[Note to the reader.]
At the time when this document was created, the barrio of Abelo was still a part of Taal rather than San Nicolas. The latter did not become a separate municipality until the year 1955, after the passage of Republic Act No. 1229.
1. Present official name of the barrio – Abelo
2. Popular name of the barrio, present and past; derivation and meaning of these names; names of sitios included within the territorial jurisdiction of the barrio:
Abelo is the popular name of the barrio. Its present name is Abelo. Its part, Hipit. Abelo was at a time a large barrio. Its sitios included within the territorial jurisdiction is Hipit. The folks of Abelo and Hipit have an intimate relation. Their intimate relation lasted for more than thirty years. [The] Time and event came when their close relations did not last long. The people of Hipit turned [out] to be stubborn and troublesome. Their one hundred per cent cooperation [among] folks declined. They became less cooperative, hence the two barrios were separated from each other. This was the primordial reason why Abelo became a small barrio.
Abelo got its name from a tree which grew in that place. The people named that tree an abelo tree. [The] Abelo tree, as they described it, was a tree similar to the ayangaw tree. It has a big trunk and spreading branches. The trunk meant to them the head or leader, the branches, the subjects. Its big and slender trunk meant to them that the power of the leader within his territorial jurisdiction was within the limits of their law; sitios violating the law would be excluded as sitios of the barrio.
3. Date of establishment
The barrio was established assuming the name, Abelo. The barrio was baptized in the spot where the tree grew. There was [a] banquet and little ceremonies. The date of establishment was in 1891, the exact day and month is unknown.
4. Original families –
The first couple to reside in Abelo were Ilay Tenorio and Victor Landicho. This couple was from Munlawin, who resided in Abelo and had settled a clearing in the spot where they saw [an] abelo tree. They named the place Abelo when the people of Hipit were separated from the jurisdiction of Abelo. Abelo, then, [be]came a vast forest.
Next to reside in Abelo was a person by the name of Martin (?). From that time on, the population of Abelo increased by heaps and bounds. At present, there are 500 people in Abelo.
5. List of tenientes from the earliest time to date.
2. Mundo Austria – during the Filipino-American War.
3. Juan Morales - after the Filipino-American War. He became the teniente del barrio again.
4. Jose Medina – during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines for 3 years.
5. Jose Landicho – during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines for 2 years.
7. Cevilo Morales – at present is the teniente del barrio, the brother-in-law of Andres de Sagun.
6. Story of old barrios that are now depopulated or extinct. The [barrio] until now has many inhabitants, hence it is not depopulated or extinct.
7. Data on historical sites, structures, buildings, old ruins, etc.
8. Important facts, incidents, or events that took place.
There was an important fact that happened in Abelo. A person by the name of Istanislaw Morales was shot by a Spanish soldier. This man would not be killed. A Spanish soldier saw Istanislaw Morales, brother-in-law of Andres de Sagun, father-in-law, walking near their tent. The Spanish soldier shouted, “Quien vive?” or “Who goes there?” Instead of being halted, this man ran as fast as his legs could carry him. He was fired [upon] and shot by a gun to death.
(b) During [the] American occupation to World War II
Nothing happened in Abelo. The Americans were not able to reach Abelo through hitchhiking because the nearby barrios were vast forests, hence, to reach Abelo that time would mean a thing.
The most important fact that happened in Abelo was the gaining of other kinds of religion. Abelo was at a time a barrio where Roman Catholicism was devoutly accepted by the people. Time and event came during the American occupation when there was a separation of religion. Half of the people accepted a new religion. That was the “Sabbadist religion.” Hence, the separation took place during the first occupation of the Americans in the Philippines.
(c) During and after World War II
The most important incident that took place was the construction of a building which has been a place for worship among [the] Sabbadists. Saturdays were days declared as [their] day to worship. The people who [were] worshipping a Sabbadist religion paid homage to their building through having lectures and teaching of the Bible by [a] person whom they called the pastor of their religion. The few who were worshipping the Catholic religion were being demonated [demonized] by the people worshipping [the] Sabbadist religion, hence the barrio folks of Abelo became Sabbadists.
9. Destruction of lives, properties and institutions during wars, especially in 1896 to 1900.
There was destruction of properties during 1941-1945. When the Japanese people became brutal and cruel after hearing that the Americans were already in Leyte, they burned houses in nearby barrios. The houses of Abelo were burned to ashes, but Hipit, the former site of Abelo, remained untouched with the exception of only one house. The ultimate and primordial reason for burning that one house was that that house was the only one who violated the Japanese emperor. Why? That house was espied feeding guerrillas. The building where the Sabbadists were paying homage remained untouched. There was, therefore, a
10. Measures and accomplishments toward rehabilitation and reconstruction following World War II.
The accomplishment that followed following World War II was the reading [?] of a building to the Sabbadist church. The reason for repairing and reading the Sabbadist church was due to the past that the population greatly increased. They have a hard time in paying homage, having [a] lecturer because their building cannot accommodate them all. They have no school building, but in Hipit there was a school building built after World War II. Majority of [the] children in Abelo are now studying in San Nicolas, a nearby barrio of Abelo, instead of studying in Hipit, their former sitio.
Mr. Agaton A. Caringal
San Nicolas Elem. School
San Nicolas, Taal, Batangas
Notes and references:
Transcribed from “History and Cultural Life of the Barrio of Abelo,” 1953, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.