Calatagan, Batangas: Historical Data Part V
PART ONE: HISTORY
I. Present official names of the barrios:
|a. Balitoc |
|h. Real |
Let us proceed to trace Calatagan, which is in the western part of Batangas province. It is one of the remotest towns of Batangas. This was first inhabited by a small, black, curly-haired people named Aetas or Negritoes, who were mixed with the Malays.
Our first inhabitants, through unknown ages of man, had needed to be more civilized more to his present stages of enlightenment. They lived from [one] place to another and likewise entitled or they were the first ones who gave names to the various parts they stayed. They loved and appreciated nature, which sometimes helped them yield such popular names of the locality. For instance, let us note where the popular name of each of the barrios of Calatagan flourished and they are noted as follows:
Balitoc is in the northern part of Calatagan. Rice, sugarcane, fruits, vegetables flourished in the rich soil. This shows what profitable farming may be done in the wide plain. During the old days, there lived a bandit known as Bali. He was robust and had done plenty of damage to the people residing as well as to the neighboring barrios. Since he was a “hold-upper,” this space was noted for his name. After his death, the people gave the appropriate name as “Balitoc,” which they got from the red [?] name of the bandit plus his activities done.
Quilitisan was the next barrio north of the town. It predicts the same way of living, as well as to the customs and traditions of other barrios. The people identified the place by which they derived from the tree named “quilitin.” They added some letters as “an” and called it Quilitisan. Where the locality got its name.
Talisay has a rich soil, too. Rice, sugar, mango, etc. grew well. The people are engaged in farming and fishery, but most of them are busy tilling the soil. Before, there were many trees called “talisay.” From this tree, the people inferred the name of their barrio, which means that it was a place where talisay trees were in abundance. The name of the place came from the said tree.
Balibago had plenty of balibaguhan trees. During the old days, people in this place earned their living by transacting fuel with different parts of the town. They made different by-products out of these trees in which it became very common to call the place Balibago. The people deduced from the tree common in the said place.
Lucsuhin is the biggest barrio of Calatagan. Much of the land were cleared and planted with various crops for home use and for export. In the old days, when people were busy traveling from one place to another on foot, they discovered a small river to pass over before reaching the other space. The inhabitants at that time crossed the river by jumping over, because it was narrow, it has great variations nowadays. Nicely, [a] bridge was constructed for the people to go over safely. In this case, the people inferred from
the barrio river. There, they first jumped (Lucsuhin) before they would step [on] this wide space. Later, they acclaimed to identify this region “Lucsuhin.”
Bancalan is another barrio which the people got its name from the trees named bancal. There were plenty of these bancal trees before, and the inhabitants were proud enough to call their place, which meant plenty of such trees, so the people were accustomed to call the locality “Bancalan.”
Sambungan is a place rich with a certain plant called “sambung.” During the ancient times, the belief [was] that Sambungan leaves were used for medicine to cure the patients. Drugs were not available at that time. Quack doctors used these leaves and let the resource persons take it from the place noted for sambung. They had the habit of calling the region “Sambungan” which the people derived from the plant existing.
Real is bounded to the east by Talibayog, to the south by Bucal, and in the northwest by Lucsuhin. The people are engaged in farming. Their sole industry during the olden times [in] this place was said to have had beautiful birds similar to turkeys. These birds were in flocks wherever they flew. Wherever they flew in search of food in other places, they returned to [the] same place. The people called these birds “pavo real” after the Spanish name of the said pretty birds, which they had in their country, Spain. Since the locality was unnamed, the people deduced their place “Real,” cancelling the word “pavo.”
Biga was famous for leaves called “biga,” similar to gabi leaves. These plants were used for different purposes, especially for wrapping things such as meat, salt, sugar, etc. The people gathered some of these leaves and sold them in the market. These leaves were a great purpose to them. Since their barrio was unknown, they chose the name "Biga” which they gladly got from the plant found in the locality.
