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January 4, 2018

Balagtasin, San Jose, Batangas: Historical Data

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

[Cover page.]





HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE

OF

B A L A G T A S I N







Respectfully submitted:

Miss Concepcion Kalalo – Chairwoman

Miss Soledad Honrade – Member

Miss Florencia Umali – Member

Mrs. Alejandra A. Reyes – Member

Mrs. Teodora N. Mercado – Member


[p. 1]

HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE

OF

B A L A G T A S I N

PART I – HISTORY

1. The present official name of the barrio is Balagtasin.

2. The popular name of this barrio past and present is the same – Balagtasin. It was called such because traders as well as other people pass through this place in going to the poblacion and other barrios of San Jose from the neighboring towns in the west like Alitagtag and Cuenca, especially during that time when travelling was mostly on “foot and horseback.” The sitios included in this barrio are “Pulong Osiw,” which is called such because of the abundant clumps of bamboo called osiw. “Koral” at the center was called such because sick animals of the barrio were quarantined in this place. Koral means pen. In the northern part is “Laklakan,” which means drinking place, because the people got their water from a spring in this place, and the animals from all parts of the barrio were taken to this brook to drink.

3. This barrio was established as early as the eighteenth century.

4. The original families were Hernandez, Perez, Mitra, Harina, Husmillo, Atienza, Alday, Manimtim, and Larcia.

5. The following were the Cabezas de Barangay:
 1.  Melchor Alday  3.  Arcadio Harina
 2.  Felix Manimtim  4.  Antonio Hosmillo
5.  Cirilo Hosmillo
The following were the barrio lieutenants:
(a)  Juan Atienza (f)  Diego Atienza
(b)  Clemente Mitra (g)  Fausto Perez
(c)  Juan Mitra (h)  Tomas Andal
(d)  Camilo Ramos (i)  Cirilo Hosmillo
(e)  Aniceto Gonzales (j)  Domingo Harina
(k)  Mateo Marasigan
(l)  Epifanio Vergara
[p. 2]

(m) Pastor Hernandez
(n) Manuel Marasigan
(o) Mariano Carandang

6. There are no barrios or sitios within the jurisdiction that are now depopulated or extinct.

7. There are no historical sites, structures, buildings, old ruins which are of historical importance.

8. Important facts, incidents or events that took place:

During the Spanish regime, the people were taught to till the soil, taught the importance of cleanliness and most of all, to believe in God, or in other words, people were converted to Christianity. But, due to the ignorance of most people, contagious diseases were prevalent like cholera, dysentery, smallpox, typhoid fever and many other diseases then unknown. Animal diseases were also rampant. The government sent agencies of health to cure the diseases.

During the American rule, there was more progress in everything. [The] Condition of the people was much improved. The people were taught the importance of healthful living. Education was given more emphasis. A one-room school was built and pupils were admitted for Grades I and II.

When World War II came, the people from this place suffered the same fate as most people in all parts of the Philippines. There was scarcity of food and clothing. At the early years of Japanese occupation, the people from this place did not go away from their barrio, and still many came to ask food from the people. But, during the latter part, the people also evacuated to safer places because this barrio is near Bigain where Japanese soldiers had their foxholes.

After World War II, the people from this barrio received relief and supplies from the liberators. At present, there is now progress in education, economic, religious and other phases of life.

9. (a) Not much was destroyed in properties and institutions during the war of 1896-1900. There were lives lost because of illness and [the] hard life.

[p. 3]

No lives were lost much to the civilian population during World War II, because the people had evacuated to safer places at the time when the Japanese were massacring the people. There were several soldiers from this place who had given up their lives for the cause, as seen from the number of families now enjoying the veterans’ benefits.

(b) As can be seen from the conditions of the people, there was great accomplishment towards rehabilitation and reconstruction, from the better roads and better and higher houses constructed. To the one-room school house during the pre-war were added four more rooms, due to the increased enrolment from Grades I to IV.

Source of information:

[Sgd.] Roman Kalalo

PART II

I. TRADITIONS, CUSTOMS, AND PRACTICES IN DOMESTIC AND SOCIAL LIFE

(a) Birth:

After birth, the placenta of the newly-born baby is placed in a coconut shell or in a drinking glass and with it are placed the following: paper, pencil, a small piece of cloth, needle, thread and other things which a certain person may use in adult life. Each little thing that was placed has a significant meaning. Then, the container with its contents is buried to a depth which is enough, as it is believed that the time the first teeth appear depend on this.

