Lipa City, Batangas: Historical Data Part I - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Lipa City, Batangas: Historical Data Part I - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Lipa City, Batangas: Historical Data Part I

Historical Data graphic
Historical data from the National Library of the Philippines.



Full transcription of the so-called “Historical Data” for the City of Lipa, Batangas, the original scanned documents at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections not having OCR or optical character recognition properties. This transcription has been edited for grammar, spelling and punctuation where possible. The original pagination is provided for citation purposes.

Just a note to all who may come to use this page, the “historical data” for the City of Lipa begins at page 12. No explanation is given at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections site.

[Cover page]


[p. 12]

d. Marriage

In the evening, the suitor goes to the young girl’s house and, as soon as he crosses the threshold, goes down on his knees, crosses his arms over his chest and, head bowed in [a] sign of respect, meekly says these words, “Mano po.”

The father or mother answers him, “Kaawaan ka ng Panginoong Diyos. Tindig ka, at umupo.” The father or mother calls for the maiden to offer the visitor cigarettes. She does so. The young people speak at first of things not pertaining to love or marriage until the psychological moment comes during which the young man, trembling, says in a low voice, “Kung mamarapatin ………………,” which is permission to ask her hand in marriage.

The maiden’s answer is that he ask palay from her parents, which means consent on her own part. The young man then starts bringing firewood and water to the maiden’s house. This is called “Pagpapakilala.” After seven days of work, the girl’s parents send for the parents of the young man for the purpose of settling the conditions and preparations for the marriage.

Then, the talk is about the “bilang” or “bigay kaya,” the dowry, which may be given in kind or in money, the girl’s parents explaining that the only purpose of the dowry is to give the new couple something to start with. If the young man’s parents believe the “bilang” is excessive, they say so frankly, “Hindi po naming kaya.” (We cannot afford it.)

If the terms are agreeable to both parties, the next step is done. It is known as the “pamulungan,” when the parents and friends of the young man go to the girl’s house with some foods to eat. After the “pamulungan,” it is the young man’s duty to visit the relatives and announce to them the day of the wedding and to request them not to fail to come to the bride’s house on that day.

e. Death and Burial

When a member of the family dies, all the relatives and kin of the family will be notified of the death. The family, together with their sympathizers and friends, stay awake the whole night. Prayers are said for the soul of the departed.

Burial will take place the next day. Some men prepare the grave for the dead. Before the burial, the dead is brought to the church to receive his last blessing. Then the dead is taken to the cemetery. The coffin is opened and prayers are said again for his soul. Before burial, the members of the immediate family kiss the hand of the deceased or lift the hand to their forehead. They mourn for the dead.

[p. 13]

f. Visits

Filipino pagans of the past had their religious beliefs and customs. They made visits to one another, especially to their gods. Their visits had more bearing with their religious practices, and they still have connection with some present day practices.

The early Filipinos believed in a powerful god whom the Tagalog natives of Luzon called Bathala; and the Visayans, Laon. They believed that this god was the creator of all things and the giver of life; and they offered sacrifices to him whenever they asked for anything. Necessarily, they had to visit their god when they made this offering.

They worshipped animals and birds, as did the Egyptians of the ancient times; and the sun and the moon, as did the Assyrians. The Tagalogs worshipped a blue bird as large as the turtle dove which they called Tigmamanukin, and to which they attributed the divinity of Bathala. They worshipped the crow and called in maylupa, signifying master of the earth. They held the crocodile in the greatest veneration, and whenever they saw one in the water, they cried out in all sujection not to harm them, and sought to appease it by throwing a portion of anything they carried. There was no old tree to which they did not attribute divine honors, and it was sacrilege to even think of cutting it under any consideration. Even the very rocks, crags, reefs, and points along the rivers and seashores were adored, and sacrifices made to them. Hence, to accomplish their worships and sacrifices, they had to go to the very places where their worships and sacrifices could be effected.

The natives also adored idols, which each one inherited from his ancestors. The Visayans called these idols Diwata; the Tagalogs, anitos; and they were said to be agents of their most powerful god. Of these idols, some had jurisdiction over the mountains and open country, and permission was asked for them to go thither. Others had jurisdiction over their farms and plantations, and these were commended to them, so that they might prove fruitful. Besides praying to these gods of the plantations, the natives placed sacrificial offerings of food in their farms for the anitos to eat, in the belief that they would be given more favors. There was an anito of the sea to whom they commended their fisheries and navigations, and an anito of the house, whose favor they implored whenever an infant was born. Among their gods, they also reckoned all those who were devoured by crocodiles, or who were killed by lightning, or those who perished by the sword. They believed that the souls of these people ascended to the heavens and that they were taken by Bathala, or Laon, to serve him.

[p. 14]

g. Festivity and Punishment

The natives were fond of holding festivities. They got together frequently, making those different gatherings occasions of their rejoicings. In marriage ceremonies, at the birth of a child, at one’s birthday, on the occasion of the fourth day, the ninth day, and the one year anniversary of one’s death, they made merriment, singing and dancing native music. In all those merrymaking, they did not fail to drink the tuba, their native wine. Without this tuba, no merriment was complete.

