Folktales and Religious Festivals in Batangas by Claudia Cruz, 1930 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Folktales and Religious Festivals in Batangas by Claudia Cruz, 1930 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Folktales and Religious Festivals in Batangas by Claudia Cruz, 1930

This page contains the complete transcription of the 1930 ethnographic paper written by one Claudia M. Cruz 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. 675.



Claudia M. Cruz

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  1. TAGALOG: Batangas, Batangas Province.
                          Taal, Batangas Province.
  2. Summary: Folklore: Fables, myths and magic tales.
                           Social Life: Celebration of a town fiesta.

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January 21, 1930.

[p. 1]


Claudia M. Cruz

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The Cat and the Mouse
(A Fable)

One afternoon, a thin hungry mouse was looking for something to eat. In his search, he came into an old woman’s kitchen, and there he found a big pot full of lard. Filled with joy, he planned to steal the pot of lard and hide it in his house. That pot of lard will keep him supplied with food for one whole year or perhaps longer, and he need not work for the time being. (This ran the mouse’s thoughts.) But he found that the pot was too heavy for him to carry alone so he thought of asking some help. He dismissed the thought of asking his mice friends’ help for they might demand a share of the lard from him. He would so like to keep all of it for himself! All of a sudden, he saw a cat near the kitchen door. “Now I have it,” he exclaimed. “Cats don’t eat lard.” So he jumped down the cupboard and was about to call the cat, but at the very instant he thought to himself, “Oh! He might eat me!” So, trembling with fear, the thin hungry mouse hid behind the stove and began to think again. After a while, he jerked his head up, his whiskers bristling and his face lighted with joy. Squeezing himself in

[p. 2]

a hole so that the cat will not find him easily, he called.

“My dear friend, would you want to eat some nice fat mice?”

The cat, hungry and starving himself, wheeled about and exclaimed, “Of course! Where are they? Who are you?” And his green eyes looked everywhere around him.

“Keep quiet,” said the mouse, fear and hope struggling in his heart. “I shall tell you,” he went on, “provided that you don’t harm me. You see, I am a mouse.” There, the cat looked so terribly hungry that the poor mouse’s heart almost broke his ribs with a great big jump. “If you don’t harm me and if you help me to carry a pot to my home, I shall tell you a place where the mice swarm in millions.”

The cat, with a dazzling vision of a thousand mice – big, fat, sweet mice – dancing before his eyes, readily consented. The mouse told him that he had to help carry the pot first before he would know where the place was. The cat, therefore, helped the mouse, but on the way he looked so hungrily at the mouse that the latter in his fright promised him one-half of the lard in the pot, if he would only keep his promise. The cat agreed for he said that he loved lard next to big fat mice, but that he preferred mice to thin mice. The poor mouse, hearing this, for the first time in his life, felt grateful for his hungry days. At last, they came to the old town church

[p. 3]

and here, the mouse announced that this was his home. Then, he told the cat that he will find all the mice in town living in the ceiling and in the “sacristia” of the church. The “sacristia” was the place in the church where the old statues, old carriages and all the unused things of the church were kept. The room next to this – also called the “sacristia” – is where the church priests dress for the church ceremonies.

The cat lived gloriously after that. He ate ten mice every day, and licked his tongue twenty times in the lard pot. The poor mouse, however, found that he had lost a great deal in their bargain, for the cat was a horribly fast eater. “He simply devours the lard,” the poor thing wailed to himself. But he never complained to the cat. Once, he did precisely that thing and the cat showed him all his sharp teeth in an angry snarl, so that the poor mouse ran for dear life’s sake – even at the cost of losing a whole badly wanted dinner.

There came the time when only a little lard only remained in the pot. This the cat ate – licking the pot clean. Lazy to hunt for anymore mice (which he found very scarce lately as without his knowledge, they had all immigrated to another place when they found that a cat had found out their abode) the cat went to sleep. After a while, the mouse, very tired and hungry after a long walk, came to eat his dinner. Finding the pot empty, the poor

[p. 4]

creature went mad with anger and seeing the cat gently and contentedly purring in an obvious good sleep, the mouse did not restrain from pouring out his stored-up wrath. He called the cat a thief for eating more than his share of the pot of lard and many other ugly names. The cat woke up in a very bad temper and seeing the disturber of his sweet slumber, without any compunction, grabbed it and in a moment nothing remained of the poor mouse. Then, with a satisfied purr, the cat went to sleep again after his meal.

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Manila, January 2, 1930.

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The Goats and the Lesson they Teach.
(A Fable)

Once upon a time, there lived a rich goat family and a poor cow family. The former lived in a big, clean, airy barn while the latter dwelt in a tattered, weather-beaten shack. Despite the difference in their social positions, the families were very near each other – for the mother cow and the mother goat had been great friends ever since they were children.

