HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE OF THE
BARRIO OF SAN ISIDRO
Democrita V. Marundan
DIVISION OF BATANGAS
District of Taal
San Isidro School
HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE OF THE BARRIO OF SAN ISIDRO
In the town of San Luis, province of Batangas, there is a barrio known as San Isidro. This was so named as it derived its name from the patron saint of the municipality proper. In the olden days, it was popularly known as Mulawin, the meaning of which is a big, sturdy tree. There are sitios that comprise barrio Mulawin, namely, Gulod and Labac. As civilization advanced, and as the people got closely related with one another, the former name Mulawin was changed to Barrio San Isidro.
History may be a record of past events, but in the case of San Isidro, there are no fixed and exact dates by which we could base past underlying forces of how the said barrio came into existence. It may be mentioned on the historical part that no origin could be traced of this place. According to the people of the barrio, they originated from the family of a certain people [person], Mr. Pastor Cortez. Like any other barrio or municipality, San Isidro has a list of successful barrio lieutenants which formed the government of the place. The list of barrio lieutenants from the time the place was known up to the present are herein given below:
|1. Juan Cortez
|11. Agustin Cortez
|2. Agapito Muños
|12. Felipe Artillaga
|3. Doroteo Ilagan
|13. Maximo Ilagan
|4. Juan Hernandez
|14. Florentino Ilao
|5. Ambrosio Cortez
|15. Feliciano Maliviran
|6. Perfecto Muños
|16. Esteban Cortez
|7. Martin Cortez
|17. Ricardo Macalintal
|8. Juan Ilao
|18. Elias Ilagan
|9. Ramon Balog
|19. Floro Marasigan
|10. Pedro Cortez
|20. Julio Moredo
As the tree has its own roots, a place has its name, a bird has its wings, so with barrio San Isidro which has its own story. According to the chronological developments, barrio San Isidro was formerly a sitio of Taal. During that time, it was not known as San Isidro but “Mulawin,” meaning a tree. Population increased, and 24 barrios of Taal were fused into a poblacion. Then, this was the time when the Municipality of San Luis had its name. After a number of years, the Municipality of San Luis was again made a part of Taal. As it became too hard for the people to transmit communication with one another, since there were two barrio Mulawins belonging to Taal, [the] Mulawin belonging to San Luis was given a name – San Isidro – as said before, a name derived from the patron saint of San Luis.
Politics exist not only in the big town but also in sitios and barrios. There arose a want from the people of the place formerly belonging to San Luis during the first fusion. And for the last time, San Luis was separated from Taal and, henceforth, it remained to be up to the present.
Nothing extraordinary existed during the Spanish rule and so is also true during the American regime. As had been experienced by every locality in the islands, San Isidro suffered from the hands of the Japanese on their occupation. Oftentimes, guerrillas and Japanese soldiers battled and there was a time when two residents of the place were wounded and three Japanese soldiers were killed. So far, as this occupation was concerned, no destruction of lives, properties and institutions was noted. The beginning of a new era was realized when the town was liberated. Parent-Teachers Associations were organized and schools were established. This, in a great measure, helped in the cultural and economic advancement of San Isidro.
Traditions, customs and practices in domestic and social life:
BIRTH: During the delivery of the child, the mother is attended to by a midwife called “hilot.” She is assisted by a man called “salag.” The “hilot” continues attending to the mother and the child until the mother is given a bath, which usually takes place a month or five weeks after the delivery of the child. Soon after the delivery of the child, firecrackers are fired. The mother, then, is transferred from the place where she delivered the child to another part of the room. Another firecracker is fired, chickens are dressed up and served to the people who come to pay a visit. The parents make a final decision on who will be the godfather or godmother, as the case may be. When the newly-born child is the first child born to the couple, the grandparents of the newly-born child usually take a hand in deciding on who the godfather or godmother will be. The godfather or godmother of the first child is usually a very close relative of the parents, a brother or sister of either parent of the child. Sometimes, the newly-born baby is baptized by the oldest man of the barrio. This practice is called “buhos-tubig.” Then, a baptism by the priest follows but after a longer time, sometimes two or more months. The mother of newly-born babies practice a sort of sweat bath called “nagbabato,” from the time of delivery until they take a bath a month or five weeks after the delivery of the child.
BAPTISM: Immediately before [a] child is baptized, relatives and close friends of the child’s parents present gifts 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 godmother, as the case may be, follows. In going out of the church, the bearer of the child must outrun the others. The belief is that the child will be well ahead of the other children baptized, at the same time, in every way of life. After the baptismal party, the godfather or godmother gives money to the child and hilot. The sum of money given to the child is called “pakimkim.”
