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January 1, 2018

Balangon, Agoncillo, Batangas: Historical Data

Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of Balangon in the town of Agoncillo, 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.

[Cover page.]

COMPILATION

of

HISTORICAL DATA

for the

Barrio of Balangon

Municipality of Agoncillo

Province of Batangas

[p. 1]

DIVISION OF BATANGAS
DISTRICT OF LEMERY

HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE OF THE BARRIO

PART I: HISTORY

1. Present Official Name of the Barrio:

In one of the places of the municipality of Agoncillo lies the barrio of Balangon. This place is hilly and covered with fruit trees, beautiful rice and corn fields, and vegetable gardens on which the people depend upon for economic derivation.

2. Popular name of the barrio: present and past, derivation and meaning of these names:

It is interesting to learn how the barrio got its name. During the Spanish occupation in our country, some Spaniards who came to the place got thirsty and asked the natives to give them some water. Unfortunately, there was no water in the house. The Spaniards asked the people where they got water. The people told them, “sa bal-on,” meaning from the well. The Spaniards repeated the word bal-on, but instead they said Bal-agon. It was developed to Balangon and since then the place was called Balangon.

3. Date of Establishment:

The barrio of Balangon was established in 1896. Formerly, this barrio belonged to the municipality of Lemery but on April 28, 1949, when the town of Agoncillo was established, the barrio of Balangon was separated from Lemery and became a part of the municipality of Agoncillo.

4. Original families:

In the olden days, majority of the vast lands of Balangon were owned by the rich families of Messrs. Flaviano Agoncillo and Ignacio Ilagan. As time went on, settlers came and worked on the farm for the rich families. Then these rich families sold parcels of land to the farmers who were [the] grandparents of the residents who are now living there.

5. List of Tenientes from the earliest time to date:



Tenientes are considered as leaders in barrios as mayors are in town. Since the establishment of the barrio of Balangon, tenientes were appointed and changed. The first teniente was Antonio Atienza and Diego de Leus held the position one after the other for many years. After the death of these two men, Victoriano de Villa and Graciano Atienza succeeded one after the other for a long time. After the liberation from World War II, Benito Maligaya was the leader, then Valentin Villanueva took the place and at present Marcelino Deomampo is holding the position.

6. Story of Old Barrios or Sitios Within the Jurisdiction that are now Depopulated or extinct:

So far, this barrio is lucky enough that nothing of its parts was depopulated. All places are occupied by the inhabitants.

[p. 2]

7. Date of historical sites, structures, buildings, old ruins, etc.:

In the early days, the town was situated in the place where Balangon is at present. Many Chinese used to live there. But when the Taal Volcano erupted, the people were killed and the houses were destroyed. Thus, the town was transferred. The residents of Balangon could trace some of the belongings of the people who lived there before.

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

(a) During the Spanish occupation:

In the early days, the leaders in the barrios were Cabezas de Barangay. The first cabeza of Balangon was Bernardo Atienza, then succeeded by Pablo Villanueva. The people were obliged to pay tribute and it was collected by the cabeza and turned over to the gobernadorcillo who lived in the capital of the province.

(b) During the American occupation to World War II:

The people lived peacefully and contentedly and earned their daily bread through honest efforts. Very few people studied. They were taught to repeat the kartilya and simple arithmetic under a tutor paid by the people themselves in monetary system or in forms of commodities such as palay, corn, and the like. After a few years, a public school was opened under one teacher. The children were obliged to go to school and were given free paper, pencil, ink, etc. The teaching personnel continued for several years, but one of the natives had a quarrel with the teacher, so the school was closed. For many years, the children did not go to school. Those who could afford went to other barrios or to town to study.

(c) During and After World War II:

During the Japanese regime, the barrio folks lived peacefully for the Japanese had not reached the place. Many people from Lemery and Taal came to the barrio to evacuate. They left their homes with nothing to eat, but the people of Balangon were so kind that they gave much of their crops such as corn and camote to the poor evacuees.

But in 1944, when the Japanese burned the houses and killed people in the barrios of Taal, the people of Balangon fled to Bayuyungan for safety until after the Americans liberated the people from the cruel hands of the Japanese.

How happy the barrio folks were upon the arrival of the Americans! The people returned to their work in the fields and improved their respective barrios. The people craved for some improvement on the educational system until August, 1945 when they were granted their request. A school with one teacher was reopened in one of the houses in the barrio which was owned by Segunda Deomampo. After two years, a school lot was purchased and a temporary school building was constructed, through the Parent-Teacher Association. Such was the life of the people of Balangon.

