1915 Tagalog Stories, Proverbs, and Games by Jose de Villa - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore 1915 Tagalog Stories, Proverbs, and Games by Jose de Villa - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

1915 Tagalog Stories, Proverbs, and Games by Jose de Villa

This page contains the complete transcription of the 1915 ethnographic paper1 written by one Jose de Villa 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.

[Note to the reader/researcher: Although the title may sound wider in context, this paper was classified under “San Jose, Province of Batangas, Luzon.” There is every likelihood that the author himself was from the town of San Jose in Batangas and collected information within his home province.

Henry Otley-Beyer Collection


[Cover Page.]

Tagalog Paper No. 47.
(Folklore #154)


Jose de Villa

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1. TAGALOG: San Jose, Province of Batangas, Luzon.
2. Social Customs: Amusements: Games: Folklore: Myths: Proverbs.

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[p. 1]

Jose de Villa.

How the First Man and Woman Were Formed.

In forming the world, Bathala (God) first created the light, then the trees, rivers, mountains and beasts. It was a long time before men appeared on earth.

All over the land was forest, and the birds and beasts that inhabited this forest were fighting against each other, each wishing that he might supreme over all the other creatures. Many years passed and the continuous struggle among the creatures in the forest went on, but no one had yet acquired the supremacy over the others. Bathala watched the world with fear lest he himself might be dominated. He had not thought of forming man for he was afraid that if he would create another creature and let it inhabit the forest, this creature would also think of being supreme. But at last, he conceived how he could make men who would settle the struggle of the other creatures he had already created.

He first created the first bamboo plant. In the second internode, he put a very small creature formed like himself, and in the second, he put another but modified a little. The bamboo grew to be a very big plant. One day, a crow which had come from a bottle was passing, and it heard a knock in the bamboo. The crow, wishing to know what was in the bamboo, flew near it. It heard a voice calling:

[p. 2]

“Please let me free for I am choking to death.” The crow knocked the bamboo with its beak and afterwards, the first man on earth appeared. Some days later, the rest of the bamboo notes burst themselves open and the first woman appeared. When the first man and woman met, they fell in love with each other and then from that time on, the people on earth multiplied.

The first man became the king of all the beasts and birds. He settled their quarrels and placed all of them in their respective positions, the lions in the forest; the horse near him; the eagle in the air; and the chicken and geese on the earth.


The following is the translation of some Filipino proverbs which I heard from the old people of my town. It will be noted that some of them have some similarity to English proverbs, but I cannot say that they are of American origin for those people who used to say them do not know English.

1. Deep water flows slowly.

2. He spared a handful and lost a pound.

3. He who walks slowly will have his feet thrust with thorn but rarely.

4. If you spit upward, it will strike your face.

5. Before you look at the stain on the faces of others, first look on yours.

[p. 3]

6. A sleeping shrimp is often carried by the stream.

7. Whisper is louder than shout.

8. He who has something hidden between the walls has something to look upon.

9. He can endure hunger longer who has nothing to eat.

10. You create a ghost and you are the first to be frightened.

11. The horse is fast when not in the race.

12. There is no stronger vine to a constant and strong hanger.

13. When there is happiness, sorrow will be sure to follow.

14. The earth has ears, and the news has wings.

15. That which you always utter is that which you have in your heart.

16. He strengthened his house after the storm.

[p. 4]


“Guinto-guinto” (or play of gold) is a Tagalog game which we used to play when we were small boys. The game is played in the following: the participants will select one who is to be the king of the game. The selected king will give nicknames to every member. Then, the members will arrange themselves in a row, and when the king calls him out, “ready” everyone will put his hands behind. The king has a piece of stone, which is denoted as the gold. He will pass behind the row, and will touch the opened hands of the boys, as if he would give something, but in fact he hands to gold to one member only. When the king has done this, he will call out loud, “The holder of the gold, run!”

Everyone will watch the member beside him, and will try to touch him when he starts to run. The holder of the gold will try to run untouched by his neighbor, but when he becomes unsuccessful, he will receive a punishment by carrying on his back the one who has touched him, but on the contrary, when he has [been] untouched, he will call a member by the nickname, who is to carry him back to the row.

This game goes on, and at every event, a new king is elected.

Notes and references:
1 “Tagalog Stories, Proverbs, and Games,” by Jose de Villa, published 1915 and later compiled as part of the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
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