Ayao-Iyao, Lemery, Batangas: Historical Data - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Ayao-Iyao, Lemery, Batangas: Historical Data - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Ayao-Iyao, Lemery, Batangas: Historical Data

Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of Ayao-Iyao in the Municipality of Lemery, 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 Data









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Ayao-Iyao Elementary school



Present Official Name of the Barrio

In the heart of the town of Lemery lies the peaceful barrio of Ayao-Iyao, endowed with vast rice and corn fields. The fields are planted to diversified crops which keep men busy all day throughout the year.

Former Name or Names and their Meaning or Derivation

No person could remember any name given to this barrio before. People are wondering and keep asking why this place is so-called. The name Ayao-Iyao was derived from the word “ayaw,” meaning “I do not like.” It began with a beautiful lady forced by her parents to marry the son of their beloved friend. Being already engaged to another man, she ran away shouting, “Aayaw ko, aayaw ko,” which means “I do not like, I do not like.” Every time somebody asked her any question, she always gave the same answer – “Aayaw, aayaw.”

Date of Establishment

Ayao-Iyao, Lemery was established in the year 1893.

Original Families

Many, many years ago, most of the vast lands of Ayao-Iyao were owned by the wealthy family of Mr. Octavio Garcia, who was known to be the first family in this place. The family was able to own lands through persistent toil. Because he could not work all of the fields, he began to sell partial lands to other residents who immigrated to the barrio.

List of Tenientes from the Earliest Time to Date

Mayor is to a town as a teniente is to a barrio. Tenientes were appointed and changed from time to time by the Governadorcillos during the Spanish time. The first teniente was Octavio Garcia, succeeded by Agustin Umali. Years passed and Mariano Mercado, one of the oldest men of the barrio and capable of being a leader, came next. Juan de Castro soon followed his leadership and with his death, Urbano de Castro took possession of the position. Urbano de Castro is still living. Years rolled by and the peace-loving inhabitants of this place was headed by Miguel Orteza who was replaced by Martin Magpantay. Andres Sanchez was appointed next and a couple of years later was relieved by Tomas Sanchez. After serving his people, another able and capable leader headed the barrio. Up to this date, Mauro Magsino leads his people to righteous and good citizenry. Under his able leadership, Ayao-Iyao is now what it is – peaceful, contented, happy, and fast improving.

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Data on Historical Sites, Structures, Buildings, Old Ruins, Etc.

Parents who wished their children to be useful members of society and good citizens of our country sent their children to the school of Malinis, an adjacent barrio. The building was built by the government. Because of the enthusiasm of the people here, they were able to persuade and convince the higher authorities concerned to transfer the said school to Ayao-Iyao where it now stands. The lot was donated by Urbano de Castro, the teniente del Barrio at that time. The first teacher was Mr. Flaviano Cornejo, who through his tact and good public relationship, was able to construct a two-room school house. With the increase in enrolment, more teachers were needed. Ayao-Iyao, today, has a complete elementary school with six teachers. With the help of the energetic, active, and tactful officers of the P.T.A., a five-room temporary building was erected last July, 1951.

Important Facts, Incidents or Events that Took Place

During the Spanish Occupation

An epidemic passed this place but was immediately surpassed by the Spanish Health Officials.

During the American Occupation to World War II

People lived peacefully in the way they should – happy and contented with what they had. The Americans were not bothered by these people. The barrio folks were happy upon the arrival of the Americans for the grievances and sufferings of their brother Filipinos would at least be changed to contentment and blissful happiness.

During and After World War II

The news of the Japanese infamy on December 8, 1941 shocked this barrio. They received the news that the Japanese captured important naval bases. There were atrocities laid at their doors. Although afraid that they might be the next to be attacked, they never ceased praying and calling the Almighty God to save them from the Japanese’s inhuman acts. The townspeople selected this place as their evacuation center. After a few months, they returned to town. The Japanese arrived and commanded these people to plant cotton whether they liked it or not or else - - -. This compulsory planting of cotton was the only incident that troubled the people of this barrio during the Japanese occupation.

When the Americans were in Nasugbu, the people rejoiced. Only a few people evacuated to farther barrios. The rest stayed at home but were always ready in case anything would happen. Our liberators arrived in jeeps, trucks, ships, and airplanes and most of the people went to town to greet them. They bartered their fruits, chickens, and eggs for the GIs’ canned food, cigarettes, candies, clothing, and other things they had not seen for five solid years. The people returned to work and were never again disturbed.

