Talaga, Tanauan, Batangas: Historical Data Part I - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Talaga, Tanauan, Batangas: Historical Data Part I - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Talaga, Tanauan, 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 Talaga in the City of Tanauan, 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.

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Part One: History

1. Present official name of the barrio: TALAGA.

2. Former name of the barrio, past and present: Talaga

Derivation and meanings of these names: “Talaga” was derived from the old Tagalog word “talaga” meaning “well,” which [is] a source of water.

Names of sitios included within the territorial jurisdiction:

1.  Crossing
2.  Silangan
3.  Kanluran
4.  Stankero
5.  Baloyboy
6.  Magka-ilong

3. Date of establishment: 1890.

4. Original families:

1. Juan Mercado
2. Silvestre Quimio de los Santos
3. Juan Mercado
4. Lorenzo Dimayuga

5. List of Tenientes from the earliest time to date:

1. Juan Maranan
2. Tenenting Kalaw
3. Claudio Contreras
4. Tenenting Gasio
5. Laureano Hernandez
6. Carlos Maranan
7. Venancio Rodriguez
8. Prospero Dimayuga, Sr.
9. Eugenio Natividad
10. Juan Rodriguez
11. Severino Mabini
12. Ciriaco Contreras
13. Alejandro Mabini
14. Teotimo Contreras
15. Valentin Cueva
16. Severino Perea
17. Lorenzo V. Rodriguez
18. Alvaro Villa
19. Victor Mangubat
20. Lorenzo V. Rodriguez
21. Lorenzo F. Rodriguez
22. Lorenzo V. Rodriguez
23. Lorenzo F. Rodriguez
24. Lorenzo V. Rodriguez
25. Lorenzo F. Rodriguez

6. Story of old barrios or sitios within the jurisdiction that are now depopulated or extinct:


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

Historical Sites: In 1939, the people of Talaga donated to the Municipal Council of Tanauan a piece of land to be used for the Mabini Historical Marker. This site was secured through the able leadership of the late national hero, Apolinario Mabini’s brother, Alejandro.

Historical Structures: On that site, now stands the Mabini Historical Marker which was inaugurated in the same year. With Dr. Jose P. Laurel, Sr. as guest speaker, the Historical Committee of the Philippines presented to the public the said marker of our hero, Apolinario Mabini, the Sublime Paralytic. Later, the national government appropriated the sum of one thousand pesos (₱1,000) for the construction of a fence around it. That structure is at present the most outstanding market in the community to show the love and veneration for Mabini.

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Buildings: In compliance with the request and advice of the Asst. Director of Public Schools, Mr. Venancio Trinidad, a replica of the house of Mabini was reconstructed. It was built on the very spot where the hero was born, after the cornerstone was placed by the Asst. Dirctor. The donation and acceptance ceremony of the replica was fittingly solemnized on the occasion of Mabini’s birthday last July 23, 1953. This building now stands as a shrine for all visitors from the different places.

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

a. During the Spanish Occupation: Political Facts

Every barrio as barangay consisted of fifty families. The head of the barangay was called “Cabeza de Barangay,” who got his position by inheritance, later by appointment, and finally, by election. His duty was to collect taxes and to implement the law on the collection of the said taxes. He received no salary but was held responsible for the submission of the total tribute. He was exempted from the payment of such tribute and may become a member of the “principalia,” who had the right to vote and belonged to the privileged class.

The first Cabeza de Barangay of the barrio of Talaga was Juan Mercado. He requested the Alcalde Mayores of the tribunal to have Inocencio Leon Mabini to succeed him and have the latter to donate ten hectares of land to the tribunal. Inocencio L. Mabini held his possession for twelve successive years dated from 1870 to 1882. He was then succeeded by other Cabezas de Barangay.

Education: The early inhabitants of the barrio of Talaga had a great desire for education. Because of the great need of the people to have someone lead prayers after visiting the shrine in Antipolo and the desire to have their children learn to read and write, the first head of the family in this barrio, Silvestre Quimio de los Santos, hired a tutor from Santol, another barrio of Tanauan. It would be interesting [to] note that such a remote barrio was already to have a learned man that time. This was the story.

It was the reign of Alcalde Leon, signifying his character, that of a lion, when this event happened. It was said that any of his servants who broke a glass or any chinaware, was punished by letting the servants eat the broken pieces. Although he was demerited [?] for his inhuman way of punishing his servants by having them learn how to read and write, especially [the] names of persons. It happened that Juan Maranan was one of Alcalde Leon’s servants. Juan Maranan, after learning how to read and write, escaped from his master due to his fear of [what] punishments would [be] inflict[ed] upon him. He went home to Santol.

