HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE OF THE TOWN OF
BANNA, ILOCOS NORTE
and Its Barrios
I N T R O D U C T I O N
WE take pleasure in submitting A HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE OF THE TOWN OF BANNA, ILOCOS NORTE AND ITS BARRIOS, as required by Memorandum No. 34, s. 1952, of the Honorable Director of Public Schools as called for by EXECUTIVE ORDER No. 486 of His Excellency Elpidio Quirino, President of the Philippines.
The manuscript was prepared by the committee assigned by the Supervisor and Principal Teachers of the town. The committee evaluated and edited the data gathered by the different teachers of the town and its barrios, which in turn [were] gathered from responsible and reliable persons of the community.
It is the belief of the committee that, although not very complete, the history and cultural life of the town is vividly pictured in this manuscript.
Since the traditions and cultural life of the people in connection with marriages, birth, deaths, burials, and etc. are the same, it is decided to treat the subject only of the town as a whole.
(SGD.) RUPERTO GUMTANG
(Mrs.) MARIA B. TRINIDAD
A C K N O W L E D G E M E N T S
Mrs. Cristeta T. Gerardo
Mr. Andres Galarse
Mr. Ruperto Gumtang
Mrs. Olimpia Pitpit
Mrs. Florentina Ramos
Mrs. Salvacion Asuncion
Mr. Policarpio Garcia
Mr. Bernardino Culannay
Mr. Adriano Sarian
Mr. Francisco Ibuyat
Mr. Eusebio Manuel
Mrs. Cesaria Valdez y Pambid
[Table of Contents.]
T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S
HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE OF THE TOWN OF BANNA, ILOCOS NORTE
Perched upon the tep of a hill at the eastern part of the previnee of Iloces Norte is the small, yet quiet, and ever progressing tewn of Banna. Its soil is reddish, a unigue characteristic of the place. Its climate is temperate, naturally, because of its location.
The people are simple and humble, yet peaceful and law-abiding. They are industrious, hardworking and busy. Agriculture is their chief industry, with fishing, lumbering, hunting, and commerce as minors. They are hospitable and welcome everybody home. Nobody feels a stranger to this town. Every house is everybody's home, and everyone is everybody's friend.
The people are God-fearing and enjoy religious freedom. The Aglipayan faith has the greatest flock, but almost all the leading religious sects have followers.
The people are educationally-minded, as evidenced by the fact that the town already boasts [of] several professionals who have distinguished themselves in their respective lines. Enrolment in the public schools has increased tremendously. Complete elementary schools have been organized in the big barrios of Caestebanan, Macayepyep, Bangsar, Tabtabagan and Sugasi. A private high school is being maintained by some civic-spirited persons.
Banna is the official name of the town. Since [its] establishment, it has always been named such. How it got its name is legendary like all towns. There are several legends about it, but the most common is this:
As soon as the Spaniards established the pueblos of Paoay and Batac, a group of natives began to resist the Spanish authorities. They did not like to submit themselves to the Spanish rule and to become Christians. They fled eastward and established a village for themselves about sixteen kilometers east of the then-newly established town of Batac.
These people selected as their leader a man of courage and sterling character named Bana. Chief Bana ruled his people with zeal and tact, and for a long time, they lived peacefully and unmolested.
As years passed by, however, the people of Paoay and Batac, who were converted to Christianity by the Spaniards, felt the need of leaving home in search for new lands. A group of them proceeded eastward until they came to the flourishing village ruled by Chief Bana. They began to settle it by groups. People from Paoay settled in Capacayan and people from Batac settled in Bomitog and Binacag. Later, people from the different towns heard of the richness of this place, and they, too, came to settle in groups.
There was, therefore, a mixture of peoples. Bana and his followers were left unmolested.
After some years, the new Christian settlers invited the Spanish Parish Priest of Dingras, a rich neighboring town, to administer to them their religious needs. The priest, seeing that this place was rich and thicklyi populated, decided to make it an independent pueblo. Bana and his followers did not like the idea, and they began to protest. With their native weapons, they started a war against the Spaniards and the new settlers.
Their protests, however, were in vain. Vanquished by the superiority of arms, they were defeated. Chief Bana was killed in action, and some of his remaining followers fled to Bantay Paor, a place which later became the nucleus of another town, Nueva Era. Only three families of Bana's clan remained in the village, Dulig, Cabaoig and Paned.
When the place became a pueblo, it was named Banna, in honor of the powerful chief who, like Lapu-lapu and many other Filipino chiefs, typified the Filipino dislike for foreign rule.
After the defeat of the Spaniards by the Americans, Banna was dissolved as a town. Some
of its barrios were annexed to Dingras. Banna itself and the barrios in the western part became a part of Batac.
The present Banna is a new municipality. It was separated from Batac in the year 1913 under the leadership of Hon. Santiago Espiritu, one-time Provincial Governor of Ilocos Norte, and the late Ismael Valenciano, who became the town's first president. From that [time] on, the town began its gradual but uninterrupted progress until the outbreak of the second global war.