When the Old Year was about to close, the mother goat sent an invitation to the cow family to an informal New Year celebration. The mother cow with many thanks accepted the kind invitation. New Year came, and after admonishing her six daughters to behave themselves, the mother cow and her

[p. 5]

family went to the big barn. They were all dressed in their best hides and were looking their very best, too. Now, the mother goat prepared a grand feast for the guests, and when all was ready, she told her two sons to fix themselves up in their best hides, for even if her friends were poor, she had a warm place for her in her heart.

Everything went well with the celebration – apparently. After much eating, dancing, and singing, the guests departed. On their way home, the daughter cows all exclaimed: “Oh! Mother, these goats have such a very bad smell. We thought we were going to faint!” The mother scolded them and told them to be grateful creatures. The next morning, she sent two of the daughters to tell the mother goat that she would be so glad to invite them in return but she could scarcely afford that. The mother goat remonstrated and invited the two girl cows to dinner.

Obedient to their mother’s order to try to show their gratitude in every possible way, the girl cow accepted the invitation. How it so happened that the handsome goats fell in love with the girl cows. After much persuasions and many negotiations, the girl cows consented to the proposal.

In due time, they were married, and they lived in the big barn. The mother goat lavished them with everything she could think of and apparently everything was alright. But, in their hearts, the girl cows hated the goats because of their pungent smell – so that one day, unable to tolerate it any

[p. 6]

longer, they ran away to their mother. They told her everything – that they no longer could stand the air of the barn and thereafter, they ran away.

Meanwhile, the goats found out this insult on their illustrious persons, and in a fit of rage, they rushed to the cows’ [blurred word] and killed the two offenders. The sight of the blood so saddened the cows that they, in turn, killed the goats. And ever since, the cows hated red, for they always mistook it for the blood of their murdered kin and they always go into a mad fit at the sight of it.

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Manila, January 21, 1930.

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Si Juan Tamad.
(A tale (“magic”) from Batangas).

Once, there was a young lad whose pet aversion was work and whose favorite “virtue” was SLOTH. He was so lazy that everyone who knew him called him Juan Tamad – or Lazy Juan. His mother’s scolding and threats all entered one ear only to pass through the other – respectfully received by unheededly forgotten. He had, however, gone away with impunity to this day because of his brain for Juan was as stunningly clever as he was shamelessly lazy.

Now, it came to pass one day that the king proclaimed one of his unexpected rounds. In these rounds, it was unwritten that all should be ready to receive the king

[p. 7]

at noon so that whenever the noon hour overtook the king or wherever he fancied to dine, no inconvenience and discomfort would be caused. That day, Juan’s mother cut her hand so badly that she had to leave the whole affair in Juan’s hands. This was very detestable to Juan’s nature, and to add to his consternation and annoyance, the kind had announced early in the round that he would dine at Juan’s house. (This the king did intentionally solely because he had heard of the reputation Juan held in the neighborhood.) So, for the hundredth time in his life, Juan thought of some way this time as a means by which he could evade the impending calamity. For Juan considered the terrible fact that it was absolutely necessary that he worked nothing short of a calamity in his hitherto exquisite life. Work? The idea!!! Why, he would rather starve than work – only his mother was so good that one had never the heart to really and truly carry out her threats and starve him. For after all, he was an exceptionally clever boy – had he not always shown it in the cunning way he always evaded the ire of the creditors with the most amazing but highly credible “white liars?”

So Juan thought, and after a good while his face which had worn a puzzled, puckered brow beamed with great relief and pleasure. He had an idea!!! Rushing to his mother, he poured out his plan and added.

“Now, Mother I need ₱10.00.”

“Alright, Juan, I will give it to you but remember

[p. 8]

that it’s the only money we have on earth. You have to [blurred word], my son!”

“Yes, mother, I think – I know I shall.”

As Juan set out to town and bought viands fit for a king. He also bought wine and some sweet cakes and ice cream. Returning home, he got three boxes and he placed the dinner in one, the wine in another and the cakes and ice cream in the third. Then, he buried the three boxes in three different places perfectly seen from their window. After that, he sat at the perch and began to whistle and laze as was his want.

Presently, the kind came with his adviser. Tired and extremely hungry, his majesty demanded food at once from his still whistling host.

“Your majesty,” our hero began, “if you will but wait a while, the dinner shall be ready. With a flourishing bow, he saluted the king. (Our hero was so lazy that he could not bring himself to stand up and salute the king as soon as the latter came!)

The visitors sat down, but the king was in a very sour temper. He hated waiting, but he had to for he wanted to observe Juan. He was, indeed, already observing the house and he became terribly conscious of the great silence that persuaded [unsure word, somewhat blurred] all over the place. If they were cooking a king’s dinner somewhere in the house, they surely would not be as quiet as if some dead lay interred in it.

