Beliefs in Taal, Batangas by Celestina Mandanas, 1924 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Beliefs in Taal, Batangas by Celestina Mandanas, 1924 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Beliefs in Taal, Batangas by Celestina Mandanas, 1924

This page contains the complete transcription of the 1924 ethnographic paper written by one Celestina Mandanas 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.

Henry Otley-Beyer Collection

[Cover page.]

Tagalog Paper No. 470.
Celestina Mandanas.
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  1. TAGALOG: Taal, Batangas Province.
  2. Summary: Folklore: Beliefs.

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November 20, 1924.

[p. 1]


Celestina Mandanas.

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Beliefs and examples of each; those which concern:

I. Children.

1. When a visitor weeps on a new-born baby, the latter will suffer poverty throughout his life.

2. Sponsors should possess good qualities because the children inherit their habits and their intellectual faculties.

3. In christening, if a baby girl is alone and the rest are all boys, it is a common belief that when she grows up, she will have many admirers; and when a single baby boy, he will have many sweethearts.

4. Just after christening, the child who is brought out of the church first will be the wisest among them.

5. When the sponsor reaches the baby’s home, she places a gold piece or any form of money in her godchild’s hand so that she will not encounter poverty during her life.

6. If a child puts the teeth of a comb in his mouth, his teeth will be destroyed, or he will have toothache for life.

[p. 2]

7. On the Resurrection of Christ, that is, on this feast day, children are told to jump high so as to grow fast; and if they are short and unable to jump, someone helps them to do so.

II. Ladies’ customs, beliefs on:

1. It is a belief that when a lady changes her seat while she is eating, her lover will change her.

2. If a lady sings while she is cooking, she will marry a widower.

3. Ladies who eat on an angled-table, a square, a rectangular, or any four-cornered table, must not sit by one of the corners for she will be despised by her future mother-in-law.

4. It is a belief that when girls cut the tips of their hair two days before the full moon, the lady of the moon will give them long, beautiful hair.

III. Marriage Customs.

1. It is common belief that the one (of the couple) who can stand at once from kneeling after the marriage ceremony will be dominant throughout their long life partnership.

2. During the ceremony, the girl as well as the boy each holds a lighted candle. The one whose candle will be extinguished at once will die first.

3. During the marriage feast, rice is thrown to them by the guests, so that the couple will have a

[p. 3]

long life of plenty.

4. When a couple leaves the house, the members of the family break pots, plates, lamps and the like, before their departure, so that they will surely have children.

5. A newly delivered woman must not be left alone with the baby for any evil spirit may take away the little one.

IV. Death, the Dead and their Spirits:

1. When a black butterfly flies around a person, it is a belief that his nearest relative is dying.

2. When one smells the odor of an extinguished candle, one of his nearest relative is dead.

3. When a dead person is left in a room, he will be taken by the “asuang.”

4. It is a belief that when there is a dead person in the house, it is bad to sweep the floor, for the members of the family will follow one by one.

5. When a dead person is not stiff, someone in the house will die soon.

6. People, especially children, are told to step across the open grave so that the spirit of the dead will not visit them.

7. It is a common belief that the spirit of the dead takes a bath on the fourth day to face God, and the members of the family do the bathing.

[p. 4]

8. On the eighth day, the family gives a feast for it is believed that the spirit needs provisions on its journey.

V. Beliefs How Guilty Persons May Be Detected:

1. When something is lost in a home, all the members are asked to chew rice, the one whose saliva is very thick is the one guilty.

2. It is also a belief that when the names of the suspected persons are written on the same sizes of buri leaves, and placed in water, the one which sinks is the one guilty.

VI. Luck:

1. It is believed that when one meets a snake, a centipede or a millipede on his way, he will be lucky on his enterprise.

2. If he meets a lizard, he will have bad luck.

3. When a rooster crows at night, it is believed that the owner will win in gambling.

4. When a man meets a pregnant woman on his way to a gambling place, he should not proceed, for he would have losses instead of gains.

5. Killing a black cat is a sign of bad luck.

6. When an owl is heard howling at night, the person who hears it will meet some disaster.

[p. 5]

7. One who hears the noises of birds, cows and chickens at New Year’s Eve will have good tidings throughout the year; but when the barking of dogs are first heard, he will have ill luck in the coming whole year.

VIII. Natural Phenomena:

1. Before the eruption of Taal Volcano, a comet appeared from every three o’clock till five o’clock in the morning, and the old people believed that the appearance of the comet, or any planets, foretell a disaster.

2. It is a belief that when a rainbow appears in the sky, the rain will not continue.

3. Pointing at several things seen on the way when sailing on the sea, or ocean, will lead to some disaster, as [a] typhoon.

4. At home, there is a river called “Ilio-Ilio.” When one takes notice or points at anything seen in or by the river, such as plants, the clearness of the water, insects and fishes, a sudden death was believed to come on him.

5. When one goes to a forest, he says “bulag” in order to drive away evils.

6. It is also a belief that upon saying “Tabi, nuno” or “get away, spirit,” the evil spirits will go away, and the person will not be affected by the dangerous

[p. 6]

surroundings, as for example, those of “Ilio-Ilio” river.


November 20, 1924.

Notes and references:
Transcribed from “Beliefs in Taal,” by Celestina Mandanas, 1924, online at the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
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