Barrio Balic-balic Population: 1893 & 1897
Together with other town officials, Fr. Ramon Caviedas, a Franciscan friar, signed a petition dated March 10, 1884 addressed to the city of Manila for permission to build a new cemetery for Sampaloc in response to experienced difficulties during the cholera epidemic.
In their petition, Fr. Caviedas expressed that La Loma was very far away from the outlaying barrios of Sampaloc and that during the rainy season, the mourners had to travel this distance submerged in flood waters. In addition, the distance added to the grief of the deceased family as funeral costs increased.
The most populated location of Sampaloc was near the poblacion or the pueblo. Balic-balic is only one of ten populated barrios that belonged to Sampaloc. In 1893, the Pueblo, Solocan and San Roque were the most populated and San Francisco del Monte, Diliman, Tatalon were the least populated. Balic-balic only had 400 residents registered in 1893. When Balic-balic was proposed to be the site of the cemetery in 1884, the number of people living in the hills must even have been smaller. However, by 1897, Balic-balic-s population grew from 400 to 2,814 which represents a very subtantial growth.
It may be possible that this population growth was accelerated by the building of Calle Balic-balic that linked the newly built Sampaloc cemetery in Balic-balic to the pueblo of Sampaloc. The place of the dead attracted the living.
Most residents of Balic-balic resided in 244 houses made out of nipa and bamboo materials. During the American colonial period, a government report stated that in March 11, 1908, a fire started in nipa house no. 264 at Calle Balic-balic which destroyed 241 other houses in the same vicinity. One wonders how many nipa huts were still left standing in Balic-balic.
Most of the nipa houses are made of very light materials and Benita de Jesus paid only 150 pesos as taxes for a nipa house she occupied in Balic-balic.
We can contrast Balic-balic with the prominent residents of Sampaloc. Residents of Calle Alix paid the highest real estate taxes (a total of 255,500 pesos) with residents like Jose Franco (House Number 20/22) 20,000 pesos, Eugenio Guidote (No. 43) 20,000 pesos, Sr. Barretto (14,000 pesos, no. 50), Da Carolina (16,000 pesos), Gonzalo Tuason (no. 17, 16,000 pesos, no. 99 – 18,500 pesos – two lots), and Alejo Carreon (no. 33, 6,000 pesos, no. 64, 8,000 pesos). Doña Aleja Atayde de Gruet also had two houses at no. 93 (8,000 pesos) and no. 72(1,500 pesos). Isidro Pestaño, one of the signatories in the Caviedas petition to build a new cemetery, had a house at no. 31 calle Alix and paid a total of 3,000 pesos. Calle de Gastambide followed with 42,800 pesos, and Calle Alejandro VI with 29,600 pesos.
Note: Photo above shows a Sampaloc house made of much better materials.
Even during the Spanish and early American period, we can say the Balic-balic was a place where the poorer residents of Sampaloc stayed.