San Diego, Lian, Batangas: Historical Data - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore San Diego, Lian, Batangas: Historical Data - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

San Diego, Lian, Batangas: Historical Data

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

Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of San Diego 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.

[p. 1]

Part One: History

1. Facing the blue waters of the China Sea, west of the town of Lian, is a small barrio famous in song and story. Its ideal geographic location and enchanting sceneries grip the heart with wonder, joy and happiness. This barrio is known by its official name San Diego.

2. The barrio is popularly called “San Digo” by the inhabitants. The difference in spelling and pronunciation from the official name may be attributed to the early inhabitants who mispronounced the word Diego to “Digo.” Unconsciously and without regard to the correct pronunciation, the people were accustomed to call the barrio “San Digo.” This incorrect pronunciation was handed down from its early inhabitants to the present. It is sad to state, however, that like many other places in the Philippines, the history of this barrio is not amply documented by printed records and manuscript literature, neither supported by pictures of actual events. There is no record to show the origin of its name or its derivation. There is, however, the historical possibility that it was taken from the name of a saint named San Diego.

The barrio of San Diego has to its credit 10 sitios, namely: Ligas, Baldeo, Caloongan, Tan-ag, Altura, Tulay-na-lupa, Palasanan, Bungahan, Kay Kambing, and Kay Sampaye. The sitio of Ligas got its name from a native tree commonly known as “ligas,” and which grows in abundance in the place. The name “Baldeo” is a native term for barren land. The sitio is so-called because there was a time many years ago that the land did not yield good harvest. The sitio of Caloongan has no known derivation or origin. The name Tan-ag is also derived from a native tree known as “tan-ag.” Altura is derived from the Spanish word “altura” which means height or altitude. The place is so-called because it [is] comprised of high lands. Tulay-na-lupa is a name consisting of three Tagalog words combined. “Tulay” means bridge, “na” means of, and “lupa” means land. The sitio is so-called because of the topographical formation of the land which is like a bridge. Palasanan has no known meaning or derivation. Bungahan is one, if not, [of] the biggest sitios of San Diego, with inhabitants sufficient to form and maintain a barrio in the future. But one unique characteristic of the sitio is that it is peopled by one clan, the Vergara clan which grew in number until almost all the inhabitants have the same family name. Bungahan is [a] Tagalog name derived from “bunga” (betel nut) which is used for chewing by older folks. Kay Kambing is another name consisting of two Tagalog words. It is derived from the word “kambing” which is a Tagalog name for goat.

3. The barrio of San Diego was established in the year 1918.

[p. 2]

4. In the beginning, there were but [a] few families who settled in the place. Originally, in San Diego proper, they were Placido de los Reyes and Adriano Rosales, and in the sitio of Bungahan, Venancio Vergara and Maria Chongco.

5. The barrio tenientes who served from the earliest time to date, arranged in the order according to their terms of service, are the following:

1. Pedro Roque
2. Cirilo Rivera
3. Marciano Vergara
4. Simeon Botones
5. Teofilo Mandac
6. Dionisio Delgado

6. The sitio of Palasanan, which was formerly inhabited by seven families, was bought by a wealthy person from Bungahan, and said inhabitants were forced to leave the place and settle in the neighboring sitios. The place is now devoted to agriculture.

7. San Diego Point, because of its location and towering height is considered an important site for purposes of navigation, both in time of peace and in time of war. At the start of the last war, this point was utilized by our Armed Forces as their Observation Post because movements of the enemy on land, air and sea could easily be seen from the top. Later, during the Japanese occupation, it was fortified by the Japanese Imperial Forces that resisted against American attacks for almost three hours at dawn of January 31, 1945.

8. (a) The place was still uninhabited during the Spanish occupation, and therefore, no data could be gathered.

(b) In the beginning, the place was a virgin forest and the first settlers had experienced a real pioneering work. After years of hard and perilous toil, the land was cleared and planted to different kinds of crops. These pioneers honestly and in good faith believed that the land they had cleared belonged to them. But, surprisingly and unfortunately, these lands were claimed by the Colegio San Jose as friar lands belonging to it. As a result, they were deprived of the ownership of their lands despite their bitter opposition against such [a] claim. However, the occupants were given the privilege to possess the lands only as mere tenants of the Colegio de San Jose, which [in] fact remains even up to the present time. Later, in line with the government’s social program, to ameliorate the living conditions of the poor and the landless, a portion of the big landed estate of Colegio de San Jose, which included some sitios in San Diego, was bought by the government through the Rural Progress Administration, now Bureau of Lands, to be distributed to the occupants at cost, but still the occupants are unable to pay the purchase price.

