Folktales and Religious Festivals in Batangas by Claudia Cruz, 1930 Part II - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore Folktales and Religious Festivals in Batangas by Claudia Cruz, 1930 Part II - Batangas History, Culture and Folklore

Folktales and Religious Festivals in Batangas by Claudia Cruz, 1930 Part II

Henry Otley-Beyer Collection



[p. 9]

“Juan,” the king called at last, “Did you prepare any dinner for me?”

With emphatic slowness, our hero, who also had a sense of the dramatic, answered, “May it please your majesty, I did not prepare anything for dinner.”

The king’s adviser almost fainted at this impudent rudeness; the king, however, exploded.

“Juan, you disrespectful dog! You ----!”

“Your pardon, your majesty. But if my memory does not fail me,” coolly interrupted Juan, “You announced for dinner to be ready at noon. The sun is not yet in the middle of the sky, my king.”

So, the king had to wait. After a while, Juan stood up and took an old rusty hatchet saying that he was going to get the king’s dinner. Juan’s behavior was greatly puzzling to the king and his adviser and so they both watched his movements. When they saw him go to the garden and before their eyes sprinkled some water on the ground. Kneeling down, he dug in the ground, mumbling something all the while. To their great astonishment, they saw him draw out a box from the hole he had made and to their great bewilderment, he drew out the most delicious food from the box. The king wanted to ask a million questions but he was so hungry that he could not wait anymore. After a while, the king noticed that there was no wine and here Juan went out

[p. 10]

out to the garden again and after a similar service, dug out the box of wine. After the meal, the king asked for something cool and then Juan dug out the box of ice cream.

After the king was completely full, he demanded from Juan and explanation of the queer behavior. And here, Juan voiced his exquisite tale:

“My king, I have in my possession a magic hatchet which an old man gave me long ago. Whenever this hatchet is dug after some much service as what you saw me perform, anything wished will come out.”

“Really?” the king totally in good humor asked. “Well, Juan let’s try it. Ask, my lad, for a -------“

“My lord,” interrupted Juan at his wits end for a way out of this unforeseen leakage in his great device. “The hatchet can be used only three times a day.”

“Ah!” the king, disappointed, replied. Juan could almost jump with joy at the instant belief of the king.

Spurred on by this apparent success, he went on,

“Otherwise, my king, it loses the magic quality. It is a very treasure in our house. We depend on it for every meal in our life.”

So, the king like all other kings, wanted everything nice or unusual for himself, therefore, to Juan’s extreme joy, he offered to buy the magic hatchet. Juan refused at first, saying that they were going to starve without the hatchet. And here, Juan began to cry and kiss the rusty old thing as if

[p. 11]

it was the dearest thing he owned on earth. This made the king only like it all the most and so, he said,

“Juan, I shall give you three bags of gold if you only give me that hatchet.”

This exceeded all of Juan’s dreams and with apparent reluctance, he parted with it.

That night was a gala night to Juan and his mother. They made up for the scanty meals that they had in the past days. Juan was not totally in a paradise of bliss. He knew that, somehow, someday the king was going to know of his deception. His present trouble was to weave an excuse that would sound credible enough to explain, the only-too-obvious result of the king’s use of the hatchet. He slept worrying and thinking about it. The next day, he could not eat anymore for worrying. That evening, to his great consternation, came summons to the palace. He only knew too well what it meant! Poor Juan prayed and thought as hard as he could. At last, he was facing the king who asked him in a not too sweet tone,

“How is it that I used your hatchet this afternoon after my hunt and my men had dug about ten holes already and no meal yet appeared? Answer me!”

And Juan answered – for the king himself gave him [a] clue. Putting on a contrite and utterly reproachful face, he exclaimed,

“My king, you used it this afternoon? Did you not know

[p. 12]

that I used it at noon yesterday? The time of its use makes a lot of difference, your majesty. It can only be used at noon! And now ----“

“Oh!” exclaimed the credulous king.

Juan, spurred by this success, went on with his newly woven tale –

“And now, the magic of the tool is forever gone!”

He went out of the palace with his heart singing with joy. He had solved the whole thing to the end, and it will not give him anymore trouble.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
The Dama de Noche.

There was once a handsome cavalier who dwelt in the [blurred word]. Every night, as the breeze blew softly into his room, he could hear a sweet beautiful melody. Go where he would, he could never find the source of the music. It was so sweet – almost intoxicating – and the voice that song the strange words was so young and beautiful that for hours, he would stay awake hearing the tune. With all his heart, he longed to know the singer but as I said, he could never find the person. All that he knew of the beautiful mystery was that it was sung by a woman in the native tongue. There came one night, however, when he laid in wait for the music, to come and he met with disappointment. He felt surprised and uneasy. For three long nights, he missed the voice, and then on the fourth

[p. 13]

night, he went to the window to watch the stars for his heart longed for the beautiful lovely strain. Suddenly, the soft breeze brought to his nose an extremely sweet odor. He [blurred word] for the origin and to his surprise, he found just below his window a tall, utterly slender vine-like plant with small white clustered flowers. He smelled the blossoms and, to his astonishment, he recognized the odor as that which the gentle night breeze had wafted to him. Somehow, he felt an affection for the beautiful blossoms and their odor [blurred word] tended the plant with loving care. Somehow, he felt that the blossoms in a sweet and gentle way eased and comforted him at the loss of the beautiful strain.

