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January 1, 2018

Malitam, Batangas (Town), Batangas: Historical Data

Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of Malitam, Batangas Town, 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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HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL LIFE OF THE BARRIO OF MALITAM

A sitio that lies west of Libjo proper is Malitam. It is considered a son of this barrio, because formerly it was a part of Libjo. The former name of this barrio was Libjo Aplaya and it was changed only so far as I remember when a barrio school building was erected. Formerly, the official of this barrio was under the power of the barrio lieutenant of Libjo. He was then called encardo. It was only in 1946 when the people of this barrio were given the full autonomy. Hence, they selected their own barrio teniente.

Before the arrival of the Americans, there were only three families settling in this barrio, namely, the Marasigan family, the Macatangay family and the Castillo family.

The barrio tenientes’ administrations differed but because the Philippines is a democratic country, the people could demand for a change of the barrio teniente. In case he is one who does not exercise wisely the powers and authority given him by the Mayor, he is recommended dropped from his service.

Changes of barrio lieutenants were made. The first barrio lieutenant elected was an old timer; the head of the Marasigan family. Being an understanding man, although he acquired little education, he possessed talent. Being incapable of doing hard work due to his age, he requested that he be relieved. His successor was his nephew who was young, generous, loyal, faithful, sympathetic, active, respectful, and with good judgment. He is Mr. David Marasigan, the present barrio teniente.

People in this barrio are law-abiding citizens. Petty crimes committed in the barrio are seldom brought to the court for verdict because they are at once settled by the barrio teniente.

The people are very religious. Their religion is Roman Catholicism. The devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary during the entire month of May has been traditional with the barrio people. The religious practice is popularly known as “Flores de Mayo.” An elaborate fiesta is the usual culmination of the activity.

The people are industrious, happy, and peaceful

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The barrio is free from idle persons.

FOLKWAYS

A. CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS

In the first place, our customs and traditions are really changing. What are the causes of these changes good or bad from the point of view of the progress of our society and of our national life. No person, of course, can answer these questions to his own satisfaction or that of anybody else. And it is impossible for one man to detect by personal observations of our people, [a] fact which may enable [us] to answer them. Here are some of the customs and traditions of the people in the community:

1. General –

a. When there is thunder and lightning during a heavy rain, they burn blessed leaves to protect them from danger.

b. Making the sign of the cross when going down the stairs and when passing the church.

c. Singing of the “Passion” during Lent.

d. Kissing the hands of elders as a token of respect.

e. Ladies usually chaperoned when they attend social functions.

f. Placing Manong or Manang (Kuya or Ate) before the names of their elders, brother or sister.

g. Leaving slippers outside of the door of the house when entering the house.

h. Offering cigars and buyo to visitors.

2. Birth

When a woman is pregnant, her ways are governed by her beliefs and superstitions. She does not go under the house in the afternoon, when the sun is setting. She would never allow her husband to contract or repair a house. She does not stay at the stairway of the house believing it would make delivery difficult for her. Soon after the delivery, the newly born child is watched day and night until it is baptized.

3. Baptism

Parents want the child baptized early after birth in the barrio before formal baptism is done in the church. They employ the services of the old man in the barrio who knows the correct procedure.



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of baptizing. The child could not be baptized without a godfather. They consider the godfather as the second father of the child. During this occasion, a party is usually held. The party may be elaborate or simple depending upon the financial standing of the parents.

4. Courtship

Courtship among barrio lasses and swains is usually a long one and generally should be sanctioned by the parents before the marriage can take place. A suitor has to “serve” at the girl’s house although in some instances, he is not sure if his services will merit some reward. If he finds favor with the parents, he continues the services until arrangements for the marriage are made by both parties.

5. Marriage

The marriage ceremony takes place on the date set aside by both parties. In compliance with the regulations of the church, the names of those who will be joined in wedlock are read by the clerk for three Sundays in the church. This is done to determine if there are no impediments to the marriage that will take place. The wedding ceremonies for rich persons are very expensive. They spend much for the bridal gown, jewels and for food. To the poor persons in the barrio, wedding ceremonies are simple.

6. Death

When a person dies, the dead body is kept watch overnight. They burn candles. They hold night prayers with all the relatives and neighbors for nine nights. At the ninth day, a party is given believing that the soul of the deceased will then rest in peace. The people believe in life after death. They also believe that [a] human being possesses an eternal spirit. They believe that after death, the soul travels to another world to receive its due reward or punishment.

7. Burial

Because of their belief in the future life, the people take great care in burying the dead. The dead are buried near relatives if possible with much weeping and sorrow. The bereaved family and

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close relatives wear black dresses. After the burial, the nearest relatives and members of the family are not allowed to eat or to cook vines and leafy vegetables, believing that in doing so, another member of the family will soon die. They do not sweep their surroundings for nine days.

B. Superstitions

The people of this barrio have many superstitious beliefs, a great number of which remain to the present day. They believe that when a girl sings in front of the stove or fire while she is cooking, she will marry a widower. They believe that when a hen cackles at night, an unmarried woman would give birth to a bastard child. When a pregnant woman cuts her hair, she will give birth to a hairless child. When a girl has white spots on her fingernails, she is not constant in her love. When a person dreams that one of his teeth falls off, somebody in the family would die. When a married woman eats twin bananas, she will give birth to twins. When there is a new moon, the fishermen will have a good catch.

C. Riddles

1. Bahay ni Kiko, puno ng ginto. (Itlog)

2. Nagsaing si Katungtong bumulak ay walang gatong. (Gugo)

3. Maliit pa si Kumar, marunong ng umakyat sa tore. (Langgam)

4. Guang na ang tiyan ay malakas pang humiyaw. (Kampana)

5. Isang patpat, nagtawid dagat. (Suklay)

6. Bukid ng pari, hindi mahawi. (Tubig)

7. Lingos lingosin hindi abutin. (Taynga)

8. Mataas ang ibinitin kaysa pagbibitinan. (Saranggola)

D. Proverbs

1. Kapag may isinuksok ay may titingalain.

2. Walang matimtiman birhen sa matiyagang manalangin.

3. Ang hipong tulog ay nadadala ng agos.

4. Kung maliligo ka ay aagap at baka ka abutin ng tabsing ng dagat.

5. Lumura ka ng patingala sa mukha mo tatama.

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Notes and references:
Transcribed from “Historical and Cultural Life of the Barrio of Malitam,” 1953, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.

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