Bucal had a living spring. There was no mechanical device by which the water was forced up. This spring helped a lot to the people eventually, since they had no artesian well then. Those from neighboring barrios sometimes spent to work in this place, like laundering. For this natural spring, the people named the place “Bucal.”
Baha, the remotest barrio of the town, was near the sea and covered with mountains in the western part of the place. They were engaged in farming and fishing. It has a rich soil because there was always a flood whenever heavy rain occurred. Whenever it rained heavily, the water from the mountains flooded down the lowlands and then to the sea. As it flooded, it left a kind of soil, thus making the land fertile. From different brooklets of hills and mountains going down the lowlands, resulted to a great flood which the people derived the name of their place.
Talibayog is an adjacent barrio of Baha, also in the municipality of Calatagan. The people, then, were engaged in fishing and making kaingin, for the mountains in this place were thickly populated covered by forest. During the Spanish era, the Filipino insurgents had [a] small camp on the top of the mountain. The Spaniards were then camped at Balayan. For fear of these Filipino insurgents [that they would] be caught unaware, they placed a sentinel (taliba) on the summit of the said mountain, to see whether the Spaniards would attack. AT this instance, the place was yet unnamed and the people agreed to affix “Talibayog” as the name. It was derived from “taliba,” a sentinel, and “yog,” shortened from “matayog.”
Santiago was a place near the sea. Most of the people are engaged in fishing. They stocked the fish caught by applying the process of drying the fish. They exported their goods to various towns and then brought the things needed in their daily lives. It was noted that this place was a cape or a port similar to that of Fort Santiago were Dr. Rizal was banished. It name was curtailed to “Santiago” maybe by its inhabitants.
Hukay was surrounded by mountains and hills. It has a level land which [on] people engaged in farming. Some of them were interested to construct fish corrals or fish ponds, too. The southern part of the locality faced the sea, while the other part was surrounded by mountains or hills. The people, through observation, identified that place was like a pit (hukay) and so they inferred the name of the barrio from the location they had just observed.
Date of Establishment of Sitios and Barrios
Conventohan – In the very early days, in a place near what is called Lucsuhin now, there were few people living there. It was sometime in 1700. Later on, the Jesuits built a convent in the place. Soon, it was established with Conventohan as its name, just because of the ruined convent of the Jesuits.
Baha – [A] Long time ago, there were only few families living in this place now called Baha. During those days, it was owned by some well-to-do people of Balayan, that was way back in 1828. Then, it was to Zobel in 1934.
Talibayog – The first settlers who settled in this barrio were from Balayan, too. They were the family of [the] Tolentinos. During that year, 1827, people from nearby barrios came to the place. Later, it was called by the people by its name.
Bucal – Most of the first people who lived in Bucal in 1820 came from the neighboring place north of it. Because of the difficulty in gathering seafood and cultivating the soil, they [were] forced to live in this place.
Carlosa – Carlosa was called by its name since 1903 by the people living nearby. But no one lives there. It was a mountainous place covered with big trees. It was only inhabited in 1950 when it was sold to the people. Most of its inhabitants at present were from Lemery and Taal.
Hukay – According to the people of Hukay, the barrio was first settled in 1837 by families from the poblacion of Calatagan. It was said that the family of Aytonas was the first family who lived there.
Santiago – The sitio of Santiago was established sometime in 1900. It was first settled by families of watchers of the sugar bodega of the central.
Carretonan – The sitio of Carretonan was established sometime in the year 1900. This place was called Carretonan because, during that time, there was no short way to Talibayog by cart, so the place was called Carretonan. Two years later, the people lived there.
Limboc – Sometime in the year 1900, people from neighboring places came to the place. During those days, the people had a leader called Limboc. Soon, this place was called Limboc.
Layong – Layon is a place near the sea. In the year 1897, there were no people living there. Because people from farther places wanted to be fishermen, they settled in this place by the sea.
Talisay – Before the arrival of the Spaniards in this place, there were people living in the place. They used to cultivate the soil for rice and other underground crops. With the coming of the Spaniards, it was named Talisay.
