Lemery, Batangas: Historical Data Part IV - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Lemery, Batangas: Historical Data Part IV - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Lemery, Batangas: Historical Data Part IV

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



[p. 15]

that in doing so, the couple could not be separated except by death.


Death was always considered a sign of [a] bad omen, but for the religious folks, death was the will of God, and nobody on earth could prevent such [an] occurrence except the Almighty.

When a person dies, all members of his family are not allowed to go far away from the home because they believed that when they do so, they are endangering themselves to accidents.

A lighted lamp was placed under the house where there is a dead person. They believed that the light would protect the dead from being molested by the earthly ghosts or evil spirits.

Any person who died in duel was considered a hero. All his goodness were the main topics to the people, narrated and discussed by his friends, neighbors and relatives.

In a house where there was a dead person, a plate or a small box was placed near the corpse. People coming to pay respect and sympathy to the dead used to put in the box or on the plate any amount they could afford to give in order to help spend for the burial services.


Burial during the olden days was less expensive than that of the present. In the past, dead persons were wrapped in a mat with a bamboo curtain, then tied carefully around. That served as a coffin.

After the corpse was brought downstairs for burial, all windows of the house where the corpse came from would be closed immediately. They believed that when someone looked out of the window when the corpse was already downstairs, another person living in the said house would soon die.

At the cemetery, before the burial service, all children related to the dead would step across the corpse. They believed that the soul of the dead would rest in peace for the children who stepped across his dead body would always remember him.

If the dead person was addicted to drinking liquor, a bottle of gin would be placed with him in the coffin. They believed that the soul of that dead person would enjoy his journey to heaven because he had the necessary supply of hot drink.

Sometimes, they used to include in the burial ceremony all the valuable possessions of the dead such as money, jewels, clothes, etc. They believed that those things were to be used or worn in heaven.


Fiesta became a traditional celebration since the days when the people embraced the Catholic Religion.

[p. 16]

Fiestas are celebrated to pay honor and respect to a certain patron of a barrio or town. They considered fiesta as a sacred promise and a holy activity that when they failed to realize it, some calamities might befall in their midst.

Fiesta is a day when all people of the community wear their best in attending the mass. All homes are decorated with curtains, lanterns and fresh palm leaves to show that they are participating in the celebration. Aside from those beautiful decorations, every home is prepared to receive guests, invited or uninvited. For this reason, especially when the celebration falls on a fine weather, thousands and thousands of people from other places used to attend the celebration of a town fiesta.

Sometimes, a certain individual would be requested by the priest to sponsor a day for a certain patron or saint. A mass would be said and the sponsor would pay the cost of the mass. After the mass, the sponsor would entertain visitors in his or her home. In many cases, no one dares to deny the request because if he does so, the denial is taken as a dishonor to the said saint or patron.

Religious festivals since the time they were first celebrated always gained [the] full and whole-hearted support from the people of the community.


During the days when laws were not written, the oldest folk in the village was the only person to decide punishment on all the crimes committed by the villagers.

When the crime was stealing, the punishment was by cutting the forefinger of the stealer. When the crime was murder, the punishment was beheading the criminal. When the crime was adultery, both [the] man and woman who committed the crime would be flogged to death in the presence of their husband and wife. When the crime was spying or gossiping, cutting the tip of the tongue was the punishment. When the crime was abandonment of the wife and children, the punishment was flogging and imprisonment. When the crime was dishonesty, the punishment was one day sitting down where there are plenty of red ants.

Myths, Legends, Beliefs, Interpretations & Superstitions

It was the common belief of the people that the world originated from a handful of dust molded by the Almighty, created for some harmful insects to live in. God was annoyed by His first creation, so He destroyed that first ball of earth and created a much bigger one. Knowing that such earth was useless without some decorations, so He decorated it with mountains, forests, seas, rivers, and lakes. Learning that nobody would be benefited by the beauty of what He created, He then sent out a pair of birds to live among the trees of the forest, a pair of fish to live about the sea, lakes and rivers.

Seeing that the loneliest spot in His creation was the land, so He put some edible plants, fruit trees and flowering vines to make it more attractive to look at. After some days, He noticed that complete silence in the place could not add attraction to it, so He created the first

[p. 17]

man and woman out of a bamboo tree growing near the river. To provide [a] home for His newly created human beings, He placed some hollow stones near the forest and mountains which afterward became caves.

They believed that the sun, which is a ball of fire, was also created by God, so that it can keep the people and His other creations warm and to receive light during the day. The moon and the stars were also His creations. They were created purposely to give the people light at night so that those industrious individuals can continue their work if they so desire.

They believed that eclipses were caused by the fight among the three big giants, “Laho” of the moon, “Init” of the sun and “Lakas” and the lightning and thunder are caused by the angry roar of [the] giant “Init” from the sun.

They believed that clouds and rain were contributions of the moon to his friend, the earth, so that the people, plants and animals would be benefited by their coolness and freshness which were very essential to their growth and development.

The wind and storm, they said, were caused by a giant called “Hitik” when sleeping soundly with his favorite snores. Others believed that wind and storm were forms of punishment by God to those people who are thinking of nothing but wealth and luxuries.

