Tungal, San Luis, Batangas: Historical Data - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Tungal, San Luis, Batangas: Historical Data - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Tungal, San Luis, 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 Talon 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.
[Cover page.]




Data gathered and compiled by:


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Like any other barrio, Tungal, which is the official name of the barrio, stands on a hill overlooking Balayan Bay. It is on the provincial road, and accessible by all means of transportation that are available in the locality. It is about four kilometers from the Poblacion and five kilometers from the nearest intersection of Muzon, from Batangas, Taal and Alitagtag.

According to some old folks, the barrio of San Jose was once part of the main barrio of Tungal. As the two sitios were separated, there were no houses in the intervening place, Tungal was named the original sitio and San Jose, the sitio on the western side of the barrio. Folks say that the name of the barrio was taken from a certain flower called katunggal, which is in abundance in this place. Others say the name was derived in this way. A stranger in this barrio happened to meet a man who was fetching water from a well, and asked for the name of the barrio. It so happened that the man was still some distance away [and] was a little bit deaf, and so he answered in a different way and said, “Ako ay tutunggal,” which means I shall fetch water. Now, the man thought that the answer was “Ito’y Tunggal.”

A sitio which is called Pamintahan was also a part of this barrio. This name originated when a certain group of ladies and gentlemen had a picnic. Here, the men agreed to bring a certain share to make the picnic a happy affair. Inasmuch as folks in this sitio are thrifty, they at once said they would bring black pepper (paminta), which is cheaper in value; thus, the sitio was called Pamintahan as a sort of joke on those young men and women from this sitio.

The fixed date of establishment could not be ascertained, but according to some information, the barrio was established during the nineteenth century. The original families of this barrio were the families of Castro, Cornejo, Bonsol and that of Capitan Andong.

From time to time, a cabeza now called the teniente del barrio was selected to be the head of the barrio. This cabeza knew all the rules and regulations, so that he could manage and lead the whole barrio smoothly. The list of tenientes del barrio from the earliest time were Juan Cornejo, Pioquinto Cornejo, Isidoro Castro, Andrico Armedilla, Hilarion Macatangay, Epifanio de Claro, Elias Bonsol and Cornelio Macatangay.

During the American Occupation, no important events took place. It was only in about 1900 [that] people of the barrio and neighboring barrios were told to assemble in town which was called the “zona.” Then, later on in about 1901, they were released and told to go home.

During the Japanese occupation, people suffered hardships. Food and other properties were taken by Japanese soldiers by force. At times, these people came around and managed in the planting of cotton against the will of the farmers. So, the rice farms were neglected and thus, many people

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lacked food. Usually, cassava and other foods were substituted for rice.

Upon the return of the liberators, there was no event of importance other than the capture of a Japanese soldier in the northern part of the barrio. As the people during the entire length of the occupation were not cooperative with the Japanese, there were no spies nor were there any trace of whatever trait or tendency of cooperation. To show their love for the ideology sown by the forty years of Americanism in the Philippines, the said capture of the soldier was made easy and immediately he was turned over to the liberation forces.

After liberation, there was a marked reawakening in nearly all fields of human endeavor. People began to realize the need for higher education. As a result thereof, there are marked improvements in soil cultivation and conservation. Mechanized farming is used, the use of fertilizer is widespread, as a result of which produce has doubled. Migration to other places like Mindoro during harvest season is now a thing of the past. The people are industrious. They engage in various industries which make them occupied the whole year round.

Tungal was saved from the ravages of war. Lives and properties were spared during the three years of occupation, although the people showed no longing towards the enemies. There were still Katipuneros living in the vicinity, but the insignificant benefits are not extended to them. Graciano C. Castro and Marcelo Marasigan are living Bataan veterans.

Reconstruction is slow. This does not mean that the facilities extended by the government are not availed of. It is only their industry and initiative that hasten their rehabilitation for a better and happier lot. Every family owns a piece of land. Everybody is happy and contented and are law-abiding and God-fearing citizens. It is a sleepy barrio, but the residents have contributed a lot to the betterment of their fellow beings and their country.


Ever since, its people are conscious of education and the role it plays upon its growth. Although few have been successful, it can also be proud because illiteracy knows no place in its bosom. There are, however, [a] few customs, traditions, and practices in social and domestic life still dominant in its domain. Among the young folks, old traditions are not given particular attention, because as influenced by its accessibility and topographical location, the services of professional obstetricians are always availed of. [A] Few, however, still stick to practices not sanctioned by either science or dynamic educational trends. There are still people who refrain from constructing houses and the like if the wife is pregnant in the belief that she will encounter hardships in delivery. The expectant mother is not allowed to eat twin bananas lest her offspring be twins; and to sew clothes worn, for it may reflect upon the unborn baby. Some husbands are not allowed to help in the off jobs [?] of burial and to enter the cemetery. Wives are cautioned not to stay at the door of the house lest the baby be deterred and the mother suffer hardships and cause danger to her life. The “suob” and “bato” are practices now unknown in the locality. The future father prepares everything: money, firewood, medicine, chickens, diapers and the like ne-