The mat and everything used in the delivery are taken to the river and washed. The mat, when dried, is rolled up and tied to a post which is nearest to the entrance to the house. It is believed that the baby will stand up quickly if this is done so.

The navel or cord after being cut is wrapped in a clean piece of cloth and placed in the roof of the house, and afterwards kept together with the cords of elder brothers or sisters. This is done in the belief that the children will obey each one willingly.

When there is a newly born in the house, light is kept [page torn]

[p. 4]

A child less than one year old:

(a) Should not be bathed on Fridays or on days which coincide with his or her birthday.

(b) Should not have his haircut.

(c) Should not be allowed to kiss a child of the same age.

(d) Should not be allowed to pass through the window more so if she is a girl.

(e) Should not be dressed in colored clothes.

(f) Is made to wear a necklace made from dried stems of red or green pepper.

(g) Should not be combed with a coarse tooth-comb.

(b) BAPTISM:

(a) Lay baptism is done at once, more so if the child is sickly.

(b) A child should not stay unbaptized not longer than two weeks after birth.

(c) After the baptismal rites have been performed:

1. The child is rushed to the door so that he or she will be ahead of the others.
2. The baptismal attire of the baby is hung or placed in a clothesline where everybody can see so that the child will not be shy when he grows up; while others fold it at once so that the child will grow to be neat and tidy.

(d) Sponsors for baptism are so well-selected so that the child will inherit the good traits of the “ninong” or “ninang.”

(e) Usually, a grand feast is held as a thanksgiving for the lives of both mother and baby.

(c) COURTSHIP:

Practically, courtship in this barrio is similar to other barrios in Luzon. The man introduces himself as a suitor by serenading the lady he loves. He helps in every work in the house to show the parents of the girl of his worthy intention. He does not talk with the girl but he talks with her parents. At times, he goes to

[p. 5]

[The page prior to this one appears to be missing from the original document.]

[page torn] needs one, must be brought by the groom. Every living thing that will be used in the wedding feast must be slaughtered and cooked in the bride’s home. The serving and cooking, etc. are done by the relatives of the groom. The brides relatives do not lend a hand in this. They are served next to the special guests. The groom’s relatives eat only after everyone has eaten. After the feast, the newlyweds sit at both ends of the table. Both parties give money. The bride’s relatives put theirs on the groom’s plate and vice-versa. After all relatives of the newlyweds have given their shares, they count the money. It is put or tied in the girl’s handkerchief and the man is told to hand the money to her. This ceremony is called “sabugan.” Then, after the feast and “sabugan,” the groom’s relatives see to it that they leave the house clean. The happiest part for the groom’s relatives in this time, when they now have the bride with them. This part of the ceremony is called “dapit.” No relative of the bride is allowed to go with her to the groom’s house, for some superstitious reasons. At the doorway in the man’s house, the couple is met by some lady relatives of the man who offer native delicacies and a glass of water to the couple. Others shower the couple’s pathway with uncooked rice (bigas). Sometimes, another feast is held at the man’s home. The bride is not allowed to go to her home until after the fourth day.

e. DEATH:

When one dies in this place, everyone extends his or her help to the bereaved family. This help may be in the form of money or any kind such as food, cigarettes, candles, etc. Relatives take turns and keep awake to watch the dead until it is finally brought to the cemetery. As soon as the person has breathed his last, prayers are said for the repose of his soul. Music of any kind or sort [within] hearing distance where the dead lies in state is stopped. Relatives of the dead put on black garments as a sign of mourning. For nine consecutive days, prayers are said. If the bereaved family can afford, they have preparations on the 4th day and on the ninth day, so that more people will come to pray. No relative

[p. 6]

of the deceased is allowed to (a) eat vine vegetables, (b) take a bath, (c) clean the house until after the fourth day or more.

f. BURIAL:

The deceased is taken to the cemetery after twenty-four hours, unless he or she has been embalmed. When the deceased is an adult member of the family, the coffin is opened for the last time in the chapel for the children to receive his last blessing, before it is lowered to the grave. Then, the children are told to take a handful of soil each and throw it to the grave, while some are made to cross the grave.

g. VISITS:

Visits are made to one who is sick. Sometimes, even children are brought along during the visit. They bring something which the patient is able to eat.

h. FESTIVAL:

Like most of the barrios of San Jose, every year, this festival is observed, “The May and June Flower Offering to the Blessed Virgin.” The barrio fiesta is made to coincide with this festival.

