PHILIPPINE FOLKLORE STORIES
John Maurice Miller
As these stories are only legends that have been handed down
from remote times, the teacher must impress upon the minds of the children that
they are myths and are not to be given credence; otherwise the imaginative minds
of the native children would accept them as truth, and trouble would be caused
that might be hard to remedy. Explain then the fiction and show the children the
folly of belief in such fanciful tales.
The Tobacco of Harisaboqued
Quicoy and the Ongloc
The Passing of Loku
The Light of the Fly
Mangita and Larina
How the World Was Made
The Silver Shower
The Faithlessness of Sinogo
Catalina of Dumaguete
The Fall of Polobolac
The Escape of Juanita
The Anting-Anting of Manuelito
When the Lilies Return
The Tobacco of Harisaboqued
A legend of the volcano of Canlaon on the island of Negros. It is
told generally in Western Negros and Eastern Cebu. The volcano is
still active, and smoke and steam rise from its crater.
Long before the strange men came over the water from Spain, there
lived in Negros, on the mountain of Canlaon, an old man who had great
power over all the things in the earth. He was called Harisaboqued,
King of the Mountain.
When he wished anything done he had but to tap the ground three times
and instantly a number of little men would spring from the earth
to answer his call. They would obey his slightest wish, but as he
was a kind old man and never told his dwarfs to do anything wrong,
the people who lived near were not afraid. They planted tobacco on
the mountain side and were happy and prosperous,
The fields stretched almost to the top of the mountain and the plants
grew well, for every night Harisaboqued would order his dwarfs to
attend to them, and though the tobacco was high up it grew faster
and better than that planted in the valley below.
The people were very grateful to the old man and were willing to do
anything for him; but he only asked them not to plant above a line
he had ordered his little men to draw around the mountain near the
top. He wished that place for himself and his dwarfs.
All obeyed his wish and no one planted over the line. It was a pretty
sight to see the long rows of tobacco plants extending from the towns
below far up to the line on the mountain side.
One day Harisaboqued called the people together and told them that
he was going away for a long time. He asked them again not to plant
over the line, and told them that if they disregarded this wish
he would carry all the tobacco away and permit no more to grow on
the mountain side until he had smoked what he had taken. The people
promised faithfully to obey him. Then he tapped on the ground, the
earth opened, and he disappeared into the mountain.
Many years passed and Harisaboqued did not come back. All wondered
why he did not return and at last decided that he would never do
so. The whole mountain side was covered with tobacco and many of the
people looked with greedy eyes at the bare ground above the line,
but as yet they were afraid to break their promise.
At last one man planted in the forbidden ground, and, as nothing
happened, others did the same, until soon the mountain was entirely
covered with the waving plants. The people were very happy and soon
forgot about Harisaboqued and their promise to him.
But one day, while they were laughing and singing, the earth suddenly
opened and Harisaboqued sprang out before them. They were very much
frightened and fled in terror down the mountain side. When they reached
the foot and looked back they saw a terrible sight. All the tobacco
had disappeared and, instead of the thousands of plants that they
had tended so carefully, nothing but the bare mountain could be seen.
Then suddenly there was a fearful noise and the whole mountain top
flew high in the air, leaving an immense hole from which poured fire
The people fled and did not stop until they were far away. Harisaboqued
had kept his word.
Many years have come and gone, but the mountain is bare and the
smoke still rolls out of the mountain top. Villages have sprung up
along the sides, but no tobacco is grown on the mountain. The people
remember the tales of the former great crops and turn longing eyes
to the heights above them, but they will have to wait. Harisaboqued
is still smoking his tobacco.
Throughout the Visayan islands almost every family owns a pericos,
kept as American children keep canary birds. The pericos is about
the size and color of a Crow, but has a hard white hood that entirely
covers its head. The people teach it but one phrase, which it repeats
continually, parrot fashion. The words are, "Comusta pari? Pericos
tao." (How are you, father? Parrot-man.) "Pari" means padre or
priest. The people address the pericos as "pari" because its white
head, devoid of feathers, seems to resemble the shaven crowns of the
friars and native priests.
In his small wooden box
That hangs on the wall
Sits a queer-looking bird
That in words sounds his call.
From daybreak to twilight
His cry he repeats,
Resting only whenever
He drinks or he eats.
He never grows weary,—
Hear! There he goes now!
And all the day long
You can hear this strange cry:
"How are you, father?
A parrot-man I."
He sits on his perch,
In his little white cap,
And pecks at your hand
If the cage door you tap.
Now give him some seeds,
Hear him say with a bow,
Poor little birdie!
How hard it must be
To sit there in prison
And never be free!
