HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE
BARRIO OF STA. MONICA
Respectfully submitted by:
(Miss) Lilia M. Lasala
(Miss) Emerita H. Hernandez
History and Cultural Life of the Barrio of Sta. Monica
Part One – History
Sta. Monica got its name from a grand old woman whose name was Monica. It is said that this woman was very kind and religious and so people called her “santa.” Thus, after the death of the kind woman, the place was named after her and the barrio was called Sta. Monica. There are two sitios in this barrio. One is called “Puera” in the southern part of the barrio. It was so named because houses were built far from the main road. The other is called “Mayahan,” situated in the southwestern part. People in this part always went in groups whenever they were invited to parties. So, they were compared to the flock of birds called “mayas” who always go in groups.
The Hernandez family was the first settlers in the barrio. They were kind and hospitable to newcomers in their barrio and so many people were encouraged to live there. As this went on, many settlers came to live permanently and they tried to own a piece of land which they could till.
The following is a list of the tenientes del barrio from the earliest time up to the present.
|1. Bernardo Hernandez||10. Crispino Marinay|
|2. Policarpio Carandang||11. Julian Carandang|
|3. Victoriano Carandang||12. Gregorio Carandang|
|4. Gaspar Cantillana||13. Inocencio Macatangay|
|5. Martin Hernandez||14. Jose Capuno|
|6. Ignacio Macatangay||15. Florentino Capuno|
|7. Guillermo Divino||16. Jose Carandang|
|8. Felipe Mirano||17. Inocencio Hernandez|
|9. Pioquinto Hernandez||18. Vicente Cantillana|
It was revealed by the old residents that in 1898, this barrio became the hiding place of the insurrectos. The place was chosen by them because they could easily flee to the mountains. There are also deep ravines where they were to hide from the cruel Spaniards.
During the Spanish regime, men who had no cedulas were taken by the “guardia civiles” because whenever they see them coming, they go into their hiding places. [The] Punishment inflicted on the people was called “pangaw.” This was a piece of wood where they bored holes and the feet of the person being punished was put in them. He also had to lie on the ground under the heat of the sun for several hours until he was told to go.
When the Japanese came to the barrio, they first encamped on the school and in several houses. Here, they used and burned all the things found inside the rooms. Desks and cabinets were used as fuel in cooking their food. As the situation became tense, the Japanese
soldiers moved to the foot of the mountain in the southern part of the barrio. While these soldiers were here, people suffered and encountered hardships. Barrio folks were forced by them to work in the fields to plant cotton. Farmers were not allowed to cultivate and plant crops of their own. The men, especially, were forced to carry the Japanese belongings and heavy logs to their dugouts. Some of the personal belongings of the people were also taken by force. Prime commodities and everything of value were seized at the point of bayonets. People during that time were afraid to leave their homes because of the Japanese atrocities. So, they depended mostly on household industries like the so-called “dinugtong” and weaving of sinamay cloths. Others who had large camote plantations dried them; those were sold by kilos. The food of the people was mostly corn and cassava.
In was in 1945 when the Americans came to liberate us from the ferocious Japanese. Sounds of firearms and cannons and machine guns were in the southern part of the barrio. People hid for safety but, unfortunately, one of the accidents by the name of Ramon Atienza was hit by a shrapnel on his arm. This was the cause of the loss of one of his arms.
After liberation, a new religion sprang up here. This was the “Iglesia ni Kristo.” Many people were converted by the ministers of this religious sect. So, they erected a church of their own in the middle of the farm in the sitio of Puera.
To improve and help the farmers in their agricultural problems, they were given aid. Different kinds of fertilizers were introduced at a low price and these were distributed equally among the people who had lands. Farmers found it to be effective because the production of their crops was greatly increased and, at last, they were encouraged to till the soil.
Part Two – Folkways
Traditions, Customs and Practices in Domestic and Social Life.
During the delivery of the child, the mother is attended to by a local midwife called “hilot.” She is assisted by a man locally known as “salag.” A midwife without professional training nurses the delivering mother. The mother is prohibited from eating many different kinds of food. The so-called “hilot” continues attending to the mother and the newborn baby until they are given a bath, which usually takes place after a period of one month after the delivery. Firecrackers are fired soon after the delivery of the child. Chickens are dressed and served to the people who have come to pay a visit. The parents usually decide on who will be the godfather or
the godmother, as the case may be. When the newly-born child is but the first child, the grandparents usually take a hand in deciding who the godfather or godmother would be. The godfather or godmother of the first child is usually a very close relative of the parents, a brother or sister of either the father or the mother.