[p. 3]

PART TWO: FOLKWAYS

10. Traditions, Customs, and Practices in Domestic and Social Life:

Birth:

Birth means a new life of a human being. Mothers usually have their babies as quickly as they could if some signs of delivery is being felt. They are nursed by a midwife, the so-called “hilot.” Usually, a hen is killed in exchange with the child being born. Many people come to the house and visit the mother and the newly born baby. They inquire the name of the baby and they select a godmother or godfather.

Baptism:

During those days and up to the present time, if the baby is sickly, he or she is baptized by an elder who takes the place of a priest, which is popularly called “buhos tubig.” They usually celebrate baptismal parties on Sunday and they last till late in the evening.

Courtship:

When a young man desires to court a young girl, he helps the family of the girl first. Upon taking sight of the girl’s roof, he takes off his hat, and as if he is riding on horseback, he gets off. Upon reaching the house, he kisses the hands of the old folks with both knees bent and both arms folded. In conversation, the young man must be far from the young girl and in the presence of the parents of the girl. If the girl’s parents like the young man, they accept the courtship. Then follows the meeting of the two families to arrange the marriage of their children. The man with his sister or any member of his household works in the girl’s house and gives preliminary servings and weeding [likely wedding] party until the date of the wedding comes.

Marriage:

Before the marriage ceremony is said, a dowry is given to the girl. It may be in the form of land, cow, horse, money and jewels. Then, they are married by the priest. Upon the arrival of the new couple at the bride’s house, they are served sweet at the foot of the stairs before entering the house. At the same time, someone throws rice at the couple. This is practiced with the belief that in so doing, these people will live happily all the year round.

Death:

Death is but natural upon anyone. It comes whether one likes it or not.

In the said barrio, many lives were lost. The people, due to their industry and hard work, often are not mindful that their bodies are not capable of doing hard work on the fields due to sickness. But when time comes, when they could not endure the pain, they call a quack doctor. But said doctor could not do any good to remedy for, in some instances, illness is very serious. Sometimes, the cause of death in the barrio life is their meals – they eat always rice and salted fish. They want to save as much as possible all they have earned, thereby balanced diet is not practiced.

Burial:

In the burial custom, there may be a slight change for the higher

[p. 4]

group of individuals as the standard of living of the people today is somewhat elevated as compared with that of yesteryears.

When someone dies in the family, it is but natural that all of them, be a member or not, cry. Neighbors and relatives go to the house of the deceased to express their condolences. Others help in the household work. At night, friends, relatives, and neighbors come to [keep] watch over the corpse.

The watchers have different kinds of games to keep them awake. Someone prepares for them something to eat so they’ll not get tired. As soon as the coffinis made, the corpse is placed in it.

As soon as the dead is carried down, they close all the windows of the house of the deceased. Besides this, all things of the deceased used the night before are carried downstairs, too.

A group of people carries the coffin from the house to the church where it is blessed by a priest or just being prayed for by the people. Then, it is carried to the cemetery and placed in a tomb.

Every night, the soul of the dead is prayed for by the members of the family with some relatives who care to. They have this up to the ninth day. On the eighth day, there is a prepared meal for those who come to pray for the soul of the deceased. From that time on, the members of the bereaved family mourn for a length of time they wish to. On the first anniversary of the dead, the family have preparations again for those who will pray and then the members begin to wear colored clothes.

Punishment:

Many acts are punishable. Killing or attacking a man is considered a serious offense. Robbery and violation of the laws are crimes. The common form of punishment given by the Spaniards were fines, whipping, and death. When a man has committed a certain crime, he was given a number of whips depending on the nature of the crime committed. When a man killed someone, his punishment was death.

11. Legends, Beliefs, Superstitions:

(a) The legend of Balangon:

Many years ago, Balangon was a town. Many Chinese used to live in the said place. The church was in Pansipit. But after the eruption of the Taal Volcano, the place was no longer a town but instead a barrio of Balangon.

One day, the Spaniards who came to the place got thirsty and they happened to come to a nearby house and there they asked the people where they got the water. The people told them from a well (sa balon). Being Spaniards, they could not fluently pronounce the word as well, but they pronounced it Bal-ngon, instead. And from that time on, the place was called “Balangon.”

