As told by the forefathers of this place, the people say that Pinagtongulan was once a thick woodland. By one end of the forest was a very small house. There lived in this house and old couple believed to be the descendants of the present people of this place. The couple was in a very simple way of living. In their small kaingin, they planted and produced food the whole year through.
One day, the housewife became ill. During that time, there were yet no doctors. The husband then went out into the forest to look and search for medicinal plants or herbs. While in the forest, the old man heard [a] noise and would want to catch the chickens. As he was following as to where the noise came from, he forgot about all the herbs and medicinal plants. He grew very tired. As he was already behind the chickens, just a few meters away, the chickens suddenly disappeared. He lost sight of the white chickens, so he turned around and around in a confused state. He could not see the chickens anymore.
As he was about to make the last turn, a big door suddenly swung open accompanied by a creaking sound. Pale and afraid, he looked inside. He was attracted by the bright light inside and there he saw something which he could not believe. At the height of his joy, he exclaimed, “Alas, tapayan ng guinto!” meaning a jar of gold. He took the gold home and became very rich.
HOW PINAGTONGULAN GOT ITS PRESENT NAME
Many stories of our country say that the names of places are taken from what had happened in a certain place be it [a] town or barrio.
Many years ago, when our town church was still new, there came to this place many soldiers from foreign lands. They entered and occupied our town. The burned the town and destroyed the sacred images of saints and virgins in the church. These sacred things were thrown out in the church yard and on the streets.
Since then, the soldiers were always defeated in every place where they fought. It might have been due to what these soldiers had done in the town church. Because of their defeat, they ran away to the barrios and hills outside the town. They were then being chased by the people. A few of these soldiers happened to reach this barrio. They were caught and brought to the interior of the forest. In the forest, there was a stump of a cut big tree. The angry people put the neck of these soldiers on the stump tree and was then beheaded. The people saw the heads of the soldiers hanging on branches of the trees. The people said, “Ang sondalong pinungolan!” meaning beheaded soldiers. From the word “pinungolan,” the people derived the word Pinagtongulan, which became the present official name of this barrio. When Batangas province was divided into towns, the name Pinagtongulan was used. Part of it belongs to San Jose and the bigger part of the barrio is within the territory of Lipa City.
In almost all activities of the people, there are still practices, customs, beliefs and traditions associated with numerous [apparent missing word(s)] their daily lives. Among these beliefs are:
1. When a young girl sings before a stove or fire, she will marry an old widower.
2. When a hen cackles at midnight, an unmarried woman is going to give birth to a bastard child.
3. When a cat wipes its face, a visitor is coming.
4. When a comet appears in the sky, war or famine is coming.
5. When one dreams that one of his teeth fell, somebody in the family will die.
6. When a married woman eats twin bananas, she will give birth to twins.
7. A person who plants pineapple should close his eyes so that the fruit will have fewer eyes.
8. In planting squash, the planter should keep his lower and upper teeth tightly closed together in order that the fruits will have firm and hard flesh.
9. When dogs howl in the melancholic tone at night, ill fate will befall someone in the neighborhood.
10. Many farmers refuse to give anything before sunset, when they are to sow palay in the rice field.
11. It is good to plant bananas after eating a heavy meal so the bunches will be big.
12. When there is [a] firefly in the house, it is a sign that there is [a] stray animal in the rice field.
13. During [a] wedding party, there is always “kalamay,” a kind of sweet, to give the new couple good temperament.
14. It is not good to cut fingernails at night or on Fridays.
15. If the bride puts on her wedding dress before the wedding day, bad luck will befall on her.
16. It is not good to leave the house when someone is eating. Bad luck may come on the way.
17. No parents would allow two of their children to marry in the same year. To do so would mean that one of them would suffer ill luck in married life.
18. Before the family moves to their new house, a jar is set in the middle of the house and filled with water until it overflows. It is said that in doing so, the family will live in abundant life.
19. The old folks do not like any sweeping done when it is getting dark. To do so would mean that fortune and good luck will eventually leave the house.
