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January 3, 2018

Aya, San Jose, Batangas: Historical Data

Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of Aya in the Municipality of San Jose, 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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DIVISION OF BATANGAS
District of San Jose
AYA SCHOOL

HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE OF THE BARRIO

Part One: History

1. Present official name of the barrio – AYA

2. Popular name of the barrio
(a) Present – AYA
(b) Past – AYA
(c) Derivation and meaning of this name –
It came from the word “kaaya-aya,” which means [a] peaceful and wonderful place to live in due to the strategic and beautifully arranged buildings or houses of the people living in this barrio and adjoining sitios.
(d) Sitios –
1. Bilaran
2. Paligawan

3. Date of establishment –
As early as the 18th century.

4. Original families –
About four hundred (400) families.

5. List of tenientes from the earliest time to date –
 1.  Ubaldo Mercado 11. Sebastian Hidalgo
 2.  Jose Laroza 12. Suzimo Castillo
 3.  Pedro Hernandez 13. Eustaquio Umali
 4.  Manuel Hidalgo 14. Cosme Juminto
 5.  Matias Juminto 15. Alejo Dimaculangan
 6.  Manuel Mapalad 16. Alejandro Lambit
 7.  Angel Mapalad 17. Geronimo Liwanag
 8.  Alejo Mapalad 18. Brigido Matienzo
 9.  Raymundo Magnaye 19. Geronimo Liwanag (twice appt'd)
10. Gregorio Munda 20. Geronimo Liwanag (since World War II to the present time)
6. Story of old sitios within the jurisdiction –
a. Bilaran – This sitio is a wide level plain with rich farmlands east of the present barrio of Aya. It is separated by a rivulet from the west. The name was derived from the olden times that once this place had been popular in coffee production that people usually dried the coffee fruits or seedlings on the land for preservation. The dried seeds are then stored for future use and for the higher cost when sold. They called the place “Bilaran ng cape.” From that time, people used to call this place Bilaran, hence, this was carried from father to son.
b. Paligawan – This sitio is north of the barrio proper which the people in the old days used to let loose their animals to graze, being a grassy land and thick forest. The place served as corrals for animals and bounded by thick forests, hence, people used to call it “Paligawan,” meaning corral for domesticated animals.

7. Data of historical sites, structures, buildings, old ruins, etc.
Big and beautiful houses that once were [the] envy of the passers-by had been demolished or burned by the “insurrectos” or the Americans during the Spanish-American War as a means of the “scorched earth policy.” A two-story building of adobe stones and galvanized iron had been the object of the search by the Guardia Civil due to the owner of this house, who was a sister to the “Capitan Maxi,” a local insurrecto chief. When the terms of surrender were not fulfilled, the house was burned by the American soldiers.

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8. Important facts, incidents or events that took place-
a. During the Spanish occupation – None
b. During the American occupation to World War II –
The Americans came and burned nearly all [the] houses of the barrio of Aya in November 1901. When the American soldiers failed to see and capture the two captains of the “Insurrectos” supposed to be hiding in this barrio and natives of this barrio, they ordered all residents of the place evacuated to the poblacion and burned all houses found in the vicinity. Some people evacuated to Lipa while the others went to the poblacion of San Jose.
c. During and after World War II –
On February 24, 1943, the adjoining barrio of Lapolapo 1st was massacred by the Japanese kempetais and killed 34 persons caught in their abodes. Some of these soldiers reached the southern portion of this barrio but found no inhabitants. No casualty had been done except by killing domesticated animals found within their grasp.

When liberation came, some Japanese stragglers hid near the river bank of Aya. American soldiers belonging to the 11th Airborne Division stationed in San Jose came to see the said stragglers but, unluckily, a brave native accompanied them to the place and was shot to death. From that time, the guerrillas hunted the place and killed two of them. A few of them were able to snipe somewhere.

9. (a) A few natives suspected to have been with the Insurrectos were punished by drinking water but none was killed during the American occupation in 1901. Houses were burned and properties damaged. In 1941-1945, the Japanese damaged the properties by collecting all available foodstuffs, animals, poultry, etc. found in the neighborhood. One native was killed by the snipers. An American plane by mistake strafed the northern portion of the barrio during the latter part of 1944 and dropped bombs, thus burning a house of light materials, but no casualties.

(b) Schools were opened and repaired. Roads were cleared but no constructions were made to date.

