Bulacnin, Lipa City, Batangas: Historical Data Part I - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Bulacnin, Lipa City, Batangas: Historical Data Part I - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Bulacnin, Lipa City, Batangas: Historical Data Part I

Historical Data graphic
Historical data from the National Library of the Philippines.



Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of Bulacnin in the City of Lipa, 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]


Generally, the physical feature of a place, the historical event, the trade or occupation of the people are most commonly used in naming a location or sitio. And Bulacnin is no exception.


The barrio, as it is presently known, derived its name from a spring where the people used to get water for home consumption. This spring is located somewhere in Malabanan.

Bulacnin, however, is not the original name of this barrio. It was formerly called “Kay Magtago” – the name still popular among the old folks – because long before the arrival of the Spaniards, the people from the town used to hide in this place from the outlaws. These outlaws were very much dreaded on account to the insufferable physical torture they inflicted on their victims. They entered the town with great caution, riding on horseback and singing songs, in order not to arouse suspicion. Often than never, the people were completely helpless; they could not even dare to move or shout lest if they did, they would be shot. The grievous misdeeds of the outlaws forced the people to leave the town and find some excellent hiding spots of this barrio known as Bulacnin. The organized the “gorita,” the term given to the guards of the barrio, who safeguarded the people from the outlaws.


Formerly, Bulacnin [was] comprised [of] the sitios of Malabanan, Pusil, Paligawan, and Kapitang Valerio. In 1925, through the initiated leadership of Saturnino Recio, the jurisdiction was divided. Pusil and Paligawan were given to Mariano Recio for him to supervise and administer. Years later, Cornelio de Torres was assigned “teniente del barrio” for Pusil. Since then, these barrios, together with the others, were separated from Bulacnin, each having a teniente del barrio.

Pusil, Malabanan, Paligawan, Kapitang Valerio and important sitios of these places were named after outstanding personalities or events that took place.

Pusil – was named after a certain outlaw, Jose Pusil, who had lived hiding in this place for some time.
Malabanan – was named after Bandong Malabanan, who owned a big land here. And because of the vast grazing place for Malabanan’s animals, the place Paligawan came to exist.
Kapitan Valerio – was another man who owned a large tract of land and for this reason, the place bears his name. Kapital Valerio was the father of the late Don Teodoro M. Kalaw and of the present Mayor, Honorable Jose M. Kalaw.

Other notable spots are:
a. Tagpu – According to original sources, this was the meeting place of the “Insurrectos.”
b. Isip – The site where the “Insurrectos” planned their movement.
c. Pinagsabangan – the intersection of two brooklets.

[p. 2]

d. Talon – This is an elevated place where the water falls.
e. Kay Kawa – The place shaped like a vat.
f. Kay Bilukao – This is so called because of the bilukao tree that grows there.
g. Kay Pahangin – The part of the brook wherein the water falling from it disperses.
h. Balete – Named after a balete tree.
i. Gunaw – This is so called because the place is very dry.


Bulacnin has been inhabited by big or small landowners while the others had come to work. Among the noted families were:

Silvestre Recio, Clemente Inciong, Claro Caguicla, Tomas Mercado, Vicente Recio, Mariano Africa, Cornelio Villapando, Cornelio Cueto, and Lucas Katigbak.

The multiplicity of families may be accounted to the illegitimate marriages between the rich landowners and the tenants’ daughters. Hence, most of the original families bear the prominent family names of the city.


Several “tenientes del barrio” had been assigned to look after the welfare of the community. Some of them are still alive. Arranged in chronological order, the following is the list of the tenientes del barrio or better known during the Spanish times as the “Matanda sa Nayon:”

1. Felipe Mercado
2. Adriano Recio
3. Jose Recio
4. Juan Africa
5. Basilio Inciong
6. Justo Katigbak
7. Saturnino Recio
8. Ciriaco Villapando
9. Zacarias Bilog
10. Rufino Linatoc
11. Arsenio Recio


In line with the dissemination of the Catholic religion was the establishment of schools. The first school during the Spanish Time was held in a house with Messrs. Bruno Masongsong, Simon Dimayuga and Ambrosio Inciong as the first teachers. Years later, when Justo Katigbak was the teniente del barrio, a provisional schoolhouse was constructed but it was burned by a crazy woman. After sometime, the schoolhouse was transferred to where it now stands.

Roads and bridges were also constructed; artesian wells were built. The people remember Candido Lopez for the initiative taken in the construction of several more artesian wells.

In spite of the long period under which the Philippines was ruled by the Spaniards – a period characterized by abuses and ruthless severity – the people of Bulacnin did not suffer physical torture. The two periods that followed, however, were different.

