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

Payapa, Lemery, Batangas: Historical Data

Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of Matingain 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.

[Cover page.]
Historical Data









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Payapa Elementary School



Present Official Name of the Barrio

One of the barrios of Lemery is called Payapa. This barrio is endowed with beautiful rice and corn fields and hills and mountains. It is on a high place and has a very good climate, that makes it suitable for plants like coffee, oranges, star apples and other fruits. It has fertile soil also. The height of the place makes it impossible for the residents to construct artesian wells, thus the people suffer from scarcity of water.

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

During the Spanish conquest, this barrio was thickly covered with tall cogon grasses. A few years later, some families inhabited the place. They did not know the name of the barrio. Later on, a priest happened to live in this place. According to the old folks here, the priest was Father de la Rosa, a brother of Martin de la Rosa of Taal, Batangas. The priest came here for fear of the Spaniards inhabiting the town. Father de la Rosa built a house made of wood. (“Tabla”) It was so far the highest house built in this place. One day, the former family who lived in that place saw a wooden house and since then, they made that wooden house the sign of their own place whenever they went to town or neighboring barrios. So later on, they decided to name the barrio after the wooden (tabla) house and named the place “Tabla.”

Several years elapsed, and the priest died. And because the owner of the house was already dead, the house was neglected, until it was totally destroyed. But the barrio was still called “Tabla.” Many years passed when the residents of this place saw a payapa plant. It was later called and known to be Payapa.

The sitios included in the territorial jurisdiction of Payapa are:
1.  Arandatis 5.  Pasubliin
2.  Gulod ng Pastor 6.  Pultang Pultero
3.  Coral 7.  Arumahang Bata
4.  Balagwit 8.  Gulod ng kay Bauan
Date of Establishment

According to the old folks, Payapa was established twenty years before the eruption of Taal Volcano. Inasmuch as the volcano erupted in 1911, the barrio was supposed to have been established in 1891.

Original Families

Many, many years ago, most of the vast lands of

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Payapa was owned by a wealthy family, Mr. Pedro Obrador, who was known to be the first family in this place. The family was able to own lands through persistent toil. And because he could not work on all of his fields, he began to sell some lands to other residents who immigrated there.

List of Tenientes from the Earliest Time to Date

Mayor is to a town, as teniente is to a barrio, both being the head or leader. Ever since the barrio was established, tenientes were appointed or changed. The first teniente of Payapa was Pedro Obrador. He was succeeded by Serapio Villarez. Later on, Aguido Mercado succeeded him and with his untiring effort, he was able to help lots of residents of the place in their problems in the community. Years passed by and Ruperto Mercado succeeded his elder brother. He very well followed the footsteps of his brother, working for the welfare of his barrio folks. He was the teniente when the war broke out and during the Japanese occupation, a few years after, Pedro Alilio succeeded him. After several years heading the barrio, he was succeeded by Felipe Enriquez – a peace-loving man and always with a willing hand ready to help the barrio folks. It was due to his leadership, a school was built.

Some of the tenientes repeated their terms due to their capable leadership.

Story of Old Barrios or Sitios within the Jurisdiction that are Now Depopulated or Extinct

Luckily, all the sitios within the jurisdiction of Payapa are populated. All places are occupied by at least five families.

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

The first school in this barrio was the house of Mr. Aguido Mercado. It started in 1939. Mrs. Suayan was the first who taught here. Parents who wished their children to be useful members of the society and to be good citizens of the country sent them to school. From 1939 to 1951, the school used were big houses in the barrio. In 1952, a new school was erected. The lot of the school was donated by Mr. Isabelo Masongsong, the president of the P. T. A., while the materials of the building came from the “pork barrel” and contributions of the resident so of Payapa. At present, there is an intermediate grade.

Important Facts, Incidents or Events that Took Place

During the Spanish Occupation

Revolution took place in every part of the Philippines and Payapa, though a small barrio, revolted also against the Spaniards. The revolution was head by Kapitan Miguel (surname unknown) and seconded by Julian Montalban. The revolution ended when the Filipinos surrendered to the Spaniards after a heavy fight in Pultero. The people believed that the defeat of the revolutionists was lack of firearms.

During the American Occupation to World War II

The Spaniards in the Philippines were defeated by the Americans, and the people of Payapa thought that the

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latter were just like the former – cruel and inhuman, so they did not submit themselves willingly to the Americans. Again, a rebellion was organized, headed by Kabisang Miguel Gatchalian. But after a year, they found out that they misjudged the new conqueror, for they were [a] good and peace-loving people. The place became peaceful and the lives of the people were changed from grievances and sufferings to contentment and blissful happiness.

