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January 3, 2018

Cumba, Lipa City, Batangas: Historical Data

Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of Cumba 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]

THE HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE OF THE
BARRIO OF CUMBA

PART I – History

PRESENT OFFICIAL NAME @@ -
The barrio of Cumba lies in the southern part of Lipa. It is bounded to the north\ by the barrios of Bolbok and Lodlod, to the east by Malagonlong and Mabini, to the south by Adya and to the west by Pangao and Bilaran. The sitio of Sampalucan is under its jurisdiction. Ever since its organization as a distinct part of Lipa, it was popularly and officially known as “CUMBA.”

DERIVATION OF NAME –
CUMBA – The name “Cumba” has a very natural derivation. The topography of the barrio is mostly of rolling lands. This land form was called “cumba-cumba” by the early settlers. Cumba-Cumba means rolling. It was from this land form from which the naming of the barrio was derived.

THE SITIO OF SAMPALUCAN – The sitio got its name from the many sampaloc trees that once grew in the place. Sampalucan means groves of tamarind trees. Even to this day, sampaloc trees of great sizes can be seen growing here and there within the sitio. Perhaps, they are the remains of the sampaloc trees that thrived in the barrio a long time ago.

DATE OF ESTABLISHMENT AND ORIGINAL FAMILIES –
The exact date of the establishment of the barrio was not known. However, information gathered from some of the oldest inhabitants of the barrio point out that the barrio was in existence sometime during the latter part of the seventeenth century. Among the families who were known to have been the early settlers were those of Hernandez, Panganiban, Litan, and Igle. Those families were said to have been farmers who came from different places [and] who, having been attracted by the fertility of the soil and the accessibility to a good water supply, settled in the region. By intermarriages and by the coming of other settlers, the population increased. Realizing the need for unity as a means of protection, the people organized into a community which was later named Cumba.

LIST OF KNOWN CABEZAS DE BARANGAY AND TENIENTES:
 1.  Fernando Rodelas  8.  Benito Hernandez
 2.  Leodovico Laygo  9.  Santiago Litan
 3.  Celestino Hernandez 10. Tomas Lorzano
 4.  Baldomero Laygo 11. Ruperto Silva
 5.  Selvistre Pasahol 12. Maximino Panganiban
 6.  Salvador Hernandez 13. Fidel Hernandez
 7.  Andico Laygo 14. Clemente Lanto – Incumbent
IMPORTANT FACTS AND INCIDENTS THAT TOOK PLACE @@@ -
A. During the Spanish Occupation:
1. Organization of the different families into a community.
2. The indoctrination of the people into the Christian faith. This was slowly and gradually implemented by the work of the Spanish missionaries.

[p. 2]

3. Education was slowly developed in private schools conducted by private teachers. Reading, Writing and the fundamentals of Arithmetic were taught in those schools.
4. Organization of a centralized form of barrio government under a Cabeza de Barangay.
5. Participation of some persons in the Philippine Revolution.

B. During the American Occupation to World War II:
1. To safeguard the lives of the people and to facilitate the work in mopping operations against those Filipinos who did not yet recognize the sovereignty of the United States in the Philippines, the American Forces who were stationed in Lipa during the period enforced the so-called “Zona.” The people of Cumba, together with those of the neighboring barrios in the southern part of Lipa, were assembled in the barrio of Bolbok. This was in the year 1901. During this period of zonification, the people suffered many hardships. Their properties were destroyed, some houses were burned, and many people died as a result of the cholera epidemic that followed.
2. Appointment of a barrio lieutenant in the place of the former Cabeza de Barangay as the leader of the barrio.
3. This was a period of rapid progress. Home industries were developed. Houses were improved and built of more durable materials. The barrio road was made wider and improved.
4. The people became conscious of the political movements of the time. They took active part in selecting government officials by exercising their right to vote.
5. Public education was made possible by the establishment of schools for the barrios of Adya and Cumba.
6. Sometime in the year 1918, an epidemic of dengue fever occurred. This accounted for the loss of many lives.
7. Occupation of the Japanese from December 30, 1941 to April 11, 1945:
This period was considered as the most critical period in the history of the barrio. The following were experienced by the people during the Japanese Occupation:
a. General shortages of the prime necessities of life.
b. Forced labor in the Japanese military establishments.
c. General fear from the cruelties of the Japanese. This was particularly true during the last six months of the occupation – from September, 1944 to March, 1945. During these months, the Japanese were at the height of doing their atrocious acts done in the form of rape, arson and massacres. To avoid being seen by the Japanese, majority of the people left their homes and went to some places of safety. They often experienced sleeping outdoors, in the woods, banks of brooks, or in any place which according to their judgment was safe from the Japanese.
d. During the night of December 31, 1944, some twenty persons including some boys were caught in a surprise raid. They were taken to the Japanese camps. Only a few managed to escape. The rest were killed.

