Masalisi, Lemery, Batangas: Historical Data - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Masalisi, Lemery, Batangas: Historical Data - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Masalisi, Lemery, 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 Masalisi 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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Masalisi School


Present Official Name of the Barrio

Many years ago, Masalisi, one of the barrios of Lemery, Batangas, was but a vast forest. Countless thrived well in this place. One day, according to the legend handed down, there was once an old man and woman who happened to go to this place in search of another barrio. Because of the difficulties that they encountered in coming, they repented why they took such direction.

For such repentance, which means in Tagalog “nagsisi,” they called this place barrio Masalisi.

Popular Name of the Barrio, Present and Past, Derivation and Meaning of these Names

Masalisi, Lemery, is one of the barrios of Lemery, province of Batangas. Arumahan Bata is a place under the territorial jurisdiction of this barrio.

Date of Establishment

Masalisi, Lemery was established in the year 1892.

Original Families

In the olden days, majority of the vast lands of Masalisi, Lemery was owned by the rich family of Mrs. Maria de Cabahog, who was known to be the first family in this place. As time went on, the settlers came, and through the kindhearted family, they were able to own lands through persistent toil. As time went on, the standard of living became higher and they transferred their residences to the town. They sold parcels of land to the other residents who came to live in this barrio.

List of Tenientes from the Earliest Time to Date

Tenientes are the leaders in the barrio as mayors are in towns. Since the establishment of Masalisi, Lemery, tenientes were appointed and changed. The first teniente was Catalino Cabahog, succeeded by Mariano Caringal. Years passed by and Donato Anciado, one of the oldest men of the barrio, capable of being a leader, succeeded the former teniente. Juan Cabahog soon followed his leadership and, with his death, Jose Mercado took his position. Years rolled by and he resigned as teniente and [the barrio] was headed by Ruperto Mercado. He served the people in this barrio for many years.

Story of Old Barrios or Sitios Within the Jurisdiction that are now Depopulated or Extinct

So far, this barrio is lucky enough that nothing of its part was depopulated. All places are occupied by the inhabitants.

[p. 2]

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

When this barrio, Masalisi, Lemery, was newly established, people lived properly and decently. There were old buildings as well as small huts in which the inhabitants lived. It must be remembered that it has big sugar mills which are situated in the center of the barrio. There was also a chapel where they celebrated the May Flower Festival.

Important Facts, Incidents or Events that Took Place during the Spanish Occupation

During the earliest times, when our country was still under the Spanish sovereignty, this barrio was among those who suffered great hardships. According to the old man from whom I got this information, the people during that time suffered terrifying hardship more than what we experienced during the Spanish regime. When the Spaniards came to this place, they burned and ruined all the houses. So, people from this place hid themselves far away from the place. The Spaniards fought and killed many Filipino soldiers and American soldiers, women and men.

During the American Occupation to World War II

The Americans arrived in this barrio when many Spaniards still reigned over this place. There was still heavy fighting between the Filipinos and the Spaniards. At first, the Spaniards fought with the Americans but, later on, they sided with them. The Filipino soldiers and the inhabitants desired to be free from any foreign sovereignty, so they fought with the Americans although they had no weapons. The American soldiers won and built their permanent house and lived peacefully and happily. They earned their bread and butter through their efforts and had proper ways of dressing and enjoyed religious toleration. The people were educated and taught the English language not only in public schools but also in [a] private house under a tutor paid by them in the form of goods or commodities such as palay, rice, corn and some others.

During and after World War II

The people, since then, lived peacefully in the way they should – happy and contented with what they had until the outbreak of World War II, when the Japanese arrived in this place. The people at first lived happily during the Spanish regime. But as time went on, the Spanish soldiers made many abuses among the people. In this place, many people from other places came to hide from the Japanese. Many people, especially those who were suspected guerrillas, suffered tortures from the Japanese. They were taken to the headquarters because they were suspected to be guerrillas. The Japanese killed many people they saw, even young children, especially in the latter part of the year 1944. On February, 1945, the people lived peacefully after the American liberators came.

The people very happy upon the arrival of the Americans. The people returned to their homes, worked in the fields, built permanent houses.

