Calaca, Batangas: Historical Data Part II - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Calaca, Batangas: Historical Data Part II - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Calaca, Batangas: Historical Data Part II

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



[p. 4]

Antonio Paterno, son of Don Pedro A. Paterno, negotiator of the Pact of Biac-na-Bato. Diego Inumerable, with the help of his co-founders of the town and other prominent men headed by the priest, undertook the building of the present church which was more than one hundred (100) years ago. It is said that almost no expenses were incurred because of forced labor by “bayanihan” or by the help of those requested, and by volunteers. Even women and children did their parts. Such were the influence and power of the priests that time that so gigantic a task could be accomplished. Some of the lumber used were cut from the big trees growing just north of the place where the church now stands. Other lumber was cut from the trees along the Pansipit River. The people who cut those trees carried lighted candles to drive the deadly crocodiles in the river. The logs were drawn down the river to the sea and towed by the use of bancas to Calaca shore. Then, hundreds of people hauled them to the place where the church was being constructed. While hauling the logs, a giant man made of split bamboos as the skeleton frame and wrapped by paper led the way followed by a band to make the hauling of the logs more enjoyable. Women and children helped by carrying sand and the stone bricks that were imported from Rizal and brought to Calaca by boats from Manila. Devices made of bamboo called “bawig” or cranes were used to bring up the very big lumber and stone bricks. It is said that there was a man killed while working up the church. It did not take long to finish the curch and the convent.

The children born in Calaca years before it was made a town were baptized in Balayan because there was no priest yet assigned in the place during that time. One day in 1837, the Archbishop from Manila passed by the newly-made town. He had with him many Spanish and Tagalog priests. They talked among themselves and decided to assign Fr. Basilio Vizconde who was from Marilao, Bulacan. When the Archbishop returned to Manila, Fr. Vizconde was left behind. From that time, he remained as priest of Calaca till his death. During his incumbency, the people learned to love him. Some said that whenever he took a walk along the poblacion, the people knelt and kissed his hand along the way. That custom had been carried on until the last part of the Spanish occupation. The first sexton was one Marcos Ramos.

The original legitimate-native and foreign-native families now common in Calaca are the following:

Legitimate native families:
1. Hernandez
2. Gomez
3. Rodriguez
4. Admana
5. Marasigan
6. Dajoyag
7. Moral
8. Punongbayan
9. Sangalang
Foreign native families:
1. Macatangay from Batangas
2. De Joya from Cavite
3. Bacal from Bauan
4. Macalalad from Balayan
5. Inumerable from Lemery
6. Vizconde from Marilao
7. Ramos from Marilao
8. Reyes from Marilao
9. Villamar from Marilao
10. De Leon from Taal
11. Marella from Taal
12. Arriola from Taal
13. Valencia from Taal
14. Mendoza from Taal
15. Alcaraz from Taal
16. Bihis from Taal
17. Malabanan from Talisay
18. Goce from Taal

[p. 5]

The only living centenaries or persons almost one hundred years old are:

1. Quirino Piliin
2. Eufemia Mercado
3. Filomena Valencia
4. Francisca Marasigan

On March 5, 1891, when Mr. Felix Rodriguez was the Capitan Municipal, some bandits attacked the poblacion. The bandits came from Cavite and were led by a native of Calaca named Esperidion Socorro. That man was a convict who escaped and hid in the mountains when he was serving a term imposed by former Gobernadorcillo Claudio Vizconde because of banditry. As a revenge, he led the Cavite bandits to attack the town. There was an encounter for almost two hours until the town people ran out of ammunition. The bandits were able to enter the poblacion. They went to the tribunal and robbed the treasury and then went to the house of Mr. Ruperto de Leon, the richest man in the town. The bandits were able to open the door by force and had just gained entrance when the platoon of Guardia Civil led by Judge Marcos came from the seashore. When the bandits heard that the Guardia Civil were coming, they hurriedly retreated northward pursued by the Guardia Civil and by the town people.