Cartilla was taught in this place. The people who studied [the] cartilla paid their tutors in the form of rice, fruits and vegetables. After several years, a school was established in this barrio though there were only grades one and two.

During and after World War II

December 8, 1941. The people in this place were shocked when they received the news that the important naval bases were already taken by the Japanese. They were afraid that they might be the next to be attacked. They never ceased praying and calling to God to save them from the inhuman acts of the Japanese. Some of the townspeople evacuated to this place. After a few months, Bataan fell and the people returned to their homes. Due to the brutalities of the Japanese soldiers, the people of Payapa and other neighboring places formed a guerrilla unit under the leadership of Luis Licopa and Filomeno Gagalac. The Japanese Imperial Army placed a detachment in this place to fight against the guerrillas. Many people from this place suffered from the brutal punishments of the Japanese. Anybody suspected of being a guerrilla was given a third degree punishment. After three years of hardships and sufferings from the Japanese, the liberators arrived. Their bartered their fruit, chickens and eggs for the G.I.’s canned food, cigarettes, candies, clothing, and other things they had not seen for five, long years. The people returned to work and were never disturbed.

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

Many lives were lost in the barrio in 1896-1900 due to the rebellion and epidemic. In the years 1941-1945, because of the guerrilla organization, many were killed by the Japanese and some were also killed in the battlefront in Bataan.


A survey was made with some of the barrio folks in this place. It was found out that their traditions, customs and practices in domestic and social life are the following:

Birth –

A mother who is nearly to give birth will at least eat twelve eggs so that it will not be hard for her to give birth. They do not call for a doctor for they are accustomed to calling for a midwife. Many people visit the mother whereas her companions prepare food for them. After birth, the baby is bathed and [they] put ash on the child's navel. The child's mother cannot take a bath until after a month has passed. The baby can also be bathed on Tuesdays and Fridays for the reason that they will have severe

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illness whenever they get sick. The mothers keep a pocket of pepper, garlic, and ash on the child’s breast so as not to be ill.

Baptism –

If a child is ill and can’t be brought to town for baptism, he is baptized in his house by a certain person who knows how to do it. If a child is strong and healthy, he is brought to town at once for baptism because the parents are afraid that their child may die without receiving the sacrament yet. Their belief is that the baby will not be received in heaven without receiving the first Sacrament. In the church, after the priest’s benediction, the godfather or godmother will try his or her best to be the first one to go out of the church so that the child will be a good merchant. When they reach home, firecrackers are heard. This is the sign of thanks of the child’s parents. There are many people invited to this party. There are also variety of foods to be given to the godfather or godmother. It is a very joyous party and sometimes there’s dancing and singing.

Courtship –

The gentleman who wants to court a certain lady helps the lady’s parents in their work at home. He helps in plowing and planting the fields. If he can’t do the work alone, he asks the help of his sympathetic neighbors. The man courting the lady will be to one to prepare the food for the workers. After this, he will give big fishes to the lady’s parents. He does not give shrimps, squids, and tamarinds to the lady for the reason that the lady will always have a sour face to him. If by this, the man will be loved by the lady’s parents, the parents will set a day for them to talk about the marriage. On this day, they talk about the celebration, the sponsors, and the things to be given before the marriage. If the man’s parents can’t follow this, the marriage will surely be postponed. But if a man’s parents will follow this, there are still two days celebration before the marriage. The first is the day when the boy and the girl will have [a] personal appearance before the priest and on the second Friday, supper is prepared for the lady’s relatives to be invited.

Marriage –

When all of these are pursued, the marriage will be continued. When the bride is ready to go to the man’s home, the stoves are destroyed, and the man can’t go with the bride to his home. The groom will be the one to return the utensils and other equipment borrowed from the neighbors. The groom will go home at night. The couple can’t go to the bride’s house until the fourth day.

Death –

When somebody is dead in one’s house, nobody can clean the house and surroundings not until after the fourth day, because according to them, if they do that there will be a succession of dead persons in that particular house. The neighbors are prohibited to eat vegetables and bagoong for the reason that the soul of the dead will not rest in peace. On the eighth day, there will be a sort of celebration and in this celebration, the people will pray for the soul of the dead. On the first death anniversary, the people will do the same thing. The members of the family of the dead and other relatives put away their black clothes and begin to use again colored clothes. It goes hand in hand with All Souls Day in November. All dead persons are

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offered flowers, candles and prayers.

