Pirasan (San Juan), Tingloy, Batangas: Historical Data
[Note to the reader.]
At the time when this document was created, the barrio of Pirasan, now part of Tingloy, was still a barrio of Bauan. Tingloy was formally separated from the Bauan in the year 1955 after the passage of Republic Act No. 1344.
HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE OF PIRASAN
Part I – History
This narrative is a short history and cultural life of the barrio of Pirasan. This small geographical piece of land is not yet a barrio but rather a sitio of the barrio of Papaya since time immemorial.
However, in the records of the Municipal Government of Bauan, it is mentioned as such.
The word Pirasan had become popular and far-reaching since its early days of reorientation. The name had developed into a significant one with a symbolism that fetters it to its future as Pirasan. People coming down to Tingloy are widely known as Pirasan natives because of their personality as a people. Articles of buri leaves are manufactured large quantities in Pirasan; merchants whose business is to transact buri bags in their retail stores go to Pirasan to deal with the Pirasan natives. Buri bags made in Pirasan are of good quality. Here, production is extremely abundant. Pirasan bags outnumber those that are made from anywhere else. They surpass them also in texture and quality. This makes Pirasan popular for her buri bags.
Tuba, a simple kind of liquor, adds something more to the popularity of Pirasan. Pirasan has the foremost source of supply of tuba for Tingloy. People from abroad who may have frequent visits to Pirasan may remember the word “Pirasan” when he recalls his indulgence in intoxication with the natives in this barrio.
The Pirasan people are noted for business enterprises as part of their occupation or trade. Their sailboats anchor either at Anilao or Talaga in Mabini, and engage in the transaction with customers from different places.
Origin of Pirasan
I got the information that “Pirasan” comes from the word “piras,” a Tagalog term for an oyster that is found in abundance along the coast of the barrio. I was guided to the shore and there I dug and picked up the simple creature called “piras,” in whose honor the barrio of Pirasan is named and added in the language of the people since then up to this date.
The inhabitants are scattered in groups on separated valleys and on mountain top; each group varies in number of people or persons living. There are five distinct groups of places each (known to be a village or sitio) in quite a place far apart from one another.
1. The Central – The sitio that exist first is the one that can be seen in the main valley in the central portion of the barrio, bordering on the southwestern coast of Maricaban Island. How this was selected to be the settlement of the majority of settlers is due to the fact that the valley is the center of the barrio. Near the sea coast where embarking and unloading of commercial goods are easy and convenient. More than that, the place provides a wider space for home lots. Because of this favorable condition for human existence, nature has given it a big population as compared with other sitios by having this place as the center of political, educational, and commercial activities in barrio life. The barrio lieutenant has his home here. The school is located in this place; this makes this place as [a] center of educational learning. Merchants going in and out pass here whether they embark or disembark in and out. All these things make it as the center, and the other sitios as its satellites.
2. Pirasan – Half a kilometer north of the central district along the sea is a village of five houses known as Pirasan. It is said that during the early years, the oyster known as a “piras” could be found only in this place, hence this place is the real spot of Pirasan. But Pirasan is the name of the whole barrio, the fact that every sitio has its corresponding name for itself.
3. Punta Guarda – Walking southward along the coast from the central district, one may see Punta Guarda after passing by several points along the sea. This was given such [a] name because there is a high cliff at its coast which becomes the watchtower of the guards during the time of the Moro raids [a] long time ago.
4. Santol – As i have stated before, the central district is set in a valley. Therefore, it is clear that it is surrounded by mountains north, east, and south and opens only at the west where it ends at the sea. Gay eastward and direct your eyes upward ascending the side of the mountain. You will not lose yourself for there is a path leading uphill until you can hear the cries, noise made cackles of fowls; mooing of the cows, cries of the pigs, barking of the dogs, and shouts of the children. All those
speak symbols of human habitation on mountain tops. This is “Santol.” It got its name from the santol tree which was abundantly growing there.
5. Ibabao – South of the school is a path rising up zigzagly along the hilly sides. My curious observation aroused me to try the hazardous terrain. This led me to go on and explore things there. In a few moments, I found myself roaming over verdant plateaus and home lots of rural people who are lords of the soil. This heavenly place is Ibabao by name, overlooking its environment and commanding a view of Mindoro to the south, and the whole province of Batangas to the north.
