Pila, San Pascual, Batangas: Historical Data Part I - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Pila, San Pascual, Batangas: Historical Data Part I - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Pila, San Pascual, Batangas: Historical Data Part I

Historical Data graphic
Historical data from the National Library of the Philippines.



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

[Note to the reader.]

At the time when this document was created, the barrio of Pila was still a part of Bauan rather than San Pascual. The latter did not become a separate municipality until the year 1969, after the passage of Republic Act No. 6166.

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1. Present official name of the barrio - - - - Pila

2. Popular name of the barrio

(1) a. Present - - - - Pila

b. Past - - - - - - Pila

(2) Derivation and meaning of this name:

Many years ago, when there were still very few families in this place, the people worried and talked about much of how they could give it a name.

At last, the oldest man and, perhaps, the wisest, called a meeting. He said, “Inasmuch as our place has no name yet, let us talk over tonight the name most fit for our place.” All at once, the people burst into laughter and exclaimed, “Oh, let us call our place ‘Pila.’ There are plenty of pila here so this is the name most fitted. Everywhere we dig in this place, we dig ‘pila.’

This kind of soil is quite hard and stony and is popularly known in this place as “pila.”

The old man listened very carefully and, afterwards, he looked up in astonishment; then, he nodded his head and uttered a few words – “Hmm! Hmm! Well, it’s nice!” At the old man’s approval, the people clapped their hands with joy and shouted, “Mabuhay ang nayon ng Pila! (Long live the barrio of Pila!)”

(3) Names of sitios included within the territorial jurisdiction of the said barrio.

“POOK NG KAPITAN” (The present sitio)

This sitio got its name from one of the inhabitants from this place who was at that time a prominent and popular “kapitan.” Because he was very rich, he was idolized by the people. To honor him, the people, after their separation from the main barrio which is Pila, named the sitio after him. Up to the present, the sitio’s popular name is “Pook ng Kapitan.”

All that data concerning this sitio were very much alike to that of Pila because this sitio was

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once a part of Pila. The traditions, customs, beliefs, superstitions, folk tales and others were alike, so having a separate compilation for this is not necessarily important.

There were no happenings here worth writing because they were of the least importance if there were any.

The puzzles, riddles, sayings and proverbs we had in this place were usually borrowed and imitated from the people of the main barrio.

Their method of measuring time and the popular games, songs, and amusements were very similar to that of Pila.

3. Date of establishment.

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

4. Original families.

According to old folks still living, during the early days of its development, there were just several families. They could not remember those existing then.

5. List of tenientes from the earliest time to date.

During the American regime, the following were the tenientes del barrio.
1.  Simon Cusi3.  Gregorio Castillo
2.  Anastacio Cusi4.  Narciso Marquez

The present teniente del barrio is Lucio Cusi.

The tenientes during the earliest time were not known. However, the ones recorded here were those of the Spanish regime.

Upon the arrival of the Spaniards, the barrios were divided into barangays. A barangay consisted of from forty to sixty families. The barangay was ruled and governed by a “cabeza.” The one selected “cabeza” to rule Pila was Gregorio Castillo. He was selected because he was the richest man there. His duties were: (1) To appoint the tenientes del barrio (2) to help the teniente del barrio collect taxes (3) to inform the town officials of the crimes committed within his territory.

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One of the tenientes del barrio he appointed was Celedonio Masangcay, who was also a resident of Pila. He was elected because during that time, he was the greatest comedian of the place, a man of good character, and a man of dignity.

The duties of the teniente del barrio:

(1) He notified the people of things needed in town.
(2) He collected the taxes.
(3) He helped the cabeza maintain peace and order within the barangay.

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

7. No data on historical sites, structures, buildings, old ruins, etc.

8. Important facts, incidents or events that took place.

(a) During the Spanish occupation, there was complete peace and order in this barrio.

(b) During the Filipino-American War, houses were burned by the Filipino soldiers so that they could fight well in case the Americans came. The women and children and other civilians were taken to Lagnas and Bauan, where they were kept until there was complete peace. This was during the year 1901.

(c) During and after World War II – People were required and forced by the Japanese civilians to plant cotton. Palay, corn, vegetables and other farm products were destroyed to the extent that people had [a] food shortage. Most of the land was planted to cotton. People were punished if they did not obey those Japanese civilians.

Farm animals like cows, horses, pigs, fowls, dogs and many others were taken by Japanese soldiers who from time to time went to the house of the “Kapitan” (teniente del barrio) and asked for these things.

Besides these Japanese soldiers, we had the Filipino guerrillas who also went from house to house begging for something to eat. If you failed to give them what you wanted, then they became the worst enemies of the people. They sometimes kidnapped people who were very innocent and then let the relatives get them from their hiding places. In order to have them, the relatives must be able to give them their wants.