[p. 9]

“Juan,” the king called at last, “Did you prepare any dinner for me?”

With emphatic slowness, our hero, who also had a sense of the dramatic, answered, “May it please your majesty, I did not prepare anything for dinner.”

The king’s adviser almost fainted at this impudent rudeness; the king, however, exploded.

“Juan, you disrespectful dog! You ----!”

“Your pardon, your majesty. But if my memory does not fail me,” coolly interrupted Juan, “You announced for dinner to be ready at noon. The sun is not yet in the middle of the sky, my king.”

So, the king had to wait. After a while, Juan stood up and took an old rusty hatchet saying that he was going to get the king’s dinner. Juan’s behavior was greatly puzzling to the king and his adviser and so they both watched his movements. When they saw him go to the garden and before their eyes sprinkled some water on the ground. Kneeling down, he dug in the ground, mumbling something all the while. To their great astonishment, they saw him draw out a box from the hole he had made and to their great bewilderment, he drew out the most delicious food from the box. The king wanted to ask a million questions but he was so hungry that he could not wait anymore. After a while, the king noticed that there was no wine and here Juan went out

[p. 10]

out to the garden again and after a similar service, dug out the box of wine. After the meal, the king asked for something cool and then Juan dug out the box of ice cream.

After the king was completely full, he demanded from Juan and explanation of the queer behavior. And here, Juan voiced his exquisite tale:

“My king, I have in my possession a magic hatchet which an old man gave me long ago. Whenever this hatchet is dug after some much service as what you saw me perform, anything wished will come out.”

“Really?” the king totally in good humor asked. “Well, Juan let’s try it. Ask, my lad, for a -------“

“My lord,” interrupted Juan at his wits end for a way out of this unforeseen leakage in his great device. “The hatchet can be used only three times a day.”

“Ah!” the king, disappointed, replied. Juan could almost jump with joy at the instant belief of the king.

Spurred on by this apparent success, he went on,

“Otherwise, my king, it loses the magic quality. It is a very treasure in our house. We depend on it for every meal in our life.”

So, the king like all other kings, wanted everything nice or unusual for himself, therefore, to Juan’s extreme joy, he offered to buy the magic hatchet. Juan refused at first, saying that they were going to starve without the hatchet. And here, Juan began to cry and kiss the rusty old thing as if

[p. 11]

it was the dearest thing he owned on earth. This made the king only like it all the most and so, he said,

“Juan, I shall give you three bags of gold if you only give me that hatchet.”

This exceeded all of Juan’s dreams and with apparent reluctance, he parted with it.

That night was a gala night to Juan and his mother. They made up for the scanty meals that they had in the past days. Juan was not totally in a paradise of bliss. He knew that, somehow, someday the king was going to know of his deception. His present trouble was to weave an excuse that would sound credible enough to explain, the only-too-obvious result of the king’s use of the hatchet. He slept worrying and thinking about it. The next day, he could not eat anymore for worrying. That evening, to his great consternation, came summons to the palace. He only knew too well what it meant! Poor Juan prayed and thought as hard as he could. At last, he was facing the king who asked him in a not too sweet tone,

“How is it that I used your hatchet this afternoon after my hunt and my men had dug about ten holes already and no meal yet appeared? Answer me!”

And Juan answered – for the king himself gave him [a] clue. Putting on a contrite and utterly reproachful face, he exclaimed,

“My king, you used it this afternoon? Did you not know

[p. 12]

that I used it at noon yesterday? The time of its use makes a lot of difference, your majesty. It can only be used at noon! And now ----“

“Oh!” exclaimed the credulous king.

Juan, spurred by this success, went on with his newly woven tale –

“And now, the magic of the tool is forever gone!”

He went out of the palace with his heart singing with joy. He had solved the whole thing to the end, and it will not give him anymore trouble.

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The Dama de Noche.

There was once a handsome cavalier who dwelt in the [blurred word]. Every night, as the breeze blew softly into his room, he could hear a sweet beautiful melody. Go where he would, he could never find the source of the music. It was so sweet – almost intoxicating – and the voice that song the strange words was so young and beautiful that for hours, he would stay awake hearing the tune. With all his heart, he longed to know the singer but as I said, he could never find the person. All that he knew of the beautiful mystery was that it was sung by a woman in the native tongue. There came one night, however, when he laid in wait for the music, to come and he met with disappointment. He felt surprised and uneasy. For three long nights, he missed the voice, and then on the fourth

[p. 13]

night, he went to the window to watch the stars for his heart longed for the beautiful lovely strain. Suddenly, the soft breeze brought to his nose an extremely sweet odor. He [blurred word] for the origin and to his surprise, he found just below his window a tall, utterly slender vine-like plant with small white clustered flowers. He smelled the blossoms and, to his astonishment, he recognized the odor as that which the gentle night breeze had wafted to him. Somehow, he felt an affection for the beautiful blossoms and their odor [blurred word] tended the plant with loving care. Somehow, he felt that the blossoms in a sweet and gentle way eased and comforted him at the loss of the beautiful strain.