I'll give you a mango,
And teach you to say
"Thank you," and "Yes, sir,"
And also "Good day."
You'll find English as easy
As what you say now,
I'll teach you "Good morning"
And "How do you do?"
Or "I am well, thank you,"
And "How are you too?"
"Polly is hungry" or
"It's a fine day."
These and much more
I am sure you could say.
But now I must go,
So say with your bow,
Quicoy and the Ongloc
This story is known generally in the southern Islands. The Ongloc
is feared by the children just as some little boys and girls fear
the Bogy Man. The tale is a favorite one among the children and they
believe firmly in the fate of Quicoy.
Little Quicoy's name was Francisco, but every one called him Quicoy,
which, in Visayan, is the pet name for Francisco. He was a good
little boy and helped his mother grind the corn and pound the rice
in the big wooden bowl, but one night he was very careless. While
playing in the corner with the cat he upset the jar of lubi lana,
and all the oil ran down between the bamboo strips in the floor and
was lost. There was none left to put in the glass and light, so the
whole family had to go to bed in the dark.
Quicoy's mother was angry. She whipped him with her chinela and then
opened the window and cried:
"Ongloc of the mountains!
Fly in through the door.
Catch Quicoy and eat him,
He is mine no more."
Quicoy was badly frightened when he heard this, for the Ongloc is a big
black man with terrible long teeth, who all night goes searching for
the bad boys and girls that he may change them into little cocoanuts
and put them on a shelf in his rock house in the mountains to eat
when he is hungry.
So when Quicoy went to his bed in the corner he pulled the matting over
his head and was so afraid that he did not go to sleep for a long time.
The next morning he rose very early and went down to the spring where
the boys get the water to put in the bamboo poles and carry home. Some
boys were already there, and he told them what had taken place the
night before. They were all sorry that his mother had called the
Ongloc, but they told him not to be afraid for they would tell him
how he could be forever safe from that terrible man.
It was very easy. All he had to do was to go at dusk to the cocoanut
grove by the river and dig holes under two trees. Then he was to climb
a tree, get the cocoanut that grew the highest, and, after taking
off the husk and punching in one of the little eyes, whisper inside:
"Ongloc of the mountains!
Ongloc! Ugly man!
I'm a little cocoanut,
Catch me if you can!"
Then he was to cut the cocoanut in halves, quickly bury one piece in
one of the holes, and, running to the other tree, bury the remaining
half in the other hole. After that he might walk home safely, being
sure not to run, for the Ongloc has always to obey the call of the
cocoanut, and must hunt through the grove to find the one that called
him. Should he cross the line between the holes, the buried pieces
would fly out of the holes, snap together on him, and, flying up the
tree from which they came, would keep him prisoner for a hundred years.
Quicoy was happy to think that he could capture the Ongloc, and
resolved to go that very night. He wanted some of the boys to go with
him, but they said he must go alone or the charm would be broken. They
also told him to be careful himself and not cross the line between
the holes or he would be caught as easily as the Ongloc.
So Quicoy went home and kept very quiet all day. His mother was sorry
she had frightened him the night before, and was going to tell him
not to be afraid; but when she thought of the lubi lana spilled on
the ground, she resolved to punish him more by saying nothing to him.
Just at dark, when no one was looking, Quicoy took his father's bolo
and quietly slipped away to the grove down by the river. He was not
afraid of ladrones, but he needed the bolo because it is not easy
to open a cocoanut, and it takes some time, even with a bolo, to get
the husk chopped from the fruit.
Quicoy felt a little frightened when he saw all the big trees around
him. The wind made strange noises in the branches high above him,
and all the trees seemed to be leaning over and trying to speak to
him. He felt somewhat sorry that he had come, but when he thought of
the Ongloc he mustered up courage and went on until he found an open
space between two high trees.
He stopped here and dug a hole under each of the trees. Then he put his
feet in the notches and climbed one of the trees. It was hard work,
for the notches were far apart; but at last he reached the branches
and climbed to the top. The wind rocked the tree and made him dizzy,
but he reached the highest cocoanut, threw it to the ground, and then
'started down the tree. It was easy to come down, though he went
too fast and slipped and slid some distance, skinning his arms and
legs. He did not mind that, however, for he knew he had the cocoanut
that would capture the Ongloc. He picked it up, chopped off the husk,
punched in one of the little eyes, and whispered inside:
"Ongloc of the mountains!
Ongloc! Ugly man!
I'm a little cocoanut,
Catch me if you can!"
He then chopped it in halves and buried one piece, and, running
to the other tree, buried the remaining piece. Just as he finished
he thought he heard a noise in the grove, and, instead of walking,
he started to run as fast as he could.