Formerly, this barrio of Balangon was under the municipality of Lemery. But Agoncillo, which is now a town, and Balangon being part of it, petitioned a town be formed out of the eleven barrios of Agoncillo. By Presidential Proclamation, the petition was granted and on April 28, 1949, an Executive Order to this effect was issued.

(b) Origin of the Spring “Ginting”:

Spring is one of the things which makes the life of the people of the place easy. In the northern part of Balangon, there is a

[p. 5]

spring called “Ginting.” How did it come out? During the Spanish time, the people got stone from the place to be used in building the church which is now one of the biggest churches in the Philippines. The stones were very hard. Due to the hardness of the stone, a word, Ginting, was derived from it. Now, after these stories were taken, water came out from it and it became a spring. The spring was enchanted.

(c) Beliefs of the birth of twins:

It has been the belief of many that when a mother eats twin bananas, she will have twin babies.

(d) Superstitions:

(1) When a cat wipes its face while facing the stairs, it means visitors will be coming.
(2) To sweep during twilight is bad for it will mean a decrease in wealth.
(3) It is bad to leave the house when someone is eating for you will meet [an] accident; to avoid such, it is better to turn the plate clockwise before leaving.
(4) When a black butterfly flies around you, it means that a relative of yours is dead.
(5) When you are cooking and the fire laughs, it means that visitors are coming.
(6) When you dream of fire or a tooth being pulled out, it means that a member of the family will die.
(7) When you break a mirror, it means to say that you will have bad luck for ten years.
(8) When someone plants something and he dies, it is good to tie a piece of black cloth around the trunk of said plant so that it will not die at once.
(9) It is bad to pay debts at night for you will lose money easily.
(10) Pregnant mothers should not allow themselves to be overtaken in a place where a person is dying.

12. Popular songs, games, and amusements:

In the olden days, songs were different from those of today. Games were sungka, sintak, sikyo, and tubig-tubig. For amusements, they played “Pandango,” Lulay and Subli.

Example of songs they had:
(a) Ali-aling namamayong
Pasukubin yaring sanggol
Pagdating sa Malabon
Ipagpalit ng bagoong.
Mama-mamang namamangka
Pasakayin raying bata
Pagdating sa Maynila
Ipagpalit ng mantika.
(b) Doon po sa amin
Bayan ng San Roque
May nagkatuwaan
Apat na pulubi
Kumanta ang pipi
Nakinig ang bingi
Sumayaw ang pilay
Nanuod ang bulag

[p. 6]

3. Riddles:

Even before, the people have different riddles [from] which one finds enjoyment. Some of the riddles are:

(a) He stood basely, and spoke out badly; I am a man, really. (rooster)
(b) I planted a sack of corn, but when morning came all of them were gone. (stars)
(c) Wherever I go, I carry my radio. (mouth)
(d) The fruit is on the leaves; the leaves are on the fruit. (pineapple)
(e) I’m crying when I’m walking but when I stop, I say something. (pen and paper)
(f) I stirred the porridge and out came the roasted food. (boat)
(g) I carry it and it carries me too. (slipper)
(h) I planted a lemon tree in the middle of the sea. Many people were looking for it but only one was fortunate. (lady)

4. Proverbs and Sayings:

(a) A sleeping shrimp is easily carried away by the current.
(b) Silence gives consent.
(c) Never put off till tomorrow what you can do for today.
(d) Patience is the stepping stone to success.
(e) Do unto others what you want others [to] do unto you.
(f) After the storm comes the calm.
(g) An empty sack can’t stand upright.
(h) There’s nothing hidden that could not be revealed.
(i) To try is to succeed.
(j) A man of words and not of deeds is like a garden full of weeds.
(k) Laugh and the world laughs with you; weep and you weep alone.

5. Methods of measuring time, special calendar.

The people during the past years had some methods of measuring time, though they were not as accurate as those we have at present. Many of them, if not mostly, depended upon the position of the sun and the crowing of the roosters and the birds like the hornbill. The hornbill was said to be the clock of the forest. It cackles every twelve o’clock at noon at midnight. The flowers of the patola were said to act as a clock. They open their petals at four o’clock in the evening as well as at dawn. If the crowing of the cocks are in succession, it shows that it is already morning.

The calendar during those days is just the same as of today.

Respectfully submitted:

MISS FELICISIMA HUERTO

MISS ENRIQUETA VILLENA

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Notes and references:
Transcribed from “Compilation of Historical Data for the Barrio of Balangon, Muncipality of Agoncillo, Province of Batangas,” 1953, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.

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