January 1, 2018

The Makolot Mountain and the Stories Relating to It as Told by the Old People of Cuenca, Batangas by Ananias L. Chavez, 1922

This page contains the complete transcription of the 1922 ethnographic paper written by one Ananias L. Chavez 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. 340.

THE MAKOLOT MOUNTAIN AND THE STORIES RELATING TO IT, AS TOLD BY THE OLD PEOPLE IN CUENCA

By

Ananias L. Chavez

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Classification:

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

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Manila
March, 1922.

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THE MAKOLOT MOUNTAIN AND THE STORIES RELATED TO IT AS RELATED BY THE OLD FOLKS.
By
Ananias L. Chavez

At the central portion of the province of Batangas, at the southern shore of Lake Taal, stands the Makolot Mountain which was once famous for its legends in the nearby villages which caused the children for not going out in the dark to play. The mountain is covered with luxuriant vegetation except the western portion which assumes a towering [blurred word] of massive stones on which not a single plant thrives. At its base, one can see clearly the different layers of stones and rocks by which it is made of, as shown by its colors. Not an animal could be seen in that portion of the land except the hawk and the banoyo, a large carnivorous bird, which made it a resting place and affords a safety place for their offspring. Even the monkeys, the most clever climbing animal, cannot ascend that spot nor make their crossing through that rocky tower to the other side.

The mountain commands on the northern side the Taal Lake with its famous volcano peeping in the midst of it as a black dot which caused the death of hundreds of lives in the last eleven years. Further north is the range of mountains, the Tagaytay, forming the boundary of Cavite and Batangas. On the eastern and southern sides is a vast plain where the towns of Lipa, San Jose, Ibaan, Ba-

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tangas, and Bauan appear as white spots in the midst of the greatness of nature. On the western side is the portion of [blurred word] Taal and further west is a plain forming the separation of the lake and the China Sea, where the twin towns of Taal and Lemery along the banks of the Pansipit River stand.

The mountain is not so high but due to the high altitude of the place where it rises, attains a height of more than 1500 feet above sea level. There is no large animal that inhabits that region except the wild pigs which [blurred word] damages in time of harvest. Cliffs are numerous from which streams of cool water gush out but not large enough to water several feet of the ground from its base, except two larger ones which supply the town of Cuenca in its water supply for domestic use.

The mountain was once the home of the insurrectos, the Filipino soldiers during the conflict between the Americans and the natives, most of whom were Filipino officials of the nearby towns who took refuge in that place for safety. I remember three distinguished Filipino officers who spent a lot of time in that spot. One was General Miguel Malvar of Santo Tomas, Captain Alfonso Panopio of Bauan and Captain Briccio Laki of Cuenca. They rested there for a quite long time before they surrendered to the American flag.

The Encanto.

It was a general belief among the people within that

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vicinity in the past and even of today, this belief prevails among the common people that an Encanto lives in that mountain. Its real home is the barren portion which forms a tapering tower on the western side. This massive tower is said to be hollow having an entrance at its middle portion which is inaccessible to human feet. In this region dwells the Encanto.

The Encanto as believed to be a real man belonging to the white race and possessing a marvelous talent and can change one thing for another and can obtain anything he wants. In short, the Encanto possesses magical power and can transform one thing to another by his will.

The belief is that the tower of stone on the western side of the mountain is hollow and is divided into two chambers one above the other. There is an opening at the middle of its height which is inaccessible to human feet. From the opening, winding stairs are leading to the first chamber. At the door of the first cell are two golden lions which guard the entrance and assume the position as if they are ready to tear to pieces anyone that might enter that place. The chamber is richly decorated with trellis-work of gold in all sides. At the center of the wall stands a golden bull which the common people are dreaming of. The bull serves as a table where the drinking vessels of different sides are arranged. At the side of the

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wall is a short pipe through which wine is drawn by anyone that might make a visit. From that hall, a small opening leads to the under chamber by a short [flight of] stairs. At the entrance of that hall are two human figures, one bearing in his hand a flashing sword ready to strike and the other bearing on one hand a dagger ready to stab and a club on the other. The hall, according to the story, is more richly decorated than the first, because all the ornaments are of precious stones of different colors. On the sides of the hall are golden seats and at the center is the golden bed where the Encanto sleeps. These golden furniture are the dreams of the young and the old among the people. If all that is true, I wish also to take possession of them. [blurred word] to this Encanto are several short stories.

