January 4, 2018

San Pascual, Batangas: Historical Data

Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for 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 now-municipality of San Pascual was just a barrio of Bauan. The former was formally separated from the latter in the year 1969 after the passage of Republic Act No. 6166. This narrative is about the present poblacion or what used to be called Barrio Lagnas of Bauan.

[p. 1]

HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE OF LAGNAS

1. Present official name of the barrio: Lagnas

2. Popular name of the barrio, present and past:

The popular name of the barrio, past and present, has been Lagnas. Lagnas was derived from the old Tagalog word “lagnas” which meant “creek.” The present name was given to the barrio by the old people because [the] Lagnas and Hagonoy Rivers were creeks but after many years became rivers.

The names of sitios included withint the territorial jurisdiction of the barrio are: Pook ng Kulong-kulong, Pook ng Balami, Pook ng Pani, Pook ng Butlag, and Pook ng Dimatatac. Because the southern part of the barrio was bought by the Caltex Refinery, Co., the only existing pooks now are Pook ng Balami, Pook ng Butlag, and Pook ng Dimatatac. Every sitio has its own leader called “auxiliar,” who was appointed by the district councilor with the consent of the mayor. The “auxiliar” was the head of each sitio whose important duty was to keep the peace and order.

3. Date of establishment:

According to the old people of this community, the barrio was established about 1852.

4. Original families:

As it is now, so was it before; the early people in this barrio considered the family as the fundamental unit of society. According to the old people who are still living now, the original families came from forty families.

5. List of tenientes from the earliest time to date:
(a) Cosme Reyes (b) Juan Marquez (c) Luis de los Reyes
(d) Martin Velasquez (e) Simon Lualhati (f) Silvino Marquez
(g) Galiciano Pita (h) Jacinto Medrano (i) Roman Magnayi
(j) Ponciano Talain (k) Luis Pagsinohin (l) Damaso Marquez
(m) Pedro Marquez (n) Sabino Limbag (o) Jose Beltran
(p) Juan Velasquez (q) Agapito Cruzat

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6. During the eighteenth century, the whole barrio of Lagnas was covered with forest. Very few people live in scattered sitios. There was no road but there were small tracks leading to the town and to the different sitios. The oldest sitio was the Pook ng Kulong-kulong near the mouth of the Lagnas River. The sitio was depopulated because of the flood on November 7, 1926. Pook ng Balame, another old sitio, was thickly populated but when the Americans came in 1900, many of the people of the sitio transferred their homes along the road. Good roads were built and many people from different places came to live there. Because of the topography of the barrio, the people were encouraged to plant rice, sugar, indigo and vegetables.

7. There are not historical sites, structures, buildings, old ruins, etc. in this barrio.

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

(a) During the Spanish Occupation, the people in this barrio were very courteous and their behavior was generally elegant. Because of the high esteem of the children for their elders, they avoided any semblance of offensive behavior.

During the Spanish occupation, the church and the state were united. The priests were very cruel to the people. They were as powerful as the King of Spain. The people were dominated by those in power and they were afraid of the Spanish people, especially the guardia civil. They followed them like servants.

There were many illiterates during the Spanish regime because the old people were not interested in sending their children to the Spanish schools. The well-to-do families could only send their children to schools because the poor were belittled by the Spanish teachers.

The old people of the barrio were very thrifty and industrious. They earned more and spent less. They ate simple food and wore the most economical clothing. They raised the food they ate, like rice, corn and vegetables.

During the Spanish time, the people were very religious. They prayed at home when they heard the vesper bells. They went to church regularly on Sundays and holidays. Their religion taught them to be obedient, honest, and helpful.

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(b) During the American occupation, the people in the barrio of Lagnas followed the good behavior of their ancestors. The people got better education than before. They became sociable and democratic, but after many years, the people possessed the bad characteristics. Among their bad traits were (a) love of luxury, (b) the mañana habit, (c) lack of patience and perseverance, (d) harmful means of seeking redress of grievances, and (e) tendency to engage in destructive competition. People loved beautiful dresses, expensive furniture, jewelry, and other delicate fineries.

Frequently, people gave parties even if they had to spend their last centavo. In fact, it was not a rare case to find families borrowing money or pawning some of their property just to enable them to give expensive parties for the marriage or baptism of their sons and daughters, or the lavish entertainment of their visitors.

Immediately after the Americans took possession of our country, the state was separated from the church. A democratic form of government was established where people were treated equally. The Americans educated the people. Schools were established in the barrios where the people learned to read and write.

During the American occupation, the people were given the freedom to choose their own religion. In the barrio of Lagnas, there were two kinds of religion. One was the Roman Catholic and another one was the Protestant Church of Christ. Many people belonged to the Roman Catholic than to the Church of Christ.

(c) During and after World War II, the people of Lagnas continued their work as during the American occupation.

9. (a) During the war of 1896 to 1900, no lives, properties and institutions were destroyed. In 1942, during the Japanese occupation, the land was taken by the Japanese and made into [a] cotton plantation. The people were forced to work in the cotton plantation. Food and animals were taken by the enemy. Four men were killed by the Japas.

It was during this period that the Lagnas and Hagonoy Bridges were destroyed by the Japs.

(b) After World War II, the Lagnas and Hagonoy Bridges were rehabilitated.

10. Traditions, Customs, and Practices in Domestic and Social Life.

[p. 4]

BIRTH

It was customary that when a mother gave birth to an offspring, the neighbors gathered in her home. The mother was attended by a midwife called “hilot.” The midwife mopped the mat of the mother with ginger so that she might feel easy. It was the belief of the people that if a child was born at night, the child would be brave. If twins were born and one was a boy and another was girl, they would not live long.

