Santo Niño, Taysan, Batangas: Historical Data - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Santo Niño, Taysan, Batangas: Historical Data

Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the barrio of Santo Niño in the Municipality of Taysan, 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.
Historical Data
[Cover page.]

District of Lobo







q. Juan Escabel

[p. 1]

Part One: History

1. The present official name of the barrio is Sto. Ninio.

2. Sto. Ninio got its name from the patron saint of Batangas, Batangas.

[A] Long time ago, there was no such barrio in Taysan called Sto. Niño. It was called Malabo. The people of Malabo always went to Batangas to buy their needs, every need of the family as rice, fish, clothing, etc. These people wanted to have a novena, but there’s no patron saint in their place. They talked to each other and later they agreed that since they got their needs in Batangas, they then had their novena in honor of the patron saint there – Sto. Ninio. Since then, the name of Malabo was little by little erased from the minds of the people. Later, nobody called it Malabo but Sto. Ninio until at present.

3. Date of establishment:

It was not learned by the eldest person still living at present.

4. Original families:

1. Quintin Asi
2. Isidro An
3. Petronilo Cura
4. Martin An
5. Genaro Cura
6. Bonifacio Villanueva
7. Rufino Hornilla
8. Anacleto An
9. Roberto Ramos
10. Felix Hornilla
11. Roman Ramos
12. Pedro Gutierrez
13. Pedro Lontok
14. Juan Cura
15. Eulalio Batola
16. Rodrigo Cura
17. Jorge Asi
18. Antonio Ebreo
19. Tiburcio Hernandez
20. Sixto Reyes
[p. 2]

5. List of Tenientes from the earliest time to date:
1. Diego Cura
2. Petronilo Panganiban
3. Bonifacio Villanueva
4. Simon Lontok
5. Petronilo Cura
6. Rufino Hornilla
7. Roberto Ramos
8. Paulino Panganiban
9. Deogracias Lontok
10. Agaton Beraña
6. There are no stories of barrios or sitios within the jurisdiction that are now depopulated or extinct.

7. Data on historical sites, structures, buildings, old ruins, etc.:

No data can be secured from the present inhabitants.

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

a. During the Spanish occupation:

Nobody could tell incidents [that] too place.

b. During the American regime to World War II:

The people underwent the same standard of living as the others.

c. During and after World War II:

People evacuated to different places. Japanese soldiers seldom reached the place. People later went back to their homes. They lived peacefully, except for times when news reached them that [the] Japanese soldiers were coming. They then would go to the forest, staying there for hours, or half a day, or sometimes the whole day.

After World War II, the people realized the value of education, so they sent their children to schools to acquire a higher education.

[p. 3]

9. a. There was no destruction of lives, properties and institutions during the periods between 1896-1900 and 1941-1945, as gathered from information.

b. No measures nor accomplishments toward rehabilitation and reconstruction following World War II had been noted.

[p. 4]

Part Two: Folkways

Traditions, customs and practices in domestic and social life are observed thus:

a. Birth: Precautions as to what should be done and what should not be done which are no less than superstitious beliefs are warned by the midwife of the barrio when the time of giving birth to a child comes. The midwife, known in the dialect as “hilot,” has no educational training with regards to midwifery, but she (most of the “hilot,” probably all, are women) is regarded highly by the barrio people.

The mother is made to lie with her head to the east since the sun rises in the east and which according to the midwife makes it easy for the mother to give birth. When the giving of birth seems difficult in spite of the fact that the head of the mother is to the east, her position is changed according to the flow of the current river in the place – her head being in the direction where the current comes. If it is still difficult for the mother to give birth, the midwife will attribute this to the mother’s habit of not putting fuel, when cooking, in a proper way.

b. Baptism: There is nothing peculiar in performing baptism, the priest being the one who performs it. What can be considered peculiar is the way in which the baby is given by the godparent to the mother of the child after the baptismal ceremony. Kneeling before the mother, the godparent will

[p. 5]

give the child to her and an exchange of sentences results which runs in this way:

G. P. – Madam, this is your child.

M. – What is her name, Madam?

G. P. – Her name, Madam, is Leonora.

This is done with [the] most respect because they believe that by so doing, the baby will grow to be a respectful child.

c. Courtship: Serenading may be considered as one way of courting a lady, although at present, it is done usually for the sake of fun. Serenading is one way also for a stranger to know a girl, which later develops into a love affair between the two. More often than not, this is the case.

