MUNICIPALITY OF MAJAYJAY (LAGUNA), Historical Data of Part III - Philippine Historical Data MUNICIPALITY OF MAJAYJAY (LAGUNA), Historical Data of Part III - Philippine Historical Data


Municipality of Majayjay, Laguna



About these Historical Data

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yong, Banga, Pi-it, Panalaban, Taytay.
Antonio Escobar Enumerator for Pooc, Gagalot, Bitaoy, Bakia, Burol.
Hugo Manas Enumerator for Tanawan, Banilad, Suba.
Jose Dimayuga Enumerator for Olla, San Isidro, Bayocain, Cawayan, Talortor, and Panglan.
Faustino de Vera Enumerator for Banti, San Roque, Pangil, and Bukal.

Civil Governor William Howard Taft, accompanied by Commissioner Dr. T. H. Pardo de Tavera and his advisers, spent a few days' vacation in Majayjay. They were entertained at the house of Pedro Ordoñez. Gov. Taft and his party also visited the famous Botocan falls which he admired very much.

(4) During the period from 1901-1905, the Municipal President was empowered to investigate and and punish persons charged with infraction of municipal ordinances.

(5) The strong typhoon of November 1905 destroyed many farms in the municipality, so the government exempted the people from paying taxes corresponding to the years 1906 and 1907.

(6) In 1906, an ordinance was passed requiring the numbering of all houses in the poblacion. The numbers used were of porcelain purchased from Frank, a commercial establishment in Manila. When Fiscal General Gregorio Araneta, accompanied by General Juan Cailles, visited the town, he was said to made the following statement: "Sa aking paglalakbay ngayon, maraming bayan ang aking narating, nguni't itong Majayjay ang unang kinakitaan co ng monumento ng ating bayani Dr. Jose Rizal; tangi dito, ito ang bayan na aking nakita na ang lahat ng bahay sa kabayanan ay ang mga numero ay especial, de porcelana, na ang mismong ciudad ng Maynila madalang ang bahay na gumagamit ng ganitong placa."

(7) In 1907, General Juan Cailles brought to Majayjay 200 insular prisoners from Manila to fix and repair the provincial road to Magdalena. These were accompanied by 50 Provincial

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Guards under Warden Santiago Relova. The work was started at Plaza Rizal; most steep grades of the road were lowered by digging and leveling one meter of its previous heights. The majority of the 200 prisoners who worked on this project were serving life terms and many of them were hardened criminals, but in view of the good treatment accorded them by Gov. Cailles and Warden Relova, the job was finished without any untoward incident.

(8) After the visit of Gov. W. H. Taft to Botocan in 1903, he decided to have the beautifual falls of Botocan accessible to excursionists by having a road constructed from Majayjay to that barrio. In 1907, he sent an American engineer to survey the place and make the necessary plans. The engineer was accompanied by two helpers; one from the town of Calawan and the other from the town of Luisiana. The survey was not completed, however, because one day, the body of the engineer was discovered partly buried beside the trail.

Because of this incident, the Governor of Tayabas, Captain H. H. Bandoltz, and Provincial Fiscal Manuel L. Quezon, came to Majayjay to investigate the mysterious death of the American engineer. They stayed at the house of President Faustino de Vera. The two helpers of the engineer soon confessed to the crime. They were sentenced to death and executed by hanging.

(9) In 1911, President Eustaquio Brioso received Executive Order No. 2 of Governor General Wm. Cameron Forbes requiring the compilation of data of all municipalities throughout the Islands. In compliance thereto, the municipal council appointed Secretary Antonio Escobar to prepare and compile all the historical data for Majayjay, the finished manuscript of which was forwarded to the National Library in Manila on August 27, 1911.

(10) During the term of President Ladislao Zornosa, the municipal council appropriated the sum of ₱40,000 for the construction of the public elementary school building, the waterworks project, and the public market. In 1920, construction of the public school building was started by the newly-elected president, Simeon Ordoñez, who thought it best to have the school building facing east. Foundations were, therefore, laid

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in accordance with his (Ordoñez's) plan. When Superintendent of Schools McLeod saw this, he immediately ordered the revision of the president's plan in view of the many disadvantages that would result if the building would be constructed facing the east. New foundations were then laid in conformity with McLeod's wishes, so thatt he finished building, as it stands today, faces north.

