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January 1, 2018

Batangas Folktales by Aurelio P. Arguelles, 1916

This page contains the complete transcription of the 1916 ethnographic paper written by one Aurelio P. Arguelles from .jpeg scans of the originals made available by the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections. Corrections for grammar had been made in certain parts but no attempt was made to rewrite the original paper. Original pagination is indicated for citation purposes.

[Cover page.]

Tagalog Paper No. 55

(Folklore No. 162)

BATANGAS FOLKTALES

By

Aurelio P. Arguelles

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Classification:

  1. TAGALOG: Batangas, Batangas Province, Luzon.
  2. Folklore: Myths: Legends.

Manila
March 18, 1916

[p. 1]

ANTHROPOLOGY I.

ORIGIN OF LOCUST. (Legend)
By
Aurelio P. Hernandez.

The Eclipse of the Moon.

Many years ago, just after the great deluge, there lived in Mt. Macolot several gods who were then the whole ruler of the world. Those gods lived luxuriously. Their tables were full of all kinds of fruits, meat and precious liquors. Among the liquors used by these gods, there was one kind which was extraordinarily delicious and sweet. This particular liquor was so rich in taste, that the Gods decided not to reveal the method of extracting the liquor lest the rest of the men in the world would imitate them. But it so happened that at the nearby mountain. there lived a big giant who once had tasted that liquor and since that time was much interested in discovering the method of extraction.

On night, this giant whose name was Rajo, stealthily went to Mt. Macolot and looked over the place where the gods were extracting the delicious liquor. He discovered how the method or process of doing it and with great satisfaction, Rajo went back creeping to his home. Nobody saw him in this expedition, except perhaps the bright moon.



The next day, he tried if he could make a liquor of the same kind and he succeeded. At the height of his mastery [unsure word], he called several men, friends of his, and told them the process of ex-

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tracting such kind of liquor. Soon, the use of the delicious wine was universal. On all tables, there was wine of this kind.

The gods, upon knowing this sad truth, were bewildered for they could not understand how men came to know the process of making it. They investigated but it seemed in vain. At last, the moon betrayed Rajo. The gods turned over to Rajo and were greatly enraged. Rajo, [who] was also very angry, in turn went over to the moon and at an instance swallowed it up.

NOTE: From that time, men came to notice of an eclipse of the moon. This eclipse is termed in our native language as “nacain ñg laho” (eaten by “laho”). “Laho” may be only a mispronunciation of the name Rajo – the giant.

The Origin of the Locust.

Many years ago, in the town of Sagana, there lived a man who was especially favored by Bathala, the God of the Universe. The name of this man was Maramot. He was an honest, helpful and industrious man. For this reason, he became the favorite of Bathala. Being only a worker without money, he had to work very hard to earn his living. He worked steadily and honestly for many years so that after an elapse of time, he was no more the poor Maramot but the energetic and wealthy landowner.

But with these financial changes to Maramot, there also came a marked change in his habits. It seemed that the immense fortune which he gradually acquired through his persistent labors had undermined his character. Now, Maramot was no more, the thrifty, helpful, and honest man – he was gradually changed because he grew

[p. 3]

to be the most cruel of men. Humanity was now waning in him. He went friendless and without a heart. This rather radical change was observed by Bathala, who regretted it very much. He could not altogether believe that such a complete change could ever have occurred, especially in Maramot who was his honest and thrifty favorite. So, he devised a plan by which he could himself try Maramot so as to correct him if possible.

Bathala, being the Almighty, had only to wish for anything and then it was done. He consequently commanded the god of the plants and of water to deprive the land of fruits and of rain. These, God instructed to leave the luxurious plantations of Maramot untouched. Such was the imperious command of Bathala, so the wide land became dry and barren like a desert. While such was the condition outside of Maramot's dominion, within was an exact contrast. Within, there was life and prosperity, while without was poverty and hunger. People were wildly clamoring for food; all were imploring help from heaven. They soon found relief at the door of Maramot’s home. But not all were given relief. He bolted his doors against those who could not afford to meet the fabulous prices he affixed upon his barrels of grain. Poor men were driven away to die of hunger by the wayside.

Such was the conduct of Maramot. So, when Bathala saw this, he disguised himself and went to Maramot’s residence as an old man. He was to try his fate with this heartless landowner. He soon came to the house; and at the door, he met Maramot. He at once related to him the story of his life and of his waste. He asked

[p. 4]

for help in the name of the great God who gave him his immense fortune. But Maramot, upon hearing the words of the poor old man, instead of being touched by the misfortune of the poor, was rather incensed and angered. He immediately ordered his servants to drive away the poor man. But the old man pleaded and insisted, so Maramot, in the height of his cruelty, commanded his servants to flog him to death. But all these, Bathala would never permit. Maramot had hardly given his command when he heard a terrible commotion – or [unsure word[ earth and fire rolling. There was smoke, fire and dust everywhere. What does all these mean? Where was his great residence? Alas, Maramot now was standing amidst the ruin of his great fortune; he stood amazed and frightened to see his luxurious home, his rich barns – all were dwindling way under the mystic but powerful charm of fire. There was a great thunder and amidst the thunder and lightning, Maramot saw his master and God, Bathala. he repeated, but all was in vain; his retribution was all too late. Soon, the sky was cleared with smoke [unsure word] and as Maramot stood with longing eyes toward heaven, he noticed numerous and countless dot-like things flying up above him. They were in the shape of grains. But these were no more grains in the barn. They were transformed into flying insects such as were seen by Maramot. These where what is now known as locusts and these small destructive insects were created and let loose by Bathala who commanded these insects to visit and destroy all of the rice plantations of all those landowners who would prove to be heartless among his fellowmen. Such was the sad stories of the locusts

[p. 5]

so from that time on, locusts had always been supposed as instruments for punishing those wealthy but heartless landowners in thus ravaging the plantations of rice.

Such was the origin of locusts as believed by folks at home.

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Notes and references:
Transcribed from “Batangas Folktales,” by Aurelio P. Arguelles, 1916, online at the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.

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