[p. 3]

e. The mass raid in Sampalucan, a sitio of the barrio, occurred in the early morning of February 19, 1945. About sixty innocent persons, mostly old and weak, were killed in this raid. They were tied and stabbed with bayonets.
f. During the month of March and the early part of April, the barrio of Cumba was amost deserted by its inhabitants. The people went to some places of safety. They moved to places like Rosario, Ibaan and Batangas, trying as much as they could to be near guerrilla bases and in places that were seldom if ever reached by the Japanese. In the meantime, their houses were looted of whatever were left behind, animals were taken, and in some cases, some of the houses were burned to ashes. The coming of the American Liberating Forces spearheaded by the Filipino Guerrillas was a great period of rejoicing.

C. MEASURES AND ACCOMPLISMENTS TOWARD REHABILITATION AND RECONSTRUCTION AFTER WORLD WAR II:
Soon after liberation, the people returned to their homes. Free from the fear and worries, they began the work of rehabilitation and reconstruction. The following were done:
1. The houses that remained unburned or destroyed were put to order. Temporary homes were erected in place of those that were burned or destroyed.
2. The people resumed their former occupations paying close attention to the development of farming and household industries. Quick-growing crops were planted to remedy the felt need of having food.
3. The barrio school which was burned during the war was temporarily built by the people of the barrios of Adya and Cumba and in May, the classes were opened.
4. The school building was finally constructed by the War Damage Commission and turned over to the barrio on April 1, 1950.
5. In 1951, a complete elementary school was opened for the pupils of the barrios of Cumba and Adya.
From the period of liberation up to this writing, the people of Cumba have been trying all they can to help in rehabilitating work particularly along economic lines. Farming and household industries were further developed. Many people engaged in retail business. Some of them do their business in other towns and provinces. Peace and order is satisfactory. In fact, normal living conditions now prevail in this barrio or rolling lands. The people of the barrio will continue to progress until the time comes when the barrio as a whole will be very progressive.

PART II – Folkways

Like all other Filipinos, the people of Cumba are hospitable, helpful, polite, and very neighborly. They are true to the traditions of their ancestors. Some of these customs and traditions were modified as a result of education on the part of the masses. Moreover, a great majority of the people still cling to them in their daily lives. Some of these customs are enumerated below.

[p. 4]

BIRTH – The birth of a child is hailed with joy on the part of the family concerned. The following are some of the customs and practices relative to birth:

1. The expectant mother consults a midwife – the hilot, to put the baby in the right position so that ease in delivery is made possible. This is done usually one or two months before the time of delivery.

2. The delivery is made by the midwife who attends to the health of the mother as well as of the baby. Only in serious cases is a doctor asked to attend to delivery. The following practices are done in connection with birth:
a. The baby’s cord is cut by a sharp piece of bamboo called abad. Later, the detached cord is wrapped in a piece of white cloth and hanged in the upper corner of the house usually near the ceiling.
b. The child’s pillow, called inunan, is put in a clean container – most often a glass, and with some written matters buried under the house. Written or printed matters are included in the belief that the child will be intelligent when he grows up.
c. The baby should be watched by night until he is given a name. This is done in order that malignant spirits like and “aswang” and “tiyanak” will not have a chance to get the newly-born baby.
d. A piece of cloth called “babat” should be tied around the waist of the mother.
e. A nursing mother should not drink fresh cool water. Lukewarm water boiled with some leaves of medicinal value should be drunk by the mother until she is given a bath which is done after three or four weeks after delivery. The midwife cares for the mother for a period of at least nine days.

