Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of Sapac 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.
A SHORT HISTORY OF SAPAC
Sapac, a barrio five kilometers away from the heart of the City of Lipa, has a fascinating history. Its official name is “Sapac.” Nobody can tell its origin. Munting Pulo and Sto. Niño were formerly within the jurisdiction of Sapac, which made this barrio among the largest barrios in Lipa. Recently, two barrios emerged from it resulting into the creation of two new barrios, namely, Munting Pulo and Sto. Niño.
The original families were the ancestors of the wealthy Titulars, in the industrious Movens, the religious Olaves, the well-to-do Poses, the thrifty Saludos and the simple de Torreses.
The names of the barrio lieutenants from the earliest date to the present are the following:
1. Anselmo Mea
2. Candido Titular
3. Gabriel Saludo
4. Gregorio Mendoza
5. Manuel Moven
6. Froctuso Pose
7. Manuel Atienza
8. Alejo Titular, and others beyond mentioned.
The people in this barrio were naturally hard-working and thrifty. Since the Spanish time, agriculture was the principal industry of the people. Large tracts of land were under cultivation. [A] Variety of crops were raised and different kinds of fruit trees were planted, such as coffee, oranges, cacao, lanzones, bananas, etc. As we know that the people in Sapac were industrious and economical, they prospered by leaps and bounds. Thus, this place became one of the wealthiest barrios in Lipa City. We can see the general condition these days that Sapac is a prosperous community.
The people were not only economically self-sufficient but also lovers of education as well. Schools were established under the Spanish Government in this barrio but each school was managed by a parish priest. Despite the obstacles that confronted our forefathers in their struggle for education, some could be mentioned who succeeded in obtaining their education: Sotero Pesa, Leopoldo Olave, Rev. Father Gualberto Latorre, Norberto Dimaano, Teofilo de Torres and etc.
The whole population of the barrio suffered during World War II. The brutal and heartless Japanese soldiers seized the foodstuffs of the people, such as rice, corn, chickens, hogs and even work animals. Besides, the inhabitants were forced to render service to the Japanese Imperial Force by requiring them to carry their war
supplies to distant places. Many of these people never returned to their families. The most tragic moment was when the “Makapilis,” usually Filipinos who turned traitors to their country, came to this barrio with the godless Japanese soldiers, massacred 3,000 men, women, and children. Those who were fortunate to survive fled to some places for refuge.
Liberation came and American forces arrived in this city. There was rejoicing everywhere. People from all parts of Lipa came to greet the liberators.
Natives of Sapac returned to their homes. They began to live a new life. They worked in the soldiers’ camp to obtain their food and clothing.
The Spanish-Filipino War and the Filipino-American War of 1896-1901 brought very little destruction to the people. Unlike World War II, which gave us the greatest number of mortality. Some brave sons of this barrio went to the battlefields for the cause of freedom. Valentin Isaga, Leonardo Acusa, Felipe Moven, Alejo Balines and Eusebio de Torres are worthy to be mentioned.
After World War II, Sapac began to rise gradually from poverty to prosperity through the aid of the U.S. – Philippines War Damage Commission and the U.S. Rehabilitation Act of 1946. Many people received money for their lost properties. Families of Filipino soldiers who died in Bataan during World War II were given pension benefits and insurance. Thus marked their material progress. We may conclude that Sapac is one of the most progressive barrios in Lipa City today.
One thing very significant is the religious trait of the people in this community. There is but only one religion of the people, that is the Roman Catholic. Many of them go to town every Sunday and Holy Days of Obligation. The barrio folks observe their barrio fiesta every 15th of May. Besides, they have also the “Flores de Mayo,” for the whole month of May.
When it comes to birth, baptism, marriage, burial, visits and deaths, the natives, the people being so religious, observe strictly the church rules and regulations.
The spirit of neighborliness prevails among them. They help one another when there is an occasion for helping their neighbors. They are naturally happy, contented and peaceful. In baptismal or wedding parties, old and young folks dance the “rigodon” and “tuble.”
Like other people, the natives of this barrio have some beliefs and superstitions. When a man dies, his soul goes to the other world to receive reward or punishment. Close relatives and friends who come to visit the family of the deceased offer prayers to the dead. There is a “novena” for nine days. On the fourth and ninth days, there is a celebration for each date. The family of the dead person mourns for one year or more.
People in this barrio believe in witches as “manggagaway,” “asuang,” “tigbalang,” “ike,” etc. According to them, these are living persons who have the power to harm normal persons and give some injuries. The “pati-anak,” which cries at night like that of a newly-born baby, frightens the passers-by. They even have [a] conclusion that when a pregnant woman cuts her hair, she will have a hairless baby. When she eats twin bananas or any twin fruits, a twin baby is expected. If a young girl sings before a stove, she is liable to marry a widower.
Besides being superstitious, these barrio folks, especially the men, believe in anting-anting and the “gayuma.”
Though these people are superstitious, they believe that God Almighty created the world, and all things that can be seen such as the caves, lakes, seas, rivers, plants, animals, sun, moon, stars, eclipse, lightning, thunder, the changes of climate and other natural phenomena were also the will of God.
Proverbs and Sayings:
1. He who walks fast will be thorned deep.
2. Birds of [the] same feathers flock together.
3. The santol tree will not bear a guava fruit.
4. [The] Early bird catches the worm.
5. Everything has its even end.
As far as the old folks could remember, no author was born or resided in Sapac. But there was one person, Judge Eusibio Lopez, who was born in this barrio during the Spanish time. He became a lawyer and a judge. Later on, he was one of the delegates to the Constitutional Convention on July 30, 1934.
STORY OF “PUTING KAWAYAN”
“Puting Kawayan,” which means white bamboo, grew in the barrio of Sapac in the year 1915. The bamboo groves were owned by late Alejo Titular, who was during this time a barrio lieutenant. The “Puting Kawayan” was the longest bamboo that ever grew in the locality, estimated to have been sixteen meters long.
It grew in the southwestern part of the present Sapac Elementary School. Many people from different towns came to see the Puting Kawayan. After four years, the “Puting Kawayan” was cut down and brought to the barrio’s chapel.
The Puting Kawayan was made into a chair and, at present, many people could still see the “puting kawayan” inside the chapel.
From the time when the “Puting Kawayan” was brought inside the chapel, people always had [a] good harvest every year. So, all the people agreed to make a patron and name it San Isidro, with a plow on his back.
Every May 15th, the people of Sapac are celebrating their barrio fiesta, thanking their patron and the “Puting Kawayan” for their good harvest.