Santa Clara, Batangas (Town), Batangas: Historical Data Part I - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Santa Clara, Batangas (Town), Batangas: Historical Data Part I - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Santa Clara, Batangas (Town), Batangas: Historical Data Part I

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



Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of Santa Clara, 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.

[Cover page.]


[p. 1]


1. Present official name of the barrio – Sta. Clara

2. Popular names of the barrio; present and past, derivation and meanings of these names (Names of sitios included within the territorial jurisdiction of the barrio):

A. (1) Aplaya – meaning along the seashore. Sta. Clara is a coastal barrio, so it is sometimes called Aplaya.
(2) Pantalan – meaning pier, a place for loading and unloading cargo. The pier is located very near the barrio proper, so it is often called Pantalan
B. Ilaya, Gitna, Ibaba, and Stadium are the sitios of Sta. Clara. Ilaya, Gitna, and Ibaba refer to the divisional parts of the barrio; each name indicating direction or the geographical location of the sitio. Ilaya means north, Gitna means middle, and Ibaba means south, so the southern, northern, and the central parts of Sta. Ana are called Ibaba, Ilaya, and Gitna, respectively. The sitio of Stadium, because of its proximity to the Quezon Memorial Stadium, was named Stadium.

3. Date of establishment: In 1870, a few houses were built along the eastern side of what is now known as the Bonifacio Drive, an extension of the national road from the poblacion.

4. Orginal families: Limbanio Montalbo and Macario Macaraig were the first settlers in the northern part of the barrio; Bernabe Dilay, Epifanio Rivera, Casimero Lira, Eugenio Minioza, and Isidoro Lucero settled in the central part, while Perfecto Lucero and Nicomedes de Guzman settled in the southern part.

5. List of Tenientes del Barrio:

1. Casimirio Lira
2. Sixto Mercado
3. Limbanio Mercado

[p. 2]

4. Sergio Arago
5. Simeon Serrano
6. Catalino Mendoza
7. Domingo Dilay
8. Leon Mercado
9. Mateo Macaraig
10. Francisco Dilay
11. Primo Arago

6. Story of the old sitios within the barrio’s jurisdiction which are now depopulated or extinct:–

There is no sitio within the barrio’s jurisdiction that is now depopulated or extinct. There is such a rapid increase in population that the inhabitants in the sitios of Ilaya and Ibaba have already reached their boundary.

7. Date of historical sites, structures, buildings, old ruins, etc.

A. Historical sites

1. There was a stone wall in the western part of the barrio; west of the Bonifacio Drive. This was built by the Spanish soldiers and served as fortress from enemies. It was completely destroyed when the Americans first came in 1896.

2. In April 1942, the Batangas Pier was the scene of bombing and strafing of a Japanese vessel by the U. S. Bombers.

3. In September, 1944, the same site was bombed by the U. S. Air Force and the Japanese P. T. boats were destroyed.

B. Old ruins

1. During the Spanish regime, there used to be a brick house in the southern part of the barrio of Sta. Clara where Spanish officials lived. Near this structure was a jail similarly constructed where Filipino prisoners were kept. Both house and jail were destroyed when the prisoners bolted. The concrete foundation of the structures still remain.

[p. 3]

2. In the northern part of the barrio, there can still be seen a portion of a concrete wall supposed a part of the brick house of Doña Clara, the wife of a high ranking Spanish official. This was used by Spanish officials as their quarters during the Spanish occupation of the Islands.

3. The ruins of a stone bridge can still be seen between Sta. Clara and Cuta, a neighboring barrio. This was built by Filipino laborers under the administration of the Spaniards.

C. Structures and buildings

1. The bridge between the poblacion and Sta. Clara was constructed in 1875 by the Spaniards. This was reconstructed by the American government in 1911. This was totally destroyed at the outbreak of World War II. It was reconstructed in 1947.

2. The pier was constructed by the Spaniards in 1896. This was reconstructed by the American government in 1917. It was totally destroyed by the American liberation forces in September, 1944. This was again reconstructed in 1949 by the national government.

