Bulacnin, Lipa City, Batangas: Historical Data Part II - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Bulacnin, Lipa City, Batangas: Historical Data Part II - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Bulacnin, Lipa City, Batangas: Historical Data Part II

Historical Data graphic
Historical data from the National Library of the Philippines.



[p. 6]

1896 TO 1950

During the Spanish regime, Bulacnin had no contact with the existing government. The Spanish officials who were running the government in Lipa were afraid to take possession of the barrio because, being encompassed with thick forest, it served as a hideout for “insurrectos” who were hostile to the Spaniards. For this reason, Bulacnin was saved from various abuses committed by the Spaniards.

When the Americans came and took possession of the country, there was again discontentment among the people, especially the “insurrectos” of Bulacnin. They disliked the idea of being governed by a foreign power. So, led by a man named Adriano Recio, the people planned to rebel against the Americans. Upon learning this, the Americans made a move to stop the impending trouble.

In October of the year 1911, soldiers were sent to Bulacnin. The people, together with their personal belongings, work animals and everything that they could carry, were forced to leave their homes and were zoned in the vicinity of Tanguay. Practically nothing was left in the barrio. The “insurrectos” who were left behind had nothing for food. Thinking that they had been betrayed by their countrymen, the irate rebels burned some of the houses. When the Americans learned of this, they knew that there were still some people who remained behind, so they set fire to the houses and properties that they could find so that nobody would benefit from anything left there, including the sources of food supply.

In the zoned areas, sanitation became a problem. Due to lack of sanitary facilities as well as [the] ignorance of the people, an epidemic of cholera soon broke out. The Americans thought this method of theirs unsatisfactory so they ordered the release of the people that next April.

Returning to their home barrio, the people found themselves facing great hunger. In their absence, food crops were not planted, their homes were burned and many of their work animals died of hunger, too. Wild beans and papaya trunks were gathered for food. When the rainy season came the following May, they began to plant crops for their subsistence; but these were not harvested when a swarm of locusts invaded the fields and destroyed everything. Starvation again wrought misery upon the people and it was not long before an epidemic of dengue fever broke out, claiming the lives of forty-five persons.

However, the Americans, in their policy of attraction, and to give the people the benefit of an education, established a school in Bulacnin in 1904 and had a road constructed in 1915. These brought about the restoration of a life of peace among the people. The school enlightened the minds of the natives and new ideas of American education were introduced. The road brought the barrio nearer to the town of Lipa and by this means, the people learned of the American democratic ways of life.

During this new era, there was a great progress in commerce. The majority of the people were better off but all these could not compensate for the destruction wrought on the lives, properties and institutions of the

[p. 7]

barrio people at the beginning of the American regime.

The end of 1941 marked the beginning of another destruction in our country. With the defeat of the american forces in the Philippines, the Japanese occupied our native land and established and imperial government. In the early part of the Japanese occupation, there was no destruction.

Sometime in 1943, the rice fields were planted or converted into cotton fields so that in the succeeding year, there was a shortage of food supply. In the latter part of 1944, when the American forces had landed on Philippine soil, the Japanese became cruel. They raided the barrio in search of the guerrillas. The inhabitants of the locality evacuated to an isolated place called Buhay. But the Japanese soldiers were active in reading the barrio. They shot the people they saw; burned the houses and ransacked the properties and personal belongings of the people. Approximately 21 houses were burned and 30 persons killed.

The liberation of the Philippines was followed by a period of rehabilitation. The school and the roads where repaired; houses where reconstructed through the aid of the Philippine War Damage Commission.

[p. 8]


The customs of the early barrio folks are characteristics of the known traits of the Filipinos. Some of these customs, which are actually practiced event to the present, are the following:

1. Respect accorded to older sister, brother, relatives and other persons.
2. Kissing the hand of the elders as a token of respect.
3. Hospitality like sharing dishes with visitors, neighbors and friends.
4. Readiness to help neighbors and strangers in time of necessity or emergency.
5. Religiousness.