The town of Banna has been under the following presidents and mayors. They are listed with their tenures of office.
1942-1944 Jap. Occupation
1944 Jap. Occupation
Mr. Ismael Valenciano
Mr. Cirilo Tejada
Mr. Alejo Rigonan (Vice)
Mr. Florencio Eugenio
Mr. Ismael Valenciano
Mr. Estanislao B. Lorenzo
Mr. Manuel Pitpit
Mr. Silvino Alegre
Mr. Melecio Baga
Mr. Guillermo Valenzuela
Mr. Gregorio Academia
Mr. Fernando Maulit
Mr. Proseso Cabasug
Mr. Fernando Maulit
Mr. Teodorico Agres
Mr. Teodorico Agres
As the town was not yet a prosperous town under the Spanish rule, it has no ruins to be proud of. It has, however, two historical monuments; one is the Aglipay Monument, constructed during the hectic days of the Japanese Occupation, in honor of the greatest Filipino clergyman, Mons. Gregorio Aglipay of Batac, Ilocos Norte. The majority of the people being followers of this man who founded the Aglipayan Church did not inspire the people to erect a monument for him. It was, rather, his being a general of the Philippine Revolution that inspired the people to erect his monument in front of the Municipal Hall.
Another monument of the town is the War Dead Monument, erected by the War Widows Association, and parents of the sons of the town who gave up their lives in the Second World War.
Important Facts, Incidents, or Events that Took Place in the Town:
There is no important incident that took place in the town during the Spanish occupation, except that the town was included in the field of operations of General Aglipay and his revolutionary force.
During World War II, the town was selected as one of the evacuation centers of Ilocos Norte. Many prominent people of the province found their way for refuge in this town. Among them were the then-governor of the province, Hon. Roque B. Ablan, the then-superintendent of schools, Mr. Estanislao Lopes, and many other officials and prominent families.
Many of the famed guerrilla units had their operations here, such as those led by Gov. Ablan and the then-Major Madamba.
The Japanese forces stationed a unit in this town. They had their garrison established in the Gabaldo school right in the heart of the town. There was, however, no heavy fighting in the town, except on one occasion when the guerrilla unit under Major Madamba killed Japanese, said to have been a general in an automobile.
This led to the bombing by Japanese Air Forces of a section in the northern part of the town. No building of public places were, however, damaged. It also claimed the lives of Atty. Faustino Ines, who was a prisoner of the Japanese before the incident, one policeman, Quintin Factora, and a civilian, Diego Bala, whom they caught in the town the morning after the shooting.
This shooting of the Japanese officials enraged the Japanese soldiers who conducted mopping up operations in the town and, as a result, the biggest house in the center of the town, owned by the late Pres. Ismael Valenciano, and other smaller houses were burned. In spite of this, the people of the town kept their faith in the coming of the liberation forces, and continued their support to the guerrilleros.
In the struggle for liberation, the place, having been abandoned by the Japanese forces, became the center of many guerrilla units. They established.
camps in the biggest barrio of Tabtabagan and Caestebanan, which they named Camp Alaska and Camp New Orleans for secret purposes.
As was the case in other places, the normal life activities of the people were broken as a result of the world war. However, after liberation, the town underwent a rehabilitation and reconstruction program with the aid of America. The school buildings, which were partially destroyed during the Japanese occupation, were rehabilitated through the aid of the United States War Damage Commission.
Other achievements in the economic rehabilitation of the town are as follows:
a. Increase in the number of artesian wells from where the people depend most of their water supply.
b. Major repairs on the roads and streets of the town, as well as those connecting the different barrios, making transportation and commerce easier and cheaper.
c. Improvement of public buildings, such as the Public Dispensary, the schools, and the construction of a standard, concrete market.
d. The improvement of the town's plaza in front of the municipal building.
e. Repair and construction of bridges. New bridges constructed partly of steel are the Malam-min Bridge and the Caribkib Bridge.
f. Efforts of the government in the campaign for self-sufficiency through food production campaigns.
B A N N A A C A D E M Y
One step towards the cultural advancement of the town Banna is the establishment of the BANNA ACADEMY. Banna Academy is an educational institution founded on March 26, 1948, and duly registered and incorporated under Incorporation No. 3713 dated June 17, 1948, in accordance with the laws of the Republic of the Philippines. It offers [a] complete academic secondary course with vocational subjects, of approved standards, and even though it is a non-sectarian institution, it radiates Christian education for the strengthening of democratic principles.
Banna Academy is the brainchild of a non-stock, non-profit corporation with Dr. Silvestre Morales as its spiritual guide and Mrs. Dolores Galano Vda. de Bumanglag as its treasurer and main financier, devoted mainly to the service of the education of the youth of the country rather than material gains. It has been in operation since July 1948, under Government Permit No. 153 dated at the Bureau of Public Schools, Manila, on February 15, 1949; No. 1011 R3 dated June 3, 1952; and No. 331 R4 date June 3, 1952. It expects to win full government recognition after five successful years of probation.