(c) When the Japanese invaded the Philippines, the barrio of San Diego was one of those places occupied by the Japanese soldiers, using the school house as their quarters. Fearing the Japanese for their known atrocities, the inhabitants evacuated and sought refuge in other places, leaving the barrio a deserted place.

[p. 3]

As a consequence, agriculture and fishing, which were the main occupations of the people, were paralyzed, and the economic condition of the barrio was a complete wreck. Aside from this fact, the school was closed, thereby hampered to a great extent the education of the large segment of school children in the barrio.

The most horrible and tragic event that took place in the barrio during the last world war was the brutal execution of some Filipino guerrillas by the Japanese soldiers on January 16, 1945. These guerrillas were picked up by the Japanese in Lian when the town was zonified. They were hogtied and brought to San Diego beach where they were executed on that fateful day of January 16, 1945.

Exactly two weeks after the infamous incident, the day of retribution came for the Japanese, but on the one hand a day of fulfillment by the Americans to their solemn pledge to return. At dawn of January 31, 1945, the American Liberation Forces unexpectedly shelled the western coast of Batangas, and made a simultaneous landing in Nasugbu and San Diego beach. The Japanese who offered resistance in San Diego were completely annihilated. The guerrillas joined the liberation forces in the fight against the enemy, while the civilians offered their services to help the Americans in any capacity.

After liberation, the inhabitants of the barrio returned to their homes, and with new hope and life, they started to work again on their farms, while others engaged in fishing. Since then, the inhabitants began to live normally, more houses were built and more stores opened.

Realizing their bitter experiences during the last war, the need for divine and spiritual guidance was felt among the inhabitants and became followers of three different religions, namely: the Roman Catholic, Seventh Day Adventis, and the Church of Christ (Iglesia ni Cristo), the latter having a chapel built outside the barrio proper.

9. (a) No data could be gathered for the period from 1896 to 1900 as the barrio was not yet created.

When World War II broke out in December 1941, a unit of the Philippine Army brought tanks to San Diego for their beach defense, passing through sugarcane fields which caused destruction to sugarcane plants. However, no destruction to lives of persons is known during this latter period.

(b) A few of the inhabitants whose properties were destroyed during the war were paid by the former War Damage Commission. Likewise, heirs and dependents of deceased veterans filed their claims with the different agencies of the United States Government, and some of them are now receiving pensions as well as other benefits.

Of great interest to the farmers of this barrio was the distribution of fertilizers by the government to help them increase the production of their farms.

[p. 4]

Immediately after the liberation in 1945, the schoolhouse that was slightly damaged was repaired and classes for Grade One were opened. Later, three more classes were added and there is now a complete primary grades [department] with two teachers assigned.

Part Two: Folkways

10. The barrio folks hold tightly to the fundamental concepts that for them constituted the primary virtues in life. They hold tightly to a way of life which is found in their proverbs, in the songs they sing, in the life they live, in birth and in the kind of death which marks the end of their lives. Courtesy is one of the chief virtues which they practice in their everyday lives in their relations with one another. This is evident from the use of the word “po” which means “sir.” The word “po” is never omitted when one addresses another, especially the elders, parents and strangers. It is an expression of reverence, of respect and courtesy, that essentially reflects the refinement and culture of the one speaking.

Birth – Whenever a mother is going to give birth, the practice is to call a quack-midwife (hilut) to assist the delivery of the child. The quack-midwife is usually an old woman who practices her trade by crude and primitive ways, using herbs and other plants for medicine. As soon as the child is born, it is wrapped and placed beside the mother never to be exposed outside for a number of days. Then, the parents name the child after the name of a person selected from names appearing in the calendar, born on the same day the child was born.

Baptism: Before the child is baptized, it is the tradition in the place that the parents ask the favor of somebody, usually a respectable person in the community, to act as godfather or godmother as the case may be. It most cases, the person asked to act as godfather or godmother does not refuse. Then, it is also the custom of the place to pre-baptize the child, which is termed by the inhabitants as “buhos tubig.” [The] Pre-Baptism ceremony is performed in the house of the parents by an older person, by pouring a small quantity of water on the head of the child, at the same time uttering his ceremonial words.

The next stage is, of course, the baptism proper. It is the common practice among the parents of the child to give a baptismal party after the ceremony. Then, the godfather or godmother gives something to the child on the occasionof the baptism, a gift which is called by them as “pakimkim.” The parents of the child give also something to the godfather or godmother in return.

Courtship: The etiquette in the barrio in matters of courtship is rather rigorous. The boy is allowed to visit the girl not beyond 8 o’clock in the evening, and while the boy and girl are talking to each other, the parents of the latter sit near them and keep watch until the boy leaves. Sometimes, it takes years of courtship before the boy is accepted, aside from the fact that he has to undergo trials and sacri-

[p. 5]

fices. One of these trials is the rendering of service to the family of the girl (paninilbihan), and this service may last for years depending on whether he is favored by all the members of the family of the girl. But, this service may be terminated if it is found afterwards that the boy has shown himself not acceptable. Besides the service rendered by the boy, the parents of the girl may ask or request for a dowry such as a house, feast, or working animals and others of similar nature.

