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

Lipa City, Batangas: Historical Data Part IV

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



[p. 27]

they used the “balis” method which was a reverse of the “bilangan.” January 13 represented the month of December; January 14, November; January 15, October; January 16, September; etc. Because of these methods, they could easily predict the kind of weather that they would have for each month of the coming year.

The Legendary Origin of Taal Lake

The Taal Lake region, with its river, lake, caves, hill, and mountains, which constitutes on of the wonderful garden spots in the orient for being rich in its scenic beauty, abounds in legends and traditions. It is the Batangas Olympus of legendary heroes. Here, Gay Leynes and Don Pablo Maralit became widely known for their fame. Here, too, the traditions as to the origin of Taal Lake, Taal Volcano and the town of Lipa have been handed down from mouth to mouth by the old people. They are fictitious tales which have several modifications from many successions of generations. Nevertheless, they have still survived with their own charms.

As to the origin of the Lake, the story says that in one of the thick forests of Batangas province lived a fairy. She used to walk alone. In one of these walks, she met the giant demon named Taal. Taal immediately fell in love with her. Soon, he asked for her hand in marriage. Afraid of the demon’s ugliness, she told him that she had vowed to remain single. No longer able to stand before him, she ran away. The giant ran after her to the cave where she hid herself. There, she called the aid of Divine mercy to liberate her from her captor. The gods of the cave heard her prayer. As Taal failed in his love pursuit, he became angrier with the nymph. Instead of continuing his romantic enterprise, he became revengeful. His love turned into hatred. He began to conceive of destructive things. He dug the path leading to the cave where he knew the nymph was. So, water rushed in from every side of the cave, forming into a lake. Thus, the famous Taal Lake, known the world over, was named after him.


The origin of the name of the volcano is a continuation [of] the same story. The nymph remained in her hiding place. She was still worried and fearful for her safety. But, from her kneeling position, she stood up to see if she was safe. She looked around her, trying to see if she could escape. Around her, she saw nothing but water. She then felt that her longing to reach her home was doomed. However, she did not lose her faith in the power and mercy of the goddesses of the cave. She prayed to them, pinning her only hope in them. Her strong faith was at last

[p. 28]

rewarded. When she was attempting to escape, one of the goddesses went to her aid. She transformed herself into a banca and asked the nymph to embark. They crossed the lake and reached the shore. Upon landing, she was seen by the revengeful giant, Taal. This time, the kind goddess ran again to her help. The captor became diable [disabled?] in his pursuit. He became angrier, more desperate. Dreadfully, he executed his destructive plan. He burned the hill which he could not ascend, hoping that by so doing, he could terminate the life of the lady he loved. People said that this was the cause of the eruption, the first eruption of Taal Volcano.


It is a general belief throughout the islands that God oftentimes descends to earth posing as a beggar to test the kindness of man. This brings to our minds the role played by the old man, a beggar in the most beautiful masterpiece of Philippine folklore, the Adarna bird. God simply wants to reward the charitable and to punish the avaricious. It is said that a beggar knocked at the door of a rich man. He asked for alms. He was not given nor was he even heard. He went to another house. There, he met a charitable man. Being a recipient of charity, the beggar could not be grateful to the kind man. Before he left the house, he promised to protect the man. Immediately after he had gone, the whole town was burned. Only one house remained, the house of the man who gave alms. Thus, the charitable man was rewarded.

The aforementioned story is similar to the legend of the origin of Sampaloc Lake in Laguna. The lake sprung up because a beggar was not given a fruit.


A maiden, as radiant as the sun, brown as her native soil, had remained in her house to take care of her paralytic father. One morning, she went to the orchard as was her daily wont, to work on the little garden and the young fruit trees. Hereupon, a Spanish soldier came and attempted to violate her. She resisted him. There ensued a close scuffle. Then, with the knife with which she had been cleaning her garden, the “Dalaga” killed him that wanted to give her dishonor.

At this juncture, a platoon of Spanish soldiers called Cazadores arrived. Upon seeing the bloody scene and, in its midst, a dead comrade, they discharged their muskets against the valiant Dalaga, wounding her fatally.

The maiden then laboriously tried to drag herself to the nearby river where her mother was washing clothes. But being without strength, she died on the way. Before expiring, however, she wrote with her blood at the edge of her white petticoat the following words: “I die pure.”

[p. 29]

When the townspeople learned of the incident, they went to the garden where it had occurred. There, they found the soil turned red, read with blood. From then on, the place became known as the Red Earth (Tierra Roja). Women of the locality who have to go on long trips to distant places, or who merely want to preserve themselves in their traditional purity, ask for aid from Tierra Roja. They gather from it a handful of soil and, diluting it in water, drink the mixture in small draughts. Then, they feel brave in the defense of their honor.


Once upon a time, in the barrio of Antipolo, there lived a man named Pablo Anting. He was so called because, through his anting-anting, he had many interesting adventures.

Ablong anting fell in love with a young beautiful lady of the same barrio. During that time, it was the old custom to require the suitor to serve the girl’s parents during the period of courtship. One day, while Pablo was in the house of his beloved, the father of the girl told him to cut some bamboo to be used in the construction of their proposed home. He did as he was told without hesitation. He went to the bamboo grove to cut the bamboo. To the surprise of the girl’s father, he saw Pablo cutting the bamboo as if he was cutting grass. He found, too, that he had left long joints on the ground.

