Did You Know?


Interesting fact: According to the Historical Data Papers written by school teachers in the 1950s, the people of Calamba then measured the passage of time through clues from their surroundings:

“During dry season and at the peep of dawn the old folks could determine the time to be between 5:00 and 5:30 A.M. by looking at the sky.
It would be 12:00 o’clock at noon when the shadow of a person falls directly under him.
At the first crow of the roosters at night they say it is 10:00 o’clock.
At the second crow it is 11:00 (P.M.).
Then at the first crow of the roosters at dawn it is 4:00 A.M.
In the afternoon, when they see the sun set they believed it was 6:00.”

Now, the passage of time is measured by the honks and hums of buses and cars plying the SLEX; the movement of people to and from work within and outside Calamba; the rise of subdivisions and developments in the agricultural landscape; and the live synchronization of establishments such as SM Calamba and Waltermart, which accommodate/facilitate the flow of people, goods, capital, and dreams in this modern age.


According to the Historical Data Papers of Cavite, Silang is one of the first towns which revolted against Spain. In 1896, armed with bolos and other native weapons, the people overpowered the local detachment of civil guards. A month later they were able to hold off Spanish forces with rifles, weapons, and native tactics. Later, to divert the Filipino forces from concentration in Silang, the towns of Kawit, Noveleta, Rosario and other neighboring towns were simultaneously attacked by the Spanish. Overwhelmed by the superior show of force, “the town of Silang capitulated after five days of bitter fighting,” and the Spaniards burned the town down except the church.

Nowadays, the memory of its history of resistance and struggle is forgotten in the midst of the rise of major road networks connecting Silang to Manila and to Tagaytay, Batangas, and Laguna, and the rapidly emerging urban landscape within the fringes of Manila. While pockets of agricultural land remain that have not yet been transformed into a landscape of “dreams” and “homes” for the working class Filipino, Silang stands as a testimonial to the spatio-historical amnesia of the modern times.


How Imus, Cavite got its name?

According to the Historical Data Papers of Cavite, “A group of Spanish soldiers took refuge at our Hacienda Barracks. They stayed there for a lapse of time, living in abundance. When they left the place, some aggressive Filipinos rushed to the barracks enthusiastically. With great surprise, they found plenty of money and exclaimed “Centimos!”. Since no definite name was given to the town during those dark days, a group of leaders derived this name Imus from centimos. From that time on, Imus got its name up to the present.”

Now, corporations and real estate companies have found plenty of money from the rise of establishments and subdivisions along the Aguinaldo highway in Imus, which facilitates and sustains the movement of people and goods to and from Manila.


That some towns in Dasmariñas, Cavite used to have rich agricultural fields?

According to the Historical Data Papers, one of the towns, “[t]he town of Perez Dasmariñas was a rich town. Its soil gave an abundant yield. There was also a good system of irrigation both in the lowlands and in the uplands. The whole land was planted with sugar cane and palay. Aside from these two crops, the people planted corn, sweet potatoes, gabi, and other plants and vegetables like those that are planted by the people” in the 16th century.

In the 21st century, the soil of Dasmariñas is now planted with homes built by real estate developers for Filipinos working abroad or in and near Manila, while some parts of the city are now urbanizing due to the constant movement of goods and products.


Carmona has a rich history of resistance during the Spanish and Japanese occupation?

“The name Carmona was adopted as a sign of gratitude to the Spanish officials who influenced the Central Government at the time of separation of the barrio. With boundaries properly delineated and a church established, Carmona started its own religious and political administration. The people of Carmona have actively participated in the revolution against the Spaniards. It was also witnessed the Filipinos’ resistance against the Japanese forces. During the Japanese occupation, some of Carmona’s prominent houses were used as Japanese headquarters while the hills became the stronghold of Filipino revolutionaries,” as written in the National Library’s Historical Data Papers of Cavite.

Within its delineated boundaries as a first-class municipality of Cavite, Carmona houses no more revolutionaries or colonizers but numerous cottage industries such as metal works, footwear, concrete products, and bakeries. Since 1998, it has now become a stronghold of manufacturing firms and small to medium-scale industries that source its capital from transnational corporations.


“According to the people of long ago Mt. Makiling was first called “kiling” meaning inclined as the mountain is inclined. Since “kiling” was not very appealing to the ears they prefixed the syllable “MA”. So it was called Makiling.
In the long years past the barrio of Makiling was just a thick jungle wherein only wild beasts were left to roam. Later a few daring people of Tanawan passed through this jungle bringing their products along on horse backs and on sleds pulled by carabaos. They made their own road through the forest. With the constant come and go of the people, a rough road was paved in.
Among the frequent goers to Calamba was an enthusiastic farmer no longer contented with his lands in Tanawan. He wanted to have more land and to his satisfaction he was able to buy a large portion from the Spanish friars at a low price. With his bolo and his ax he went to his newly acquired land and adapted the “kaingin system.” After proving the land to be lucrative he made up his mind to settle there. Then poured in many more desirous people to buy, clear, and to settle in the vast areas.” – Written in the 1950s about Calamba’s history (Historical Data Papers of Laguna).