Part Two – FOLKWAYS

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

(a) Baptism –
A child who was newly born was baptized at once by a priest in the parochial church. A newly-born baby who has not been baptized must be watched throughout the night by a person for fear of being molested by a witch or by someone with evil intentions.

(b) Birth –
Birth was usually attended by a midwife called locally the “hilot.” The hilot is schooled by experience only. He or she used a pair of scissors to cut the cord of the newly-born child. She massaged all parts of the body of the mother with coconut oil. This is done every morning and afternoon for 15 consecutive days. The mother is usually not permitted to stay outdoors for a month.

(c) Courtship –
The parents of the young man were the ones to select for the future bride of the son. The son should abide by the decision of the parents. Usually, the son’s parents insinuated the courtship. The parents felt elated in this case and they prepared elaborate weddings – the eve, the marriage day, and after the wedding day, pigs, chickens, or cows were butchered to feed the friends of both parties. On the day, the first servings were given to the bride and groom with the relatives of the bride on the table.

The marriage was simple. The priest performed it in the church. There were sponsors chosen by both parties. When the ceremony was over, the bride and the groom went to the bride’s home for the feast. At the end of the party, there was the offering of

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gifts usually in terms of cash [and] other tangible things for future use by the newly-wed couple. Then the bride, with the boy’s relatives and friends, went to the groom’s home, leaving alone the groom in the bride’s home until evening. A responsible one was assigned to break the pot at the portals of the bride’s home before she left away. Shouts and laughter were heard. People rejoiced for the homecoming of the bride. Reaching the groom’s house, another reception for the neighbors and friends lasted till evening.

(d) Death and burial –
A person dying is assisted by one who is well-versed in prayers. This person prays for the salvation of his soul so that his soul will go to heaven.

After death, his body is cleaned with a towel and warm water before putting on the best suit, stockings, shoes, and other things. He is allowed to carry with him any trinkets or ornaments for he will be refused in heaven. His body is put in a coffin and buried in a deep pit in the cemetery.



(e) Children are not allowed to be present when there is a visitor in the house. The visitors and the parents are the only ones allowed to talk and welcome visitors.

(f) There is only [one] festival in the locality known as “Flores de Mayo” on the 31st of May. In some houses, the town fiesta is also celebrated where there are friends from other towns.

(g) Punishments –
(1) Parents use the rod in punishing their children. This was inherited from the Spanish people.
(2) They even tied their children to posts.
(3) The slightest punishment is by saying harsh words or letting them pray for hours in closed rooms kneeling.

11. Myths, legends, beliefs, etc.
a. Do cats wash their faces? I have a grown up female cat at home.
I once observed her wash her face. Here is the incident:
One day, I was cleaning my house, I happened to see our female cat wash her face at the doorway. I said to myself, I will see if this superstition that when a cat washes her face, there will be visitors coming. I had not finished cleaning the sala when a visitor came home. I just laughed at the idea. I have an experience on this one not only once but many times. To the present, I still doubt the superstition.

b. The First Day of the Year –
The superstition that whatever you do or what happens to you during the first week of the year will be the pattern of your life for that year is illustrated in this story as told by one to me:

A newly-married couple sold a chicken the first day of the New Year with the belief that they would always have money for the year. They did not even spend a single cent for that day. The reverse is true. They lost the money they had tried to earn and save for the rest of the year. The money was used to purchase medicines due to the ailment in the stomach. The ailment was due to the habit of not eating three square meals a day but only twice a day for economy’s sake.

c. Receiving Holy Communion during Easter Day – People of this barrio would go to church to confess their sins to the priest. The next day, they have to receive Holy Communion. After receiving it, no spitting is done till after they have eaten their meals. There is no combing of the hair after a few hours or else, the grace will be out.

One day, a woman received her First Communion. With this warning, she abided with it but she coughed and coughed and the Holy Communion came out. From that time, people believed that their souls will not be pardoned if the Holy Communion Comes out.

d. The Soul who Came Back –

In the house of Ka Kulas lived a maiden with a mother. She had been supporting her mother for the last fifteen years. The mother told her daughter that if she ever died, she should be brought to the hometown of Legaspi. After a few years, the mother died but the wish of her did not materialize due to the inability of the daughter to send her to Legaspi for lack of money. She was buried in San Jose cemetery. After four days in the grave, her soul appeared before her daughter with the same clothes when she died. People in the household were scared.

