Magic Tales from Lipa, Batangas by Amparo Reyes, 1925 Part I - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Magic Tales from Lipa, Batangas by Amparo Reyes, 1925 Part I - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Magic Tales from Lipa, Batangas by Amparo Reyes, 1925 Part I



This page contains the complete transcription of the 1925 ethnographic paper written by one Amparo Reyes 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. 478.
Amparo Reyes.
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  1. TAGALOG: Lipa, Batangas Province.
  2. Summary: Folklore: Magic Tales.

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March 1, 1925

[p. 1]


Amparo Reyes.
Juanang Ilaya’s Magic.

Juana was the name of the lovely maiden. She was said to be the most beautiful and most fascinating of all the maidens in the town of Lipa where she was born. Suitors from the different parts of the province came to court this young lady. None of the suitors won her love, but deep in her heart was hidden the name of a young man, Mario by name. Mario was a youth known for his bravery and courage, but one of his faults was that he used to fall in love seven times a day. He loved many and fooled many. In spite of this, Juana had faith in him so dearly in her heart that she refused to accept even the visits of her male friends in her home for fear that Mario might be jealous.

It was in a night of that blissful month of May when Mario sat near Juana in her house. Mario was bidding her his last farewell. He was to leave for Manila to continue his career. Nothing but the sobbing of Maria could be heard. “How bitter is this hour,” she sobbed as her tears fell down on her rosy cheeks. Mario grasped Juana’s hands, and then departed.

[p. 2]

Days, weeks, and months passed but no letter came from Mario. Juana was constantly waiting for a note that he promised but in vain. Years passed and nothing was heard from him.

One sunny afternoon, while Juana was in her garden, a mail carrier handed her a letter. She quickly opened, read it, but her bewitching eyes glittered feverishly as she stared at the letter. She then broke out into ravings. It was a letter from Mario stating that he was already married to a Manila girl. Juana cursed him. Then, a state of delirium followed. Due to her agony, she ran away following the course of a winding valley near her home. She walked and walked until she reached a large tree called “baliti” where she rested and tried to console her heart.

Her parents pursued her, but they could not find any trace of her. In that “baliti,” she found a large cavity and made that her abode. She then decided to live in that place where she became a witch.

Near the “baliti” tree was a stream of pure, cool, clear water. The men and the boys in the village nearby used to descend to that stream with their “bombong” (a bamboo used for getting water) to get water for drink. At times when nothing could be heard except the murmuring sounds of the flow of the stream and the sweet wailing songs of the birds, this stream was often haunted by Juana to quench her thirst and to find consolation for her forsaken heart.

It was twilight when a handsome young farmer tired

[p. 3]

by a day’s labor in his “caingin,” trotted down the winding valley and rested near the stream. No sooner had he sat down beneath the shade of a Lipa tree when he sat, he suddenly heard somebody crossing the stream. He turned his eyes and at his left side he beheld a beautiful young woman dressed in red skirt and camisa. She was tall and very lovely in countenance. The dress in which she was clad made her the loveliest and more beautiful than ever. The youth was dazzled by the beauty of this lovely apparition before him. The maiden smiled with a sweet and lovely smile. She became more beautiful as the youth fixed his eyes on her. He could not believe that in such a time and in such a place, he could behold such a beautiful female being as that. “Am I dreaming?” he uttered to himself. He was so bewitched by her beauty that he instantly proposed to her. The maiden then took him to her home in the cavity of the “baliti” tree. He happened to look at her feet. To his surprise, he found that they were those of a horse’s feet. Thoughts of the rumored witch called “Juanang Ilaya” came to him. In his great fear, he ran as fast as he could, but the witch tried to pursue him. He could not escape, for she ran faster than he. He begged her to free him, but Juana said, “I love you. Do not run away. Stay with me and do not fear.” The man, because of fear, and because of her fascinating beauty thought of not leaving her. He found her to be an agreeable companion, and stayed with her for several days. Thoughts of his old parents in his house

[p. 4]

made him lonely and sickly. He approached Juana and begged, “Will you let me visit my father and mother? Allow me and I shall be back within a few days.” “Although I know you will not fulfill your promise, yet I am willing to grant your request. Take these seeds, plant them, and you will find them useful,” murmured Juana. As she handed him the seeds, she suddenly disappeared. The man, in great horror, ran as fast as he could until he reached the stream. To his amazement, he found an old, ugly, dark, wrinkled woman meeting him. He heard her moaning and lamenting. “Stop for a while. I thank God I have fulfilled the yearnings and desires of my broken heart. You saved me from my endless suffering caused by a young man like you. This is the end of my bitter suffering and I have to end my life. I transformed myself into a lovely and beautiful maiden, enticed you, and with whom you stayed for several days. Take this cane, bring it with you wherever you go, and it will be of great use to you. It will save you from dangers which sooner or later will come to you. Depart from me now,” said the old woman.

At a glance, the old woman disappeared from his sight. Because of the cane given by the woman, he became renowned for courage and bravery for no bullet could pierce his skin and no sword could penetrate through his body.

He then planted the seeds given to him by the witch and after several days, many bamboo trees grew. Out of these, he built a house where he lived until his death. At midnight

[p. 5]

after the trees were cut down, this young farmer and the people could hear a sweet sailing song sang by a lovely maiden somewhere near the place where the bamboo trees were cut down. But every time the people tried to approach the place, the woman suddenly disappeared and the song gradually died away in the air.

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The Magic Chicken.

Somewhere along the shore of Taal Lake is a nook where once stood the old Lipa, a prosperous town which had many hundred years ago been over-flooded by the water of the lake, on account of the sinking of an island floating on the lake. Today, if one goes to this spot, one sees nothing of the remains of the ruin but the walls of the church once having altars filled with the architecture of Medieval Castille. The once thickly inhabited portion of the lake shore covered with wooden and bamboo houses and perfumed by the fragrance of the flowering plants, is now but a wilderness covered with grass, shrubs, trees, vines, which are enlivened by birds, snakes, lizards, hogs, fowls, and deer. Nothing remains of the old Lipa; everything had for long been put in the historical pages of oblivion; but a tale is told from generation to generation about the magic chicken.

Once upon a time in old Lipa, there lived a very beauti-

[p. 6]

ful maiden named Charing. She was of common height, her face being tinged by the ardor of the shining sun which presented a color common to Malayan maidens. She was tender and sweet. She did not have any striking features; but there was something in her beaming and tantalizing eyes, in her sweet and soft voice, and in her fresh and tender smile a beauty which was incomparable. Beauty, indeed, is a power in itself and so beautiful was this maiden that all the handsome and bravest youths of the land were in love with her. Among them was one whom she secretly loved. He was the handsomest, the kindest, the noblest, and the bravest. This man was Pedro. She loved him, but she did not let him know it. In front of him, she appeared unkind and indifferent.

Pedro, being a Filipino, was brown in complexion. He thought that Charing did not love him and was not all pleased with his suit. He did not know that Charing was to be patiently wooed before her favorable reply could be won; he did not know that she was a typical Filipina of purity and constancy and that she was only trying his earnestness and patience before she gave him her heart. For more than ten times, he talked with her, wrote to her, but she replied [to] him with silence.

It was a night of May when Pedro was at his bamboo home sitting by his table with a feather pen attempting to write his farewell message to Charing in the blinking light of an oil lamp. The night to him as had usually been was of


Notes and references:
Transcribed from “Magic Tales from Lipa,” by Amparo Reyes, 1925, online at the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
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