:: The Spanish Period
THE SPANISH PERIOD
INDUSTRIES - In 1788, Don Jose Basco Y. Vargas became the Governor General of the Philippines. He pioneered many projects for the encouragement of agriculture and industries. Industries in the island - group were completely abandoned because the people were made compulsory to work on building roads, public buildings and churches.
The abundance of fish, favorable climate and virgin soil then greatly determined the occupation of the people. These geographical factors became strong stimuli for the people to be fishermen, farmers and sailors. Much later, the small clearings were expanded to fields.
RELIGION - When the Spaniards came to Bantayan, the people already had a kind of religious convictions and some form of religious worship. They easily conceived the idea of evil spirits, good spirits, witches and ghost. In order to please these creatures of imaginations, people often resorted to charms, vows, sacrifices and self torture. It was a common belief among the illiterate people of the past that cholera and other fatal diseases were caused by poison which an evil spirit put into the wells and that the people can be saved from the dreaded disease only by chanting prayer and holding processions.
DOMESTIC AND SOCIAL LIFE - In fact the Bantayanons are people who go out of their places to make strangers feel at home. For most part they are kind, lovable, polite and hospitable, regardless of race or religion of the person who called on. One almost invariably finds a warm welcome awaiting him. After one is invited to be seated, drinks or coffee is served.
Usually in parties, the guests and the hosts are seldom together for the hosts are out in the kitchen preparing elaborate foods. More often the meeting of the guests upon arrival is entrusted to friends and neighbors who are helping. Ordinarily, the guests are seated in the chairs that line the sala. If there is no music or dances, the guests wait until the time comes for them to be led to the dining room.
When necessity compels one to be a vegetarian, he eats any kind of fruit or tuber available, even if the raw state is a deadly poison. One particular poisonous vegetable or tuber is KIOT. It is yellow in color and this sliced into thin bits and soaked in salty water or sea water for two days, after which it is boiled changing the water several times until it looses its original color. In order to be sure that no poison remains, some of it is fed to a dog or cat to test if it is already safe for consumption.
It is difficult to imagine of Bantayan to be deprived of eating places for conversation, for they are a result of the characters and traits of the people who dislike solitude to eat, drink and amuse in public. These are innate impulse in them which seems to crave for an audience as a kind of stimulus to their wit, their appetites and their pleasures. It has been reported that this island-group consumes more beer than the entire province of Bohol.
Many still adhere and cling to the customs of their ancestors. A girl is a valuable asset to the family. She can be engage in marriage until a satisfactory dowry has been given for her. She is given a little chance or choice in the selection of her husband. When a boy has decided on a girl he wishes to have for his wife, he consults his relatives as to the girl's personal qualities and the amount of they can contribute for his dowry.
Another old custom which still persist today is concerning marriages. The family of the groom is expected to bring food and any hard drink to the home of the bride, where an arrangement is entered into between the two families as to what the groom and his family should do for the household of the bride. Sometimes, such arrangement includes the payment of debts or repair of the house. The expenses of the wedding are met by the groom and his family. The relatives of the groom do the serving and entertaining of the bride's visitor.
In business, If an individual ventures in an industry and make money out of his ingenuity, soon will find that not very few will engage in the same business to compete.
THEIR HOMES - The architecture of the average home is not complicated, being a single room which can accommodate numberless members, apparently. Usually, two door ways and two or three windows admit light that penetrates into the interior where one sees chairs or benches and other articles necessary to primitive housekeeping. Of course, the well-to-do have housed in European style, which is well furnished and up-to-date.
When the Spaniards came, few rich people built houses with thick stone walls and covered tile roof. Two of these houses still exist up to this date.
INTELLECTUAL LIFE - We express beauty as we see it, through pictures and carvings we call art. Long before Madridejos and Santa Fe, Bantayan is considered the town of sculpture. CIPRIANO CARABIO is one of the great names among the artists in this island-group. His son, SEVERINO CARABIO, is said to represent the sculptors who portrayed emotions of human feelings.