Dacanlao, Calaca, Batangas: Historical Data - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Dacanlao, Calaca, Batangas: Historical Data - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Dacanlao, Calaca, Batangas: Historical Data

Historical Data graphic
Historical data from the National Library of the Philippines.

Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of Dacanlao in the Municipality of Calaca, 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.

[Cover page.]




[p. 1]


Dacanlao is the biggest barrio of Calaca. It is on the western part of the town. It was once a swampy place where shells called “dakans” were found. A “callejon” connecting Balayan and Calaca passes through the center of this barrio. Now, it is the national road.

Its establishment was during the Spanish regime. It got its name from the shells (dakans) found in the swampy (lalao) place. It has two sitios, namely Tebag and Balagbag.

Since it was organized, there are tenientes del barrio who help much in making the barrio peaceful and progressive.

During the Spanish regime, [the] Catholic religion was introduced. Catholicism was taught to the people. It was compulsory to memorize Catholic prayers.

When the Americans came, schools were established. The people were not interested to go to school, although pencils, paper, and books were supplied to them. As years passed, the people became interested in going to school. As soon as the child reached the age of seven, he or she was sent to school. As a matter of fact, there are several professionals in the barrio.

The Japanese occupation destroyed the peaceful and contented livelihood of the people. Most of the people starved and majority died of hunger. They feed on corn, camote and with little rice. They were made to work in the field planting cotton and corn. They were given no share. Most of the people wore sinamay. They rarely went to town for fear that the Japanese might see and kill them. They prohibited the use of Philippine money. They introduced the Japanese money which had less value. Schools were opened and the pupils were taught the Japanese language. American authors were erased from books used in schools.

The place was liberated after four years of hard toil under the Japanese. Schools were reestablished. The community was brought nearer to the school. Additional school buildings were built through the P. T. A. There is now an elementary school under a school principal. Now, Dacanlao is one of the progressive communities in the municipality of Calaca. It is divided into eight pooks under a teacher adviser. People are engaged in various industries. Most of them are farmers and merchants. There is an increased number of professionals.

The average family has its own house made of cogon or nipa and bamboo. The surroundings are overgrown with vegetables. It is not uncommon to see chickens, goats and pigs everywhere. There is an abundant supply of food.

Even the humblest family tries to decorate his home. Most of them are religious. In every home, you will see pictures of Saints and artists.

[p. 2]

Very few are illiterates as shown by the fact that most of them go to the community reading center to read newspapers and magazines. All of them are eager to send their children to school an act which is considered a basic policy in any educational reform.

Most of the people have their artesian wells and toilets. They have improved their health practices in accordance with modern scientific knowledge. Very few consult herbularios.

Part – II

Traditions, customs, and practices in domestic and social life.

1. Drinking in the saro (earthen jar) the old drink first -- (sign of respect)

2. Brothers and sisters it together from a common plate called dinulang.

3. Sweet towards the center to prevent good luck going out of the house.

4. No money should be disposed out after sundown for fear that the property you have will be gone.

5. For a new homecoming, porridge is served so that the people living in this new home will live in prosperity.


Firecrackers are fired to announce the birth of the child. Neighbors come to visit the mother and child. A midwife (hilot) usually attend to the mother and child. A fat hen is killed for the mother and the midwife.


Parents of the baby bring something in the form of eats (lechon, chickens, chocolate, suman, etc.) to the godmother or godfather to be. The godmother (ninang) or godfather (ninong) supply the baby with the baptismal clothes. He or she also pays for the baptismal fee. Usually, there is a party we're in friends and relatives are invited. After the party the ninang or ninong gives the baby a gift (money or jewelry).

If a baby shows signs of dying before the real baptism, the godfather or godmother is hastily selected and he or she pours water on the head of the infant. A party is held afterwards. This ceremony is called "buhos tubig." The idea is not to have the child without any rights at all. Locally, an old man is asked to perform the ceremony.