Burial –

For a night and a day, people don’t sleep to watch over the dead. The next day, the dead is brought to the cemetery. The corpse is carried by the barrio people. The burial must be direct to the church or cemetery because if they stop, they believe that he will wait for another death. People who go with the death cannot look back for it will cause [the] death of many other people.

Visits –

When visitors come, you will notice the hospitality of the hostess. They search for all kinds of delicious fruits and food in order to offer to their visitors.

Feasts and other occasion –

A day before the feast, the people although not informed help their relatives in the preparation. Somebody fetches water, someone gets wood, pigs and rice. After everything is prepared, they put on their best clothes. There is singing, dancing of subli and, in short, all people present enjoy witnessing the games, especially the “Huego de Anillo.”

Punishment –

People do not pay too much attention to punishment. If their children commit mistakes, they just give them a little scolding for it is not good for their children because their children have inborn goodness. With regard to other people, they give equal punishments. If one kills a person, the payment is also to kill the person concerned. At present, it is no longer practiced, for the people already obey the rules of their country.

Myths, Legends, Interpretations, Superstitions

The Origin of the Gabi Plant

Many years ago, when the Philippines was ruled by Rajahs, there lived a Rajah called Rajah Matapang. He was so called because of his bravery and great strength. He had an only son named Gavino, who was considered a fancy drole [?] during that time. Unlike his father, Gavino was meek and gentle and yet strong.

In those days, fighting among the tribes was prevalent. In their desire to gain power, the winners of the different tribes often waged war with each other. Rajah Matapang was one of the most powerful rulers during that time. Every time he went to battle, he always returned victorious.

When Gavino grew to be a man, his father was very much disappointed with him. He did not join the men when they went to war during that time against the other tribes. He was a peace-loving man.

One day, Rajah Matapang and his men went on an expedition. Only the women and the children were left behind. Gavino, as usual, did not join them. His reason was that he would look after those persons who were left behind.

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It so happened that while they were away, an enemy tribe sneaked in the village of Rajah Matapang. They ransacked the houses and carried away the women and children. The old men were easily overpowered but Gavino fought valiantly to the last to defend them. He was able to kill many before he was mortally wounded.

When Rajah Matapang returned, he found his son dead, still clasping his sword and shield. He then realized that, after all, Gavino was not a coward. Even the warriors felt sorry for his untimely death, and they, too, realized that he had done a more heroic act than they.

The Rajah ordered that his son be buried in the garden with his sword and shield with him. Every day, he visited his son’s grave. At his last visit, he was astonished to find a strange plant growing on it. The leaves were broad and resembled a shield. He named it “gabi,” after his son’s nickname. Later on, the people discovered that the plant was edible, so they cultivated it in their gardens.

Why the Rice Stopped Rolling

Once upon a time, all the people were beautiful, gentle, kind, and friendly. The fruit on the trees were larger and sweeter than they are now. The grain of rice was so big that one grain made a meal for a man.

The people did not plant the grain because it grew everywhere. The people did not harvest it either because when the palay was ripe, each grain of rice rolled to the granary. So at harvest time, the grains of [the] rice crop were rolling about like thousands of wheels.

After a year, the grains were larger than before. “There is more rice now.” One woman said to her daughter. “Our granary is so small. We must tear it down and build a bigger one.”

So, they tore down the granary and began to build a new one. It took them a long time. The rice was ripe before the granary was ready. “Oh, look! Look!” cried the daughter one day. “The rice is comning.” The woman looked. Sure enough, the rice was coming.

The woman looked. Hundreds and hundreds of grains came rolling toward the granary. The woman grew angry and struck the first grain that reached her, crying, “Can’t you wait until the granary is ready?” The woman looked again. “Why do you come when you are not wanted?” All at once, the grains of rice turned into a thousand tiny pieces and shouted, “We shall never come again! We shall stay in the fields until you want us. Then, you must come to get us.”

Ever since then, the rice has stopped rolling into the granary. The grains are tiny and the people have to work hard, planting and harvesting them.

Beliefs in Birth of Twins

Those who give birth to twins suffer financial difficulties and vice-versa. Those people who give birth to children who are cross-legged are financially stable.

