BASCO (BATANES), Municipality of, History and Folkways Part II - Philippine Historical Data BASCO (BATANES), Municipality of, History and Folkways Part II - Philippine Historical Data

BASCO (BATANES), Municipality of, History and Folkways Part II

Municipality of Basco



About these Historical Data

[p. 9]

After approximately two weeks, the mother and child go to Mass, then pay an announced visit to the godmother, bringing with them a child's gift, usually in the form of meat, pork with five pesos. The godfather or mother price the gift and prepare it for their dinner.

After dinner, the sponsors will pay the value of the child's gift and any amount for the child's initial money of his own.


1. Long before birth, just after conception, parents of both children make an agreement that when their respective children would be born, they would be husband and wife upon reaching the marriageable age. At marriage, if the girl's parents will get the boy to live with them, the girl's parents will give the new couple three parcels of land for ubi (yam) and one parcel of land for sugarcane, on pair of chickens, one pair of pigs, one pair of cows, and half of the value of their house in kind.

2. In one case, the lover will approach the girl directly, and if he thinks he cannot do it, the lover will delegate older persons to make representations to the girl and to the girl's parents.

D. Marriage Contract:

First informal or preliminary contact - This is asking of the value of the woman or the girl whom the man likes to marry. The usual value ranges from ₱2.00 to ₱5.00.

Second Informal Contract - Both parties will select one to five spokesmen to represent them in the formal marriage contract.

[p. 10]

Usually, there is a debate ["negotiations" seems like a better word than "debate"]. After the debate, the woman's representatives or spokemen will explain the value of the girl. If the girl's value is ₱2.00, an earring will be given to her by her parents, and if the girl's value ranges from ₱5.00 and above, the man will give the amount to the girl's parents and, in return, the girl's parents will give cattle, lots, etc.

E. Marriage Ceremony:

Usually, the attire during the wedding ceremony is taken care of by their respective parents. After the ceremony is solemnized by a priest or ruler, the new couple and witnesses go direct to the convent to sign the marriage contract and to receive the benediction from the priest or ruler. They go to the house of the bridegroom accompanied by a band. The celebrations will last for one day and one night.

F. Deaths:

Long before death, a testimony is given, either oral or written. Usually, there are two witnesses, one is young and the other one should be old enough. In the last testimony, it is about the distribution of wealth or properties to the children, such as land, money, and animals, etc. A certain amount is set aside for the expenses of the burial, when the parents will die. In the distribution, there is a certain privilege given to the oldest, which is usually the house. Gold, etc. are distributed proportionately among the children.

G. Burials:

A big jar is made before death, and the deceased is placed in this jar with his precious belongings. The deceased,

[p. 11]

while still alive, will choose any place where he likes to be buried.

H. Visits:

During special visits or regular visits, the one paying a visit should bring with him something for the host, such as: chicken, tobacco, yam, fish, etc.

I. Punishments:

Usually, the ruler will decide what punishment is to be given. The most common punishments are:

(a) Whipping

(b) The Thieves - On Sundays or fiestas, the thieves are made to parade around the plaza carrying with them whatever they stole, and people in the community are obliged to watch.

(c) Putting a heated iron to any part of the body.

(d) Letting the thieves consume any amount or quantity of water.

X. a. Myths:

The Shepherd of the Idiangs:

In the good old days as the aged claim, every small community built what we call today a fortress. The whole settlement scrambled to this place when any danger was sensed. Food supplies, ammunition such as spears, bows and arrows, and large stones where kept there in store. These fortifications, the landmarks clearly show, are situated on strategic hills. The rather lovely hillsides were deformed to produce the appearance of gigantic stairs.

[p. 12]

The principle of warfare that the people of long ago followed was not very different from the present ambuscade tactics of modern warfare. The main objective of the invaders was to capture the fortification and claim it for their Apo or Chief. Before any battle commenced, everything was so quiet that the proverbial falling pin could be heard. Then, all of a sudden, yelling, drumming, blowing horns, rolling stones, a volley of spears and arrows met the invaders.

Yes, this was how they fought, but in one of these battles, something supernatural occurred. In this particular encounter, the fighters were so fierce that more than twice, the prized hill exchanged hands. Casualties on both sides were so heavy that, in the final canto, only two warriors stood, separated by the screening smoke of battle. Both figures were so determined to win the prize even if in so doing, they would perish. Then, rushing, still shouting their battle cries, they saw each other amidst streaming blood and dead men as lightning flashed, followed by a deafening thunder which shook the battlement and halted the rushing warriors. There, between them, stood a handsome figure, all so majestic and commanding as the cloud that darkened land and sea gradually gave way to the life-giving sunlight.

So terrified was the pair that before they knew it, they were on their knees meekly bowing.

