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Death yes but natural upon any individual. It comes whether one likes it or not. It may be natural or an unnatural death.
In this barrio, many lives were lost during the past, because of song revolts and uprisings that the people had against the Spaniards and the Americans. But these happenings were not as grievous as when the people suffered from a great disease, the cholera which swept out a great number of the people's lives. Many died every minute. Even those people who helped in burying the victims died abruptly because of this communicable disease which at that time was very incurable. The death were so great that only few of the people luckily survived.
The burial custom in the past might be the same as at present with slight differences, because of the higher standard of living of the people of today.
If one of the members of the family dies, it is but natural that all of the close relatives cry, sob and lament. By those extra ordinary noise and cries that they make, other persons in the neighborhood learn of the death. Then, the neighbors and other friends go to the house of the bereaved family to express their condolences. Some even help the members in household work which are neglected because of their grief. When night comes to watch over the corpse, many friends, relatives and neighbors spend the sleepless night in the buried family's house. While they watch, they play different games to keep them all awake. These watchers are served some bread and coffee or other drinks so that they will not feel tired the whole night. The interment is done the following day. The corpse is placed in a coffin which is directly bought or made the night before. Some who are financially handicapped to buy one, just wrap the corpse in a mat and blanket, then place it in bamboo splits called "bislad." but nowadays, this method is no longer practiced by the people.
As the dead is carried down the stairs, an old woman sits by the stairway and throws a dipper of water down the stairs. Still some cut a piece of their floor, with the belief that in so doing the ill-luck that has befallen the family is carried away or removed. Other person's left in the house close all the windows and prohibit everyone to peep out of them.
The coffin is carried bye a group of people who take turns in carrying it, from the house to the church where it is blessed by a priest or just being prayed for by the people. Then it is carried to the cemetery and placed in a tomb prepared by some persons the morning of that day.
Every night, the spirit of the dead is offered a prayer by the members of the family with some neighbors who like to join them in their prayers. This is continued up to the ninth night. On the eighth day, there is feasting for those people who come to pray for the spirit of the dead. On the eighth night, which is the last night for them to pray for the spirit of the dead one, people who pray are served. From the time one dies, the members of the bereaved
mourn for a year or any length of time they wish to. On the first anniversary of the dead one, the family has preparations again for those who will pray and then the members begin to wear colored clothes.
People during the olden days had festivals, too, to honor their patron saints. Before, there were no chapel nor saints in the barrio of Sinisian, Lemery but one day, there happened to be a man offering the image of St. Joseph and [the] Virgin Mary. Through the initiation and enthusiasm of an old religious man, they were able to raise enough money to have these saints. Then they planned for the festival which had already been the practice up to the present time. Each year, a mass is said by a Catholic priest. There are great preparations in every house and many visitors come. Games are played and many native dances are performed. The only difference we could note is their band. [A] Group of musicians use only drums of bamboo and cans go around the barrio to make the festival more colorful.
Many unlawful acts are punishable. Killing or attacking a man is considered a serious offense. Adultery, robbery and violation of the laws are crimes. There were many ways in punishing offenders. Some of them were cruel acts. The most common forms of punishments given by the Spaniards were fines, flogging, whipping and death. When a man had committed a certain crime, he was given a number of whips depending upon the nature of the crime committed. When you killed someone, you were at once put to death.
Myths, Legends, Beliefs, Interpretations, Superstitions
The Myth of a Small Volcano
A volcano is a mountain made up of melted rocks, ashes and mud which have been thrown out of the earth.
Not long after the eruption of the Taal Volcano in 1911, there came out a small volcano in the western part of Sinisian, Lemery. For several days, the small volcano showed signs of erupting. After a few days, the volcano sent out the smoke and hot mud which flowed out from it like water in a brook. The volcanic eruption destroyed many plants and crops. This was not a very serious one, but all inhabitants in this place were worried about it. People from neighboring barrios came to witness this slight eruption. The people here made a novena and prayed the rosary but yet the eruption never stopped. Not knowing of any other things to do, they called for a priest. The priest said a mass just a few meters away from this volcano. Soon after the mass, the eruption became slow and the next morning, the inhabitants were surprised to see that the former elevated form was flat as any other piece of land around it, as if nothing had happened.
