Bigain, San Jose, Batangas: Historical Data - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Bigain, San Jose, Batangas: Historical Data - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Bigain, San Jose, Batangas: Historical Data

Historical Data graphic
Historical data from the National Library of the Philippines.

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

[p. 1]

Part One – History

1. Present official name of the barrio: Bigain

2. The name BIGAIN is derived from the name of a certain plant locally called biga. This plant grew abundantly in the place.

3. No historical record could be found regarding the date of its establishment but it is the common belief that this barrio was already a barrio when Malaking Tubig or San Jose was founded.

4. Original families: The original families who lived moved to the poblacion after San Jose was founded. Those who were left in the barrio were some of the relatives and their tenants who now inhabit the place.

5. List of tenientes from the earliest time to date: This list includes only those during the American occupation because no one could furnish the information. They are:

 (1)  Miguel Mendoza 1905-1908
 (2)  Guillermo Mendoza 1908-1911
 (3)  Pablo Perez 1911-1913
 (4)  Fulgencio Mendoza 1913-1916
 (5)  Martin Mendoza
 (6)  Hilarion Mendoza
 (7)  Tomas Mandocdoc1919-1922
 (8)  Leoncio Poointang1922-1931
 (9)  Juan Makalintal
(10) Silverio Mendoza
(11) Nicolas Lunar
(12) Ruperto Mendoza

(13) Rufino Mendoza
(14) Exequiel Makalintal
(15) Rufino Mendoza1941-1951

(16) Rufino Mendoza
(17) Lauro Bathan

6. Not applicable.

7. The school in the barrio was one of the schools established by the Gabaldon Law.

8. Bigain School became the headquarters of a Japanese detachment during World War II, and Bigain Hill was strongly fortified by the Japanese soldiers.

Only three lives were lost from the period of 1941-1945. One of them was a woman who was stabbed to death by a Japanese soldier for refusing to give what the Japanese soldier demanded from her. Two men were shot by Japanese soldiers.

9. Measures and accomplishments toward rehabilitation and reconstruction following World War II:

The people received aid from the War Damage Commission and, as a result, they were partly rehabilitated. The school, which was partly destroyed by the Japanese and completely destroyed by Typhoon Jean, was reconstructed by the government and a provisional municipal road leading to the barrio was constructed through the efforts of the Municipal Mayor.

Related by:

[Sgd.] Rufino Mendoza

[Sgd.] Antonio Casillo

[p. 2]

Part Two: Folkways

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

It is a custom of some of the people to marry off the oldest daughter first. In case the next to the oldest one is married first, the family forfeits a certain sum of money or material thing to the eldest who is not yet married.

In case of death, the family concerned butchers a pig or two so that all the people who come to visit or to attend the funeral will have something to eat. The possession that the dead loved very much when he was living is buried with him in case there is no very close relative who is living.

11. Myths, legends, beliefs, interpretations, superstitions, etc.

It is a common belief among the eldest generation that eclipses bring bad luck and that mothers on the family way are worried because it means death or labor pains on their part.

Some people still believe that some sicknesses are caused by a certain spirit which they called “nuno.” If these spirits are hurt or displeased, they cause sickness to the person who does them wrong.

It is still the belief of the old people that the rain is caused by what they call “buhawi.” This thing pulls the water from the sea which is later scattered over the earth.

Some people believe that rain is a gift of God. When the rain fails to come in time, these people pray to God.

The Spider – There lived a beautiful lady who was taught to weave by her father. She learned to love the work from childhood. When she grew up, she became a very skillful weaver.

A contest in weaving was held in the village. All the skillful weavers were gathered together. At last, the lady won. She became famous throughout the community and her fame reached other towns. Many young ladies who liked to learn to weave went to her to study for her skills were not surpassed.

Day by day, the lady showed more improvement in her work. She wove beautiful designs which she created. Simple materials were made attractive and easily sold at the market at a good price. However, in all her success, there was one thing bad in her. She became proud and self-conceited.

One Sunday morning, instead of saying her usual prayer, she looked up and called out as if talking to someone in heaven, “I challenge anyone whoever is good in weaving.” The following afternoon, an old woman called on the weaver. The lady did not know who the woman was. The old woman talked like a mother to her daughter with the maiden. The kind woman warned the vain girl to be humble and not to be self-conceited. Instead of hearing the good advice, the weaver harshly drove the caller away. At that very moment, the old woman ceased to be herself but a beautiful lady appeared. This is believed to have been a goddess. The lady weaver became unconscious. When she recovered, she found it too late to withdraw her challenge. The young lady tried to weave the best she could; when she finished, the goddess took her turn.

