MUNICIPALITY OF SOLANA (CAGAYAN), History and Cultural Life of Part III - Philippine Historical Data MUNICIPALITY OF SOLANA (CAGAYAN), History and Cultural Life of Part III - Philippine Historical Data

MUNICIPALITY OF SOLANA (CAGAYAN), History and Cultural Life of Part III

Municipality of Solana, Cagayan



About these Historical Data

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ed or imprisoned in the future.


When building a house, the location of the house is the first concern. Sprinkle salt and put a cross on the spot where you intend to erect the post. If the cross is not straight and the salt turns black, a new spot is to be located and the same thing is done until a favorable spot is found.

The next concern is selecting the best day to erect the cornerstone or "patuno." People consult a book called "Planetario." This book tells all the good and bad days to start any project.

The first post or cornerstone is usually located at the southeastern corner of a house. A first-born child, "palumtarac," is selected to begin the digging for erecting the cornerstone. The post is usually erected when it is full moon and at midday, 12 o'clock. Many things are placed in the hole: some coins, preferably those in 1903; wine, leaves of a plant called "bannay," a clam shell that has not separated, the blood of a chicken, cooked malagkit, rice, and water. The coins signify riches; wine will drive away the evil spirits; bannay leaves signify calmness and peace in the home; and the clam shell for unity; blood, rice, and water are foods to appease the evil spirits. An old man who is not a widower is chosen to put all these things in the hole so that the members of the family will live long. A cross is placed on the erected post to drive away the evil spirits.

An old post which was used as a cornerstone, "patuno," should be used for the same purpose in another house. When it is not used for the same purpose, it may cause illness, death, or lunacy in the family.

The stairway should always face the east since it is in the east where the sun rises. Occupants of a house the stairway of which faces this direction will live in prosperity.

The steps for the stairway should not be divisible by three. From the ground, one walks up to count oro, plata, mata (gold, silver, death). It must either be oro or plata so that the family will have good luck.

Doors should not be in a straight line with each other so that the devil will not go straight into the house to cause illness.

When making the roof, one is not allowed to bring up water and drink while roofing. This is done so that the rats will not infest the house and it will not leak early.

The main house, when remodelled, should not be used as a kitchen so that misfortune will not befall the family. It may be used as a granary.

When someone is hurt or accidentally dies while the house is in the making, it is a sign of bad luck. The house is sold or its construction discontinued.

When the house is finished, the day for transferring is again selected. It is believed that the best time to occupy a new home is when it is a full moon and at midday. The first things to be brought up the house are the images or pictures of saints, a new pot full of rice, a glass of water, and a jar of salt. The images will act as guardians of the family; the food is used to appease the evil spirits and insures that the family will have food in abundance. The couple is the first to go up the house and is not allowed to go downstairs for the rest of the day. Guinatan de bola, "pinataro," is prepared and the neighbors are invited. A priest is called to bless the home. When all the visitors have gone home, a chicken is killed at the middle of the house and is left to die there. This is cooked for the occupants of the house to eat.

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Only the occupants of the house are allowed to sleep in the house for the first night. At night, a fire is built under the house to drive away the evil spirits. The leftover guinatan is not given away so that the house will not be infested by rats. Neighbors may be invited again to serve it.

Early the next morning, a neighbor or a relative brings rice, eggs, or chickens so that the family will live in prosperity and contentment.


Festivals are very common even in the early days and still remain to be so at present. Practically every event of importance to the family is celebrated however poor the family is. Some go to the extent of mortgaging their lands or selling their animals just so that they can put up a pompous affair. The most commonly celebrated affairs are weddings, baptisms, deaths, anniversaries, fiestas, and the like. A new house is also celebrated.

During the celebrations, many animals like cows or carabaos, pigs and chickens are slaughtered. Different kids of cakes and candies, the most common of which are "bibingka" and "suman" are served. People have drinking, eating, and dancing. A band is usually engaged for the music. Others engage only the stringed instrument called "sinco-sinco." Some play games of cards like poker, burru, monte, Paris, or blackjack.