Destruction of Lives, Properties and Institutions During Wars, Especially in 1896-1900 and 1941-1945

As stated in the preceding data, there were no destructions of any kind. Some local incidents occurred but they were not an aftermath of any rebellion either against

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the Americans or Spaniards.

Measures and Accomplishments Toward Rehabilitation and Reconstruction following World War II

There were many rural areas not given attention by those concerned and Ayao-Iyao was one of them. One has to pass Ayao-Iyao in going to Agoncillo, a newly created municipality. Luckily, the road was repaired when Agoncillo was made a town. Formerly, one had to hike in going to school. Under the leadership of Mr. Mauro Magsino, the “Teniente del Barrio,” the way to the school was repaired by the people without any compensation.


Traditions, Customs and Practices in Domestic and Social Life

Ayao-Iyao is a sound, safe place in one of the level nooks of the town of Lemery, Batangas, endowed with evergreen rice, corn, and onion fields with a river flowing continuously, thus helping make the lives of the inhabitants easier. The people in this barrio are industrious and live peacefully. In spite of the rapid change of civilization, their customs and traditions do not perish. They have all in their hearts cooperation, especially for the upliftment of their barrio. Their customs and traditions can be pictured out in the different stages of life from birth to death.

Birth –

The first stage of life is when a child is born. It is the custom of this barrio to go to the house of a mother who gives birth and help or share with the happiness or sorrows that the family encounters.

The giving of a name to the newly-born child is done next. Others still get the name from the calendar and others, due to the rapid growth of civilization, think of any name that suits their fancy.

The parents of the child select the godmother or godfather. In cast of the eldest child, the grandparents select the sponsors. If one is selected, they will give hens, eggs, and soft drinks to the prospective godfather or godmother. In this way, the man or woman will know that he or she is chosen godfather or godmother.

Baptismal –

The day for the child to be baptized comes. It’s customary in this place to have a baptismal party. Those who have the means kill pigs, goats and chickens and invite many visitors. In this occasion, the cooperation of the people is again observed. It's their custom to serve the godfather or godmother first together with the visitors invited by the sponsors.

Courtship –

It is but human for a man to seek for a life’s partner who can share the joys and sorrows of life. In this, courtship begins. Here, the man begins to court the woman he loves. When he wins the love of the woman, this is the

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time when he tells his parents. When his parents favor the woman, they bring fish to his fiancée’s parents to show their approval. This act is what we call “pagpapakilala.” But the abovementioned situation is not always true in all cases. There is what they call “matandaan,” where both parents (without the knowledge of both young man and woman) agree that their son and daughter should marry each other. After the “pagpapakilala” and the man succeeds, they begin to help the woman’s family. The man asks his relatives and friends to help in working in the field or repairing the house of the woman. Then follows the meeting of the two families to plan out the marriage. In this meeting, they discuss the preparation for the wedding and the dowry the man’s parents will give. There are different kinds of dowry given to the woman’s parents or the newly-married couple. Some of these are in the form of land, jewelries, cattle, or even money.

Marriage –

The day of marriage comes. The preparation is in accordance with the plan made by both [sets of] parents. Sometimes, the preparation is done in the bridegroom’s house. During the ceremony, many people are invited.

After the wedding party is over, the bride goes to the bridegroom’s house with the parents, relatives and friends of the groom, while the groom is left in the bride’s house to stay there until the next day. This ends the hardships of the groom and his parents in serving the bride’s parents, but the beginning of a new life for the new couple.

Death –

Death is but natural upon any individual. It comes whether one likes it or not. It may be natural or an unnatural death.

If anyone of the members of the family dies, we see sisters, brothers, parents, guardians and friends cry, sob, and lament. Here, we see the neighbors and other friends and relatives go to the house of the bereaved family to express their condolences. Some even help the members in household work which are neglected because of their grief. When night comes, many friends, relatives, and neighbors spend the sleepless night in the bereaved family’s house to watch over the corpse. They play different games to keep them all awake during the night. They were also served coffee and bread so that they will not get tired the whole night. The interment is done in the following day. The corpse is placed in a coffin which is bought or made. The coffin is being carried by a group of people who take turns in carrying it from the house to the church where it is blessed by the priest or just being prayed for by the people. Then, it is carried to the cemetery and placed in a tomb prepared for the purpose.