In the design she wove, the goddess pictured the faith of vain mortals and their destiny. The design seemed to be real and full of life. As the lady weaver gazed at it, she could not help wonder at its beauty.

The goddess asked the weaver which of their work was beautiful. The lady weaver could not answer. To punish her vanity, the goddess touched the lady with her wand.

[p. 3]

Immediately, the lady was changed into an insect which kept on weaving. This is what we call the spider.

Related by:

[Sgd.] Modesta de la Peña


Ohaaa! Ohaaa! A cry from the depths of the woods which is made by a tiyanak is heard.

A tiyanak is said to be the remains of an unbaptized newly-born baby who was buried in unsacred ground. This tiyanak often appears to a woman who is on the family way when the sun is about to set and especially when it is showering. It appears in many forms and can easily imitate the forms of objects or animals near it. The woman who is on the family way will get sick if the tiyanak comes after her. Unless a good herbalario drives the tiyanak away, the poor woman will suffer.


A ligas is a wild grass that grows in the forest. This plant is very poisonous. The leaves are rough. One must be careful in order not to touch the plant. If the leaves touch any part of the human body, that spot will have tiny pus and finally spread throughout the skin of the person. The person feels it to be very itchy.

The remedy for this is to go near any ligas plant and dance. While dancing, he must utter the following rhyme:

Mag-asawa tayo bukas
Kung tayo’y magka-anak
Iyo nang lahat.

When this is done, all the pus will disappear and the itchy feeling will cease.


A nuno is a very small being with an unusual power. Its dwelling place is under the ground or in a “punso.”

If one happens to pass by or hit its dwelling place, the “nuno” gets angry. The anger is even worse if the “nuno” is hurt.

Accordingly, the part of the body of the nuno that is hurt will also be the part that aches in [a] person who hits the “nuno.” To remedy the consequences, the person who is a victim of this will get a lump of soil where he believes is the place he might have struck [the nuno]. The lump of soil will be moistened and molded and placed in a live coal. The victim will inhale the smoke and the live goal.

Sometimes, the “nuno” makes fun of the children who may play near its dwelling place. It is believed that those children will have fever at a very high degree. The remedy for this is the same as that which is done to the person who is believed to have hurt a “nuno.” Another way to avoid the consequences is to pay due respect to this creature. Anyone who passes by a creek, a “pusyo” or some other elevated places, he must say, “Tabi po nuno. Hindi ko kayo nakikita.”

Related by:

[Sgd.] Gavino Mercado

[p. 4]

Other superstitious beliefs:

1. If a dog barks in the middle of the night and no person passes by, there is something bad that happens to some relatives away from the place.
2. One who is on an errand, if crossed by a black cat or by a crocodile on the way, must not continue to go through for there will be some bad luck to happen to him. If crossed by a snake, it is good luck.
3. A snake in the house must not be killed; if killed, the good fortune in the house flies away.
4. It is bad to sweep at night because the wealth of the family is being swept away.
5. It is bad to comb the hair at sunset for the parents will die at once.
6. When one dreams that a tooth is extracted, it means that a relative died.
7. If you are in the woods and you get lost, turn your dress to the wrong side, that is, wear your dress with the wrong side out and you’ll find your way.
8. It is bad to sing before the stove if you are a young lady because you will be married to a widower.
9. A person who is on the family way must not stay at the door so that she will have an easy delivery.
10. When a cat washes its face, a visitor is coming. The visitor will come from the direction the cat faces.

12. Popular songs: Pandango

Popular Amusement: Cockfighting

13. Puzzles and riddles: none

14. Proverbs and sayings:

(a) The tree will likely fall to the place where it is inclined.
(b) The path to success is not paved.
(c) When a person saves, he will have something for the rainy days.
(d) Fortune will come to you if it is really yours whether you search for it or not.
(e) News have wings, and the earth has ears.

15. Methods of measuring time:

By the sun during sunny days. The people have no special calendar.

16. Other folk tales: None

17. Information on books and documents treating of the Philippines and the names of their owners: None

18. The names of Filipino authors born or residing in the community: None

Gathered by:

[Sgd.] Unreadable signature

[Sgd.] Orencia C. Dimangundayao

[Sgd.] Lucia de la Peña

[Sgd.] Jose Gonzales

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