And in a voice that resembled that of thunder, he said, "Be not terrified for I am the dispenser of justice, the guardian of everything I see from my abode above. I have watched how warriors after warriors were mercilessly butchered. I have seen how you led

[p. 13]

your men so well, and for this I have nothing but praised."

All that time, the chiefs knelt not knowing what to say or what to do.

"Now," he continued, "I accuse you, the chief of the invading force, for all that has happened, and you shall pay for it with your life; and you, the chief of the defenders, I charge you to repopulate the land." And like the gentle evening breeze, he vanished.

B. Legends:

The Legend of Naide Hill:

In the old days before the coming of the Spaniards, there lived on Naide Hill a datu by the name of Aplomingga. He was a cruel and greedy datu. He was cruel especially to the people of Diptan. Whenever this datu heard a noise as of someone chopping meat, he sent one of his men to investigate. If the person was only chopping dried gabi stalks (vones), he got the offending person and punished him cruelly. Sometimes, his ears were chopped or some of his fingers. If the person or persons happened to have butchered an animal for himself, this cruel datu appropriated all the animals for himself. If the owner of the animal refused to give all, the soldiers tied him and brought him to Applomingga. He was then beheaded and his body thrown down the high cliff behind Naide Hill. If you peer down that cliff, you can still see the white bones of Aplomingga's victims.

C. Beliefs:

1. Anu man u abtek nu Iraya a maydac a demdem du hubok na, as manamunamo u totoc na canu abju na, am mian u nguynauyreen a tao di Vasay a masngen a madiman.

[p. 14]

Beliefs Cont'd:

If a narrow strip of cloud is found around the middle of Mt. Iraya while the top or bottom of the mountain is clear, if is a sign that a prominent person in Basco will soon die.

2. An mayam ca du rarajan as macavoya ca su maybatbat a voday du rarajan auri am mian u masngen a madiman du familia mo anmana masngen a lipos mo.

While walking on the road, if you find a large snake lying across the road, a member of your family or your near relative will soon die.

3. Anu main u pusak a maypaypadivon du vajay mo a maynangaoy as ca pachi tatao na am mian u madiman du vahay auri.

If a cat goes around your house in the evening and says tao, tao, a person in your house will soon die.

4. Anu mian may liliak a uwak anu mahep a maypaypavatas du atu nu cavajayan am senal nu ca paychagaganet.

If a crow flies around above the town especially in the evening and saws Owak, Owak, it is a sign that there is an epidemic in town.

5. Anu mian u maychatani a racuji a inauong du asdepan a mangay a macadoc du Iraya am mangayao su marajet a cauan.

If there is a very clear single bluish ray of the setting sun across the sky that reaches the eastern horizon, it is a sign of an approaching typhoon.

6. Anu mian u maypakpakaak a inaan a manok anu masayrem as cabu nu tumbay sia am mian u bayobayoan a kanakan a mavakes a maymanganak du masngen auri du yanan nu may-pakpakaak.

If a hen cackles loudly in the evening without cause and without any hen or rooster to answer it, it is a sure sign that an unmarried beautiful woman is on the family way within the block where the hen

[p. 15]


7. Anu mian u tumais a chito am mian masngen a madiman du salangatan nauri nu chito.

If a dog cries without cause, somebody will soon die where the dog faces while crying.

8. Anu macaychej u chito du atep, am mian masngen a madiman du familia anmana liposna.

If a dog lies and sleeps on the roof of the house, it is a sign that a member of the family or the owner of the dog or one relative to him will soon die.

9. Nu malugilugit a yamot nu vaditi anmana nunok as machitapang u vayo a yamot a matalineng am senal nu manam a chimoy. Anu vayo auri a yamotna as madidio am senal nu anin.

If a hanging air root of a balete or "nunok" tree branches out and a new shoot is straight, it is a sign of heavy rain in the near future but if the new branch or shoot is crooked, it is a sign of an approaching typhoon. The more crooked it is, the stronger the typhoon will be.

10. Anu mian u sibuan mo anu mavekjas a mangay a manavasavat as tumicaad ka, am pa-laken cava du arao auri. Anu acmay mangay ka mangamong, am mana-among cava.

If you leave the house in the morning for the purpose of going to look or catch something like fishing, and you accidentally have your feet struck against a stone or hard object while walking, it is a sign of bad luck. (If you step on waste matter, especially human waste matter, it is a sign of good luck.)

[p. 16]

11. Anu cocud nu madiman a tao as maguen u asa, as nalba u asa am mian du lipos na u masngen a umonot a madiman.

If one of the feet of a dead person does not bend but remains pointing upward while the other foot bends outwardly, it is a sign that the relative of the deceased will soon die.