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9. (a) Destruction of lives, properties and institutions during wars, especially in 1896-1900 and 1941-1945.

During the war of 1941-1945, the Pila-San Mariano Bridge was destroyed.

(b) Measures and accomplishments towards rehabilitation and reconstruction following World War II.

(1) [The] Pila-San Mariano Bridge was reconstructed.
(2) Roads were made so that better means of transportation were made available.


10. Customs and Practices.


Before the birth of the child, the husband prepares different kinds of wood that have good structure. These pieces of wood are to be burned in a pot and to be kept burning under the place where the wife lies down for at least one week.

The delivery of the child is usually attended by the so-called “hilot” or midwife. The “hilot” usually stays with the family until the baby is born. She manages the bathing of the baby and the dressing up of it. Then, she goes there and makes the routinary visit which is twice a day for at least one week. After 18 days, the wife is ready to take a bath. The husband, then, gathers different kinds of plants like malarayap, galamay-amo, etc. These things are boiled in a big, new pot. This will stand overnight, and the following morning, it will be put over the fire again and about 10 o’clock, the wife is ready to take a bath. After the bath is over, a hot stone is made ready for the so-called “saklat.” The wife is wrapped in [a] mat and stands with feet apart. The “hilot,” then, would put the stone between the feet and would pour water over it from time to time. The wife, then, would feel the heat of the stone and would perspire much. When she is already perspiring much, the “hilot” then stops the pouring of the water and the patient is allowed to lie down.


After the safe and normal delivery of the child, the parents of the child think of baptizing the baby. The

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child then, is taken to be baptized. The parents select a “madrino” or a “madrina” for their baby.

Usually, when the parents of the child happen to be well-to-do, there is a baptismal party wherein friends, relatives and neighbors are invited. However, when the parents happen to be very poor, the baby is just taken to town to be baptized.

When the baby is born sickly, the parents do not take the child to town at once, but hire somebody to baptize the baby right there in the house. When the baby gets well, then it is taken to town to be baptized.

The above practices were those put into effect during the olden days. However, because they were handed to us, some of them are still practiced today.


Courtship, during those days, was very much different from the courtship we have today. We cannot blame people for having such kind of courtship because these might be a tradition brought down to them and was something with which they had to abide.

Suitors during those days were very well-behaved. They took off their hats even if they were still a few meters away from the girl’s house. When they went up the house, they were very careful not to make any noise. Before they entered the house, they showed courtesy by saying, “Magandang gabi po!” behind the door in a very modulated voice. Then, they would sit quietly on the floor without uttering a word. The girl, then, would sit opposite the suitor, without saying any word also. They just looked at each other, perhaps with meaningful looks. While the suitor smoked his cigar, the girl continued her piece of work; she might be knotting abaca or doing any other household work.

While the courtship was going on, the parents of the girl laid behind their daughter. But remember, they were not sleeping. They were watching the two. After a few minutes, the man would ask permission and leave the house.

Usually, the man helped in the work done in the girl’s house, although there’s no reassurance whether or not he would be the right man for the parents. After long and patient service (sometimes, it took a year or more), the parents then approved.

The parents of the man were then sent for by the girl’s parents, so that they could decide and talk over of the coming feast.

[p. 6]

When both parties did not agree on the giving of the dowry or on the preparation for the feast, or if there occurred any misunderstanding between the parties, then they separated again. When the parents of the man were not tactful, the long service rendered by their son became useless. The man then had to look for another to serve, one where he could be lucky.

In other words, parents during those days were the ones who decided the marriage of their sons and daughters. Not like today, when parents are not very much concerned in this. If parents don’t like, alright, the girl and man elope or, if they cannot do this, they are secretly married. Men and women today do not mind whether their parents like or they do not like. They just follow the dictates of their conscience.


With regards to marriage, some practices of the past are still being done today.

When both parties have agreed, then they talk over the dates when the couple is to be married. They consult old persons who know best the luckiest day. Then, talk over of the sponsors-to-be; and the marriage feast. When all has been decided, the groom, the bride and the parents of both parties buy the necessary things to be used.

The ceremony is over, the couple rushes out of the church. Today, the couple walks together in going in and out of the church but during those days, each one of them liked to go ahead of the other, to find out who of the couple would be dominant.

When they reached the house, the couple kneels before their parents. There is sometimes singing, dancing. There is great rejoicing.

At about one o’clock, when the feast is almost over, they have the so-called “sabugan” wherein friends, relatives and neighbors of the couple give their “regalos” sometimes in terms of money or in any other forms.

After the “sabugan” is over, the bride is taken to the groom’s house. All the things used in the feast is carried back. The groom is left in the bride’s house where he helps in the work done there. He goes home the following morning to see his bride.

11. Myths, Legends, Beliefs, Superstitions, Origin, Etc.


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