He never knew, however, that once long ago, there lived a native girl who fell in love with his handsome Castilian beauty. Modest and any maiden never even tried to be acquainted with him personally. But she loved him with all her heart and her love found ease and comfort with singing to him every night. Then, one night, she fell ill for her tender frail body could not withstand the coldness of the night. She died but her beautiful love so moved the Most High that He changed her body to that plant that the cavalier grew to love and care for; her soul, however, brought to heaven where in sweet content, she watched her lover’s tender care and love. It is needless to say that the plant is the sweet dama de noche.

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[p. 14]


Taal, Batangas.
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Last December 8, 1929 was revived in Taal, one of the towns of Batangas, an old religious celebration. When the flag of Spain was still proudly waving over the Philippine Islands, there was found in the river Caysasay a small wooden image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. That was in 1603. As soon as the people of Caysasay and Taal recognized the Virgin, the feast of the “Virgin ng Caysasay” was celebrated as one of the great town fiestas. With the Mass and procession was a play called the “Haybing” in honor of the Virgin. (Every year, there was a great celebration in her honor.) When the Americans came to occupy the islands, however, the traditional celebration was discontinued. There was still the Mass in the little Chapel of Caysasay and the much-attended procession but the “haybing” was dropped out. It may have been for the great expenses and trouble incurred before a successful “haybing” could be given, or it might have been for some other reason. So that it was only last year that it was made again.

The leading men of the town asked the help of the inhabitants of Taal and also the Taaleños outside the town as those in Manila, Tayabas, and the towns of Batangas. They gave as much as they could afford. Then, a committee was

[p. 15]

elected to ask the help of those who were to take part in the drama. The young men and women who were in Manila studying went home every week for the weekly practice which took place in the government building.

In the play was depicted the history of the finding of the Blessed Virgin. All the characters in the real event were represented in the drama: Don Juan Maningcad, who found the sacred image; “Haybing,” the Chinese devotee who forgot and turned away from the Blessed Virgin, and who gave the title to the play for his life showed the works and ways of the Blessed Virgin on those who ever and those who willingly forget and disrespect her; Doña Maria Espiritu, the widow to whom the Blessed Virgin appeared several times and who took care of the shrine later on; the parish priest of Taal; the young wood-girls Mariang Talain and Masiang Bagohin, who saw the Blessed Virgin’s image in a well; and a lot of others like the Chinese devotees, the guardia civil and the Spaniards. In the recent celebration, every effort was made to make the thing a glorious one so that those chosen for the parts were well-to-do set of Taal and Lemery who could well meet the expenses of the costumes and other requirements to make it a faithful portrayal. The play lasted for two days and many people from all parts of the province attended it.

A short history of the Virgin of Caysasay is as follows:

In 1603, Don Juan Maningcad, while fishing found something that bit heavily at his hook. On examining the object, he

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he found a small – very small – image of the Virgin. The image was of wood, about the length of a palm – stretch, and the wood was very shiny – it gleamed as if it had recently been polished. News came of his discovery to the parish priest or “Cura” and to the justice of the peace or “jucom” of Taal. They sought the holy image and her finder, and on beholding the sacred image, [took it] to the church and placed the widow, Doña Maria Espiritu, in charge of her altar. This holy woman observed that every night, the sacred image disappeared. They searched everywhere, and after several days of extreme anxiety, they found that she went to a tree in Caysasay. There, on the spot where that tree stood, a church was built – the present Chapel of Caysasay. She was found on a Saturday and every Saturday, Mass is celebrated in that chapel.

Haybing was [a] Chinese devotee of the Blessed Virgin of Caysasay. When the order that all the Sangleyes, as the Chinese were called then, were to be put to death, Haybing’s head was one of those chopped off at the scaffold. However, the next morning Haybing was found alive and perfectly sound. On being asked about this marvel, he said that the Virgin brought him back to life. Haybing, however, forgot his patroness after a while and even intentionally refrained from hearing Mass on Saturday. One such day, he plowed his field instead of going to Mass saying that now he was married, he must serve his wife first before the Mother of God. The cow [blurred word] his plow; after which this insult was uttered – faced him and

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[Final page/paragraph extremely blurred and unreadable.]

Notes and references:
Transcribed from “Folktales and Religious Festivals in Batangas,” by Claudia M. Cruz, 1930, online at the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
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