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

Sabang, 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 Sabang 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.
District of San Jose
Tugtug, June 1, 1953
The following persons whose names appear below provided the teachers concerned with the local history of the barrio.

1. Anus ---- Angel Suarez and his wife

2. Lalayat ---- Geronimo Javillo

3. Natunuan ---- Jose Gonzales, Juan Comia and the late Pedro Hernandez

4. Sabang ---- Casiano Briones


5. Tugtug ---- Cornelio Aguila



Part One ---- History of Sabang

1. Present official name of the barrio – Sabang
2. Popular name of the barrio
Present – Sabang
Past - Sabang

3. Derivation and meaning of this barrio

A very long time ago, when there were few families in this place, the people talked about how they could give a name to their community in which they were residing. They asked one another as to what name they should give to fit the place.

At last, the old men, rich and poor, called for a meeting. They said, “Inasmuch if our place has no name yet, let us have a heart to heart talk and give a name most fitting for our place.” The people were happy to have a name which would fit their place. There was a river that flowed north to south in this locality and another one that emptied into it. To the people at the meeting, the leaders made mention of the significance of these physical features in their community and they said Sabang would make a very good name. From then on, the barrio has been called Sabang.

There is at present no sitio or sitios within the jurisdiction of this barrio. There were no happenings because they were ordinary or common place.

The puzzles, riddles, sayings and proverbs in this place where most likely borrowed from the people of the neighboring barrios. Others might have been handed down from generation to generation.

The methods of measuring time, the popular games, and amusements were similar to those prevailing in the immediate neighborhood.

4. Date of establishment
No specific data could be had for its establishment. Old folks could not remember the date of its founding.

5. Original families
According to the oldest people still living in this community, during the early part of its development, there were several families. They could not only recall those families in existence in those days.

6. List of tenientes from the earliest time to date.
The tenientes from the earliest period were not known. However, the ones recorded were those during the Spanish regime. Upon the arrival of the Spaniards, the barrios were ruled and governed by the cabezas. The first one elected or selected by the people was Tomas Laraya. He was the one chosen by the people because he was brave. His duties were to maintain peace and order, collect taxes from the people, and inform the town officials of the grave crimes committed within the jurisdiction of his. After his term for several years, he was succeeded by Miguel Malabanan. His duties were as follows:

1. He notified the people of the things needed in town.
2. He collected taxes.
3. He helped the Capitan and the Teniente Mayor maintain peace and order.

After the Fil-American War up to the Second World War, the barrio lieutenants were elected by the people. They were Eulalio Villanueva, Modesto Mendoza, Eusebio Hernandez, Bibiano Ilao, and Francisco de Chavez from the American occupation down to the Commonwealth period. Then, they were followed by Vicente and Gregorio Ilao during the Commonwealth period up to the birth of the republic. The latter, after serving for two years in this capacity, resigned because of old age. He was succeeded by Roman Atienza, the present incumbent.

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

8. No data on historical sites, structures, buildings, old ruins, etc. that are available.

9. Important facts and incidents that took place.

a. During the Spanish Occupation, there was complete peace and order in the barrio.
b. During the Fil-American War, the houses were spared from the ravages of fire so true of conquering armies. The people were required to go to the poblacion so that the American Army could ferret out the rebels

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hiding in the mountains and in the thick forests. When they returned to their communities, there was already peace and order.

c. During and after World War II
The people during the Japanese occupation were required by the soldiers to plant cotton. If they disobeyed them, they were punished by the Japs. Farm animals and products were commandeered by the Japanese Army at pleasure. Besides the soldiers of Nippon, the guerrillas, that roving band of supposed Filipino members of the resistance movement, went from house to house demanding foods of all kinds. Woe unto he that failed to give them anything in cash or in kind. You were a marked man to them and that was supposed to be the beginning of your end. In order that the people could maintain good relations to both, they were forced to give them anything they demanded at sight.

10. Destruction of lives, properties, and institutions during wars, 1896-1900, 1941-1945.
a. In 1944, at the height of the Japanese espionage, two civilians were put to death in the community.

There was no destruction to property and institutions before and after the American liberation.

Construction of the ordinary barrio roads and the installation of [a] water system were the improvements in this barrio.