BAPTISM – The newly born child is baptized within one or two days from the time of birth. Baptism is done either at home or in the church. The baptism done at home is called “Buhos.” The one done in the church is essential to make the child a true Christian. In either case, the child is named in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. The naming is done by a rite which is climaxed by pouring holy water on the baby’s head.

The baby to be christened must have a godfather or a godmother. A party is usually given during the baptism of a child. Sometimes, the party is very expensive both on the part of the parents who give the party and to the sponsor who gives regalos and gifts to the child. A sponsor is considered to be the second parent of the child so that he is given a part of the responsibility in the proper upliftment of the baby concerned.

COURTSHIP – In the olden days, courtship was very different from what it is today. In those days, the young men and women were often married without their mutual understanding. The parents were the ones to agree, and once agreed upon, the children would have to follow in spite of all other things. Courtship was done by serving, by doing favors,

[p. 5]

giving gifts called regalos and, perhaps, by night visits which were done according to established customs and traditions. However, there were [a] few cases in which mutual understanding between the young man and woman was reached. No long periods of engagement was allowed. Courtship was a sacrifice for it required long periods of serving and working in behalf of the lady loved.



The present way of courtship is more liberalized. Few persons, if ever there are any, are married without their mutual understanding. Courtship at present is done in one or all of the following ways:
1. Through love letters.
2. Conversations in the home of the lady or in any place where opportunity exists.
3. Serving and doing favors for the family of the lady.
4. Sometimes, through the agreement of the parents, with the consent of those concerned.

MARRIAGE – A young man who desires to marry will have to follow the following things before being married:
1. Pakilala – This is making his intention known to the parents of the young woman. This is done by bringing firewood and water to the house of the lady. From this time, he will serve in the lady’s household.
2. Bulungan – Several days or perhaps a week after the Pakilala, the parents of the lady will call the parents of the young man to talk about the requisites of the proposed marriage, and such other things required of the occasion. In this connection, the dowries, kind and date of marriage, and other things that the whims and caprices of the parents and the lady may so desire are talked about. If the parents of the young man can give all that is asked, the marriage will be continued. If not, the young man will have to quit. At present, the latter often results in the elopement of the lovers.
The following are some of the things asked by the lady’s parents during the bulungan:
1. A certain amount of money.
2. A parcel of land, work animal, or both.
3. Repair or construction of a house.
4. The kind and date for the wedding ceremony.
Sometimes, the dowries go directly to the parents of the lady. At other times, they are given to the children.
If the conditions of the marriage as set forth in the Bulungan are accepted by the parents of the young man, the marriage will be continued. The marriage ceremony is done by either the priest, pastor, or justice of the peace in a manner prescribed by law or order. Before the marriage is solemnized, the following requisites are needed:
1. An application for marriage must be secured from the local civil registrar.
2. Execution of the marriage contract with the consent of the parents of both parties.
3. The marriage ceremony and the giving of the wedding party.

[p. 6]

A wedding party is given during the day of the marriage.Sometimes, this party is very expensive so that the parents of the bridegroom must have two mortgage or sell their properties or make big loans in order to finance the activity. Nevertheless, they are happy and contented in the belief that they have done their duties as the parents of the male child. After the wedding party, the bride will transfer to the house of the bridegroom. For a period of time, the newlyweds will reside in the house of either of their parents. They will have a house of their own wherein they will function as a separate family.

