Folklore from Lipa, Batangas by Amparo Reyes, 1924 Part 1 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Folklore from Lipa, Batangas by Amparo Reyes, 1924 Part 1 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Folklore from Lipa, Batangas by Amparo Reyes, 1924 Part 1



This page contains the complete transcription of the 1924 ethnographic paper written by one Amparo Reys 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. 655.
Amparo Reyes.
  1. TAGALOG: Lipa, Batangas Province.
  2. Summary: Folklore, Myths, Fables and Legends.

July, October, 1924.

[p. 1]



Amparo Reyes.

The Origin of People

In the beginning, there was not a single human being on earth except its creator, Laoghari. Laoghari created the trees of the forest, the animals on the land and in the water, the birds in the year, and lastly, the flowers in the garden. One day, as he was gazing at his great creation, he felt so lonely. He thought of creating a companion who would be a partner and a comfort to him. He would not think of the form and of the way he would proceed in creating that companion whom he greatly wish to have. He took a walk in this garden where the different kinds of beautiful flowers could be seen. As he was in his deep thought, his attention was attracted by a beautiful flower, which at present is named “Alejandria.” he slowly approached the flower, touched it; smelled it, and carefully looked at it, "Oh, at last I have found the elements from which I shall base and form the object of my creation," he said to himself. He meditated for a time, combine the different elements of the flowers with its leaves and its slender stalk, and out of those compounded elements, he created a person in the form of a woman. The woman what's so attractive, tender, sweet, and fresh that he took her and lived with her. They lived happily, and in the

[p. 2]

course of their happy life in the garden, twin babies were born – a boy and a girl. When these two children grew up, they lived together and brought forth many children. Their offspring grew, and multiplied very rapidly until the whole earth was filled with people.

NOTE: this story was related to me by my grandmother was also related to her, as she said, by her grandfather.

Manila, July 30, 1924.

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The Cat and the House

A little mouse was playing with a piece of meat in a kitchen. Soon, a big black cat came. “how fortunate I am. I will have a mouse for my supper,” said the cat to herself. When she was about to catch her with her paws, the most pitifully said, “Oh, I am very small for your supper. I am sure you will like bigger mice.” The cat replied, I will surely like bigger mice if you can show them to me. “Oh yes, there are plenty of mice in my home, and if you will go with me, I will gladly show them to you,” said the mouse. They walked and as soon as the mouse reached the hole where he was living, he jumped into it and ran as fast as he could. The cat was very angry for she was too big to get into the hole. When the mouse reached its home, he related his story to the other

[p. 3]

mice. They agreed that they would kill the cat. Six little mice agreed to challenge the cat. The mother mouse said, “Never dare to challenge the cat. You will surely be killed instead of killing her.” The little mice said, “We are six and she is alone. If we could kill the cat, we shall be free everywhere we go to hunt for food.” The six little mice waited for the cat in the kitchen, and attacked the cat as soon as she came. But the cat was big and quick that she made an end of all of them.

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The Kitten and her Mother

The little kitten and her mother were living with the old mother cat of the kitten’s mother. One day, while these cats were playing, a girl threw a piece of meat to them. The kitten’s mother jumped and in a sudden seized the meat. The kitten’s mother called her kitten and begun to eat the piece of meat together. The old mother came to them and said, “Give me a bite, give me a bite. I am hungry.” The kitten’s mother replied angrily and said, “No, this piece of meat is not even enough for me and my little kitten. If you want, let me and my kitten eat first, and our remnant will be all yours.” The old mother cat was sorry but she did not say anything.

One day, the little kitten found some food. She took it and began to eat the food alone. Soon, her mother came

[p. 4]

and saw her eating the food alone. “Oh, you have food but you eat alone. Why do you not give me a bite?” cried the angry mother. The kitten replied harshly and said, “Let me eat first and then you will have my remnants.” The kitten’s mother cried, “Is that the way you repay me for good care that I have given you?” “Do not be angry, mother. Do you not do it also to your old mother?” timidly replied the little kitten.

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Why the Present Church of Lipa Was Built.

Many, many years ago, when the present town of Lipa was in its infancy, there lived a couple named Maria and Juan. Maria was industrious, tender-hearted, patient, and God-fearing while her husband Juan was lazy, ill-tempered, and did not care for his family. He had all kinds of vices that a man could ever have. All he wanted to do while in his house was to eat, scold and kick his wife and children if he did not find prepared food for him. The poor wife, in order to earn some money, used to go every afternoon to a nearby forest and gathered woods which she used to sell in the market. In spite of her difficulties that she was suffering, she never forgot to fulfill her devotion to God.

One afternoon, while she was going to the place where she used to gather woods, she came to think of her hard

[p. 5]

life. She wept bitterly, as she raised her eyes and arms to heaven, she saw a bright ray of light coming from a distance. She trembled with fear, fell on her knees and asked God for help. The light seemed to approach her and instantly the image of Virgin Mary appeared before her and said in a soft voice, “Woman, fear not, I am Virgin Mary. I come to tell you that your suffering will be relieved by eternal happiness in the land of the hereafter.” At first, Maria thought she was dreaming, but she gazed at the Virgin and the Virgin said to her, “Rise up and go thy way.” The woman went back to the town and told the priest about what she had seen. When Maria and the priest went to the place, the Virgin was still there. They both knelt down before the Virgin and prayed solemnly. As they prayed, the light and the image gradually disappeared. The priest and the town people agreed upon to build a church on that place where the Virgin appeared. After several months, the building was completed and that church is at present the magnificent church of the town of Lipa. From that time on, the Virgin’s feast has always been celebrated every year.

