Muzon, San Luis, Batangas: Historical Data
HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE
OF THE BARRIO OF
[Sgd.] (Miss) C. B. Cabrera
[Sgd.] (Miss) O. A. Encarnacion
BARRIO OF MOZON
PART ---- 1
Muzon (popular and present official name of the barrio) is situated about eight kilometers from its main town San Luis and about three kilometers from its nearest town Alitagtag. It lies along the provincial road and is accessible to all means of land transportation.
This barrio formally got its name a few years after the town of San Luis was established. Prior to this date, the barrio existed under the name San Luis because before the present town of San Luis was created, the now-barrio of Muzon was considered the town. The “Casa Real” (at present the Municipal Building), as it was called during that time, was situated in this barrio. But when San Luis was formally recognized as a town after it was separated from the present popular town of Taal, this barrio was given the name “Muzon.” It was given such a name because this place lies at the junction of the three neighboring towns – San Luis, Alitagtag and Taal.
At the time this barrio was established, there was but very few families residing in its vicinity. These original families of this place were the Sanggalangs, the Cabungcals, The Bernaleses, the Delcas, the Martinezes, the Andals, and the Marasigans. Among the families, the Bernaleses, the Sanggalangs and the Andals may be given the credit of being the most prominent families and of having rendered the greatest service to their townsmen. It is
from these families where some of the successful barrio lieutenants sprang up.
The different barrio lieutenants or tenientes del barrio, as [they] were commonly called, who rendered great services to this barrio of Muzon from the time the Spanish sovereignty was about to end, up to this date in the order of their holding of office, were the following persons – Lorenzo Andal, Ricardo Bernales, Victorino de las Alas, Gregorio Dador, Apolinario Sanggalng, Nemesio Marasigan, Inocencio Villacorta, Teofil Cabungcal, and Enrico Landicho. Prior to the date these men held such position, no more could be traced as to who ruled this barrio during those times.
Regarding the important facts, or incidents, or events that took place in this barrio from the date of its establishment up to the time the Spanish sovereignty ended, nothing could be narrated as nobody now with reliable information about the community could trace those events. What they could only furnish are those important facts or incidents relative to the time the Americans were occupying the islands and during and after World War II.
After the official recognition on July 4, 1902 of the termination of the Filipino-American War, the town populace of this community stopped their movements against the American forces and began to live a happy, peaceful life. With the local American authorities as the leaders
and assisted by the incumbent Cabeza – Ricardo Bernales of this barrio at that time, the people were for the first time given the privilege of selecting the man who would take charge or govern them. This event marked also the beginning of the people’s recognition of the democratic principles of the Americans. From that time on, the people’s attention was geared towards the economic, political and educational development of the community. The barrio lieutenant, with the help and assistance of some responsible men of the barrio, worked hard to have an artesian well created, and their efforts were reciprocated when finally in the year nineteen hundred and thirty seven (1937), the funds for the construction of that artesian well were released to them. They also worked hard for the creation of a school building within their compound, but it was not carried out for the simple reason that the population of the barrio could not meet the required enrolment adequate enough to open a school.
The Second World War, which broke out on December 8, 1941, interrupted the expansion of the developmental plans for the community, and destroyed much of the improvements which took years to build. Its houses were purged by the Japanese of everything which had value in them. Great amounts of property were confiscated or rather destroyed. Some of these commodities which were always commandeered by these colonizers were the people’s staple food – rice, corn, and camote. They also seized some of their prized animals like the horses, cows, goats and chickens.
But those inhuman invaders were not yet satisfied with those illegal practices of theirs. In the latter part of the year 1942, or about the middle part of their stay in the islands, the Japanese rulers ordered the people to plant their fields with cotton instead of other crops. Then, as everybody at that time feared their brutalities, they were forced to obey blindly, even though this thing was clear to them, that it meant hunger, as the production of rice and other necessities were alarmingly decreased, if not totally discarded. Aside from this effect, [the] practice of enforcing the planting of cotton caused the poor barrio folks to suffer [at] the brutal hands of those people. Whenever they committed mistakes in the performance of their work, these poor farmers always suffered the marks left on their bodies by the hands of these invaders.
