BARRIO OF SAPPAAC, Historical Data - Philippine Historical Data BARRIO OF SAPPAAC, Historical Data - Philippine Historical Data

BARRIO OF SAPPAAC, Historical Data

Barrio Sappaac

About these Historical Data

[Cover page.]




Prepared and submitted by: (SGD.) MARIANO BUENA
Head Teacher

[p. 1]

Part One: History

1. Present official name of the barrio:


2. Popular name, past and present, meanings, sitios included.

The past name of this barric was BASENG. Baseng is a species of wild ginger popularly known as "laya nga baseng," which grew in abundance in this locality.

The present name SAPPAAC was given by Capitan Doroteo Torrijos when he bought the land. He found out that springs were dotted with "lugnac" (wallowing places of carabaos) and around these lugnac grew luxuriantly a wild vegetable called "lap-ac." He called the place SAP-PA-AC from the words "sapnac — lap-ac — lugnac" which will always remind the llocano term: "Nagsapnac ti adu a lap-ac cadagiti lugnac."

Sitios included within the territorial jurisdiction of the barrio:

1. Pao
2. Pita
3. Maoay
4. Biog
5. Tanubong
6. Parparia
7. Gabaruan
8. Sappaac (proper)

3 & 4 Date of establishment and original families:

As far as the oldest man can remember, barrio Baseng was established during the latter part of the Spanish regime in 1800. The original families were Aetas of the Negrito group. The Pulayan, Killeb, and Dakigan families were the first settlers and they immigrated from barrio Calawi, formerly of the town of Pilar, which is now called San Isidro.

The establishment of the present barrio was sometime in 1890, after Capitan Doroteo Torrijos purchased Sappaac, from a Tinguian named Samang of Peñarrubia. The land is the famous Hacienda Soliven, and the present owner is Mr. Francisco Soliven, grandson of Capitan Doroteo.

In the desire of Capitan Doroteo Torrijos to develop his land, he planted the following families: Ambrosio Tagura and Antonio Berdos, Feliciano Tadeo from Narvacan and Santiago Palulan and Emeterio Oca from La Paz. The survivor of the Tagura and Oca families dwell in the barrio today with immigrants who came later.

List of tenientes from earliest time to date:

The word "teniente" was termed differently during the different periods from Spanish time to date. During the Spanish regime, it was called "Cabo del Basrio." During the short-lived Philippine Republic, "Parcial." During the American Regime, "Teniente" as it is now. During the Japanese occupaion "Hoko President." During the guerrilla warfare with the Japanese, "CHIEF SS," and during the Republic of the Philippines, it is now called teniente del barrio (barrio lieutenant).

[p. 2]

The tenientes were the following:

(a) Spanish Regime Quirino Molina
Basilio Cardona
(b) Philippine Republic Cenon Bersamin
(c) American Regime Francisco Bermudez
Victorino Bejarin
Buenaventura Molina
Eusebio Molina
Francisco Bejarin
Jose Bejarin 1st
(d) Japanese Occupation Jose Bejarin 1st
(e) Guerrilla Warfare Mariano Buena
(f) Military Government Jose Bejarin 1st
(g) Republic of the Philippines Jose Bejarin 1st
Ambrosio Bejarin
Jose Bejarin 1st

6. Story of the old barrios or sitios now depopulated or extinct.

The former barrio Baseng is now depopulated. As stated previously, the inhabitants were Negritos. But when the immigrants came, they evacuated the place. They went to settle in Murognoy, a sitio of Villaviciosa, where a few are still found today.

The latter emigrants to Sapaac selected the present site for it is level and more suited to farming.

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


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

(a) During the Spanish Regime

During the Spanish-Philippine Revolution, the able-bodied men of Sappaac joined the Katipunan. Geronimo Oca and Silvestre de la Cruz were soldiers under Gen. Tinio, operating in Central Luzon. Some were engaged in collecting foodstuffs for the Filipino soldiers, and others acted as cargadores and messengers.