20. For a newborn baby, it is better to use a sharp razor to cut the umbilical cord so that the child will have a sharp wit. His “inunan” should be buried with good written materials to make the baby intelligent in later life.
21. While in the church during [the] marriage ceremony, the bride of the groom tries to step on the foot of the other so that either will be devoted to each other.
22. It is not good to start a piece of work or activity on Tuesday or Friday as it is bound to fail.
23. It is good to plant fruit-bearing crops on the first day after the full moon, so that the plants will continually bear fruit. On this day, the sun and the moon are first seen both in the sky.
24. It is not good to eat fruit vegetables that grow in vines, for it is said that other members of the family will follow. [Apparently pertaining to when there has been a death in the family.]
12. Popular Songs, Games and Amusements:
a. Songs – Among the most popular songs in the locality are the native songs called the “kundimans.” These songs portray the sentimental feelings of those yearning and pleading for something. This type of songs are often sung by young men and women or by the binatas and the dalagas during special gatherings like wedding day, birthday, and during haranas. It its melodic and tuneful harmony, the kundimans best picture the most sincere and faithful words of a young suitor.
Other types of songs are the modern ones that come from the screen and from the stage. These songs are like stories narrating certain types of activities in the house or in the field. Examples of such songs are the “Lavandera,” “Magtanim Hindi Biro,” and etc. Other songs tend to give sentimental value to certain types of woman’s articles as the “Tapis, Bakya, Suklay and the Sayas and Manggas.” The Paro-parong Bukid, Tapis Mo Inday, Bakya mo Nening, and etc., are the best examples of these modern songs.
Still, there are other types of songs which are called “local airs.” Examples are the corridos, the awits. These songs are sung during “Subli” and “Pandango” dances, accompanied by native instruments called “kalatong” and “kaltanitas.”
b. Games and Amusements:
Typical Filipino adults in this barrio go to the “topada” or to the card tables. Late in the afternoon, they stand by in street corners or sit by the barrio tienda and conversing with his neighbors. At times, the women enjoy little gossips with their neighbors as they feed the pigs and the chickens. When they are in the house doing nothing, they muse by the window looking at the wide fields, the scene of their never-ending work and struggle.
[The] Most popular game among the young men of this barrio is the basketball game. Young men in this locality formed a basketball team and often played against the teams of other places. Another game is quail hunting during the season after harvest. They at times go in groups of five or four. Each hunter is equipped with a wide oblong net whose center part is fastened to a bamboo pole made light and handy. They are often accompanied by a good smelling dog.
Playing “pata” is another old typical game among the people of this place. This game is played by two or more players but not more than four. The players are equipped with a round wooden disc cast to a distance of around fifteen to twenty feet where a ten centavo piece is atop a little stone. Whoever hits this target is the winner.
Another form of amusement common to the young binatas is the “harana.” Young men with their guitar go to the house of a certain lady and there by the stairs tinkle their guitar singing their love songs. The serenaders keep singing till they are invited to come up. Serenading lasts for about twenty to thirty minutes after which the serenaders sing their goodbye or paalam song.
During All Saints Day, the people of this place, especially the young men and women or the binatasa and the dalagas, often go out at night and beg [for] alms. In such company, they are together happy. They also at times hold parties eating “suman” or “bebingka.” In the morning, they ask the local priest to say mass. They pay the priest out of the funds they had collected and it is called “pamisa.” Candles are also burned in the church candelero for the rest of the early morn.
During the barrio fiesta, the young men of this place always hold their annual fiesta ball. Games and other forms of amusements are exhibited, participated in by invited players and teams.
13. Puzzles and Riddles:
Guessing puzzles and riddles is another form of amusement especially among children. A few of them are the following:1. Dala ko siya, dala niya ako,
(I carry it, it carries me, wherever we go) – slippers
(A lady with a crown, has eyes all around.) – pineapple
(Neither king nor priest, but is always at best.) – cloth hanger
(Proud when poor, humble when rich.) – palay
(A small stick that climbs the mountain
And rives away the animals. – lice collector