[p. 3]

cessary for delivery. The most important thing that occupies the attention of the future parents is the wine for celebration in case of delivery. It is drunk to the gaiety of everyone present and there is [a] wild celebration if it is a boy. It is milder if a girl is the first born. Fireworks are exploded to announce the addition of a new soul. For the first-born child, usually either one of the oldest brother or sister of the parents are chosen for godfather, if it be subsequent son or daughter, his first cry either it be low or high is not now taken into consideration. Anybody is chosen depending upon the amicability of their relationship. Parents are cautious to choose those whom either they or the grandparents have been sponsors for baptism or marriage any relative of the one chosen, because according to them, it constitutes “kalas” or broken ties which may sever the ties of their good relationship in the future.

All the people are Catholics and are brought up according to its rites. Usually, the child is first christened in the barrio. “Buhos Tubig” because the parents want that there must be a celebration or feast especially if the child is the first or when the godfather is one of influence, a politico or what not. When the parents are already prepared, the child is baptized in the church. The expense vary according to the financial condition of the parents.

Unlike the olden times, courtship in the present generation is largely influenced by modern methods brought about by social, cultural and educational intermingling of young men and women. There is [the] usual serenade accompanied by old people, followed by [a] conference or “bulungan” if the parties are already in good terms. Gone is the long servitude; getting water, fetching firewood and laboring like a slave in the woman’s house. In the conference attended by nearly all relatives are discussed the details of the wedding. The marriage parties are married at a date fixed at the conference. The groom shoulders all the expenses. The guest of honor, usually the sponsor and the nearest relatives, occupy the first table of the wedding. After the feast is over, there follows [the] “sabugan,” which is dispense with at times depending upon the circumstances. Once the “sabugan” is over, there follows [the] “lipat” of the bride to the groom’s house. The groom is left behind to help in the various chores and follows the next day.

Modern medical treatment is applied to sick persons, but in rare cases are the services of the local arbulario availed of. There are those, however, who still cling to those medical practices, but they are those whose financial condition cannot permit and cannot warrant professional services. Dead persons are not embalmed and are watched overnight by all relatives and the people of the barrio who offer condolences to the bereaved family. As there is no cemetery in the barrio, the dead is buried either in the municipal cemetery [or] in [the] Catholic cemetery. Immediately after the coffin is lifted for burial, a bamboo slit is taken off from the floor and a dipper full of water and a broom are thrown at the earth near the stairs. The windows are then closed and only one of the family is left. The rosary is said every night until the ninth day when there is a celebration or a feast. Every group says its own rosary. The plates used are not piled together but carried one by one in the belief

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that if done so, an immediate member may be dead next. Another rosary is said on the thirtieth day of death if a woman and on the fortieth of a man. The final saying of the rosary is on the first anniversary when all the black clothes worn during the year are bundled and thrown to the ground.

The people of this place are customarily migratory. Seldom can all the menfolk be assembled at a specific time of the year. Many years before, the Mayflower festival was held on three novenas, on the ninth, eighteenth and twenty-seventh, but the same was also abandoned by the young people on the thought that the same was vague and off and old-fashioned. The young people now are after dances, wine and frivolity.

Generally, myths, legends, beliefs and the like are things of the past. There are still some which incidentally are true to life.

When the outside bottom of a carajay burns into little embers, a visitor is coming. When one meets a black cat on the road, misfortune will befall him or her. When the palms become itchy, money is forthcoming. When a man or woman dreams [A] Few still believe in anting-anting or charms. It is generally believed that a Supreme Being other than Jesus Christ created the world. The first man and woman were created by God and placed on the earth which was once upon a time a paradise. But they incurred God’s displeasure and He created mountains, lakes, rivers, seas, oceans, and plants, etc. and ruled that they should live by the sweat of their brow. He even created the moon, cloud, stars, thunder, lightning and detailed a saint responsible for its behavior. Storms are under St. Lorenzo. [A] Few believe in magic. Some believe that there are ghosts, “asuwang,” “iki,” and the “tiyanak.” All these cannot be proven now but old people take a firm stand in the belief that there are really those creatures.



A long time ago, rats were friends of men. They were as good to men as cats today are good to us. The rats and the cats lived together and they were playmates. These cats were true friends to the rats. However, the rats possessed one bad trait. They were envious of anything good others possessed which they did not have.

Once, a rat and a cat lived together in the house of a rich man. They were both pets in the household and were both taken good care of. They often amused their master with their funny tricks. One day, after a game of chase, both became very tired and laid down in a corner and fell fast asleep. While the rat was sleeping, he dreamed that a fairy came down and gave the cat a wonderful gift. It was a set of golden whiskers fast under the chin. These golden whiskers made the cat more attractive than before. The cat woke up earlier than his friend and to his surprise, he saw the golden whiskers under the cat’s chin. Then, the cat woke up and played again. The rat saw that the cat could leap higher and further than he could do before. From that time on, the rat took a watch-

[p. 5]

ful eye on the cat’s whiskers. He longed for a time when he could have it. Many times, he planned to steal these whiskers but he could not. A slight touch would awaken the cat up.

