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

Pinagtongulan, Lipa City, Batangas: Historical Data Part II

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



[p. 8]

The Spanish-American War ended in the defeat of the Spanish authority in the Philippines. Captured Spanish soldiers were then concentrated in American military camps. So numerous were these captured Spanish soldiers such that they could not all be accommodated in the camps. Most of them were then given to rich Filipinos. They were made servants and helpers attending to different kinds of work in the house or in the farms. It this barrio, it can now be recounted that during the years of 1898 and 1899, a certain rich man, Jose Macasaet, owned six Spanish servants. These servants were made to plow the field, clean coffee plantations and at times cut down big trees in the forest.

B. American Occupation:

During the early part of the American occupation, there was a sort of conscription. Those who did not like to recognize the Americans, formed and organized their own secret forces, and went hiding in the mountains fighting the American soldiers. These secret Filipino forces wear called “insurrectos” or rebels. Those who joined this secret organization were Vicente Macasaet as captain, Julio Lorzano as Lieutenant, Segundo Poro as sergeant, and others. The American soldiers wear then always in pursuit of these rebels. The elusive insurrectos joined the forces of General Malvar, later on put up a base in the western part of the barrio, now the sitio of Duhatan. American soldiers wear at times just seen around the barrio looking for these rebels, but their mission always failed. There was a time when American soldiers put up a garrison station in this barrio to capture insurrectos. The people became afraid and apprehensive for the Americans could not find these suspected rebels. The Americans became worried for their mission was always

[p. 9]

fruitless and without tangible results. The American military authorities then began suspecting that the people were hiding these rebels. They began to device other means to capture the insurrectos.

They herded all the people of this place to a sort of concentration camp. It was then called the “Zona.” The people then brought with them their families, animals and provisions. Other tactful men were able to escape before the Americans herded the people. Those who endured the “Zona” could not get out. So, the people then suffered for lack of food and other necessities of life. Those who escaped guarded the barrio against looters and robbers who wear then roaming along the country sides. In the concentration camp, the people suffered the hardships and untold difficulties. People could still remember that there were deaths and sickness inside the camp. For almost five months, the people were kept in the camp. They were finally freed in the early part of 1901, for it was late in 1900 when the people were concentrated.

In early years of the military rule, the Americans did not make sweeping changes in the local way of life. The early Spanish type of education in this place was made to go on. A certain Mr. Alejandro Poro was said to be the first Tagalog teacher of Pinagtongulan. He was teaching the Caton, Cartilla and the Rosary. Religion was the main content of the early teaching and education. There was no school building. Classes were held in the barrio chapel called “tuklong.” The children first studied the alphabet, then the Caton, the Cartilla next and finally the memorization of the Rosary. Four fundamentals were also taught by the early schools and teachers, but also in the Spanish type. Numbers were called in Spanish terms as well as the process of Arithmetical operations. Punishment were corporal in nature and promotions were solely based on merit.

[p. 10]

C. During and After World War II:

Two months before the outbreak of World War II in the Pacific, that was october 1941, the USAFFE established a temporary large camp along the National Road just south of the barrio. Before all the buildings were completed and finally occupied by the soldiers the war broke out. The soldier stayed in this camp for barely a week. Not long after that, these USAFFE soldiers had to abandon the camp and they were on their retreat to the provinces of Bataan and Zambales.

When the Japanese were heard off as advancing from Atimonan to Lipa, the people of this barrio begin to demolish the buildings in the camp to prevent the Japanese from occupying the camp. In such a way, the barrio would not be near the Japanese forces. By the latter part of December 1941, the Japanese soldiers arrived in Lipa and began searching for the people who were all in the evacuation areas in the barrios and interior places. So, when the invading forces arrived in this place, the people were only too glad that the Japanese soldiers did not occupy the camp.

Meantime, the Japanese soldiers keep on coming from all parts of the country to Lipa, so they instead thought of building a large campsite for their soldiers. So, they originally constructed the present Lipa Air Base in Banaybanay and settled there through the duration of [the] war. The Japanese begin to take measures for their safety and instituted a military rule. Sentries and garrison troops were

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stationed in crossroads and in front of big buildings and houses where their soldiers were in quarters. These soldiers were so cruel and strict. Filipino civilians passing by the sentries were required to bow and were being searched for firearms. Bags and luggage were carefully examined for prohibited weapons and firearms. Those failing to bow were either slapped or kicked or, at times, clubbed by the rifle. The Japanese were then very suspicious of the Filipinos. Their policy of attraction did not give them good results for Filipinos to cooperate.