It was very dark now, and the noise grew louder and made him run
faster and faster, until suddenly a dreadful scream sounded directly in
front of him, and a terrible black thing with fiery eyes came flying
at him. He turned in terror and ran back toward the trees. He knew it
was the Ongloc answering the call of the cocoanut, and he ran like mad,
but the monster had seen him and flew after him, screaming with rage.
Faster and faster he ran, but nearer and nearer sounded the frightful
screams until, just as he felt two huge claws close on his neck, there
was a bump, a loud snap, and he felt himself being carried high in the
air. When the shock was over he found that he was squeezed tightly
between two hard walls, and he could hear the Ongloc screaming and
tearing at the outside with his claws. Then he knew what had happened.
He had crossed the line between the buried pieces and they had snapped
on him and carried him up the tree from which they came. He was badly
squeezed but he felt safe from the Ongloc, who finally went away in
disappointment; for, although he likes cocoanuts, he cannot take one
from a tree, but must change a boy or girl into the fruit if he wishes
to eat of it.
Quicoy waited a long, long time and then knocked on the shell in the
hope that some one would hear him. All that night and the next day
and the next he knocked and cried and knocked, but, though people
passed under the tree and found the bolo, he was so high up they did
not hear him.
Days and weeks went by and the people wondered what had become of
Quicoy. Many thought he had run away and were sorry for his poor
mother, who grieved very much to think she had terrified him by calling
the Ongloc. Of course the boys who had sent him to the grove could
have told something of his whereabouts, but they were frightened and
said nothing, so no one ever heard of poor little Quicoy again.
If you pass a cocoanut grove at night you can hear a noise like some
one knocking. The older people say that the cocoanuts grow so closely
together high up in the branches that the wind, when it shakes the
tree, bumps them together. But the children know better. They say,
"Quicoy is knocking to get out, but he must stay there a hundred
The Passing of Loku
The tale of Loku is applied to a large, ugly lizard which climbs
to the rafters of houses and gives the peculiar cry that suggests
its name. This lizard, although hideous, is harmless; it lives on
centipedes. Its strange cry may be heard everywhere in the Philippine
Hundreds of years ago a very wicked king named Loku ruled the
Philippines. He was cruel and unjust, and condemned to death all who
refused to do his bidding. He had vast armies and made war on all
until his name was feared everywhere.
His power was very great. He conquered every nation that opposed him
and killed so many people that the god, viewing the slaughter from
his throne above, sent an angel to order him to cease from warfare
and to rule the land in peace.
Loku was in his palace, planning an assault on his neighbors, when
a soft light filled the chamber, and a beautiful angel appeared and
delivered the mandate of the master.
The cruel king paid no heed, but dismissed the holy messenger
in scorn. "Tell your master," said he, "to deliver his message in
person. I do not deal with messengers. I am Loku. All fear my name. I
am the great Loku."
Hardly had he spoken when the palace shook to its foundations and a
mighty voice thundered, "Is it thus thou Slightest my word? Thou art
Loku. All shall indeed know thy name. From every crevice thou shalt
forever cry it in a form that suits thy ill nature."
The courtiers, alarmed by the shock, rushed to the king's chamber,
but Loku was nowhere to be found. The royal robes lay scattered on
the floor and the only living thing to be seen was an ugly lizard
that blinked at them from among the plans on the table.
They searched far and wide, and when no trace of the king could be
found the courtiers divided the kingdom and ruled so wisely and well
that there was peace for many years.
As for Loku, you may still hear him fulfilling his punishment. From
crack and crevice, tree and shrub, he calls his name from dark till
dawn: "Lok-u! Lok-u! Lok-u!"
And he must cry it forever.
The Light of the Fly
The firefly abounds everywhere in the Islands.
The King of the Air was in terrible rage,
For some one had stolen his ring;
And every one wondered whoever could dare
To do such a terrible thing.
He called all his subjects together and said,
"To him that shall find it I'll give
Whatever he asks, and this bounty of mine
Shall last while his family live."
Away went his good loyal subjects to search,
And no one remained but a fly.
"Be off!" said the King, "go and join in the search;
Would you slight such a ruler as I?"
Then up spoke the fly with his little wee voice:
"The ring is not stolen," he said.
"It stuck to your crown when you put it away,
And now it's on top of your head."
The King in surprise took the crown from his head,
And there, sure enough, was the ring.
"No wonder you saw it, with so many eyes;
But what is your wish?" said the King.
"O King," said the fly, "I work hard all the day,
And I never can go out at night.