[p. 3]

As soon as the church bells peal to announce the end of the ceremony, each sponsor, carrying his godchild race down the aisle. It is believed that the child whose sponsor reaches the door first will be healthy, prosperous and will live a long life or will [be] a leader among men.

Firecrackers are fired on the baptismal party's return home.


A man expresses his love to [a] woman he loves by first serenading. Then, he goes to her house every night. He helps in some work as pounding rice, grinding corn, harvesting, etc. Sometimes, he brings the necessary ingredients for a lupakan or calamayan party held in the woman's home. On Christmas, he sends gifts in the form of cards, eats, perfume and power [powder?].


The man keeps on wooing and wooing every night. Arranging marriage is not very hard if the woman likes the man, but if she doesn't like him, he has to serve for a certain period. Wood and water is brought to her parents and relatives. The following night, there will be a meeting for both parties to decide upon the date, kind of wedding party, wedding dress, godmother and godfather. The man then continues serving in the woman's house until the date of marriage, if the party on the man’s side agrees.


The dead is buried after the 2nd day. Relatives and friends remain sleepless the whole night watching over the dead. Games are played to prevent them from falling asleep. At midnight, coffee with bread and cakes are served. They pray every night until the 9th day. On the 9th day, there is a party. Every now and then, prayers are offered. Relatives wear black until the death anniversary to show respect and love for the departed ones.

There are several beliefs and superstitions about the dead.

1. Don't put plates one after the other or else any member of the family may follow.

2. Don't put slippers on the dead's feet to prevent noise when he comes to visit the living.

3. Speak nothing you see on the dead or else they will increase.

4. Pray for the dead to prevent him from becoming a devil. The dead will appear through the darkness if you will not pray for him.

5. If you want to see the dead keep awake on the 4th day. A sinful dead appears with fire in his eyes and mouth.

[p. 4]


1. [The] Dead [is] buried on the next day after death.

2. Wreaths made of fresh flowers are put on the tomb.

3. Cleaning is done after the 4th day. All the things used are being washed in the river. The members of the family take a bath.

4. When the coffin is being put down, windows are closed to prevent someone to follow.

5. New clothes worn during the burial easily get turn [torn?].

6. Be careful that no tears drop on the dead or else the coffin will be floating in the water.


The barrio folks are very hospitable. They offer drinks, cigarettes, lime or betel nut, bread and other things they could have possibly to anybody who comes home. They invite their visitors to dine with them though the food is just enough for the family. The best chinaware and beddings are offered to the visitors.


There are several festivals celebrated in the community. Among them are –

1. Saint John's day, which is celebrated every 24th day of June. After mass, the people with each other with water. Then at noon, they take a hearty meal in the seashore or in the river.

2. Flores de Mayo – This is celebrated throughout May. Every afternoon, the member in charge for the day prepares an afternoon lunch for friends and relatives. After the party, flowers and prayers are offered to the Virgin. On the 31st of the month, there is a procession wherein all the members participate.

3. Barrio Fiesta – The day is not fixed. Interested citizens of the community collect funds for the success of the fiesta. There is a mass in the morning and [a] procession at night. Every house prepares food for the whole day for friends and relatives who come to enjoy the fiesta.

4. All Souls Day – Boys and girls sing songs from house to house asking for money, suman etc. They pretend themselves to be the lost souls from purgatory. Sometimes, people play jokes by stealing the stairs, ghost, etc. and hanging them on the top of the trees. The women have a hard time getting them. Wreaths are brought to the cemetery. Candles are lighted the whole night.

5. New Year – Usually, everybody is awakened by the noise made by the cans and drums. Food is served at midnight. Everybody keeps busy the whole day. They try as much as possible not to spend any cent or to incur debts from somebody with the belief that what is done in the new year will be done the whole year.

[p. 5]

6. Christmas – This is the day young boys and girls are waiting for. After mass, they go to their ninang and ninong to kiss their hands. In return, they give money or other gifts.


1. A very naughty boy is usually punished by netting him kneel on a winnower with mangoes. If the crime is slight, he is told to lay down on the floor with a face down and whipped three times.

