HISTORY AND FOLKWAYS
MUNICIPALITY OF MAHATAO
HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE OF THE
TOWN OF MAHATAO
A REPORT OF THE MAHATAO COMMITTEE
MR. CLEMENTE S. MATA
Members of the Mahatao Committee:
1. RICARDO FACORI
2. MARIANO F. MERIN
3. LEONARDO P. CARONILLA
4. RUTH B. CARIASO
5. PRISCILLA E. ABUYO
6. LOURDES C. ABAD
7. LEONCIA A. ABELLA
8. CRESENCIA F. FAINZA
9. FELISA F. AGSUNO
This manuscript is prepared in compliance with General Memorandum No. 34, s. 1952. It is prepared by the committee organized by the undersigned, composed of the Mahatao Elementary School teachers headed by Mr. Ricardo Facuri, Principal, as chairman. Though the committee does not claim this manuscript as the most authentic record, it could be stated as the product of untiring efforts and diligent research of the members of the committee.
The committees was divided into groups, each group being assigned to the subjects where they were most prepared to make research and to meet the old wise men of the community who were able to furnish the committee with the necessary information about the historical and cultural life of the town of Mahatao.
This manuscript may help to facilitate teachers in Social Studies and other people in giving further information to their children about the history of the town.
Acknowledgement is hereby given to Don Pascual Moonada and Vicente Fagar for their valuable information and help to furnish the traditions, customs, and part of the history of the town; to the priest of Mahatao who freely opened his library for the principal to make his research; and to the members of the Municipal Council of Mahatao, who furnished their records to the researchers.
CLEMENTE S. MATA
BUREAU OF PUBLIC SCHOOL
Division of Batanes
Mahatao Elementary School
HISTORY AND CULTURAL LIFE OF THE TOWN OF MAHATAO
PART ONE: HISTORY
19. The present name of this town is Mahatao.
20. The first name of this town was San Bartolome. This name was given in 1783 by the Spaniards. At that time, it was one of the villages under the Chief of Pain, now a part of Basco. It was then organized as a town under the name of San Carlos, in honor of the patron saint San Carlos Borromeo, an archbishop of Milan. In 1910, it was named Mahatao in honor of the inhabitants who came from a rock island on the northeast coast of this town by the name of Mahatao.
21. This town was then established in 1798.
22. The founder of the town was Don Pedro Mallao.
23. The leading officials during the Spanish time were mostly capitanes and gobernadorcillos.
Capitanes: Doroteo Alvarez, Andres Avanceña, and Pedro Asedillo.
Gobernadorcillos: were Vicente Maduro, Pedro Avanceña, Telesforo Fabre, Tomas Moreaderos, Inocencio Avanceña, Teodoro Meriel, Pascual Rasco, Ignacio Fadri, and Lino Fagar. (The dates and their tenures cannot be ascertained.)
The above officials were generally the rich and strong who exerted greater influence over the people.
The following were the maestros municipal: Marco Bumaro, Bonifacio Caddarao, Vicente and Pedro Ceballos.
During the American regime, the following were the leading officials:
Presidents: Lino Fagar, with tenure of twelve years from 1907 to 1918. Catalino Fabro was a president from 1919 to 1928, and 1935 to 1940. In 1929 to 1931, Eusebio Maduro was the president. Fabian Moonada was president in 1932 to 1934. In 1941 to 1943, Rafael Merin was the president. The Municipal Secretary-Treasurers were the following: Evaristo Avanceña, Pedro Galita, Lorenzo Villanueva, and Domingo Gonzales. Evaristo Avanceña and Pedro Galita had the longest tenures.
The leading Justice of the Peace during the American period was Juan B. Castillo from 1933-1937.
24. Mananoy Hill is considered the most historical site in this town. This was one of the villages which was inhabited by the bravest leaders of the ancestors of this town, namely, Odon, a wealthy chief, and his able fighter by the name of Napas. Second in importance is Mahatao Island from which the present name of the town was derived.
25. (a) The outstanding facts during the Spanish times were:
The building of the church with its massive structure of lime and stone. It was built with free labor by the people under the able leadership of Ignacio Fadri, a gobernadorcillo under the direction of a friar by the name of Fr. Cresencio.