Helping the parents of the girl in their daily activities known in the dialect as “nagsisilbi” is also one way of showing one’s love. Sometimes, it takes years for a man doing this to win the affection of the girl. If the girl does not approve [of] him, she will ask him to stop helping them, but if the girl loves him, she will ask her parents to tell the man [to] send for his parents.

d. Marriage: A marriage is set after an agreement between the parents of the man and of the girl has been agreed upon. Usually, a certain amount of money is asked by the parents of the girl. This is the dowry.

It has been the tradition for the parents of the boy to give everything possible that the relatives and parents of the girl ask [for]. It is in the house of the girl that the wedding party is set, and it is in this party that the parents, relatives and friends of the girl are given the privilege

[p. 6]

of eating first; and for the relatives of the boy to serve them, to give them every satisfaction that they know of. It is after the marriage ceremony, either solemnized by a priest or any person having authority to do so, that the newlyweds are served with sweets. To have a happy and sweet companionship, so they say.

A part of the custom of marriage is what the people call [the] “sabugan.” This is done after everybody has eaten. The newlyweds are made to sit on the chair placed on each end of the table where bread of different sizes and class, suman, kalamay, etc. are placed. The couple sells these at high prices ranging from one peso up, even reaching one hundred pesos, for a piece of kalamay, one suman and two pieces of bread. Its significance, according to beliefs, is that they will start early in earning for their living.

Then, the “dapit,” which is done after the “sabugan.” The girl is accompanied by the relatives, friends, and parents of the boy to the boy’s house to the merriment of everybody, shouting, throwing pots, striking cans, etc.

e. Death: At present, there is no practice or tradition with regards to the death of a person except, perhaps, the prayers done by the relatives hoping for his soul to rest in peace, if that can be considered as one, which I think not, since from time immemorial it has been a custom of every good follower of God to say a prayer for the repose of one’s soul.

However, there is a belief among the barrio folks that, in the stillness of the night, something like that of a “ma-

[p. 7]

nananggal” (known in the locality as “iki” or “aswang”) hovers over the dead and with a tongue resembling a string, tries to get the liver of the dead. What the people do is place a pair of scissors near the dead with the intention of cutting the tongue of the “manananggal.” This folkway is rarely observed now.

f. Burial: The practice is done in this manner: before starting the funeral rite, as the corpse is moved down from the house, one person has with him a stick. In the other hand, he has a dipper full of water and as the coffin is moved down, he walks at the same time pouring the water. As soon as he reaches the foot of the stairs, he throws the stick and the dipper. As to what it means is not clearly answered. The old folks say that they just do this for the sake of following the tradition and give an interpretation in a rather funny way. Maybe, they say, for the purpose of washing away the evil spirits that caused [the] death [of the person]. The stick, for the purpose of scaring the spirits. The dead is then buried after the blessing of the priest is given.

g. Festivals: The month of festivity, like in other places, is the month of May. It is the “Flores de Mayo” festival. After a bountiful harvest, there is also a festivity which is sure to follow.

Myths, legends, beliefs, interpretations and superstitions with regards to the following:

a. There is no myth or legend or any other sort of interpretation regarding the origin of the world but that the world was created by God. The people believe what the Bible says and no other thing except this leads them to other beliefs.

[p. 8]

As to the caves, mountains, seas, land, lakes, rivers, plants, trees, animals, they are components of the world except for the fact that the people cannot escape from the belief that these places, especially the caves, the mountains, the lakes, the rivers, and the seas are the favorite spots of the anitos, spirits of some sort, and the like.

b. The sun, the moon, the stars are heavenly bodies which the people believe as such just like what others believe them to be. No myths, no legends, no interpretations.

c. Eclipses, earthquakes, lightning and thunder, clouds, rain, wind, storms, changes of climate are just natural phenomena and nothing more.

d. As to the first man and woman, their beliefs as to their origin varies differently.

Others interpret in this manner:

Once, a bird alighting on one of the twigs of the bamboo, heard voices to peck the bamboo and it (bird) shall be God. The bird, obeying the voices, pecked and the bamboo split into two, and of the two separate segments of the bamboo came out the first man and the first woman.

Others believe that the origin is like this:

God almighty molded a piece of clay, in the shape of what [may] be called the first man, in His image. He blew this molded clay to give life to it, and there was life. He then commanded this first man to sleep, and it was during this sleep that God took one of his ribs which He made as the first woman.

e. [The] Birth of twins or more is said to occur because the mother,

[p. 9]

during the period of conception conceived and ate too much of bananas that are joined.

f. Sickness is mostly attributed by the barrio people to the “nuno sa punso.” Sometimes, they consider sickness to be done by a person who knows something about witchcraft or magic. For the obvious reasons, they give more regard to the quack doctors then to the professional doctors. Verbally is for the doctors to make the evil spirits angrier such that they (evil spirits) make the sickness of one grow worse. The “arbulariyo” with his “oraciones” together with his saliva, uses as paste for the many pieces of paper, scrawled with so many Latin words (if those are really Latin words), pastes those pieces of paper on different parts of the body of the sick person. Those “oraciones” with saliva, those pieces of paper, will drive the evil spirits, they believe. It is only when a person is on his deathbed that the pitiful “arbulariyo” will give up. The doctor will then be summoned, but it is too late. And the patient dies... of appendicitis.