One day, the rat thought of the owl who was the wisest of all the inhabitants of the forest. He stole away to the home of the owl. After a short conversation, the owl told the rat of a certain medicine which would put anyone to sound sleep for two hours. Hurriedly, the envious rat procured the medicine. He went home and found the cat fast asleep in the corner. He powdered the medicine and then ran to the party [pantry?] where the food was stored. He mixed the powered medicine with the food. When mealtime came, he excused himself from dinner on the pretense that corner. The rat pulled the whiskers from the cat’s chin. He hid the golden whiskers in the pocket of their master’s coat, which was hanging from a nail on the wall.

When the poor cat woke up, he found that a great change had taken place in him. He felt weak and clumsy. Soon, he found out that his golden whiskers were gone. He faced the room looking for his lost whiskers. A talkative parrot had seen the rat stealing the whiskers and told this to the cat. The cat was very angry. I’m going to kill you if you fail to restore the golden whiskers to me, he told the rat. Fearing for his life, the rat ran to the wall where the coat was hanging to get the hidden treasure. But the coat was not there anymore. The servant had tucked it away in the wardrobe of his master. Silently, the rat stole into the wardrobe and gnawed a hole in the pocket of the coat. But the golden whiskers were not there. Up to this day, the rat gnaws at every place [piece?] in search of the golden whiskers. The cat has waited too long. Every time he sees a rat, he does everything to kill it. Now, they are bitter enemies.

Old and young enjoy a day of softball and basketball. The most modern way of entertainment is within their reach, so that the most up to date songs and hits are hummed daily even by old people. Everyone delights in the serial of kuentong kutsero and the bla-bla of Rafael Yabut. Old and young know that the election is forthcoming and Eisenhower is the 34th president of the United States. All these are brought about by radio and cine. Everybody takes pride in seeing a Tagalog picture in one of the show houses of nearby Taal.

Students, especially those of higher grades, enjoy jigsaws, crosswords, brain teasers, and the like. Riddles are usually given when watching dead persons to pass time, examples of which are:

1. Takot ako sa isa, di ako takot sa dalawa. – tulay na kawayan
2. Nanganak ang birhen, itinapon ang lampin. – puso ng saging
3. Isang balong malalim, punong-puno ng patalim. – bibig
4. Ang buhok ni Adan, hindi mabilang-bilang. – ulan
5. Isang senyora, nakaupo sa tasa. – bunga ng kasoy
6. Nagtago si Tsikito, nakalitaw ang ulo. – pako
7. Lumalakad, walang humihila; tumatakbo’y walang paa. – Bangka
8. Hila mo siya, dala ka niya. – bakya o tsinelas
9. Pagsipot sa sangmaliwanag ay kulobot na ang balat. – ampalaya
10. Dalwang bolang mabilog, malayo ang abot. – mata
11. Isda ko sa Maribeles, nasa loob ang kaliskis. – sile

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12. Walang sala’y iginagapos, niyayapakan pagkatapos. – sapatos
13. Bumbong kung araw, kung gabi’y karagatan. – banig
14. Sinampal ko muna bago ko inalok. – sampalok
15. May dalawang magkaibigan, unahan ng unahan. – paa

There are also proverbs and sayings in this locality. If one is to court a lady, a man must always be on the watch because he may be late and others may reap victory. “Kung ikaw ay liligo, sa tubig ay aagap, baka abutin ng tabsing ng dagat.” When a woman does not find favor in the eyes of the world due to [a] questionable past, she is ostracized by men relying on “mapute man at durog, daig ng garingang subok.” Literally, “mahuli ma’t magaling ay maihahabol din” signifies what it means. Rearing a child to a healthy and successful end, everybody follows. “Ang batang lumaki sa layaw, karaniwan ay hubad, sa bait at muni, sa hatol ay salat.” Always stick to the point because they know that the nail must be hit on the head. The following are examples:

1. Nakikilala sa labong ang magiging bumbong.
2. Magpakahabababa [man] ang prusisyon, sa simbahan din ang urong.
3. Kung anong taas ng lipad, siya ring tunog ng lagapak.
4. Lahat ng palayok ay may kasukat na saklob.
5. Ang lakad na marahan, matinik ma’y mababaw, ang lakad na matulin, matinik ma’y malalim.

In the absence of time pieces, barrio folks wake up in the morning at the first crow of the roosters in the barn. They know it is 4:00 and it is time for preparing breakfast and at the break of dawn or six o’clock, each man goes to his pursuit. In the fields and while working, men return home for dinner at midday and in the afternoon when the sun sets. They know it is twelve and six o’clock respectively. Today, nearly everyone has his own timepiece of various trademarks ranging from the exquisite Omega to the lowly G.I. Watch bought from the forces of liberation.

Respectfully submitted:

Rosita M. Marco

(Mrs.) Liduvina C. Panaligan

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