For nine consecutive nights, the family prays for the soul of the departed one. Neighbors, relatives and friends come to join the bereaved family in their prayers. On the fourth and last day of the prayer, the family thanks them by preparing food and serving them.

It is their custom that from the time one dies,

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the members of the family, same with the close relatives, mourn for one year or any length of time they wish to. On the first anniversary of the death, people come again to pray for the departed. Before the day comes, the family reminds the immediate members of their relatives of the date. The members of the family can wear colored clothes which they have kept unworn for one solid year.

Myths, Legends, Beliefs, Interpretations & Superstitions

In the beginning, men on earth had many superstitions, legends, and beliefs. Even here in our country, men have also different customs, beliefs, and histories. Their customs since the days of foreign domination have been kept and practiced until now by some, especially in remote regions. These customs, although degrading, will never decline, it will need years to renew our inborn traits. Beliefs of ancient men are disapproved by science. But in this gradual change, there exists more wonderful beliefs in men. In the history of men, much has been published. For every year, there will be more written records of men and nations in our era.

Many many years ago, Ayao-Iyao was a part of the town which had no name. There lived only two families and their homes were far apart, the reason why they were seldom in company. Their children did not know each other. Each of these families had a young man and a young lady. One day, the sons father visited the lady's home. It so happened that the lady was in the river, so her parents greeted the visitor. They had a nice conversation until they formed an understanding that their homes be placed near each other. Their parents agreed, too, that their son and daughter be married. The lady protested and because of her anger, she lost control and shouted, "I do not like," which means "Aayaw ako," hence, Ayao-Iyao.

Superstitious Beliefs

1. It is bad for the bride-to-be or the fiancée to fit the wedding gown before the wedding day for it means that the marriage will not be realized for she will meet an accident before the wedding day.

2. It is bad to look back when attending any burial ceremony for it means that another person from the same family will die.

3. It is bad to leave when somebody is still eating. It means that the one who left will meet an accident. To avoid this, turn the plate clockwise before leaving.

4. When a relative of yours dies and the candle is lighted, shake it outside the window so that all relatives of the deceased will smell the candle and will learn of the death news.

5. If a large coffin is used, another member of the family will die soon.

6. The belief that if a rooster gets loose and faces the stairs, it will win in a cockfight when taken to the cockpit.

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7. If a child plays with a comb and puts it in his mouth, his teeth will easily decay and will have toothache for life.

8. Whatever is done on the first day of the year is likely to prevail throughout the year.

9. The fear of eating twin bananas for fear of bearing twin children.

10. Allowing children to sleep in the kitchen near the stove will marry old maids or bachelors.

Popular Songs, Games and Amusements

Popular Songs

These songs were popular during the olden days. They were sung from generation to generation in this barrio.

Coconut Plant

I’ll teach what is to be planted
The coconut tree cannot be easily destroyed
The bosom is for fuel, the leaves for the wall
And the fruit of this is the best for food
And the husk can be pressed
And the cleaning clothes during Palm Sunday
The oil is for the lamps, for the light of Virgin Mary
The young leaves of this are so useful
When Palm Sunday at the church
At nearing the altar it will be sanctified
And when leaving the church, the holy water becomes its name.

Nena at Pablo

Here comes the boat from Sumong
With Nena for vacation
With Garambola shirts and her tapis is garambol
Her handkerchief is bito-bito
And her clothe is leron-leron.

Here comes Pablo the Spaniard
Who brought a mandolin as big as an ore
Upon reaching the home and played with a queer tune
And then began to play with a pandango dance.

Puzzles and Riddles

1. My pig in the farm grows fat without food.
2. Wood that becomes water, water that becomes clay, clay that becomes stone, stone that becomes one peso.
3. Krus, krus when you see, but krus is not its name.
4. There, there but you cannot see.

Proverbs and Sayings

1. Those who do not mind from where they came cannot reach their destination.
2. Knowledge is wealth.
3. A man of words lacks action.
4. If there is a will, there is a way, if you store something, you can expect something in return.

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5. Good deeds reap success.
6. For all good things, there is always criticism.
7. A man who believes in tales has no mind of his own.
8. What price is grass, if the animal to be fed is already dead?
9. Anything far is near, if one strives to reach it.