In the rural areas, the life of an individual – from the cradle to the grave – is practically governed by certain customs and practices.

BIRTH – The birth of a child is accompanied by a thousand and one customs, traditions, practices and superstitions. The preservation of the child's umbilical cord, which is usually hung from the ceiling, is the most common. It is the common belief that if all the children's umbilical cords are placed together, they will live harmoniously.

BAPTISM – It it's not unusual to give the child a lot but ism or more popularly known as the “buhos” system before the baptism in church. This practice is considered taboo by the Catholic Church, the barrio folks still continue doing it. Relative to baptism in church and in groups, it is customarily done to bring the child out immediately after the ceremony. It is believed that a bright future awaits the first child brought out among the group.

COURTSHIP – The go-between or love via a third person has always a place in the “Filipino code of love.” This method is usually adopted by the coy and timid Romeo but for the more dashing ones, the following is common:

The love of a man is formally commenced with a serenade in which occasion, he lets the music momentarily speak for his heart. He calls her – his life, his light, his guide. Then, through a weekly visit to the girl's house or at times in the fields, planting rice or harvesting it, he incessantly expresses his love, affection and admiration. He does some household activities in the girl's house which vary from the fetching of water to the cutting of firewood; from the plowing of the fields to the pounding of the palay. If the girl, after all these, accept and believe otherwise, marriage is arranged.

MARRIAGE – Marriage is arranged by [the] parents of both parties. This is what we call the “bulungan.” The date of marriage, that dory on the part of the man which may be a piece of land, a house or a sum of money, and wedding celebration are settled.

Usually the priest, the couple and the sponsors are the common personalities in a wedding ceremony. However, the bridesmaid or the “abay” becomes an important character, too. She attends to the bride's needs.

[p. 9]

During the marriage ceremony, stepping on one’s feet is very significant. For this reason, the couple stays a little away from each other. Accordingly, if the bride steps on the feet of the bridegroom, the latter will forever be under the dominant rule of the former; and vice-versa.

After the ceremony, the newly-married couple steps out of the church together except when the wife desires to dominate the husband in their whole marital life and in such case, she goes out a little earlier than the man.

DEATH AND BURIAL – Dead persons are not kept long in the house. When a person dies in the morning, he is buried in the afternoon or, if he dies at night, he is buried the following morning. Usually, a cross made of blessed palm leaves is placed between the clasped hands. It is believed that this cross is an excellent passport for the salvation of the soul. The wearing of black clothes, an external manifestation of grief and love to the deceased, by immediate relatives, begins at the burial day and ends a year after.

FESTIVALS – Among the many special days of merrymaking is the May Flower festival. The thirty-day daily offering of fresh flowers to the Mother of God is climaxed with a day of entertainment, amusement; a procession and coronation of the muse.

BELIEFS AND INTERPRETATIONS – The early people of the community believed in bad spirits. Most ailments were believed to have been caused by these spirits.

The old folks know of some signs of bad omens. They can predict a coming storm. They say that if the twigs carried by the river seem to be all standing, and the leaves of the madre cacao turn upside down, there is a coming storm.

POPULAR SONGS – The Kundimans are the most popular songs in the barrio. Some of them are the – Dalagang Bukid; Leron, Leron Sinta; May Isang Bulaklak; and Dahan-dahan.

PROVERBS AND SAYINGS – The following quotations are some of the common proverbs in the vernacular:

Maputi man at halpok,
Daig ang Garingang subok.
(Even though white but of poor class,
Is no better than a lower but tested class.)

Nasa Dios ang awa
Nasa tao ang gawa.
(To do is in man,
As mercy is in God.)

Ang hindi marunong magtipon
Ay walang hinayang magtapon.
(One who does not know how to save is extravagant.)

Magpakataas-taas man ang lipad,
Sa lupa rin ang bagsak.
(Though how high you fly; still to earth you plunge.)


Notes and references:
Transcribed from “The History of Bulacnin” 1953, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
Next Post Previous Post