There are two stages in [the] baptism of a child. The first is administered by the village priest and the real baptism is done by the town priest. The first stage is the so-called “buhos-tubig.” But this practice of buhos-tubig is not done at present, except only when the newly-born baby is not in a condition to live. Before a child is baptized, relatives and close friends of the child’s parents donate things as a sort of remembrance such as chickens, goats, eggs, wine, soft drink and other beverages to be used during the baptismal party. This practice is called “tawiran.” The local midwife is the one who carries the child to the church. Then, the godparents follow. In going out of the church after the child is baptized, the bearer of the child must outrun the others if there are any. The belief is that the child concerned will be ahead of the other children baptized at that same 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 baby and at the same time to the “hilot.” The sum of money given to the child is called “pakimkim.” In return, the parents of the child give something such as chickens and eggs to the godparents of the newborn baby.
At present, the use of [a] go-between is still practiced like that of the past. The man courting the lady as well as the parents of the man render services to the lady and her parents. Services like plowing the field, weeding [the] rice field, fetching water, gathering firewood and helping the father by taking care of cows and other animals. If it so happened that the house of the lady is not in good condition, the man and other members of his family make some repairs. The services of the young man are not acknowledged until after fish is brought to the lady’s parents. The fish is distributed among the relatives of the lady. In return, the recipient of a slice of fish gives a gift to the new couple during the wedding ceremony. To acknowledge the services of the young man and the gift given, the parents of the young lady call for the contracting parties and arrange for the marriage. The services sometimes take a long time, especially when the lady or the parents of the young lady believe they would know the kind of man their daughter
is going to marry. The man rendering services must live in the woman’s house. In spite of the services rendered and the gifts given, the young man cannot be sure to have the young girl for his wife. There will still be the so-called “bulongan,” in which the two contracting parties talk about the plans for the marriage. If the two parties agree in their talks, the young man can be sure of having the lady. But if [a] disagreement arises, that is, if the parents of the young lady ask for things that the parents of the young man cannot afford, [the] marriage is dissolved [cancelled is probably what the author meant]. In this meeting or “bulongan,” boiled chickens and win are served. When the young man and the lady are already in love with each other, sometimes this practice of rendering services is being done away with. If the parents of the lady force the man to render services, the lovers usually elope.
Oftentimes, marriage ceremonies are administered by the Catholic priest and are usually done at the church. The marriage festival is governed by many superstitious belief. Lighted candles during the marriage ceremony are closely watched. The people say that if the candles burn brightly, they will have a longer life of contentment. After being married, that is, when the bride and groom go out of the church, the groom steps on the foot of the bride in order that she will always be under his disposition. When both the bride and groom take their first steps on the ladder, rice is showered upon them. A pot is thrown in front of the ladder. If the pot is broken up into many pieces, they usually say that they are likely to have many children. Sweets are also served before we go inside the house. During the wedding party which is called “baysanan,” all the relatives of the young lady are invited. The relatives of the young man give special attention to them. Before the party is over, the bride and groom sit on opposite sides of a round table with the sponsors of the wedding. Sometimes, the sponsors act as announcers. They lead in the giving of gifts. Relatives and close friends of the newlyweds give a sum of money to the newly married couple. The relatives of the man give money to the bride and the relatives of the bride give money to the groom. A cigarette or cigar is given in exchange for the money. Everybody who gives money is listed. This occasion is called “sabangan.” When every relative has given money, all the money, including the list of persons who gave the money, yes put together in a small bag. The groom then gives the bag with money to the bride. The park is called “isinusulit.” After this, the newlyweds kneel before the elder relatives and ask for their blessings. Then, the party breaks up and the bride gets ready to go to the
groom’s house. This is locally called “lipat.” The relatives of the groom accompany the bride. The groom follows a short time later or the following day. No relatives of the bride is allowed to go with the bride in going to the groom’s house. Upon reaching the groom’s house, the bride goes directly to the kitchen and puts out the fire if there is any for the simple reason that the people say that there will be a harmonious relation among themselves, especially with the family circle after changing the clothes, the bride goes down the stairs and tries to sweep the surroundings of the groom’s house. It is also believed that by doing so, the bride will be getting along harmoniously with her husband’s parents, brothers, and sisters. The young couple stays in the groom’s house for four days and returns to the wife’s house soon after.