Among the Ilocanos, the "umbras" is very common. This is done during the ninth anniversary of the dead. They have different kinds of cakes and eats set on the table for the whole night. While the dancing is going on, food is served. In the morning, before they adjourn, the food on the table is distributed to the visitors.

The fiesta is usually a very pompous affair. There is a beauty contest for the purpose of raising funds for the construction of the church, monuments, and public projects. Big balls are usually held in connection with the coronations of the Miss Infantile and the Miss Solana. There are fireworks and flying of balloons. The queens, on nicely-decorated floats, are paraded around the town. Sometimes, a contest in floats is held for which prizes are given to the most significant, the most typical, etc.

A pontifical high Mass is usually sung. People of all ranks, attired in their best, hear the Mass. The patron saint is carried in a procession around the town.

Games of all sorts are played the whole day. There are folk dancing contests, calisthenics, ballgames, and others. Horse and carabao races, juego de anillo, and the like are played. Cockfighting is usually held for a week.

Garden Day is usually held in connection with the fiesta. Products and articles from the different barrios are displayed in different booths for the public to see and to purchase. Each group displays its own art and skill in making the booths and in displaying the articles.

Last of all, we must not forget the hospitality of the people. All homes are open to visitors where foods and drinks of different kinds are served.

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1. When planting any crop, the person to start the planting should be stout or robust so that the fruits will also be fat and big.

2. If it is a starry night, the following day is a good day for planting. The crop will be fruitful.

3. The bones from the heads of big fishes are buried in the field. The plants will grow big and fat.

4. Be careful that nobody steps on the first plant that was planted. If this happens, then the rest of the crop will die or it will not be fruitful.

5. In planting tobacco, the person who plants the first plant will run around the field as fast as he can so that the plants will grow fast.

6. In planting tobacco seedlings, the branch of a tree having broad leaves is planted together with the first seedling in a chosen corner of the field. This will make the tobacco leaves broad.

7. Persons in the field planting tobacco put in their mouths pieces of molasses. It is believed that the leaves will taste better.

8. Some people planting tobacco drink chocolate in the field. This will make the tobacco leaves acquire dark color.

9. In planting tobacco, a piece of yellow candle (lilin) and a ball of chocolate are planted with the first seedling. It is believed that the tobacco will be thick and red when cured.

10. In planting tobacco, a certain plant called "baston ni San Jose" (cane of St. Joseph) is planted with the first seedling. This insures big and long leaves of the crop.

11. When planting some kind of vegetables in the yard, never utter a word. A noisy planter invites chickens or animals to devour his plants.

12. Eat well before planting so that the plants will bear more fruit.

13. Before planting day, the owner of the field should visit his field at midnight. He walks around the field and asks the help of the spirits for a bountiful harvest.

14. Do not allow children to run to and from across the field during the planting so that the animals will not roam on the field.

15. Do not let a slow foot begin planting so that the planting will be lively throughout.

16. When planting corn, bury the first seeds with pig manure so that the pigs will not invade the corn plants; likewise, some kinds of leaves like cacao are buried with the first grains of corn to be planted.

17. The first grains of corn to be planted are first put in the mouth and from the mouth to the ground. This will insure good grains of corn.

18. When planting corn, the string holding the undergarments at the waist should be loose so that the grains of the corn will be easily removed from the cobs.

19. In planting corn, do not breathe during your first step so that the plants will grow fast.

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20. The person who starts to plant any crop prays the "Apostles' Creed" and upon reaching the "resurrection of the body," he begins planting very fast so that the plant will grow successfully and the planting will be finished earlier.

21. The cobs of the corn to be planted should not be thrown in the field so that the grains of the corn will not pop.

22. Root crops are best planted on All Souls Day because the dead will help them bear more foots [?]; likewise, tubers must be planted after a full moon. It is believed that the tubers will be big.

23. Put sugar or molasses in your mouth when planting fruit trees so that the fruits will be sweet.

24. If you plant root vegetables, get a candle (one used during Candelaria) and put it on the first plant to be planted so that it will be fruitful; the roots will be sticky and compact.