Silvestre Quimio requested from Juan Maranan to teach his children on condition that he would give a home site and would be paid for ₱.25 per month and a cavan of rice at the end of the year for every child taught. The pupils increased in number and such was the increase in enrolment for the mass education of the children in the barrio of Talaga.

Economic Aspects: At first, the barrio of Talaga was a thick forest. The first inhabitants made kaingin and planted palay. Because the land was very fertile, they produced much from a small piece of land they cultivated. Later, they plowed the field little by little and the forest was totally cleared. They planted rice, corn, mongo, tobacco, peanuts, and other minor crops. They also raised animals like pigs, chickens, cows and carabaos.

The people suffered a great deal in selling their products due to the poor means of transportation. They carried them on [their] heads and shoulders.

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Others loaded the products on horseback. They started [from] the barrio at about three o’clock in the morning and arrived at Calamba at about six or seven o’clock already. After selling their products, they hurriedly bought the necessary things such as salt and fish which they sold home after their arrival. This should [show] that the people of the barrio were engaged in a little business even at that time.

Religion: During the early times, the people here were devoted Roman Catholics. The children were taught how to say prayers in Spanish, Latin, and in our dialect. People went to church on Sundays and other holidays prescribed by the church. They do attend processions especially during the Holy Week and do not do any manual work. All they did was to pray and feast. Brides and bridegrooms, before they were married by a priest, took [an] examination about the Doctrine of the Christian Religion given by a fiscal, and if they failed, the marriage was postponed until the time they learned the prayers and passed the examination called “sulit.” They read [the] Passion and staged [the] “Sinakulo” and “Tibay.” All of these should show that they were true Roman Catholics.

Other Events During the Spanish Occupation:

“The Encounter in Magkailong”

In the year 1897, the Katipuneros had an encounter with the Spanish soldiers in a cavern called Magkailong, situated in the southern section of the barrio. The Katipuneros, fourteen in number, headed by Colonel Juliano Panganiban, fought with a company of Spanish soldiers. Miguel Quimio, Petronilo Prescilla and ten others were wounded and two died. The wounded Katipuneros were given [a] pension of ₱7.25 each by Captain Nicolas Gonzales for medical treatment.

The Census: In the year 1901, in the month of Dec., all the people were ordered to go to town with their supplies such as food, clothing, and even their animals. They were grouped in the barrio of Darasa. They stayed there for five months and were asked to return on April 1902 to continue their farm work. The aim of the census was to catch the Filipinos hiding from the Spaniards called Casadores. The gobernadorcillo during that time was Florentino Laurena.

(b) During the American Occupation:

Political: After the defeat of the Spanish forces by General Aguinaldo’s army in 1898, all the provinces, towns and barrios of the archipelago were under the control of the Philippine government. Due to the refusal of the American Secretary of State to answer the letter of Don Sixto Lopez, Secretary to Don Felipe Agoncillo, and later the letter of Agoncillo himself asking for the recognition of the Philippine Republic, hostilities suddenly broke out between the American and the Filipino forces on January 6, 1899. Again, the Katipuneros played [an] active part but due to the lack of ammunition, the Filipino forces were easily defeated.

Education: At the beginning of the American occupation, some of the people of this place could read and write [in] Tagalog and [a] little Spanish. When the American soldiers first arrived in the place, they got [a] hard time in letting the inhabitants understand what they wanted. Not long afterwards, the American soldiers began teaching the Filipinos in [the] English language in towns, so they were considered the first English teachers in the Philippines. Those inhabitants taught by the American soldiers became the next English teachers.

The first English teacher in the Barrio was Mr. Pio Magpantay, a resident of Tanauan. The first grades were taught Reading, Arithmetic, and Language. Next to this man was Mr. Alfredo Villa, who married one of the most beautiful women in this barrio. There was no school building that time, so a house

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was hired in the eastern part of this barrio. Very few enrolled in the English classes at first, but later, the enrolment increased due to the teachers’ campaign. The pupils were given books to be used, and little amount was spent for paper for they were supplied with slates when they wrote their sent-sork [seat-work?]. The present chapel was constructed and Miss Rita Suizo held the Grades I and II classes. Then, a school house made of nipa and bamboo was built in the present school site. Complete primary grades were offered and Miss Rita Suizo. Jose Gonzales were the teachers in Grades I and II and III and IV, respectively. Then, in the year ________, the Apolinario Mabini Memorial School was constructed with Grade V as the highest grade offered. Finally, [the] complete elementary course was offered because of the increased enrolment. This showed that the Americans paid great attention to the education of the Filipino people, soon those loving in the barrio.

