Anilao, Mabini, Batangas: Historical Data Part I - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Anilao, Mabini, Batangas: Historical Data Part I - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Anilao, Mabini, 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 Anilao in the Municipality of Mabini, 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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1. Present official name of the barrio – ANILAO

2. Popuar name of the barrio, present and past; derivation and meanings of these names. Names of sitios included within the territorial jurisdiction of the barrio.

a. Past popular name of the barrio –
Janao-janao – derived from the geographical shape and feature of the land and water comprising the barrio.
b. Present popular name of the barrio –
Dagatan – Name given by inland fish peddlers to the little body of water west of the peninsula of Buang.
c. Names of sitios –
(1) Puntang Kawayan (6) Tamauyanan
(2) Lagundi (7) Taal-taalan
(3) Perasan (8) Putol-na-Karsada
(4) Bukana (9) Tibagan
(5) Anilao Proper (Ilaya) (10) Gulod

3. Date of establishment – Latter part of the Spanish occupation.

4. Original families:
a. Buenviaje b. Evangelista c. Amboy d. Anter

5. List of tenientes from the earliest time to date:

Cabesang Venancio (from Bauan)Simon Axalan
Jose EvangelistaFausto Manalo
Feliciano BuenviajeCirso Boongaling
Eusebio AmboyCeledonio Panopio
Guardiano AlcaydeFelipe Boongaling
Ambrocio BoongalingRemegio Brucal
Jacinto AsiloIgnacio Casapao
Higino MasangcayPablo Casapao
Nicomedes GuiaPablo Buenviaje
Santiago AxalanBernabe Abanador
Daniel Alcayde

6. Story of old barrios or sitios within the jurisdiction that are now depopulated or extinct – None.

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7. Important facts, incidents or events that took place

(a) During the Spanish occupation – None significant.

(b) During the American occupation to World War II-
The coming of the American forces – March, 1901. Fighting and burning of Sinonog. The Filipino defense was under the command of Capitang Kiko Castillo. Many Filipino soldiers died.
(c) During and after World War II-

November 1, 1944 – Evacuation of the inhabitants to the neighboring barrios such as Solo, Bagalangit, to Culbo, to Loklok, to Maricaban Island and others to Mindoro. The whole barrio of Anilao was occupied by Japanese forces.

January 19 & 21, 1945 – Bombardment of Anilao by American Air and Naval forces.

March 14, 1945 – The coming of the American forces and the liberation of the barrio from Japanese rule.

8. (a) Destruction of lives, properties and institutions during wars, especially in 1896-1900 and 1941-1945.

During the occupation of the Japanese in this barrio from November 1, 1944 to March 14, 1945, all properties of the inhabitants were destroyed.

During the bombardment of the American Air and Naval forces, the whole village was burnt. However, there was no death casualty among the inhabitants.

(b) Measures and accomplishments toward rehabilitation and reconstruction following World War II.

War damage claims of the inhabitants in property were granted by the U.S. War Claims Commission.


9. Traditions, customs and practices in domestic and social life, birth, baptism, courtship, marriage, death, burial, visits, festivals, punishments, etc.

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In our small but picturesque barrio, there are various traditions and practices relative to birth which still persist even in this atomic era. These practices date back as far as the early days of the Spanish regime. Said practices now stand as an eloquent testimony to the superstitious nature of our ancestors, the same having been handed down from generation to generation. Although never recorded, clear traces of these practices have not been effaced by time and modernism.

Just as the mother is about to bring forth the child, it becomes imperative that she lives with her natural parents and not with the in-laws. It does not matter whether they leave the conjugal home and reside temporarily in her parents abode – the thing is, the mother should deliver her baby under the roof of the parents’ dwelling.

If the mother’s labor period difficulty is felt, the father is asked to undo whatever he has built or planted in the last preceding days. He should loosen what has been tied or constructed. This, the old folks say, will induce an easy delivery for the mother. Visitors who flock at doorways on the occasion of a mother’s delivery are requested to come inside, with the least hesitation. Neither are they allowed to stay or loaf in the balcony or outside the main door, lest they prolong the suffering of the mother.