Methods of Measuring Time

1. When the cock crows early in the morning, it is 4 o’clock in the morning.
2. When the cricket makes noise during sundown, it is 6 o’clock in the evening.
3. When the sun shines, they say it is 6 o’clock in the morning.
4. When the sun is overhead, it is 12 o’clock noon.
5. When the sun sets, they say it is 6:00 in the evening.

Other Folktales

This legend or folktale has been told by many people and they considered it a true story. The story has been told from group to group of people enjoying the brightness of the moonlight. The story is very popular among the children of the barrio.

Why the Tamarind is Sour

Many years have elapsed, in one lonely and segregated village there lived a family. This family was the most prosperous and contented on during that time because a beautiful woman belonged to the clan who was the wonder of many people. The reputation of this family was not only confined to the village but also to surrounding towns. The daughter of the couple was well-known because of her beauty. Another thing which made this family very popular was the tamarind tree, which was considered to be the source of sugar during those days. This tree became their source of wealth since many people from different countries visited the place and paid great sums just to buy this kind of fruit which was reputed to be the sweetest.

No wonder, the pretty lady had many suitors. Among a number of her lovers, the girl had a favorable and strong admiration towards Lino. She kept this thing within herself only. Lino was her playmate during her childhood days. On the other hand, her parents did not like her to marry anybody from the village. They wished her to marry someone outside the village because of the belief that suitors from other places belonged to wealthy families.

One day, Lino met the girl secretly under the tamarind tree, expressed his sincerity and promised her everything. He pleaded that his love be reciprocated.

“Can you not feel the sincerity of my love for you?” he asked as they were alone. “Trust me, my dear, and I will be your slave till death.”

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The girl answered jokingly, but somewhat true. She said that she would love him when the tamarind fruit became sour and if [the] time came, she would accept his pleadings.

“You are too cruel,” Lino answered back with a flush of redness in his face.

“But this is the truth,” the girl returned, smilingly. The conversation was finally cut off by the unexpected arrival of her parents who had been watching them.

When night came, the couple summoned their daughter to select the man she wished to marry. But the girl refused. She insisted that she was young yet and if she was to choose, she would prefer a man from the village. To this, her father objected bitterly and insisted that he wanted a man outside the village to be her bridegroom.

Without her knowledge, her father summoned all her suitors to come. She was surprised to see them in her house the following morning. In this formal gathering, her father emphatically made known to all present that he liked Bakling to be his son-in-law, he being the richest lover who came from a neighboring village. Thereupon, he bid the others to leave and announced the marriage to be held immediately.

Upon learning [of] her marriage as planned by her father, she broke into tears for she never loved Bakling. Although he was rich, she had no feelings towards him. She loved Lino still than anybody else. But she could not refuse her father. What she did then was to ask mercy from God to save her from being married to Bakling.

After many days, the wedding to Bakling came. It was the biggest nuptial affair to be seen in the village. Every villager was busy preparing for this grand celebration. When they were about to be solemnized, an old woman appeared at the chapel and begged for alms. The old woman was in shabby clothes with [a] cane to support her frustrated body. Very hungry indeed, she asked for food, but she was driven [out] like an animal. She begged again and when she was refused to be given mercy, she asked for a tamarind fruit to satisfy her hunger. But the proud father became mad that he laid hands on the old woman till she stumbled on the hard pavement. The old woman slowly stood up and bade him and said that from that moment, the fruit of this tamarind tree would become sour. Upon hearing this, he let his dog free and commanded it to chase the old woman. While the dog was eating the flesh of the old woman, lightning flashed, with [a] violent downpour of rain and thunderstorm and total darkness. There was panic around. [The] Thunder grew stronger and stronger. At this moment, the tamarind tree caught fire and immediately disappeared. Her parents were eaten by the raging fire. The people of the village were scared and finally scampered home. From that time on, the fruit of the tamarind tree became sour. Lino soon arrived, bringing with him a sour tamarind and told his loved one that [the] time had come for him to ask for her hands. She smiled happily as she met him and told him once more to wait till the tamarind fruit became sweet. But Lino knew she was joking. There were speechless moments and only their eyes conveyed their feelings. They were married and lived happily ever after.

Submitted by:

Barrio Committee Chairman

Notes and references:
Transcribed from “History and Cultural Data of the Barrio of Ayao-Iyao” 1953, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
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