According to the fishermen in Taal Lake, they firmly believed it. Some say that at the earlier part of the evening that about nine or ten o’clock but not always, while handling their nets in the water of the lake, they sometimes hear melodious sounds of music near that place and hear distinctly the notes of the songs and the talking and laughing and above all is the noise of the plates and the flavor of the cooked food which is smelled as if a real feast is held. By these evidences, whether true or not have deeply implanted in the minds of some that the Encanto is living in that region. For it is known that not a single person

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dwells in that side of the mountain.

Others say that in some dark pleasant night while resting on the rafts or in the boats on the lake, they will suddenly [be] amazed by the flash of light coming from the tower of stones. Then, they will hear the ringing of bells and the music of the band. After half an hour of such noises, they will hear the trampling of horses’ feet. Then, a chariot as they called it emerged from the middle of the height of the tower drawn by sometimes two and other times four mules of same color. The chariot is well illuminated that they are able to recognize the person inside of it. Sometimes, they see a couple of white men richly decorated and dressed. Other times, a single person only. The carriage passes over the top the trees and over the lake. At the early part of the next morning, this chariot returns with the same speed and enters that tower.

Sometimes, the fishermen hear the band playing music for funeral ceremonies. When they hear such music in that place, they will at once draw out the nets and leave the place. This sound is an omen for bad luck. That is, they will not catch a single fish. Or sometimes, it is a sign of [a] storm.

MARIANG ILAYA (A WITCH).

At the time when the town of Cuenca was a small barrio under the jurisdiction of San Jose, that time when the pro-

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duction of coffee in that region was at its highest degree, there lived a beautiful lady by the name of Maria in that village near the foot of Makolot Mountain. She was loved and admired by everybody who knew her not only in that particular barrio but also in the neighboring ones. She was called Mariang Matimtiman as the Tagalog called a lady for her character and appearance among the groups of young men and ladies, and especially before her courtiers.

Her father was known in that vicinity as Ingong Bituin, whose real name was Domingo Mapolon. He was nicknamed Ingong Bituin due to his family name which suggested bituin (stars). Mapolon is a Tagalog name for a group of stars the position of which in the heaven some people could tell the hour of the night. It was a common nickname. I observed that all the old men that are still living have their nicknames. The nickname originates from different modes of life. Some are based from the appearance of a man, some from his good or bad acts, and others from his works.

Her mother was dead at the opening of the story and she was living alone with her father in a small house in the village. They were living not in a humble way because her father inherited three pieces of land for rice cultivation and a moderately large coffee plantation in the mountain.

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On day, her father left Maria alone and went to his coffee plantation to cut off the weeds and vines. Before leaving the house, he asked his daughter to bring him his lunch at noon for he would not be able to return to finish his work. His daughter being very obedient and loved her father very much, prepared the food. After the [blurred word], a large kind of bird that announces the hour of the day by making great noises in the woods, had notified the nearby villages the hour of twelve, she left the house and went to the plantation where her father was waiting for his dear daughter with thirst and hunger. But before reaching the plantation, she had to pass several ones covered with coffee and abaca. On her way, a man appeared with the appearance of her father and asked for his lunch. Believing that he was her real father, opened the package of food and laid before him. After eating, he asked Maria to go with him in the plantation and see the promising crop for the next season. At that time, the coffee was blooming. The man which assumed her father turned around three times and left the place. Maria then followed him and followed him during the whole afternoon.

Maria’s father waited [for] her and when he could not resist the fueling of hunger, he returned home. When he reached home, he found out that his daughter was bringing his food. After eating his dinner, he began to search for his daugh-

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ter but not a trace could be found in that whole afternoon. In the next day, being known in the whole barrio the loss of his daughter, most of the inhabitants, men and women, started to look for her. The men carried with them horns (tambuli) and the women carried with them crosses, necklaces, and belts as the natives called them kuentas at sintas and candle and made a procession to the woods. It was believed that Maria was found on the branches of the trees but very clever enough to make a leap from one branch to another that they could not catch her.