(11) Pursuant to Law No. 2259, a cadastral survey of all lands within the territory of Majayjay was made in the years 1923-25. Torrens titles were subsequently issued in favor of landowners.

Prior to 1925, the people of Majayjay depended upon kerosene lamps for illumination at night. Cognizant of the value of electrical power to the town and its people, Antonio Escobar, Patricio Villaraza, and Mateo Villariza organized a corporation and established an electric plant known as the Majayjay Electric Company. In the few years of its existence, this plant was able to supply the needs of the people. But 1931, however, the power demands of the town became so great that this small electric plant could not meet them. The incorporators then decided to sell their franchise rights to a new and bigger company, the Philippine Power and Development Company, which up to the present is supplying the electrical needs of the town of Majayjay.

(13) The Meralco started construction work on its big hydroelectric plant at Barrio Botocan in 1928, to harness the potential of the Botocan River. The transformation of Majayjay into a second class municipality was a result of the sizable amount paid in taxes by the Meralco on its holdings in barrio Botocan.

26. (a) Destruction of lives, properties, and institutions during wars, especially in 1896-1900 and 1941-1945:

During the war of 1896 to 1900, only a little loss of lives and properties was brought about in this town. Encounters took place only in the barrios of Benti, Panglan, and Olla, where the Katipuneros were met by the Spanish soldiers.

With regards to buildings and properties, nothing was destroyed during this war. However, the people

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suffered economically due to the frequent concentrations of the inhabitants in the town proper. These caused them to neglect their work in the barrios, and forced them to buy even the vegetables which they usually grew only, at high prices.

The Second World War did not inflict heavy casualties among the inhabitants of the town. The few casualties were the results of petty encounters between the various guerrilla units vying for supremacy. The following were the natives who were liquidated by the Japanese soldiers for alleged connections with the guerrilla movement.

Mayor Felix Solisa
Pedro Rosalda
Patrocinio Fresco
Salvador Monteseña
Ceferino Estella

Looting was the one factor which caused the great amount of loss in properties of the townspeople. On the eve of the occupation of the town by the Japanese, all the inhabitants of the town, except for a few, evacuated hurriedly to nearby barrios, leaving behind most of their worldly possessions. Soon after the Japanese soldiers left, the few opportunists who had the courage to return at once to town took advantage of the absence of most of the homeowners and looted the houses.

(b) Measures and accomplishments toward rehabilitation and reconstruction following World War II:

War damage claims have been paid to all claimants. War widows, USAFFE veterans, recognized and deserving guerrillas received backpays and/or pensions. Not a few veterans and guerrillas enjoyed or are enjoying educational benefits. Aid to schools in the form of desks and other pieces of furniture, books, tools, and H. E. utensils were received freely. School buildings have been repaired. Lastly, the economic mobilization program which has been launched and implemented by the present administration has done much toward the rehabilitation of this town of Majayjay.

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Part Two: Folkways

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

Birth - The "hilot" (native midwife) is preferred to physicians or nurses. The "inunan" (placenta) is never thrown away but is carefully wrapped and buried at the foot of the stairs out under the house. The young mother usually delivers her first-born in the home of her parents. After delivery, the mother is given a light massage daily for 6 days by the "hilot." On the 8th day after delivery, she is given a bath. Warm water in which young guava leaves have been boiled is used for washing the mother's genital organs.

Baptism - The name to be given to a newborn child is taken from the name of the saint appearing in the current calendar. The godfather(s) and godmother(s) are chosen by the couple, with the consent, of course, of their respective in-laws. In case of a son, the godfather pays for the church services, provides the child with new clothes (pabaro) for the ceremony, and gives whatever amount in cash he can afford as a gift to the child after the ceremony. The parents of the child prepare luncheon or merienda to which they invite all their relatives and friends. Well-to-do couples usually end the affair with a dance. If for one reason or another, the godfather is unable to provide the baptismal dress for the child, it becomes his obligation to provide the necessary wedding suit for the child when the latter grows up and decides to marry. Godparents are also obligated to look after the social and moral upbringing of their godchildren.

