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

Pinagtongulan, 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 Pinagtongulan 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.

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Part I – History

The present official name of this barrio is Pinagtongulan. Pulo is the popular name since the early years of the present generation. During the Spanish time, this place was known as “Pinagpongulan,” which means a place where something or somebody was cut or beheaded.

Included in the barrio’s territorial jurisdiction are the present sitios of Palak-lakan in the north, Duhatan in the west, and Jalang further west to the shores of Bonbon Lake (Taal Lake). Palak-lakan came from the word “laklak” which means to drink from a pool or stream. According to the old folks, there was in that place a little spring where the people led their working animals to drink. Every time, the people said “laklak” whenever the animals drank from the spring. Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of Pangao 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. From that time on, the name was improved to be known as Palak-lakan.

Duhatan, a sitio to the west, was known and named after a fruit tree called duhat, then growing in abundance in the place. Many, many years ago, according to the people, Duhatan was a very thick forest. It was the roaming place of wild animals, mostly deer, wild pigs, birds and monkeys. One day, there came to the place a group of hunters. They were able to kill several animals which were very big and too heavy for them to carry. So, they were benighted. They passed the night in the forest and slept by a very big tree. The following morning, they found out that the tree was full of black fruits called duhat. They gathered duhat fruits and went home. Along the way were plenty of duhat trees. When asked by the people where

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they came from, the hunters answered “Duhatan.” Their wives inquired what those black fruits were, the hunters answered that they were duhat that they gathered from Duhatan. From that time on, during duhat season, groups of youngsters always flocked to gather duhat in Duhatan. Since then, the place was called Duhatan.

Jalang is another sitio of Pinagtongulan further west to the shores of Bonbon Lake. Old stories tell that the name came from the Spaniards. Spanish soldiers, according to some who can still remember, once found their way to “Walan,” a part of Taal Lake. On their way to “Walan,” they passed Pinagtongulan. They encountered hardships and difficulties along the way due to the logs and cut branches of big trees lying across the trail. A native of the place told the Spaniards in the dialect, “Mahirap po ang inyong pagdaan at diyan po ay maraming kahoy na naghalang sa daan.” The Spaniards, who did not know the dialect and meaning of what the native said, just remembered the last word of the informer, which was “naghalang.” When they returned to their headquarters, these soldiers told the Spanish missionaries that they had been to Jalang. Since then, the sitio of Pinagtongulan was called Jalang up to this time.

III. Date of Establishment:

The barrio of Pinagtongulan was originally established during the early part of the 16th century. But prior to this date, early Bornean explorers, Datu Puti ang Dumangsil landed in the old Lipa settlement known as Tagbakin, west of this barrio on the shores of Lake Bonbon. With them were their families and warriors. These newcomers saw fishermen and people farming on the hillsides. They explored to the interior and saw that the place was inhabited by very

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industrious people. The natives saw them and spread the news to their neighbors. Upon hearing the news, the natives went back to the shore with their axes, bolos, tabaks, and homemade guns (sulot). The datus were friendly to the natives and they named their settlement Tag-ba-kin, meaning that the place and the people had plenty of “Tabaka” or long bolos.

IV. Original Families:

Few families originally inhabited this barrio of Pinagtongulan. The people tilled their farms with pointed wooden plows and harrows drawn by cows and carabaos. They raised rice, corn, camote, and tobaccos. Their small houses were cogon-roofed and of bamboo materials. They were peaceful ones but oftentimes, they were in trouble with those who were troublesome bandits and outlaws.

In the year 1589, there were some twenty or more families in this place. The unit of their government then was barangay and each unit was ruled by a datu or chief. The datu was the chief executive, the judge, the legislature and commander at the same time in the hours of war or tribal conflicts. In most cases, a man became a datu because of his strength, wisdom, and wealth. The original families which can be remembered were the Macasaets, the Poros, Lorzanos, the Brioneses, and the Magpantays. During that time, there was in this place a datu – Datu Macasaet. He was a man of strength and wisdom. The people respected him and he had many fanatical followers. During his time, intermarriages were allowed only upon the recommendation of the old folks and only upon his approval. It was told that Datu Macasaet was a brave and daring man. This barrio could not be visited by other troublesome outlaws of the neighboring places and barrios. During his time, thieves and robbers found no place in this

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Of the early Cabezas de Barangay of this place, few could only be remembered. The early cabezas were the following:

1. Andres Magpantay
2. Gallo Macasaet
3. Teburcio Macasaet
4. Simon Poro
5. Faustino Macasaet
6. Eulalio Lorzano
7. Monico Magapi
8. Mariano Briones
9. Ariston Briones
10. Julio Lorzano

The early tenientes del barrio, the following persons are listed in chronological order although the dates of their respective periods of service could not very well be ascertained. They were as follows:

1. Fernando Macasaet
2. German Macasaet
3. Caledonio Gonzales
4. Narciso Briones
5. Leocadio Macasaet
6. Justo Olgado
7. Elano Mercado
8. Victorino Hernandez
9. Salvador Macasaet
10. Briccio Briones
11. Guillermo Honrade
12. Leoncio Landicho
13. Tomas Layog
14. Ambrocio Honrade
15. Alejandro Macasaet
16. Fortunato Macasaet
17. Isabelo Laylo
18. Victorino Holgado
19. Ambrocio Macasaet
20. Agaton Lorzano

Mr. Agaton Lorzano is the present incumbent barrio lieutenant. He began his term since the early period of liberation after World War Two. There were, of course, other barrio lieutenants, but the people could not readily remember them now, especially

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

Within the territorial jurisdiction of barrio Pinagtongulan, there is no depopulated or now extinct sitio or barrio. The place where the barrio is now is the original site of this barrio or its sitios. When Datu Puti explored the interior of their settlement, they had this place where the found the industrious people already engaged in [a] primitive type of agriculture, as earlier mentioned in the last paragraph of page 2.

VII. Data on Historical Sites, Structures, Buildings, Old Ruins and etc.:

Of the historical sites, mention can be made of the now old and unused cemetery utilized by the people when famine and cholera visited the place. Its date could not be ascertained but it was during the Spanish time.

In the year 1924, there was built in this barrio a school building for the children of the place and other places.

In the year 1941, just a few months before the outbreak of [the] Pacific War, the USAFFE built a temporary large army camp occupying around twenty-five hectares of land. This camp was then located in the southern part of the barrio along the now provincial road.

VIII. Important Facts, Incidents or Events that Took Place:

A. During the Spanish Occupation:

In the year 1762, when the British soldiers entered the town of Lipa, the people in this place (Pinagtongulan) became restless and prepared for whatever might befall them. These British soldiers were heard to have done destructions and pillage in the church by throw-

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ing the idols and images of saints and virgins into the yard; and by making funny things out of those sacred images. They were said to be in pursuit of treasures brought to the Philippines by the Spanish galleon from Mexico. Their worst done, the soldiers went further to the barrios and interior parts of the whole jurisdiction of the town of Lipa. Some of these British soldiers happened to find their way to Pinagtongulan with big barrels of wine. The people of this barrio were then mad at these soldiers for what they had done in the church. They stayed to ambush the soldiers and get the wine. The soldiers were captured and brought to the forest and killed. The dead British soldiers were found by the “Comissario and the Cassadores” who brought the dead bodies to town.

Spanish “Guardia Civil” and tax collectors often visited this barrio. The people could still remember that those who failed to punctually pay their taxes were given severe and cruel punishments. They were called delinquents for failure to comply with the orders. Bemoustached Spanish officers would then come and on top of their voices order the people to assemble and look for those delinquents. These delinquents were given some twenty or more lashes. Some were put in prison or given hard labor in houses of rich Spanish residents.

In the year 1805, famine visited the whole of Lipa and its barrios. Its spread was so rapid that Pinagtongulan was also included. Famine victims were so numerous that the people could not even find time to take the dead bodies to the town cemetery, such that there was in this place and old “Campo Santo” which was earlier mentioned. Rice during that time was very dear, so the people went to the extent of gathering “Amorsicos,” a weed whose very minute seeds were used as food by the people.

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In the year 1808, there was the forced planting of coffee trees. Pinagtongulan, then a sprawling land, was found to be [a] very favorable place for coffee. The people were then compelled to make their farms and orchards full of coffee. Later on, this product became one of the main sources of the people’s wealth.

In the year 1858, Spanish soldiers came to this barrio and recruited all males for some public work projects. It was a sort of labor battalion. The people were then forced to work in other places where road construction was being made. The Spanish authorities instituted the “Fallas” system. Those who did not at once join the forced laborers were given additional number of days of hard work in the public works projects without pay and eat. They lifting and transporting big pieces of stones which were too heavy for them to carry. Under the heat of the sun, they worked and worked with their bare upper bodies without clothes.

By the year 1882, the most feared visitor came to Lipa and its barrios. Pinagtongulan did not escape the notice of this dreadful visitor. It was the cholera. So fearful was that attack that at times, the whole members of the family were all wiped out as well as the neighbors. People say that those bringing dead bodies were sometimes not able to come back for they fell dead along the way to the cemetery. The barrio's old cemetery was so filled with dead bodies such that the people could no longer bury them all. It was due to the fact that cholera victims of other barrios and nearby places were also brought to this now old cemetery by their kin and relatives, who also at times some of them were not able to go back to their homes.


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