Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of Prenza in the Municipality of Lian, 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.
HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE OF THE BARRIO
Part One: History
Four kilometers away from the town of Lian is the small barrio of PRENZA. It is located at the hillside and is considered one of the most fertile lands of our town.
Many years ago, Prenza was popularly known as Balete. People say that its name was derived from the balete trees that grew wild in the place. [A] few of its kind can still be found growing along sugar plantations.
Prenza is a Spanish word which means irrigation dam. It is applied to the irrigation dam constructed by the Spaniards in the southeastern part of the barrio. The word became so popular that later, it became the name of the barrio itself.
The barrio of Prenza includes the sitios of Lumaniag, Balete, Cruz, Humayiñgan and Ladron. It was established in 1902. Six families were believed to have inhabited this place during the early days. They built their houses along the bank of the river where later on an irrigation dam was constructed. They lived mostly by fishing and by planting root crops, corn and rice on the small lands that they had cleared. As years went by, the number of families increased. New houses were built and Prenza, which was once upon a time a vast forest, was turned into a big corn, rice and sugar plantation.
In 1928, the road that connects Palico, Lian and Calatagan was opened. People saw great opportunity to engage in commercial activities. By means of animal-driven vehicles, they marketed their products to Nasugbu, Tuy and Balayan. Because of the increasing demand for products from here, the people left the bank of the river and moved to the roadside to make the means of travel easier. Now, most of the houses in Prenza are on the side of the road.
From the establishment of this barrio up to the present time, there have been only nine tenientes officially appointed. They were Alejandro Limjoco, Tomas Limjoco, Gavino Jonson, Luis Alla, Francisco Diño, Anastacio Jonson and Alberto Herrera.
Very few events of great importance took place in this barrio. Worthy of mention are the construction of the irrigation dam during the Spanish occupation, of the school building and of the provincial road during the American occupation.
The construction of the irrigation dam marked one step to the economic development of this barrio. Rice production has been doubled; [the] scarcity of water during the days of drought has been solved.
Part Two: Folkways
TRADITIONS, CUSTOMS AND PRACTICES IN DOMESTIC AND SOCIAL LIFE
Conception – If a conceiving woman desires any kind of fruit, [the] same should be given to her no matter how hard it is secured. It is believed that to deny her wish is bad. There are instances when a father scours the countryside, looking for a green mango in December.
Birth – Mothers who give birth do not take a bath until one month after delivery. When she does, it is some bath. Various barks and fragrant herbs are boiled in a pot of water until the water becomes black with the mixture. The fragrant black water is then poured slowly over the body.
Baptism – Long ago, after a baptism, a short ceremony takes place. The godfather or godmother hands the child to his mother. He or she recites this rhyme:
Kay kumpare ay sabihin,
Palayawin sa pagkain,
Sa palo ay gayon din.
Ang kung di mo masuheto,
Sa akin ay ibigay mo,
Nang huwag maging kargo,
Sa Diyos at sa tao.”
Courtship – When a young man visits the lady he adores, he would not sit unless he is told to do so by the elders. He kisses the hands of all the elders in the house and then sits flat on the floor. In kissing the hands, he kneels with both knees and won’t stand until after he is blessed.
Burial – When a person dies, his corpse is placed in a buri mat which is joined end to end by pointed sticks. Then, it is placed in a bamboo hammock called “biklad” and is carried to the cemetery upon the shoulders of two persons in a pole about four meters long.
Superstitious Beliefs –
2. Don’t leave your house while some members of your family are still eating. If you do so, you’ll have trouble. If you can’t help but go, you must persuade them to turn their plates three times to avoid any mishap.
3. Don’t stay on the door when one of the members of your family is on the family way if you like her to give birth easily to the child.
4. If a girl happens to eat on a broken plate during a party, she is likely to become an old maid.
5. If a spoon or fork falls when you are eating, it is a sign that you’ll have a visitor.
7. Anyone of the newly married couple who happens to come out of the church first shall be dominant over the other.
8. A person who wants to be rich should make his marriage coincide with the full moon.
9. Don’t take a bath on Tuesdays and Fridays. Sickness will be grave when you get one.
10. A person who takes a bath when one of the members of his family or his relatives is dead will get sick.
11. Don’t kill a snake inside your house. It’s presence there is a sign of prosperity to come.
12. If you like the centipede to fall from the ceiling, open your umbrella inside the house.
Proverbs and Sayings –
2. Pag may ibinitin, may titingalain.
3. Walang matigas na tutong sa taong nagugutom.
4. Ang hindi marunong lumingon sa pinanggalingan, ay hindi makararating sa paroroonan.
5. Kahoy mang babad sa tubig, kung madarang ng init ay sapilitang magdirikit.
6. Pag ang tubig ay matining, asahan mo’t malalim.
7. Nasa Diyos ang awa, nasa tao ang gawa.
8. Ang lumalakad ng matulin, kung matinik ay malalim. Ang lumalakad ng marahan, matinik man ay mababaw.
9. Magpakahaba-haba man ang prusisyon, sa simbahan din ang urong.
10. Tuso man daw ang matsin, ay napaglalalangan din.
11. Bago mo punahin ang sa ibang uling, ang uling mo muna ang iyong pahirin.
12. Ang making sa sabi-sabi ay walang bait sa sarili.
Origin of the First Man – It is said that in the beginning, there was no man. There were only the sky, the land and a tree. The tree, then, was taller and was very much bigger than the trees of today. Because of this great blessing that the tree received from God, it became very proud. Oftentimes, it swayed its green foliage with pride and boasted of its beauty to the sky and the land.
One time, when the tree saw the clear and blue sky, it shouted in anger, “Ah, poor creature, time will come when I shall conquer thy kingdom and destroy you all. My leaves and strong branches shall be known throughout as the eternal firmament.”
God heard what His creature had said and He was very angry. He knew what the tree said would never come true but as He hates one who is proud, He punished the tree. He sent a strong wind to destroy it. The tree that was once very strong was blown down. When the strong wind subsided, the tree top with its branches laid crushed on the ground. But, behold, in the trunk that still stood in its place, a man appeared.
In the silence that followed, God’s voice was heard. “From this time on, you shall be the slave of this man. He and his sons shall destroy you whenever you attempt to be proud again.”
This is the legend of the first man. People believe that he originated from the trunk of the tree which was punished by God.
The Legend of the Sampaguita Flower – Long ago, people said that there was no sampaguita flower. They believed that once, when Mary was walking in the meadow with Baby Jesus, the Baby felt hungry. Mary gave Him her milk. It happened that particles of her milk dropped on the grass and immediately became small flowers. It was then called sampaguita because of its sweet odor and its purity.
Method of Measuring Time – The people of the past used to measure time by the position of the sun. They said it was noon when the sun was directly overhead. It was morning when the sun was just beginning to rise, and it was late in the afternoon when the sun was already setting.