MUNICIPALITY OF PILAR, Historical Data - Philippine Historical Data MUNICIPALITY OF PILAR, Historical Data - Philippine Historical Data


Municipality of Pilar

About these Historical Data

[Cover Page.]




The tenet of the Proclamation of His Excellency, the President of the Philippines, calls for the rehabilitation of the history and culture of every barrio and town in the Republic from the morass of the last global war that inflisted total wreck on our valued history and culture under the roofs of the National Library and Museum.

The teachers of the Bureau of Public Schools rallied to the clarion call and accepted without opposition the challenge to compile a brief history and cultural life of our barrios and towns.

Grateful acknowledgement is due to all the teachers of the Pilar Elementary School for their undaunted efforts and cooperation in the preparation of this compilation on the history and cultural life of the Municipality of Pilar, Province of Abra.


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Part One: History

Present official name of the town: P I L A R

Former name or names and their meaning and derivation: The town of Pilar got its name from its Patron Saint, Nuestra Sefiora del Pilar. The poblacion was formerly called Baliwag. It got its name from a merchant from Baliwag, Bulacan, who came fo the place and settled here. When the seat of the municipality was taken to Baliwag, the town was named Pilar and the former name Baliwag was no longer used so often that it was soon forgotten.

Date of establishment: In the year 1863, the town of Villavieja was formed and Pilar was a part of it. In 1884, the town of Pilar was founded and was separated from Villavieja; and later Villavieja became a part of Pilar. The seat of the town had been transferred from place to place. On January 1, 1924, Governor-General Leonard Wood issued an Executive order that the seat of the town must be at Baliwag, now the Poblacion.

Name and social status of the founder: There were five men who worked hard for the establishment of the town. They were educated men who came to settle in Pilar. They are the following:

1. Mr. Felipe Astudillo
2, Mr. Claro Caballero
3. Mr. Claudio Almazan
4. Mr. Adriano Timoteo
5. Mr. Ramon Dait

Names of persons who hold leading official positions in the community, with the dates of their tenure, if possible:

Municipal President

Mr. Daniel Bosque
Mr. Juan Benaoro
Mr. Edilberto Packing
Mr. Fortunato Sotelo
Mr. Ramon Valera
Mr. Rafael Dalligos
Mr. Roman Venus
Mr. Benedicto Sotelo
Mr. Anselmo Balleras
Mr. Claudio Almazan
Mr. Marcelino Sotelo
Mr. Lucas Lactao
Mr. Jesus Domingo
Mr. Angel Domingo
Mr. Pedro Berona
Mr. Gervacio Sotelo
Mr. Marcelino Sotelo
Mr. Saturnino Dumag
1943-Military Mayor
1943-Act'g Mayor
1944-Act'g Mayor
1951-up to the present

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Date on historical sites, structures, buildings, old ruins: None.

Important facts, incidents or events that took place:

(a) During the Spanish occupation — The Spaniards used the sword and the cross to conquer and subjugate the people of the place. Minor fighting was made between the conquistadores and the natives. The natives were defeated and a mission was established in Villavieja.
(b) During the American occupation to World War II — The American forces burned some of the barrios including the poblacion.
(c) During and after World War II — At the outbreak of the last war, Mr. Jesus Domingo was the mayor of Pilar. The Japanese soldiers occupied the town and made their garrison in the school buildings. On July 20, 1943, the guerrilla forces under the command of two Americans, Barnett and O'Day, came to town and occupied it. On the eve of the 20th, the guerrillas burned the municipal building, the school building and the home economics building. The Japanese soldiers and some civilians including the Mayor evacuated to Bangued.
During that time, some old men in the town, like Mr. Bartolome Batoon and Mr. Donato Alvardao, organized into one union to help cooperate with the guerrillas. A company of bolomen was organized under the command of Mr. Pedro Peig and Mr. Justino Reynante. The young women organized the Women's Auxiliary Service. These two organizations rendered invaluable services to the underground forces. An important event that took place in Pilar was the battle engagement at West Maliplipit between the Japanese soldiers that came from Nagbukel, Ilocos Sur and the guerrillas under Lt. Estanisiao Soria. Two Japanese soldiers were killed. Another engagement took place on the eastern part of the poblacion near barrio Sabsabudao. The Regimental company under Major Barnett and Company "I" under Lt. Cabuena faced the enemies. Some Japanese ammunition and sabers were captured. The pecple evacuated to places far from their homes. The guerrillas moved their headquarters to Nanangdoan, the southernmost barrio of Pilar.

Destruction of lives, properties and institutions during wars, especially in 1896-1900 and 1941-1945: Almost at the end of October, 1943, some Japanese soldiers that came to Pilar by way of Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur, following the mountain trail, burned the barrios of Nagcanasan, Gapang, Maliplipit, and the Poblacion. All houses in the poblacion were turned to ashes except the kiosk. South Baliwag was then made the seat of the town and the guerrilla forces established their headquarters in this place until 1944.