But, in spite of being so detrimental and prejudicial on the part of the inhabitants, it brought out also one good effect, and that was the introduction of the use of commercial fertilizers to increase the production of crops.
These changes that were brought about during the invaders’ stay in the islands did not only affect the economic situation of the townsmen, for there were also some alterations made in the field of education. At the outbreak of the war, all schools were ordered closed, depriving everyone their much-desired education. And although classes were resumed about the middle part of the Japanese occupation,
there were already great changes made. The English language, which was regarded as the medium of instruction, was totally discarded and replaced by this language called Niponggo. All books which dealt on western culture, especially American, were destroyed.
In view of these horrible educational policies, enrolment was greatly decreased, thus the percentage of illiterates was raised. Instead of attending schools, majority stayed at home while others fled to the mountains and took up arms with the ultimate aim of driving the hordes from the islands. They preferred this rather than attend schools and study the much-hated Japanese-sponsored education.
To all these important events that took place in this barrio during World War II may be added the destruction on lives and properties. As will be noted, this barrio of Muzon suffered the greatest loss of lives and properties, as compared to other barrios comprising the town of San Luis, and even as compared to the town itself, as this is the only barrio where all houses were burned down and some inhabitants killed by the Japanese when General MacArthur’s forces were about to liberate the islands. Those persons who were victimized or killed by the Japanese were Carmino Maranan, Sixto Maranan and Epifanio Deleos.
After the liberation, the inhabitants of this barrio were able to resume rehabilitating the community with more enthusiasm and interest than ever before. At present, this barrio may be considered completely rehabilitated.
(a) Birth – During the delivery of the child, the mother is attended to by a local midwife called “hilot.” She is assisted by a man locally called “salag.” The hilot continues attending the mother and the child until the mother is given a bath, which usually takes place after a month or five weeks after the delivery of the child. Right after the delivery of the child, firecrackers are fired as a sign of thanks, chickens are dressed and served to the people who come to pay a visit. The parent decides on who will be the godfather or the godmother as the case may be. When the newly-born baby is the first child, the grandparents usually take a hand on deciding on who the godfather or godmother will be. The godfather or the godfather of the first child is usually a very close relative of the parents, a brother or sister of either father or the mother of the child.
The newly-born child is baptized by the oldest man of the barrio. This practice is locally called “buhos tubig.” Then, the baptism by the priest follows after a lapse of several days. “Buhos tubig” is not practiced except only when the newly-born baby is not in a condition to live. The mother of the newly-born child practices a sort of sweat bath called “nagbabato” until she takes a bath five weeks or a month after the delivery of the child. In the practice of nagbabato, the husband heats a hard stone. After heating, the hot stone is wrapped up in some leaves like duhat. The mother stands with the hot stone between the feet. The mother is wrapped up in thick blankets. The
stone is not removed until after the mother perspires.
(b) Baptism – Immediately before a child is baptized, relatives and close friends of the child’s parents donate things such as chickens, eggs, wine and other beverages to be used during the baptismal party. This is called “tawiran.” The local midwife “hilot” carries the child to the church. The godfather or the godmother follows. In going out of the church, the bearer of the child must outrun the others. The belief is that the child will be ahead of other children baptized at that time in every way of life. Before the baptismal party is over, the godfather or the godmother, as the case may be, gives a sum of money to the child and hilot. The sum of money given to the child is called the “pakimkim.”
(c) Marriage – The use of [a] go-between is still practiced. The man, or sometimes his parents, render services to the lady and her parents. Services are in the form of plowing the field, weeding [the] rice field, fetching water and firewood, or sometimes the house of the lady is being remodeled. These services sometimes take a long time, especially when the lady or the lady’s parents are not in favor of the man courting the lady. The parents of the woman believe that by means of the services, they will have the kind of man their daughter is going to marry. The man rendering services must stay in the lady’s house.
When the services of the man are accepted, the courtship ends in marriage. When the services are rejected, the man has to stop courting the lady. This practice of rendering service is fast being forced away with especially when
The man and the lady are in love with each other, because if the parents of the lady forces the man to render services, the lovers usually elope.