DEATH – The following customs and practices relative to the death of a person are observed:
1. The death of a person is considered a great loss to the family. When a person dies, there is much crying and lamentation on the part of the family and relatives of the deceased. A. Of mourning which lasts for nine months or perhaps a year it's accorded to the death. Black [the yes color] of mourning clothes.
2. The dead is buried in the cemetery. Prayers and other services are done for the salvation of the soul. The fourth-day, ninth-day, and the babang-luksa end of the mourning period, where usually given with a feast wherein all the relatives of the deceased participate.
3. Alms locally known as “Pakandila” in the form of money are given by sympathizers to the widows and orphans of the dead.
4. Requiem masses are said so that the soul of the dead may rest in peace.
5. During All Souls Day, the people go to the cemetery to offer prayers, light candles, and put wreathes over the graves of their loved ones.

FESTIVALS – The people of the barrio of Cumba lead a simple life. Few festivals are held during the year. However, during the month of May, Flores de Mayo is celebrated for the whole month. This is characterized by the offering of flowers to the Virgin every night. An hermana is in charge of the flower offering every night. For almost every afternoon during the month, there is a party in the house of the designated hermana or hermano, and every night soon after the flower offering, there is much merriment in the chapel of the barrio. Sometimes, a barrio fiesta is held as the culminating activity of the Flores de Mayo.

MYTHS, LEGENDS, BELIEFS, AND SUPERSTITIONS

THE LEGEND OF CUMBA

Once upon a time, in one of the provinces of southern Luzon, there lived a group of people who loved agriculture better than any other means of getting in livelihood. Unfortunately, they happened to be living in a place where the soil and climate were not fit for this undertaking. All their efforts to provide themselves with their daily needs proved to be in vain. Finally, they decided to leave their homes. They packed all their things and set forth in quest for new lands and better homes.

They traveled on and on. Days, weeks, months slowly rolled away, but we found no place that would satisfy their ideals. But one

[p. 7]

day, baking across a region where the land was level and the soil seemed to be very fertile. Besides, there was running across the place, a brook whose water was cool and clean. Fish of different kinds lived in the brook. They became mindful of the divine gifts, so they did not hesitate to adopt the place as their new home.

The days that followed where days of hard work. They began constructing new homes, tall trees where cut down, the land was cleared, cultivated and planted. Then came the days of hoping for the bountiful harvest. Great was very light when after the harvest season, they found that their efforts where more than rewarded.

The years passed away. The people lived in abundance and at the same time the population increased. But in the course of time, the people noticed that a change what's going on within their midst. Four reasons they knew not what, be observed that the region became lower and lower. It had gone down so low that during the rainy season, the farms remained flooded. The crops were destroyed. Once again, they suffered the hardships that they had in their former homes.

One they, the people of the place met in a meeting in order to remedy the situation. In the course of the discussion, an old man, who was the oldest and supposed to be the wisest among them, stood up and told his friends that in his opinion, the goddesses of rain and agriculture who we're living in a cave in Mount Makiling could probably help them out of their trouble. It was finally decided that the help of these two powerful beings be solicited. Valuable gifts where collected and finally a group of trusted persons went on a pilgrimage to Mount Makiling to pay homage and deliver the presents to the two goddesses.

It did not take them in long time to find the key of the two beings. They knocked at the door of the cave. It opened and finally they we're face-to-face with the goddesses we were looking for. They bowed low in their presence, give their gifts and lastly, they presented their troubles and asked for their help. There was silence in the cave. The two goddesses began to disappear. The door of the cave slammed and the people were left outside. Then a voice was heard. It said, “My dear friends, your wish is granted. You may go back to the land of your choice. Henceforth, no more flood will drown your crops. You will always have good harvest and your people will live in peace and contentment.”

The pilgrims returned home. To their surprise, they found that the low level land that they had before became rolling lands. Everywhere in the region, the people cried “Cumba-Cumba,” that is to say that their lands became rolling. True to the promises of the goddesses in Mount Makiling, no more floods drown the crops. They usually had plenty of harvests and the people enjoyed living in the place.

Later on, three travelers came to the place. They were met by the wisest and oldest members of the place. When asked as to the name of the region, the old men unknowingly said, “KUMBA-KUMBA.” The travelers, for no reason whatsoever, cried at the top of their voices, “KUMBA, KUMBA, KUMBA. This barrio of “KUMBA.”

