Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of Dao, Balayan, 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.
HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE OF THE PEOPLE IN DAO
During the latter part of the 15th [the writer likely meant 16th] century, some 50 years after the Spanish conquerors had laid the religious, political, and educational foundations in the islands, banditry and lawlessness gained ground sporadically in the archipelago.
Despotism, which sharply characterized the Spanish sovereignty, gave birth to a feeling of discontentment in the hearts of the Filipinos. The unjustly severe punishments the Spanish authorities imposed upon the people for the commitment of various offenses aroused their ire and this finally gave impetus to the people’s resolution to abandon their homes and take to the mountains.
The people, at the heels of utter helplessness, had no way of avenging their oppression. Their hot displeasure with the Spanish tyrannical rule abated, only to give rise to an awful dread, a painful emotion caused by a sense of some impending calamity – hunger, it was, which they knew would soon starve them to death.
Since then, they lived by killing and robbing the wayfarers. Killing and waylaying were mostly staged in places that were hardly accessible from the aid of the Spanish peace agencies. Wanton plundering, almost everywhere, spelled horror and death.
One evening, abetted by the faint light of a crescent moon, a band of brigands on steeds wended their way through the thickets of Dao’s river up to the Batulao mountain. One of the horses, from too much galloping, perhaps, tumbled to the ground, and in a few minutes died. With great haste, the bandits struck from the carcass the large panniers, took out some of the booties, and buried them near a big Dao tree.
In the evenings, many, many years after, the people would see them near the spot where the spoils were buried, a horrible spectral form with eyes flashing in the dark. Sometimes, they heard the noise of clanking chains that seemed to be drawn from a bottomless cavity, or the distinct choir-like strain chanted by a hundred voices.
Since then, the people regarded the tree with a sense of horror, mingled with solemn wonder, and so finally named the place by what is now called – “Dao.”
In the old, old days of our forefathers, when the ease giving push-button conveniences and the many human effort minimizing appliances were not yet in existence, people used to exploit practical wisdom and devise means in order to secure all the indispensable necessities of life. Water, for instance, considered one of the most essential life-sustaining commodities, did not as yet during those days run along pipelines. It had to be fetched from places where water was available. Wells and river springs were the most common source of water supply, and in certain places, springs abounded. That was Bolbok. A place within the territorial boundaries of Dao.
This sitio used to be a broad tract of rugged land before. Springs of various sizes abound in different parts of the place, many of which threw out great volumes of water. It was so named because the water that gushed out from the fissures of the earth produced a gurgling sound. For many, many years, it was uninhabited. The place, however, underwent a great geographical metamorphosis – the rugged surfaces were reduced by erosion so that it was finally transformed into a plain. People afterwards settled in the place and called it Bolbok.
DATE OF ESTABLISHMENT
These places became actual settlements in 1823 – a little more than three centuries after Magellan discovered the Philippines. The places, then, had few tribes. They were the social groups which at the time composed the early existing clans who made settlements in different places and who probably were of common descent, traced in one or more ancestral lines.
Since these places came to be settlements, several groups of families, other than the original families, came. It is not quite easy to know the first actual settlers. Within the compass of memory, one family, however, could be traced down from the latter part of the settlement period. They were the Ramoses and the Berroyas – the probable progenies of Pascual Ramos and Claudio Berroya, who it is believed were the wealthiest men in this place during that time.
TENIENTES DEL BARRIO
Pedro Caballo, Pacio Ramos, Juan Macalintang, Ignacio Dumagos, Aniceto Balatbat, Pacio Cabel, Jual Ballelos, Tomas Cudiamat, Agapito Macalalad, Marcelo Julongbayan, Catalino Dastas.
During the Spanish period, life was truly unpleasant for those who had acute sensibilities and spirits that were too frail to bear with the Spanish glaringly wicked treatment of the Filipinos. Gross violation of decency was at its best. Filipinos of respectable age had to kneel down with pious reverence upon meeting a Spanish priest in the street to kiss his hands. It’s [a] little matter, whether the
spot where a Filipino might kneel – be it a pool or heap of manure. Greeting the Spaniard this manner was a stiffly formal affair in those days, and had to be observed rigidly anytime, anywhere, and always. Those who were less courteous were subjected to harsh punishments.
There was not much social Catholicity under the Spanish rule. Penal restraints kept the people from indulging in the pursuit of enjoyments. Those who were caught gaming with money were heavily penalized. Their palms were ironed, and they were shackled, bound to a tree and given a hundred lashes.
At night, people who were seen at a late hour in the streets were put behind prison bars without the benefit of judicial investigation. Once in jail, he was left to starve.
The spirit of stern discipline with which the Spanish authorities (soldiers especially) discharged their executive offices and military duties was in a large measure comparably worse as that of the Japanese. Things had to be observed with a cold and formal severity. Zoning, for instance, was one of the examples of the rigidity of Spanish rule. Insuring the safety of the pueblo, or perhaps the security of the Spanish authorities from the perils of the insidious infiltration of outlaws was, perhaps, the motive of [the] zoning. During those days, the inhabitants were prohibited from going out within the territorial boundaries of the municipality or of a barrio. Drastic punishments are imposed upon the stubborn violators of the zoning regulations.
DURING THE AMERICAN OCCUPATION
During the gubernatorial reign of Wood, the barrios of Dao, Cacawatihan, Lanatan, and mostly all the suburban environs of Balayan experienced a great agricultural misfortune. A large multitude of locusts swarmed over these places and fed on the vegetation of crops. The people of Dao, through the Teniente del Barrio, were enjoined by the Governor to destroy the pest. Every inhabitant of the barrio was obliged to render a two-day service every week.