Ermitanyo – The first people to live in this place came from Talisay. They moved to this sitio to seek for good places to raise crops. The first people planted sugarcane, after a sugar central was opened.
Central – The sitio of Central was only established after the sugar central was opened. The first inhabitants of the place were the owners of the central and the workers in it. Until now, people who live there are the laborers of the land of the place.
Balibago – Balibago is the northernmost barrio in the municipality of Calatagan. It was said that the first settlers of the place were farmers also engaged in fishing. They came to the place way back in 1897. They were said to be busy people.
Trozo – The first family to live in Trozo was the Hernandez family. They came to the place on the side of the mountain in the year 1915. They were from Baha. At present, these people are living there with their sons and daughters in contentment.
Prenza – Prenza was established about sixty years ago. People who first came to this place were farmers. They came from [the] neighboring municipality. Until now, only [a] few people live in the place, cultivating the soil.
The early inhabitants of the town of Calatagan were not brought up in the place because during the Spanish sovereignty, that place was covered with thick forest and no inhabitants had ever lived there.
The place which we call now Calatagan, has fertile soil and [a] favorable climate, which are the prime necessities of agriculture. The trees were abundant that time and since no people were residing, they became gigantic citadels of those who fled from the wrong doings of Spanish soldiers and encomienderos.
The people who escaped from the hands of the Spanish guardia civil began to cultivate the soil and raised abundant crops for their own selves. They brought their families and shared [with] them the pleasant things God had given them.
These people who wear [unreadable] by Spanish abuses lived and reared their children and grandchildren in that place. They all came from the neighboring towns such as Calaca, Balayan, Taal, and Lemery.
Tenientes del Barrio from the Earliest Time to the Present and Their Accomplishments
“Teniente del Barrio” is a term which is commonly known to every person living in a barrio or sitio. The word implies a person who has a high standing and good reputation among the people. A teniente del barrio acts as judge whenever there is any dispute or trouble which may arise in a barrio.
Whenever the people here of the word teniente del barrio, they give the respect to him.
The barrios of the town of calatagan had there tenientes del barrio ever since those barrios were established.
The following is a list of tenientes del barrio of the different barrios of Calatagan from the earliest time to the present and their accomplishments:
b. Pablo Rodriguez
c. Benito Zara
Agustin had been a teniente del barrio of Baha during the pre-war days. He served the barrio for about 12 years. He did a splendid task in keeping peace and order in the place. He was succeeded by Pablo Rodriguez who occupied the position during the Japanese time.
At present, Benito Zara occupies the position and he is doing his best with the cooperation of the people to repair the school building.
b. Gavino Pedroza
c. Eleno Martinez
d. Placido Pedroza – Present.
The earliest tenientes del barrio in Balitoc had accomplished great deeds in maintaining the peace and order in the barrio. At present, Placido Pedraza joins the P.T.A. of Balitoc and he is doing his best to erect the school building which was blown down by Typhoon Trix.
b. Gavino Lachica
c. Eleno Macalindong – Present.
Jose Sarmiento and Gavino Lachica had been the tenientes del barrio of Bucal and they had done a splendid work in keeping peace and order in Bucal. Eleno Macalindong, who is the present teniente del barrio, has begun a good work in [the] educational line by taking charge of building the school.
b. Silvino Gomez – Present.
The barrio of Hukay has progressed through the initiative of Sergio Tolentino. At present, Silvino Gomez, the new teniente del barrio, is following the steps of the ex-teniente del barrio toward progressive realization of having [a] school building and maintaining peace and order.
b. Vicente Seralvo
c. Apolonio Pedraza
d. Andres Caguimbal – Present.
Lucsuhin’s progress in cultural, economic, and social lines could be considered the first in Calatagan because of the splendid work the tenientes del barrio had done. Andres Caguimbal, the present teniente del barrio, has achieved much in making Lucsuhin a peaceful place to live in.
b. Lorenzo Valencia – Present.
