January 4, 2018

San Antonio, San Luis, Batangas: Historical Data

Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of San Antonio in the Municipality of San Luis, 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.

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HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE OF THE BARRIO
OF SAN ANTONIO

Part One: History

The present official name of the barrio is San Antonio. There are several other names by which this barrio is known. To the people of the neighboring barrios, the names Sampa ang Pungol are more popular than San Antonio. It is popularly called Sampa because formerly it was just a sitio of Sampa, a barrio north of this place. Its present official name was selected by the barrio folks in honor of Antonio Cabrera, one of the oldest residents of the place. He was brave and well-known in the neighboring barrios. He was the shield and sword of the barrio. The people of [the] other barrios feared and respected this man so that this barrio became free from raids and depredations which were very common during that time. In memory of this man, this barrio of [Sampa’s] folks decided to name this place San Antonio when the place was given full barrio-hood. They affixed the word San to show their love and respect for Antonio Cabrera who had done a great deal in the preservation of peace and order in the community.

Not only one family settled first in this place. The original settlers there were the Cabrera, Marasigan, Segunial and Rodriguez families.

The different tenientes who headed the barrio in the order of their terms are the following:

1. Bartolome Cabrera, who served for nine years.
2. Simon Labapiez, who served for three years.
3. Vicente Marasigan, who served for five years.
4. Leonardo Cabrera, who served for four years.
5. Doroteo Cabrera, who served for ten years.
6. Martin Rodriguez, who served for twelve years, and
7. Arsenio Rodriguez, who is the barrio lieutenant at the time of writing.

The Spanish regime did not give rise to any unusual incident in this barrio. But with the coming of the Americans, the people realized the value of education. The residents sent their children to schools in the neighboring barrios which were able to establish their own schools. They also learned the value of suffrage. Because of the decrease in illiteracy, the people acquired a better economic and social status. Better methods of farming and animal raising were given emphasis.

It was during the latter part of the Japanese occupation when the people suffered great hardships. They were forced to work in cotton plantations under the supervision of the Japanese. The planting of staple crops was neglected because of the great emphasis given by the Japanese to the planting of cotton. Added to these sufferings was the commandeering by the Japanese soldiers of the staple crops of the residents of the barrio. This was also true with the fowls and work animals. They were taken from the barrio folks at the point of the bayonets. Education was neglected because the parents did not like to send their children to school for fear that they would meet cruel Japanese soldiers while crossing ravines. The fear of the Japanese soldiers was so great that the people worked even under the heat of the midday sun. With the slave-like working conditions of the people and the scarcity of food, many of

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people became sick. The timely arrival of the American liberation forces saved the people from a worse fate.

With the end of World War II, the lives of the people became easier. When the government was turned over to the Filipinos, once more measures for rehabilitations and improvement were undertaken. Under the leadership of Mayor Felix Aseron, the incumbent Mayor, the San-Antonio-Muzon road was widened. Money from the municipal government was used for this purpose. This proved to be a blessing to the people of San Antonio as they could transport their products very easily to the provincial road in Muzon. The people learned the use of commercial fertilizer, hence there came a great increase in food production. The sanitation of the barrio was greatly improved through the initiative of the schools. Now, illiteracy among the young is unknown. Education has become so popular in the place that there are now professionals and many more are pursuing their studies in Manila and in the capital of the province.

Part Two: Folkways

Traditions, Customs, and Practices in Domestic and Social Life

Birth:
When a woman is giving birth, no person is allowed to stay at the door as it will make the delivery hard. The woman who is delivering must lie parallel to the altes [altar?] of the floor. During the delivery, the mother is assisted by a local midwife called “hilot.” There is usually a man who assists the “hilot.” He is known locally as the “salag.”

When the delivering woman is having a hard labor, all trunks, cabinets and other closed furniture in the house are opened. The people believe that this will lessen the hardships of the mother. At present, some people in the barrio avail themselves of the services of a physician when the mother is having a hard labor.

Immediately after the child is born, the husband or any other person in the house kills one or more chickens. This is a sign of gratitude for the delivery of the child and as an exchange for the life of the child who has newly come to this world. The chickens are cooked and neighbors are invited to the party.

Baptism:
When the child is a first-born, the maternal and paternal grandparents of the child usually choose the godfather or the godmother as the case may be. But with the other children who follow this first-born, the father and the mother make the selection.