Popular songs, games and amusements:

a. Songs: Kundiman songs top them all – those heart-stirring, tear-jerking songs, and attribution to our being a too sentimental group on this side of [the] earth. Popular among the old people is the “corrido,” if that can be considered as one. It tells a story, something about adventures, romances, about princess and princesses. It is a narrative poem sung by them. A resemblance of this is the “pasiyon” in the sense that it is sung instead of just being read in the

[p. 10]

ordinary way.

b. Amusements: A sort of amusement furnished with songs and music is the “Sinilangan,” popularly known as the “Fandanggo.” With the accompaniment of a guitar, people dance and sing about their everyday life, their hopes and aspirations, their sorrows, their love, their contentment. It consists of aphorism and criticism. To cite an example:

“Labong na kawayang bagong tumutubo,
Langit na mataas ang itinuturo;
‘Pag tumanda at saka lumago,
Lupang pinagmulan, doon din ang yuko.”

The verse tells of one who is so proud, who thinks of being so powerful; who later realizes, when misfortunes befall, his mistakes in being so proud, so ambitious…

“Sinilangan” requires talent because this is a “debate of verses” between a man and woman.

Similar to this is the “Aringginding.” The guitar, the nature of the song, and the dancing of the one performing is there. Only, it is not an exchanging of verses. Besides, this is more humorous to the people [who], at the height of joy, even throw money to the ones performing.


“Aringginding-ginding, ang binatang sumisimba, aringginding
Aringginding-ginding, ay di nakikinig ng misa, aringginding
Aringginding-ginding, ang pinagmamalas nila, aringginding
Aringginding-ginding, ay magagandang dalata.”

c. Games: The games the barrio people play are similar to others – baseball, softball, etc. The favorite of many is the “dama,”

[p. 11]

the folks’ way of calling checkers or ahedres, and those kinds of games derived from playing cards. Cockfighting is the old [men’s] favorite.

Puzzles and Riddles:

a. Puzzles and riddles are born in every gathering. Surrounded by inquisitive young men and kids alike, the old will present problems either to be solved mathematically or to be solved mentally. They have a way of giving these in a sort of mixed up sentences so that before one can give the right answer, he is already confused.

To give an example:

“A mouse was once trapped when entering an iron tube lying on the ground. Two cats, A and B, kept on guard at both ends with the intention of not letting the mouse out. There was no other hole except those two ends, but the mouse was able to go out neither eaten by any of the two cats nor any slight harm done. How did the mouse manage to get out of the iron tube?”

Answer: The mouse, realizing the danger, crept slowly to one end and squeaked. Cat A, thinking that Cat B had already caught the mouse, ran to where Cat B was, giving way for the mouse to escape.

b. Examples or riddles:

1. “Ako’y nagtanim ng dayap sa gitna ng dagat, walang puno’y walang ugat, humikitik sa bulaklak.” (buwan)

(I planted a lemon in the middle of the ocean, no roots, no trunk, no branches, yet in flowers it abounds.) (moon)

[p. 12]

2. “Alin dito sa mundo ang madalas mamatay na kapag ginalaw ay nabubuhay?” (orasan)

(What is it in this world that very often dies and which when you disturb its life anew will vie?) (clock)

Proverbs and Sayings:

1. “Kung maikli ang ‘yong kumot, mag-aral kang mamaluktot.”

(If your blanket is short, learn to crouch.)

2. “Madali ang maging tao, mahirap ang magpakatao.”

(It is easy to be a man, but it is hard to behave as one.)

3. “Ang di lumingon sa pinanggalingan, di makararating sa paruruonan.”

(He who never tries to look back, will never succeed in life.)

4. “Ipakita mo sa akin ang ‘yong mga kasamahan, at sasabihin ko kung sino ka.”

(Show me your companions and I will tell you who you are.)

5. “Ang taong nagigipit, sa patalim ma’y kumakapit.”

(Necessity knows no law.)

Methods of measuring time, special calendars:

a. With regards to measuring time, those who have no clocks or watches depend wholly on the sun. By the position of the sun in the sky, they can calculate time. The crowing of the cocks indicates [a] certain time during the night.

b. The calendars they use is the Honorio Lopez calendar, and those obtained from stores.

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

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