No written records were left by the first settlers to show long this place has been inhabited by people. It has been many years ago that this place was discovered by wandering people of unknown origin. According to informants, it was during the beginning of the 18th century that it was inhabited. The early people found this valley a good place for living, hence they settled permanently there and began to lineage of generations of the entire population of Pirasan.
As population increased first, gradually then, rapidly some of the inhabitants were constrained to expand and this expansion marked the formation of different villages which became the sitios of present Pirasan. No person in here can give the exact date of the exodus of people traveling from one place to another.
My informant began bit by bit to magnify the personalities of those deceased persons who had been his forefathers. He took great pains in tracing back the footprints of those people who had departed long, long ago.
In the light of his recall, he gave me but two families. They were Virgilio Binay with Elena as the first couple and Alberto de Chavez with Rosalia as the second couple who began the habitation of this particular place. According to information, these two families had settled in the inner portions of the central district. As to the origin of their parentage and places of emigration, my informant failed to enlighten me. But anyhow, these two families of Binay and de Chavez were considered the beginners of the few succeeding generations comprising the population of Pirasan. No fixed
dates were given of their coming in but it was calculated to be sometime [in] the beginning of the eighteenth century. They gave birth to the seeds of a number of sons and daughters. Through intermarriages of these offspring with newcomers who accidentally migrated to this place, population continued and increased rapidly as noticeable in these days. That is how many family names can be accounted for. Other family names that have applied to be inserted or included in my census are: Flores, Manalo, Sawale, Macuha, Albanya, Garcia, Alvarez, Ferranculo, Salazar, Mutyangpili, Bacay, Minya and others. All these came from immigrants; the very root or origin are Binay and de Chavez and considered as native beginners. Binay is [the] most considered native of unknown parentage while de Chavez [was of] Visayan ancestors. The statement below shows the data and account of the descendants of the two original families:
I. The Binay Family:
Virgilio Binay with Elena (wife)1. Arcadio Binay – Manuela Manalo
c. Balerio – (died in childhood.)
d. Anastacio Binay – Marcelina
b. Maria Minya (Single)
c. Crisanta – Agapito Macuha
II. The de Chavez Family:
b. Balbina de Chavez
2. Ruperto Minya
3. Evelina Minya
4. Fructo Minya
Earliest Time to Date
For a long time, Pirasan had remained a domain of Papaya and had remained, too, under the supervision and administration of the barrio lieutenant of Papaya. Because of the rapid increase of population of that big barrio of Papaya, the barrio lieutenant deemed it wise to suggest an auxiliary lieutenant from Pirasan who could do the administration over the political and social matters in Pirasan itself. The Municipal Council of Bauan then appointed, through channels, a man from Pirasan to shoulder this particular job. It was about the year 1911 when the first auxiliary was appointed. The man was Felipe Macuha, the first man to enjoy the barrio title as headman. He held this position for only two years.
Next to him came Ricardo Flores, who administered Pirasan for a length of ten years in this civic duty. Because of age, he resigned and gave way to his nephew, Angel Flores, who was a shrewd politician and one who possessed integrity during his young years. He is at present alive. He took the reins of administration for six years and later gave is to Fructo Minya. Fructo Minya held the position the same length of six years as his predecessor. Another man came to the barrio throne and held the scepter of an auxiliary sovereign lord of Pirasan. He was Juan Macuha, who did not enjoy the pleasure of being an auxiliary so that after three years, he gave up. He did not aspire to be appointed anymore. So, the former Angel Flores accepted the appointment of the Municipal Council till the outbreak of the Pacific War in 1941.
The above account gives the record of the ruling government of this barrio. This was the first period of the administration of the barrio government in Pirasan. The second period begin after liberation or after World War II. As a result of the Pacific War, the Municipal Council or the Municipal Government of Bauan had many problems to solve, thus leaving this minor point untouched. Until the present, no further development has been made whether it will remain as [a] permanent sitio of Papaya or form it as a barrio. The significant step made by the Municipal Council in its barrio administration what's the appointing of a barrio lieutenant in Pirasan, and auxiliary lieutenant in spite of the fact that Pirasan was not a barrio itself. It is funny to know that there is a barrio lieutenant without a barrio of his own. So, in the District Letter of the Municipal Council, series 1945, information was sent to Mr. Angel Flores and Mr. Juan Macuha noting the former as the lieutenant and the latter as the auxiliary lieutenant. Up to this time, these two persons supervised the village of Pirasan.
