Superstitious Beliefs in San Jose, Batangas by Agapito H. Mendoza, 1925 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Superstitious Beliefs in San Jose, Batangas by Agapito H. Mendoza, 1925 - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Superstitious Beliefs in San Jose, Batangas by Agapito H. Mendoza, 1925

This page contains the complete transcription of the 1925 ethnographic paper written by one Agapito H. Mendoza 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. 469.
Agapito H. Mendoza.
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  1. TAGALOG: San Jose, Batangas Province.
  2. Summary: Folklore: Beliefs.

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Manila February 27, 1925.

[p. 1]


Agapito H. Mendoza.

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1. When a baby girl is born on [a] Saturday, she will receive a special care from the Blessed Virgin throughout her life.

2. When a baby is born on the 24th of December, that baby will be lucky during life.

3. When a baby is baptized on Good Saturday with the newly blessed water, that baby will become famous and learned.

4. A baby girl born on the month of May is ordinarily fond of flowers.

5. If the placenta is placed in a pot and hung, the child will not be easily frightened.

6. If the placenta is buried with a book, the child will be a wise man.

7. If the placenta is buried with a needle, thimble, and thread, the child will know how to sew very well.

8. If the placenta is buried with a playing card, the child will be a gambler.

9. If the placenta is thrown in the the river, the child will not easily catch cold.

[p. 2]


1. If used plates are removed from the table while a young man or a young woman is still eating, her or she will never get married.

2. If a young girl sings in front of the stove while cooking, she will be married to an old man or to a widower.

3. If you lie down in front of the steps of the stove while cooking, you will be married to an old man or to a widower.

4. People who marry n the months of April and May will have a happy life with many children.

5. Tie a simple ring with your own hair; hold it over a glass of water without moving your hand; the number of times that the ring strikes the glass indicates the number of years to be passed before you get married.

6. If without breaking, you can split a hair long enough, your future husband will come from a distant place.

7. When a newly married couple returns from the church, the one who ascends the stairs first will dominate over the other.

8. On ascending the stairs, the newly-married couple should be showered with grains of rice so that they will not lack food during their marriage life.

9. If one of a couple dies during the new moon, the one still alive will be married very soon.

10. Orange blossoms signify marriage.

11. During the marriage ceremony, when one of the couple’s candles burns faster, the person who is in front of that candle will live longer than the other.

[p. 3]


1. If a girl combs her hair at night, her mother will soon die.

2. If dogs howl at night about a house where there is a sick person, the sick person will die.

3. If an owl enters a house where there is a sick person, the patient will die.

4. When a young woman dies, a young man will follow.

5. If a woman dies of child birth in a certain family, all pregnant women should wash their hair and bathe themselves in order that they may not suffer the same fate.

6. All relatives of a dead person should never take a bath when the corpse is still lying in state. It is said that when the dead appears before God, he is asked how all his relatives are. If they take a bath, the spirit generally answers, “They are getting ready to follow, because when I left, they were taking a bath and getting ready to meet you.”

7. The stairs should face towards the east, for if it faces west, the owners of the house will die soon.

8. If you smell the odor of a burning candle at night when candles are not used at all in the house, it is believed that a certain relative had died.

9. If a black butterfly flutters about you, a certain relative is dying.

10. A “Kanay Kanay” (a Tagalog word for a certain kind of bird) flies about the house with great noise, it

[p. 4]

[blurred word] to some member of the family will die.

11. If a patient is transferred to a newly built house, the patient will never recover.

12. If the root of a tree enters the ground under the house, the people of that house will soon die.

13. When the corpse is taken to the church or to the cemetery, close all the windows; so nobody could peep, and subsequent deaths would not follow.

14. Sleeping with the head towards the south brings only [uncertain word] death.

15. Sleeping parallel to the ridge pole of the house brings premature death.

16. If you eat the fruit of a tree struck by lightning you will die.

17. When a hen cackles in the dead of the night, a person in the neighborhood will soon die.


1. When a person stops over another who is lying down, it is a sign of bad luck. If, however, the person steps over him again in the opposite direction, the back luck is overcome.

2. If you go on an errand and hear somebody sneezing but once while you go downstairs, you will meet bad luck.

3. Occupying an unfinished house brings bad luck or misfortune to the family.

[p. 5]

4. A “Katuray” tree planted near a house drives away the owners of the house.

5. When a gambler meets a woman on his way to a gambling place, he will lose. If he meets a man, he will win. If the man is in black, however, he will lose.

6. A fighting cock crowing without being answered by another cock will win the following Saturday.

7. Leaving the house while somebody is still eating brings bad luck.

8. A snake crossing your path while traveling is a sign of good luck.

9. Breaking a mirror or a glass while starting for a place is a bad omen.

10. If you meet a man on your way to sell goods, you are lucky.

11. If you pat that same man on the back, you will be luckier still.

12. Boboy fruit (kapok) signifies bad luck.

13. Owac signifies bad luck.

14. Thirteen is usually considered an unlucky number.


1. In planting a banana plant, one must never look up, for if he does, the banana will grow too tall to bear fruit.

2. In planting “ampalaya” (in Tagalog name), one should have a piece of sugar in his mouth so that the fruit will not be very bitter.

[p. 6]

3. In planting a coconut, one should carry [a] child on the back so that the tree would bear plenty of fruits.

4. In planting rice, carry a beetle-nut [most likely betel nut] so that the grains will be large.


1. When you bathe a cat, it will rain.

2. Black cats climbing the posts of a house signify the coming of a flood.

3. When herons go eastward, they go and ask rain from God.

4. Red clouds signify storms.

5. When the moon is enclosed by its halho, bad weather is coming.

6. When the halo of the moon is broken, the weather will be very windy.

7. Cockroaches flying about the house indicates the coming of a storm.

8. When cicadas are seen chirping around, it will rain.

9. Pigs roving restlessly indicate the coming of a storm.


1. A Butiki (house lizard) making a noise near the door announces the coming of a visitor.

2. When the fire laughs while cooking, visitors will arrive.

[p. 7]

3. When a cat licks its mouth facing the door, visitors will arrive.

4. If you upset a glass of water, you will have a visitor.


February 27, 1925.

Notes and references:
Transcribed from “Superstitious Beliefs in San Jose,” by Agapito H. Mendoza, 1925, online at the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
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