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

Magic Tales 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. 472.
Celestina Mandanas.
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1. – TAGALOG: Taal, Batangas Province.
2. – Summary: Folklore: Magic Tales.

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March 1, 1925.

[p. 1]


Celestina Mandanas.

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The Jokes of Saint Vincent.

In the town of Ligaya lived a couple, Maria and Lucio, who had no children. She was an ugly [woman] but a sympathetic and busy housewife. As years passed by, Angue became old in looks and rather weak. Lucio, on the other hand, was a cruel and vicious husband. His days were spent in “Sugalan,” a gambling house, which he proudly termed his “office.” Being one of the gambling directors, he spent most of his hours in their club; while poor Angue passed here time in prayers and in tears.

One day, Lucio went to a neighboring town for a “Pintakasi,” feast of gamblers – either in [the] cockpit or in other vicious means. Angue was left alone to accomplish her daily work; cleaning her home, preparing food, sewing or sometimes darning the clothes of cruel Lucio. As Angue was sewing, an old woman bearing a cane appeared and told her, “Angue, I am old and experienced, you are young and obedient, come with me to visit Saint Vincent and we will beg him to aid you.” Without hesitation, she took her pañuelo at once, and went to the church with the old woman. Then, the old woman said, “Angue, kneel down and see how Saint Vincent rewards the suffering wives.” At once, the old woman disappeared, and Angue

[p. 2]

was very much afraid to find herself alone in the church. As she was praying with fervor in front of the Holy Saint, she was surprised to see him approaching her from the altar. He touched her face and uttered, “Fear not, dear child, for the Grace of God reaches those who really deserve it. Go home; lie down to rest; and cover yourself with a blanket. Do not rise until your husband calls you.” Obediently, she went home and did what she was bidden.

It was late in the afternoon when Lucio came home. He had had bad luck, and angrily kicked Angue, saying, “Lazy Angue, wake up and give me something to eat.” She at once rose up. Lucio was surprised to see such a beautiful maiden in his home and shyly said, “I---I beg your pardon, madam, I thought you were my wife, but I was mistaken.” Angue smiled and uttered, “Lucio, my husband, don’t you recognize your own wife?” He did not know what to do. He touched his wife slightly as if he feared to soil her beautiful face. He danced with joy and promised to be very kind and loving. Every afternoon, the couple used to take a walk.

In the same town lived another couple, Don Pedro and Doña Incresia. She was pretty, envious, proud, and a dominant factor in the family. Doña Incresia wished she were the most beautiful woman in the town.

One serene evening, Angue and Lucio took a walk. At that time, Doña Incresia saw the incomparable beauty of Angue. She

[p. 3]

murmured against the Divine Power. She ordered her husband to invite Lucio and his wife. She inquired Angue of what she did; and being innocent, she told the whole truth. The envious woman went to the church with all her pretentions. Likewise, Saint Vincent came down, approached and touched her face, saying, “Woman, go home, lie down, and do not rise unless your husband calls you.” When Don Pedro came, he kicked his wife as he was instructed by her. When Doña Increcia stood up, her husband was afraid to behold such a creature.

“Why, Pedro, am I not beautiful? Do I not surpass Angue’s beauty? Do you not recognize me?” Don Pedro cried with anger, “You with long nose and long ears, and hairy face? My wife? No, never!!! You------you are a beast!”

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The Three Crickets or The Three Beauties.

Ina and Ison had not child. The housewife, a pious woman, never murmured by continued her prayers that the Divine Providence would give her a child “sometime.”

The day while the couple was in the garden, Ina saw some small worms crawling over their mother under a rotten wood. She called her husband and told him, “See how those pretty ones caress their mother.” Ison, being a lovable husband, comforted her. He brought her to the very places that suited Ina’s taste.

[p. 4]

After that “sometime,” Ina gave birth. At the time of her delivery, her husband, neighbor and midwife were present, but they were amazed at the absence of a child. What they observed was the immediate singing of three crickets who were resting on the chair where the father sat. Ison was very much disappointed and even hit the crickets so that they flew away. Ina, being the mother, knew that they were their children, and begged her husband to catch them. There was no more hope for they knew not their whereabouts.

After a very long time elapsed, and the same couple was seen standing at the porch; watching, gazing, and hearing the harmonious voices of the three crickets, which were high up in the tree. That same evening, there came a heavy storm. Ina prayed that her crickets might be given shelter. The wind blew hard and the three insects were driven into the house. They were wet and peacefully rested on the “ding-ding,” a side of the room. Although the house was illumined by the dim light of a candle, still she, the mother caught sight of her own children. She approached them slowly and delicately touched her precious ones. At their surprise, Ina and Ison saw three beautiful maidens who were fairy-like, for they knew not where they had come from. But suddenly, the three cried with joy, “Our dear parents, God sent us to comfort you, for He found out how patient and good both of you are!”