25. When planting eggplants, eat sugar so that the fruits will be sweet; if you smoke while planting, the fruits will be bitter.

26. When planting bananas, don't look up so that the plant will not grow very tall; don't drop the banana abruptly into the hole so that the fruit will not have any seeds; do not carry the plant to the hole but drag it so that that bunch of bananas will be very long; carry a child on the shoulder when planting bananas so that the bunches will be very long.

27. When women sow beans, they let their hair hang loose so that the bean pods will be long and as numerous as the hair.

28. Bottles and pots are suspended from trellises for ampalaya, upo, patola, and squash. Old folks explain that this will make the fruits grow big as the pots and bottles hanging from the trellises.

29. So that the caramay tree will bear fruit, tie a piece of cloth around the stem of the plant when transplanting it.

30. Old persons should be the ones to plant trees so that the trees will live long.

31. In planting vegetables, do not smoke so that the leaves will be fat; they will not have holes, and they will not have an unpleasant odor.


1. The person who starts the harvest will first pray the "Apostles' Creed." Upon reading "the resurrection of the body," he begins to harvest. It is believed that this will make the harvest a success and that no accidents will happen to the harvester.

2. When gathering the first fruits of trees or vegetables, put them in a large container, carry it on the head and say that it is very heavy. It is believed that the orchard or garden will always yield plenty.

3. When harvesting rice for the first time, always put rice candy on the first stalks so that it will be a lucky harvest.

4. One day before the harvest of rice or corn, the owner should get three grains if rice or three ears of corn, as the case may be, and hang these above the stove of the kitchen. This will make the grains hard and weevils will not attack them after the harvest.

[p. 57]

5. The first bundle of tobacco leaves should not be tied with a silk cloth.

6. The first time the fruits of crops are gathered, spray the roots with rice so that the Almighty will give more yield.

7. When rice is to be harvested, don't whistle when visiting the field so that the birds will not eat them.

8. When picking camote leaves for the first time, always cook it with meat so that the leaves will be soft and will taste better.

9. When picking corn, see to it that the harvesters gather all the corn. If some ears are left behind, God will give some sort of punishment. Locusts or worms will invade the next crop.

10. Do not cut the leaves of the camote with a knife or bolo when gathering them so that they will not smell like iron.

11. Always give a prayer of thanksgiving in the field before taking home the harvested crops so that the spirits will always give a good harvest.


1. When storing crops, put rice candy in the granary first so that the crop will bring good luck.

2. Put a stone in the middle of the granary and in each of the four corners. The first basket of corn brought up to the granary should be poured slowly on one of the stones, covering it. Be careful that no noise is made when pouring the corn. They say that the corn will last long; likewise, put some bitter pepper near the stone over which the basket was poured. Weevils will not attack the corn. This is also true with rice.

3. When keeping harvested crops in the granary, be sure that no neighbor is dead so that the stock will not be spoiled.

4. It is not good to get rice or corn from the granary when a close relative is dead. it is believed that the rice or corn will taste and smell like earth.

5. If a person is chewing or talking when he is storing food crops, it will be always full of ants, worms, or insects.


1. When a member of a family gets suddenly drowsy even if he had a good sleep the previous night, someone in the family will get seriously ill.

2. A crow flying over the house of the sick means bad luck for the sick.

3. The breaking of any dish when someone is sick means that the sick will die.

4. If the house lizard makes noise from the stairs to the walls, then to the ceiling, the sick person will surely die.

[p. 58]

5. When a house lizard drops on the floor upside down, transfer the sick to another house to escape the bad luck that lizard predicts.

6. Cupping the chin with both hands with elbows resting on the knees while taking care of the sick will bring death to the person.

7. Never sit down to drowse while taking care of the sick. Drowsing near the sick may mean death for him. It is better to lie down and sleep.

8. Don't permit the patient to lie down with the head pointing towards the direction of the river's current. It is believed that his life will flow away with the current.

9. It is believed that one can get cured of tuberculosis by drinking dog's blood (preferably a black dog). So strong is the belief of some in the efficacy of dog's blood that even those who are not suffering from T.B. drink it in the hope of becoming healthier.