In retaliation for the cruelties and oppressive treatment given by the Japanese to the Filipinos, many men from this place joined the resistance movement. They were called guerrillas. A guerrilla base was put up in the sitio of Halang a few kilometers northwest of this place. Upon learning of these secret forces, the Japanese soldiers often raided this place. When they could not make contact with the guerrillas, they forced the civilians to give them food such as chickens, pigs, eggs, and etc. These Japanese just shot any kind of edible fowls and animals they could not catch alive. They were often seen just around your house looking for something to eat. Seriously suspecting that some of our young men in this place were guerrillas, the Japanese finally raided again this place. Some members of the guerrilla band were caught, taken to Lipa and from that time on, they were never heard of again.

[p. 12]

In the year 1943, that was October, the people of this barrio were all called to Lipa. All males only from the age of 18 above were the ones required to join this big affair which the Japanese called the Philippines Independence Day. People were, at first, reluctant to join this celebration for fear that their husbands and sons would never come back. All those who went then to Lipa were armed with pointed bamboo poles about one and a half meters long. After the big parade and meeting, the people were all released and sent home.

In the year 1944, somewhere around September, the first American planes raided the Lipa Air Base. After that, the people of this place began to evacuate. The Japanese abandoned the air base, and stayed in houses along the road. None, however, stayed in this barrio. Fearing that the American liberation forces had landed in places near Lipa, the Japanese made big dugouts and trenches in the different parts of the barrio. There was then forced labor. Work animals were being borrowed from owners for transporting their equipment to places of their retreat. Only a few of the working animals in this place were taken and were not returned. Others hid their cows and horses.

These dugouts and trenches were never used. By the year 1945, that was in January, there were but few left in the place. All were already in the evacuation areas. Some were in deep ravines and caves. Others were in Pulo Island, near Taal Volcano. This time, the Japanese

[p. 13]

were so ferocious and bent on killing all Filipinos they could see. The ransacked the barrio for food and clothing. Except for a few courageous ones, all seemed afraid at [the] sight of Japanese soldiers. The zero hour for the Japanese seemed at hand for their bestialities. The Japanese event went to the extent of wanting to massacre all the people. They issued a warning to all that, “Golden is a Filipino who will be able to see an American.” Not contented with this, they burned some houses near the school building. Thanks to the Almighty, the barrio was saved from further conflagration and remained intact until the American liberation forces reached this place.

The arrival of the United States Army in the latter part of March 1945 marked the battle for the liberation of this place. By this time, the people were rushing home from evacuation to resume their normal lives. Guerrillas were attached to American Army units in clearing the Japanese snipers and stragglers roaming around this place. Others were able to secure employment in the nearby Army camps. Some were made as carpenters, laborers, while the females earned money as laundry workers for the American soldiers. The people were never more so happy. The people could sigh in relief after a long tedious three years of occupation by the Japanese Army.

9. A. Destruction of Lives, Properties and Institutions:

1. During the years from 1896 up to the outbreak of the Pacific War (World War II), no significant destruction

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of lives and properties occurred in this place or in its sitios. In the year 1903, there was, however, the “dengue fever” that swept the whole municipality of Lipa, including this place.

B. Measures Toward Rehabilitation and Improvements after World War II:

After liberation, the first step taken to rehabilitate this place was the opening of the public school. The children, as before the war, were again sent to school. The parents and the people began reconstructing their damaged properties. They plowed the farms and began their usual work towards their economic survival. The school of this place which before the war was only a barrio school, became a complete elementary school in 1948. Formerly, there were only two teachers in this school, but now there are nine teacher with a full-pledged principal.

A year after liberation, the people began to reconstruct their demolished and burned houses. The barrio was improved and, until lately, our road was further reconstructed to become a second-class road. Trade and commerce is at present functioning normally. Coconut, copra and coffee businesses continue to be the major occupation of the people. At present, there is in this place a parochial church with its own parish priest. So religiously, economically, educationally and socially, this place has improved and is continuously in its gradual process.


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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