Economics: The principal occupation of the people was farming. Others engaged in fishing, trading, carpentry, and raising of animals such as cows, carabaos, chickens, goats and pigs. Improvements were made in all kinds of occupations due to education, which helped them improve the standard of living in general.

Religion: The people remained Roman Catholic.

(c) During World War II:

Political: During the outbreak of the war on Dec. 8, 1941, the Barrio Lieutenant was Mr. Lorenzo R. Rodriguez, elected by the people of the barrio. The second lieutenant was Mr. Lorenzo T. Rodriguez. That former afterwards resigned. The second acted as the first and a second lieutenant was elected. The people voted for Mr. Pedro Contreras, who had [been] in active service until Feb. 1953.

Education: After the outbreak of the war on Dec. 8, 1941, the schools were closed. Not long after this, the schools here in Talaga, as well as the other schools, were opened again. There was a great enrolment, especially in Grade I. A teacher in Grade I taught the maximum number of pupils in the morning and another 60 pupils in the afternoon. The other grades were opened also.

On Oct. 17, 1944, the school was closed due to the critical situation. That was due to the bombing of Baclaran by the American planes. Again, education was greatly hampered by the war.

Economic: Because of fright, the people were greatly troubled and neglected the work in the farm for tens [of] causes. In the first place, they could not work in the farms, especially near the big roads, for they knew that their animals would undoubtedly be taken by the Japs. Secondly, even if they raised products, they would not be benefited because the Japs would get them and use them for their own. People were mostly engaged in business, both men and women. Raising of animals like chickens and pigs were also neglected for the same reason. People suffered a great deal. Rice, clothes, soap, sugar and salt were very scarce, but products were very cheap. Coconuts were out of market. They were only used for making oil. They could not be sent to Manila and other places due to the difficulty of transportation. Many people at substitutes for rice such as cassava, corn, and bananas. No bread could be bought. Corn flour was baked into cakes to satisfy the desire for bread.

Religion: The people of the barrio remained as Roman Catholics although they could not go to church as often as before the war. Anyhow, prayers were said often in every home.

9. Destructions during World War II in 1896-1900, 1941-1945:

a. There was no destruction in this barrio in 1896-1900:

The year 1941 marked the beginning of World War II. On Dec. 31, 1942, the people of this barrio were greatly troubled at about 12:00 that night because they were informed of the arrival of the Japanese soldiers, [who] became harsh in treating the people because they knew of their approaching defeat. The people again hid in the forests. On Dec. 20, 1945, the houses in the western part of this barrio were burned and [the Japanese] massacred Apolinario Mabini’s brother and his family. On Feb. 27, 1945, there was an encounter between the Japanese soldiers and the Cavite guerrillas at the crossing of this barrio.

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The fight started at about 1:00 p.m. and stopped at about four p.m. Many properties were destroyed by the bullets. Mr. Genaro Rodriguez was captured by the Cavite guerrillas and was brought to Tagaytay.

On March 5, 1945, the second burning was done. Almost all the houses from the northern to [the] eastern sections of the barrio were burned. During the evacuation period, many properties were lost. The examples of this was the looting of M. Eco. Building’s furniture and other things. The lumber and galvanized iron of the Apolinario Mabini Memorial School’s additional rooms and shop were lost, that’s why the supposed additional rooms remain now like skeletons. Such were the destructions during World War II.

(b) Measures and accomplishments toward rehabilitation and reconstruction following World War II:

When the people returned from evacuation, they lived in shambles. People who succeeded in filing their War Damage Claims improved their dwellings from shambles to bigger and better houses. Parents of soldiers who were in active service during World War II filed claims and those who were lucky were given pensions. The Philippine Veterans Board greatly helped in the living soldiers who served during World War II. The G. I. Bill of Rights helped the guerrillas to continue their studies. All of these contributed to the rehabilitation and construction of things destroyed during the war.

10. Customs and Traditions:

a. Baptism:

1. Preliminary Baptism: It is the custom of the people especially in the barrio to give preliminary baptism or what we call in our dialect “buhusan” when a newly-born baby is ill and a priest is not available. This type of baptism is done because of the belief that if the child dies not given this type of baptism, the child will become a “tianak” which cries at night that frightens people. It is also believed that if a person steps on the grave of an unbaptized child in the morning when there is still dew, it will cause sickness that swells the entire body of others or the body of the person and is called in our dialect “natabang.”

The preliminary baptism is also given to a newly-born child when the parents want to postpone the real baptism to be solemnized by a priest. This is done if the parents of the child plan to hold a grand feast during the real baptismal party.