Measures and accomplishments toward rehabilitation and reconstruction following World War II: When our country was liberated from the enemies, the people returned to the poblacion, building small bamboo houses for themselves. They built a bamboo school building and a municipal building. Teachers were sent to all the barrios to teach. Temporary schoolhouses were constructed. In the poblacion, a temporary church was put up. In the year 1947, strong typhoons

[p. 3]

visited the place which dilapidated the buildings that were put up. The people put up again another [set of] temporary buildings. In the following year, the construction of an elementary school building (Paredes Building) began, and later it was occupied. During the year, the Pilar Junior High School was opened through the generous efforts of Mr. Marcelino Sotelo ,who at that time was the Municipal Mayor, Mr. Herminigildo V. Batoon, Mr. Zacarias Cayetano, District Supervisor, and Mr. Celesltino R. Quines, who came next as supervisor for Pilar District.

In 1949, the shop building was constructed. A Public Dispensary was also put up and a part of it is now used as municipal offices due to the absence of a municipal building. A public market was constructed. At the latter part of the year, a spacious home economics building and elementary school building were constructed and completed.

The first graduates of the Pilar High School held their commencement exercises on April 20, 1950. In the following year, the Pilar High School site was leveled, and the construction of a building began but not yet completed due to lack of funds.

Part Two: Folkways

Traditions, customs, and practices in domestic and social life:

The poblacion is composed of a small group of people, but it has some peculiar customs being practiced by them in their everyday life that are different from those of other places. Some can be compared or similar to others, however, and we can say that those are the traditions or customs practiced by our forefathers who came to the Philippines together but spread to its different parts.

1. In Pilar, every individual can marry but once and cannot marry unless the mate dies.
2. Each couple tackles life as one. They naturally suffer the bliss and hardships of married life. The man is responsible for the sustenance of the family and the woman shoulders the housekeeping responsibilities. The wife acts as the treasurer of the family.
3. From pregnancy to birth, a woman is assisted by a partera, a local midwife. She performs what we call "ilo" and assists her during delivery. She also gives her bath and other necessary needs during puerperium.
4. All the people in the place are Christians, so the children are baptized in their own churches. Several godfathers and godmothers act as sponsors during the baptism. The godfather pays for the candle and ringing of the bell and gives the child money or any kind of gift calied the "pabuisit." A small party follows the baptism in the house of the child.
5. Each individual is endowed with [the] right to choose whom he wants to marry or to whom she should get married. The man is the one to propose marriage until he gets the woman's consent. He is free to visit her. As soon as the man intends to marry, they do what we call "patiam." The man gets an albasia who speaks for him fo the girl's parents. When both parties agree, the dowry, date of the wedding, and the celebration are decided. The wedding takes place as planned. The party is held at the

[p. 4]

bride's residence. The usual practice is for the groom to shoulder all expenses. Usually, the ceremonies are made in the church, and after these the visitors and guests proceed to the house to participate in the party. Follows the dancing, drinking, and eating. During the party, they have the "pal-luad" where relatives of both parties give money for the newly-wed couple. Another is the patan-ao, where the man brings her wife to their house and gives her the key of his trunk to show that she keeps the household and holds everything for the man.
6. There are also communal practices regarding death and burial. If somebody dies, everybody gives help in whatever form he can afford. If the dead is a Catholic, he is given extreme unction just before he dies. After breathing his last, he is given a bath and dressed up. His head, face, feet, and hands are fixed. A crucifix is placed at the hands. He is placed in a coffin. In the coffin are his clothes, slippers, hat, cane, and others that he had treasured most when he was still alive. The dead is buried in the town cemetery. The funeral is attended by relatives, friends, and neighbors. He is either carried by men or placed in a hearse. Just before the dead is lowered to the grave, a prayer is said for the repose of his soul. Upon the arrival of the people in the house of the dead from the cemetery, a straw is burned at the gate and a chicken is killed. All pass over the straw. Then food is served. The dead is also given a 9-day novena. A party is again held on the ninth day. The dead is given an anniversary after a year and it is when the relatives remove their mourning clothes.
7. A fiesta is also held in the town every year. In such, all people including those from the barrios participate. There are programs, dances, and games held or shown. In most cases, a town queen together with some princesses, are chosen. All people prepare for the fiesta. They clean and decorate their houses. They put on their best for the occasion.

Superstitious beliefs:

Ilocano English
1. No adda sumbrec a bil-lit ti
balaymo cayatna a sao-en nga
Adda didigna a mapasamacmo.
1. If a bird enters your house
you might encounter trouble.
2. No ti balasang magna iti taca,
maitaray to cano.
2. A girl who passes through the
window will be eloped.
3. Dakes ti agiguem ti nagbubukel
iti ayan ti natay. Makadudugol
canno bekkac.
3. It is bad to be holding round
objects when there is a dead
person. You might develop
boils or goiter.
4. Dakes no ipasangom ti agdan ti
abagatan ti makapanood ti
4. It is bad to face south
for you cannot save anything
from your earnings.
5. No ti datar umayom iti agdan
adu ti canayon a sanga-iliem.
5. If the floor lies perpendicular
to the door, it means frequent
visitor tot he owner.