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Proverbs and Sayings

1. A woman that is sweet and pure is worthy to be loved though poor.
2. What the tree is, so is the fruit.
3. Health is wealth.
4. Modesty is the emblem of virtue.
5. A modest girl is known by her behavior.
6. Be clean in all your ways.
7. Hands that hold dirty pots will certainly catch the dirt.
8. A good bamboo can be determined by the growth of its shoot.
9. Honor is like drinking water in a jar; a little dirt dropped in it will make the water repugnant.
10. Orderly life is a way to a peaceful living.
11. Cleanliness is next to godliness.
12. What one has been used to is too hard to forget.
13. If a man often washes his hands, it shows they are dirty.
14. Neatness is not necessarily a pretense.
15. Keep your mouth shut to avoid trouble.
16. Promises are made during the gravest moment but after that everything is forgotten.
17. He who frequently swears frequently lies.
18. A greedy man is better than a thief.
19. What a man says so does he feels.
20. Not all those who go to church are pious.
21. A true sugarcane is sweet until the end.
22. Truth is great and it will always prevail.
23. Live to the standards of our heroes.
24. Value your honor as you value your life.
25. To a man of honor, his words are his pledges.
26. You can tell a true friend in times of need.
27. You may be beautiful and rich, and beautifully dressed; you are also worthless if you show you are foolish.
28. No debt will ever remain unpaid.
29. The length of friendship is conditioned by the quality of the relationship.
30. Property acquired dishonestly is lost very quickly.
31. One who is full of words and not of deeds is like a tree that casts no shade.
32. What from the dew you gather, must vanish with the water.
33. He who committed sin directs himself through the dark.
34. It’s the rich who are always in need.
35. Money earned is an easy way, goes away quickly.
36. Praising a person in his presence is cursing him behind.
37. Truth is mighty and will always prevail.
38. A liar needs a keen memory.
39. Those who hearken to good advice reap the fruit of their labor.
40. Those who are obedient to their parents attract good fortune.
41. Do not quarrel with the old for you will someday be old, too.
42. Obey and you will be obeyed.
43. Soft words soothe the heart.
44. An obedient nature is an investment.
45. Bend the tree while it is young, afterwards it cannot be bent.
46. He who forgets the past will not be able to reach his destination.
47. Spare the rod and you spoil the child.
48. Nothing destroys the iron but its own rust.
49. Be courteous in youth so that you will be honored in old age.

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50. The whole of the needle can be seen, but the hole of an axe cannot be seen.
51. Though you like him not, humiliate him not.
52. Nobody comes up without coming down.
53. The wisdom of the youth comes from the old.
54. The monkey laughs at the cow’s long tail; but to see his own the monkey does fail.
55. A soft answer turneth away wrath.
56. To repent at the last minute is useless.
57. A kind person is rewarded.
58. He who walks rapidly falls heavily.
59. The blessing of the virgin goes to the real pilgrim.
60. The grass is useless to a dead horse.
61. He who has hung up something has something to look up at.
62. Kindness is better and dearer than gold.
63. As the sun shines, God’s mercy is everywhere.
64. Gifts and kind deeds soften even the stones.
65. A helping hand has some compensation to come.
66. Do not do unto others what you would not like others do unto you.
67. God is called when the sickness is grave.
68. Poverty with kindness is better than wealth with selfishness.
69. Be courteous even to the lowly.
70. He who does not know how to follow cannot expect to command.
71. Do not do unto others what is bad to you.
72. To the good and courteous belong the best in this world.
73. News travels fast.
74. He who does not love God cannot love his fellowmen.
75. Respect yourself so that others will respect you.
76. Better one already given than to be many but not yet given.
77. Hunger is the best appetizer.
78. None is as good as a loyal friend.
79. It is more blessed to give than to receive.
80. If there is no peace and order, there is no progress in a country.
81. Sincerity guides eternal friendship.
82. Force is inferior to strategy.
83. A heavy thing is made lighter through cooperation.
84. Like father, like son.
85. The greater is the capital, the greater the profit.
86. A sleeping man cannot get hold of gold although it falls on him.
87. He who is brave at home is meek in other towns.
88. Better to be blamed for being too soon than being too late.
89. Some are brave but weak-kneed.
90. One who evades the enemy shows real bravery.
91. Be thrifty if you want to be wealthy.
92. Waste not your time; for the wasted time never returns.
93. Those who suffer find reward.
94. There is nothing impossible to the one who has determination.
95. Continuous droplets of rain may wear away even a hard rock.
96. Don’t lose hope as long as you breathe.
97. Happiness is proportionately followed by sorrows.
98. Rely on yourself and not on others.
99. Behind the hills of difficulty lies the valley of success.
100. God is with those who persevered.
101. There is no poor pen to an expert writer.