Customs and Practices

a. Birth
Before a child is born, the husband prepares the betel leaves, nuts, lime, wine and plenty of chickens. The chicken flesh will be the viand of the mother immediately after the delivery. The delivery is attended by the local midwife (hilot). The midwife stays with the family until the baby is born. She takes care of the bathing of the mother. She visits the mother and child daily for at least one week. Then, she visits her at least three times a week for a month. After a month, the midwife should be available to give mother and child a bath. The husband before this gathers different kinds of plants such as malarayap, galamay-amo, air plants, rattan, kalatondon, etc. These are boiled in a new pot overnight. The next day, it is boiled again for a few minutes. Then, the water is made to cool off at the right temperature. She then bathes the mother. After the bath, the mother is heated by steaming. A red-hot stone is placed on the floor and the mother is made to stand over it with feet apart. Water is poured every now and then until the stone finally cools off. [The] Mother would feel the heat and perspire very soon. Then, she would be wrapped in a blanket and placed in bed. This would make the mother immune to cold weather.

b. Baptism –
After the delivery of the child, the parents of the newly-born child think of baptizing him. They talk with one another as to who would be the sponsor. When the parents of the child and the sponsor are well-to-do, there is often a baptismal party. However, when the parents are quite poor, the baby is just taken to church and baptized the usual way and there is no more party.

When the baby is born between life and death, the parents will immediately call for an old man in the barrio and who gives the child the so-called local baptism. When the baby becomes normal, he is then baptized in the church.

The above practices were handed down to us since the olden days. Because they were handed down to us by our ancestors, some of them are still practiced today.

Courtship –
Courtship during the olden days was very much different from the courtship we have nowadays. Suitors during those days were well-behaved. They took off their hats even if they were still several meters from the girl’s house. When they went upstairs, they were very quiet. Before they entered the room, they showed utmost respect by saying “Good evening” in a very polite way. They would sit on the floor or on the bench slowly without saying a word. The girl, if she sits on a bench, stays on one end and the man stays at the other end. They look at each other with meaningful eyes. The girl continues with her work as knotting abaca or mending clothes.

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In the course of their conversation, the parents, who were immediately behind the wall of the next room, could hear audibly what transpired. After about an hour, the man bids her and her parents goodbye.

Usually, the man helps the family of the girl in the farm and other kinds of work, although there is no formal agreement between both parents as to his services. After long and patient services, sometimes it takes a year or more, the parents of the girl will ask the suitor if his parents know of his courtship. Then, the parents of the girl will call him to take along his parents for a very important matter. When the man’s parents are not tactful, the services rendered by their son become useless. If there can be no further deliberations on the matter, it is considered closed. The man is then at liberty to seek his luck and he begins eying other ladies.

Parents during the olden days were the ones who decided the marriage of their children. Unlike today, parents are not even consulted in courtship and in marriage. If both parents cannot see eye to eye, the feasibility of the marriage of their children, and the lovers get win of that situation, they usually elope. They are either married by the justice or the priest.

The practices of the past days regarding marriage are still true today. When both parties have agree upon the marriage, they consult the old man of the barrio who knows how to select a lucky date by consulting the stars and other heavenly bodies. Then, they will talk over about the sponsors and the wedding. When all things have been decided, then the purchase of the wedding dress and jewelry are given priority. The ceremony is usually solemnized by the parish priest. The bride and the groom walk together in and out of the church but during the yesterdays, each of them liked to go ahead if they were going out of the church. They believe that the one who got ahead out of the church is superior over the other. When they reach the bride’s house, both of them will kneel before the girl’s parents. At the wedding, there are songs and dances as pandango, lulay or subli. Usually, there is great rejoicing.

After the feast is over, they have the so-called sabugan. Here, relatives, friends and neighbors give gifts to the couple. The souvenirs are sometimes in terms of utensils or in cash.

After the sabugan, the bride is taken to the groom’s house. All the eatables left were divided between the two families. The groom is left in the bride’s house while the bride goes to the groom’s house. After the lapse of three days, the groom will go to his home and visit his wife.

Beliefs and Superstitions about Birth

People believed that when a wife is conceiving and ate twin bananas or corn, sme might give birth to twins.

That it is bad for a mother on the family way to take a walk in the afternoon at sunset.

That birthmarks found on the baby’s body are due to the likes and dislikes of certain foods by the mother.

That people who stay at the door during delivery cause the delay in the birth of the child.

That it is bad to mend one’s clothes she is actually wearing when she is pregnant.

That the husband must not dig the ground nor tie anything while repairing his house for danger might befall the mother and child.

Other Beliefs and Superstitions


People believe that:

It is bad to marry when the moon is very small.

Lucky days can be selected for the marriage.

The ring and veil should never be allowed to fall lest the couple might separate.

It is bad for the prospective bride and groom to be going places

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for they might meet accidents.

It is bad to marry in the month of February.

Death –

People believe that:

When the eyes of the dead are open, it means he is waiting for a relative that has not yet arrived.

That when one smells the scent of a lighted candle when there is none around, a relative may be dead.

The spirit of the dead comes back to his own house especially if some hidden treasures were not divulged to the members of the family when he died. Similarly, a nursing mother who died and left a child will also come back.

When a comet appears, there will either be war or pestilence.

When one points to a rainbow, his fingernails will fall off.

When one dreams of falling teeth or a burning house, it means forthcoming death of an immediate member of the family or other close relatives.

On Good Friday, it is bad to take a bath or do manual labor.

Respectfully submitted:


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