2. Pinching is a common punishment among the young naughty girls.

Beliefs and Superstitions:

1. People believe that God holds the world with his right hand and when He feels tired, He transfers it to the left-hand, causing an earthquake.

2. The world is flat – The water from the spring is hot in [the] morning because the sun had just passed through.

3. When rain is scarce, the Roman Catholics have [a] procession called (lutrena) asking for rain.

4. Mirrors are covered and vinegar is sprinkled in the house to prevent lightning from entering.

5. The farmers can foretell the weather of the different months by considering the 1st day of January, 2nd day, February, 3rd day march, etc. Until the 12th day which is considered December. If January 1st is a rainy day, the whole month of march will be sunny, etc.

6. The first man and woman came from the tip of the grass called “mutha.”

Beliefs and superstitions about plants, trees and animals.

1. Bathing a cat will bring rain.

2. Planting bananas –Upon putting the plant in the hole, sit at once so that the plant will not grow tall. Don't look up.

3. Plant vegetables in the afternoon at low tide so that it will bear fruit at once.

4. Firefly inside the house for tell a good fortune to come.

5. A pregnant mother who eats fruits that are twins is liable to give birth to twins, too.


1. When a member of the family is sick with measles, it does not come out of the house unless everybody is sick with it.

2; anybody who urinates in the cemetery will have stomach ache.

3. Some don't believe in doctors. They believe that if a patient is injected, his or her ailment becomes more serious because the one causing the sickness is angry. They can tell the course of the ailment by using alum, the figure that appears after it is being burned is likely the cause of the sickness. We use the crushed along to cure the patient.

[p. 6]

4. Sitting on the pillow causes boils.


1. A child lost is supposed to be taken by the fairy. She feeds the child. She will not let her away unless drums, cans and bills are beaten and heard by the fairy. After several days and the child is not found, she is believed to be wild.

2. Some people still believe in the "nono." For the first time, they get water from the spring then say: "Tabi po nono." if he gets sick, the cost may be that the "nono" from the spring got angry, so eats in the form of cakes, bread, roasted chickens and candles are offered in the spring. After the offering, the quack doctor gets mud near the spring to cure the patient.


1. When stars are near the moon, the girls are easily courted by the boys.

2. When there is a full moon, crustaceans are usually fat.

3. There will be plenty of catch if the clouds look like scales of fish.

4. [A] Typhoon is coming if clouds are low.

5. When a rainbow appears, God remembers his promise.

6. The appearance of the comet is a bad omen. There will be starvation or war.

7. When there is an eclipse, people think the sun is swallowed by the big cat.

Puzzles and Riddles:

1. I bought a hat in Milan. It is very new. Melanio [or Helanio]
2. What is it that appears once in a minute and twice in a moment? “M”
3. There are many riddles in the dialect that people enjoy during social gatherings.

Proverbs and Sayings:

1. Bend the tree while it is young, long afterwards, it cannot be done.
2. A modest girl is known by her behavior.
3. If you planted rice, you will reap rice.
4. Those who try do not die.
5. Stones do not go to the snail.
6. God gives his grace to men who labor for it.
7. What one usually says is what he feels.
8. No debt will ever remain unpaid.
9. Of what [use] is the grass when the horse is dead?
10. Punctuality outruns agility.

[p. 7]

There are several methods of telling time:

1. It is almost 12 o’clock when the shadow of the tree is very small and when the black part of the cat’s eyes are tiny.
2. It is almost 4 o’clock P.M. when leaves of the acacia are closed and when the flowers of the patola open.

The people sing songs they heard from shows that they see. Some of them still sing songs that they have learned from their grandmothers. An example is this lullaby sung when letting the baby to sleep.

Ay long tulog ka na aro
Ang ina mo ay malayo
Nasa kabilang pinto
Nananahi ng baro.
Notes and references:
Transcribed from “History and Cultural Life of the Barrio of Dacanlao” 1953, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
Next Post Previous Post