Bago, Ibaan, Batangas: Historical Data - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Bago, Ibaan, Batangas: Historical Data - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Bago, Ibaan, 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 Bago in the Municipality of Ibaan, 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.

[p. 1]


1. Present official name of the barrio – BAGO

2. Popular name of the barrio, present and past – BAGO
According to local historians, the barrio got its name from the bago [sago?] plants which formerly grew luxuriantly in this locality.

3. Date of establishment –

4. Original families – Andal, Perez, Gamboa

5. List of tenientes from the earliest time to date:
Vicente Andal, Placido Perea, Simeon Mercado, Teodoro Gamboa, Manuel Perez, Martin Magtaas

6. According to the eldest man in the barrio, Bago was once a big barrio because a nearby barrio was formerly a part of it. But a certain man named Fermin Arceo requested that this barrio be separated from Bago. He baptized the barrio Quilo.

7. Data on historical sites, structures, buildings, old ruins – none.

8. Important facts, incidents or events that took place during World War II.

In 1943, the barrio lieutenant of Bago was captured by Japanese soldiers with hands tied for one whole day and night.

At the beginning of the year 1945, there was forced labor in this barrio. All able men were forced to dig trenches in Soro-Soro hill without pay.

9. a. Destruction of lives, properties during war 1941-1945

There was [a] compulsory collection of bolos in this barrio. The Japanese military authorities ordered the killing of dogs. The Japanese soldiers got animals such as horses, cows, chickens and pigs by force.

b. Measures and accomplishments toward rehabilitation and reconstruction -- none.

Part Two – Folkways

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

The ancient people in this place believed in life after death. They believe that man is composed of an eternal body and an eternal soul. After death, the soul travels to another world to receive its due reward or punishment. The souls of the people who die in battle and of those who are good and just go to heaven called Kalualhatian. These people take great care in burying their dead. They embalm the corpse, using certain herbs and perfumes, and place it in hardwood coffins, boats, or burial jars, together with his clothes, weapon, tools, foods, drinks and gold. The dead are buried with much weeping and sorrow. Professional mourners are hired to chart the noble deeds of the deceased. The bereaved family and friends mourn by using black clothes.

Before marriage, the lover renders certain personal services to the girl’s family and gives the customary dowry. The length of the lover’s servitude and the amount of dowry are usually fixed in the marriage contract. The dowry is called bigaykaya. The people do not observe the expensive rice ceremony. The groom and the bride simply drink wine from the same cup. As they drink, the guests give a shout and they are considered married. The pre-Spanish Filipinos believed in a supreme God, the Creator of the universe and the Lord of all men and villages. He was called Bathala.

[p. 2]

The trial of ordeal was resorted to when there was a doubt as to who of the accused persons was guilty. In case of theft, when several persons were suspected of the crime and the real culprit could not be determined, the following ordeals were used: first, the suspected persons are each given a spear and compelled to plunge into the river. The one who rises to the surface first is considered guilty; second, a stone is placed in a vessel of boiling water and all the suspected persons are ordered to take it out, he who refuses to do so, or whose hand is scalded the most, is declared guilty; and third, each of the suspected persons is given a lighted candle of the same make and weight, he whose candle dies out first is adjudged guilty.

11. Myths, legends, beliefs, interpretations, superstitions –

They believed in the sorcerer, or witches, who practiced black magic. Among these sorcerers were the aswang, who assumed the form of a dog, cat or other animals and ate human flesh; the mangkukulam who caused people to die or be sick by pricking a toy with his magic pin; and the tigbalang, who took various forms such as dog, horse, or an old man to deceive his victims. The Filipinos believed in the magic powers of certain charms or amulets, notably the anting-anting. They believed that the squeaking of the rat, the howling of a dog, the singing of a lizard, and crashing of an old tree in the silence of the night were bad omens, presaging death or misfortune. Sneezing while starting on a journey or expedition was considered an ill omen.

They believed that when a young girl sang before a stove or a fire, she would marry an old widower. When a hen cackled at midnight, an unmarried woman was giving birth to a bastard baby. When a pregnant woman cut her hair, she would give birth to a hairless baby. When a cat wiped its face with its paws, a visitor was coming to the house. When a girl had white spots on her fingernails, she was not constant in love. When a comet appeared in the sky, war or famine was coming. When a person dreamt that one of his teeth fell, somebody in the family would die. When a married woman ate twin bananas, she would give birth to twin children. When a snake called sawa stayed in the house of a man, he would be rich. When the moon was new and a fisherman went fishing, he would catch plenty of fish.

Signature: Luis de Castro
Notes and references:
Transcribed from “History and and Life of the Barrio Bago” 1953, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
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