Magic Tales from Lian, Batangas by Rafael L. Arcega, 1925 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Magic Tales from Lian, Batangas by Rafael L. Arcega, 1925 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Magic Tales from Lian, Batangas by Rafael L. Arcega, 1925

This page contains the complete transcription of the 1926 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. 434.
Rafael L. Arcega.
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  1. TAGALOG: Lian, Batangas Province.
  2. Summary: Folklore: Magic Tales.

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February 27, 1925.

[Contents page.]




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Rafael L. Arcega.

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The “Encantado” of the San Diego Cave.

Overlooking the town of Lian, in the Province of Batangas, stands the towering mountain peak called San Diego. It is about three and a half miles from the town and marks the dividing line between the land and the sea, for beyond stretches the vast China Sea. On the northern extremity, this mountain drops abruptly into the sandy seashore below. It is on the steep slope of its western face which commands a beautiful panoramic view of the town and the surrounding country, that one sees the rugged entrance of the century-old cave.

To the townspeople, that cave presents not only an appealing and interesting sight to look at, but also a variety of strange stories which the inhabitants of the town recited to their children. These stories had been handed down from father to son in long generations. One such story relates to what the people called “Encantado.” The “Encantado” means enchanted. According to the inhabitants of the place, he was an old “Castila” or Spaniard, who lived in that old cave on the mountain side.

This story happened many, many years ago, when the town was still a barrio for there were very few people living

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in it. The cave in which this Encantado lived was itself enchanted for many had made attempts to discover its entrance but failed. They said that as you neared the cave, it suddenly disappeared so that up to the present, no one has ever discovered the entrance to that mysterious cave.

The Encantado was a handsome old fellow, with [a] long flowing white beard and thick mustache and blue bewitching eyes. Yet, although he looked old on account of his white hairs, he was as gay and as lively as a young man. He was the friend of the townspeople and no one feared him, for not to one had he ever done harm or mischief. During moonlights, he visited his friends whom he entertained with his humor and jokes. On Christmas days, he distributed gifts to the children of the town. From where he got all those toys and sweets and candies that he gave, nobody knew, but all believed that he was endowed with magic powers with which he brought to existence anything he desired. But this was not all that he did which made the people like him. He used to let anyone borrow silver plates and dishes for use during feasts. At times, thousands of such costly plates and dishes were lent. Of course, he could do so because with his magic power, he could create whatever he needed.

One day, a grand festival was held in the house of Don Mariano, the richest man of the town. It was held to celebrate the marriage of his daughter to the son of his

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friend who lived in a neighboring town. A grand public dinner was to be given to which everybody was invited. To accommodate all his guests, and to make the affair a brilliant success, he sought the famous Encantado of San Diego Cave and borrowed from him thousands of silver dishes, plates and flower vases. The good-natured Encantado lent him and Don Mariano was able to render a magnificently luxurious dinner to his thousands of guests.

The following day, the marriage fiesta of Don Mariano was the talk of the town and its neighborhood. Comments on the grand affair were nothing short of praise and admiration. All the people talked of the generosity and kindness of the Encantado who had lent Don Mariano with all the table utensils that he used.

But among the guests that came, there was one who was known by the name of Maldo. He was rich, indeed, but no one could tell how he acquired his riches. He was not a native of the town but because of the fact that the invitations were widespread and open to all, Maldo decided to attend the grand festival that day. While at the fiesta, he was surprised to find that all the plates, saucers, cups, glasses and flower vases were of silver. Information from someone revealed to him the fact that all those silver tableware used at that dinner were furnished by the Encantado of San Diego. He also learned that the old man was kind to everybody and no one who tried to borrow from

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him was refused the favor.

Having had all the information he was seeking, Maldo decided to call together the members of his famous gang hidden in the mountain fortresses. The following day, he was among his men and was talking about the story of the fiesta and of the silver tableware used. Thereupon, they decided to try to borrow those silver tableware themselves. That evening, they went to the town and there met the Encantado who promised to give them what they wanted. Early the next morning, Maldo and his men found the Encantado with his thousands of silver tableware at the town plaza awaiting for them. They took all of them from the Encantado, thanked him and afterwards left.

Days, months, till one year passed and no one ever heard from Maldo and his men. The Encantado was still frequenting the place but he seemed to be different to everybody. All the inhabitants became certain that the Encantado had been robbed by Maldo and his gang. After two years of continued absence, one evening Maldo and a hundred of his selected men returned to the town of Lian. Soon, they were seen heading for the cave of San Diego about ten o’clock that night, Maldo and his men had arrived at the mountain slope. Everybody knew what they were after. With doubt, they were intending to attack the Encantado and thereby dispossess him of all his stored riches.

Soon, it was observed that a procession of torch lights

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was going on, on the mountain slope. Suddenly, all the lights disappeared and a large column of smoke was seen coming from the mouth of the mysterious cave. Then, all of a sudden, a huge thunder, accompanying a blinding flash of lightning, reverberated. The inhabitants were terrified. All fell to pray. A strong rain then followed. By dawn, however, the rain had abated. In the morning, the sky was clear. The people observed that the slope of the mountain of San Diego near the entrance to the cave was bespotted all over by boulders of rocks. Those were formerly Maldo and his gang who had been changed into stones and rock boulders by the Encantado in his wrath and as vengeance. Today, the entrance to that cave of San Diego is still spread over with rock boulders. It is said that when the incident happened, the Encantado never came to the town again and was never hear of from ever afterwards.

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Loring, the Nymph of the Binubusan Hot Spring.

Binubusan is a barrio of Lian in the province of Batangas. On the outskirts of the barrio, there is a hot spring. People come to this hot spring to bathe and get water for drinking purposes.

Many years ago, there used to appear, according to the

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people living in that place, a beautiful maiden from the spring. People said that they often saw the maiden bathing. They called her Loring. She was so exceedingly charming that a young man who happened to come to the place was greatly infatuated. So, to meet her, he frequented the place. For hours, the two could be seen on the banks of the spring talking together. Indeed, Loring was in love with Jose. The romance of the two did not last long and finally Jose promised to marry her.

When the appointed time came, Jose failed to appear at the spring. Loring had been waiting for him the whole day. Evening came and still the young man had not appeared. At last, she gave up all hope. She returned to the spring and there disappeared. The following day, a beautiful flower plant appeared near the spring. From then on, the nymph never again appeared. People said that the flower plant that grew there was Loring herself. To keep in memory the beautiful nymph of the spring, the people took care of the plant and allowed it to grow on the place. Today, the barrio of Binubusan abounds in those flower plants. Children love to hear the story of the unfortunate Loring, the nymph of the Binubusan hot spring.


February 28, 1925.

Notes and references:
Transcribed from “Magic Tales from Lian, Batangas,” by Rafael L. Arcega, 1925, online at the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.

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