BY: MRS TEODORA M. BARZA
How this barangay “Pinagbayanan” got its name is historical. What transpired in this place that started from the early years of the 17th Century is worth to tell and remember for once there was a Filipino proverb which emphasizes this value: “We should not look only forward to where we going; we should also look back once in a while to where we have been.”
Looking back to the old times is not only knowing what happened in the past, naming figures behind the scene but also counting the sacrifices made to rise and get out from the hundred folds of calamities and inhumanities.
Several decades before invaders came, this place which was hilly and very near to high mountains was known to the public as “Hilera,” a term derived from the unique position of houses and of the big trees around. A long chain of bamboo grooves that lined the village from east to west described the name “Hilera.” On the other hand the more civilized villagers called this place “Pinagbayanan.” This is now a barangay with a total land area of 898.7872 (hectares) which is the eastern part of the municipality of Taysan. It is 8.9km away from the town proper or Town plaza. Its boundaries include Tulos (a barangay in the Municipality of Rosario) in the east; Guinhawa and PiŇa in south; San Marcelino in west and San Isidro in north.
No records found about how and why this place was named “Pinagbayanan;” only true stories told and retold which were handed down from generation to generation by mouth.
A number of successful professionals became eager to know the origin of this place. A research work was made by the writer and the collected information from the eldest living residents- Damasa “Masang” Sulit, Silvestre “Biting” and Canuta Cerezo, Diogracias “Mamay Biyo” and Zoila Aclan, Ireneo Maderazo, Isidro Sulit Hega and Doroteo Purino had been enriched by more reliable facts and figure. Their information came from stories retold by their ancestors who survived from the immeasurable calamities that swept over the mountain surfaces of the region.
It was believed that right after Manila was invaded by Spaniards in 1572, certain groups moved to Batangas Province. In later years, some of them explored until they reached this place.
During the early years of the 17th Century, there were Indonesians, the first migrating people who settled down in the narrow fertile valley of the place. This group of invaders did not stay long. The Malays, a more progressive and aggressive tribe from the Malay Peninsula arrived in this place and drove the Indonesians away. It was again believed that these were the Malays from the race of Datu Dumangsil and Datu Balensula who migrated to Taal and became the early “Batanguenos.” Others from this race travelled over little hills and high mountains until they discovered “Hilera.”
Later, another group of migrating people came whom many natives of today believed that they were groups of Spaniards who invaded this place. A small community sprang. After several years of struggle which was endowed with fortune, a “pueblo” or town was created, the name of which was unknown.
A concrete church and a municipal building were erected through the hard labor of the natives and a cemetery was also established in this place.
Then, these migrants were attacked by Moros from the south seas. They were mercilessly massacred, houses were burnt, the church was destroyed and the priest whose name was not identified was taken by the force, captured and killed. These invaders dominated the place and only a few natives escaped. The Moros did not spare the life of the religious leader. The body of such a servant of God was dragged, amputated and the body parts were carried and distributed to different places they reached.
Because of inhumanities and brutality and scarcity of water that the native survivors experienced in Hilera, they abandoned this place and fled for safety to unknown destiny. The Fleeing group of natives recited the rosary for nine consecutive folds. They had a firm belief that their savior would help them. When the novena was ended they found themselves in a place with happy and loving people which they called “Rosario” but later, this place was called Lumang Bayan (now the town of Padre Garcia) when they moved to plain area at the bottom of a small hill (now is called Rosario).
It was believed that the natives who survived from the inhumanities did not abandon the place and they remained the inhabitants. From the unforgettable experiences, from the ruin of the old church and other structures, the massacre of the priest’s, the name “Pinagbayanan” originated, which means a “pueblo” or town was formerly established.
The amputated parts of the priest’s body left by Moros in a place had significance. The place in which the legs were found posed is now a barrio called “Tulos,” the waist was left in a place which is now called “Bayawang,” both barrios found scattered in “ Ligtasin,” a “sitio” or site in Pinagbayanan before barangay Tulos can be reached.
The inhabitants who remained in this place were the early natives of this barangay which they called “ Pinagbayanan.” They organized this place again. Thus, there was the re-establishment of a church made up of indigenous materials, a cemetery and a talipapa in which according to the eldest residents here used the barter system.
During the Spanish-American War, some residents joined the “Guerilla Movement,” together with Isidro Sulit Sr., (called Colonel Suri), a native of this barangay who later became the Municipal Mayor of Taysan.
After the US victory, the residents under their early leaders exerted efforts to make developments under the administration of Mayor Isidro Sulit Sr. Roads were constructed and an Elementary School was established on a lot donated by CLARELON ( Clanor, Reyes Lontoc). Mayor Sulit, aided by his Japanese friend, Zeizen Uehara, granted people of Pinagbayanan a school site which was purchased with a very meagre amount from Clanor clan, for the establishment of a high school ( first named Pinagbayanan Community High School)
In the early part of the 20th century, broken tiles in China were found in the vicinity. The remnants of establishment of a cemetery and a church are passive evidence of existence of a formerly established town with the mentioned edifice built here long ago.
The early big and prominent clans in this barangay are Aclan, Alcantara, Cerezo, Clanor, Lontoc, Manalo, Maranan, Reyes, Sulit, Purino, Hega and Villena. The known leaders and the Barangay Captains from the olden days include Barcelino Manalo, Cristitoto Villena, Melicio Maranan, Vidal Villena, Doroteo B. Purino, Numeriano M. Aclan, Edilberto D. Villena Sr, Narciso B. Purino, Severino Casanas. They were the first public servants and leaders who initiated lots of tangible improvements in this barangay.
Structures in Barangay Pinagbayanan were improved. The known talipapa which later became the barangay market were erected approximately in 1950’s on a lot of the Villena clan and was transferred on a lot owned by the Sulit-Bautista clan. The old church was rebuilt into its new place, the barangay center was constructed in a parcel of land with an area of 400 sqm. donated by the late Mariano Evangelista. The barangay hall was rebuilt by the Villena clan and the services of the public cemetery were well managed up to the present time.