(d) Marriage – Before marriage, the contracting parties, including the nearest relatives, have a sort of conference called “bulungan.” Food is being served on this occasion. The go-between is always present on this occasion in the lady’s home. Things to be done during these occasions are discussed such as the wedding party, called “pahapunan,” [a] prior supper on the eve of the marriage, sponsors, and food to be served on the wedding day. Oftentimes, the dowry called “bigay-kaya” such as land, jewelry, clothes and animals is asked from the man or his parents. Sometimes, the marriage will not take place just because the man or the parents cannot comply with the dowry. At this bulungan, a date for the marriage is set. The day selected must be a lucky day, a day the parents say will bring good fortune to the newlyweds. When the date for the marriage comes, a party is given. After the party, the relatives of the man goes home taking with them some utensils like dipper, ladle, plates, and others which have not been used. The relatives of the man are the ones who served food, giving special attention to the relatives of the girl. The party is always served in the lady’s home. When the bride dresses for the wedding, a sister or a close relative of the groom attends to her. The reason is for the parents of the groom to have access to every piece of clothing the bride discarded. Every piece of clothing discarded by the bride is put together with the groom’s clothes. The collected clothes are
given [to] the groom’s mother. The reason is [for] the bride not to have the tendency to go to the parents always. Her tendency will be to stay with the groom’s parents. A silver coin is given to the groom coming from the bride’s parents and vice-versa. Before climbing the stairs, a new pot is thrown away. The bride and the groom are given sweets, usually those sticky ones, and a glass of water to drink. At the same time, while the bride and the groom are climbing the stairs, rice is being showered on the newlyweds. Before the party is over, the bride and the groom sit on opposite sides of the table. Relatives of the couple give money or some other gifts to the newlyweds. The relatives of the groom give their money to the bride while relatives of the bride give theirs to the groom. A cigarette or a cigar is being given to anybody giving you money and everybody who gives such money is being listed. This occasion is called the “sabugan.” When the giving is over, the money, including the list of all persons who gave, are put together in a bag by the groom and then handed to the bride. This part is called “isinusulit” ang unang hanapbuhay. After this, the newlyweds will kneel before the parents of both of them and also before all the elders that might be present there. Then, the bride will get ready to go to the house of the groom. The relatives of the groom accompany the bride. The groom follows later, usually on the second day. No relative of the bride is allowed to go with the bride in going to the house of the groom, because of the belief that if any relative of hers will accompany her, she will always have the tendency to go to the house [blurred] out the fire. After this, she will change her clothes and then
go down and sweep the surroundings of the house. The belief for doing this is that the bride will get along harmoniously with her husband’s parents and relatives. The couple stays at home and then return to the wife’s parents after four days.
(e) Death – When someone dies, all relatives and friends pay a visit, offers a prayer for the dead soul of a person. Everybody who pays a visit puts some money on a dish placed beside the dead person. The sum of money is called “pakandila,” which means that the money will be used for buying candles. Relatives and close friends of the dead person watch over the dead body at night until the remains are put in the final resting place. This watching at night is called “puyatan” or “lamayan.” This is done because this is the last time to see the person. Some who still believe in superstitions say that the body is watched because a witch like “ike” or “taong paniki” or “manananggal” might steal the remains of the dead person. A pair of scissors is placed on the dead body so that the manananggal will be afraid to come near and steal the remains of the deceased. During the night when the watch is being made, games of various sorts are being played to keep the watchers awake. Some of the games are huego de prenda, tres siete, bugtungan, guessing riddles, etc. Coffee and bread are usually served.
After the burial of the dead person, [a prayer] is offered for the dead every night in nine consecutive days. On the eighth day, if the person who died is old, prayers get together in the house where the person died to offer a prayer, and if young, the prayers get together on the fourth day.
This occasion is called “waluhang araw” or “apatang araw,” as the case may be. Food is served on these occasions.
From the day the person dies, relatives mourn by wearing black dresses for one whole year. All dresses worn by relatives during that year were all black in color. During this time of mourning, relatives of the deceased cannot be serenaded. They cannot even sing a song, because that is a sign of respecting the dead. One year after the death, the relatives again get together at [blurred] for the purpose of offering a prayer for the departed person. In this time of praying, the black dresses worn by the relatives are taken away. This is called “babang luksa.” On this occasion, food is again served to everyone, and beginning this day, no more relatives of the deceased will wear black dresses as a sign of respect for the deceased.