Banna Academy began with the operation of the First and Second academic years of the Secondary Course with a total school enrolment of 63 students for the two academic years during the schoolyear 1948-1949. It became a complete high school during the following year, 1949-1950. As of January 1, 1953, it has a total yearly enrolment of 156 students from the First to the Fourth Year of the Secondary Course. It must not be forgotten that on the date of its opening, Banna Academy joined as an active member [of] the ASSOCIATION OF CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES, whose main office is at the Union Theological Seminary Building at the corner of Taft Avenue and Herran Street, Manila, through Mr. Benicio T. Catapusan, Executive Secretary of the Association.
Commencing with the schoolyear 1949-1950, Banna Academy graduated students who had satisfactorily completed the four years of the academic secondary course under the following special orders issued by Dr. Manuel L. Carreon, Director of Private Schools, Manila:
1. Special Order (A) No. 0051 dated January 9, 1951, for graduates as of April, 1950.......... 8 students.
2. Special Order (A) No. 1647 dated June 7, 1952, for graduates as of June, 1950.......... 3 students.
3. Special Order (A) No. 2369, dated May 2, 1951, for graduates as of April, 1951.......... 13 students.
4. Special Order (A) No. 1645 dated June 7, 1952, for graduates as of June, 1952.......... 4 students.
2. Special Order (A) No. 3207 dated August 7, 1951, for graduates as of June, 1951.......... 7 students.
3. Special Order (A) No. 1644 dated June 7, 1952, for graduates as of April, 1952.......... 12 students.
Teacher, Banna Elementary School
In the earlier days, marriages were always pre-arranged by the parents of both parties. The parents were the ones to select the partners of their children. In many cases, a man married a woman who he had met for the first time and vice-versa.
Nowadays, however, although this practice is still common, especially among the illiterates and the average families, a young man may be free to select and win for himself the heart of a woman. In the final arrangement of the marriages, however, it becomes the duty of the man's parents to make arrangements with the parents of the woman.
In many cases, the parents of the girl ask for gifts from the man before they are wed. They gifts may be in the form of money, lands, jewelry, and the like. Some of the gifts go to the bride and still others go to the mother of the girl. This acts as a consolation to the mother for having reared the bride.
There is one belief about courtship. The man must being his courting when the moon is young. It will be easier for him to win the woman's heart because at this phase of the moon, women are said to be hot.
After the marriage has been pre-arranged by the parents of both parties, preparations take place. As this is a day of feasting, the necessary things are prepared by the man. It is the duty of the man also to provide the dress that the bride will wear in the ceremony. Both the man and the woman select their godfathers. In this case, the sponsors at the baptism will act as the sponsors again in the marriage.
At times, the feasting lasts for three days. The first day [is] at the bridegroom's house. This is the real day of the wedding. At the second day, the party is held at the bride's home. At the third day, in either house where there is a dead relative of either the man or a woman. This day is for the dead, that they may share in the rejoicing.
In going and coming from the church, the couple must be very careful to walk together with the same step. If the man goes ahead, it is believed that he [will] die first; likewise if the woman goes ahead.
Boiled beans without salt is served in the meal. This is to insure the couple that they will have offspring.
When a person dies, it becomes a mourning of the whole community, whether it is a relative of theirs or not. The corpses must stay overnight. At night, people gather in the house to help watch the corpse. A fire made up of big logs is kept burning in front of the house to notify the spirits and to help light the way of the departed soul to where it is to travel. Each relative takes turns in crying aloud beside the corpse.
The burial comes and people again gather to accompany the dead in its last journey. The burial ceremony depends on the religious practices of the dead. Before the dead leaves the house, all the windows and doors must be closed. Vinegar is sprinkled on the bed where the corpse laid.
the people who helped in the burial of the dead and the relatives go to the river to take a bath and to shampoo their hair to remove the evil that may have harbored in them. There are many superstitious beliefs that they follow after [the] burial. They always cover their mouths when they talk. They refrain from swaying their hands when they move about. They do not do heavy work for a week. The following night begins the nine nights of prayers for the soul of the dead. On the ninth night, they make home-made candies and make offerings to the souls of the dead. After midnight, they eat the offered candies. The ninth day is, again, a day of feasting. So many animals as can be afforded by the family are slaughtered for this purpose. The prayers will again take place after a month, then after a year thereafter. After a year, there may be a dance if the dead is an adult. If the dead is a minor, dancing may be allowed after a week or a month.
There are many ways of forecasting the arrival of visitors:
1. When the lizard makes noises over the doorsteps.
2. While cooking and the fire makes a peculiar noise.
3. When one of the silverware falls while eating.
4. When changing clothes and the wrong side is put [on].