Source of information:

[Sgd.] Roman Kalalo

BELIEFS

The beliefs of the people in this barrio are nearly the same as those of most people from the other barrios of the province. And to mention some, they are:

1. Visitors will come if:

(a) Chickens fight with each other in the yard.
(b) Crickets chirp near the house especially at night.
(c) A cat washes its face near the stairway.
(d) Fire in the stove makes a laughing sound.

2. A person is being talked about when:

(a) He happens to bite his lips or tongue.
(b) He cuts or strikes his finger at work.

[p. 7]

3. [The] Howling of dogs at night is a bad omen.

4. [The] Cackling of hens at night means that a maiden in the locality will elope.

5. Planting chicos and papaya trees near the house is not good.

6. Vines are not good plants inside the house.

7. Orchids should not be hung near the windows.

8. A starry night means a warm or hot day.

9. A starless night will be a rainy day.

10. [The] Birth of twins, more so when they are boy and girl, means good luck for the family.

11. Twins are caused by eating twin bananas.

12. Mirrors or glasses are covered when there is a thunderstorm.

13. Rainy days are ahead when the smoke of cooked rice is low.

14. Holding a sharp instrument should be avoided during a thunderstorm.

15. There will be a storm when:



(a) The clouds are going south.
(b) The leaves of trees are being overturned by the wind.

16. There will be much mushroom after a sharp lightning.

17. There will be abundant harvest if:

(a) Boys play with kites and stilts.

18. There will be a poor harvest if the boys play with tops.

19. When swallows fly low and are in several flocks, rainy days are near.

20. The shortest adult member of the family is asked to put the banana or coconut plant in the hole when planting so that they will not grow so high before they bear fruit.

21. In planting bananas, the one who is planting it should be fully satisfied.

22. Salt and charcoal are added to the corn for planting when planting them.

23. It is not good to sing in front of the stove when cooking.

24. Cleaning the house at night is not good.

25. In opening the windows in the morning, open the windows in the

[p. 8]

eastern side first.

26. The one who will plant cowpeas should take a bath before going to work.

27. Taking a bath on Fridays makes one sick.

28. Going to bed with wet hair causes insanity.

29. Cutting the fingernails on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday is not good.

30. Children should not eat stolen eggs.

31. Children under one year old should not:

(a) Be given a bath on Friday.
(b) Be combed.
(c) Be dressed in colored clothes.
(d) Be allowed to kiss a playmate of the same age.

32. Combing the hair at night should not be done.

33. Closing the windows is still being done for fear of giants.

POPULAR GAMES AND AMUSEMENTS

Once in a while, some old men go to the cockpit.

The young men amuse themselves by serenading young ladies at night, especially on moonlit nights.

The people have no more time to indulge in games as they are very busy from dawn to dusk.

Source of information:

[Sgd.] Juan Hernandez

III PUZZLES AND RIDDLES

1. When you open the window, you will see a centavo. (sun)

2. A grain of palay can fill the house. (lamp)

3. Two balls of thread can reach the sky. (eyes)

4. The surface is like a field, while the inside is stony. (cocoa)

5. A beautiful lady eating her body. (candle)

6. I cooked rice in the pot, and ate also the pot. (guava)

7. Pedro hides but we can see his head. (nail)

8. [The] House of Kiko is filled with gold. (egg)

[p. 9]

9. The mother is still crawling but the child is already sitting. (squash)

10. If you save, you will have.

11. Promptness is better than industry.

12. Though how strong an abaca thread is, it will not have strength if it is alone.

13. Mango trees bear no santol fruits.

14. No burnt rice to a hungry dog.

15. A sleeping shrimp is carried away by the current.

16. Though how tricky a monkey is, he can also be fooled at times.

17. Never leave for tomorrow what you can do for today.

18. Noisy waters are shallow.

19. One who believes in others has no thought of his own.

20. What you sow, you will reap.

21. Birds of the same feather flock together.

22. Repentance always comes last.

23. Though how long a procession is, it always goes back to the church.

24. A person is known through his words and actions.

25. The feeling of a part of the body is felt by all parts of the body.

METHODS OF MEASURING TIME

1. By the sun.
2. By the shadow of the trees.
3. By the crowing of the cocks.
4. By the sound of little creatures.
5. By the sound of birds.
6. By the clock.