7. Data on Historical Sites.
a. During the Spanish Occupation
Because of [the] unfavorable geographical conditions of the island, the Spaniards did not mind or did not turn
their attention in settling any part of the island of Maricaban. Their interest in political aggrandizement found no embellishment in this secluded rural district. So, as regards to civil affairs, the natives of Pirasan lived quietly unmolested. If there might have been [a] few Spaniards to ramble over these places, they at once stepped out dissatisfied with their mission.
But during the Philippine Revolution, however, the natives where much alarmed. Many men were listed as revolutionists, and included in the revolutionary force. But when the call to the lines sounded, they regretted to leave their homes undefended. So, the Philippine Revolution ended without any eventualities and casualties in Pirasan.
b. During the American Occupation
The news of the renewal of war in our country stirred the natives with much excitement and fright. Rumors of the Americans in Batangas and that of the occupation of the Poblacion of Bauan by the same created much dread and horror among the natives, more when the insurgents took refuge in the island of Maricaban. The old man here could tell of their recollections of the Filipino-American War in Mahabang Dahilig in Bauan. Although they did not see the actual fighting, yet they could assert that they heard the thunder of the battle and saw the smoke in the battlefield. After the province of Batangas was pacified, few Americans ventured in this island reaching as far as Pirasan. At this, the natives fled to a nearby barrio but later came back calmly. No events took place here during those times.
c. During and After World War II
The Japanese-American War had greatly affected the living conditions of the natives. Commerce, which was the main source of livelihood, was hampered and paralyzed, for the outbreak of the war had affected the means of transportation in the mainland.
Government administration was affected also. However, the barrio government functioned smoothly and became more effective. Later, the formation of guerrilla organizations dominated the barrio government, making or putting the barrio lieutenant under the yoke of military orders from guerrilla
chieftains. The guerrilla chieftains who became masters of Pirasan and even of the entire Maricaban Island was Captain Tibay, an ex-USAFFE and a Bataan veteran. He escaped from the Japs and loitered in this rural district. He was a Visayan by birth. He enjoyed the life of a sovereign lord making the island of Maricaban as if it were a vassal estate under his command.
The guerrillas had some certain significant activities according to information gathered here. Besides Captain Tibay’s guerrillas, other guerrilla band camped in this place, gathering information about Japanese situations and the mainland of Luzon. Pirasan, then, became a stepping stone to Manila, Batangas and Lipa to San Jose, Mindoro at the time of [the] American bombardment of Luzon.
a. Destruction of Lives and Properties, 1898-1900; and 1941-1945.
Pirasan was fortunate for not having been in bloody wars between American and Filipinos during the close of the 19th century. While the fighting was taking place in some corners of Luzon, Pirasan laid quiet under the sky with hearts throbbing in fright of rumors about bloodshed beyond the sea. However, war did not reach this remote place and not a single life fell as a victim of the war either in 1898-1900 or in 1941-1945.
b. Measures and Accomplishments toward Rehabilitation Following World War II.
The Japanese-American War left the Philippines with many towns and cities devastated as a result of the war in general. Ruined buildings, crumbling towers are the common results of such, thus leaving those places desolated, and people destitute of home or habitation. Those awful sites presented pictures of grief and misery among the oppressed people whose prosperity was damaged. Nothing but those amazing aspects touched the hearts of the American people which compelled them to give and grant aids to rehabilitate the affected areas.
Those things were not felt in this barrio. One significant step taken by the government was the organization of classes under the B.P. Schools: that after liberation, a first grade class was opened in 1947.
of living and means of communication. The Filipinos have their traditional customs, too. These are the paramount legacies of our forefathers. These are our inheritance from our forefathers, who in their years of existence as Malayan Filipinos had practiced them before and handed them down unto us in tradition.
But in some parts of the Philippines, traditional customs are being adulterated by modern culture.
When an expectant mother is to give birth, neighbors will flock to her home to witness the event of the coming of the newborn babe. The ailing mother is attended in her situation by a barrio ‘matron,’ popularly called in the barrio as ‘hilot.’
Anyone among the sightseers who is found to be serviceable to the family of the expectant mother, he or she will presumably be chosen to be the godfather or the godmother of the child. This, however, is an exceptional case. The customary practice is that a ‘padrino’ or ‘padrina’ is already well-conceived in the minds of the couple or parents of the newborn babe long before its birth.