I should like to go then and be gay with my friends,
So all that I wish is a light."
"You shall have it at once," said the gratified King,
And he fastened a light to the fly,
Who straightway returned to his home with the prize
That was worth more than money could buy.
So now you can see him at night with his light
And from him this lesson may learn:
To keep your eyes open and see the least thing,
And Fortune will come in its turn.
Mangita and Larina
This is a tale told in the lake district of Luzon. At times of rain
or in winter the waters of the Laguna de Bai rise and detach from the
banks a peculiar vegetation that resembles lettuce. These plants,
which float for months down the Pasig River, gave rise, no doubt,
to the story.
Many years ago there lived on the banks of the Laguna de Bai a poor
fisherman whose wife had died, leaving him two beautiful daughters
named Mangita and Larina.
Mangita had hair as black as night and a dark skin. She was as good
as she was beautiful, and was loved by all for her kindness. She
helped her father mend the nets and make the torches to fish with at
night, and her bright smile lit up the little nipa house like a ray
Larina was fair and had long golden hair of which she was very
proud. She was different from her sister, and never helped with the
work, but spent the day combing her hair and catching butterflies. She
would catch a pretty butterfly, cruelly stick a pin through it,
and fasten it in her hair. Then she would go down to the lake to see
her reflection in the clear water, and would laugh to see the poor
butterfly struggling in pain. The people disliked her for her cruelty,
but they loved Mangita very much. This made Larina jealous, and the
more Mangita was loved, the more her sister thought evil of her.
One day a poor old woman came to the nipa house and begged for a
little rice to put in her bowl. Mangita was mending a net and Larina
was combing her hair in the doorway. When Larina saw the old woman
she spoke mockingly to her and gave her a push that made her fall
and cut her head on a sharp rock; but Mangita sprang to help her,
washed the blood away from her head, and filled her bowl with rice
from the jar in the kitchen.
The poor woman thanked her and promised never to forget her kindness,
but to her sister she spoke not a word. Larina did not care, however,
but laughed at her and mocked her as she painfully made her way again
down the road. When she had gone Mangita took Larina to task for
her cruel treatment of a stranger; but, instead of doing any good,
it only caused Larina to hate her sister all the more.
Some time afterwards the poor fisherman died. He had gone to the big
city down the river to sell his fish, and had been attacked with a
terrible sickness that was raging there.
The girls were now alone in the world.
Mangita carved pretty shells and earned enough to buy food, but,
though she begged Larina to try to help, her sister would only idle
away the time.
The terrible sickness now swept everywhere and poor Mangita, too,
fell ill. She asked Larina to nurse her, but the latter was jealous
of her and would do nothing to ease her pain. Mangita grew worse
and worse, but finally, when it seemed as if she would soon die,
the door opened and the old woman to whom she had been so kind came
into the room. She had a bag of seeds in her hand, and taking one
she gave it to Mangita, who soon showed signs of being better, but
was so weak that she could not give thanks.
The old woman then gave the bag to Larina and told her to give a seed
to her sister every hour until she returned. She then went away and
left the girls alone.
Larina watched her sister, but did not give her a single seed. Instead,
she hid them in her own long hair and paid no attention to Mangita's
moans of pain.
The poor girl's cries grew weaker and weaker, but not a seed would
her cruel sister give her. In fact, Larina was so jealous that she
wished her sister to die.
When at last the old woman returned, poor Mangita was at the point of
death. The visitor bent over the sick girl and then asked her sister
if she had given Mangita the seeds. Larina showed her the empty bag
and said she had given them as directed. The old woman searched the
house, but of course could not find the seeds. She then asked Larina
again if she had given them to Mangita. Again the cruel girl said
that she had done so.
Suddenly the room was filled with a blinding light, and when Larina
could see once more, in place of the old woman stood a beautiful
fairy holding the now well Mangita in her arms.
She pointed to Larina and said, "I am the poor woman who asked for
rice. I wished to know your hearts. You were cruel and Mangita was
kind, so she shall live with me in my island home in the lake. As for
you, because you tried to do evil to your good sister, you shall sit
at the bottom of the lake forever, combing out the seeds you have
hidden in your hair." Then, she clapped her hands and a number of
elves appeared and carried the struggling Larina away.
"Come," said the fairy to Mangita, and she carried her to her beautiful
home, where she lives in peace and happiness.
As for Larina, she sits at the bottom of the lake and combs her
hair. As she combs a seed out, another comes in, and every seed that
is combed out becomes a green plant that floats out of the lake and
down the Pasig.
And to this day people can see them, and know that Larina is being
punished for her wickedness.
How the World Was Made
This is the ancient Filipino account of the creation.