In the wake of Spanish sovereignty in the islands, a new form of government was organized. Having wrested from the Spaniards the dominion, the Americans commenced to reorganize the government. This period was the turning point in the social, political, and educational history of the Philippines. It was an epoch of pronounced transition. The social and physical aspects of the country took a new shape. Education became the first important concern of the Americans. American soldiers established schools of learning and, they took the opportunity to be the first teachers of the Filipinos. The people were later given the chance to occupy government positions, and voting by popular will of the masses was introduced. This was the beginning landmark in the political history of the Philippines.
1941 – 1945
Sometime in December, 1941, when the teletyped news dispatches announced the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the people all over the islands were shocked. Much more, they were stricken with fear when the shocking news from the local
broadcasting stations announced that the first deadly egg was dropped over Baguio by the Japanese. This inevitably roused the people to vigilance, and those living in the provinces were likewise alarmed. Contempt of danger infused into the minds of the people who were aware of the defenselessness of the country, thus they were led to covertly guerrilla organizations. In spite of the scarcity of war tools, the people were not at all discouraged. They made efforts to collect arms. No long after, the U. S. forces spearheaded their landing in the islands. The guerrillas joined the American soldiers and made good in the mapping operations.
Guerrillas in these places rose in arms, too, and sparred with the Japanese. They lunged at several Japanese strongholds, drew back, lunged again and finally, with the American reinforcements, drove the Japanese to an unhappy retreat.
RECONSTRUCTION AND REHABILITATION
After World War II, the government was confronted with grave national problems – rehabilitation and reconstruction being the weightiest. In the provinces, retrieval of economic decay became the paramount concern of the people. Natural resources were once more exploited, turned out into various salable products. Commerce slowly but steadily flourished. The barrios put on their agricultural harness, labored up its way to recovery. People assumed their industrial occupations with a view to acquiring substantial remunerations to fill their daily needs in life. Capital and labor reunited and gave acceleration to petty industries. The desire to keep body and soul together decidedly was the factor which hastened the progression of the business intercourse in the place.
Domestic and social life during the olden times and that of today are evidently at variance. A woman at the threshold of womanhood commences to learn to adapt herself to the puritanical customs of her parents. She is never permitted to don herself with sheer and almost diaphanous dresses – dresses that show the contours of the body. Neither is she allowed to attire herself excessively splendid and in loud dresses. Such was a means of arresting the opposite sex’s attention. She must be severely simple and must strictly take after her parents’ customs.
The antiquated customs of our forebears are still reflected in the practices of a great majority of the people in these places. They are inherently precise and scrupulous in their domestic and social lives. In courtship, a man goes through a series of disheartening hardships. Making love in the streets, in the fields or anywhere else except in the lady’s house is derogatory to the traditional way of proposing love. The man should go to the lady’s house to tell the parents about his affection for the daughter, and must first obtain the parents’ permission for his visits. Once in the lady’s house, the man observes the common household courtesies. And when seated, he assumes a statue-like poise
otherwise the always punctilious parents would be displeased.
The patience-trying courtship is climaxed by the “Pamulungan.” This is the stage in courtship when the parents of both parties engaged to betroth exchange matrimonial views. It seems that the man’s parents should have a fat purse. Less lucky are those who, on account of their financial incapacity, receive a flat disapproval of the matrimonial proposal. A handsome “Bilang” (not very much different from the practices of dowry-giving [in] some of the Western countries of the world) should be at hand on or before the wedding day. The dowry, instead of going to the lady’s parents’ hands, goes to the woman to be married. Marrying a woman in these places is in some respect like applying [for] a loan. Collateral security in the form of money or carabaos, or cows, etc., is necessary. First class women, so to speak, are “at a premium.” A bounty should be offered to the girl’s parents in exchange for the daughter. It sounds funny and strikingly strange, but it is true and still practiced.
The common practice when a person dies is the giving of “ABULOY” or alms in behalf of the departed souls. The neighborhood throng to the deceased man’s house to pay their homage to the dead. This they do by sitting up the night “LAMAY.” They call it such to keep themselves from feeling sleepy. The people who sit up the night beguile themselves by playing different kinds of table games and so keep up the old practice of “LAMAY.” On the fourth day of the person’s death, the dead man’s parents, sisters, brothers, and collateral relatives take their baths. From the first to the last day of the person’s death, prayers are said in behalf of the deceased.
The corpse on its way to its resting place is not sheltered even when it rains. The procession of mourners keep going until it reaches the cemetery. As the funeral procession goes its way, water is sprinkled on the way by a sister or brother of the dead man. This, they say, keeps the soul from visiting the parents and brothers and sisters. If the dead man happens to have a little sister or brother, the child is passed over the casket, and this, they say, dispels the child’s fear.
One of the customs in baptism is the careful selection of the first-born child’s baptismal sponsor or sponsors. An ideal “NINONG” or “NINANG” is always preferred. This they do on the belief that the child will take after the Godfather or Godmother in everything that is good. Although not consanguinely related with the chosen, “NINONG’s,” the “NINANG’s” good traits inhere in the child. The baptismal dress is given to the child’s mother before the baptism. A child who is christened without the formal baptismal habiliments, when it dies, welcomes the Godfather or Godmother at the gates of Heaven or Purgatory naked. Giving the “PAKIMKIM” is a regnant custom in these places. Baptismal presents given to the child intended as formal compliments or as a token of the sponsor’s goodwill is as a wish that the child may in the hereafter fare well.