Courtship - During the Spanish time and up to the early American regime, parents made it their business to select the husbands and wives for their children. It was only for the prospective brides and grooms to accept their parents propositions. Nowadays, however, the young are given freer hands to choose their future partners in life.

The only place where a young man may express his love for a young lady is the home of this particular lady. Visits may be made on any day except Friday. When a suitor desires to pay a call on his lady love, he dons his best Sunday suit and knocks at her door before the bell strikes seven in the evening. At the door, he declares his intentions to the person who receives him, and if admitted, is escorted to the sala, where he is offered a seat. The lady is then notified.

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Meanwhile, while the lady is dressing, the young swain tries his best to maintain a lively conversation with the person who received him. When the object of his affections enters the sala, she sits herself, not beside him but opposite him, with a table between them. The two are never left alone, but are always chaperoned by the maid's mother or aunt or an elder sister, so that the young man has to woo his beloved in the presence and within hearing of that chaperone.

This goes for a year or more because courtship usually takes from one to three years or even more. During this period, the suitor must never forget to bring gifts on the proper occasions. He must observe gentlemanly manners, especially in the presence of his beloved or her immediate relations. At the end of this period, if he is lucky enough to meet the approval of the girl's family, he gets his "yes" from the young lady, more often indirectly and not verbally.

The night for the "pagtatalastas" (inquiry and verification) is always set on a full moon. Preparations are made by the young man's family because, on the appointed date, they will have to take with them food and drinks, besides ascertaining that they will have with them one who is a versatile and smooth talker. If no member of the family can do this feat, inquiries are then immediately made among relatives as to who will be best chosen to act as their mouthpiece. The person so selected is usually reputed to possess powers to sway the other party's decision favorably or to restrict the opposite party's family from making too many and costly demands.

At the appointed hour, usually about 7:30 in the evening, the man's parents, accompanied by their mouthpiece and two or three selected relatives, go to the house of the young lady. (The suitor is never allowed to take part in this meeting. He is usually left home and charged with seeing to it that the food and drinks follow his ambassadors at the proper time, that is, when discussions have reached the progressive stage.) The man's parents are received by the young lady and introduced to her parents. Then, the deliberations begin. Formal acceptance of their son by the young lady and her parents are then verified by the man's parents. If affirmed, the male's party asks the lady's parents what terms the latter desire to stipulate. One of this is usually the "pamimiyanan" (servitude of the prospective groom, who is required to accomplish certain tasks within a certain period, usually ranging from 6 months to 2 years.) These tasks vary, but often-

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times, they take the form of "pagbabakuran," wherein the prospective bridegroom is expected to plant coconuts or maybe bananas, or any other kind of fruit tree, in a lot that may be assigned to him. (During the entire period of servitude, the prospective groom is required to live with the lady's family, during which time his manners and actions are carefully observed.)

When both parties have reached an agreement, and the satisfaction of each has been assured, it is the time for the members of the prospective groom's party to invite the young lady's family, including their relatives and friends present, to the dining room where everybody partakes of the food and drinks they have brought with them. The prospective bride, at this juncture, tries her best to show her capacity at kitchen chores.

After the satisfactory rendition of service by the prospective groom, the date is set for the "pag-uusig" or the final wedding arrangements.

At this conference between the parents of both parties, the wedding date is set (the year, month, day, and hour), the house where the wedding party will be celebrated is chosen, and the wedding sponsors selected. Then, too, the terms of the "haing-bigay" (dowry) are stipulated. One of the conditions set forth in determining the dowry is its kind; whether it be in cash, jewelry, or real property. If the parents of the future bride asks for "haing-bigay" at sets the value at, for instance, ₱1000, the prospective groom's parents have the right to demand if they can put up the same amount, for an equivalent amount in cash, and value if in property, from the would-be bride's parents; these combined gifts are to be owned solely by the bride and groom the moment they are married.