Thousands of years ago there was no land nor sun nor moon nor stars,
and the world was only a great sea of water, above which stretched
the sky. The water was the kingdom of the god Maguayan, and the sky
was ruled by the great god Captan.
Maguayan had a daughter called Lidagat, the sea, and Captan had a
son known as Lihangin, the wind. The gods agreed to the marriage of
their children, so the sea became the bride of the wind.
Three sons and a daughter were born to them. The sons were called
Licalibutan, Liadlao, and Libulan, and the daughter received the name
Licalibutan had a body of rock and was strong and brave; Liadlao
was formed of gold and was always happy; Libulan was made of copper
and was weak and timid; and the beautiful Lisuga had a body of pure
silver and was sweet and gentle. Their parents were very fond of them,
and nothing was wanting to make them happy.
After a time Lihangin died and left the control of the winds to his
eldest son Licalibutan. The faithful wife Lidagat soon followed her
husband, and the children, now grown up, were left without father or
mother. However, their grandfathers, Captan and Maguayan, took care
of them and guarded them from all evil.
After a time, Licalibutan, proud of his power over the winds, resolved
to gain more power, and asked his brothers to join him in an attack on
Captan in the sky above. At first they refused; but when Licalibutan
became angry with them, the amiable Liadlao, not wishing to offend
his brother, agreed to help. Then together they induced the timid
Libulan to join in the plan.
When all was ready the three brothers rushed at the sky, but they
could not beat down the gates of steel that guarded the entrance. Then
Licalibutan let loose the strongest winds and blew the bars in every
direction. The brothers rushed into the opening, but were met by
the angry god Captan. So terrible did he look that they turned and
ran in terror; but Captan, furious at the destruction of his gates,
sent three bolts of lightning after them.
The first struck the copper Libulan and melted him into a ball. The
second struck the golden Liadlao and he too was melted. The third
bolt struck Licalibutan and his rocky body broke into many pieces
and fell into the sea. So huge was he that parts of his body stuck
out above the water and became what is known as land.
In the meantime the gentle Lisuga had missed her brothers and started
to look for them. She went toward the sky, but as she approached the
broken gates, Captan, blind with anger, struck her too with lightning,
and her silver body broke into thousands of pieces.
Captan then came down from the sky and tore the sea apart, calling
on Maguayan to come to him and accusing him of ordering the attack on
the sky. Soon Maguayan appeared and answered that he knew nothing of
the plot as he had been asleep far down in the sea. After a time he
succeeded in calming the angry Captan. Together they wept at the loss
of their grandchildren, especially the gentle and beautiful Lisuga; but
with all their power they could not restore the dead to life. However,
they gave to each body a beautiful light that will shine forever.
And so it was that golden Liadlao became the sun and copper Libulan
the moon, while the thousands of pieces of silver Lisuga shine as
the stars of heaven. To wicked Licalibutan the gods gave no light,
but resolved to make his body support a new race of people. So Captan
gave Maguayan a seed and he planted it on the land, which, as you will
remember, was part of Licalibutan's huge body. Soon a bamboo tree grew
up, and from the hollow of one of its branches a man and a woman came
out. The man's name was Sicalac, and the woman was called Sicabay. They
were the parents of the human race. Their first child was a son whom
they called Libo; afterwards they had a daughter who was known as
Saman. Pandaguan was a younger son and he had a son called Arion.
Pandaguan was very clever and invented a trap to catch fish. The very
first thing he caught was a huge shark. When he brought it to land,
it looked so great and fierce that he thought it was surely a god,
and he at once ordered his people to worship it. Soon all gathered
around and began to sing and pray to the shark. Suddenly the sky and
sea opened, and the gods came out and ordered Pandaguan to throw the
shark back into the sea and to worship none but them.
All were afraid except Pandaguan. He grew very bold and answered that
the shark was as big as the gods, and that since he had been able to
overpower it he would also be able to conquer the gods. Then Captan,
hearing this, struck Pandaguan with a small thunderbolt, for he did not
wish to kill him but merely to teach him a lesson. Then he and Maguayan
decided to punish these people by scattering them over the earth,
so they carried some to one land and some to another. Many children
were afterwards born, and thus the earth became inhabited in all parts.
Pandaguan did not die. After lying on the ground for thirty days he
regained his strength, but his body was blackened from the lightning,
and all his descendants ever since that day have been black.
His first son, Arion, was taken north, but as he had been born before
his father's punishment he did not lose his color, and all his people
therefore are white.
Libo and Saman were carried south, where the hot sun scorched their
bodies and caused all their descendants to be of a brown color.