He never knew, however, that once long ago, there lived a native girl who fell in love with his handsome Castilian beauty. Modest and any maiden never even tried to be acquainted with him personally. But she loved him with all her heart and her love found ease and comfort with singing to him every night. Then, one night, she fell ill for her tender frail body could not withstand the coldness of the night. She died but her beautiful love so moved the Most High that He changed her body to that plant that the cavalier grew to love and care for; her soul, however, brought to heaven where in sweet content, she watched her lover’s tender care and love. It is needless to say that the plant is the sweet dama de noche.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

[p. 14]

Taal, Batangas.
- - - - - - -

Last December 8, 1929 was revived in Taal, one of the towns of Batangas, an old religious celebration. When the flag of Spain was still proudly waving over the Philippine Islands, there was found in the river Caysasay a small wooden image of the Blessed Virgin Mary. That was in 1603. As soon as the people of Caysasay and Taal recognized the Virgin, the feast of the “Virgin ng Caysasay” was celebrated as one of the great town fiestas. With the Mass and procession was a play called the “Haybing” in honor of the Virgin. (Every year, there was a great celebration in her honor.) When the Americans came to occupy the islands, however, the traditional celebration was discontinued. There was still the Mass in the little Chapel of Caysasay and the much-attended procession but the “haybing” was dropped out. It may have been for the great expenses and trouble incurred before a successful “haybing” could be given, or it might have been for some other reason. So that it was only last year that it was made again.

The leading men of the town asked the help of the inhabitants of Taal and also the Taaleños outside the town as those in Manila, Tayabas, and the towns of Batangas. They gave as much as they could afford. Then, a committee was

[p. 15]

elected to ask the help of those who were to take part in the drama. The young men and women who were in Manila studying went home every week for the weekly practice which took place in the government building.

In the play was depicted the history of the finding of the Blessed Virgin. All the characters in the real event were represented in the drama: Don Juan Maningcad, who found the sacred image; “Haybing,” the Chinese devotee who forgot and turned away from the Blessed Virgin, and who gave the title to the play for his life showed the works and ways of the Blessed Virgin on those who ever and those who willingly forget and disrespect her; Doña Maria Espiritu, the widow to whom the Blessed Virgin appeared several times and who took care of the shrine later on; the parish priest of Taal; the young wood-girls Mariang Talain and Masiang Bagohin, who saw the Blessed Virgin’s image in a well; and a lot of others like the Chinese devotees, the guardia civil and the Spaniards. In the recent celebration, every effort was made to make the thing a glorious one so that those chosen for the parts were well-to-do set of Taal and Lemery who could well meet the expenses of the costumes and other requirements to make it a faithful portrayal. The play lasted for two days and many people from all parts of the province attended it.

A short history of the Virgin of Caysasay is as follows:

In 1603, Don Juan Maningcad, while fishing found something that bit heavily at his hook. On examining the object, he

[p. 16]

he found a small – very small – image of the Virgin. The image was of wood, about the length of a palm – stretch, and the wood was very shiny – it gleamed as if it had recently been polished. News came of his discovery to the parish priest or “Cura” and to the justice of the peace or “jucom” of Taal. They sought the holy image and her finder, and on beholding the sacred image, [took it] to the church and placed the widow, Doña Maria Espiritu, in charge of her altar. This holy woman observed that every night, the sacred image disappeared. They searched everywhere, and after several days of extreme anxiety, they found that she went to a tree in Caysasay. There, on the spot where that tree stood, a church was built – the present Chapel of Caysasay. She was found on a Saturday and every Saturday, Mass is celebrated in that chapel.

Haybing was [a] Chinese devotee of the Blessed Virgin of Caysasay. When the order that all the Sangleyes, as the Chinese were called then, were to be put to death, Haybing’s head was one of those chopped off at the scaffold. However, the next morning Haybing was found alive and perfectly sound. On being asked about this marvel, he said that the Virgin brought him back to life. Haybing, however, forgot his patroness after a while and even intentionally refrained from hearing Mass on Saturday. One such day, he plowed his field instead of going to Mass saying that now he was married, he must serve his wife first before the Mother of God. The cow [blurred word] his plow; after which this insult was uttered – faced him and

[p. 17]

[Final page/paragraph extremely blurred and unreadable.]


Notes and references:
Transcribed from “Folktales and Religious Festivals in Batangas,” by Claudia M. Cruz, 1930, online at the Henry Otley-Beyer Collection of the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
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