In this place, there are usually two rites for baptism which are followed. When the child is weak and sickly or when the parents are still saving for a great feast during baptism, usually there is a buhos. This rite is officiated by the local recognized religious head. Water is poured over the head of the child as he is being held by the sponsor. At the same time, some words are uttered by the officiating person and the name of the child is uttered also. The second rite is the actual christening in the church. As all the residents of this barrio are Roman Catholics, the officiating official is a priest. If there are several

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children who are being baptized in the church at the same time, the sponsor tries his best to hold the child he is holding higher than the other children. The people believe that the child, when he grows up, will become a leader and will be able to dominate others in all matters. After the baptism, the sponsor tries his best to arrive at the door of the church ahead of the other sponsors.

Courtship and Marriage:

Many of the people of this place still follow the old custom of courtship. A young man shows that he wants the hand of a woman in marriage by serving her parents. He does nearly all the manual labor of the family. He fetches firewood, he gets water, he plows the field, he takes care of the family’s work animals and he does a thousand and one chores besides. When the young man finds favor in the eyes of the parents of the girl, the young man is allowed to continue his services. But when he is looked upon by the parents of the girl with disfavor, he is not allowed to continue his service. This period of services is a sort of test on the character of the young man. This service continues until the eve of the marriage. The girls are so obedient to the wishes of their parents that often they are married to men who have not openly expressed their love.

When the parents of the young girl favor the services of a young man, they set a certain date for the “bulongan.” This bulongan is a conference attended by the parents and relatives of both parties to set the date, the wedding details, the dowry and the sponsors of the wedding. In this bulongan, the parents of the young man prepare hot drinks and sumptuous food to be brought to the house of the girl. Before the details of the wedding are taken up, there is drinking of hot drinks and eating first. At this stage, sometimes there is a disagreement between the two parties and the marriage is put off. But when the parents of the young man can comply with all the wishes of the parents of the girl, then the marriage will take place.

At the eve of the marriage date, all the things which are needed for the wedding are brought to the house of the girl. People carrying pots, glassware, china, pickles, bundles of firewood and animals to be slaughtered can be seen going to the girl’s house like a procession. In the afternoon of this day, the animals are slaughtered. In the evening, supper is served to all the persons who come to help and to the neighbors and relatives who have been invited by the girl and her parents. We can see that the feasting starts before the wedding date.

In church, when the couple is being married, the people watch closely the candles which have been lighted for them. If one of the candles blows out during the ceremony, it means that the person to whom that candle has been dedicated will die earlier than the other. The girl or the man tries to step on the feet of the other because they believe that by doing this, they will dominate over the other

if they will be the first to do so. After the ceremony, each of them tries to go ahead of the other in going out of the church for the same reason cited above. When the newly-married couple arrives at the house of the girl, raw rice is showered on them. The old folks believe that this will always be in harmony through their married life.

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After all the persons present in the party have eaten, the “sabugan” or giving of gifts, usually in the form of money, to the couple by their relatives and friends is done. The “sabugan” is accomplished in this manner: The couple sits side by side or opposite each other. On the table before them are plenty of cigarettes. The relatives and friends of the bride give their gifts to the groom while the relatives of the groom give their gifts to the bride. The two parties try to outdo each other in the amount of money they can give. Every donor of a gift is given a cigarette in return. After all have given their gifts, the man wraps the money and he hands it over to the bride. This amount becomes their joint property.

After the sabugan, there is “lipat.” The bride, in the company of the relatives of the groom, goes to the home of the husband. It is seen to it that no immediate kin of the bride goes with her. The groom is left in the bride’s home to help in [the] tidying up of the place. He follows his wife the next morning. The couple stay in the man’s house for four days. After the fourth day from the date of marriage, the couple can return to the home of the woman.

DEATH:
When a person in the barrio dies, nearly all the people of the barrio come to offer condolences to the bereaved family. They try to help defray the burial expenses by giving a certain amount of money which they call “pakandila.” At night, many of the people come to watch over the dead. The watchers while the hours away by conversing with each other and by playing games.

For eight consecutive nights after death, a novena in honor of the dead person is held. In this novena, neighbors and relatives come to pray. After the eighth day of prayer, a feast is held again where all the neighbors, friends and relatives are invited. Another prayer is held again by the group of persons who come. Another feast is performed again during the first anniversary of death. This is called the “babaan” or “babaang luksa.” This “babaan” is preceded again by eight consecutive nights of prayer. In this “babaan,” all immediate kin of the deceased change their mourning clothes, which they have worn for one year, to gaily colored dresses.