[p. 8]

Ever since that time, the place was called “CUMBA,” meaning a place of rolling lands. Not long after this, the Spaniards recognized “CUMBA” as the official name of the barrio which is now a distinct part of the City of Lipa.

- - - - - - -

HOW A POOR FARMER BECAME RICH
(A Myth)

In the barrio of Cumba, there once lived a poor farmer named Alberto. He had a wife and four children to support. For years, he was a tenant of a rich man. In spite of his hard work, he was hardly able to harvest enough rice to support his family. Poor Alberto was really troubled by the ever-growing and increasing needs of his family.

As usual, he labored on his farm. He plowed the field, planted the seeds, cared for the plants and watched them grow and bear fruits. One day, sometime in the latter part of August, he visited his rice field that was turning yellow with ripening grains. He was attracted by a tall plant with two big heads. Upon close examination, he was surprised to see a big grain of palay having an unusually long spine. He picked the grain and brought it home. All the way home, he was thinking, wondering and talking to himself.

He said, “Perhaps, this grain or rice possesses a virtue. Perhaps, this is the answer to all my prayers. Who knows that this grain will give me luck? So, I will keep it.”

He put the grain of rice in a clean stoppered bottle and requested his wife to hide it. At the same time, he told her to keep their possession of the grain a secret.

The rice field was harvested. Alberto and his wife were very glad to find out that the harvest in their field was very good. During the succeeding years, they harvested more and more rice. Once, they visited the grain of rice in the stoppered bottle and to their amazement, they saw that it had enormously grown bigger and the spines became exceedingly longer than before. After a while, they agreed that their good luck was attributed to the grain of rice that they possessed.

Alberto continued to be a farmer. His yearly harvest became bigger and bigger. They began selling the rice that they harvested and with the money, they bought the land of their landlord that was being sold little by little. In the long run, Alberto’s family was considered the wealthiest family in the community.

Alberto remained a tenant up to the time of his death. He lived contentedly and happily during his old age. The secret of the grain of rice was kept. After the death of the couple, nothing was known of it. However, the people believed that the couple must have possessed something that brought them their good luck. Otherwise, they would have remained to be poor as they used to be.

BELIEFS –
1. God is the Creator of all things in the world and guides their destinies.
2. The life hereafter. They believe that when a person dies, his soul will go either to heaven or hell depending upon his actuations while living.

[p. 9]

3. Miracles and extraordinary happenings.
4. The power of magic to perform things.
5. That ghosts and spirits though unseen by the eyes of men lure and tempt people.
6. That talismans have some effects on the lives of men.

SUPERSTITIONS – The following are some of the many superstitious beliefs of the people of Cumba. According to them, these superstitions have been proven true by the many instances that happened and experienced by the people in their daily lives.
1. Do not point at the young fruits. Otherwise, the fruits will rot and fall down.
2. Plant mongo the day following a starry night. This will make the mongo produce a good yield.
3. When going out at night, you will meet a black cat just below the stairs, you had better return home for you will meet bad luck on the way or to the place where you are going.
4. Plant bananas when you have just eaten. In that way, the banana plants will bear big and long fruits.
5. A maiden who sings while cooking will surely marry a widower.
6. When a spoon or fork drops on the floor while eating, a visitor is coming.
7. When you palm becomes itchy, this is a sign that you will have money in the near future.
8. A white butterfly or moth hovering near you will bring you good luck while a black butterfly is a sign that some of your near relatives died or are in trouble.
9. When a comet is seen in the sky, either prosperity or hard times, possibly war or pestilence, will come. This depends upon the position of the comet’s tail.
10. The howling of dogs in the late hours of the night is a sign that somebody in the neighborhood will die.