The infant’s first bath consists of warm water in a basin where a pencil, a piece of paper and coins of different denominations have been submerged. It is the belief that in this way, the baby will become a good learner and prosperous in the near future. As soon as the bath is over the baby is carried for a while in the arms of a prominent relative or visitor whose good moral traits and integrity, they say, are worthy of emulation by the newly born baby. They are not permitted to stay in the same spot where the delivery had been made.

The disposition of the baby’s placenta is also in strict accord with an old practice. It is kept in a drinking glass, also with a piece of paper and pencil. Then, the glass is buried in a standing position more preferable under the house not heated by the sun nor wet by the rain. Pre-

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caution should be noted that it will never be in the ground of low level. This, the superstitious folks will tell you, makes the baby intelligent and prominent.


In the choice of the child’s godfather or godmother, the paternal and maternal grandparents have the final say. This is particularly true if the baby is the first child of the couple. After the selection, the manner of informing the would-be godfather or godmother follows and old, old pattern. The paternal and maternal grandparents direct the affair again. In going to the prospective sponsor’s residence, they carry with them the traditional “hecho” consisting of ikmo leaves, lime, betel nut, and chewing tobacco. Cigarettes, too, are essential. To some, bottles of wine or just as necessary as the first two.

On the occasion of the baptism, there are also certain practices which the people of our barrio observed meticulously. Before the baby is brought to church, the mother makes it a point to talk under the baby’s outer wear some coins of the bigger denominations. Once inside the church, and especially during the baptismal rites, the sponsor cautiously keeps the candlelight burning. It is generally believed that the baby will not live a long life if the light goes off during the ceremony. Great care is also taken to ward off any possibility of the child’s cap or veil from falling while the rights are on for the same reason as given above.

Immediately after the ceremony, there is a rush for the door when the child has been baptized together with some other children. It is believed that the first baby to be carried out of the church will live an enviable life and will certainly be successful in every endeavor.

On the way home, the driver of the conveyance is under strict orders to refrain from making unnecessary stops. The vehicle must be driven directly home without picking up any rider. No turning back is allowed.

Upon arrival at home, the baby is handed over to the mother by the sponsor. Meanwhile, incense is burned and the holy scent is allowed to permeate the atmosphere. The mother finally takes care of undressing the baby. She neatly holds the baptismal apparel and returns the same to the innermost drawer of the family’s cabinet. By doing so, it is averred that when the child matures, he or she will never have [leave] the parental home without the express consent

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of the family head.

When the Ninong or the Ninang is about to leave, he [or she] tucks under the baby’s pillow something like money, jewelry, or dresses which is called gift or “pakimkim.”

The foregoing roughly illustrates practices of ancient origin and which may appear very ridiculous to us as they have stayed with our forefathers for generations.

Reported by:

(Miss) Lorenza M. Medrano

(Miss) Leodegaria Balino

(A n i l a o)


Courtship in our locality during the early days was very unique. This was done not by the young man alone but it was the parents who played an important role. The parents’ part was so important that at times, a young man was married to a girl without knowing each other except only at the time they were about to be married. Usually, they were married at an early age. This was accomplished in the following manner: a man who had a son tried to look for a girl to whom he would like his son for a life partner. Sometimes, if a young man happened to see a girl of his choice, he did not express his love to the girl but told his parents about it. The parents would then hire a wise man in the village called “maggagrado” or a prophet to foretell the future of the couple-to-be. When the prophecy was favorable, then the courtship began. (Before all courtships where started, the prophecies of the trusted “maggagrado” were first sought.) The parents of the young man tried to win the admiration of the girl’s parents by going often to the house of the girl to converse about social life and to bring presents. When intimacy was established, the mission of the girl’s father was expressed. Every now and then, lovable gifts are brought of the family of the girl. The specialties are “kalamay, marabuya,” sweets, squid, octopus and many other things that they thought would interest the family of the girl.