NOTE: This [is] commonly believed by the people at home, especially the old folks. Related by my grandmother to me. Manila, August 29, 1924.

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[p. 6]

The Story of Juan.

There was once a couple who had no child. They wanted very much to have a child. Every Friday, they used to go to the church in Obando to pray [to] God to give them a child, but their prayers were in vain. At last, through constant prayers, God gave them a child. They named their son Juan. A great banquet was given in honor of Juan’s baptism and as a thanksgiving to God.

As Juan grew up, he became so naughty that most of his neighbors hated him. One day, as Juan was playing near a river, he found a wooden saint. He kicked the saint, and when he was about to throw him into the water, the saint spoke, “Oh, Juan do not throw me in the water.” Juan was very much surprised to find a wooden saint talking. “Are you a miraculous saint?” asked Juan. The saint replied, “Certainly, I am.” Juan carried the saint on his head and began to cry aloud on his way home, “Listen to me. I have found a talking saint.” The people followed him and said, “Let me see if he can talk.” Juan said, “Speak saint,” but the saint, instead of speaking, vomited and vomited. Juan cried, “Stop vomiting. I will throw you away.” Juan tried to throw the saint away but the saint stuck so tightly on his head that he could not remove him. The saint continued vomiting until Juan was wet from head to feet. The people laughed and laughed, believing that Juan was getting

[p. 7]

[blurred word, probably “mad”]. Juan’s parents called the town priest and after saying a prayer, the saint jumped away. The priest told Juan that the saint liked Juan to be a priest. As Juan was very much afraid of the saint, he came to Manila where he studied in a seminary. But while he was in Manila, he spent most of his time and money for gambling and other vices so that after four years of his stay in Manila, he did not learn anything. Meanwhile, the people and his parents at home thought that he was already very wise. At the end of four years, he bribed the head of the seminary in order to give him his diploma as a priest. When he went home, a grand feast was held in the church in honor of his ordination. The church bell rang merrily as he ascended the pulpit. All the people were in silence waiting for his sermon. Juan perspired very much. He could not utter a single word. The people thought that he was in deep meditation. At last, he raised his hands and spoke, “How are you my people? I hope to meet you next Sunday. I am sick at present.” He did not deliver a sermon for in reality he did not know what to say.

Juan was thinking [of] how he could fulfill his promise to the people. He went to one of his friends who was a lawyer and revealed to him the secret of his foolishness. He asked his friend to help him fulfill his promise to deliver a sermon. They both agreed that the lawyer would hide behind the curtain at the back of the pulpit and would dic-

[p. 8]

tate to him what he was going to say. When the next Sunday came, Juan in his long robe solemnly ascended the pulpit. As he was standing before the people, the lawyer who was standing behind the curtain said, “Speak slowly and solemnly.” Then Juan said to the people, “Speak slowly and solemnly.” The lawyer said, “Do not tell that.” Juan said to the people, “Do not tell that.” The lawyer said, “How foolish are you. I am not dictating what you are going to say.” Juan repeated the same thing. The lawyer behind him laughed so loud until at last the people knew that what Juan was saying was dictated by the lawyer.

Juan’s parents were exceedingly sorry for their expectation of their son was untrue. Juan threw away his long robe and ran away to a nearby town. Here, he met a lady and fell in love with her. He tried to court her, but the lady refused. In spite of her refusal, Juan continually courted her. At last, the lady said, “If you can deliver a good sermon in our church next Sunday, I shall give my heart and my hand to you.” Juan could not answer. He went away broken-hearted and after a few months, he got sick. While he was very ill, the wooden saint appeared unto him, and said, “Juan, do you still remember me?” Juan shouted angrily and cried, “Go away. I do not need you.” The saint got angry and kicked him. “You are a very bad saint. Why did you kick me?” said Juan. The saint replied, “You are a foolish priest. Why can you not deliver

[p. 9]

a sermon? Juan soon died brokenhearted.

NOTE: This story was told by my grandfather. Manila, September 15, 1924.

- - - - - - - - - - - - -
The Story Connected with the Transfer of Lipa to Its Present Place.

In the Province of Batangas, there is located a body of fresh, clear water called Lake Taal. It is one of the largest lakes in the Philippines. Its fresh crystalline, and deep water supplies abundant fishes from time immemorial. In the northern part of the lake heaves a volcano, known as Taal Volcano, the great scenic asset of the province. For several times, this volcano erupted bringing a great deal of destruction and enormous disturbances to the people inhabiting the surrounding regions. A little distance southward from the volcano is a towering peak commonly called “Uspayog” due to its peculiar shape of having its top wider than the lower part touching the surface of the water. But an important feature of the lake, the feature indispensable to our narrative, is the small island which two hundred years ago was floating in the middle of the lake.

This island was called Pulo. As viewed from the surface of the lake, it was covered by green tropical vegetation. Hunters often sailed to that island in pursuit of


Notes and references:
Transcribed from “Folklore from Lipa, Batangas,” by Amparo Reyes, 1924, online at the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
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