“Pablo,” he said, “will you please cut the bamboo shorter on the ground?” After saying this, the girl’s father went to the house.

Without a word but only a nod, Pablo sheathed his bolo and began to pull up the bamboo as if he was pulling grass. After he had finished clearing the bamboo joints, he went home to get a carabao to haul the bamboo. He tied the bamboo by the hundred and hitched the carabao to the yoke. Because the load was very heavy, the carabao could not give it a lift. Quick-tempered and powerful, Ablong Anting tied the feet of the animal and loaded it on the raft. He pulled the raft by himself until it was brought to the girl’s house.

(A Folktale)

One day, a stranger came into a barrio. He became thirsty, but he could not find water. Searching a little further, he saw a coconut grove. He went there to get some young coconuts and to get water from the nuts to quench his thirst, but he could not climb the tree. Instead, he took hold of the trunk and bent it to get the fruit. He opened the nuts by hammering them with his fist. When he was also told to gather some ripe coconuts for making copra, he just bent the trunk of the tree to get the nuts.

[p. 30]

It was the old habit of the old folks to chew “buyo.” Even young people today are chewing this delicacy of “buyo” and betel nut, lime and tobacco. This stranger was seen picking betel nuts for his “buyo” by bending the tree as he had done with the coconut tree.

(A Filipino Folktale)

Once upon a time, there lived a farmer. Every year, when all his fields had been planted to rice, he took his carabao near a bamboo grove. There, every day, he fed the carabao with four bundles of grass and four buckets of water.

One morning, the farmer thought, “I am wasting too much time in cutting grass and in carrying water for my carabao. Perhaps, I could teach my carabao not to eat and drink. That would save me working very hard. Then, I would spend my time in the village drinking wine. What a wonderful thing that would be, a carabao that neither eats nor drinks.”

The following day, he began to teach the carabao the trick of neither drinking nor eating. Instead of the usual four bundles of grass, he fed the animal with only two. He also gave the carabao only two buckets of water.

The carabao ate the grass quickly and drank the water, and then he turned to his master for more. But the farmer shook his head and said, “That is enough for today, my friend. I am going to teach you a wonderful trick.”

The next day, the farmer gave the carabao only one bundle of grass and a bucket of water. The carabao gobbled up the grass because he was very hungry, and he drank the water swiftly because he was very thirsty. Then, he looked at his master to ask for more. But the farmer shook his head and said, “That is enough for today, sir! I am going to train you so that you will neither eat nor drink.”

On the third day, the farmer gave his carabao only half a bundle of grass and half a bucket of water. By this time, the carabao was very weak because of hunger and thirst. After he had eaten the grass and drunk the water, he did not feel strong enough to look at his master. The man saw this and said, “My good carabao is about to learn the wonderful trick! I must be a very wise man for I can teach an animal something that no one has ever taught before. I think that instead of being a farmer, I should be a teacher.”

On the fourth day, the farmer went to visit his carabao with a few of his friends. “I want to show you a wonderful thing,” he said. “My carabao will soon learn neither to eat nor drink.” They found the carabao lying on the ground, and he was so weak now that he did not even look at them to ask for some grass and water. Then, the farmer shouted,

[p. 31]

“Hurrah! My carabao no longer cares for food and drink. He has learned the most wonderful trick in the whole world. How nice it will be in rice-planting time. My carabao will only work and work without eating or drinking.”

But when the foolish farmer and his friends returned to see the carabao on the following day, the poor animal lay dead near the bamboo grove. “What a foolish carabao!” said the farmer. “Why did he die just when he learned not to eat nor drink?”

(A Filipino Folktale)

One morning, when Aunt Guinampang visited her garden, she found out that somebody had been stealing her ginger. She looked here and there, but not even the footprints of the thief did she find.

So, after supper, Aunt Guinampang and her husband sat by the window to watch for the thief. In a little while, they heard someone in the garden say, “Ah, how hot in the mouth is the ginger of Aunt Guinampang.”

“Listen!” whispered Aunt Guinampang to her husband.

“Ah, how hot in the mouth,” came the voice again, “is the ginger of Aunt Guinampang.”

“Did you hear it?” she asked.

“I heard it, alright,” replied her husband.

“Well, go down and catch the thief,” said she.

But he replied, “How can I, an old man with weak eyes, catch the thief in the dark? I better wait till tomorrow.”

The next day, the old man went to the garden. He looked among the stems of the ginger, he looked under the banana plants, and he looked in the grass. But he did not find the thief. “There is no one here, wife,” he told Aunt Guinampang.

When night came again, the old couple sat by the window to listen. Soon, they heard the voice saying, “Ah, how hot in the mouth is the ginger of Aunt Guinampang.”

“There is the thief again,” she said. “Go down and catch him before he gets away.”

“I better wait till tomorrow,” replied her husband.

Next morning, the old man went back to the garden to look for the thief. He looked among the stalks of ginger, he rolled the stones and the fallen branches of the trees, and he parted the grass and shrubs.


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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