The bandits fought as they retreated and there was an encounter by the road near the present house of Mr. Pedro Alix. Among the prominent defenders of the town were Capt. Apolonio Admana and. Lieut. Mariano Admana of the cuadrilleros, and Judge Sementera Marcos. Among the civilians were Captain Municipal Felix Rodriguez and Judge Arcadio de Joya who led the town people in the fight. Mr. Irineo Arriola used only a gun for birds and fired at the bandits through the window of his house. Mr. Eleuterio Marasigan, who became a Brigadier General during the revolution, fought with his revolver but when his bullets were exhausted, he sought shelter at the cemetery. During the time the bandits were in the poblacion, they fired at the civilians but luckily no one was hit.

Captain Apolonio Admana exhibited an exemplary courage during the fight. In spite of the fact that he had no more bullets, yet he did not run. He stayed at the plaza with drawn sword ready for a hand-to-hand fight. Though seen by the bandits, no one dared to go near him nor fire at him. The bandits were aware of his skill in fencing.

The baffling mystery of the event was that no casualty happened among the town people nor the Guardia Civil or the cuadrilleros, though many of the bandits were killed. The mystery is believed another of the miracles of the Patron Saint Raphael. Some people say they saw a little boy by the side of the defenders of the town. The people believed the little boy was Saint Raphael. Even among the captives led by the bandits, no one was hit or hurt. Those captives were men and women that the bandits captured along the way. The bandits tied them with ropes and used them as trenches. There were more or less about fifty captives, but as soon as the fight started, these captives were able to untie themselves and run away. There was no one killed among them.

In general, during the Spanish occupation, the life of the people

[p. 6]

in Calaca was generally peaceful, though peace and order were not well-established especially in remote places were bandoleros and cattle rustlers abounded.

The people mostly earned their living by farming. There was practically little or no commerce and bartering was common. The means of transportation was hard and most of the travel was on foot and horseback. Calesas were few.

There was [a] little handicraft and clothes worn by the people were usually cotton cloths woven by the natives.

In those times, there were no public schools as there are today. The children studied “caton and cartillas,” the four fundamentals in Arithmetic and Religion under the tutorship of individuals who were supposed to possess better knowledge or the R’s. These were usually paid by the parents of the children not in cash but in palay, corn, or any other material remunerations. The children studied in the homes of their teachers. Sometimes under a house, under the trees, or in any place in the surroundings. The children read aloud in mass which caused terrible noise. The children were taught individually and tested one by one. There was much memory work and most of the time the children did not understand what they were talking about.

In the latter part of the Spanish regime, a Spanish school called “escolopia” was opened under the teacher named Mr. Sergio Trinidad. The three R’s were emphasized as well as the four fundamentals in Arithmetic, Religion and [a] little Geography.

Only the well-to-do were able to go and study in Manila and only in the latter part of the Spanish regime when some were able to finish some courses.

Another interesting feature in the government administration was in the selection of the gobernadorcillos. The priests of the town played [an] important role when the church could take [an] active part in the affairs of the state. Drawing by lots by the candidates mostly selected by the town curate was one of the procedures. Sometimes, the Cabeza de Barangay noted as to who would be the gobernadorcillo. They voted in the tribunal by casting their votes in the box for the gobernadorcillo they wanted. So, right away they were identified to whom they voted for.

When the revolution broke out in 1896 against Spain, some of the prominent CalaqueƱos took an [active] part. Captain Apolonio Admana went out and had his men camped with him in Munting Coral, Ireneo Arriola in Pantay and Eleuterio Marasigan, who became [a] Brigadier General of General Miguel Malvar’s forces had his camp somewhere in Kay Tamayo almost at the boundary of Calaca and Cavite. Later, Brigadier General Marasigan and Col. Timoteo Marella, with their petty officers and men, were sent and stationed in the Visayas in Capiz, Capiz.

[p. 7]


The American occupation marked a new epoch in the history of the town. The social and religious lives of the people advanced steadily. Public health was improved. The social welfare of the people was promoted. Better roads and bridges were built and repaired. Farming was developed and industries and commerce began to be the main activities of the people.