[p. 5]

From that time on, they, Ina and Ison, were very happy for they had their three beauties with them.

Margarita, the Fair Maiden.

In the barrio of Kahoyan, there lived a widower named Juan. He was an owner to hectares of land, several horses, cows, carabaos, and a beautiful house. But above these riches was his precious, dark-colored daughter named Margarita, commonly-nicknamed Ita. Although motherless, she was an ideal girl who had transformed her father’s house into a real home, peaceful and happy.

Time came when Juan married Doña Concha, a widow with three nice-looking daughters. After [the] marriage, they stayed in the town. For some time, the family was in harmony. Juan often left Ita under the pretended love and care of his wife. Every time she was left with her stepmother, Ita was sent to the kitchen to help the servants. She was not only a loving child but she was obedient and dutiful to her father. She obeyed every wish of her stepmother; she never told the truth to her father, for her reason was, “She is loved by my father, and I as a dear part of father, I ought to love her.” She craved for her father’s happiness, and not much of hers.

[p. 6]

After some months of the same punishment-like tasks, her stepmother drove all the servants away, telling her husband that they were inefficient. During Juan’s presence, Ita was helped by Leona, Sisa, and Marta, her stepmother’s children. As soon as Juan was gone, Doña Concha called her daughters to dress up for some visitors might call. Patient, Ita was left to work alone.

One day, Juan went to see his “katiwala,” (a tenant) in one of the nearby barrios. As he was on his way, he was bitten by a “sawa,” a poisonous snake, and without his family’s knowledge, he died. In the late afternoon, his death was discovered by his tenant, who was on his way to know the whys of his master’s delay. He placed the cadaver in his cart, and directed homeward. Who would not grieve over the loss of a dear father? Poor Ita was unconsciously picked up on the floor by some amiable friends.

Weeks, months, and even years elapsed, but the memory of that good father could hardly be forgotten by the forlorn child. By that time, laws were not highly esteemed, and she, the real owner of her home, was not its mistress, but its slave.

One morning, an ugly-looking woman, old and weak, came begging for something to eat. Doña Concha, the impostor, drove her away. Ita pitied the hungry mendicant; and passing through the back door, she slipped her some rice wrapped in a banana leaf, and some pieces of meat. The old woman

[p. 7]

thanked her and went beside the fence to eat.

In that town, serenading was the happiest enjoyments of lovers and sweethearts at night when the moon was shining brightly. Nobody admired Ita for she was black and thought of by some as a mere servant as she used to appear in public; still, her childish heart never envied such worldly vanities. As she was sweeping the floor, she heard the “banda,” beating of the drum, to announce the coming of prominent men. Ita’s stepmother and her daughters were peeping at the windows. The man bearing the order told the people that the Governor and his son were coming for a visit. It was also rumored that his principal mission was to select a beautiful, charming wife for his son.

It was about one-thirty of the next day when the old woman came through the back door. She beheld the poor Ita sleeping on a “papag,” a bamboo bed, in the kitchen. She touched her from head to feet and whispered, “Ita, my darling, try your very best to be at the “toclong,” (a four-sided bamboo structure with straw and nipa ceiling) this evening. Take part in the “subli,” a native dance. Immediately, the old woman disappeared. Ita obeyed the wishes of her friend.

The evening of merrymaking expected by the people came. The chief, or the Governor and his son, were entertained by giving banquets and dances. Among the prominent ladies were Doña Concha, and her daughters who were elegantly dressed, so

[p. 8]

that either one of them could be selected. The “subli” was then begun. The girl wore hats, but their male partners, without. A big drum served as the music. One of the lady partakers of the dance was Margarita, the maltreated orphan. Her face was partly covered with a buri hat; still the Governor noticed her, and asked, “Doña Concha, who is that girl?” Without taking notice of the girl specified, she carelessly answered, “Oh, she is the daughter of our servant.” Just after the dance, the Governor politely approached Ita saying, “Fair maiden, take off your hat, and do not cover your beautiful face.” She obeyed the Governor and everyone wondered at her beauty. Even the stepmother could not believe that she was Ita.

The next day, the truth was revealed by a friend of the Governor. As a powerful man, he went to see Doña Concha, for he settled the financial rights of the orphan. The stepmother and her children humbly returned all which belonged to Ita, and they went back to their own cottage leaving Margarita, the fair maiden, under close guard, yet free of Enrique, the handsome son of the Governor. He had selected the best daughter-in-law for she was not only pretty, but also was a lovable and dutiful housewife.


March 1, 1925.

Notes and references:
Transcribed from “Magic Tales 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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