Folklore and Beliefs from Taal, Batangas by Celestina Mandanas, 1925 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Folklore and Beliefs from Taal, Batangas by Celestina Mandanas, 1925 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Folklore and Beliefs from Taal, Batangas by Celestina Mandanas, 1925

This page contains the complete transcription of the 1925 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. 471.
Celestina Mandanas.
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  1. TAGALOG: Taal, Batangas Province.
  2. Summary: Folklore: Beliefs.

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January 15, 1925.

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Celestina Mandanas.

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The Origin of Taal.

Formerly, the town of Taal was not called Taal. During the Spanish regime, there were assigned inspectors roaming about the different towns in the provinces. One day, the people were in the farm planting cane sugar. As they were planting the taad (the portion of sugarcane which is planted), a new inspector approached a farmer, asking (in Spanish) for the name of the town. The laborer misunderstood the Spaniard and answered, “Taad po,” thinking that the officer was inquiring of what he was holding. Without thanking the laborer, the inspector proceeded to his office, and made some reports on the town he thought was Taal. From that time on, the town was known by everyone as Taal.

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A Legend on the Calumpang River.

In the town of Batangas, in Batangas Province, runs the Calumpang River. This became famous to the people of the place and in the surrounding towns due to its floods and its many men who had lost their lives in that river. The legend runs as follows: Once upon a time, there lived a beautiful lady who was restricted by her parents. At any rate,

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she became engaged to a certain young spirited laborer. The lady’s parents disliked the laborer so that there was no other means to win the girl with their consent. The man asked her to elope with him.

As they were leaving the barrio of Paliocan, they had to traverse the river before they could secure someone (a priest) to marry them. Without thinking of the river, the two (lovers) waded in the water. The river was wide enough to be waded; and as they were about one-third away from the bank they left, the high tide came, and the lovers were never more seen. The people mourned at their loss. The lovers’ spirits called help from below; but no one could hear them. The old people of the place believe that the restless spirits of the two lovers who were wanting a priest and companions to marry and enjoy with them cause the loss of so many lives in that river. Every year, a man or two die and if the children ask their grandfathers and other elders for the reason, they will just answer that “The lovers’ spirits are calling for them.”

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The Legend of the Morning Star or the Beautiful Maiden.
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In the town of Maligaya, there lived a couple who had no child. Pagasa, the name of the woman, had prayed [to] the good spirits and the gods for one, but they would not hear her.

[p. 3]

She was always sad, and her husband, Maguiting, comforted her. As she was becoming sickly, he didn’t know what to do. He asked help from their priest. While Maguiting was praying, he heard the voice of an invisible creature, saying, “Obey the wishes of the Evil Spirit, that is, exchange your spirit with that of your child and we will give you one.” Remembering his sick wife, he at once affirmed the wishes asked for by the voice, and told her of his good news (of the child).

The time had come; it was three o’clock when the woman gave birth. Everyone was anxious to see the baby but she gave birth to none. Just at that moment, the sky was illuminated by a beautiful star, which said thus, “I am the newly born one who cannot come near you unless the evil spirit is away from my father.” Maguiting didn’t know what to do. He went to the High Priest and asked what he should do. Both prayed. Years passed, and the couple gazed every time at their beautiful “Morning Star.” They grew old, but still, watched and waited.

One stormy night, a prince ws lost in the woods. He could not continue his way, so that he rested under a mango tree on the grass. In his sleep, he was awakened by the light (rays) from the Morning Star. He wondered and gazed at it, and saw as if in a dream that the star was amidst the leaves of a tree. He climbed to reach it, but he saw the unkind star below. He went down; it moved and it followed, until it

[p. 4]

rested on a rock near a spring. Suddenly, the prince grasped it; but to his great surprise and delight, he got hold of a beautiful maiden’s hands. Thus, the Morning Star became human, and at that very moment Maguiting, the father, was dying. He told his wife of the punishment laid on him by the evil spirit. He even told her of the child’s change. Just after his death, Pagasa went in search of the child, now a grown up lady, by the spring. At her sight, she sprung and called, “Mother, I had been watching over you from high, but the good spirits prevented me to come near the man influenced by the evil spirit, but now I am human, and he (her father) is dead. Mother, take me home with you.”

The anxious mother cried, “My child! My Morning Star!”

Instead of going to their hut, they were led by the prince, who represented the good spirit, to his happy palace.

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It is believed that if one rests his hands on his head, when he dies, he will feel that the earth above him is heavy.

If one plants corn when he is hungry, the corn will be poor.

One must not look up whenever he plants banana for the plant (banana) will be very tall.

To cry early in the morning is a sign that you will still have

[p. 5]

some good news for the day.

It is a belief that when one is playing or sleeping with the beam of the moon over him will make him sick or crazy.

To allow a child sleep late in the afternoon will make the child cry at night.

When one cuts his or her finger during the full moon, it will bleed more.

The same case is believed when the same accident occurs during the high tide.

To hear a dog barking pitifully in the night, it is believed that some evil spirits are by that animal.

When chickens get up early and come down late from their resting place, it is believed that the year to come is a year of plenty; but if they get up late and came down early, it means a famine.

When the coffin of a dead person is too wide and long, there is somebody to follow.

When a dead person is not stiff, someone is believed to follow.

When a dog scratches the ground downstairs (in one’s home), somebody is going to die in that house very soon.

When you throw money through the window, you will become poor.


January 15, 1925.

Notes and references:
Transcribed from “Folklore and Beliefs from Taal,” by Celestina Mandanas, 1925, online at the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
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