Santa Rita Aplaya, Batangas (|Town), Batangas: Historical Data
The present official name of the Barrio is Sta. Rita Aplaya, which was derived from that name of one of the Saints called Sta. Rita. Aplaya has been added to the name to distinguish it from Sta. Rita proper, from where it was separated and to give more identification to the place, being near the sea.
Before 1872, there was no such barrio as Sta. Rita Aplaya because it was just a part of the main barrio of Sta. Rita. In 1872, the Spanish officials divided this barrio into two parts namely Sta. Rita and Sta. Rita Aplaya. With the separation of this barrio, several tenientes were appointed by the officials of the town. The first appointed teniente was Mariano Hernandez. He was succeeded chronologically by the following tenientes: Inocencio Macatangay, Clemente Velasquez, Domingo Perez, Ventura Gurog, Bartolome Macatangay, Agaton de los Reyes, Inocencio Aguilera, Luis Lumanglang, and Simon Mendoza. The present teniente is Telesforo Aguilera. Some of these tenientes were able to hold their positions for ten years or more.
During the Spanish regime, there was little progress in agriculture in this barrio. They planted new fruit trees and introduced the irrigation system. Thus, the people produced more products than before.
When the revolution broke out, some of the people were suspected of being anti-Spaniards, and they were punished. The lightest punishment was the so-called “Isang Kabang Palo.” No uprising happened in this barrio during the Philippine Revolution.
During the American war, no historical events and hostilities transpired in this barrio and up to the beginning of the World War II it has remained peaceful and unmolested.
At the outbreak of World War II, most of the barrio folks evacuated to other places, notably in Mindoro which they believed to be a safe place to live. The very indigent ones stayed because they did not have food to carry to their hiding places. They continued to cultivate their lands and catch fish. [The] Liberation
of Batangas town was on March 12, 1945 and thereby designated the place as an army base. So on May 26, 1945, the houses of Sta. Rita Aplaya were moved westward to an adjacent barrio, Danglayan, which belongs to Bauan. Army leases on the land used were made to 1.17 of a centavo per square meter. Sta. Rita Aplaya was then converted into an army port command installation of the whole army base. Piers, docks, and port securities were made during the United States Army occupation up to November 1947 when the army base operations were demobilized. Remaining army properties were transacted to the National Development Academy and later to the Bureau of Prison up to August 1952. In the latter part of 1952, occupants and residents of Sta. Rita Aplaya began to move back to their old home sites because of the purchase of the barrio of Danglayan by the Caltex Refinery.
The traditions and customs inherent of the early Filipinos were also observed in this barrio. During the Spanish regime, the people were baptized and marriages were solemnized by the priest.
Fiestas are also held in this barrio at least every year. The teniente acts as the responsible person for the preparation of the fiesta. Programs are held and different games are played to entertain the barrio folks. The most popular game is boat racing, the community being along the seashore. All houses are prepared to receive visitors any time during the fiesta.
People in this barrio like other people from other barrios believe in superstitions. They believe in witches, who practice black magic; the aswang, which assumes the form of a dog, cat or chicken and eats human flesh; the mangkukulam which murders people with the aid of a toy pin and statue; the manggagahoy which injures people by his devilish power; and the tigbalang which deceives his victims. The other superstitious beliefs are: when a hen cackles at midnight, it means someone is to elope. When a spoon drops while eating, a female visitor is to arrive, and if a fork, a male visitor is to arrive. When a comet appears in the sky, war or famine is approaching. When a married woman eats twin bananas, she will give twin birth. When a man happens to kill a snake with a lizard in its mouth, he must cut the neck of the two reptiles and dry them. When he goes out fishing, he must take with him the dried heads and believed that he has to catch plenty.
The early inhabitants of this barrio had selections of songs and dances. Their popular songs were the kundimans and pandanggo. The picturesque dances of the people are the subli, balitaw, and the moro-moro dance. “Juan Tamad,” “Maria Makiling,” and “Maria Alimango” are their popular folk tales.
With the influence of the Americans during the past World War, the people of this barrio have progressed in every way.
Transcribed from “History and Cultural Life of the Barrio Sta. Rita Aplaya,” 1953, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.