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6. No nalawa ti lungon ti matay
addanto cano man matayan.
8. If the coffin of a dead person
is loose, somebody may soon
pass away.
7. No agsinnango ti saka ti matay
mangala manen ti bagina met
7. If the dead person's feet face
each other, another member
of the family may soon pass
8. No aftara-ok upa adda can
agsicog a balasang ti carcar-
8. If a hen cackles, an unmarried
girl will give birth.

Popular songs, games and amusements:

Games Amusements


Napudno a Panagayat Loving Truly
Ti napudno a panagayat
Bukien nat nasam-it a panagbiag
Kadaguita dungngom, biagco, ti
Tasicsican ti nangikariac
toy biagco
Diacton ayayaten ti saballi
Ta sicsican ti naicari
Nga cacan-canonongco iti uray
Ania a banag,
Ladingit, ragsac, patay cenno biag
Gapuna a salsalimetmetanm
Ti Banglona tapno sumantak
Tapno sumudi ket banglona’t
No banglom ton ti nangikariac tay
Biagco, biagnac ket cucuam toy biag
Loving someone truly
Gives us happiness in life
It's in your love, my love that I live,
Because in you I've promised
my life,
I'll not love another again
Because it is but only you
with whom I'll tackle anything,
sorrow, death, joy, or life
so please, cherish its fragrance,
So its life will be revived.
Nourish it with thy cares,
and its fragrance will fill the air
For me to own you and you my life.
No Dinacton Ayaten If You Will Not Love M
No dinacton ayaten
Ay asi-ac {o payen;
No dinacto payen deng-guen
Tungpal conto iti tanem.
Nacalcaldaang to ti innac banagen
Sam-tec to ni patay
Nga innac lac-amen
No isu't gustoem.
If you'll not love me
How pitiful I'll be;
If you'll not hear me
The grave will be my end.
Now unfortunate I'll be
And for it I'll cherish death
For me to suffer
If that's your wish.

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Puzzles and riddles:

Ilocano English
1. Capin-anom tay catugangan tay
Asawa ni cabsatmo?
(Amam oenno inam)
1. How are you related to the father-in-
law of the wife of your brother?
(Father or mother)
2. Idiay conana, aoan met
Matana. (tarmudo)
2. There it says though it has no eyes.
3. Ania ti umonona a sillaam
sacanto ap-apan?
(atep ti balay)
3. What do you saddle first befor you
(roof of a house)
4. Dakialusam, rugruguitam,
Ababutam, sulsul-itam.
4. While you are cleaning it
You are making it dirty,
While you are boring it,
You are patching it.
5. Busta pugot kimos
Desposada kida.
5. It it's black and pointed too
When out it's viand for you.
(doriken-native shell)
6. Nagmulaac ti saba
Iti iguid ti calsada
Amin a lumabas mangala
6. I planted bananas
By the roadside
All who pass by share it.
7. Danum ti cayarigac
Uneg ti sarming ti nagyanac
No mapalaluam ti agayat caniac
Mairubuca iti tuoc ken rigat.
7. To water, I'm compared,
In a glass container I am
If you love me so much
You will suffer hardship and pain.

Proverbs and Sayings:

1. Ti tao a saan a mabagbagaan
Nalaca a maiyawanan
1. People who do not heed advice
easily get lost.
2. No ania iti imula isu met
Laeng ti apiten
2. What we plant is what we reap.
3. No nalaingca nga mangipapan
Bagui ti pagarigan.
3. If you are presumptuous
Know yourself first.
4. No masapa ti cuycuyem
aoan ti todo ti malmalem.
4. If the sun shines dimly early
There will be no afternoon rain.
5. Acan ti umona a mukod
No saan laeng nga akinlicud.
5. No heel is in front but at the back.
6. No naimot tay car-rubam
Sansanem a padiguan
6. If your neighbor is selfish
Share him your viand frequently.

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7. No ania ti utang, isu ti bayadan 7. What you owe is what you pay.
8. Tay ta-ol nga ta-ol ng aso
Manmano ti ikakagatna.
8. Barking dogs seldom bite.
9. Ti pili a pili
Makapili ti tacki.
9. He who chooses and chooses
Will choose the worst.
10. To natalna ti danum adalem. 10. Silent water runs deep.

Methods of Measuring Time, Special Calendars:

By the position of the sun.
By the length of the shadow.
By the crowing of the roosters.

No special calendar used by the people.

Part Three: Other Information

Information on books and documents treating of the Philippines and the names of their owners: None.

The names of Filipino authors born or residing in the community, the titles and subjects of their works, whether printed or in manuscript form, and the names of persons possessing these:


Respectfully submitted:



General Memorandum No. 34,
s. 1952

Committee of Three Teachers who gathered materials for the HISTORICAL AND CULTURAL LIFE OF THE TOWN:

1. Miss Ermelinda Caballero
2. Miss Arabella Barba
3. Mrs. Valeriana D. Sotelo
Transcribed from:
History and Cultural Life of the Municipality of Pilar, 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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