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102. A patient person accomplishes much.
103. While the young bamboo grows, it points upward to heaven; but when it grows [to] maturity, it bends downward to the lowly earth.
104. Knowledge is a good capital.
105. It is upon man to labor, and God for grace.
106. Laziness is the mother of poverty and the brother of starvation.
107. It is hard to succeed without ambition.
108. Dare not fly if you lack wings.
109. He who does not work in youth will be in distress when old.
110. Consumption unsparing, in the future there is nothing.
111. A pampered child is reared in vain.
112. He who toils not shall live not.
113. To hide your wrongs is to make them known.
114. There’s no happiness on earth without sorrows.
115. Real happiness is not in wealth.
116. Excessive joy brings tears to eyes.
117. The eye is the picture of the soul.
118. Wealthy persons are rich, but those with many children are contented.
119. An honest trunk tempts an honest man.
120. We should not eat anything hot to avoid being burned.

Other Folktales

Beautiful Bands

They're were three rich sisters. They lived in a big house. They did nothing all day. They just ate and took care of their hands.

They rubbed their nails. They powdered their hands. They get their hands white and smooth.

The three rich sisters were proud of their hands. One day, they took a walk near a mountain. The three sisters met Maria, the daughter of their washerwoman. One of the sisters set, "Look at Maria's hands. How rough and brown they are. What ugly hands she has." Another sister said, "Maria, keep your hands behind your back. Do not show them to us. We do not like ugly hands."

The third sister said, "You should be ashamed of them." Maria did not know what to do. She wanted to cry.

Now an old woman passed by. She had a heavy pack of clothes to carry. The three sisters at once turned their backs. "We shall hurt our hands," they said. Maria ran to help the old woman. She helped the woman climb the hill.

On top of the hill, in light appeared. The old woman was gone. In her place was a shining person. The old woman became an angel. The angel smile at Maria and said, "Thank you Maria. You have the most beautiful hands in the world. Beautiful hands are those that help." do you agree with the angel?

Kindness is Repaid

Two women were neighbors. One woman was kind. The other woman was not kind. One day, the kind woman went to the river to catch fish. When she reached the river, there

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was a big snake near the water. How frightened the woman was. It was such a big snake. The snake said, “Do not be afraid of me. I will not harm you. Why did you come here?” The kind woman trembled. She was still very much afraid, but she answered in a polite way, “I came here to catch fish.”

“There is no fish in the river today. I will catch fish for you, if you will take care of my baby snake.” “I will take care of your baby snake,” the kind woman promised. She kept her promise very well. She placed the snake in a safe place. Some big rats came by. They said, “Look! There is a baby snake alone down there. Let us fight the baby snake.”

The kind woman saw the big rats. She took a stick and drove the rats away with it.

Many other animals came by. They wanted to harm the baby snake. They kind woman drove them away, also. Then, the big snake arrived. It had a basket full of fish for the kind woman.

“Thank you! Thank you!” said the kind woman. “Now here is your baby snake. It is safe and well.” “The kind woman took care of me very well,” said the baby snake. When the kind woman reached home, she placed her basket of fish down. Her neighbor, the unkind woman, saw her. The kind woman told her the story of the big snake and the baby snake. “I will also fish like you,” said the unkind woman. She went straight to the river. There was the big snake again.

“I am going to fish,” she answered. “You will not catch any fish in the river,” the snake told her. “Take care of my baby fish and I will catch fish for you.” The unkind woman said, “Yes, I shall take care of your baby snake.” Do you know what she did when the snake was gone?

She got a long stick and began to beat the baby snake. “What? Take care of you,” she asked. “Am I foolish?”

The baby snake jumped into the grasses. It ran to its mother. “Mother snake, Mother snake,” called the baby snake. “That other woman is not kind. She beat me with a stick.

The big snake was very angry. “That unkind woman will be sorry,” the snake said. The big snake got her basket and returned it to the unkind woman. “Here is your basket,” said the snake.

The old woman got the basket at once. She opened it quickly. What do you think came out? Why, many, many snakes, one… two… three… four… five… six… seven… eight… nine… ten… long snakes.

The unkind woman gave a cry. She started to run. The snakes ran after her. The snakes bit her, one by one. And that was the end of a very unkind woman.

Submitted by:

Barrio Committee Chairman

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