Giving the name to the child is done not by the parish priest but by and old man or old woman in the village chosen and requested by the parents of the child, for such undertaking. Throughout my long days [of] stay there, I had never witnessed any child brought to church for christening by the priest. Christening is performed at home by the people themselves. The process is as follows:
The partakers of the occasion will gather around in a circle in the middle of the house where the child is born after one or two days of birth. A candle is lighted. The ‘padrino’ or ‘madrina’ will kneel down holding the baby abreast with the head of the baby [a] little bit near the candle. Then, the elder will say a short prayer in the vernacular. Then, he gives the baby some salt through its mouth and utters these words: ‘In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost, I baptize you “Pedro” or “Jose,” or “Maria” ’ or any name the parents chose for the child.
A little feasting is not missing in the baptism. Food and drinks are served to the guests.
The child passes his infant stage, reaches his pubertal age and goes to manhood in the case of a boy or in the case of a girl, her adolescent years. At this age, the girl’s beauty begins to flower and makes men dream like flitting butterflies around sweet roses. Because of the girl’s inherent beauty manifesting itself in her naturalness, she creates around her a kingdom of love, engulfing all the opposite sex and provoking their romantic reactions in that blissful but delicate thing in life – “Love!”
In Pirasan, mariage passes strict compliance in courtship. Men can’t acquire the girl’s hand in marriage through easy-go-round haunting and simplified serenading. It needs much effort on the part of the parents of the boy if they you wish to gain success in winning the approval of the girl’s parents for their daughter in marriage with their son. The boy’s parents should shoulder many tasks at home and the farm of the girl’s parents as an expression of courtship. Valuable services are rendered; many gifts are complimented to the girl, before the courtier could inquire for the reaction of the girl and her parents. If the girl denies, all of the boy’s investments turned to nothingness. But in most cases, the girl could not have much disposition about this matter. The girl’s parents have been concern. Whether the girl likes it or not, her parents could transact negotiations with the parents of the boy. Then, the wedding comes to succumb as the result of the beautiful courtship.
Here, there are certain mean who know oracles of fortune and they are referred to in the selection of dates as lucky days for the celebration. At the girl’s home, many activities will take place before marriage, as the building of a roof garden table where feasting will be held, the preparation of [the] place, setting of tables, chairs, accumulation of plates to be used in the hour, preparation of food as suman, pickles and sweets for dessert, all of these things are shouldered by the boy’s party.
On the eve of the wedding day, there will be formed a party of young men and young ladies to accompany the bride and the groom to Tingloy the night before the ceremony. The next morning, the wedding ceremony is solemnized by the town’s priest. After the ceremony, the newlyweds go home, accompanied by many young ladies
and young men. Down to Pirasan, the party goes trudging the way up three and a half kilometers distance. This returning to the home is full of much rejoicing, full of subtle mirth and merriment of men, full of shouting, singing and ji-gi-jings of guitars in fandango tunes. Let us follow the couple closely till they reach home where the bride’s mother patiently awaits them at the doorstep. As the newlyweds ascend the stairs, the mother sprinkles a handful of rice. After entering the room, the newlyweds kneel at the altar of the bride’s house while the candle is burning, then rise up and kneel before their parents, those of the bride and those of the groom.
Then follow the feasting, dancing, singing and all other expressions of gaiety, and delights of these peace-loving people.
e. Death – (Same as that of Tingloy.)
f. Burial – (Same as that of Tingloy.)
No festivals are observed in this remote barrio as in many barrios in the mainland. All Saints Day and Christmas are considered as festivals in this barrio. They are both observed with much feasting and enjoyment.
The barrio lieutenant or the barrio government does not impose corporal punishment to a criminal. In case of crimes, the offended party may file a suit at the Municipal Court for justice. The barrio lieutenant, however, may impose fines to the owners or animals that destroy agricultural plants in the farms and in the home gardens. This is sanctioned just to train the natives to be careful of their pets.
11. Mythical Anecdotes
The people believe that the world was created by God. Land, water and air, which are the components of the entire world, came into existence through God’s will. That in the remote past when there was a universal deluge, the mountains were formed by the dashing of the waves, leaving mounds of rocks forming the present mountains. That the water left in between these portions of mountains are the lakes. They do not know how rivers were formed. They believe in the scientific theory on the formation of caves as being formed by the falling of rocks underneath the land surface.
All plants, trees and animals are believed to be of God’s creation. The sun, the moon, the stars and comets are believed to be God’s creation. The earthquakes are caused by the movements of the underground dwellers.
They have no knowledge about facts concerning natural phenomena as lightning, thunderstorms, clouds and changes of climates. These things occur frequently because they are naturally this way. They fear thunder rather than lightning.