Legend of Calawang, Lemery
Calawang, Lemery is one of the places under the territorial jurisdiction of the barrio of Sinisian, Lemery. One day, according to the tale handed down, the inhabitants were amazed to see that rust came out of a spring in the southern
part of this place. It became an issue and spread like fire not only in the neighboring barrios but also to different towns and provinces. Then many people who heard of the news anxiously journeyed to the place to see the rust which had been removed to serve as medicine. Some rheumatic people who came took a bath and because of their belief, they became well. Because of the presence of this rust, which can still be seen at present, the inhabitants named this place “Calawang” which is the Tagalog name for rust.
Legend of “Malapad na Bato
In the western part of the barrio of Sinisian, Lemery, there lies the place of Malapad na Bato. According to an old man who related this legend, this place was formerly a part of the sea. As time went on, the sea dried until a large part of the former sea became land. A very big stone brought by the rolling waves stood in this place. Since then, people called it “Malapad na Bato,” which means a wide stone in English to identify it from the other parts of the barrio.
Origin of the Spring of Kaawaawa
[A] Spring is one of the things which make the lives of people in a place easy. In the northern part of Calawang, Lemery, there was a spring called “Kaawaawa.” Do you know how it came out? In a place just near the spring, there was a very poor family. That family was indeed very poor that they would almost die of starvation. One day, there was a very great rain. To the surprise of the people, the water in that place did not dry after several days until it became a spring. The inhabitants called that spring as “Kaawaawa” in memory of every trace of poverty of the family who resided there.
Beliefs on the Birth of Twins
It has been the belief of many that when a pregnant woman eats any twin bananas or any kind of fruit, she will have twin babies.
2. To sweep during twilight is bad for it will mean a decrease of your wealth.
3. When a firefly enters your house, it means that animals are destroying any of your plants for that time.
4. It is bad for the bride-to-be to fit the wedding dress before the wedding day for it means that the marriage will not be continued for she or the bridegroom-to-be will meet an accident.
5. It is bad to look back when attending any burial ceremony for it means that another person from the same family will die.
6. When a cat wipes its face while facing the stairs, it means that visitors will be coming.
8. When a black butterfly is always near you, it means that a relative of yours died.
9. When a certain relative died, one lights a candle then shakes it outside the window so that the whole relatives of the deceased will smell the candle and will learn of the death.
10. When you are cooking and the fire laughs, it shows that some visitors are coming.
Popular Songs, Games and Amusements
During the past, there were also songs, games and some forms of amusement. They played “tubig-tubig, sintak and sapak.” For amusements, they played “Pandango, Lulay and Subli.” On special occasions like baptismal and wedding parties, they invited dancers [who were] experts in “Subli” to make the celebration colorful. They had also some songs sung to the accompaniment of their guitars made of bamboos. Some of these songs are the following:
Hindi ko naman masundo,
May putik at may bulaho.
Pagdating mo sa Maynila
Ipagpalit sa kutsinta.
Pagdating sa Malabon
Ipagpalit ng bagoong.
Hintayin natin ang tatay
Humahanap ng kahit ulam.
Even before, the people in this barrio have riddles which they used to play when watching over the dead to keep them awake the whole night. Some of them are:
“I am a man really.” (Rooster)
Proverbs and Sayings
The following are some of the proverbs that have been used by the early inhabitants of this barrio of Sinisian, Lemery.
2. A sleeping shrimp will be carried away by the current.
3. A friend in need, is a friend indeed.
4. A borrowed thing is either too small or too loose.
5. An honest man is the noblest work of God.
6. After the storm comes the calm.
7. Silence gives consent.
8. Never put off till tomorrow
10. Patience is the stepping stone to success.
Methods of Measuring Time, Special Calendars
The people during the past years had some methods of measuring time although they were not as accurate as those we have at present. Many of them depended on the position of the sun and the cackling of the roosters and some birds like the “hornbill.” The roosters crow when it is either ten or twelve o’clock at night as well as at dawn. The hurried crowing shows that it is already morning and at that time, the people should be up already. The hornbill, which is often called “the clock of the mountain,” cackles every twelve o’clock at noon or at midnight.
They also used the same calendar as we use today.
Barrio Committee Chairman
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