Common Beliefs in Lipa, Batangas by Amparo Reyes, 1925 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Common Beliefs in Lipa, Batangas by Amparo Reyes, 1925 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Common Beliefs in Lipa, Batangas by Amparo Reyes, 1925

This page contains the complete transcription of the 1925 ethnographic paper written by one Amparo Reyes 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
Tagalog Paper No. 477.
Amparo Reyes
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  1. TAGALOG: Lipa, Batangas Province.
  2. Summary: Folklore: Beliefs.

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January 15, 1925.

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Amparo Reyes.

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I. Courtship:

1. Young men are usually very enthusiastic in courting a girl and in writing love letters when they see that the moon is escorted by a star, for it is a common belief that they will surely [be] successful in their enterprise.

2. It is believed that if a man is successful in cutting the head of a snake with a frog in its mouth on Holy Friday, he can be very successful in winning a woman whom he admires.

3. A tamarind tree is believed to possess a “mutya” and if a young man gets hold of it, he will be able to win every lady he courts, for it is said that a woman’s love is easily enchanted by the man possessing [a] “mutya.”

4. There is a certain kind of tree sap that can be used as “gayuma,” a powerful sap used in attracting women to love the possessor of it. Men just put this sap in their cigarettes and tobacco, and the moment the woman smells the smoke, she will fall in love with the man who possesses it, and will follow him wherever he goes.

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5. Dishes should not be collected from the table, especially when a young woman or man is eating, for her or his engagement will be broken, if she or he is engaged.

II. Marriage:

1. A woman who is fond of singing while she is cooking or while she is in front of the stove will marry a widower.

2. If a person is curious about his future life partner, it is believed that while he is eating at the table of a wedding feast, he should hide a grain of rice from his rice on the plate, being careful not to let anyone see or know what he has done, and he should put it under his pillow when he sleeps, and in the course of his sleep, he will dream the person to whom he will be married.

3. During [a] wedding feast, a broken plate is pounded in a mortar by the couple in order each of them will have a long happy life.

4. The people, especially the old ones, are opposed to the occurrence of marriage ceremonies of two sisters in the same year, for one of them will soon die or one of them will be poor.

III. Sickness:

1. When you see a black floating handkerchief when you are walking alone in the field at twilight you

[p. 3]

should not fix your eyes on it or anything about it, for if you do so, the black handkerchief will cover your face, then it will disappear, and the effect of it is that you will be sick.

2. The howling of dogs at midnight foretells the coming of epidemics such as cholera, typhoid, dysentery, and small-pox.

3. The people dislike to cut their nails on Fridays for the fear that if they do so, they will get sick. They do not take a bath in the period of the full moon for the same reason.

4. It is bad to take a bath when one of your neighbors dies, for you will be sick.

5. When an owl alights on the window pane of a house, it indicates that a member of the family living in that house will get a serious sickness.

IV. Death:

1. The howling of dogs at midnight also signifies that somebody in the neighborhood is dying.

2. When a person is walking alone in a wilderness, and a black dog with its tail hanging straight downward runs and blocks his way, it means that one of the persons in the house where he is going is dying.

3. When an owl alights on the branch of a neighboring tree, it foretells that if there is a baby to be

[p. 4]

born in a nearby house, that baby will be born dead.

4. When a crow flies at night about a house, it means that a relative or a close friend has died.

5. When a black butterfly flies about you, it signifies that a relative in a far and distant place is dead, and if a great number of flies fly at night, it foretells the death of either a father or a mother in the house.

6. When the body of a dead person is not stiff, it is believed that somebody in his family will soon follow him in the grave.

7. When a person dies with his hands in shake with the hand of another person, that person will die within two weeks.

8. If the coffin used is too large for a dead person, somebody will soon die in his house.

9. When one smells the odor of a candle, a relative living in another place is dying.

10. When you dream that one of your teeth falls down, one of your relatives will soon meet his death; and when it is a molar tooth, either your mother or father will die.

11. It is bad to sit at a table set for thirteen persons, for one of those persons will die.

12. If a member of a house or a friend dreams that a

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sick person is well already, this means that the patient will die.

13. If, while a person is walking and a bird flies across his way, it signifies that one of the members of his family is dying.

14. When a person dreams that he is wading or sailing in the sea, somebody in his family will die.

15. On the fourth night, it is believed that the soul of the dead person returns to his house to visit his family.

V. Burial:

1. When a mother dies, the children of hers are asked to step across the grave to prevent her spirit from visiting them.

2. It is not good to follow a funeral procession in a hurry, for if a person does so, he will soon die.

3. The best clothing is put on the dead person’s body, because they will appear before God.

VI. Birth:

1. It is believed that a baby born to a newly-married couple is a sign of good luck to the family.

2. There are times when the child who is newly born has teeth already. This is an indication that this child will become a great man when he grows old.

VII. Entertainment:

1. A feast, no matter how poor the family is, is given

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when the birthday of the youngest son comes or when he gets married so that he may have long life.

2. Holding a feast and prayer on the night after a person has died in honor of his soul for the people believe that if the soul is in purgatory, it will help him go to heaven.

3. Any sort of entertainment is given when the baptism of the first child occurs so that the family will not get poor.

VIII. Beliefs about crops and other plants:

1. If it rains on June 24, it is predicted that there will be a good and plentiful harvest of a crop, especially rice, for the year.

2. In planting bananas, in order that the banana plant may not grow very tall, the planters should sit down as soon as the seedling is put into the hole in order that the succeeding young may grow apart from one another, and the hole should be covered with soil so that many young plants should emerge out of it.

3. It is believed that the harvest will be very good if the young bamboos grow taller than the old ones, and if the guavas and the mangoes bear abundantly, and also if the “madre cacao” bears fruits before the harvest season comes.

IX. Other Social Beliefs:

1. A person who has a red mole with a long hair growing

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is supposed to become very rich when he gets old.

2. If a house is built facing the west, the owner will have bad luck.

3. A person whose fingers are very close together that light cannot be seen between them will be rich.

4. Passing the money through the window will make the family poor.

5. If a traveler sees some birds flying to his right direction, it signifies that he will have good luck.

6. In order to avoid meeting an accident on the way, a sign of the cross is performed before leaving the house.

7. If a person meets a snake on his journey, he will be lucky, but if he meets a lizard, he will meet an accident.

8. When a person finds a horseshoe with its opening facing before him, it is good to pick it up and bring it home for it foretells good luck.

9. At twelve o’clock midnight of New Year’s Eve, the wardrobe, drawers, bags, boxes, are opened so that there may be an improvement in the condition of the family.

10. When a rooster faces the wall and crows as loud as he can, it means that he will win in the cockpit.

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11. When a fire sings or when a cat cleans his body while facing the door, it signifies that there are some visitors coming.

12. Sweeping the floor when someone in the family is dead in the house is bad, for visitors to see the dead will not come.

13. If a gambler meets a crocodile on his way, it foretells that he will win.

14. Sneezing before a person starts his journey signifies bad luck.

15. Do not sweep the floor at night for it will make the family very poor.

16. Women do not eat twin bananas, for they are afraid to have twin babies.

17. It is bad to begin enterprises on Tuesdays, for they will [be] failures.

18. It is bad to leave a house when somebody is eating for the person how leaves out will have bad luck.


January 15, 1925.

Notes and references:
Transcribed from “Common Beliefs in Lipa,” by Amparo Reyes, 1925, online at the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
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