January 8, 2019

Badong and the Legend of the House Lizard as used to be Told in Tanauan, Batangas

Image source: Firos AK - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=67313145.
Image source: Firos AK - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=67313145.
[In this article: Batangas Province, Batangas beliefs and folklore, Tanauan Batangas, Batangas legends, house lizard, butiki, butiking bahay, common house gecko]
From the “History and Cultural Life of Tanauan, Batangas1,” we get this forgotten legend about your ordinary house lizard, i.e. butiki in Filipino. This document was among those required by the administration of then-President Epidio Quirino in 1951 of all Department of Education districts around the country to research and rebuild local histories that might have been destroyed by the Second World War.

This legend of the house lizard is fairly obscure and not the sort that you find in publications, albeit suffice it to say that it was still being told in the 1950s at least in Tanauan – but most likely also elsewhere – where the contents of the source document were collected.

The story was probably concocted even before this era, perhaps to encourage love for one’s mother; and this is as though this even needs any further encouragement because Batangueño families in many instances are very matriarchal.

The text of the legend, which is provided below, is for all intents and purposes as the original author wrote it, broken into paragraphs for the reader’s convenience and edited for grammar where necessary.



One day, Badong was promenading around when he chanced to meet a beautiful damsel. Because of his great love for the girl, he began to propose to her and plead for his heart's cause.

Instead of accepting his love however, the girl told him to get first the heart of his mother before she could ever love him.

Badong, in his eagerness to win the girl's love, went home hurriedly to get his mother's heart. When Badong reached home, he found his mother praying intently before an icon hanging by the wall of the house.

He unsheathed his sharp dagger and sneaked behind his praying mother noiselessly. With cat-like agility, he sprang upon
her, killed her instantly, and got her heart.

As he was going downstairs, it happened that the heart he was carrying tell onto the ground. The heart began to bounce and bounce.

Badong reached for it but he could not take hold of it. He stumbled many times in his efforts to get the heart. In his
last attempt, he fell again.

This time, he could not get up any more. The frustrated figure of Badong was suddenly transformed to a small crawling animal, which was later on called “butiki” or house lizard2.
Notes and references:
1History and Cultural Life of Tanauan,” online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
2 The butiki is also known as the Common house gecko.” Wikipedia.

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