POPULAR SONGS, GAMES AND AMUSEMENTS:
The people of Cumba love songs, games and amusements. They have those things as a form of relaxation from their daily work and on special occasions. The following are some of them:
1. They love the native kundimans.
2. Mothers love to sing the lullabies when they put their babies to sleep.
3. The old people, especially the males, are fond of fandango, subli, and abaruray which are forms of native dances.
4. Children love to play hide-and-seek, ball games, running races, luksong tinik, and piko.
5. Swimming is done in the deep water in the brook during the dry season when the weather is very warm.
6. Catching quails by nets especially made for the purpose is a common pastime of the farmers, usually after the harvest season.
7. Huego de Prenda is played by ladies and young men when opportunity permits.
8. Huego de Anillo is a common amusement in barrio fiestas.
9. Card games and checkers (dama) are also common.
10. Cockfighting is best loved by the older members of the barrio.

[p. 10]

PUZZLES AND RIDDLES:
1. It is a grain of rice that fills the whole room. lamp
2. Here it comes but you cannot see it. wind
3. It is a deep well that is guarded with [a] bladed steel. mouth
4. It goes to a distant place without moving. roac
5. It's trousers are rolled up to the knees, be it sunny or rainy days. chicken
6. I have a friend.  You can find him wherever I am. shadow
7. It carries a house wherever it goes. turtle
8. I have a pig in my kaingin. It grows fat without eating. palay
9. A silly lady bore a child.  The baby came out at the head. banana
10. It is well-dressed in its early age, but takes off its clothes when it grows older. bamboo
PROVERBS AND SAYINGS:
1. A santol tree will never bear a guava fruit.
2. A stone will never go near a snail.
3. Whatsoever is planted, so you will reap.
4. A man in need takes hold even to a thorny vine.
5. A rolling stone gathers no moss.
6. He who never looks back at the place where he started,
Will never reach his destination.
7. Drop by drop wears away the stone.
8. A man of words and not of deeds, is like a garden full of weeds.
9. A sleepy shrimp is carried by the current.
10. If the water is quiet, be sure that it is deep.

MEANS OF MEASURING TIME:
Time is measured in terms of minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, years and centuries. A calendar is used in telling the particular day of the month of the year. Times during the day are determined by the use of different types of timepieces. In their absence, the following are used to suggest time:

(a) The Sun –
1. Sunrise is considered six o’clock in the morning.
2. Sunset is considered six o’clock in the evening.
3. When the sun is overhead, it is regarded as 12 o’clock noon.
4. Bukang-Liwayway is six o’clock in the morning.
5. Takip-silim is six o’clock in the evening.
6. Hampas-Tikin ang Araw is almost five o’clock in the afternoon.
7. Disperas suggests two o’clock in the afternoon.
(b) The Chickens –
1. The crowing of the roosters at night suggests the different hours of the night.
2. The time when hens lay their eggs is between nine and ten o’clock in the morning.
3. The time when chickens go to their roosts is six o’clock in the evening.
(c) The Flowers –
The opening of the flowers of [the] patola is said to begin at four o’clock in the afternoon. When the country housewives see that the flowers of [the] patola are opened, they stop working and begin to feed the pigs and chickens and lastly prepare the evening meal for the family.

[p. 11]

(d) The following native terms are used to suggest time:
1. “Madaling araw” means dawn.
2. “Tanghaling Tapat” is twelve o’clock or midday.
3. “Disperas” is two o’clock in the afternoon.
4. “Hampas Tikin ang Araw” means almost five o’clock in the afternoon.
5. “Animas” is eight o’clock at night.
6. “Hating Gabi” means twelve o’clock at night or midnight.
7. “Bukang Liwayway” means sunrise or six o’clock in the morning.
8. “Takip Silim” refers to six o’clock in the evening.
@@@@@@@@@@@@@@@

N O T E :

No written records are available in the community. Almost all the data embodied in this manuscript are secured through interviews and conversations with some of the old and enlightened people of the barrio of Cumba.

CREDITS DUE TO:

1. Some of the old and enlightened members of the barrio for supplying data and needed information.
2. Mr. Felix Zara, Miss Remedios Lorzano, and Miss Petra Lanto, all teachers of Adya-Cumba Elem. School, for gathering data and information.
3. Mr. Simon S. Metica, Head Teacher of Adya-Cumba Elem School, for the organization and preparation of the manuscript.

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

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