Marriage: After all trials and requests are complied with, the boy is gratefully accepted and the wedding day is set. When that day comes, everything is prepared for the wedding ceremony and for the party. The prospective bride has to wake up early in the morning for the wedding, and special precautions are taken to avoid any incident which may be considered as omens of bad luck for the couple. During the wedding ceremony, the veil is used as a symbol of unity, for the couple is to reside under one roof. The ring symbolizes the union of the two hearts. Coins are used also to represent the worldly possessions of the couple. From the church to the home of the bride and groom, grains of rice are thrown on the pathway as a symbol of prosperity. In ascending the house where the festivities are held, the bride and groom carry lighted candles that the path may be clear for a happy union, thus averting discords, quarrels and unhappiness in married life. Then follows the serving of breakfast or lunch, with the newlyweds eating from the same plate to show their sharing with each other whatever one or the other possesses. When visitors are gone, the newlyweds visit the relatives and kiss their hands.

Death: When a person dies, it is the custom in the barrio for the relatives and close friends of the deceased to visit the dead and pay respects. Some give alms in money, chickens or anything which may help the bereaved family. At night, they gather in the house to keep vigil, while the younger folks play many kinds of games.

Burial: Members of the family of the deceased as well as relatives and friends join the funeral to the cemetery and return home when the dead is already buried. After the burial, solemn prayers are held for nine consecutive nights, for the salvation and repose of the dead’s soul. At the ninth day, a feast is given for those who may come to attend.

11. Superstitions: It is interesting to note that the people in the barrio are firm believers in supernatural powers. For instance, they believe in “anting-anting” and the healing powers of quack doctors. They also believe that to take a bath on Tuesday and Friday is bad, because when a person takes a bath on those days, and gets sick due to bathing, his sickness will become serious. Likewise, it is bad to take a bath on the 31st of the month, because by so doing, he may meet a sudden death while bathing. They avoid tears to fall on the body of a dead person because when tears fall upon him, his soul will never reach heaven. It is also a common belief among the barrio folks that when All Saints Day falls on a bright moonlit night, plants will be destroyed by insects.

Resource Person: [Sgd.] Pedro Montealegre

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12. Popular songs: [The] Most popular songs among the barrio folks are “Bahay Kubo,” and “Paroparong Bukid.” Lullaby songs are sung by older folks, while the younger ones sing the modern songs.

Games: Softball, “tubigan,” and “sungka.” Hide and seek and prisoner game among children.
Resource Person: [Sgd.] Pedro Roque

13. Puzzles and Riddles:

“Which came out first, egg or hen? (Ans: Hen) “Alina ng una, itlog o manok?” (Sagot: Manok)

“There are two cats, one is facing the east and the other is facing the north [west]. Why can they see each other?” (Ans: They face each other.) “Mayroong dalawang pusa, ang harap ng isa ay sa kanluran at ang isa ay sa silangan. Bakit sila nagkakakitaan?” (Sagot: Sila ay magkaharap.)

“The negro passed by, the people died.” (Ans: Night) “Dumaan ang negro, nagkamatay ang tao.” (Sagot: Gabi)

“It is breakable when new, unbreakable when it grows old.” (Ans: Cement) “Pag bago’y mahuna, matibay pag naluma.” (Sagot: Semento)

14. Proverbs:

It is easy to be born a man, but it is difficult to behave like a gentleman. (Madali ang maging tao, nguni’t mahirap ang magpakatao.)

[A] Sleeping shrimp is carried by the current. (Ang hipong tulog ay nadadala ng agos.)

Look and you will find. (Maghanap at makakakita.)

Resource Person: [Sgd.] Pablo Apilan

15. Methods of measuring time: People in the barrio can tell the time by looking at the position of the sun and, at night, by looking at the position of the stars.

16. Other folktales: “Ibong Adarna” is a story often narrated by the old folks to their children. “Luis Bayani” is a story about a prince who won many battles in the olden days. This story is sometimes played in the stage known as “Comedia,” during the barrio fiesta.

Resource Person: [Sgd.] Simeon Botones

Part Three: Other Information

17. No information on books and documents treating of the Philippines because no materials of those kinds exists.

18. No Filipino authors born or residing in the barrio.

[p. 7]

Respectfully submitted by the Committee:
)Joint Chairmen

Head Teacher

Head Teacher

Head Teacher

Head Teacher

(Miss) E. F. MARASIGAN, Member




April 30, 1953

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