Aside from people, what has poured into Calamba are foreign and local investors, real estate companies, and corporations interested to settle and to develop this lucrative area near Manila as an area of tourism, human settlements, and manufacturing in the 21st century.


In the town of San Pedro, Biñan, Laguna: “After the Filipino-American war, some loathsome sufferings were undergone by the people. The “zona” system maintained that the people be concentrated in the barrios and the town. They were not allowed to transfer from one place to another. Some suffered hunger. Intensive searches from suspected rebels and hidden arms were made. Compulsory confessions of unproven leaders of the uprising were imposed by inflicting brutal punishment (Historical Data Papers of Laguna).”

It is interesting to know that as early as the 1900s, the “zona” system was used to keep people within certain boundaries of territories as dictated by colonial powers. Movement and mobility were restricted and subject to the discipline of violent punishment.

In the 21st century, we now have the “zonal” value system which helps investors decide where to purchase and set up boundaries for their land developments across the country as supported by global capital and bodies. Movement and mobility is now fluid and subject to the discipline of capital in the form of work and leisure.


“One bright day, some Spanish soldiers who had began walking a long way felt warm and tired. They stopped to rest under the shade of the “Kabuyao” tree. There were also some natives who were resting under the tree. One of the Spanish soldiers asked them in Spanish, “Que es el nombre de este pueblo?”, at the same time looking at the fruits of the “Kabuyao” tree. The natives did not understand what he uttered. They thought the soldier was asking for the name of the tree, because he was looking at the fruits, so they replied, “Kabuyao”. From that time on, the soldiers called the town Cabuyao.

No accurate or exact data of its establishment was available. However it was presumed that the town was established long before the coming of the Spaniards in the Islands. It was said that the town was the oldest and the richest town in Luzon. Calamba, Santa Rosa, and Biñan were only barrios of Cabuyao during that time. ” – Historical Data Papers of Laguna

When asked what is there to see in Cabuyao nowadays, one of our field supervisors shrugged and said, “Wala masyado. Mga pabrika. (Nothing much. Just factories).”

In recent decades, Cabuyao may not known as a tourist spot or transportation center, but it is known as the “Richest municipality in the Philippines” due to the capital it attracts from transnational industries such as Nestle, San Miguel, P&G, Wyeth, Asia Brewery Inc, etc. Nestled in the heart of the municipality, these large factories reap the fruits of labor from the large migrant population servicing these industrial estates.


How Anabu, Imus got its name:

“This is a story of one of the historic barrios of Imus, tainted by heroic events in the annuals of the Philippine Revolution, the legendary foreword of “Anabu”.
During the 18th century, Chinese wanderers migrated to this country led by the famous pirate Limahong, who originally had a plan of conquest of the Philippines, lured by the richness of its natural resources. For this basic reason, Filipino women married the Chinese who were industrious, hardworking, tolerant and patient in all ways of life.
It was during those days that a Chinaman married a Filipina from this place whose name was Ana. He was a devoted husband for he loved Ana very much. It so happened that Ana did not love the Chinaman the way a devoted wife should. Their married life did not last long…when Ana became unfaithful to him [and] eloped with a Filipino childhood sweetheart. The Chinese, upon learning the flight of his love
and fate, run through the streets crying for Ana—calling the name of his wife. At this stage of his delirium, he met a Spaniard officer of the guardia civil. He was on his way acquainting himself with names of places under his command when he met the Chinaman in the street crying and calling for Ana.
When the Spanish officer asked him the name of this barrio, he kept on saying and answering the officer, “Ana—Bo, Ana—Bo”, which the Chinaman meant “Ana, no more” for the Chinese word “bo” means “no more or none”.
The Spanish officer, upon hearing what the Chinese told him, called this place “Anabu” and from that time on, the Spaniards and all other succeeding authorities called this place “Anabu”; thus, originating the legendary name of this historic barrio (Historical Data Papers of Cavite).”


Some interesting facts about Palapala, Dasmarinas.