COURTSHIP: The man courting, or sometimes the parents of the man, render services to the lady and her parents. [These] Services are plowing the rice field, weeding the rice field, fetching water
and getting firewood. This service sometimes takes a long time especially when the lady’s parents are not in favor of the man courting the lady. The parents of the lady believe that by means of their services, they will know the kind of many their daughter will marry. When the services of the man are accepted, the courtship ends in marriage. The man rendering the services lives in the woman’s home. When the services are rejected, the man has to stop courting the lady. This practice of rendering services is now being done away with especially when the man and the lady are already in love with each other because if the lady’s parents force the man to render services, the lovers usually elope.
MARRIAGE: Before marriage, the contracting parties, including all nearest relatives, have a sort of conference locally termed as “bulungan” in the lady’s home. Food is served on these occasions. Things to be done during the wedding are discussed, such as the wedding party, the sponsors, supper on the eve of the marriage called “pahapunan,” [and] food to be served on the wedding day. Oftentimes, a dowry called “bigay-kaya” or “padala” or “dote,” such as land, jewelry, clothes, animals, is asked from the man or his parents. Sometimes, the marriage will not take place just because the man or the parents cannot fade [find?] the dowry. At the “bulungan,” a date for the marriage is set. The day selected must be [a] lucky day the parents believe will bring good fortune to the newlyweds. When the “bulungan” is over, the man’s relatives go home, but before they go home, they get, without the knowledge of the lady’s relatives, kitchen utensils such as the dipper or ladle but never [a] rag or pot. The belief is that the man will always be the boss and not a hen-pecked husband. When the date for the marriage comes, a party called “baysanan” is given. The relatives of the man are the ones who serve food, giving special attention to the relatives of the woman. The groom’s relatives are called “mamamaysan” and the bride’s relatives are called “binaysan.” The party is always served in the bride’s home.
Before the party is over, the bride and the groom sit on the opposite sides of a table. Relatives and close friends of the newlyweds give money to the newly married couple. The relatives of the man give money to the bride and relatives of the bride give money to the groom. A cigarette or a cigar is given in exchange for the money. Everybody who gives money is listed. The occasion is called “sabugan.” When every relative has given money, all the money, including the list of the names of the persons who gave the money, is put together in a small bag. The groom now gives the bag to the bride. This part is called “isinusulit ang unang hanap-buhay.” After this, [the] newlyweds kneel before elder relatives, like parents, grandparents, uncles, aunts, [to] ask for their blessings. The party breaks up and the bride gets ready to go to the groom’s house. The bride is [not] allowed to look back. When reaching the groom’s house, the bride goes direct to the kitchen and puts out the fire. After changing clothes, the bride goes down and sweeps the surroundings of the house. The belief for doing this is that the bride will get along harmoniously with her in-laws. The couple stays at home for four days and then visits the bride’s parents.
The newlyweds also visit their relatives. This is called “manganganak.” The relatives give money to the newlyweds.
DEATH: When someone dies, all relatives and friends visit the dead. Others who visit offer a prayer to the dead. While others put a sum of money, it is called “pakandila,” which means that the money will be used for buying candles. At night, relatives and close friends watch the dead body until it is put in the final resting place. This watching at night is called “puyatan.” During the watching night, watchers play games. Some of the games are “prenda,” “tres siete,” and “bugtungan.” Coffee [and] cigarettes are usually served.
After the burial of the dead person, a prayer is offered to the dead every night for eight consecutive nights. On the eighth day, relatives and friends get together in the house where the person died. They pray for the soul of the dead. This is called “walohang araw.” Food is served on this occasion. From the day one dies, relatives mourn by wearing black dresses for one year. After one year, relatives again get together and offer a prayer for the soul of the dead. This is called “babaang luksa,” which means black dresses are no longer worn after this day.
BURIAL: The dead person is put in the coffin. While the dead body is carried down the stairs, a dipper full of water is thrown at the foot of the stairs. The dead body is carried to the church before proceeding to the cemetery.
VISITS: Persons who make visits to relatives bring some what we call “regalo,” especially when they have not seen each other for a long time.
FESTIVALS: In the month of March “durisma” [probably “kurisma”], the people read aloud a sort of tune [from] a book which deals with the life of Jesus Christ which [is] called “passion.” Males and females read stanza by stanza alternately.
During Christmas, members of the family get together and eat special meals. Sometimes, a party is given and friends [and] relatives are invited.
Popular songs sung in the barrio are kundiman[s] and song hits.
The common games played are “tubigan” and softball.
PUZZLES AND RIDDLES COMMON IN THE BARRIO
1. Anong nakakain sa mundo na ang lama’y malayo sa boto [buto]?
2. Ako’y namaril ng kilyawan, ang tinamaa’y buhay, ang sinalaha’y patay.
3. Nagsaing si Ingkong, bumulak ay walang gatong.
PROVERBS AND SAYINGS
1. Puso ko’y nahihiwa, hindi naman natataga.
2. Malakas ka man at balita daig ka rin ng mahina.
3. Maputi man at durog, daig din ng garingang subok.
4. Aanhin pa ang damo kung patay na ang kabayo.
5. Ang hindi tumitingin sa pinanggalingan ay hindi makararating sa paroroonan.