BURIAL:
As the population is one hundred per cent Roman Catholic, nearly all the dead are buried in the Roman Catholic cemetery. Some are buried in the municipal cemetery because the interment here is very cheaper.

When a dead person is brought down a house for burial, the persons carrying the dead see to it that the dead is brought down feet first. After the dead has been brought [down], all the windows of the house are closed and a dipper of water is thrown outside the window.

After the coffin has been lowered in the grave, the children of the dead person are made to step across the open grave. A small amount of soil is thrown by the other relatives inside the grave before it is covered up.

FESTIVALS:
In any kind of festival, the people spend lavishly. Much food is prepared in anticipation of the coming of guests. Even the poorest family tries to prepare plenty of food.

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Myths and Legends:
Christianity has been so deeply rooted in the minds of the residents of this barrio that they believe in the theory of creation. Their belief is that God is the creator of everything. No explanation about the theory of evolution will be accepted by the people. The legends which are circulating now in the barrio about the origin of things are those which have been prepared by local students as a part of their school work. An example of such a legend in the vernacular follows:

ANG ALAMAT NG PASKUWA

Ang paskuwa ay isang halamang nagpapahiwatig na ang pasko ay nalalapit na. Kung sumasapit na ang buwan ng Disyembre at unti-unti nang lumalamig ang panahon ay mapupuna natin na ang dahong luntian ng halamang ito ay nagiging pula. Bakit kaya pumupula ang dahon ng halamang ito kung nalalapit na ang pasko?

Noong kauna-unahang panahon, nang malikha na ni Bathala ang daigdig, ang mga halaman at mga hayop ay isinunod naman niyang nilikha ang isang lalaki at isang babae, sina Malakas at Maganda. Nang makita nina Malakas at Maganda ang likas na kagandahan ng daigdig ay gayon na lamang ang kanilang tuwa. Sa kanilang katuwaan ay naglibot nang naglibot sila at lahat ng bagay na kanilang makita, maging hayop, ibon, kahoy, o halaman ay binigyan nila ng pangalan. Tanging isang halaman lamang na may luntiang mga dahon ang nakaligtaan nilang binyagan.

Nguni’t sa kabila ng kaligayahang tinatamasa nina Malakas at Maganda ay lubha naman silang pinahihirapan ng matinding init ng araw. Sarisaring paraan ang ginawa ng dalawa upang sila ay makaligtas sa init na ito. Nanligo sila sa batis nguni’t hindi naman maaaring maghapunan na sila sa tubig. Kumakanlong sila sa lilim ng mga kahoy nguni’t hindi rin itong lubusing makapawi sa init na kanilang nararamdaman.

Lumipas pa ang maraming mga araw. Isang araw ay naramdaman na lamang nina Malakas at Maganda na unti-untin nang lumalamig ang panahon. Gayon na lamang ang tuwa ng dalawa. Sa kanilang kaligayahan ay naisipan nilang mag-alay kay Bathala upang maipakilala nila sa Dakilang Lumikha ang kanilang kasiyahan at pasasalamat sa malamig na panahong ipinagkaloob sa kanila. Kumuha sila ng isang halaman na siya nilang iaalay kay Bathala. Ang halamang kanilang nakuha ay iyong halamang nakaligtaan nilang bigyan ng pangalan.

Ang dalawa ay lumuhod ng matuwid at magkadaop ang mga palad na inusal nila ang kanilang dalangin at pasasalamat. Nasa harapan nila ang halamang kanilang iniaalay. Sa kanilang pananalangin ay nagulat sila nang biglang magdilim ang daigdig. Isang nakakasilaw na liwanag na nagmula sa sa langit ang nagpapikit sa kanilang mga mata. Isang malakas na tinig ang gumimbal sa katahimikan. Narinig ng dalawa ang mga sumusunod na pangungusap: “Sasainyong mga puso ang kapayapaan mula ngayon. Kayo ay aking pinagpapala. At pinagpapala ko rin ang halamang iniaalay ninyo sa akin. Ang tanda ng pagpapala ko sa halamang iyan ay inyong masasaksihan sa pamumula ng kanyang mga dahon. Mula ngayon ay kung makikita ninyo na namumula na ang mga dahon ng halamang iyan ay nangangahulugang hindi na malayo ang “taglamig.” Nawala ang nakakasilaw na liwanag at muli na namang nagliwanag ang daigdig. Sina Malakas at Maganda ay nagmulat ng kanilang mga mata. Ang akala nila ay isa lamang panaginip ang kanilang narinig.