Marriage - (It should be borne in mind, however, that even if all the conditions set forth in the "pagpapasugo" and "pagtatalastas" have been satisfactorily met or complied with, if at any time before the wedding date comes, the prospective groom or his parents commit a grave error, or offends any member of the prospective bride's family, the marriage can be cancelled. Then, all dowries and gifts are returned and the costs of services of the suitor during the period of his servitude will be paid by the lady's parents.)

The groom's family takes charge of preparing the house for the ceremony. This includes the cleaning, furnishing, and decorating. If the house is not spacious enough for the occasion, they also see to it that a "bilik"

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(or annex) is properly constructed.

On the eve of the wedding day, the sala of the house is made ready with a pair of chairs on which no one is allowed to sit, except the newlyweds after their return from church. But at least one week before the wedding, there are continuous preparations in this house, day and night. At daytime, the men do their jobs; while at night, the women prepare all the requirements for the feast like chocolate, sumen, sweets for dessert, and other delicacies, pickles, etc.

The marriage is solemnized by the parish priest in the church where it is witnessed by the sponsors, the immediate members of the families of both parties, relatives, and friends. The ceremony is believed not to be complete unless there is the picture-taking in front of the church door, and unless a brass band escorts the wedding procession to and from the church.

Guests are entertained with an elaborate feast (usually luncheon) in the house. Drinks, too, flow freely at this time. As soon as everybody has had his meal, "galahan" or cash offerings for the newlyweds begins. At this stage of the ceremony, the bride and groom are each provided with a plate or container for the cash offerings, a bottle of wine, and a wine cup. The couple sings a song (a ballad) for the occasion, and dances to the accompaniment of a guitar or an entire orchestra; and, of course, the clapping of the happy friends and relatives. If one of them or both cannot sing, a relative who can substitutes for them. In this "galahan," a special wine is served to every relative of the bride by the groom, who receives therefrom in return any cash offerings on his own plate. In the same manner, every relative of the groom is offered wine by the bride, who receives all cash offerings on her plate. When everybody has been served with this wine, the collection of each is counted and announced before the guests. These collections sometimes add up from ₱100 to ₱1000, depending upon the class of people the newlyweds belong.

All the money collected in this manner is wrapped by the groom in his white handkerchief and then entrusted to his wife — this money is to be invested in business or for whatever means of livelihood the couple may decide upon.

The newlyweds are required to hear Mass for nine consecutive days after their wedlock, and within this period, it is prohibited for anyone of them to leave their home.

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Death and mourning - When a person dies, female members of a family wear black mourning clothes for one whole year. Male members of a family wear only black armbands on their coats or shirt sleeves, or a piece of black ribbon pinned on their coat or shirt lapels. The body of the deceased, before burial, is brought to church where the priest officiates the funeral services. All relatives and friends of the deceased accompany the funeral procession to the cemetery with witness the last burial rites.

Distant relatives observe one month's mourning. During this period of mourning, the family abstains from attending social affairs. Nine days after the funeral, the family and near relatives pray for the eternal repos of the departed's soul. This is termed "siyaman." Another prayer is offered on the 30th day ("tatlong-puan"). Then, on the 1st anniversary of the death, another prayer is offered, and luncheon or merienda is served relatives and friends. This is the day when mourning clothes are shed.

Festivals - The townspeople celebrate many festivals a year which are religious in nature. These are:

a. The Town Fiesta - This is held every March 11-12, on honor of patron saints San Gregorio Papa Magno and Nuestra Señora de la Porteria. Streets are decorated with vari-colored paper strips and banners. Every family head spends at the minimum ₱50 for the preparation of a sumptuous feast for guests and visitors. Four to six brass bands are hired from nearby towns or provinces to march and play marshal airs for two days. The highlight of the fiesta is the High Mass celebrated by the priest in the morning of the 12th. The people try their best not to miss this Mass.