A son of Saman and a daughter of Sicalac were carried east, where the
land at first was so lacking in food that they were compelled to eat
clay. On this account their children and their children's children
have always been yellow in color.
And so the world came to be made and peopled. The sun and moon shine in
the sky and the beautiful stars light up the night. All over the land,
on the body of the envious Licalibutan, the children of Sicalac and
Sicabay have grown great in numbers. May they live forever in peace
and brotherly love!
The Silver Shower
Every night in Manila, when the bells of the city boom out the Angelus
and lights begin to appear in the windows, the walks are filled with
people hurrying toward the bay. In the streets hundreds of carriages,
their lamps twinkling like fireflies, speed quickly by, as the cocheros
urge on the little Filipino ponies. All are bound for the Luneta to
hear the evening concert.
A pretty place is the Luneta, the garden spot of the city. It is laid
out in elliptical form and its green lawns are covered with benches
for the people. A broad driveway surrounds it and hundreds of electric
lights transform the night into day.
A band stand is located at each end of the oval, and at night concerts
are given by the military bands.
Thousands of people gather to listen to the music. The bright uniforms
of officers and men, the white dresses of American ladies, the black
mantillas of the dark-eyed señoritas, and the gayly colored camisas
of the Filipino girls show that the beauty and chivalry of Manila
have assembled at the concert.
The band plays many beautiful selections and finally closes with the
"Star-Spangled Banner." At once every head is bared and all stand
at rigid attention till the glorious old song is finished. Then the
musicians disperse, the carriages drive away, and people return to
Many, however, linger on the benches or stroll along the beach,
watching the water curling upon the shore. As the waves reach the land
a soft light seems to spring from them and to break into thousands
of tiny stars. Now and then some one idly skips a stone over the
water. Where it touches, a little fountain of liquid fire springs
upward, and the water ripples away in gleaming circles that, growing
wider and wider, finally disappear in a flash of silvery light.
Of all the beauties of the Islands, the water of Manila Bay at night
ranks among the first. And those who ask why it flashes and glows
in this way are told the story of the silver shower that saved the
Pasig villages from the Moro Datto Bungtao.
Hundreds of years ago messengers came hurrying from the south of Luzon
with the news that the great Datto Bungtao, with many ships and men,
was on his way to the island to burn the villages and carry the people
away into slavery.
Then great fear came into the hearts of the people, for the fierce
Datto was the terror of the eastern seas, and all the southern islands
were reported captured. Nevertheless, they resolved to defend their
homes and save their people from shame and slavery.
The news proved true, for the Moro chief landed a great army on the
shore of the Bay of Batangas, and his fierce followers, with fire
and sword, started north to lay waste the country.
For a time they drove all before them, but soon Luzon was up in
arms against them and great numbers of warriors hurried southward to
battle with the Moros. All tribal feeling was forgotten and Tagalos,
Macabebes, Igorrotes, and Pangasinanes hurried southward in thousands.
The Moros presently found themselves checked by a large army of men
determined to save their homes or to die fighting.
Near the present town of Imus, in Cavite, a battle was fought and
the Moros were defeated. They then retreated southward, but great
numbers of Vicoles and Tinguianes rushed up from the southern part
of the island and blocked their way.
On the shore of the great Lake Bombon the final battle was fought. The
Moros were killed to a man, and with great rejoicing the tribes
returned north and south to their homes.
But in the meantime Bungtao had not been idle. After landing his men,
with his two hundred ships he set sail northward, never doubting that
his army would sweep all before it. A typhoon carried his fleet far
south into the China Sea, but he steered again for Luzon and three
weeks later was in sight of Corregidor Island.
He sailed down Manila Bay and drew up his fleet in front of the
villages on the Pasig River, the present site of Manila. On the shore
the people gathered in terror, for all the warriors had gone to fight
the invading army, and only old men and women and children remained
in the villages.
Hastily they called a council and finally decided to send a messenger
out to the Moro chief with all the gold and things of value they
possessed, thinking thus to satisfy the fierce Datto and save their
villages from harm.
Accordingly the women gave their rings and bracelets and the men
their bangles and chains. Everything of value was taken from the
houses. Even the temples of prayer were stripped and all the ornaments
taken. So great was the fear of the people that they even sent the
gold statue of the great god Captan that was the pride of the tribe,
whose members came miles to worship it.
As Bungtao was preparing to land and attack the town with his sailors,
the messenger in his canoe came alongside the ship and was at once
taken before the Datto. Trembling with fear, the old man, with signs,
begged for mercy for the people on the shore. He pointed to the
presents and offered them to Bungtao. Then, placing the golden image
of Captan at the feet of the Moro and bowing low, he again pleaded
for the women and children.