The Filipino soldiers had a camp in a bridge called Abolog in sitio Pita. There, they made their ammunition. This camp was supported by the barrio people with foodstuffs.

Sometimes the Spaniards visited Sapaac and camped at the land of Capitan Torrijos, who was their friend. Capitan Torrijos was at that time a clerk in the Gobernadorcillo's office. There was no fighting made in Sapaac because the Filipinos were inferior in strength compared to the Spaniards, who had better arms and more ammunition.

[p. 3]

(b) During the American Regime to World War II.

At the termination of the Spanish American War, the Spanish captives were made to beg for food. The captives of Bangued sometimes went as far as Pilar to beg. On their way to Pilar, they would drop at Sappaac to beg for food. Such was the life of the captives then.

When the Filipino-American War broke out, the barrio people continued to support the Filipino soldiers. Being inferior in strength and in the art of warfare, the Filipinos resorted to guerrilla warfare. A mopping [up] operation was made by the Americans in Sappaac. The Americans were led by a spy named Balbino Villareal, and the interpreter Don Quintin Paredes. At sitio Pao, Luis Benabase, a civilian, was shot to death by the Americans because he attempted to run away when he saw the soldiers.

The Americans suspected that Pao was the headquarters of the Filipino soldiers. So, they burned all the houses. Of the eight houses, not one was saved.

(c) During and after World War II.

A new system of government was introduced in the barrio as well as in all barrios of Bangued, during the Japanese occupation. The sitios were ruled by HOKO leaders in the barrio.

At that time, there was a band of guerrillas under the leadership of Joseph Domingo, hiding in the mountains east of the barrio. The HOKO President and leaders were instructed by the Japanese to be vigilant over the movements of this band and report their observations, but nobody dared to report even if the people of sitio Pita often met the members of the band when whey moved from one place to another.

When the Japanese were quartered in the school building in May 1944, the leaders and prominent men in the sitio were several times called by the Japanese to inquire about the hiding place of Lt. Domingo. Their mission was fruitless and they returned to Bangued.

The rumor that Lt. Domingo's band still roamed east of Sappaac made the Japanese launch a more intensive campaign against the band's hiding place. People of the Poblacion of Bangued were called to Sappaac to guard along the road. They were stationed along the road to a distance of fifty, and fifteen men were on guard on each place. Around 300 civilians were assigned to these posts. The guards were instructed to report any observations they made on the movements of the unit,

It was at this time [when] many civilians in Pita were tortured. They were made to drink each a jar full of water. Because of over torturing, one old man of Pita lost his life.

The People of Peñarrubia were ordered to search for Lt. Domingo. When he learned of the sacrifices his townmates of Peñarrubia had to undergo for his sake, he decided to surrender. He surrendered to the Japanese in July 1944. That ended the trouble imposed on the people.

After the surrender of Domingo's band, another trouble came to the barrio. Members of the 121st Infantry were operating in Pilar. They had a camp at Nalbo on the other side of Sinalang River west of Sappaac.

[p. 4]

On August 2, 1944, the detachment at Camp Nalbo ordered the people of Sappaac to destroy Nagwalangan bridge. Unfortunately, Japanese soldiers moved to the south on that day. The people began to assemble at the bridge to destroy it. The Pita men were caught unaware for they were the first to arrive there. The Japanese tied their hands behind them. The Japanese soldiers punished the people very severely. One man was killed on the bayonet by the Japanese soldiers. The maltreatment of the people caused one of them to squeal Camp Nalbo. The spy led the way to the camp. At sitio Tanubong, two civilian guards and soldiers were killed by the Japanese. They were unaware of the coming of the Japs.

Camp Nalbo was taken without a fight. Being inferior in strength due to scanty ammunition, they offered no resistance. It was lucky that the SS of Pao, Simplicio Bejarin, notified them of Japs, so that they had time to evacuate. After this incident, the camp was transferred to Kirmay, San Isidro.