Established in 1896, Palapala was first known as Sampalocan. “Centuries before the Spaniards occupied the Philippines, there lived a ruler who was known far and wide. Once, while he was about hunting, he lost his way in the woods. He went this way and that way, trying to get his bearings but even as he did so, he found the trees and the undergrowth becoming denser and he grew very tired. So he finally sat down at the foot of a tree to rest. By and by, he heard voices of women, and he wondered whether his ears were deceiving him, for no woman had ever been known to come so deep into these woods before. But the voices continued to come to him, and so, creeping under the bushes he tried to hide himself. At last, he found himself under a big sampaloc tree.” Then it was changed to Palapala, which means “rest house”. – Historical Data Papers

According to a resident of Palapala, the area used to be secluded and scary because it was a place where salvaged bodies were thrown in the fields to rot. However, with the creation of roads, establishments, and numerous subdivision developments in the late 19th century, its agricultural fields and “rest houses” are slowly withering away to urbanization and land development.


“According to the old folks of Taytay…the town of Antipolo was already frequented by people from the different town of Rizal and from nearby provinces like Laguna, Batangas, Tayabas, Cavite and Bulacan, including the city of Manila. Upon reaching the town of Taytay on their way to Antipolo, these devout Catholics were often puzzled at the forking of the ways as to what road to take to reach Antipolo, there being no signs to identify the road, leading to town. Often times, these travelers were lost in the many streets of Taytay, not knowing which one to follow on their way to their destination.”

Interesting tidbit: There is now an SM City Taytay established along one of the roads that was traveled by weary Catholic travellers in search of Antipolo during the Spanish era.

More interesting information: The name “Taytay” meant “bridge” in the olden days. During the Spanish era, the town was a bridge connecting Manila and other nearby provinces to Antipolo, a center of Catholic faith. Nowadays, it is a bridge connecting people, goods, and capital from Antipolo, Angono, Binangonan, and Tanay to the cities of Quezon City, Marikina, and Pasig (centers of production, work, and education).


As we bid Typhoon Glenda goodbye, did you know that the ancestors of the people of Pulo in Cabuyao, Laguna could adapt to seasonal changes back then through indigenous knowledge and observation?

“The people [have] a way of predicting the changes of climate by means of some natural phenomena. The emerging of the worms from the ground and the coming up of ants in the house are believed to be signs of rain coming soon, while the appearance of a rainbow, a sign of a bad omen for it means heavy rainfall, typhoon and disaster. A comet seen in the sky is interpreted as a bad sign for it means pestilence, famine, or war.” – Historical Data Papers

Here’s a picture of one of our field personnel, half a century later, following the tradition of looking for an omen in the sky…or maybe just wondering when the fieldwork will end.

We hope everyone stays safe and dry this rainy/typhoon season, within Manila’s peri-urban fringe and beyond.


In the olden days, the inhabitants of Taytay, Rizal believed that they could forecast the coming of the rain due to animal behavior.

“The people of Taytay believe that seeing a duck looking at the sky, foretell rain on the following day thereafter (Historical Data Papers).”

It is interesting to know this tidbit shares how much people back then relied on livestock in an agricultural setting…so much that even their behavior had an influence on their beliefs in relation to the weather.

Nowadays, as most of Taytay is being paved and developed for the rise of big commercial establishments and real estate, rainy weather is no longer a blessing but an inconvenience to the many plying the Ortigas Ave and Imelda Ave route to get to and from their work or school in the NCR, particularly now that Cainta, the “gate of the progressive east” and the bridge connecting the rest of Rizal to the metro, is a catch basin of most of the run-off water of Manila.

As for the ducks, they may still be existing in rural pockets of the municipality; although last we heard, fried “itik” is the speciality in Angono, Rizal.


In Taytay, “[a]nother method of telling time by the early people was the folding of the leaves of plants and trees. Some tropical trees and plants like the acacia or rain tree fold their leaves late in the afternoon. The early people used to say that when the trees or plans fold their leaves it means that it is already six o’clock in the afternoon. Dews are also signs of time. The evaporation of the dew on the leaves of plants and grasses in the morning indicates that it is 7:30 or 8:00 o’clock in the morning (Historical Data Papers).”

What is even more interesting is that nowadays, people living in Taytay need to leave around 5:00 to 6:00 a.m. in order to reach their work/school destinations in Makati, Quezon City, and Mandaluyong by 8:00 a.m, thus leaving no time to literally stop and smell the dew. With limited public transportation along Ortigas Ave and Imelda Ave to the NCR, time becomes an utmost priority as rush hour from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m. leaves no mercy for workers/students who have early schedules (but can only afford to live in Taytay instead of the NCR).

In addition, the growing commuters population consists of the following cohorts in recent years:
people who have worked in Metro Manila (MM) for a long/short time; people who have just graduated from college and are working/looking for work in MM; people who are now studying in a school located in MM.


