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January 1, 2018

Banyaga, Agoncillo, Batangas: Historical Data

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

Municipality of Agoncillo

Province of Batangas

[p. 1]

DIVISION OF BATANGAS
DISTRICT OF LEMERY
BANYAGA ELEMENTARY SCHOOL

HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE OF THE BARRIO

PART I: HISTORY

1. Present Official name of the barrio: BANYAGA

2. Popular name of the barrio:

(a) Present………………………..Banyaga
(b) Past……………………………Banyaga
(c) Meaning or derivation of this name –

Banyaga is the local term for the English word meaning “foreign.” It may also mean “sa ibayo” or “sa kabila ng ilog.” The early inhabitants gave the name to the barrio for all of them were from Taal, a town beyond the lake or river.

3. Date of establishment:

The barrio was established somewhere about the middle part of the nineteenth century when different tulisan (bandits) abandoned the place.

4. Original families:

(a) Ireneo de Leon
(b) Mariano Orosa
(c) Timoteo Agojo
(d) Dionisio Landicho

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

(a) Dionisio Landicho
(b) Ireneo de Leon
(c) Teofilo de Leon
(d) Julio Medina
(e) Dionisio Balba
(f) Juan Landicho
(g) Miguel Mendoza
(h) Isabelo Buno
(i) Geminiano Miranda

6. Story of old barrios or sitios within the jurisdiction that are now depopulated or extinct: None

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

During the Spanish period, there lived a man by the name of Montalban. He and his followers were wanted by the government. They devastated the houses of rich people and robbed the treasury of the government. The money was brought to a cave in Maasim, Banyaga and was called “Kueba ni Montalban” (Montalban’s Cave). Many people tried to go inside this cave, but they were in vain.

There are structures which are historical in nature. One is the “Sombrerong Bato,” called such because it looks like a little hat. During the Spanish time, bandits sheltered here when they liked to evade capture from the Spanish soldiers.

[p. 2]

The other structure is the “Kabang Bato.” This structure, as was told, when you are inside and when you walk and walk, you can reach Calaca. It is, therefore, true that there is a subterranean passage from Calaca to Banyaga or vice-versa.

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

(a) During the Spanish occupation:

The middle part of the nineteenth century was marked by several incidents caused by different groups of bandits. Several bandits dwelt there in the highlands and several of these highlands derived their names from the names of bandits who lived there.

(b) Prior to the 1911 eruption of the Taal Volcano, the volcano erupted several times. These eruptions had also caused destruction to the lives and properties of the few inhabitants.

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

The people of Banyaga were very lucky for no Japanese tyranny was imposed on them; however, during their surrender, several Japanese surrenderees fled to the highland of this place. The barrio folks tried to kill them and they succeeded. Only few people suffered but of slight manner.

In 1948, many families evacuated the place because of the news that Taal Volcano, which is exactly opposite the barrio, would erupt. They brought with them almost all their belongings. After several observations made, the news was said to be untrue. The people returned to their beloved barrio penniless yet very happy to be together again.

The tranquility of the place was once more disturbed in the early part of 1953 when another news [came] of the eruption of Taal Volcano. The people prepared for evacuation, but after careful survey of the origin of the impending fear, news that the volcano showed no sign of eruption brought again calmness and security to the inhabitants.

The good record of the peace condition of the barrio was broken when an encounter between the elements of the 2nd BCT and the Huks happened in the southern tip of this place. Two dissidents were killed. Luckily, no civilian was harmed.

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

It is mentioned above that the people in this barrio were lucky for they had not suffered hardships and casualties from the wars.

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

A school building of six rooms was constructed, though temporary, through the cooperation of the P.T.A. The people were very proud of it, for they had succeeded in helping the government educate the youth.

PART II: FOLKWAYS

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

Birth

Whenever a woman is nearing her delivery, the husband is always on the watch out preparing things. The biggest preparation is in the

[p. 3]

form of keeping chickens when are dressed when the delivery actually comes. The persons who come around are given the eats and drinks. The newly born baby is given a name and the godfather is known as once.

Baptism:

It doesn’t take a long time to wait before the child is being poured water on the head and as usual the people who stay around are fed. The relatives of the godfather or godmother give presents or material things. The child is either brought to town to be baptized by the priest or the priest is invited to perform the baptismal rites in a constructed enclosure decorated with palm leaves and draperies. The real and big preparation comes when the real baptism is being made.

Courtship:

In manners of courtship in this barrio, the custom that prevailed many, many years ago still prevails. When a young man is fervently in love with a damsel, he does a lot of good things to the family of the girl he admires. The relatives of the engrossed lover help in anything the family of the girl undertakes. If the man is shunned by the girl, the young man requests somebody who is close to the family of the girl to talk to the family in a diplomatic way. Thus, the girl is forced to love this young man, through the whims of her parents. The parents of both parties interfere in the courtship. The parents of the girl make arrangements with the parents of the young man. Seldom that the lovers are seen without the presence of the parents of the girl.