All the people believe that men originated from Adam and Eve as the original parents of humanity.
12. Popular Songs, Games and Amusements
The people, especially the young folks, are very fond of singing. They know the contemporary music as the dance songs or the song hits of the year, as is prevalent in many places. They, however, sing old songs like the fandango songs and the awit.
a. The awit - The awit is the most popular song liked by the old folks, both men and women, of the ages. This awit is the form of minor melodic scale and is a form of fandango tune. The lyric for the song is a vernacular verse written by the Filipino authors of the Spanish times. The theme of the poem has a thrilling sense of feeling, for it is a narrative story about the heroic lives of cavaliers, the lives of the saints, and the lives of the significant persons in Europe during the medieval period. The poem for the lyric is, of course, very long. Every stanza is written in four lines, every line having twelve stresses or syllables. Every stanza is sung in the same manner or in the same melody throughout.
b. The fandango – The fandango is the most original song ever possessed by ancient Filipinos. It is handed down from far ages to the present generations and is only observed in rural districts as in Pirasan.
To become a proficient fandangero, one must have a thorough practice in literary and in musical skills. It becomes an amusement of a man or a woman that after supper and before going to bed, he or she lies down in bed reading and awit in fandango musical tune.
c. The Subli dance – I did not know before that the Pirasan natives possess dignity and valor in themselves for having known arts in a kind of dance locally known as [the] subli dance. Men, women, boys and girls all gather around, seemingly spellbound by the thrill of the merriments of the night. All enjoy observing the subli dance.
1. A child that dies without having been christened and buried elsewhere will produce a spirit which later may frighten the passers-by. They call this the “tianak.”
2. Red glows of the sunset on sunny days will be followed by rainy days.
3. The condition of the climate of the forthcoming year can be prophesied by the aspect of the sky during the time or the hour of the New Year’s Eve.
4. If the members of the family often get sick or if many members of the family die, the house or home is rumored to be the home site of evil spirits.
5. Do not pile the dishes one-over on top during the celebration of the ninth day of the dead, or else someone may follow the dead.
1. Never sweep the room or the yard at sunset or else some mishap may occur.
2. In leaving the house, make the sign of the cross to avoid accidents on the way.
3. The umbilical cord of the children of the family should be kept together so that they, the children, should [not] be separated apart in their future lives.
4. When your right palm is itchy, it means you will receive money, but when itching is the left hand, that means a big expense.
13. Riddles and Puzzles
The men and boys are very fond of riddles. Some of their riddles are learned from others and some are of their own making. The following are some of their riddles:
1. Inihulog ko sa dagat sa bundok ko hinanap. (Bob or fish trap)
2. Isang daang kalabaw, iisa ang taikaw. (Walis)
3. Matanda na ang nono, hindi pa naliligo. (Pusa)
4. Buto’s balat, lumilipad. (Saranggula)
5. Nagsaing si Judas, itinapon ang bigas, kinuha ang hugas. (Gata at niyog)
6. Nagsaing si kapirit, kinain pati anglit. (Nangangain ng bayabas)
1. Mag-inang baka, nanganak ng tig-isa. Ilan?
2. May ilang magkakasama na nangangain ng mansana. Sila’y namangka. May isang pilyong bata na humingi sa kanila, subali’t hindi nila binigyan. Anong ginawang paraan ng pilyong bata at siya ay nakatikim din ng mansana?
3. May tatlong magkakapatid na nagmana ng isang kuadradong lupa. Ang nais nila ay bahaging ng parepareho ang kanilang makakabahaging lupa. Itala sa kung anong dibuho ang ayos ng pagkakabahagi.
15. Methods of Measuring Time
There are a few homes having clocks or watches yet many can tell time to the nearest minute. The common method of telling the time is by the cock-crows in the different parts of the night.
The cock crows in the morn to them is 4:00 A.M. This is the so-called “madaling araw” in Tagalog.
The cock crows at nine o’clock in the evening signify deep or late evening.
The cock-crows at midnight show the midnight or the “hating-damag” in Tagalog.
Other means or reckoning the time of the night are the positions of the planets.
The time of day is measured by the position of the sun.
b. The Special Calendar – The Special Calendar is by the first moon, first quarter, second quarter, third quarter, and the fourth quarter. The day over the thirtieth of every month is termed as the ‘hilang-araw’ or the over. Some days are reckoned through religious days or through recall of some religious holidays.