Different Beliefs in Lian, Batangas by Rafael L. Arcega, 1924 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Different Beliefs in Lian, Batangas by Rafael L. Arcega, 1924 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Different Beliefs in Lian, Batangas by Rafael L. Arcega, 1924

This page contains the complete transcription of the 1924 ethnographic paper written by one Rafael L. Arcega 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. 482.
Rafael L. Arcega.
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  1. TAGALOG: Lian, Batangas Province.
  2. Summary: Folklore: Beliefs.

Manila November 18, 1924.

[p. 1]

By Rafael L. Arcega.
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1. During the rainy season, our townspeople has a peculiar way of determining how long the rain will last. If the rain commences on Saturday, early in the morning, without giving the sun a chance to shine or show up, from early morning up to late in the evening, then they predict that there will be continuous rain for the rest of the week. Another belief is this: if the frogs are croaking during the night or even during the day while raining, then the rain will not cease but continue on for quite a number of days or even weeks.

2. At night, shooting stars or meteorites or falling stars are sometimes seen. Women have a peculiar belief connected with this. If, at the instant, a star shoots or falls, a girl or a woman is able to undo her folded hair and tug at it, that process will make her hair grow long.

3. During some days, it is observed that it showers or even rains, though lightly, although the sun is shining brightly. According to farmers, it is a phenomenon which makes the rice or “palay” become ripe.

4. During story days, when there is thunder and lightning, the old folks used to say that it was not advisable to open the windows, for lightning toes with the

[p. 2]

wind. Furthermore, they have all glasses, mirrors and steel blades covered as, they said, these things attracted lightning. 5. While a little boy, I used to hear funny stories about the moon. It was said that when the moon became dim, as when it was covered by some passing cloud, it was because the moon was refilling her reservoir with oil. The moon burns this oil to furnish light. So, it had got to fill its empty tank with oil again.

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I. Beliefs concerning animals:

1. When a gambler, or anyone who is going to a game of chance, meets a snake, it is believed that he will win.

2. When a man meets a lizard, it shows bad luck.

3. When barking of dogs are heard on New Year’s Eve, the one who hears it will have bad luck throughout the year; but when he hears noises of birds, cows or crickets, he will have good luck throughout the year.

4. It is common belief that when a cat, facing the door, wipes its face with its paw, visitors are coming.

5. When a dog or several dogs howl in the silence of the night, it foretells the coming of some grave danger or misfortune.

6. When a dog scratches the ground, digging with its paws, as if making a grave, it is driven away as that

[p. 3]

action signifies that it intends to bury its master, that is, it hopes for the death of its master.

7. It is believed that on Christmas Eve, horses and cows are endowed with the power of speech for these were the animals present at the birth of Jesus.

8. When ant hills appear at some place on the ground beneath the house, it shows luck to the owner of that house.

9. When “gamo-gamo” or winged-ants appear in great numbers (seen for they infest the lighted lamps), they foretell that a long rain is approaching.

II. Beliefs concerning Girls’ Customs:

1. It is a common belief that when a girl is fond of telling stories to the children, he will have no chance of marrying.

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

3. When a girl bites the right side of her tongue, her lover is talking good of her; but if she bites the left side of her tongue, her lover is talking bad or ill of her.

4. If a girl sits by one of the corners of a four-angled table while eating, she will be despised by her lover’s parents.

III. Beliefs concerning Death:

1. When a black butterfly flutters around a person, his or her nearest relative is ill.

[p. 4]

2. When a bird flies into the house or room where there is a sick person, that person will die.

3. When the breast of a dead person is still warm, he or she is expecting the presence of someone before being buried or entombed.

4. In a town, when an unmarried woman of marriageable age (“dalaga”) dies, her death will be followed by that of an unmarried young man (“binata”), or vice-versa.

5. If the dead does not get stiff after the lapse of a day, a member of the family will follow.

6. When one dreams that one of his teeth broke off, a member of his family will die; if it is an incisor, it will be one of his brothers or sisters, if a molar, either his father or his mother.

IV. Concerning Natural Phenomena:

1. When a comet appears in a certain locality, a disaster will befall there.

2. When the comet touches the earth, it is prophesied that there will be a deluge.

3. When there are signs of approaching rain and a rainbow appears in the sky, the rain will not continue.

4. In Taal, people believe that when one takes notice of or points at any object in Taal Volcano, evil or even death will befall him.

5. In places in mountains or valleys where one has [p. 5] never been, he is advised not to point at anything peculiar there which catches his attention, for the “nono” or evil spirit that rules there may get offended and make him sick.

6. Among the ignorant folks, when one falls suddenly ill, they believe that the “nono” has been angry with him. They recall the places where he had been last and there, they make offerings of food to pacify the anger of the “nono” and thus restore the sick from sickness.

7. When a girl sees a shooting or falling star (meteors) during the night, and she unloosens her knotted hair, at the same time pulling or tugging at the end, her hair will grow long.

8. During the rainy season, when lightning and thunder are recurring very often, people believe that there will be no strong rains.

V. Miscellaneous.

1. Storekeepers do not sell noodles at night because if they do, those left will [become] rusty.

2. When a child bites an eggplant, his teeth will decay.

3. When a child bites the teeth of a comb, he will contract toothache.

4. If a girl happens to cough while eating, her lover remembers her.

5. When one dreams of a burning house, a member of the family will die.

6. When a boy or a girl cannot “soften” the “kibal,” (a species of string beans) which he or she is boiling, he or she will never marry.


Notes and references:
Transcribed from “Different Beliefs in Lian,” by Rafael L. Arcega, 1924, online at the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collection.
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