The people of sitios Pita, Biog, Maoay, and Tambong came into close contact with the member of USAFFE. Because of forces operating, Pao and Sappaac proper were the last to devote their time and entirely support the 121st Infantry. They were still supporting both guerrillas and the Japanese.

But for fear of being branded as spies because of collaboration with the enemy, the teacher, Mr. Mariano Buena, closed the school. He went to contact the forces at Kirmay. It was agreed that transportation and communication with Bangued be closed. Nobody could go then to town.

On August 31, 1944, the people of Sappaac evacuated to the mountains nearby. Secret Service was operated throughout the barrio. Mariano Buena was appointed as chief SS of the barrio. Bolo men were (assigned) organized under the command of Emilio Bejarin. Women's Auxiliary Service (WAS) was also organized under the leadership of Patrocinia Acosta. These had to attend to the soldiers and bolo men operating in the locality.

The SS were in charge of message centers. Messages regarding the movements of the enemy were relayed to the General Headquarters. The bolo men assisted the civilians in relaying foodstuffs to the camp. They acted as guides of soldiers passing through the barrio. The WAS, for that was what they were called, attended to the entertainment of the soldiers and bolo men stationed and operating in the locality. Some members of the WAS of Sappaac were sent to Burnett Hospital in La union in January 1944.

There was a headquarters of soldiers, bolo men, and WAS at sitio Pao. From this headquarters started the first batch of ex-trainees and volunteers which composed the replacement company to the South. Fighting began there during the early part of February 1945.

On January 9, 1945, [a] Military Government was established. The chief SS was appointed Military Treasurer of Bangued. The barrip was then ruled by a Teniente who was Mr. Jose Bajarin 1st. His predecessor had to proceed to Silag, Bangued, the seat of the government, to assume office.

About the end of March 1945, the 15th Infantry USAFIF NL under the command of Major Basilio Valdez arrived at Pao. This unit stationed at Pao within a month until their departure on April 16, 1845, after liberating Abra from the Japanese. It was this detachment which repelled the Japanese when they tried to pass through the barrio on their way to the Mountain Province from Marasoso.

[p. 5]

After the soldiers were gone, all the people returned to their homes from their hiding places. They then began a life as peaceful as before they were forced to evacuate.

9. A. Destruction of lives, property, institutions during the wars.

During the war in 1898-1900, (especially) all the barric houses in Pao were burned by the Americans. One civilian was shot to death because he tried to run away when he saw the Americans. No lives or properties were lost in other sitios.

In the war of 1941-1945, the worst destruction felt by the barrio was the failure of the people to harvest their rice crop of 1944. Harvest was neglected for fear of the enemies. The people were hard up due to [the] scarcity of food. In spite of [the] scanty food supply, the people still had to feed the soldiers. This practice was initiated by the enemy. The attempt by the guerrillas to burn the schoolhouse was prevented by the local authorities.

There were a few lives lost. In an operation of the enemy in the early part of January 1845, one civilian was caught unaware in the message center at Pao. The man was killed by the Japs in Bangabanga, Bucay. When the Japs were garrisoned in the school building in May 1944, four men of Pao went to hunt on a moonlit night in the mountain nearby. They never returned. No one knew what happened to them. On August 2, 1944, at the capture of Camp Nalbo, one man from Maoay and two from Tanubong were killed by the Japanese soldiers. The SS of Pita and two men of Biog were killed during the guerrilla warfare.

When the 15th Infantry was operating at Agtangao, civilians were employed to give rations to the soldiers in the field. One from Pita and one from Sappaac were shot by the enemy while giving rations to the soldiers.

Because of malnutrition, malaria, and indigence, some people, especially children, died in the evacuation places. But the number of deaths was not as great as those who came to the barrio to evacuate.