10. The first rain of May is believed to be blessed. Some persons go outdoors to have their bodies thoroughly bathed with the first rain of May. This rids the skin of prickly heat, dandruff, and other diseases.

11. A magic stone called "summa" or "babato" is believed to save a dog bit victim from death or lunacy.

12. When someone gets sick, his family prepares a bamboo raft decorated with paper buntings, flowers, etc. On the raft is placed a white chicken, some food and wine, cigars, and coins. At night, the raft is launched from the riverbank. The people shout and call for the spirits. Those who hear the shouts come out of their homes and give coins so that they will not get sick. It is believed that the bamboo raft will find its way to the spirits who have been angered and who caused the illness.

13. When someone is ill, a feast called "atang" is offered in certain places believed to be the abode of spirits. An old man or woman believed to be able to talk with the spirits mumbles some mysterious words during the offering, asking for forgiveness on behalf of the strickened person.

14. When a child is weak and likely to die, its parents look for a well-built person and offer to "sell" their child to those persons. The new parents give something to the child. It may be a centavo or a cigar. The child is then taught to call his new parents "mother" and "father," although he continues to live with his own parents. It is believed that the strong constitution of the foster father and mother will be transferred to the child, thus saving from illness.

15. Escaping with the sick, especially at night, and taking him to another house will make him well.

16. Some people, especially in the barrios, still have great faith in the quack doctor. Whatever he suggests for the recovery the sick, the family has to abide with. The "cure" he suggests may be a prayer, a Kalinga dance, a banquet or a feast of several course offered to the unknown spirits who caused the illness. This may be set in a corner of the house or in the yard or on a "banggera."

17. When a child becomes ill, his parents decide to change his name in order to have him "cured." This practice is called "ciruc-latuc."

The child carried by a relative is brought to a neighbor's house. An inherited chupa, usually of coconut shell and which serves as a unit of measure, is held by the sick child. The neighbor allows the child to get a handful of malagkit rice and puts it in the chupa.

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Upon the return of the child to his own house, the mother adds some more rice to fill in the chupa. The rice is then cooked into rice candy and placed on the platter. When the candy is ready for serving, everybody present, old or young alike, form a circular group to eat the candy. When the candy is consumed, all those in the group wash their hands with warm water placed in a basin. The platter is then placed on the child's head and the basin of water that the visitors used for washing their hands is poured over the child's head. A certain person cuts a post with a bolo, saying at the same time, "ciruc-latuc."

The child may now be given a new name. Hence, if the child is Paula, her name in "ciruc-latuc" may be Victoria with Toyang as a nickname, though officially, her name remains to be Paula.
18. Here is another practice of relieving a child from illness. The mother contracts a certain person to do this. The child is clothed in tattered clothes and is placed at the crossroads. Someone is designated to pick up the child. After she does so, the mother "buys" the child from her for a few coins. Hence, the child may now be nicknamed "Pidut" if she is a girl or "Dumo" if he is a boy, which means "picked up."


1. The members of the family should not see the sick breathe his last so that his soul will rest in peace.

2. Give that dead a bath so that he will be clean when his soul meets God.

3. Be sure that the clothes of the dead are on the right side, otherwise this will cause visitors coming to the house to be attacked with the same sickness of the dead.

4. In the barrio of Padul, the members of the family stay near the dead. They eat rice only in a corner near the dead to avoid sickness in the family.

5. If the eyes of the dead are partly open, it is a sign that he is waiting for a close relative to arrive.

6. Members of the family should not go out while the deceased is still lying in state lest they see the moving branches of trees, and this will cause them dizziness.

7. Do not whip or pinch anybody while the dead lies in state so that there will be no "anu-annong." (anu-annong means that if a visitor comes to the house even long after the dead is already buried, and will not look at the ceiling immediately upon reaching the threshold, he will be attacked with the same sickness that the deceased suffered. The visitor will only be relieved after he is massaged by any of the members of the family.)

8. The members of the family should not hold or eat any round thing lest some unusual skin eruptions appear on their bodies.