[p. 3]


Traditions, Customs and Practices in Domestic and Social Life

Birth – Birth means a new life of a human being. A mother in the olden days like at present before giving birth took a bath, ate fresh eggs, and had a bite of the young branch of [a] plant called “tuba.” In those days, they were nursed only by a midwife called “hilot” or salag for doctors were very rare during that time. After the mother had given birth to the child and it was alive, then a hen was dressed in exchange with the child. The child was then given a bath and dressed by the midwife.

Baptism –

In the olden days, horse was the only means of transportation so that when a child was to be baptized, they had to carry it on horseback to the town. A child was baptized in the afternoon in the same way as we do at present.

Courtship –

Courtship, too, was crude at that time. A man and a woman could be married without seeing or courting each other.

When a young man desired to court a young woman, he first helped the family. Upon see or passing the house of the young woman, he took off his hat to show his respect. Upon reaching the house, he kissed the hands of all the old persons with [a] bent knee. Then, the young man should be far from the woman when talking with her and in the presence of the mother. When the parents of the woman liked the man, they accepted his courtship. Then followed the meeting of the parents of both parties.

Marriage –

Marriage comes after courtship, but before the marriage ceremony was said, the dowry was given first to the young woman or to her parents. Part of it went to the young woman’s parents and part to the newly-married pair. It could be in the form of jewels, money, land, or domestic animals like cows and carabaos. Then, they were married by the priest or justice of the peace. Since horses were the only means of travel in this barrio that time, marriage ceremonies were done in the afternoon and always on Sunday. Upon the arrival of the couple at the bride’s house, there were served some sweets at the foot of the stairs before entering the house. Even before the plan for marriage was made, the young man with his parents worked in the young woman’s house and gave preliminary servings and wedding parties for three consecutive Fridays before the definite wedding day. At the same time, somebody threw rice and two lighted candles with money between them are squeezed tightly. This has been the practice with the belief that the couple will live happily together.

Death –

Death comes to every individual whether one likes it or not. It may be a natural or unnatural death.

In this barrio, many lives were lost during the past because of some uprisings the people had against the Spaniards and the Americans. But these events were not so dan-

[p. 4]

gerous as when the people suffered from a great disease, the cholera which swept out a great number of people. Many died every minute. Even those people who helped in burying the victims died abruptly because of this communicable disease which at that time was very incurable. The death was so great that only few of the people luckily survived.

Burial –

The burial custom in the past was the same as at present but with a little difference, for the higher standard of living of the people of today than those of the past.

If one of the members of the family died, it was but natural for all the close relatives to cry and lament. By the extraordinary noise and cries that they made, the other persons in the neighborhood learn of the death. Then, the neighbors and other friends go to the house of the bereaved family to express their condolences. Some gave money to the bereaved family. When night came, they watched over the corpse. Many friends, relatives and neighbors spent the night in the bereaved family’s house. While they watched, they played different games to keep them all awake. Those watchers were served some bread and coffee or other drinks so that they would not feel tired the whole night. Those people who could hardly afford to buy a coffin just wrapped the corpse in a mat then placed it in bamboo splits called “bislad.” But now, this practice is no longer used by the people.

As the dead was carried down the stairs, an old woman sat by the stairway and threw a dipper of water down the stairs. Still some cut pieces of the flow [?], with the belief that in so doing, the ill-luck that had befallen the family would be carried away or removed. Other persons left the house closed and prohibited anyone to peep out of the window. The coffin was carried by a group of people who took turns in carrying it, from the house to the church where it was blessed by a priest or the people just prayed.

Then, it was carried to the cemetery and placed in a tomb prepared for the purpose.

Every night, the members of the family with some neighbors who liked to join them in their prayers prayed for the salvation of the soul of the person who died. This was done up to the ninth day. On the eighth day, meals were prepared for those people who came to pray for the spirit of the dead. On the eighth night, there was also done some servings to the persons who prayed for the soul of the dead because that was the last night when they would pray. From the time one died, the members of the bereaved family mourned for a year or some length of time they wished to. On the first anniversary of the dead one, the family prepared again for those who would pray.