When someone dies, all relatives and close friends pay a visit. There are persons who believe that death is caused by sickness, caused by germs and some believe that death is a punishment of a certain goddess who became angry. Everyone who pays a visit offers a prayer for the soul of the dead person and sometimes gives a sum of money. The sum of money is called “pakandila,” which should be spent for buying candles. Relatives, close friends, and the nearest kin 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.” This yes done because the people say that this is the last time they will see the person. Some who still believe in superstitions see that the dead body is being watched because a witch-like creature called “iki” might get the liver of the dead person. So, a pair of scissors is placed on the dead body so that the “iki” will be afraid to come near and steal the liver of the dead person because it might be hurt. During the night of watching, the people play some games in order not to get sleepy. Some of the games that are often played are “Huego de Prenda,” “Tres Siete,” “Domino,” games using the native cards and, sometimes, “Bugtungan” which is guessing riddles. Coffee and bread are usually served to the watchers. After the burial of the dead, a prayer is offered for the dead every night for nine consecutive nights. If the person who dies is young, there is the so-called “apatang-araw,” but if the person who died is already old, there is the so-called “waluhang araw.” During these days, a prayer is offered for the soul of the dead. Food is served during these days.
From the day one dies, relatives mourn by wearing black clothing for one year. During this period of one
year, relatives cannot be serenaded or even sing songs because they say that this is a sign of respect and love for the dead. One year after death, the relatives and friends get together again. At noon, a prayer is offered and the black dresses are taken off and thrown out of the windows. This day is called “babaang luksa.” Donations are given in varying amounts. Plates used during this occasion should not be placed one on top of the other. The belief is that a close relative will soon die in the near future if these things are done.
Before placing a dead body into the coffin or casket, lime in the form of a cross is spread on the bottom of the coffin. This practice is being done in order 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 the stairs. In carrying the dead body to the cemetery, the feet must point to the direction where the carriers are going. The dead body is sometimes carried to the church before proceeding to the cemetery. A prayer is offered at the church before putting the dead body into the grave.
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 to those who were not able to attend the wedding party. The newlyweds are given a sum of money. This practice of visitation is called “nanganganak.”
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 so relatives and friends are also invited.
During the outgoing of the year, that is, the 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 and drums. Sometimes, the persons who beat the cans go around the barrio beating the cans. At the coming of the New Year, the people listens carefully to the sounds made by animals. They say that [a] sound made by a cow is a sign of a prosperous year.
During the Lenten season, “Kwarisma,” the people read aloud to a sort of tune a book which deals with the life of Jesus Christ. Stanzas are read alternately by males and then females. Singing songs, serenading and dancing are prohibited by the old folks. They say that this is a sign of love and respect for Jesus Christ.
Other practices, customs, and traditions –
Seeds for planting, especially rice, are dried on Fridays only. Not even a single seed is eaten or bitten. The belief is that the remaining seeds will not give a good harvest. The plants will be destroyed by the rats. Rice seeds for planting are sowed on the farm on the days having no “r.”
In selecting a place where a house is to be built, one uses a piece of stick. This stick has been measured by stretching the hand. The measurement is from the tip of the finger producing the longest stretch. 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 than the stretch is the best place to build a house. The belief is that the life of the people who will live in the house will be happy, contented and prosperous.
Moving into a new house is done on or before the full moon. This is done to make the lives of the people who will live in the house prosperous. The first thing moved in the house is water, put into a jar placed in the middle of the sala. Moving into the new house is usually done before dawn.
(2) Walang halagang isang pera, pilit namang kinukuha.
(3) Isang biging palay, sikip ang bahay.
(4) Aling kakanin sa mundo ang lama’y malayo sa buto.
(5) Ang itinanim ay itinapon, at ang pinagtamnan ay nilamon.
(6) Paibaba’t pailaya, hila-hila ang bituka.
(7) Pitak-pitak, silid-silid, pinto ma’y di masilip.
(8) Naluha’y walang mata, nakalad ay walang paa.
(9) Pag bata’y minamahal, pagtanda’y pinupugutan.
(10) Pinagtulungan ng lima ay hindi rin madipa.
(11) Matapang ako sa lima, duwag ako sa iisa.
(12) Ako muna ay sumigaw, bago pa ako nagnakaw.
(2) Ang kaisipan ay kaban ng kayamanan.
(3) Kung anong binhi ay siyang hasik.
(4) Kilala sa labong ang magiging bongbong.
(5) Ang punong santol ay hindi bubunga ng makopa.
(6) Huwag kang sisiguro, kwarisma ma’y nabagyo.
(7) Ang tubig na matining turukin mo’t malalim.
(8) Ang sugat sa galamay ay damdam ng buong katawan.
(9) Maputi man at durog, daig din ng garingang subok.
(10) Malakas ka man at balita, daig ka pa rin ng mahina.
(11) Puso ko’y nahihiwa, hindi naman natataga.
(12) Kapag napakaagap ay napapahalugap
Methods of measuring time:
Other than clocks and watches are by means of the position of the sun, crows of roosters, sounds made by birds, position of the southwestern cross, height of the morning star and closing of some flowers like that of the so-called “orazan.” There was no special calendar.
Respectfully submitted by:
[Sgd.] (Miss) Lilia M. Lasala
[Sgd.] (Miss) Emerita H. Hernandez