9. The first time that you wear the black veil or ribbon, always have a widow put it on you so that no bad luck will come to you.

10. Do not sweep the floor nor wipe the dining table if the corpse is still in the house, lest someone die again.

11. Do not roast or buy meat by the kilo or cook vegetables when the dead is still in state on on the 9th day, someone will die again.

12. The clothes that were last worn by the deceased should be buried with

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him so that his spirit will not loiter around.

13. Be careful not to break anything when the deceased is still in state or on the 9th day because if this happens, it means that someone will die again.

14. Do not remove lice when the dead is still in state because your lice will multiply.

15. Do not take a bath if the deceased is a relative because you will die soon.

16. If a pair of scissors is placed at the back of the deceased, he will not smell foul for three days.

17. If a baby dies on New Year's Day, many accidents will happen during the year.

18. The female members of a family wear their hair loose to avoid headaches and dizziness.

19. The members of a family should wash their faces with water extracted from burned straw so that they will not feel dizzy.

20. Do not let tears fall on the deceased so that he will not feel sorry for leaving the earth.

21. Do not make comments when you see ants, lice, or other insects on the deceased so that they will not multiply.

22. When a mother is dead, the female members of the family should wear black veils for nine months to compensate for the mother's nine months' pregnancy; when a father is dead, the veil should be worn for seven months to help his soul out of Purgatory.

23. The coffin should just be right for the deceased; otherwise, someone will again die.

24. The extra pieces of things from clothes that were purposely made for the deceased should be buried with him so that his spirit will not come back for them.

25. Do not let the members of the family look when the dead is placed in the coffin or when it is brought down; otherwise, someone will die again.

26. Do not permit the coffin to bump any part of the house when taking the dead down the house because doing so will cause "anu-annong."

27. The mirror should be covered when the deceased is still lying in state; otherwise, the dead will rise up and run after the visitors.

28. Do not permit a cat to jump over the corpse. If this happens, the dead (particularly babies) will rise and will run after the people. The first it touches will die, too.

29. Foods like miki and sutanghon must not be served while the dead is still in state. To do so means that other members of the family will die also.

30. In the barrio of Padul, members of the family usually kill a rooster so that when the rooster crows, St. Peter will open the gates of heaven.

31. When the fingers or toes of a corpse are bent, someone will follow the dead.

32. In the barrio of Carilucud, when a sick person is agonizing, all the seeds in the house intended for planting are removed from the house. To keep them means that these seeds will not grow or, if they grow, they will not bear fruit.

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33. Also in Carilucud, while the dead is still in state, the members of the family are not allowed to open cabinets or trunks, nor peep through the walls, nor drink from coconut shells to avoid dizziness.

34. Do not put jewelry or black clothes on a dead person because God will not accept him in Heaven. (Even gold teeth are removed.)

35. Don't give or receive things over or across a corpse because this causes "anu-annong."

36. The members of a family should not hold salt or a candle so that the skin of their palms will not peel off.

37. When a man or woman is widowed (or widowered) at full moon, he or she will marry again very soon.

38. Among the Ilocanos, a widow or widower stays in a dark room to avoid looking at moving leaves that may cause dizziness.

39. The Ilocanos also believe that touching a widow or widower or just any part of his or her clothing makes one afflicted with skin diseases. However, an effective antidote for this is burning a small portion of the garments that caused the sickness, and applying ashes to the afflicted part.


1. Do not allow your dead to be buried with a gold tooth for this may cause his soul to burn forever.

2. When an old man is about to be buried, the people in Andarayan plant trees. They believe that the trees will bear many fruits. If they happen to plant crops at that time, they also believe that their crops will yield much.

3. Among the Ilocanos, a widow or widower must have her or his arms folded all the way from the house to the cemetery. Swinging the arms will mean illness for the widow or widower or to any other member of the family.

4. Among the Ilocanos, the widowed men wear a black band of cloth over the right shoulder passing across the breast and tied to the left at the waistline. A black band is also worn around the head. This is a sign of mourning.