Food served during these occasions such as waluhang araw, apatang araw, and babang luksa is quite different from the food in other parties, because at these times, no vegetables are prepared to be eaten. After eating, the dishes are not placed over another. The belief of this is that another relative will soon die in the near future. So dishes are not put over one another after eating before being washed.
(f) Burial – Before putting the dead into the coffin [or] casket, lime in [the] form of a cross is spread at the bottom of the coffin. This practice is done to prevent bad odor to emit from the dead body. While the dead body is being carried downstairs, a dipper full of water is thrown down by the stairs. In carrying the remains to the cemetery, the feet of the dead are carried in a position such that they point to the direction where it is going. The remains are carried to the church before interment takes place.
A prayer is offered at the church. After this, the remains are brought to the cemetery for burying. While the dead body is lowered into the grave, the relatives of the deceased gather a handful of soil and throw this soil into the grave.
(g) Visits – Persons who make visits to relatives bring some presents, especially when they have not seen each other for a long time. Visiting relatives are invited to a meal. Newlyweds pay visits to relatives especially those who were not able to attend the wedding party. The newlyweds are given a sum of money. This practice is called nanganganak.
(h) Festivals – During Christmas Day, members of the family get together. A prayer is offered and the family eats special meals. Sometimes, a party is given and relatives and friends are invited.
During the outgoing of the year, New Year’s Eve, many people, young and old, stay awake and wait for the coming New Year. At the coming of the New Year, that is midnight, firecrackers are fired. People who are awake beat cans. Sometimes, the people who beat cans go around the barrio beating the cans. At the coming of the New Year, the people listen carefully to sounds made by animals. Sounds made by cows are a sign of a prosperous year. During the Lenten Season, “Kuaresma,” the people read aloud to a sort of tune a book which deals with the life of Jesus Christ. Stanzas are read alternatively by males [and] females. Singing songs, serenading and dancing are prohibited by the old folks. They say this is a sign of respect for Jesus Christ.
Seeds for planting, especially rice, or dried on Fridays only. Not even a single seed is eaten or bitten. The belief is that the remaining seeds will not give a hardest. The plants will be destroyed by rats. Rice seeds for planting are sowed on the farms on days having no “R” like Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Sundays.
In selecting a place where the house is to be built on, one uses a piece of stick. This stick has been measured by stretching the hands. The piece of stick is thrown around the place and after each throw, the stick is measured by the stretch of the fingers. The place where the stick becomes longer then the stretch is the best to build a house. The belief is that the life of the people [who] will live in the house that will be built will be prosperous.
Moving into a new house is done on or before the full moon. This is done to make the life of the person who will live in this house prosperous. The first things moved in the house are water, put into a jar placed in the middle of the sala; rice, salt and a lighted lamp. Moving into the new house is usually done before dawn.
[The} Amusements are [the] pandango and subli on special occasions. Besides these mentioned above, there are also some kinds, such as cockfighting, horse racing, ox fighting ox fighting and patahan. These kinds of games are done especially during Sundays, holidays and sometimes at noon when everybody is at rest.
P R O V E R B S:
1. Huwag ipagpabukas ang magagawa ngayon.
2. Kung magsasama-sama tayo’y magtatagumpay, kung maghihiwalay tayo’y mabibigo.
3. Hindi lahat ng kumikinang ay ginto.
4. Walang matimtimang birhen sa matiagang manalangin.
5. Ang dila ay hindi patalim, nguni’t kung susugat ay malalim.
6. Ang sapa kung malagawlaw, asahan mo at mababaw.
7. Walang sumisira sa bakal kundi ang sariling kalawang.
8. Kung ang mata ay nilalang upang tumingin, ang kagandahan ang dapat sisihin.
9. Daig ng agap ang liksi at sipag.
10. Hindi lalapit ang bato sa suso.
11. Ang mga ibong may iisang kulay ay siyang magkakasama sa kawan.
12. Huwag bibilangin ang sisiw hanggang hindi napipisa.
13. Gawing lahat sa kahinahunan kung sa dahas daraanin ay walang mararating.
14. Nasa pagkakaisa ang lakas.
15. Ang dila ay hindi patalim, nguni’t sumugat ay malalim.
[Sgd.] Roman Bernales
[Sgd.] Ricardo Cabrera