Bungtao laughed in scorn at the offer. On his island was gold enough to
satisfy his people. He needed slaves to work in the fields, for it was
beneath the dignity of such warriors as himself and his companions to
labor. So he kicked the messenger from him and, with a curse, picked
up the sacred golden image and threw it far over the water. Instantly
the sky grew dark and blackest night covered the land. The messenger
felt himself seized by invisible hands and carried to the shore.
Then suddenly the heavens opened, and a shower of silver fire rained on
the Moro boats. In vain the Moros tried to escape. The fire hemmed them
in on every side. Many leaped from the burning ships into the boiling
water. When the darkness cleared, boats and Moros had disappeared.
Joyfully the people on the shore ran to the temple of worship to pray
to Captan. What was their surprise to find the golden image of the
god in its usual place, and around it the bracelets and rings offered
to the Moros!
When the warriors, a few days later, returned from their great victory
in the south, they could hardly believe the story of the wonderful
escape of their people. But at night, when they saw the heretofore dull
waters dashing and breaking on the shore in crystals of silvery light,
they knew that it was Captan who had saved their homes and families.
The villages are a thing of the past. The modern city of Manila now
stands on the banks of the Pasig.
The nights here are very beautiful. The breeze sighs softly through
the palm trees and the golden moon gleams on the waters of Manila Bay.
On the shore the waves break gently and little balls of silver light
go rushing up the beach. Wise men say that the water is full of
phosphorus. But they have never heard the story of the Silver Shower.
The Faithlessness of Sinogo
Somewhere off the northern coast of Mindanao a strong current begins
to travel northward. It runs to the island of Siquijor and then,
turning slightly to the east, goes racing between the islands of Cebu
and Negros. At the narrow entrance between San Sebastian and Ayucatan
it breaks up into hundreds of small whirlpools that make the water
hiss and bubble for a distance of nearly three miles.
For steamers and large boats there is not the slightest danger,
but to the native in his little sacayan with its bamboo outriggers
these whirlpools are objects of dread and fear. He will go miles out
of his way to escape them. If you inquire as to the reason, he will
explain that the Liloan, or whirlpool, is a thing always to be avoided,
and then he will tell you the story of Sinogo.
Years and years ago, when Maguayan ruled the sea and the terrible
Captan launched his thunderbolts from above, the water and air were
filled with swimming and flying monsters. Those that lived in the air
were armed with great teeth and sharp claws; but, though they were
fierce and savage, they lived together in peace, for they feared the
anger of their master Captan.
In the sea, however, all was not so peaceful, for some of the
monsters were so huge and savage and so confident in their strength
that Maguayan could do nothing with them. He lived in constant fear
of attack from these fierce subjects and finally, in despair, called
on Captan to help him in his trouble.
Accordingly Captan sent his swift messengers to every part of the
earth, air, and sea, and ordered that a council of all the creatures
in the world should be held. He named the little island of Caueli in
the center of the Sulu Sea as the meeting place, and commanded all
to hasten there without delay.
Soon the members of the council began to arrive, and the sky was
darkened by flying monsters, and the water boiled as the terrible
reptiles of the sea rushed to the place appointed.
In a short time the little island was crowded with these dreadful
creatures. There were huge Buayas from Mindanao, fierce Tic-bolans
from Luzon, savage Sigbins from Negros and Bohol, hundreds of Unglocs
from Panay and Leyte, and great Uak Uaks and other frightful monsters
from Samar and Cebu. They grouped themselves in a large circle around
a golden throne on which sat Captan and Maguayan, and while waiting
the commands of their master filled the air with shrieks and howls.
At length Captan raised his hand and the noise instantly stopped. Then
he announced his decree. He said that Maguayan was his brother god
and should be treated with the same respect. He commanded all his
subjects to obey the god of the sea and told them that he would kill
with a thunderbolt any that disobeyed this order. Then he desired all
to return to their own regions, and again the air was filled with a
noise of thunder and the sea roared and foamed as the monsters went
back to their homes.
Soon there remained on the island only Captan, Maguayan, and
three messengers of Captan, who were called Sinogo, Dalagan, and
Guidala. These were giants in size and had large wings which enabled
them to fly with great swiftness. They had long spears and sharp
swords and were very brave and powerful. Of the three, Dalagan was
the swiftest, Guidala the bravest, and Sinogo the handsomest and best
loved by Captan.