5. As a coffin is lowered into the grave, the people around throw mounds of earth into the grave. They believe that their bad luck will be buried with the dead.

6. The members of the family are not allowed to look at the coffin when it is lowered into the grave. So doing will make them susceptible to shock and fainting.

7. Before the immediate relatives go home after the burial, they tell the dead to come home with them. This will prevent the spirit of the dead from loitering around.

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Our forefathers must have already read from the Bible that God created Heaven and earth. On the first day, He said, "Let there be light!" Then, there was light which is now the sun, moon, and the stars.

On the second day, He created the firmament where he placed the Sky, the moon, and the stars.

On the third day, He divided the world into two: the land and water. He named the big mounds of earth mountains; the smaller ones, hills. The big portions of water were called lakes, seas, and oceans. The smaller ones were called rivers and streams.

On the fourth day, He created the animals — the fishes, birds, beasts, etc.

On the fifth day, He created the trees and plants.

On the sixth day, He said, "Let us make man to our image and likeness." God took some earth and molded it into the body of a man. God breathed life into it and it became the first man on earth. He was called Adam. God saw that it was not good to make the man live alone, so He made Adam sleep and took one of his lower ribs. He molded it into a woman and called her Eve. Adam and Eve were our first parents from whom all people descended.


The sun is believed to be a ball of fire.

Some people have a way of predicting a sunny day. Thick fog early in the morning before the sun rises is a sign of strong sunshine [later in the day].


The moon is believed to be something like the earth, which is inhabited and which borrows its light from the sun. The shadow that one sees at the moon is believed to be a woman with a child in her arms.

Many superstitions are connected with the moon. People believe that a new moon will either bring good or bad luck. When they see a new moon appear in the west, they shout these words as they gaze at the moon, "Oh moon, give us good luck and take away our bad luck!"

When a new moon is inclined to the north or south, it is a sign that it will rain frequently.


Stars are believed to be the little lamps of the angels in heaven.

The shooting stars are supposed to be the falling faces of the stars. Many superstitions are believed to be connected with the shooting stars. When one sees a shooting star, he should make a wish and at the same time tie the corner of a handkerchief. If the tying is completed before the shooting star disappears, then the wish will be granted.

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Others make a wish and at the same time mention the name of the following day. For instance, today is Monday. Tonight, you see a shooting star, make a wish and at the same time say "Tuesday." If the correct day is mentioned, then the wish will be granted.

If a star appears right at the tip of the moon, it is a sign that many accidents, like shooting or bloodshed, will happen during the month.

When a star is just behind a half-moon, it is believed that newlyweds during that month will not live long.


It is believed that an eclipse is a fight between the sun and the moon.

Some believe that when there is an eclipse, a prominent person will soon die.

It is believed that a pregnant woman should not see an eclipse so that her child will not be born dead. When she happens to see it, she should have herself shampooed with burned rice straw by a widower.


It is believed that God is holding the ball of the earth. In His anger, His hand moves, thus causing the quaking of the earth. Others believe that when He gets tired, He transfers the earth to the other hand and, in the course of the transfer, the earth moves or quakes. Some believe that an earthquake is a punishment from God due to our sins.

When there is an earthquake, the people fall on their knees and pray to God to make it stop. They fear that the end of the world is at hand and that the earth will open and swallow all the people.

To a few, the earthquake is a sign that the earth will live longer.

Eggs that were laid before an earthquake are believed to become stale. If they are never hatched, the chicks will be tumbling and will all die.


Thunder is believed to be the noise of the horses of God in heaven that got astray. Lightning is the rod or whip of God that goes after the horses. If one is struck by lightning, it is believed that he is lashed by the rod of God. Some claim that a piece of this rod can be found in some trees that are struck by lightning. If someone gets this piece of iron rod, then he will be lucky in gambling and cockfighting.

Thunder during a certain month means the season of mushrooms or the spawning of the fish called "lurong."

In order that one is not struck by lightning, any of the following may be done:

1. Axes or bolos or any iron weapons are placed at doors and


Transcribed from:
History and Cultural Life of Solana, Cagayan, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
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