12. Anu mian asa ca hawakan a nimojaan sa ubi, paray anmana ango, as madiman u mohamoha, auri du hovok na am mian masngen a madiman du familia dauri.

If a parcel of land planted with rice, corn, yam or any kind and a small portion of the plants at the middle of the field dies, it is a sign that a member of the family or the owner of the field will soon die.

13. Anu may vahay ca as mamasek ca dun dadua a capacaw as maskej u pasek auri a maypayrahem du asauri a cacayo as capayvahokon nu totok nu pasek auri a mirua a may pato, am senal nu cadiman nu mismo auri a mamatok anmana nu asa du tan-vahay.

When nailing two rafters together while constructing a house, and the nail, instead of going through the second rafter and the point of the nail points upwards, it is a sign that the one who struck the nail or one of the members of the family of the owner of the house will soon die.

14. Anu mangay a matao as nu asa ca sairin as napayrapas su dadua ca arayo am mian us masngen a madiman du lipos na anmana nu nangay auri a matao.

If a baited hook while fishing is eaten by one fish and the baited hook passes out through the gills of the fish, especially the fish called "arayo," and then eaten by another fish and both fishes are caught, it is a sign that the fisherman who caught them or his near relative will soon die.

[p. 17]

15. Anu mian asa ca tao a navoya avo su anino am macala dana a madiman.

If a person is found without a shadow, it is a sign that that person found without a shadow will soon die.

16. Anu madiman dana a tao as mapavoya su rarayay na du vahay anmana matarek a tao am mian pacuno ichalidiat nu pahad na.

If a dead person is seen by any member of the deceased's family or any other person, it means that the soul of the deceased person is not in a place where his or her soul may rest in peace.

D. Superstitions:

1. If one of the older members of the family urinates at night while sleeping, a member of the family or near relative will soon die.

2. If you dream that one of your teeth falls, it means that a member of the family will soon die.

3. If a rooster crows in the early part of the evening near the shore, a boat will come within a few days; if it crows near the mountain, it is a sign of coming bad weather.

4. When planting tugue, cover the handbar with sugarcane leaves so that the tubers will be sweet as the sugarcane juice.

5. When a child gets pale and sickly, they say his guardian angel has left. An old woman supposed to be a friend of the spirits will be sent to the last place visited by the child to call for the guardian angel. This is done for three times. If, by the third time, the child does not show any improvement, the old woman will go again for a fourth time. This time, she takes with her some pork to court the spirits to come back.

[p. 18]

6. If the forehead of a person is exceptionally pale, that person will soon die even if he is not yet ill.

7. A typhoon is believed to pass over the island when the youngest leaf of the banana plant is curled at the top.

8. A black dog with a white spot at the tip of the tail should be killed because the master will die instead.

9. A child will not live long if he knows how to do things not supposed to be done by children of his age, like mending and ironing his clothes at the age of six to eight years old.

10. When dividing the yam for planting, kill a white chicken, smear the knife with blood and drop the chicken at the crossroad to ensure a good harvest for the year.

11. Do not wear clothes that were left outside after 6 o'clock in the afternoon because your stomach will swell.

12. A star at a point of the new moon means that a person will soon be gored by a bull.

13. If the new moon on the fourth night bends to the north, it means famine.


1. During new moons, witches used to go along the seashore to imitate the flying hawk until the moon has set.

2. Witches have "Tovong" [or Tivong] where they keep their paraphernalia such as the tails of creatures that can cause sickness.

3. Witches never season their food with salt or garlic.

4. Witches can disguise themselves as birds, spiders, flies, etc., and enter houses and cause sickness.

[p. 19]

5. To drive away any witch, it is a belief that garlic should be placed on doors.

6. To find out the very witch who caused sickness, call for a quack doctor and as soon as the quack doctor arrives, he will be given a candle, holy leaves, garlic, ginger, and vinegar. Burn them all together plus coconut oil. The quack doctor recites his Latin prayers as a means to know the caus of the sickness.

7. Witches can swim in the sea without being wet.

8. Witches can fly in the air with the aid of a coconut broom.

XI. A - Popular Songs:

(Tune: Song of the Traveler)

1 -
Mamomanok aku makasayap
Tangayen ku azul aya Hañit
Sayapen dan mayet, mahni su panid.
Ah----------- Ah-------------
Du kaditib ku du panid kuaya.
Mihaupas danau voridao nuarao,
Rumial dana sirau vitohen;
Tangayen ku mavid aya Hañit
A Kapnuan Kayayak vuken a diaken.
As an mavak am tud mayparahmet
Bidiwen ku a tud maypayñen
Ah----------- Ah-------------
An mangu danau arao kayayak?


Transcribed from:
History and Folkways of the Municipality of Basco, 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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