Luya is a newly-established barrio of Calatagan. Though it is new, Severino Alcedo, teniente del barrio of that place for five years, has done a tremendous work in making it progressive. He was succeeded by Lorenzo Valencia who is another replica of good services.
b. Isaac Diño
c. Narciso Gonzales – Present.
Quilitisan, though it is a small barrio, has been a peaceful place to live in. Through the initiative of Leoncio Diño, the teniente del barrio during the pre-war days, Quilitisan became a peaceful place. He was then successful in his work and later on succeeded by his son, Isaac Diño. At present, Narciso Gonzales is the teniente del barrio and he is doing well in maintaining peace and order in that place.
b. Juan Bautista
c. Julio Bautista
d. Antonio Ramirez – Present.
The tenientes del barrio of Real during the pre-war years were Macario Apolonia and Juan Bautista. They had gained [a] good reputation and had done good work in that barrio. Antonio Ramirez, the teniente del barrio at present, has accomplished a good work in keeping peace and order in that place.
b. Buenaventura Cudiamat
c. Eleno Custodio – Present.
Talisay has progressed much in social and educational lines through the initiative of Julian Custodio and Buenaventura Cudiamat, who were then the tenientes del barrio during the pre-war days. Eleno Custodio, the present teniente del barrio, has done a good beginning in making Talisay a good place to live in.
Among the beautiful spots in Lucsuhin is the place known today ask Conventohan. A story of this place was handed down from generation to generation.
[A] Long, long time ago, a certain place in the western part of Lucsuhin was not always as it is now.
A Jesuit, an enchanted priest, through his power of enchantment, the place became a land. In the wink of an eye, stood convent made of stone. People nearby were very much surprised. It did not take long, therefore, that the people had learned the incident and wanted to see the enchanted place. When they arrived at the place, they found nothing except the convent. They grew tired of this. One of them took a hold of one of the doors and opened it. Instantly, the convent was shaking which made them very much amazed. The shaking of the convent lasted for about an hour.
Before the people went away, the enchanted Jesuit was seen walking up in the air.
There was another form of enchantment when a family near the convent was at their supper time and a sudden shock of the house occurred. All members of the family were thrown at the other side of the home. So terrified [was] the family that the mother did not know what to do. And there was not much she could do, for the shaking had continued.
This went on for several nights and the family had thought of leaving the place. Now and then, different wonders could be seen as: a light rising high up in the sky; a big fat pig with a light on its head; a one long and a half meter wide centipede and many other more.
During the year 1892 [date is erroneous], a war broke out between the Americans and the Filipinos. After a lapse of a year, the Filipinos began to surrender. The people in Batalang Bato were assembled in Lucsuhin and were made to surrender.
From then on, the Batalang Bato residents never went back to their former residence and permanently settled in Lucsuhin.
During the eighteenth century, Calatagan was still a vast forest. There were few people and barrios were not yet organized. Thousands of wild pigs and deer could be found in the forest. Later on, the people became conscious of making kaingins because the soil was very fertile. People went to different parts of Calatagan to make kaingins. As people scattered, they became bigger and bigger in number. Small huts were built near their prospective kaingins. Ask the forest was little by little cleared, villages were formed and barrios were organized.
People depended largely on farming and fishing as means of livelihood. Due to the fertility of the soil, they had good harvests each year. People residing near the coast like Bucal, Baha, Santiago, Balitoc, Quilitisan, Taisay and Balibago not only engaged in farming but also in fishing.