Since that time, she was called “Mariang Ilaya” and never returned to her house. It was believed and [is] still believed by some of the common people that at night she roams about the town of Cuenca wearing red shirt. Some believe that when a piece of cloth is lost while left outside the house at night, Mariang Ilaya has taken it with her.

THE BELIEF ON TIANAK

Tianak as believed by most people especially among the female sex is one of the most dangerous things in this world. It is a common belief among the people that the tianak caused a sickness among children, the crying of children at night. When the children cry continuously at [blurred] and at the daytime, it is believed that the Tianak is roaming about the house.

The origin of the Tianak according to legends handed

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down from generation was a baby lost from its parents. There was once a couple having a child living in a small house in the country near a deep ravine on the sides of which are continuous groves of bamboo trees. The child was eight years old when the story opens.

One day, during the harvest time, the father went to his rice field to harvest the fruit of his six months’ toil. At about ten o’clock after the young baby fell asleep in its small cradle, the mother with her basket (takuyan) and a knife (Yatab [unsure]) followed her husband. When the sun was directly overhead, the couple returned home with the rice they gathered. But alas, when she entered the house, she found not her child. She began to search for it in the house and its vicinity. Also, the father looked for his dear daughter here and there but in vain.

After a week of the loss of their child, one evening while they were talking about the miraculous loss of their child, they heard a cry of a baby under the house. The father being very eager to see his daughter leaped through [erased word] window to the ground. He found nothing except a cat sitting on the ground. He wondered about the noise and when he caught the cat, it made a sound as if the cry of a child. He was suddenly embarrassed by the cry and let loose the cat from his hands. He believed then that it was his daughter which was taken by some Power and acts in such

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miraculous ways. Since that time, they often heard such crying of a child nearby and even in the day, the wife heard such noise in the bamboo groves. Since that time, the tianak became one of the popular tales in that locality.

The Tianak is one of the superstitious beliefs among the people. Especially to the mothers who are pregnant, the Tianak is regarded as a worst thing. When these mothers are going to take a walk at night to inhale the freshness of the evening air, the old persons will not allow them to go outside the house without telling them to make their hair drop down their heads. These acts are believed to be the best way to prevent the approach of the Tianak in the presence of them. For if the Tianak went with them, even case the child that will be born will be infected with the disease which causes the crying of the child every time. Not only this, but the old women give the pregnant women garlic and onion which also prevented the coming near of the Tianak.

The Tianak assumes different forms varying from bird to cat, bat and small monkeys, usually found by the road [blurred] in the evening. And when it is caught by somebody, it will cry as a child and will be lost from the hand.

When a child is always crying continuously at night, the belief is that the Tianak is roaming near the house. The parents then seek for a shaman to cure the disease of the

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child. The shaman then carries with him some roots and leaves of the trees and burns them under the house three consecutive evenings and spread some crushed garlic and onions about the house.

AN INCIDENT ABOUT TIANAK

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One day, a woman with her sister and two other persons went to the foot of Makolot Mountain to pick off some guava fruits to feed their hogs. It was in the early afternoon when they left the village with their baskets (Natives called these takuyan) [and] went to seek guava groves. When they reached the foot of the mountain, there was a field of guava trees with numerous fruits. They began to pick off the ripe ones and not long after, they were separated by a small grove of bamboo. While they were picking the ripe fruits, the two sisters and the other persons were enjoying chatting. After a time, the two sisters could not hear the voices of their mates and instead they heard the voices of small children. The miracle about it was that they could not see them. The voices asked the two sisters to follow the way in front of them. The two sisters followed and followed the [blurred word] and at last they could not leave that place. They tried to cry for help but they were not able to shout. They heard nothing but the voices of the small children. The other companions did not find them but thought that they were en-

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joying the picking of the ripe fruits. When afternoon came, they resumed in good order. They found out that they were just walking and walking around that place. When they met each other, the two sisters related [to] them what happened to them. They were convinced that the Tianak roamed in that region as some people said. Since that time, that place was regarded to be a dangerous place. People since then did not go there because they were afraid to be lost.

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Notes and references:
Transcribed from “The Makolot Mountain and the Stories Relating to It as Told by the Old People of Cuenca,” by Ananias L. Chavez, 1922, online at the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.

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