The origin of the name of Barangay Malagasang in Imus, Cavite?

“A long time ago, this barrio was a barangay under a cabeza. It was common during that time that barangays had conflicts against each other. Of the times a barangay of a certain locality had conflicts against its neighboring barangays.

In order that the cabeza may know the number of warriors killed during every conflict, he counted them before sending them to the field and then, there is another count upon their return. Fortunately, on many occasion there were no casualties or captured numbers of his barangay. Because of these incidents, he called his barangay ‘hindi malagasang’ or ‘di malagasan’. To make this name shorter, the subsequent generations changed it to Malagasang. This is how the barrio got its name.”

We are happy that even the Barangay knows this, as they showed us their history at the barangay hall.


Imus, Cavite has also recorded a “Zone system” during the Japanese occupation:

“About the closing days of the occupation, the Japanese forces instituted what is called the “Zone System” in almost all the towns and barrios all over the Philippines. Right here in Imus, the zone was conducted in the Catholic church on December 16, 1944, wherein all the male inhabitants, young and old, were herded together for the purpose of picking up all the former USAFFE and others suspected of working against the occupation forces. Ten persons in Imus proper were picked out, put in their wagons, and brought to an unknown destination and returned to their homes. They were all tortured and killed somewhere. Some of the bodies were not recovered up to the present.”

Just recently, a similar type of decades-long “zone system” instituted in Gaza has left more than one thousand Palestinians dead and a few thousands injured and tortured. As Ramadan ends today with Eid’l Fitr, let us contextualize and empathize with the loss of justice, lives, and human rights defined by territorial boundaries, power, ideology, and religion…both in the past and in the present.


Early settlers of Montalban, Rizal, built houses made of natural materials suitable for the tropical weather and agricultural livelihood:

“Our ancestors lived in houses built close to each other in settlements just as our town [in the 1950s]. The houses and dwellings were commonly set upon stakes and posts high up and above the ground. They were built and tiled with wood and bamboos, and covered and roofed with nipa palm leaves or cogon grass. Each house were built separately. In the lower part one inclosed made by stakes and bamboo were kept fowls and animals, an the rice pounded and cleaned. One climbs the house by means of bamboo ladders that could be pulled up.” – Historical Data Papers

In recent decades, decent housing is determined by the standards of real estate developers using Western models of housing units with concrete wall and galvanized iron roofs. In addition, the continuous urbanization of the center of Montalban as gateways to Metro Manila has seen the rise of urbanism that looks down upon rural housing and lifestyles…even if large pockets of Montalban are still agricultural.


For our fellow demographers and climate change scholars out there, San Jose of Montalban, Rizal has been subject to huge flooding since 1929.

“One of the events that led to the depopulation of some parts of the barrio was the big flood in the year 1929. Houses along the bank of the river were carried away by the current. For fear of other occurance of another flood and storm, many people left this place and settled in the poblacion. Unfortunately there was another flood that occurred in 1934 which did more damage to the barrio than in 1929. More inhabitants left the barrio and stayed in the poblacion.” – Historical Data Papers

With large illegal settlements of people in Metro Manila due to the proximity of work, the government has located some of its relocation areas in Montalban, Rizal. Unfortunately, in recent years, aside from being too far from work or the lack of amenities and facilities, these resettlement areas are built on government land that is sometimes not geographically suitable for human living…such as river beds.


In Taytay, Rizal, one method of foretelling dry or wet season is by observing insects:

“II. Insects
Ants going up the posts of the houses give the sign that there is going to be bad weather or a flood. Another sure omen of bad weather according to the old folks is when the ants seem to be in a great hurry to store food and keep on hauling food in their homes. When ants however go around and seem to go about their way in a leisurely way, good weather is just ahead or coming.
Flying cockroaches at night means the beginning of the rainy season. Flying moths, and other insects around lights also indicate bad weather.” – Historical Data Papers

Nowadays, even the people living in other parts of Manila’s peri-urban fringe frequently have these insects as visitors…but not as omens of dry or wet season but omens of the state of our surroundings, lifestyle, and housing:
1. Ants can be found still storing food, but are infrequently observed to climb the posts of houses because hidden cracks within concrete or wooden walls and floors of today’s housing may offer much better routes than the traditional wall posts back then.
2. Flying moths and other insects around lights are often seen outside during rainy season, but that is because of the many households which have access to outdoor lighting that may have not been possible before the 1950s.
3. We suspect that the flying cockroaches back then didn’t have access to much food and spaces to live in houses, so with this era of mass production and real estate development, they may have more time and space to spread their wings beyond rainy season.

So before you get your tsinelas or can of insect spray, try and see where your resident or visitor insects are coming from.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s