When the Spaniards came to Calatagan, they introduced the Catholic Religion to the people. A church was built in the town where people could hear mass. As time went by, people seemed not to like the way the Spanish soldiers dealt with them. The Spanish “Casadores,” as they were called, were hostile and unjust. They levied high taxes on the people and those who could not pay were severely punished or even killed. They were forced to work in the cutting of lumber and
in the making of [the] church and other buildings without compensation. People began to organize themselves because they could no longer bear the Spanish tyranny. They secretly planned to overthrow the Spanish “Casadores.” They were called “Insurrectos.” Their brave and evil leaders were Victorino Consul from Balayan, Marcos Medina, also from Balayan, and Herman Herjas from Biga. Armed with pointed bolos and bamboos called “osiw,” they started from Mt. Itim and went to town, passing through the forest. They were almost two hundred in number. They didn’t know that the Spanish casadores who were in the church were heavily armed with rifles. In the first fight, many insurrectos were killed and the rest fled to the mountains. However, some of them were able to capture Captain Mariano Martinez, the appointed mayor of Calatagan that time by the Spaniards. During the time, there were also Filipino volunteers to the Spanish Casadores. These persons were the ones who told the hideouts of the insurrectos. If [the] insurrectos were captured, they were killed or heavily mauled. But the insurrectos were not discouraged. They knew that there was a well in Parola where the Casadores got their water for drinking. They put [a] poison called “bayate” in the well. Many Casadores died after drinking water from it.
In one incident, when the Spanish Casadores were going to Calatagan from Balayan, they passed Mt. Itim. They were riding on horseback. Because the mountain was very stiff, two Casadores fell from their horses and they rolled down to the deep ravine and died instantly. From the time, the Casadores did not go to the mountains and forest.
Events during the American Occupation to World War II
During the American occupation in Calatagan, there was a great change in the lives of the people. Unlike the Spaniards, the Americans were kind, just and friendly to Filipinos. The people surrendered their arms to [the] Americans. The people were given the privilege to choose their own religion. Children were induced to study under American teachers without pay. From that time on, the people of Calatagan learned to speak simple English. The people could choose their own barrio lieutenants, councilors and mayors. From them, they acquired the principles of democracy.
Industries like fishing and farming were developed. The people then increased their yield in farming and the supply of fish was abundant. If they were ever forced to work, the Americans gave them just and fair compensation.
On January nineteen hundred forty-two, the Japanese soldiers landed in Nasugbu. They built the garrison in the Central. From there, the Japanese soldiers went to Calatagan. The mayor during that time was Ignacio Concepcion. Whatever the Japanese wanted to ask the people like chickens, rice, and other food, they told it to the mirror. The mayor was the one who told the people to give the needed food to the Japanese soldiers. When the people of Calatagan had no more food to give the Japanese soldiers, Major Zobel, who had been from the concentration camp at Capas, was the one who game rice, cassava or even cows and carabaos to the Japs.
During that time, three Americans who had been from Mindoro, went to Calatagan to find [a] better hideout. Because of the Filipino spy named Berto, the Japanese soldiers learned about these Americans. There were already guerrillas at that time but not yet active. The Japanese first caught Col Emilio Macabuag and [he was] taken to the garrison in Nasugbu. He was heavily mauled but still he did not tell the hideouts of the Americans. The other suspects, Jose Tan, Demetrio Hernandez, and Chief of Police Timoteo Fagara where the next taken to the garrison for investigation. Those three suspects were believed to [have been] killed by the Japs because they were not able to return.
In 1945, the Americans had already landed in San Jose, then in Nasugbu. Because of the shelling of the American battleships, the people of Calatagan were forced to evacuate to Lian and Nasugbu.
A few days after, the Americans went to Calatagan riding on the jeeps. But at that time, there were still some Japanese soldiers in this place. When the Americans reached Quilitisan, they were attacked by Japanese soldiers deployed on the road. The driver of the jeep was killed but the Americans exchanged fire with the Japs. Three Japanese were killed and the rest fled to the mountains. Afterwards, more and more Americans came and with the help of native guerrillas under the leadership of Major Gacilao of Nasugbu, Calatagan was cleared of the Japs. The Americans burned all the Japanese ammunition and other equipment left by them.
People then returned to their respective homes happy because they knew that the Americans had saved them.
Important Facts, Incidents, or Events that Took Place During and after World War II
Balitco – (Layon, Bulihan, & Gulod)
2. Food was scarce that many lives were destroyed. Now, people eat better food.
Quilitisan – (Balon Bato, Carretonan Sur, Limboc)
2. People wore old clothes because they could not afford to buy new ones. Today, many are wearing even better clothes than before the war.