8. Important facts, incidents or events that took place during the Spanish occupation.

A. Political
During the Spanish period, the heads of influential families in the locality selected the Cabezas de Barangay. The Cabezas helped the Spanish officials in carrying out their work. The first Cabeza was Mr. Casimiro Lira who was followed by Mr. Sixto Mercado and Mr. Limbanio Montalbo.
B. Educational
There was no government school during the Spanish organization. Very few could read and write. The first teacher in the place was Mr. Andres Serrano who taught Catechism in his home. This began in the year

[p. 4]

1860. Children who could read the Cartilla or learned the Latin lessons were allowed to go to confession and to receive communion in the town church.
C. Religion

The Roman Catholic Religion was the only religion the barrio people professed.

In 1813, some Spaniards brought the Santo Niño aboard a vessel on its way to Cebu. The boat dropped anchor in the Batangas Bay to get fresh water and supplies but when [the] time came for it to resume its voyage, the crew could not make it move. The crew made a thorough examination of the engine but could not find anything the matter with it. The sail was raised but not even a breeze blew. Due to the presence of the Sacred Image in the ship, the crew was requested to allow the Holy Child to be taken ashore. This was taken to the church in the town were a Te Deum was sung in its honor. When the image was left ashore, the ship began to move and obeyed the rudder in any direction.

In the barrio and in the poblacion, the Image made numerous miracles that the people’s faith spread for and wide and it became necessary to set January 15th of every year for the celebration of the barrio fiesta in Santa Clara in commemoration of the day when the sacred image was taken ashore.

Since then, the Sto. Niño has become the patron saint of this barrio.

D. Economics

Ever since, fishing has been the main means of livelihood of the people of the barrio of Santa Clara. From the month of January to May, “tulingan” was caught in abundance in the barrio. These were caught in such great quantities that the people were forced to take them by way of Wa-Wa pass into the Calumpang River, to the Talipapa or Market Place, where there were many customers. During the early days, the market place was located near the Calumpang River.

The following Cabezas owned the so-called “pukotan” which were used for catching fish: Messrs. Casimiro Lira, Sixto Mercado and Limbanio Montalbo.

[p. 5]

1900 – 1941

A. 1900 – There was an epidemic of cholera and dysentery.

1901 – The civil form of government was organized.
1915 – Improvement of the road which is known now as the Bonifacio Drive.
1935 – Construction of the pier, rest house and a comfort house.

B. Educational

In 1915, the barrio had a two-room building which was made of nipa and bamboo. This was burned accidentally. With the help of the people and with the aid of the government, a four-room building was built for the primary pupils.

Although there was a public school teaching English, there was also a private teacher, Mr. Andres Serrano, who taught under-aged pupils to read and write Tagalog and how to say their prayers. Even during the summer vacation, school children went to him to study Tagalog and to learn how to pray.

C. Religion

The Filipino Independent Church or Aglipayan Church gained followers in the northern and southern part of the barrio. The central part remained devoted to the Roman Catholic Church.

D. Politics

The barrio lieutenant or the pangulo was appointed by the mayor upon the recommendation of the municipal councilor assigned for the barrio. He exercised not only executive but also judicial powers as well.

E. Economics

As the Barrio of Sta. Clara is situated along the seacoast, fishing was the most common means of livelihood. Some were engaged in salt-making during the dry season while some were merchants. Stevedoring was common among young men. Most of the women were engaged in selling fish. Those who were not were occupied with embroidery, sew-

[p. 6]

ing, or running small retail stores to earn their living.

F. Social

People had their special gatherings like weddings, baptismal and birthday parties.


A. Events –

1. Before the outbreak of World War II, the Philippines reinforced the defensive position of the barrio against the anticipated coastal attacks. The coastal area was protected by a pair of barbed wires laid out ten meters apart along the shore. Trenches and dugouts were built for general safety and protection. The school building was utilized as army barracks; and together with its premises, the entire school site took the shape of a military establishment.

2. On December 15, 1941, twenty-seven Japanese planes ruthlessly attempted to destroy the pier but their bombs missed the target. The pier stood undamaged after the air attack.

3. On December 24, 1941, the barrio was set on fire. One person was reported to have been killed and all houses were burned except those of Lira and Cunag. The army and the civilian population evacuated after the pier was destroyed for military purposes.