b. "San Isidro" - Celebrated every May 15th in honor of the patron saint of the same name. People hear Mass and go with the procession around the town. Rice cakes and cookies, prepared the previous day, are hung together with some fruits on decorated hangers or on small trees "planted" beside the house. Youngsters who go with the procession carry with them all sorts of containers for these articles of food, and with the adult celebrants, observe the unwritten law (with one or two policemen at the head of the procession to remind them, of course) that they have to wait for the patron saint to pass the displayed foods before availing themselves, at their own risk, of these delicacies. The moment the patron saint has passed the house or the

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tree containing these foods, everybody grabs at them, and folks carry home in their bags or containers what they were able to snatch, or eat them as the procession goes along.

c. Flores de Mayo - The whole month of may is dedicated to the glorification of the Virgin Mary. Between 4 and 6 o'clock every afternoon, little girls and ladies (called "sagalas") proceed to church to offer flowers at the altar of the Virgin Mary. Prayers are offered, too. On the last Sunday of May, the "hermana"and "hermano" (selected for the year), together with the "prioras" and "priores," attend the special Mass that is held to open the ceremonies for the whole day. This is followed by an elaborate luncheon (the expenses of which are borne by the "hermano" and "hermana") to which all the people are welcome. In the afternoon, a procession is held which includes all the "sagalas," the "hermano" and "hermana," the "priores" and "prioras," and all devotees of the Virgin Mary. The procession winds up in the church where the sagalas, besides their usual floral offerings, declaim their praises and thanks to the Virgin Mary.

d. Corazon de Jesus - Celebrated every last Sunday of June. The rites are observed similar to the Flores de Mayo rites. There are also "hermanos" and "hermanas" and "priores" and "prioras" to look after the preparations incident to the celebration.

e. Holy Week - The rites observed by the townspeople are the same as those practiced by all Catholics throughout the nation.

f. Christmas - The people attend the "Misa de Gallo" and the High Mass on Christmas Day. They visit all their relatives to wish them a Merry Christmas and to receive the blessings of their elders and gifts for their children. This is followed by the celebration of the Three Kings' Day, January 6th. This is the time for the townspeople to visit their kin residing in the barrios.

28. Myths, legends, beliefs, interpretations, and superstitions:

On Marriage - During the wedding ceremony, the person whose candlelight goes out for no reason at all dies first. Immediately after the return from the church, the couple is given sugar or sweets to eat; this will assure a harmonious relationship. Rice is showered on the newlyweds so that they will have a prosperous life.

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A bride's wedding trousseau should never be loaned. For three consecutive weeks before their wedding, prospective brides and grooms are not allowed to travel because accidents usually befall them.

On farming - Before the actual planting of fruit trees, when the holes have been dug, the planters fill their mouths with rice and keep their heads down. This is done so the trees will not grow very tall and will assure healthy growths and plenty of fruits.

Pandan should be planted on a Thursday when the moon is on the wane and holes for the purpose should be dug with a stick from a "tibig" tree.

The grow coconut trees that will yield "makapuno," the planter should eat gruel before planting the seedlings.

Avoid laughing when planting corn; else they yield ears with uneven grains.

A replica of the cross, decorated with young coconut leaves, should be stuck in the middle of the rice paddies before actual planting is done to insure a good harvest besides keeping away pests like rats and worms.

On commerce and industry - If you are going on business, do not tarry. Once ready, leave at once.

Place "isis" leaves under the articles or commodities for sale and your business will be brisk.

Do not complain while you are working or you will get tired easily.

Avoid sweeping at night, for you will sweeping away your good luck.

If red ants or snakes live in a house, the owners will soon get wealthy.

If you are a store owner, your first sale in the morning should never be given on credit.

Selling needles at night will make all the rest of the needles in the store rusty.

On religion - During the days of abstinence, meat should never be eaten.

When a priest wags his habit outside the window of a convent at midnight, it is a bad sign. The priest wants many people to die so that his coffers will be filled.

A childless couple should worship at pray to St. Pascual in Obando, if they want an offspring.

29. Popular songs, games, and amusements:

The "Awit sa Galahan," Songs for the "Harana."
The sipa, volleyball, tubigan or patintero, softball, pingpong, billiards, pool, chongka.


Transcribed from:
Historical Data of the Municipality of Majayjay, Province of Laguna, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
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