Talisay – (Carretonan Norte)
2. People were financially tied up and the cost of living depended greatly on the cost of rice. Several years after, the cost of rice declined, enabling the poorest to buy rice.
2. Many families died of hunger due to the scarcity of food. All kinds of foods were gotten by the Japanese. Now, they eat better food.
Lucsuhin – (Prensa, Bombon, Conventohan)
2. Exchange of good for another good was the way people lived during the war. They have a new life, a better life after the war.
2. During the war, [the] means of transportation was very hard. Prices of goods were higher than the people could afford to buy. Today, people eat better.
2. War destroyed many lives. Due to poverty, they became sick and many died. Now that the war is gone, people left by the war work again in their fields, raise chickens and pigs and have a new life.
Biga – (Don Luis, Paang Salwal, Calumpang, Luya, Culubot & Ermetanyo)
2. The people prayed that the war would stop. They could no longer resist the sufferings they were encountering. No food, no clothes, and no permanent homes. Then came at last the Americans, and the means of livelihood was changed to a better one.
Bucal – (Toso, Plantacion Bucal)
2. People were forced to travel hiking so as to buy food and clothing though they were of high cost. Today, it costs so much less to travel and more quickly to another than, say, ten years ago. And because it costs less to transport goods, the goods themselves cost less also. By lowering the prices of these goods, people can buy more for less money.
2. Food was scarce that many lives were destroyed. Now, people have a different way of living, a better living.
2. Many families died of hunger. The people could not work in the fields because they were afraid of the Japs. Men at that time were hunted by the Japs. Now that the war is gone, people left by the war work again in their fields, raise chickens and pigs and have a new life.
2. People in Santiago depend upon fishing. During the war,
2. Like the people of Santiago, Hukay as well as its sitio were engaged in fishing. But because of the outbreak of the war, they were forced to leave fishing and find a way of how they could live. Some went to the mountain and planted crops. Others engaged themselves in business though it was very hard for them to do. After the war, the people went back to their fishing.
Education and Religious Event
The public school is the only government agency with physical facilities and personnel in the barrios. All the barrios have public schools and nearly all of these barrio schools offer grades one to four, of course.
After searching the records, it was found out that of the one thousand children entering school, 80% completed the fourth grade 20% and sixth grade every year.
Most barrio schools have been built by the P.T.A. Teachers are paid chiefly from funds appropriated by the national government of the Philippines. The P.T.A. Is the outstanding community organization in the barrios as so-called rural areas.
During the past time, most of the people, especially in the barrios, were unable to read and write because of the far distance of the school and only the poblacion had the first public schools. But, as years passed, the government built schools [in] the barrios.
After World War II, 50 per cent of the population of the 10 years old and over was unable to read and write. However, the government is spending money to decrease this illiteracy.
The adult education program of the public schools has many outstanding achievements in the community improvement. Classroom teachers receive no compensation for this work. The barrio that began this adult education is Quilitisan Barrio School. This shows that literacy in the barrios will decrease. In this adult education, they learn also the new improved methods of farming and home life among rural families.
During the early days, people received no news or information about other places as even the neighboring barrios. As days passed, the chief source of the news were the neighbors, travelers and barrio lieutenants. But after World War II, the source of information in this rural areas are the radios, newspapers, magazines, books and barrio lieutenants. The modern methods of education was brought out in the rural areas, the public school created reading centers which will mean a great value to the community.
Religion plays an important role in the daily lives of the Filipinos and the Toman Catholic Church is a powerful agency of social control.
According to the survey distributed are as follows: Roman Catholic 90 per cent, 5 per cent Protestant and 7 per cent from other different religious organizations in the barrios.
The that have chapels are Lucsuhin and Baha only. Others build temporary chapels during the barrio fiesta.
In 1926, one of the most destructive typhoons occurred in these barrios of Baha, Bucal, Real, Balitoc, Talisay and Quilitisan. Most trees and other plants were blown down.
Notes and references:
Transcribed from “History and Cultural Life of the Municipality of Calatagan,” 1953, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.