One rare occasions, which the whole tribe attended and celebrated, was the victory over their enemies. Marching together, the people in the village sang their war songs, the Kuomintang, and danced their favorite Kutangkutang. Thereafter, in every house, there was rejoicing and all the members of the upper class were in the datu’s house for the victory celebration.

The natives inflicted severe punishments for those who perpetrated a heinous crime. A wrong act was a great offense to the community. The criminal was ostracized from the society and his act was dealt with according to the gravity of his offense. There were many examples of inflicting penalty. If the value of the thing stolen was not too much, the thief thereof was tied on the ant hill; if the stolen good was quite valuable, he was not only tied but also beaten heavily, thereby suffering much. A person committing a serious misdemeanor and did not confess was tortured. The torture system was horrible. He was immersed in water and was not lifted until he told the truth. The process was not stopped until a confession was elicited. Sometimes, he did not make a confession. Usually, on that occasion, he met his death by remaining silent. The Filipinos of old, as shown by the different instances in its old history, devise different ways and means of inflicting the penalty. This penalty usually depended upon the offense. If the crime was serious, the punishment was also serious; and if it was light, the punishment was also light.

[p. 15]

Myths, legends, beliefs, superstitions

The Origin of Man
(A Legend)

At the beginning, there was nothing but sky and water. The water, irritated by a blue bird called Tigmamanukin, rose so high that it menaced the sky with its waves. Bathala, the creator, the architect, to appease Tigmamanukin, cast giant rocks into the water, and these later became the islands. In one of these rocks, the bird passed to rest.

The union of land and sea produced the bamboo, a segment of which came to rest at the feet of Tigmamanukin. The bird, full of curiosity, pecked at the cane and broke the bamboo. Great was his surprise to see from one internode emerge the first man, and from another, the first woman. The man, upon beholding the woman in all her fairness, said, “Ba!” from which the word babae, meaning woman, was derived.

The woman, no less admiring the man’s vigor and beauty, exclaimed, “La!” from which the word lalake, meaning male.

The two, amazed and awed at the beauty of creation, together said, “Ha!” From these joint syllables, the word “Bathala,” meaning god, creator of all, was formed.

Now seeing the woman refused to unite herself with the man, alleging that they were brothers, Bathala forced the union by causing a strong earthquake. Only in this manner was the first woman united to the first man, and the earth was populated.

The Moon and the Stars

Once upon a time, a young woman named Maria went out to pound rice. She took off her gold chain of beads and the silver comb from her hair and hung them for safety on the sky, which at that time was close to the ground.

Maria started to pound the rice, but whenever she raised her pestle, it hit the sky. Finally, she raised the pestle so high that it struck the sky a hard blow.

As soon as that happened, the sky began to rise. Maria wept as she watched it rising higher and higher in the air, carrying with it her comb and her beads.

Maria never recovered her possessions; for the silver comb was changed to the moon, while the gold chain broke apart and the scattered beads became the stars.

[p. 16]

Legend of Dalaga

Daga, which means virgin, was a lovely maiden, the much beloved daughter of Maguinoo. Having fallen in love with the Sun, she consecrated to him her virginity. One warm day, Daga took a bath in a secluded spring, afterwards going to sleep under the shade of some bamboo canes. Here, a ray from the Sun descended and made love to her. She conceived, and although a virgin, gave birth to a boy amidst the singing of the birds. When Daga’s father learned what had happened, he sent her out of his house. Then, in great rage, he inscribed La, the symbol of the male, in the middle of her name, Daga, as a sign of her dishonor.

Daga, or now dalaga, full of sorrow, returned to her son to clasp him tightly in her arms. As night fell, she placed him among the leaves and the flowers that he might sleep. The sampaguitas opened their petals to suckle the newly born babe.

Sometime after this, the maiden returned to the house of her parents. Her innocence and virginity now acknowledged, her father once more set her to sit at his table.

From then on, the maiden was known by the name Dalaga. Her mother sent for her grandchild, and embraced him in her arms. But an eagle snatched him up, losing itself among the mountain peaks. The child thus grew up in the wilderness. When he grew up, he became a good leader.


1. When a pregnant mother cuts her hair, she will give birth to a hairless baby.

2. It is not good to leave the house when someone is still eating. Bad luck may come on the way.

3. Putting plates one over another when there is a dead person is bad. Other members of the family may die.

4. It is good to plant bananas after eating a heavy meal so that the bunches will be big.

5. It is good to plant fruit-bearing crops on the first day after the full moon so that the plants will continuously bear fruit. On this day, the sun and the moon are first seen both in the sky.

6. It is not good to cut fingernails at night or on Fridays.

7. It is not good to begin a certain piece of work or activity on Tuesday or Friday as it is bound to fail.


Notes and references:
Transcribed from “History and Cultural Life of the City of Lipa” 1953, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
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