Festivals –

People during the olden days had festivals, too, or honored their saints. There was chapel in the center of this barrio of Masalisi. Every May, they celebrated the May Flower Festival for nine days. The ninth day was their fiesta. A mass was held in this chapel. Every house prepared food for the coming of the visitors. Games were played and also horse races were performed. This festival is not practiced now.

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Punishment –

Many acts were punishable. Killing or attacking a man was considered a serious offense. Adultery, robbery and violation of the laws were crimes. There were many ways of punishing. Some were cruel. The common ways of punishment given by the Spaniards were fines, flogging, whipping, depending upon the nature of the crime committed. When you killed somebody, you were not put to death.

Myths, Legends, Beliefs, Interpretations, Superstitions
The Myth of Small Mountain

A volcano is a small mountain that throws lava, ashes and smoke. After the eruption of the Taal Volcano in 1911, there came out a small mountain in the eastern part of Masalisi, Lemery. The people were much afraid because this small mountain sent out smoke and mud. The volcanic eruption destroyed many plants and crops. The people thought that this would erupt, but as days went on, they saw a spring flowing. People from this place became very happy because of the water.

Legend of Masalisi

Masalisi is one of the barrios under the jurisdiction of the town of Lemery. According to the legend handed down by the eldest man in this place, there was a couple of wild carabaos which when hungry ran to any place to search for food. These wild carabaos happened to come to this place. The old man and woman saw the road which the wild carabaos used in going to search for food, so the two followed the way. Before they reached this place, they encountered too many difficulties, so they repented why they took such [a] way. For such repentance, which means in Tagalog “nagsisi,” they called this place Masalisi.

Legend of Spring

In [the] olden times, Masalisi had many springs. In this place, there lived a couple who was very rich. The couple owned many lands. One day, there was an old man who was very thirsty and said he would die if he could not drink. So, the old man asked the couple if he could drink a little water. They answered the old man that there was no water and pointed with his foot that water which was not safe for drinking. When the old man heard the response of the couple, he did not speak. The next day, when the couple got water, the spring was dry. Since that time, the place was devoid of water.

Popular Songs

a. Olen in,
Matulog ka na aro,
Ang iyong ina ay malayo
Nasa kabila ng pinto
Nananahi ng baro.
b. Mama, mama, namamangka
Pasaky’in yaring bata
Pag dating sa Maynila
Ipagpalit sa manika.

d. Ali, aling namamayong
Pasukubin yaring sanggol
Pagdating sa Malabon
Ipagpalit sa bagoong.

[p. 6]

e. Ang panyo ko, ang panyo mo
Pinagtali ang dalawang dulo,
Ang isa ay alibay ko,
Ang isa ay alibay mo.

Puzzles and Riddles

Even before, the people in this barrio had riddles which they used to play when watching over the dead to keep them awake the whole night. When the moon shone brightly at night, they visited their neighbors and played riddles.

a. He stood so bravely,
And spoke out boldly
I am a man, really. (rooster)
b. I stirred the porridge
Out came the roasted. (boat)
c. What is it which at day you can’t perceive
But at night you can observe? (Moon)
d. What is it that cries without eyes
And stands without feet? (Candles)
e. It was bought without my knowing
And used by me without understanding. (coffin)
f. The captain’s cane
Which you can’t retain. (snake)
g. I carry it, it carries me. (slippers or shoes)

Proverbs and Sayings

1. He who believes in tales has no mind of his own.
2. A sleeping shrimp is carried by the current.
3. A friend in need is a friend indeed.
4. A borrowed thing is little, too small or too big.
5. A honest man is the noblest work of God.
6. After the storm, comes the calm.
7. Silence give consent.
8. Never put off till tomorrow what you can do for today.
9. In union, there is strength.
10. Patience is the stepping stone to success.

Methods of Measuring Time, Special Calendars

The people during the past years had some methods of measuring time although they were not as accurate as what we have at present. Many of them depended upon the position of the sun, and the cackling of the rooster and some birds like the hornbill. The rooster crowed when it was either ten or twelve o’clock at night as well as at dawn. The hurried crowing showed that it was already morning and the people should be up already. The hornbill, which was often called the clock of the mountain, cackled every twelve o’clock noon or at midnight. They used the same calendars as what we use today.

Submitted by:

Barrio Committee Chairman

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