[p. 3]

AMERICAN PERIOD – With the resumed activities of the “Insurrectos,” the American soldiers concentrated the natives in a place. This “Zona System” was very prevalent during that time. For several days, they were not given anything to eat. Their properties, animals and palays were all taken from them.

JAPANESE PERIOD – Sometime in 1945 – just a few months before liberation – the Japanese soldiers, desperate as they were, started burning houses, killing men, women and even innocent children. The height of the Japanese atrocities orphaned many children, widowed many mothers and left many homeless families. Included among those who joined the “innumerable caravan” were the mother and the wife of Mayor Jose M. Kalaw, the Salas brothers and the Latorre sisters.

Three years after liberation, steps were taken to have a complete elementary education in Bulacnin. In 1949, when the necessary conditions were met, the final recognition of Bulacnin Elementary School was made. Now as it stands, there is a new Home Economics Building and a provisional shop.

In 1950 and 1951, several incidents occurred in the community which bore great significance on account of the effect on the daily lives of the people and on the excellent maintenance of the school.

That there existed a time when the feeling of insecurity in their own abode was in danger, the people of Bulacnin believed. The killing of well-known persons in nearby barrios led the people to evacuate to the City. They stayed with their relatives, landlords or in the provisional houses. Classes were suspended and emergency regulations were provided for. The awarding of certificates to the Grade 6 graduates was done informally in the house of a teacher, Miss Eufemia Ramos.

A timorous spirit reigned again on the eve of the 1951 Election Day. The two soldiers, who were assigned to guarding the polling places, were brutally murdered by dissidents. There was much confusion that night… and the days that followed. The Teniente del Barrio and other persons were screened by the soldiers. They were suspected to have [had] connivance with the outside elements.

Several weeks after the incident, a policeman was killed by one of the commandoes. He was mistaken for a dissident. For a while, there was bitter controversy among the police force, the “commandoes” and the residents of the community. The poor barrio folks could not dare to go to town. The chauffeurs of jeeps avoided contacting policemen because of the threats the latter made. After sometime, things got smooth.

[p. 4]


The economic condition of the people had much to do with the cultural aspect. In a community where there are two rural groups, the well-to-do and the poor, it would be noticeable the marked contribution of the former over the latter on matters of culture.

THE WELL-TO-DO GROUP. This group is engaged in a little or big business enterprises so much so that they stay in the town or in Manila, Bicol Region and Mindanao. With frequent contact with all sorts of people and wide opportunities to intercourse with society, they bring home the good things they acquired or saw. The principle of good taste or of beauty, the standard of living and the social behavior are improved as a result of the free intermingling with the outside rural environ. They are now considered as the better “illustrados.” Within or without the community, they are respected and looked upon. From them, the people seek counsel or advice on business, personal and political affairs.

THE POOR GROUP. Most of this group constitutes the illiterates. Due to the economic condition, they would not provide for themselves, much more for their children, the social and educational privileges enjoyed by the well-to-do or the “higher than subsistence.” They have poor living conditions; their time is mostly devoted to the land and to the animals they take care of. Children can hardly go to school and if ever they go, they frequently absent themselves from classes to perform other things at home or on the fields. The primary course is the highest education obtained by this group. The primary graduates, in turn, follow the same footsteps of their parents and the same cycle is repeated. Consequently, the same problem is felt, the same condition arises… among which are the following:

In a house of one or two rooms, the chief and common to the sight are an apparador, mirror, family pictures and laundry clothes to dry. These are placed in the living room, which is at the same time the bed room. The walls are decorated with colored lithographical prints of rustic scenes mostly taken from local magazines or from calendars. This poor taste of home decoration, however, is gradually improving through the pupils’ training in Home Economics and teachers’ home inspection.

It is noted that on this question of etiquette, two sets of people, the older set and the younger set, run in contrast with each other.

The older set typifies the polite and well-bred Filipinos of yesteryears. He is civil in words and in actions. Whenever he responds, he never omits the polite expression of “PO” and “OPO.” He extends his right hand – the expressed “excuse me” and its equivalent – while passing in front of persons.

In general, the younger set easily gets fresh and familiar; they are vulgar in manner and speech.

The well-to-do and the poor have something in common when it comes to literature and music. Cheap reading materials like Liwayway, Ilang-Ilang, Bulaklak, and Filipino comics are the marked preference of the old and the young alike.

The younger generation has a dislike and disregard for classical and refined music. They love the rhumbas, the jazz and the song hits.

The feeling of responsibility, of cooperation and consciousness in governmental and community affairs are still very wanting. There is a strong felt

[p. 5]

need to improve the people’s attitude towards taking an active interest in the promotion of the community and school welfare. We are expecting that the pupils we are now training in integration will bring about the desired and needed changes. We are hoping that Bulacnin will be a different place – a very much improved on – in the coming years.


Notes and references:
Transcribed from “The History of Bulacnin” 1953, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
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