Perrelos

Perrelos – [(Sp.), a place name interesting for the very uncertainty of the origin of the name itself. Even the inimitable Julian Daan, as Teban Escudero, forewarned a fellow character in his mega-hit radio series in the 1980s: It is very dangerous. It is very Perrelos, Carcar, Cebu.]

Although unverifiable as to when it started but a legend in Perrelos says the name is derived from the Spanish “los perros” (the dogs). The apocrypha relates of a Spanish priest who in his rush to administer the sacrament of Extreme Unction — now anointing of the sick (not just the extreme) –, rode over newly-planted rice (or corn), causing an uproar among the farmers that the Spaniard likened to mad dogs. Such must have been the high urgency with which priests of old held the battle for a dying man’s soul. Nowadays, many a priest would just say, “Kon dili awahi na, dili mangita ug pari” (If not too late, they don’t look for a priest). Pero, di ba mao man nay katuyoan sa pari? (But isn’t that what priests are for?) — to ride hell over high water to get to a man’s soul before the devil does? Very few laymen would do that for a man’s soul, which may spell the difference, per the Catholic faith (Communion of saints), between a soul triumphant and one suffering instead — because laymen have other, more mundane, concerns. Perhaps some priests today just have been distracted from the primordial battle by secular interests, too–say a basketball game on TV or whatever it is that makes a priest require the dying set a prior appointment.

But stretching los perros to account for Perrelos is just stretching it a bit much. For instance, how did the article in los perros morph into what seems rather the accusative pronoun in perrelos?  For isn’t an accusative use of los likelier here, even if perre- may still refer to dogs?  Maybe it’s a Spanish curse the priest screamed at the frenzied mob:  Turn them to dogs! (Perrelos!)

That’s not the meaning of course and such a long-winded comic disputation of a well-meaning legend-making. Actually, Perrelos is a pueblo-parish with a quaint old church Santa Maria Perrelos under the ayuntamiento of Serreaus in the province of Orense in Galicia, Spain.  A historian Padre Juan Alvarez Sotelo was born in Perrelos.  There is also a street named Perrelos in the capital Orense. And then, Perrelos and Perelos are also Catalan/Galician surnames, with variant Perelló (Rafael Nadal’s girlfriend’s) and Perellós. A legend could thus be also woven about a priest who gave his surname Perrelos to the place.

Spanish references one can read do not use an acute diacritical mark on the word. That may just be an omission but if not, then it must be correctly read as per-RE-los. The PER-re-los accent could have been an American influence since they usually accent the first syllable in three-syllable words, many of these the foreign ones they meet.

Interestingly, none of the present places (now called sitios) of Perrelos appears in the 1850-51 parish books yet. There was, however, a place called Minag-a, quite populated then but now apparently non-existent or having another name, and this may have been a settlement by the Valladolid River (once called Minag-a River), and may have been the forerunner of Perrelos. As such Minag-a could very well be what is presently called sitio Bas, still in Perrelos, which sits on the mouth of the river.  An old watchtower in sitio Bas could be a clue in the search for its old name because there was no such place name Bas yet in 1850-51. On the other hand, Lumbia already appears by 1850 although we cannot be certain whether that was the part in present-day Perrelos or in Can-asojan (which name too had not appeared by 1850-51). And beats me what Lumbia means.* I here agree with the priestly admonition: if not too late we don’t ask what our places’ names mean!

It’s regrettable that history about the facts of Perrelos is quite inadequate especially since, like the other Spanish-named barangays Guadalupe and Valencia, I also did not see in the old church records mention of a place called Perrelos (or Perelos) even into the early American era. Meaning the place may have gotten the name not that long ago, probably late 1860s.  How can we lose information in such a short time?  If not for the fire that burned down records, Carcar would still have its archive of official acts, ordinances, resolutions or proclamations (the official naming of a place or barrio would be found there certainly) and there would not now have been these issues, and us chasing fable after fable — like mad dogs.

Talk of speaking too soon. I found Perrelos and Guadalupe mentioned as places (barrios) in the Burial books of the 1860s. Mea maxima culpa.

* [17-Jan-2011] lumbia is a palm tree (thanks to Almino Malaza of Metro Manila, from St. Bernard, Leyte)

Responses

  1. I am richard alfafara – my father rene jose alfafara was born in perelos,carcar and my grandpa solomon alfafara lives in carcar. glad to hear found like this info..thanks


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