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Most cases, they often selected the octopus to be sent first. This, they said, was good because the tentacles of this octopus, once they clung to an object, could hardly be removed, so they correlated it with love. Other things being done were: the parents of the young man hired some men to bring bundles of firewood. These were placed under the house in the center. Other mean filled all the containers in the girl’s house and the relatives, likewise with water, while others did the pounding of palay. All these were surprise activities and done at night during full moon. After all things were done, the parents of the girl sent words to the man’s parents to come to their home. The man’s parents informed of the message, prepared at once to go to the girl’s house together with the hired mediator to talk about the matter. They usually brought with them, wine, rice, and boiled chicken and these where to be eaten by the girl’s family. Then, an agreement was entered into by the two parties. There were times when the agreement was to let the young man serve the girl’s family for a number of years. He was expected to do practically all the work of the family. The young man was in this stage, his parents during Christmas or fiestas sent meat about ½ or ¼ the whole size of a pig. Then, they were busy in the home preparing a special meal because someone had been sent to invite the girl surprisingly while she was on her way home from the church. When the young man learned that the girl would attend processions, he at once secured the biggest candle, decorated it with colored paper for the girl to use. In these early days, girls using very big candles during processions where understood to be having a suitor. During harvest season, the young man’s parents selected his best rice field for the girl and her family to harvest. They were the ones responsible for supplying the girl with nicely made baskets (takoyan) and knives (yatat) nicely decorated. Then, the young man with all the other members of the family, do the hauling and the threshing. This rice was sometimes not divided anymore but they were all given to the girl.

When the man had sufficiently served the girl’s family during this courtship days, the girl’s father might summon again the young man’s parents to talk about the marriage.


In the early days, contracts of marriage in this locality were arranged by the parents. That is, the families of both parties got their mediators for the contract. The mediators might be the same persons as those they requested during the courtship. As usual, the family of

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of the groom brings food and wine to the home of the bride and an agreement is entered into between the two families as to what the groom and his family should do for the household of the bride. Such agreements included the repair of the house, preparations they would have for the wedding, the amount of money to be spent in buying the matrimonial clothes, selecting the sponsors for the wedding, the dowry and many other things that the parents of the bride might like to ask. Usually, these were not finished in one meeting. It sometimes took 3 to 4 meetings before it became final. Then, finally a day was selected to file the application and prepare the wedding contracts in the church and in the municipal building. When this was done, the groom was no longer allowed to perform hard work for they said he was susceptible to accidents. Then, one or two weeks before the marriage, the bride and the groom, together with their relatives, arranged going to town to buy the wedding clothes. Then, a day is fixed for the sewing, and it should be done in the house of the girl. All trouble and expenses were shouldered by the family of the groom. When the dresses were finished, the bride was not allowed to fit it but to put it on right on the day of the marriage for the belief that something might happen and cause discontinuance of the marriage. A week also before the marriage, someone was sent to all the relatives of the bride to announce and invite them to attend the wedding. Weddings like this served as a family reunion. Then, on the day before the marriage, the family of the groom prepared the things to be used like plates, glasses and everything that were needed for the party. They usually prepared “suman” and “calamay.” Among the several hundred suman they cooked, they prepared a pair of the special size called “bugtong” which would be eaten by the couple after the marriage. On the eve of the marriage, the family of the groom took the food and everything to the home of the bride. They prepared dinner and served all the members of the family of the bride. The relatives of the groom, the cousins, uncles and aunts did the serving and entertaining in the home of the bride. On that day also, the family of the groom brought something to the house of their selected sponsor and this was the “dulot” as they called it. This usually consisted of bread especially made for the occasion, one or two dozen suman and a dozen chocolates nicely placed on a big winnower and nicely decorated together with a live pig which was entirely black. The pig was placed in a container resembling a float and on top of it were chickens on every corner.

The Wedding Day – The couple woke up very, very early to dress up for the wedding. The ceremony was done in the church solemnized by a priest. Before leaving for the church, the parents of both parties gave the bride and groom coins which were placed under their feet inside


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