BAPTISM

After the mother had delivered, either the father or the mother gave a name to the child. Usually, the name of the child was taken from the calendar. The parents chose the godfather or the godmother of the child.

When a baby was baptized, the mother tied a fifty centavo coin to the baby’s dress for it was their belief that the baby would be lucky. The godfather or the godmother took care of the baby’s bonnet that the priest put on because when the bonnet fell, the baby would die soon.

Usually, there was a social gathering. Friends and neighbors were invited to witness the celebration. Dancing and singing were performed by the young men and young women. Intoxicating liquor was [a] common drink among them.

COURTSHIP

There were different ways of courting a girl. The old custom, which is still existing in the locality, is kneeling before the parents of the lady and saying good evening. If the young man finds out that the parents like him, he serves the whole family by getting water, fuel, and food. If the parents of both parties agree, the young man and the young woman are married although they do not love each other.

Today, the parents do not interfere in the courting of the young man to the lady. Once they love each other, they marry without the consent of their parents.

MARRIAGE

It was generally the practice among the people in this barrio to marry within their rank, although we have already intimated elsewhere, there are cases of marriages between persons belonging to different classes. The marriage custom and ceremonies differ,

[p. 5]

depending upon the social class to which the parties belong. The system among the rich was most complicated and that among the common tao, most simple.

Among the rich, the employment of an influential go-between, altogether with the giving of dowries and other gifts, was a necessary part of the ceremony. The religious ceremonies were officiated by a priest who also joined the bride and bridegroom in marriage. After their marriage, a big wedding [party] was given in the house of the bride, where her relatives and friends were invited. Gifts of different kinds as well as money were given to the couple by their relatives and friends before they departed from lunch.

Among the common people, marriage ceremonies were officiated by either the priest or the judge. Generally, a simple get-together party was given by the bridegroom in the house of the bride. The sponsors usually gave money to the couple before their departure.

DEATH

Many people in this barrio still believe in the existence of life after death. That is, in the immortality of the soul. Rich people, when they die, are solemnized. Every night for nine consecutive nights, relatives and neighbors pray for the soul of the dead. The people also believe in the principle of retribution, that is, in punishment for the bad and reward for the good.

It is also the belief of the people that when the dead is not stiff or the coffin is too large, a member of the family will die soon.

Mourning after the burial consists of the members of the family staying in the house for four days and their abstaining from amusement and social gatherings. Wearing black dresses for one year was a sign of mourning.

BURIAL

It was the practice among the people to fumigate with incense and myrrh and dress elegantly the dead person. If a person died on a certain day, the next day he or she would be buried. When a member of a rich family died, his body is placed in a stone wall called pantion. If the common people died, the coffin was buried in the ground.

PUNISHMENT

Punishment during the yesteryears was different from the present. Disobedient children were punished by their parents by dipping them into the water or letting them

[p. 6]

kneel on mongo beans. Today, disobedient children are punished by their parents by pinching the ears or by whipping them.

MYTHS

Old people in this barrio believe in myths, which consist of legends, fables, folktales, beliefs, omens, and superstitions. Their forefathers had tales about [the] origins of the world, the origin of mankind, the fall and redemption of man, and many other themes. Many of these tales have come down to the people at present through traditions.

BELIEFS

Our old people have their version of the origin of man and woman. They believe in the eternal existence of heaven and earth, maintained that a bird pecked at the reed or bamboo and broke it in twain, from whence came [man] and woman, the Adam and Eve of these people. Then, they united themselves in marriage and from them descended the Filipino people.

SUPERSTITIONS

People of today have peculiar superstitions. They believe that when a crow flies near a house and cries “uwac-uwac,” a relative from a distant place [has] died. If a hunter, a fisherman, or a farmer meets a lizard on his way, he will have bad luck. But if they meet a snake, they will have good luck. Dreaming that a tooth has been removed means that a near relative will die.

The people also believe in the existence of [the] “aswang,” kulam, tianak, tikbalang, nono, and other alleged “beings.” The “aswang,” which was the most dreadful of these beings was, according to them, a person who, because of an ailment or sickness, assumes other forms like that of a dog or pig, when he roams about at night in search of a prey, particularly sick persons or expectant mothers. The “kulam,” according to them, was a person who, because of sickness, roamed about at night. Through mere words or a weird fire-ceremony, they believe he could inflict grave injuries on his victim, the injuries being in the form of a swollen belly, cancer, or the like. The tikbalang was a harmless being, but when he took fancy on someone, he would lure him to this place and make fun of him. People believed that the “tikbalang” could change the sight of a person who was enticed [and] could not find his way home.

[p. 7]

11. Popular Songs, Games and Amusements.

SONGS

The most popular song that the people of today learn from their ancestors is the “Kundiman.”

GAMES AND AMUSEMENTS

Old people taught their children and grandchildren “kutang-kutang,” “fandango,” “abaruray,” and “sabalan.” These games and amusements still exist in many sitios in this barrio.

12. Puzzles and Riddles.

“Brother and sister, I have none, but this boy’s father is my father’s son.”

“A hanging heart.”

“Saging and banana are the same, can you spell them?”

13. Proverbs and Sayings.

“There is no solid rock that continuous droplets cannot wear away.”

“Patience has its own reward.”

“The stone doesn’t come to the snail.”

“Make hay while the sun shines.”

“He who intends to cheat often cheats himself.”

“Easily won, easily lost.”

“Give and take.”

14. Methods of measuring time.

Old people measured the time at night from the crowing of the cocks during the whole night. During the day, people measured the time by looking at the sun.

15. Other folktales: None.

16. Information on books and documents treating of the Philippines and the names of their owners: None.

17. The names of Filipino authors born or residing in the community, the titles, and subjects of their works, and the names of the persons possessing those: None.



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

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