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“What will be the solution?” asked Mr. Kolas. “Well, it is easy,” he added. The daughter talked with Mr. Kolas and asked the last wish of her mother. “My mother’s last wish was to bury her in her native home in Legaspi,” said the daughter. At last, the wish was substituted for the prayers for nine consecutive days for the redemption of her soul in Purgatory. Then, she will rest in peace.

Do you think this is true? Well, this story is believed true according to the storyteller.

“As told by Aling Balasiks”

12. Popular songs; games and amusements.
(a) Ang Awit ng Ibon
Ang huni ng pipit
Sa taas ng kalumpit
Pag ang dalaga’y pangit
Bagong tao’y nabubuwisit.

Ang huni ng kulayawan
Sa itaas ng kawayan
Pag ang dalaga’y maganda
Bagong tao’y nagsasaya.

Ang huni ng batobato
Sa taas ng mabulo
Pag ang dalaga’y mabango
Bagong tao’y lumulukso.

(b) Sa Kadalagahan –
Ang mga dalaga’y bulaklak ang katulad,
Maraming bubuyog ang nangangahas,
Ang mga dalaga’y dapat naiilag,
Sa lihim at bulong ng ibig magsuklab.

Kung masipsip ang katas na iniimpok,
At mabusog ang mga bubuyog
Bulaklak ay matutuyo’t ng kalunoslunos
At kung malanta ang bulaklak na kay ganda,
Bubuyog ay lalayo na at saka magtatawa.

13. Puzzles and riddles –
a. Limang puno ng niyog, ang isa ay matayog. (limang daliri)
b. Dala mo’y dala ka, dala ka pa ng iyong dala. (tsinelas)
c. Dalawang batong itim, malayo ang nararating. (mata)
d. Tingnan, tingnan, bago ngingibitan. (eating corn)
e. Aling kakanin sa mundo ang nasa labas ang buto. (kasoy)
f. Tubig ko sa digan-digan, hindi napapatakan ng ulan. (niyog_
g. Hinila ko ang bagin, nagkakara ang matsin. (naghahanay)
h. Isang supot na uling, naroo’t bibitin-bitin.
i. Dalawang tindahan, sabay na binubuksan. (mata)
j. Bahay ko sa pulo, balahibo’y pako. (langka)
k. Palyok ni Esco, punong-puno ng bato (boiling water in a pot)
l. Bahay ng pari, libot ng tari. (pineapple)
m. Dumaan ang Negro, nagkamatay ang tao. (night)
n. Isang sinora, naka-upo sa tasa. (egg)
o. Uka na ang tiyan, malakas pang sumigaw. (kampana)
p. Kabiyak na mukha, tanaw sa Maynila. (buwan)
q. Ang anak ay naka-upo na, ang ina’y gumagapang pa. (squash)
r. Lumalakad ay walang humihila, tumatakbo ay walang paa. (river)

14. Proverbs and Sayings –
a. What you sow, you reap. Sow kindness and you reap love.
b. Pain in a finger is felt by the whole body.
c. You can afford to lose money but not the respect of others.
d. Never make promises that you cannot fulfill.
e. Be thrifty if you want to be wealthy.
f. A penny on the palm is better than a thousand in the sky.
g. He who has saved for a rainy day has something to fall back on.

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h. A young bamboo is easy to bend.
i. The stone does not go to the snail, but the snail goes to the stone.
j. Continuous droplets of water may wear away even granite.
k. He who believes in idle talk has no mind at all.
l. A tree falls where it is inclined.
m. The sleeping shrimp is carried away by the current.
n. He who will not toil will not live.
o. To walk rapidly is to fall heavily.
p. If you walk slowly, you will be hurt slightly.
q. The liar is the brother to the thief.
r. A tree is known by its fruit.
s. Patience has its own reward.

15. Methods of measuring time, special calendards –
a. By means of the position of the sun.
b. By the crowing of the roosters.
c. By the singing of the birds.
d. By the shadows.
e. By the position of the moon at night.
f. By the position of the stars.
g. By the presence of certain stars in the sky.
h. There was no special calendar in this barrio used by the people.

As told by:

[Sgd.] MR. NICOLAS MATIENZO

[Sgd.] MR. JOSE CASTILLO

[Sgd.] MR. MAURO ALTURA

Committee members who compiled this report:

1. [Sgd.] VICENTE FLORES – Teacher

2. [Sgd.] MARIA P. CASTILLO - Teacher

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

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