The English school was established and better recreation and wise use of leisure were enhanced. The first English school was formally opened in 1902 by an American, Mr. Mclough, assisted by Mr. Sinferese Ilagan. From 1903, Filipino teachers were assigned. One of them was the present Auditor General, Hen. Manuel Agregado, who was appointed in 1905. Mr. Tomas Cabrera was the first Filipino principal assigned. Other pioneer Filipino teachers were Miss Maria Marasigan, Miss Matilde Rodriguez, Mr. Rosendo Divico, Dr. Mariano Marella, Miss [?] Luis Gomez, Miss Sixta Marella and some others. The number of teachers increased from two to fifty-four teachers at present. There were only about twelve teachers in 1921 when the intermediate classes were opened, thirty teachers at the outbreak of World War II and fifty-four teachers at present.

The local government ran smoothly and the elections were held peacefully. Political enmities subsided soon after the elections.

During and after World War II - The outbreak of World War II on December 8, 1941 marked another stage of the existence of Calaca. The shocking news took the people by surprise. There was a general feeling of fear and uncertainty among the people.

The schools were ordered closed two days after the beginning of the war. The teachers were utilized in the food production campaign. The able-bodied civilians were organized as members of the civilian guards, bolo battalion and as air raid wardens. The town officials maintained peace and order.

On or about December 19, 1941, USAFFE soldiers were deployed in the different parts of the town. The 75 mm cannons were placed in strategic positions in the different parts of the poblacion. On or about December 21, 1941, all the soldiers left the town which the people later on knew that they were concentrated in Bataan. The people were sad that the soldiers left because there was no one to repulse the invading hordes. But it was a blessing in disguise, for no fighting took place here, otherwise, the town should have been devastated. The people evacuated to the different barrios and mountains because it was learned that the Japanese Imperial Army had already landed in Lingayen, in Atimonan and other points of the Philippines.

Some Japanese soldiers first came to Calaca about the middle part of January, 1942. They did not do any harm and, perhaps, as their policy of attraction, they even compared their skin to ours. They said in broken English, “Same, same color, brothers.” Then, in the subsequent days of the month, more Japanese soldiers came to the place. They did not stay long

[p. 8]

and left the town on the same day they came.

Most of those who evacuated returned to town upon hearing that the Japanese soldiers were not molesting the civilians.

In February, 1942, the Japanese soldiers came again and made the Calaca Elementary School their garrison. Subsequently, a Japanese cotton company came and opened their office in the house of Mr. Mariano Macatangay. The officials occupied some of the big houses like those of Mr. Pacifico de Leon, Mr. Jose Bacal, the big stone house near the municipal building as their bodega. Other personnel lived in their offices. The Japanese confiscated almost all tillable land to be planted to cotton. Those who seemed reluctant to give their land were threatened to be killed. They said that inasmuch as we were vanquished, naturally the spoils would belong to the victor.

The natives were employed in the cotton plantations with meager pay and, at times, used forced labor. Different cotton companies at different times took charge of the plantations. Perhaps, in the absence of the Japanese soldiers, those Japanese employed in the plantations took charge of the military affairs. Some of those Japanese officials were friendly and the people got busy for their existence though always suspicious and vigilant.

Some of the schools were opened in July, 1942 under the supervision of the Japanese, although they employed [the] same teachers in the public schools at the outbreak of war. The Japanese language was taught. Japanese songs and culture were implemented. They allowed Tagalog to be used in the public schools. The Japanese instructed the teachers to cover the pictures of the American great men which are found in books.

Dr. Bernardo Macatangay was ordered to continue his term as mayor of the town together with some other municipal officials. The administration, however, was a puppet but in most cases, the officials worked hard only for the good and salvation of the people. Mr. Macatangay and other town officials were often confronted with delicate and dangerous problems. There were the forced labor, confiscation of land, animals and other property of the people. There were those who were caught and accused of being guerrillas and other crimes which the mayor often succeeded with his intervention. His tact and wit in dealing with the Japs made him their friends which, in turn, he used in behalf of his people.

Soon after the fall of Bataan on April 9, 1942, the underground movement was being organized in Calaca. In justice to those patriotic people, who in spite of the dangerous undertakings, did not think of the torture and death, their names at least must be recorded in this document as defenders of their town, their country and of democracy. They did not think that there would be liberation pay, back pay or other kinds


Notes and references:
Transcribed from “Historical and Cultural Life of the Town of Calaca” 1953, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
Next Post Previous Post