Early in the Spanish colonial era, a company of Spanish soldiers were passing through what to them was an unknown place. Two of them suddenly felt the need to defecate, so they broke off momentarily from their company and, out of modesty, found themselves each a shrub beneath which to relieve themselves.
Done, each soldier reached for a leaf with which to wipe himself. Before long, however, both soldiers began to scream because of the rashes that began to sprout as well as the itch they began to feel in their behinds.
A native who happened to have witnessed what happened started to shout, “Lipa! Lipa!” He was actually attempting to tell the Spaniards that the leaves with which they wiped themselves were from the lipa plant. Typically, however, the Spaniards thought that they were being told the name of the place they were in.
2 “Historical Data of the Municipality of Bauan,” 1953, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
3 “Urticaceae,” Wikipedia.
4 Urtica, Wikipedia.
5 “Lipang-aso,” online at Philippine Medicinal Plants.
6 “Dendrocnide meyeniana,” Wikipedia.