2. Baptism Solemnized by Priest: It is a custom of the people in the barrio to have the child baptized by a priest although a preliminary baptism is already given. This is done to make a child a true Christian. The chosen godparents buy clothes, shoes, hats, etc. for the child. They invite young men and women to accompany them to the church. After the ceremony, they go to the house of the baby bringing with them wine, cigarettes, buyo and soft drinks. They invite friends who, in turn, contribute something to the godparents. They eat and drink and make some sort of enjoyments. Sometimes, due to the spirit of wine, many become drunk and trouble arises. At about two o’clock in the afternoon, the godparents will give the baby gifts such as money, jewels, or clothes. Then, they disperse, taking with them their empty bottles home but the godparents are given the set-aside delicious food for them by the compadre and comadre.

b. Marriages:

1. Courtship: Undoubtedly, many of our customs in the barrio were inherited from our forefathers. Modern Filipino youths pick out their own mates which starts from courtship. The man makes often visits to the young woman’s home whom he adores. He serenades her after making his proposal to win her love. When a man is sincere in his love for a girl, he goes to the extent of telling the parents of the girl their proposed marriage.

To prove the sincerity of a young man’s love to a woman he adores, it is the custom among the barrio people, especially the

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uneducated class to bring bundles of firewood to the best quality and cans of water to the house of the girl. The parents of the man bring refreshments to the house of the girl. The young man kneels before the parents of the girl and if given benediction, the company of the man will prepare the food they brought which shows that they are successful in their mission. This is termed as “pangasawahan.” The man will stay in the house of the woman and serve them for a couple of days, weeks or months. If the parents of the girl call for the parents of the man, this proves that agreements will be scuted [?] and this is called betrothal.

2. Marriage: The day before the marriage, the party of the groom will bring the necessary things for the party such as pigs, cows, chickens, rice, fuel, chinaware, silverware, and many other things to the bride’s house. The party of the groom works [the] whole night. Shopper is prepared for the bride’s party. Entertainment is held during the night. There may be songs and dances. If the bride is forced by the parents to get married, she does not entertain the visitors but hides and cries. In the morning, she even refuses to dress up, but after careful instructions from the old folks, she obeys. Invited ladies and gentlemen accompanied the bride and groom to church riding in calesas and trucks. At present, the bride and groom are given the preference to ride in automobiles if available.

After they have gone to church, breakfast is served after the bride and groom have been served with dessert as they have ascended the stairs. Flowers and rice are showered over them and have them use the same spoon in eating the dessert. They drink from the same glass. This means that they will share with each other

At noon, the bride will go to the groom’s party. The groom will be left in the house of the bride. She changes her clothes and works with her in-laws. At the fourth the groom will visit her. Then, they go to church and continue living together, sharing the hardships and happiness with one another.

11. Myths:

1. In a neighboring village, there lived a father and his son who wear the victims of hand to mouth existence. They had no other means of supporting their livelihood except by gathering broomsticks from the mountain sides and selling them and the market.

When the son, Luis, was about sixteen years old, something happened. As usual, while he was gathering broomsticks on the mountain sides, a man similar to his father was seen. Believing him to be his father, he followed the latter until they reached a cave. As they stood in front of the gate, the father-like being disappeared and just right in front of Luis a strange looking man. For a few minutes, Luis was motionless and speechless but even then, he took no prerogative except to follow the pleadings of this strange [man] to proceed to the interior of the cave. To his amazement, there was beautiful music played as they descended the great palace underneath. The hall was elaborately and aristocratically adorned with gold. People were seen dancing and singing. The following morning, the fairy led Luis to the coar [core?] of the cave. To his surprise, it was only a few steps walk and he reached his house. The father was bewildered because his son had been absent from home for a week while in fact Luis had stayed in the cave for only a day. Lewis told [his father] all about his experience.

After a couple of weeks, the fairy met Luis again at the foot of the mountain, where they had met before. The fairy led him again to the cave. While they were entering the passage, the fairy requested him to be the godfather of his son. Upon accepting the offer, they proceeded to the great hall where there was dancing, eating, singing, and music. Before Luis departed for home, he took a two peso bill from his pocket and gave it to the fairy’s son. This was refused by the latter. When he reached home, he gave the money to his father. To their astonishment, the money was worth ten hundred pesos. With this amount, they were able to buy many things for their use.

Six months later, the fairy and Luis met again at the same spot as before. The fairy was quite sorry because he revealed that the godson had died. Luis was requested to join the funeral that was celebrated as we do it on earth. The dead was placed in a golden coffin and buried in a silver tomb. As an aid to the parents, Luis offered five pesos to the bereaved, but again it was refused. When he reached home, Luis was able to have a new house constructed.


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