4. The Japanese Forces that took the barrio in January, 1942, installed anti-aircraft guns at the school site and in the area occupied by the Liras’ house. The pier was temporarily rebuilt to facilitate the loading and unloading of Japanese supplies transported by boat.

5. In April, 1942, the vessel named “Cebu,” filled with Japanese soldiers, was bombed.

6. Before the coming of the American Liberation Forces in September 1944, the barrio was burned by the Japanese Forces. All Japanese P. T. boats were destroyed by American bombers.

7. When the American Liberation Forces came, they occupied some parts of the barrio, like the school com-

[p. 7]

mand. Heavy artillery guns were placed in the different points of the barrio. A Red Cross camp was established at the entrance of the barrio to aid both American soldiers and civilians. Soon, all the people came back and began making temporary shelters with all available surplus materials that the American soldiers gave away to the homeless population. With this assistance, the barrio was gradually reconstructed. The pier was rebuilt, this time to serve the American forces.

At present, many new and big houses have been erected while the government is beginning to undertake the reconstruction of the harbor.

B. Education –

In 1945, the barrio had only a four-room school building made of light materials – nipa and bamboo – and without flooring. With the increased enrolment in 1946, the Parents Teachers’ Association under the auspices of Dr. Olegario Cantos, Mr. Primo Arago, Mr. Eustaquio Montalbo, Mr. Pedro Alialy, Mr. Andres Maderazo, Mr. Alejandro Catibog and Mr. Pablo Coz, were able to establish a temporary school building. Spending about ₱12,000 for the purpose [of] a seven-room building of wood and sawali with galvanized iron sheets as roofing was realized. Unfortunately, destructive typhoon Jean tore the roof down last December 26, 1946. This was replaced with relief fund secured by the then Mayor Roman L. Perez.

At present, the barrio has a school building with seven rooms in the main building, 2 annex rooms, an industrial shop and H.E. buildings, aside from the four borrowed classrooms in the NACOCO warehouse. It became a complete elementary school in 1947.

In 1950, the Principal, with the help of all the teachers, introduced the community-centered school. The community was divided into seven “puroks” with their leaders and officers. Among the improvements made were the construction of two reading centers and two recreational centers sponsored by “Purok D, E, G, and H,” respectively. The most notable achievement is the cleanliness of the community. With the introduction of the community-centered school, the people’s minds were weakened toward the improvement of the health conditions in the barrio.

[p. 8]

C. Religion –

Although there are several religions existing in the barrio, a large majority of the people are Roman Catholics. Barrio fiestas and masses in honor of the Patron Saint are held annually (every January 15th) in the chapel built for the purpose. May-Flower celebrations are also observed in the barrio yearly in May. Formerly, the barrio chapel was made of bamboo and nipa. After its destruction during the war, a semi-permanent chapel made of wood and galvanized iron was erected under the initiative of Mrs. Francisca Dilay and Miss Gregoria Macaraig before the fiesta of January 15, 1949. The amount of ₱500 appropriated for the purpose was taken from the Rehabilitation Fund.

D. Economics –

Since the barrio is situated along the seacoast, fishing is the most common means of livelihood. There are some who engage in salt-making. Stevedoring is common among young and adult males. The latter occupation has been found profitable in view of the thriving trade that makes merchant vessels from Mindoro and the Visayas and from neighboring seacoast barrios call at the barrio harbor. The flourishing commercial activity accounts for the increase of population.

Businessmen own most of the “pukotan,” fishing ponds and vessels in the barrio.

Housewives have their part in earning a living by selling fish, running tiendas, engaging in embroidery work, in sewing and in the making of nipa thatches.

Organizations also flourished, the most active of which are the “Samahan ng Cochero,” “Stream Cargadores” and “Association of Jeep Owners and Drivers.”

E. Politics –

During elections, the inhabitants feel free to vote as they may choose, although it is not rare that the prosperous “pukot” owners are able to prevail upon a few to vote as they are told.


Notes and references:
Transcribed from “History and Cultural Life of the Barrio, Santa Clara,” 1953, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
Next Post Previous Post