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Nguni’t nang makita ang halamang nasa harapan nila ay saka lamang sila naniwalang hindi pala pangaginip iyon. Nakita nilang unti-unting pumula ang dahon ng halamang alay nila kay Bathala. Lalo pa silang nagpasalamat sa Lumikha.

Lumipas pa ang maraming mga siglo. Maraming-marami na ang mga tao sa daigdig. Dumating ang mga Kastila sa Pilipinas. Ang mga Pilipino ay naging binyagan na. Sa kagustuhang matutuhan ng mga Kastila an gating salita ay ipinagtatanong nila sa mga Pilipino ang ngalan ng mga bagay na kanilang nakikita.

Isang araw ay isang Kastila ang naakit ng kakaibang kulay ng mga dahon ng paskuwa. Itinanong niya sa isang tao kung ano ang ngalan ng halamang iyon nguni’t walang maibigay na pangalan ang napagtanungan. Isinalaysay na lamang ng taong iyon ang pagkakapagpala ni Bathala sa halaman. Sinabi pa rin niya ang tinig na nagsabi kina Malakas at Maganda na nagsasabing sasapuso ng lahat ang kapayapaan.

Nang marinig ng Kastila ang salitang kapayapaan ay naka-isip agad siya ng isang ngalang angkop na angkop sa halaman. Kanyang sinabi sa kanyang kausap, “Ito ay halaman ng kapayapaan kaya’t tatawagin nating Paskuwa. Ang salitang paskuwa ay isang salitang Kastila na nangangahulugan ng kapayapaan.

Mula noon ay tinawag nang paskuwa ang halamang ito.

*****WAKAS*****

RIDDLES

1. Sa init sumasaya, sa lamig nalalanta.
Happy in the heat, in the cold is withered.

2. May ulo, walang tiyan, may liig walang baywang.
With head, without stomach, with neck, without waist.

3. Iisa na, kinuha pa, ang natira ay dalawa.
Only one, still was taken, but still two were left.

4. Buto’t balat nguni’t lumilipad.
Bone and skin but it flies.

5. Takbo roon, takbo rito, hindi makaalis sa tayong ito.
Run there, run here, could not leave where it stands.

6. Nang umalis ay lumilipad, nang dumating ay umuusad.
Flyign when it left, dragging when it arrived.

7. Hayan na, hayan na, hindi mo makikita.
There it is, there it is, you don’t see it.

8. May liig, bibig at katawan, walang paa at kamay.
With neck, mouth and body, but with no feet and no hands.

9. Hinila ko ang bagin, nagdilim ang kabundukan.
I pulled the rattan, the mountain became dark.

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PROVERBS AND SAYINGS:
1. Ang tunay na kaibigan, sa gipit nasusubukan.
2. Ang taong nagigipit, sa patalim man ay kumakapit.
3. Ano mang tibay ng piling abaka, nalalagot din kung nag-iisa.
4. Ang walis ay sumasabog, pagkalagot ng buklod.
5. Ang bayaning masugatan, nag-iibayo ang tapang.
6. Walang matimtimang birhen sa matiyagang manalangin.
7. Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo.
8. May taing ang lupa, may pakpak ang balita.
9. Magpakahaba-haba [man] ng prusisyon, sa simbahan din ang urong.
10. Ang lumalakad ng marahan, matinik man ay mababaw.
11. Ang lumalakad ng matulin, kung matinik ay malalim.
12. Ang kita sa bula, sa bula rin nawawala.
13. Ang hipong tulog, natatangay ng agos.
14. Pag nagtanim ka ng hangin, bagyo ang aanihin.

METHODS OF MEASURING TIME:
The present generation of this place has no trouble in the measurement of time. Most of the youngsters have their own watches. In some houses, there are wall clocks. But to the early inhabitants of this place, they had a different way of measuring time.

There are some plants, like the patola, whose opening of the flowers tell the time. When its flowers open in the afternoon, it is already four o’clock, so the old folks say. The crowing of the roosters at night tells the time accurately to a person who is well-versed in the habit of this fowl. During the daytime and the sky is clear, the sun is the best guide in telling time. At night, the position of the moon and the position of some stars like the Big Dipper and the Southern Cross tell the time, too. Even birds like the cuckoo and insects like the katydid are utilized by the old folks to measure time. We can see that in the absence of timepieces, nature has devised ways and means to help the people in the measurement of time.





Data gathered and compiled by:

[Sgd.] Mr. Doroteo Cabrera
Informant
[Sgd.] MAZIMINO MERCADO

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

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