B. Measures and accomplishments of rehabilitation after World War II.

When the people returned to their homes after liberation, an intensive food production campaign was launched. Many of the young men of the barrio went to work in the labor camp at San Fernando, La Union, under the leadership of Mariano Buena. They were engaged as civilian laborers in the different outfits of the American soldiers. This movement greatly helped the people in acquiring food and clothing.

The people repaired their partly dilapidated abandoned houses. Some filed claims for foodstuffs served to the army during the war. When they received the payments, they used the money to improve their homes and living conditions.

The "tagnawa" system was again revived. Besides being able to put up something at a little cost, the tagnawa enlightened one another in the activity in which it is practiced.

Part Two: Folkways

10. Traditions, customs, practices, domestic and social.

[p. 6]

a. BIRTH — It is the practice of the pregnant mother when an eclipse occurs to wash her hair with a shampoo of old straw mixed with vinegar, for it is believed that failure to do this may cause disorder in delivery. But if the eclipse is not visible in the locality, the ritual of shampooing with vinegar need not be done.

Among the Negritos, delivery was very simple. The mother needed no one to attend to her. After delivery, the Negrito mother went to the forest, sucked the juice of a vine, ate a scourged slice of the placenta, and she was well enough to join the others in their regular work. The baby was left alone in the hut or under a tree where the delivery took place. (This is on a saying of the old people. No verification. No one knows the vine, and if that would be so, many would practice it now. But the Negritos as primitive people were stronger in constitution and simpler in their necessities for their life and health.)

The immigrants had another practice. It's the same as at present. An expectant mother attended by a "partera" still needs the assistance of the husband and the neighbors. After delivery, a camanchile branch is tied under the floor where the bed of the mother is placed. The thorny branches are believed to prevent invisible beings to go under the bed to cause evil on the mother and child. A torch made of twisted old clothes is believed to hasten the (extraction) separation and healing of the cord and the umbilicus. It is also believed that the odor of the smoke drives away spirits that may endanger the health of mother and child.

The length of confinement depends upon the number of births. It takes a month for the first time the woman gives birth. The time is shortened as the number of birth increases until it comes to the minimum of nine days. This minimum begins at the fifth time she gives birth.

In some families, the mother lies on an inclined bamboo bed, called "dalagan." The mother drinks hot water, which gradually is made cooler as the days of the child gets older. She takes a daily bath of warm water. Then, after bathing, the mother heats herself with fire burning in a stove placed near her bed. It is believed that the hot drink, hot bath, and heating the body toughens and strengthens the tissues of her body weakened in the delivery and during her confinement.

b. BAPTISM - When the mother is permitted to drink cool water, the child is brought to church to be baptized. There may be two or more sponsors. Among the well-to-do, a party follows the baptism of their child. There may be dancing after the dinner.

c. COURTSHIP - In courting, young men and women may have a rendezvous. It may be the well, dancing halls, in the fields where they work together, or any convenient occasion.

d. MARRIAGE - The young men and women may have an engagement. But the usual practice is that there is a go-between between the parents of the boy and those of the girl. The go-between may be an old man of the third party. He goes to the parents of the girl to declare of the young man's intention to marry their daughter. If the girl's parents consent, the parents meet two or three times fo fix the dowry or gift of the boy's parents. If they come to agree on the gift to the satisfaction of the girl's parents, the betrothal feast is designated.

The marriage is solemnized either by the priest or the judge. The party is usually held in the home of the girl.

[p. 7]

The gravity of the feast — relatives of both parties give gifts in the form of money or blankets, the amount of which depends on the gifts given to them by the parents when they were married. The relatives advance or repay advanced gifts.

e. Death — When someone dies, the corpse is held for about 24 hours. The corpse is laid at the middle of the room, lengthwise with the house. If the body remains overnight, young folks play cards "tres-siete" to keep them awake. It was a practice among the old men to play the game of "bignan" when they have drunk a litle. This is slapping with the palm the upper part of the bare upper leg of another. It tested the endurance of the skin and legs, and the strength of the slapper. After receiving the slap, he has also the privilege to make the slap. The flesh of the legs swell and even fingers are imprinted at the impact. It is now forty years that this game is obsolete.