When twins, triplets, etc. were born, they believed that it was a sign of good luck and that prosperous life was coming soon. Others believed that twins born were a form of indirect punishment to a mother so that he rearing would be hard and difficult.

Sickness, they said, was the will of the Almighty. People were made to become sick so that they would recall during their illness that God created them. Prayers after prayers of repentance would make them recover.

They also believed in witchcraft, particularly in the so-called “kulam,” “gahoy,” and “barang.” Persons possessing such powers could make revenge against anyone. They could command sickness to fall on a person or animal. They usually sent out incurable diseases. The only way to save the patient was when the sender of the sickness was requested to perform the treatment.

Popular Songs, Games and Amusements
Popular Songs

Popular songs are sung during the time when mother or sister is making the baby [go] to sleep. Some of them are:

1. Sleep my dear baby,

Your mother is away
Looking for your best food
To give you all the comfort.

She’ll return by and by
With all the fruits you want
She’ll return them from the field
Which father worked and tilled.

[p. 18]

2. Talalay talalay

Please do not deny,
Under the “malunggay”
You were with someone.

Your mother is angry
Your father is sorry
Because of what you have done
You were spanked.

3. You are a sweet red rose

I am a butterfly
When I perched on your leaves
You made a loud cry.

You became a flower
And I became a bee
You gave me your nectar
I made them to honey.

Games and Amusements

The popular games in the olden days were wrestling, heavy load carrying contest, fencing (arnis), diving, pata (taking place of our bowling today), raft racing, and patentero.

For amusements, they used to have bullfighting, subli dancing, literary joust, song, singing contest, turtle racing, puzzles and riddles contest, and stilts racing.

Puzzles and Riddles

In many instances, puzzles and riddles are very common among young men and women after playing patentero or hide-and-seek. This is usually done during full moon when the brilliant moonlight and fine weather permit them to enjoy.

Some of the common puzzles and riddles are:

1. You carry it, it carries you,
You are carried by what you carry, too.
2. What bird calls out its own name?
3. Two posts racing each other.
4. Two balls of thread, the sky they reach.
5. A captain’s bar, nobody can touch.
6. Blackness came, all people died.
7. What in your body can’t be forgotten although you are sleeping?
8. Adam’s hair can’t be counted.
9. Kapirit cooks rice, also the pot he eats.
10. The children are already sitting while the mother is still crawling.

Proverbs and Sayings

On many occasions, proverbs and sayings are employed in a form of academic and mental contest. Each proverb or saying is to be explained giving as many examples as they can think of. This is mostly observed during the night at the home of the dead neighbor, friend or relative. Some of their proverbs and sayings are:

1. A sleeping fish can be carried easily by the current.

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2. Gambling is the mother of poverty.
3. Flowery gate.
4. What you have planted is the thing that you will harvest.
5. Walk slowly and you’ll hurt your feet less, but walk fast and you’ll hurt your feet worst.
6. Bend the tree while it is young.
7. When you put something up, you will have something to look up at.
8. Do not cross the road until you come to it.
9. Papaya will never bear the fruit of an orange.
10. It is hard to awaken one who is pretending to be sleeping.

Methods of Measuring Time, Special Calendar

In the past, time was measured in the following manner:

1. By marking the shadows of trees under the sun.
2. By using droplets of water in a container. The amount of water that comes out of a tiny hole is measured.
3. By the crowing of the cocks.
4. By the crying of a bird called “calo.”

People in those days did not keep accurate calendars. They just feminized the names of the days and masculinized the months of the year. Example:


In recording the number of days, they just kept pebbles and the number of months and years were recovered by marking cuts against the trunks of big trees.

Other Folktales

It was told that the Pansipit River that separates the municipality of Lemery from Taal was built by a giant crab who got tired of living in the salty water, tried to find fresh water by digging with its gigantic claws and canal toward the Taal Lake. The river got its name from the claws of the said giant crab – meaning “Pansipit.”

It was also recalled that the present sight of the poblacion of Lemery was under the water level many, many centuries ago. But when the sea giant called “Makalimas Dagat” quarreled against another giant called “Makapatag

[p. 20]

Bundok,” the former got all the sand of the sea and threw them to the latter. Makapatag Bundok retaliated by leveling some of the mountains so that the soil will roll to the sea. As a result, the sand of the sea and the soil from the mountain piled up, making the place higher and became an ideal place for settlement.


Information on books and documents treating of the Philippines and the names of their owners are not available.

Names of Philippine Authors Born or Residing in the Community, the Titles and Subjects of Their Works, Whether Printed or in Manuscript Form, and the Names of the Persons Possessing Them

The only Philippine author that can be mentioned in this manuscript is Atty. Vicente Villamin, a well-known Filipino economist who is a native of Lemery. He is in America at present. A well-known newspaperman and well-versed in Economics and [the] economic affairs of every nation of the world. According to his brother Jose Villamin, who is at present residing in Lemery, Mr. Vicente Villamin has written books about [the] Economic Condition of Every Nation of the World. He is also an authority in world affairs. At present, he is a columnist of the Manila Daily Bulletin.



Notes and references:
Transcribed from “History and Cultural Data for the Poblacion of Lemery” 1953, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
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