SPECIAL CALENDARS

1. The falling of leaves.
2. The first rain in April – farmers sow their rice fields.

[p. 10]

3. The flowering of trees is significant to the farmers.

Source of information:

[Sgd.] Epifanio Vergara

[Sgd.] Juan Hernandez

III – OTHER INFORMATION

1. There are no books or documents treating of the Philippines as the people from this barrio are mostly illiterate before. It is only recently that the people are being educated.

2. There are no authors residing in this barrio.

SUBMITTED BY:

(Mrs.) ALEJANDRA A. REYES
Head Teacher, Balagtasin
Barrio School
San Jose, Batangas

[p. 11]

THE LEGEND OF LAKLAKAN

Nestled between two creeks with their deep banks covered with rich vegetation is Laklakan, a sitio of one of the northern barrios of San Jose, Batangas.

[blurred] one of these two creeks which border Laklakan springs forth fresh cold water, which for hundreds of years, has quenched the thirst not only of the village folks and travelers but also the work animals of the villagers. Thus, the sitio has been called “Laklakan.”

Tales have been told from generation to generation about the origin of the spring which has given the name to the sitio. There is one beautiful and interesting legend about the place, told by my father, which has impressed me since my childhood. Incidentally, I have spent a good number of my childhood days in this sitio.

A long time ago, there lived in the place an old couple who had a beautiful young daughter. Her beauty was admired and talked about not only in the village but also in the neighboring villages. Not a few vied for her hand. Not one of her numerous suitors attracted her attention, however. Her old parents, desiring to marry her away before their death, chose the son of the head of the village for their son-in-law to the utter dismay of their daughter.

Not long after, a stranger from a distant town came hunting for wild animals. The young girl met him in one of the creeks. They instantly fell in love with one another. Quite often afterwards, they met clandestinely in the creek.

The other suitor to whom the girl’s parents betrothed their daughter, suspicious of the young girl towards him, watched her until one day, he caught the two lovers in their same meeting place. The dejected suitor, in hate and desperation, killed the lover but spared the life of the girl.

The poor girl cried over the death of her lover and did not stop crying by the side of her lover until she died. Upon her request, she was buried by the side of the creek where her lover fell. A few days after she was buried, the people of the village

[p. 12]

were surprised to see water springing forth from the grave of the girl. Since then and up to the present, fresh water has come from her grave. People have always said that the fresh, cold and sweet water of the spring has come from the endless tears of the young girl who loved her lover so sweetly, fresh and endless as the water which has come from her grave. Everybody has always loved to drink the water and, since then, the spring and the sitio have been named “LAKLAKAN.”

Respectfully submitted by:

(Miss) Concepcion Kalalo

Source of information:

[Sgd.] Roman Kalalo

[p. 13]

THE LEGEND OF BALAGTASIN

Long before the Spaniards came to the Philippines, this place now known as Balagtasin was just a wilderness where wild [blurred] lived. There where big forest and thick vegetation. The first people who came to this place had a hard time in doing so. It was while these people wear clearing the wilderness when they found out that “bandits” or “tulisanes” lived here too.

Not long after, through hard and tedious labor, this place was cleared little by little and people came to make their homes.

One day, during this time, three Spaniards lost their way while hunting for some while pigs. They wandered here in there, but they could not find their way out. They came to a “kaingin” where two men wear working. They asked them the name of the place. They talked in Spanish, so that the men did not very well understand them. One of the men in the dialect answered, “Bagtasin po ninyo ang agbang na iyan at kayo’y lumakad ng pasilangan,” meaning “Cross that creek over there and go east.” Still, the hunters did not understand them. So, one of the main lead the way. The Spaniards thought that the men told them off the name of the place. They kept on repeating the word “Balagtasin.” When they came to their comrades in the poblacion and where asked where they came from, their answer was Balagtasin. Since then the people called the place “BALAGTASIN.”

Respectfully submitted by:

(Miss) Florencia Umali

Source of information:

[Sgd.] Roman Kalalo

[p. 14]



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

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