After burying the corpse, a novena for the poor souls is begun the night following. On the ninth day a "pamisa" is made. The "pamisa" may be held during the day or the night, depending on the preparation of the bereaved family. If in the daytime, pigs or carabaos or cattle are butchered to feed the visitors; but if at night, patopat, sinoman, candies, or with a littie coffee are simply distributed after the prayers.

The morning following the burial, it is a common practice that all the members of the household and closest relatives go to the brook or river to take a bath. This will wash away all what is bad connected with the death of the person, and will deliver them from sickness.

f. BURIAL — The men who dig the grave bring with them "basi" to drink in the cemetery. That will toughen their nerves, especially if they happen to be digging where one or more had already been buried before. That is doubly needed during the rainy season burials.

The cadaver is accompanied by relatives and friends to the cemetery. No priest follows because the burial usually takes place in the local cemetery at Tanubong. After burying the dead, all those who accompanied it are supposed to return to the house of the dead person. Failure to do so means bringing home evil things to the family.

g. VISITS - Visits are made only on matters of importance. It may be to see a sick relative, to borrow something, or to tell something. No visits are made for mere purposes of gossiping.

h. FESTIVALS — No yearly fiestas are held. There was only one yet within this generation. That was in 1949 at the instigation of the Mayor. Teachers of the Bangued district were invited, the teachers of the school prepared a short program to entertain the visitors during the day and also during the night.

i. PUNISHMENTS — When quarrels arise, the attention of the local authorities is called, and the dispute settled. When settled, the one found guilty will serve the intermediators and all present with "basi" or "templa." The contending parties will drink first as a sign of restored peace and friendship. This is called "calon."

[p. 8]

11. Myths, legends, beliefs, interpretations, superstitions.

ININNAPET — This is operated by serving food of chicken or pig with glutinous rice to spirits. It helps heal a sick person or brings a good harvest to the one who offers it.

COMET - Old folks believe that the appearance of a comet is a sign of sorrow. If the color is black, it means epidemics, fire, bloodshed, that war is coming; and if white, famine.

LIGHTNING AND THUNDER — Those are caused by a huge boar coming from the earth. When the boar comes out, the breaking of the earth causes the thunder. The fiery breath is flashed in the sky and that is the lightning.

BIRTH OF TWINS - When a woman eats fruit that are "siping" (together), she is sure to give birth to twins.

12. Popular songs and dances, games and amusements:

Songs: No Duaduaem Pay
Dances: Pandanggo
Ja Jota
Games: Bakenbakes
Amusements: Cockfighting
Card playing

13. Puzzles and riddles:

1) "Diayen," cohana, awan met ti matana
- There, it says, but it has no eyes. - forefinger
2) Adda dua nga agcaarruba ngem dida macapagkita.
- There are two neighbors but they cannot see each others. - ears
3) Dua cagiit, dumanon langit.
- Two pieces of areca nut reach heaven. - eyes
4) Na malipatam, macaalaca; no malagipmo, dica macaala.
- If you forget, you get; if not, you will not get them. — Amorseco flowers

14. Proverbs and sayings:

Where there is sugar, there's the ant.
A sleepy head gathers no wealth.
Active hands easily rot the pot.
Shallow water makes much noise.

15. Methods of measuring time, special calendars, etc.

The people formerly measured time by means of the position of the sun and the length of their shadows.

15. Other folktales: None.

Resource persons:
Submitted by:
Head Teacher
Transcribed from:
History and Cultural Life of the Barrio Sappaac, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections. The pagination in this transcription is as they appear in the original document.
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