The Dominican convent was built by a friar by the name of Fr. Nicolas Castaño. (Dates not available.)
The rapid conversion of the people to Christianity was remarkable.
The Spaniards caused the building of four sailing boats (paraos) which were used to carry products of the natives to Aparri and to carry the needs of the people from Luzon. The natives brought pigs, onions, and garlic to Aparri in exchange for clothing, tools, and other needs of daily life. These paraos were the Constancia, Consuelo, San Carlos, and the La Paz.
(b) During the arrival of the Katipunan, all the people fled to the hills.
During the establishment of the American rule, the following steps were conspicuous:
1. Steps were made to make the town clean. Pigs were prohibited to roam on the streets. The building of toilets was required. Lepers were sent to Culion on board the U.S.S. Cutter in 1904.
2. In 1907, Mr. William Edmonds opened the first English School.
The first Gabaldon type of school building was
constructed in 1919.
4. In August 1921, the late Governor-General Wood, accompanied by Vice-Governor General Gilmore and Secretary of Justice Jose Abad Santos, arrived in Mahatao. Governor-General Wood delivered a short speech at the municipal plaza.
5. The other incidents worthy of mention are:
On August 26, 1911, the town was hit by the strongst typhoon. One third of the town was flooded and about eighty per cent of the houses were blown down. Over eighty per cent of cattle died.
On September 13, 1918, an earthquake hit Batanes, causing people to leave their homes for a week.
On July 21, 1921, another strong typhoon blew down the Gabaldon building and the church was unroofed. Crops were a total failure. A government relief of 300 sacks of rice was given to alleviate the misery.
(c) In World War II, the following events happened:
On December 8, 1941, Japanese marines landed on the port of Mahatao. The people fled to the fields. The Japanese looted the homes of the people. The people stayed in the fields during the duration of the occupation. The people sacrificed their cattle, pigs, chickens, and labor to the Japanese invaders.
On October 13, 1944, the first squadron of American planes flew over this town.
26. (a) The Japanese liquidated one sanitary inspector. As a result of the American air raid, eight buildings were demolished and one was set on fire.
(b) After World War II, the people of Mahatao received from the UNNRA some 20 bags of clothing and several boxes of canned goods for the children. To rehabilitate the property losses of the individuals, ninety per cent of the inhabitants of the town received War Damage payments.
Public school buildings were fully rehabilitated as per Philippine Rehabilitation Act of 1946. A certificate of this is now posted at the Mahatao Elementary School.
Through the efforts of Congressman Anastacio Agan, the amount of ₱35,000 was allotted by the national government for the construction of the Mahatao Water System. The amount of ₱15,000 was allocated for the construction of the seawall at the waterfront of Mahatao. The amount of ₱5,000 was allocated to the improvement of the port of Mahatao.
During the incumbency of Congressman Jorge Abad, the amount of ₱5,000 was allotted to finish the seawall and another ₱3,000 to construct the shop building of the Mahatao Elementary School. Presently, the amount of ₱25,000 has been made available by Congress for the flood control in Mahatao Stream. The project is now undertaken at present.
PART TWO: FOLKWAYS
27. Traditions, customs, and practices in domestic and social life.
28. Myths, Legends, Interpretations, and Superstitions.
29. Popular Songs:
A ipamalay su dumibo.
Dichami vadaga chinagagaliwan,
A viao nu katang du pitokonan."
Many a flattery is said to us the poor
As if we are tossed to the skies above,
And disturb many a passer-by.
Depressed and downtrodden are we
As the wind-beaten reeds of the hills.
mo diaken mo Ama.
Taito ko danorapon du deted nu chinai cho
A pidanasahoran co su carang a nanao
Nio diaken a inapuan atavo.
My elders! Shower like the dripping
Drops from a leaking roof;
Thy nobles advice to mine self.
Down they come to my internal organs
Where advice of my elders are kept.
An pirapirajon mo a vuhan as kapachila mo.
Father! Fearful and grave thou scoldeth,
Trust thy errands to thy neighbors' sons,
And a few months thy wasteth,
Thence, though give them up.