Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of Mataas na Bayan 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.
MATAAS NA BAYAN
MUNICIPALITY OF LEMERY
PROVINCE OF BATANGAS
DIVISION OF BATANGAS
DISTRICT OF LEMERY
Mahayahay Elementary School
HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE OF THE BARRIO OF MATAASNABAYAN
PART ONE: HISTORY
Present Official Name of the Barrio
Popular Name of the Barrio, Present and Past
The barrio came to be known as Mataas-na-bayan since the inhabitants of the locality could not recollect any [apparent missing word] and no one ever knows of another name the barrio assumed before the arrival of the Spaniards up to the present. The area occupied by the barrio long age remains unchanged up to the present.
Mataas-na-bayan was derived from the “mataas” and “bayan,” in the literal sense meaning “high town.” Old folks of the barrio averred that the place was high enough and was once chosen the site for a pueblo to be established by the Spaniards. Being far from the sea, there was difficulty of carrying on trade with the natives, and being elevated, there was hardship in securing water. On account of these, the conquerors abandoned the idea of making it a town, claiming the place very high for a town.
Date of Establishment
As to when the barrio came to existence, no one could remember.
The families who came to be known as the original families of the barrio Mataas-na-bayan are the Ricalde, Magsino, Marquinez and Vito families. Majority of the people residing now in the barrio descended from these original families.
List of Tenientes from the Earliest Time to Date
So far, the following tenientes del barrio are the only ones remembered to have presided over the barrio:
1. Severo Magsino
2. Juan Magsino
3. Ruperto Ricalde
4. Isabelo Sagala
5. Jose Vito
6. Enrique Alicpala
Their tenures were indefinite and some held the position as long as the people liked them, according to the old folks.
Story of the Old Barrios or Sitios within the Jurisdiction that are Now Depopulated or Extinct
No datum is available.
Data on Historical Sites, Structures, Buildings, Old Ruins, Etc.
The last eruption of Taal Volcano in 1911 caused changes in the surfaces of barrios within its proximity. Mataas-na-bayan, being near the eruption that took place, was said to have sunk a little caused by the earthquakes that rocked the earth violently. One still sees a portion which is elevated and separated by deep fissures from the settled portion of what is now Mataas-na-bayan.
Important Facts, Incidents or Events that Took Place
1. During the Spanish Occupation –
We are aware of the fact that the Filipinos rose in revolt against the Spanish rule. Being oppressed, there were organized in nearby lowlands bands of up-risers led by Fructuso Vito and a certain Kapitan Terio. Mataas-na-bayan, favored by its elevation, became their hideout. When the Spanish authorities knew it, the place was declared [a] strict military zone and everyone was screened and later ordered to town. Anybody thereafter found within the forbidden zone was shot.
2. During the American Occupation –
The barrio was peaceful.
3. During and after World War II –
Being far from Japanese strongholds, no accounts of encounters were known.
Destruction of Lives, Properties, and Institutions during Wars, Especially in 1896-1900 and 1941-1945
No data available.
PART TWO: FOLKWAYS
Traditions, Customs and Practices in Domestic and Social Life
Birth and Baptism –
When a child is born, the selection of godfather or godmother is kept secret and is only announced to the person concerned. At baptism, the giving of “pakimkim” to the child by the sponsor and the “pahinaw” to the guests are still practiced in the locality. (Pakimkim is the gift to the child in the form of jewelry, money, or dress while “pahinaw” is the tossing of coins by the sponsor of the child to the air for the guests to scramble for them.)
In the early time, it was the parents who courted the parents of the girl to favor their son for marriage. Little of this tradition is followed nowadays. It is left to the man and woman concerned. Sometimes, however, the groom is made to serve in the household of the prospective wife. A dowry is also asked in some cases of marriage.
When a person dies, he is either buried in the government cemetery or in the Catholic cemetery. A child that
is not buried in the cemetery and unbaptized is still believed to cause the existence of “pati-anak” in the vicinity of the grave. (Pati-anak, according to the old folks, is an apparition that assumes the form of a cat and cries like a baby.)
Barrio fiesta is traditionally celebrated in the month of May but the day is not [a] fixed date. [A] Meeting of the barrio folks is called to decide the date of convenience to them.
Minor cases are taken care of by the Teniente del Barrio. Misunderstandings, petty stealing are settled amicably but some offenders are advised to leave the barrio to escape the wrath of the aggrieved parties. At present, all cases are settled in court, except for very minor cases.
Myths, Legends, Beliefs, Interpretations, Superstitions
The barrio folks knew little beliefs which they still keep in mind on happenings they remember. Some of them are:
2. When embers accumulate at the bottom of a frying pan, or when the fire “laughs,” that is a sign of visitors coming.
3. When a new moon is inclined toward the sea, that is a sign of much rain during the year.
4. Adam and Eve were believed by many to have been the first man and woman.
5. As to sickness, many still believe that utterances of some people cause others to be sick.
Songs learned from the movies and on the radio are favorites now. Tunes of old kundimans and native songs are heard once in a while.
Softball is still [the] best liked of the games.
Serenading maidens who are new in the barrio, are the amusements of the gentlemen. The [game of] checkers is best liked by males. Cockfighting is an amusement to many.
Puzzles and Riddles
2. What [part] of the body can you not see even with a mirror?
1. You carry it, it does not carry you everywhere you go? (Hat)
3. An eye that came out of the head.
(A head of the chicken protruding out of the whole in a bulanglang.)
Proverbs and Sayings
2. A barking dog seldom bites.
3. He who believes in tales has no mind of his own.
4. Shallow water makes much noise.
Methods of Measuring Time
2. By the clock.
3. By one’s shadow.
4. By modern calendar.
MELITON B ALARVA
Barrio Committee Chairman