Marriage:

It is a common sight that the marriage ceremonies are performed at a decorated enclosure at the side of the house. The priest is called from the town to perform the ceremonies. At least, there is a big preparation and many people from neighboring barrios come. When all the people have eaten, the “shower” of money comes. The people gather around as the relatives of both parties and the sponsor give the money, but the sponsor gives the biggest amount. The groom collects the money and gives it to the bride. This will be their first money of their marital life. After the marriage, the bride will go to the house of the groom and sleeps there as the groom is left to sleep in the bride’s house. The tail, the feet, tongue, and other parts of the slaughtered animals which had been untouched will be brought to the groom’s house and there, they are eaten by the household members of the groom paying particular attention that the bride will not eat so that she won’t become mischievous.

Death:

Whenever a person dies, a prayer is said. Many persons come and they give a form of voluntary contributions.

Burial:

The dead is brought to the town to be buried in the cemetery. After the burial, the persons who attended the funeral go to the house of the deceased and eat.

12. Popular songs, games, and amusements:

Games:

The most popular game in this locality is the local bowling.



[p. 4]

The ball is not round and spherical, but the disc is made of wood that resembles the disc used in the discus throw. A space about a meter wide and twenty meters long is lined with bamboo splits. This form of game requires strong betting. At the other end of the lane is a point which is the target to make points. The winner is usually the fellow who makes more points. Many people sell their goods because lots of people watch and see the game.

Songs:

Nena and Pablo

Here comes the boat from Songsong
With Nena for vacation
With Garambola skirts and her tapis in garambol
Her handkerchief is bito-bito
And her clothes are leron-leron.

Here comes Pablo, the Spaniard
Who brough a mandolin as big as an arc
Upon reaching the home, he played with a queer tune
And then began to play with a pandango dance.

13. Puzzles and Riddles:

(a) My pig in the farm grew fat without food.
(b) Wood that becomes water, water that becomes clay, clay that becomes stone, and stone that becomes a peso.
(c) There, there but you cannot see it.

14. Proverbs and Riddles:

(a) Anything far is near, if one strives to reach it.
(b) What price is grass if the animal to be fed is dead.
(c) A man who believes in tell-tales has no mind of his own.

15. Methods of Measuring Time: None

16. Other Folktales:

THE GHOST AT THE HAT-LIKE STONE

In a remote barrio of Banyaga, in the municipality of Agoncillo, there is a place called “Hat Stone.” It is called such because the form of the stone is shaped like that of a hat. When it rains, one can seek shelter at the cave of the rock. There is an interesting legend which runs from the “Hat Stone.”

During the Spanish regime, this place had been the abode of lawless bandits. All their loot in the form of jewelry and money were brought there to be hidden. Thus, this place had been filled with fabulous riches.

When the Americans arrived, the bandits were chased and rounded up by the soldiers. The bandits were scattered and made their own homes somewhere. Many were caught and were brought behind bars where many died during confinement. Still others were not heard of.

After the eruption of Taal Volcano, there spread a rumor that the “Stone Hat” was haunted. Many did not believe this gossip but one afternoon, a shepherd came to pass by this place. He heard a whirring sound and a low moan. He was paralyzed with fear. Mustering a little courage, he ran as far as his legs could carry him to his home. There, he revealed the things he had heard. Ever since that time, the people who were living in that vicinity left and made their new homes in a nearby placed called “Look” of Banyaga.

[p. 5]

One day, a fisherman was fishing near “Stone Hat.” The fisherman was a stranger. When hunger stalked him, he thought of eating his meal at the beach under the “Stone Hat.” No sooner [had] he entered the cave and he heard a moan. He was scared but he never retreated. He entered and went deeper inside but to his amazement, he saw a snake. He asked for the help of [the] Almighty. He prayed and all of a sudden, the snake vanished. Not long after, he heard a wee voice, “My name is Juan Salvador. Pray for my soul for seven days and say a mass for me. After you will have done this, come back to this place.”

This, he did and returned to the cave of “Stone Hat.” Wonders of wonders, for before him stood a jar full of untold wealth. He prayed again and after his prayers, he heard again a voice, “Thank you very much for what you have done for the repose of my soul. As a reward, take the jar of money.” Ever since that time, the apparition that haunted “Stone Hat” vanished and many people pass that place without fear of being haunted.

Submitted by:

MRS. PASTORA G. BALA

MISS ANGELES MAYUGA

MR. SEGUNDO MENDOZA

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

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