords and the tenants is more popular. I believe that no one of the parties here have an edge on the other. Prior to the advent of “Philippine Tenants’ Association headed by Jacinto Manahan, both parties had a very intimate personal relation. Advances are given by the landlords without [a] written and formal contract. There were no special provisions made as to what was to be done. The customs of the place were instinctively followed. There were no breaks and no complaints. The practice then was to allow the tenants to borrow a certain sum, the limit being determined by the area cultivated on condition that he plants sugarcane. The work animals are provided by the landlord, the number depending on the area cultivated. Plows and other implements used to cultivate the fields are owned by the tenants. Sugar mills and the place where they used to boil the sugar’s juice to make sugar are owned by the landlords. The tenants, however, are expected to help in making these things. Rents and other expenses in milling the cane are shared equally after the deduction which the proceeds are divided into two. At present, the only charge is in the contracting of debt. [A] Written contract is made so that the tenant cannot deny his obligation when he wants to. Needless to say, [the] Manahan system failed. The juice usually is sold to a third party who buys it in vats ranging from ₱1.50 up to ₱8.50 at the present time………………..

There are many landlords, however, who do the buying from tenants at the correct prices, usually neighboring plantations have the same prices. In this case, the landlord gets the gain when he sells the sugar in bayones in Manila and not a third party. In this case, the net proceeds as the plantation is

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determined at the prices offered by the landlord. This they divide into two shares equally………………..

Generally speaking, the landlord treats the tenants as his equals. He does not look upon him as a personal property nor does he treat him in the way lords treat their vassals. Especially now, when the tenants know their rights and God [erased word], a harsh word from the tenants is resented. He sees [erased words] need especially farm implements and good stuffs. In that case, the landlord treats the tenants as children. Marriages are told to the landlord who gives advice to the new couple and advances money for the expenses. In case there are court proceedings, the landlord attends to it as though it were his own case. During fiestas, the tenants help in the household of the landlord without compensation. With little pay, the tenants will supply the landlord with wood for fuel………………..

Objectionable Credit Giving. There are many illicit ways of giving credit which in the main are objectionable both from the commercial and ethical point of view. I shall name them.

(1) Pacto de Recto. This is very common. An owner of a farm sells his holdings with the right to repurchase it. In many cases, this takes the form of a mortgage. The mortgage property usually gets only a third of its real value. There are many instances that within three years, your money loaned is doubled in this way. The owner of a mortgaged property can get his land, usually after the crop is harvested, with the payment of the principal. Mortgage on rice lands is very profitable.

(2) Loans to Merchants and Traders. This is another objectionable form of loan. No written contract is entered between the parties. Goodwill and confidence plays a great deal in this transaction. Merchants and traders pay from 4% up to 25% and sometimes more, in a month according to the willingness

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and intensity of need of the borrower.

(3) Petty Loans. Money may be owed and later [be] paid in palay. This is the most usurious of them all. Money is loaned in terms of “diesan” or in eights or “walohan.” In the first case, the consideration is that for every ₱10.00 loaned payment will be the full amount of the principal plus a cover of rice. The rate amounts to about 40% when the money is loaned in the months of May up to August in which case it will run up to March of the next year. But supposing money is loaned in the months of November and December and to be paid in March after threshing, then the rate will be 40% semi-annually. The same is true in the second case except that it is [a] higher rate in that instead of taking 1 cavan of palay as interest for every ₱10.00 loaned, 1 cavan is taken as interest for every ₱6.00 loaned.

There are lots of complaints on how such and such fellow exacts [an] exorbitant rate of interest but the needy cannot escape their tentacles. There is no other recourse. Banks are still a dream in that town.....……………

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Notes and references:
Transcribed from “Economic Survey of Lian, Batangas,” by Pastor M. Layosa, 1927, online at the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.

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