Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of Pook, 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 POOK
Part One: HISTORY
1. Present official name of the barrio – Pook
2. Pook means that the place is for the people living in the barrio alone. No one can court a lady in the barrio except the men from Pook alone. The sitios in the past were: Patugo, Lukban, Umipot, Lapad, Biga, Putol, and Northern and Southern Pook. But now, Patugo is excluded due to the distance from the barrio. The sitio of Lukban is called so because in the old days, there were many lukban trees in that place. The sitio of Umipot is called so because there were many kubos where kubos and hens were taken care of. These hens and chickens usually threw wastes on the road and anywhere in the place. Lapad is called because there are many flat stones in the river there. Biga was name because there are so many biga plants there. Putol is called so because the road to the barrio is cut in the middle by roads to different sitios of Pook.
Pook was established sometime in 1800. The original families were the Ramos, Ilaw, Bayonito, Bayongan, and Hernandez families. Tenientes of the barrio from 1800 to the present are the following:
Ignacio Arroyo & Remigio Ramos – 1812-1836
Gabriel Ilao & Vicente Bathan – 1836-1848
Gabriel Ilao & Deogracias Bayongan –
Sebastian Hernandez & Mateo Delgado
Cecilio Magsino & Severo Liwanag
Jose Valeros & Cornelio Morada
Jose Valeros & Meliton Bayongan
Briccio Evangelista & Meliton Bayongan
During the Spanish occupation, the bravest men who could speak a little Spanish was the leader and teniente of the barrio. Their arms consisted of sinampaloc and a bolo. The one against the Spanish government was called a tulisan. They were often raided by civil guards. Ildefonso de Jesus, still living and residing here, fought with the military guards because he did not want to recognize Spanish authority.
During the American occupation, all went well. The residence certificate ran as follows: 1st – ₱.20; 2nd – ₱.50; 3rd – ₱1.00; and the last ₱2.00. If a man cannot pay ₱2.00, he must work for 15 days. There were misunderstandings during the period but as a whole, the period was marked by contentment and peace for the people of Pook.
Putol was the center of the Japanese infantry when the occupied the Philippines. They made caves in different places of the barrio. They urged the people to plant cotton, corn,
and camoteng kahoy. Most of the people left their homes for fear of the Japanese. The people of Pook were suspected of being guerrillas during the latter part of the Japanese regime so the houses in the barrio were burned and the men and women suspected of guerrilla activity were killed. Because of these incidents, the people evacuated to Nasugbu and returned only during the latter part of March, 1945.
Through the help of the War Damage Commission, houses were reconstructed again. Another school building was constructed through the initiative and cooperation of the barrio folks. Artesian wells were constructed in several places with the help of the municipal government.
PART TWO – FOLKWAYS
Fiestas and parties during the olden days were so lavish and elaborate that as time went on, lands of the people were sold or taken by the rich people because of the expenses they had incurred. Courtship was done by the parents. Ladies courted do not talk with the men courting them. When the men visit their lady loves, they took off their hats near the gate of the woman’s home and kissed the hands of the old kneeling flat on the floor. They worked in the homes of the ladies doing the household activities as if they were in their own homes. Before they could succeed in marriage, they must sacrifice a lot.
Death events were very melancholy in Pook. All people going to the dead gave the amount they could afford as help to the members of the bereaved family. As soon as the dead was brought down, the persons left clean the house and the yard. All the members of the family, relatives, and those who attended the burial took a bath after four days of burial. They had prayers every night for nine days and a lavish party at the ninth day is celebrated from morning till night.