When all the creatures were gone Maguayan thanked Captan, but
the great god said that he had only done his duty in helping his
brother. Then he gave Maguayan a little golden shell and explained
to him its wonderful power. Maguayan had but to put it in his mouth
and he could change his form to that of any creature he pleased. In
case a monster, defying Captan's orders, should attack him, he had
simply to change himself into a stronger monster of twice the size
of his enemy, and then fight and kill him easily.
Again Maguayan thanked his brother god and, taking the shell, placed
it on the throne beside him. Then Captan ordered his messengers to
bring food and drink, and soon the two gods were feasting merrily.
Now it happened that Sinogo had been standing behind the throne and
had heard all that had been said. He was filled with a desire to own
the wonderful shell, and in spite of the many favors he had received
from Captan he resolved to steal it. The more he thought of its great
power, the more he longed for it. With it he could rule the earth and
sea as a god, and, by hiding, he might avoid the anger of Captan. So
he watched for an opportunity to make away with it. Finally his chance
came. While handing Maguayan some food, he slyly caught up the shell,
and soon afterwards quietly slipped away.
For some time his absence was not discovered, but all at once Captan
called for his favorite messenger and, receiving no reply, ordered
Dalagan to search for him. Soon Dalagan returned and reported that
Sinogo could not be found on the island. At the same time Maguayan
noticed that the golden shell was gone.
Then Captan knew that his messenger had stolen the shell and
escaped. He flew into a great rage and swore he would kill Sinogo. He
ordered Dalagan and Guidala to hasten to the north in search of the
faithless messenger and to bring him back a prisoner.
Swiftly northward over the blue sea flew the messengers, and near the
island of Guimaras caught sight of Sinogo. He saw his pursuers and
flew all the swifter, but he was no match for them in speed. Nearer
and nearer they came and then, drawing their swords, rushed forward
to seize him.
But Sinogo was not to be easily caught. Quick as a flash, he placed
the shell in his mouth and dived down into the water, at the same
time changing himself into a huge crocodile-shaped Buaya with scales
like armor of steel.
In vain Dalagan and Guidala rained blows on the monster. The swords
could not pierce the heavy scales.
Up through Guimaras Strait the chase went on, and Sinogo tore up
the water in his flight. So great was the disturbance of the ocean
that, as they rounded the northern coast of Negros, the waves dashed
completely over the little island of Bacabac, sweeping away the hills
and bringing the land to the level of the sea.
Still the rapid flight went on. Straight for Bantayan headed Sinogo,
but suddenly changing his course he dashed into the narrow channel
between Negros and Cebu. Then Dalagan, leaving Guidala to continue the
chase alone, flew swiftly back to Caueli and told Captan that Sinogo
was in the little strait. Up sprang the god and, flying directly east,
he posted himself at the southern entrance of the channel. In his
hand he held an enormous thunderbolt, and thus armed he waited for
the appearance of Sinogo.
Down into the narrow entrance sped the faithless messenger, tearing
up the water in his mad flight, while the brave Guidala struck in
vain at his huge body. Suddenly a roar of thunder sounded and the
thunderbolt fell on the back of the monster, bearing him down beneath
the waves and then, stiffening like a bar of iron, pinning him to the
bottom far below. In vain he struggled to free himself; the bar held
him fast and sure. In his struggles the shell fell from his mouth,
but a little Tamban caught it and brought it safely to Captan.
Thousands of years have passed, but far under the water, like a fly
on a pin, Sinogo struggles in the form of a huge Buaya. The water
bubbles around him and for three miles little whirlpools go racing up
the channel. And the native in his little sacayan avoids the narrow
entrance where the water boils and foams, for Sinogo still twists
and squirms, and the Liloan is a thing to be feared and dreaded.
Catalina of Dumaguete
This is a legend of Dumaguete, the capital of the province of Negros
Occidental. From this town can be seen five islands, viz., Negros,
Cebu, Bohol, Mindanao, and Siquijor.
There is no one on the great island of Negros who does not love the
name of Catalina. Even the wild mountain men speak it with respect,
and down in the coast towns at night, when the typhoon is lashing the
waters of Tañon Strait, and the rain and wind make the nipa leaves
on the roofs dance and rattle, the older people gather their little
black-eyed grandchildren around the shell of burning cocoanut oil
and tell them her story.
Many years ago there lived in Dumaguete a poor tuba seller named Banog,
who made his daily rounds to the houses just as the milkman does in
far-off America. But instead of a rattling wagon he had only a long
bamboo from which he poured the drink, and in place of sweet milk he
left the sap of the cocoanut tree.
The bad custom of mixing tuñgud, a kind of red bark, with the sap,
and thus making of it a strong liquor, had not yet been known, so
Banog, though poor, was respected, and the people tried in every way
to help him and his daughter Catalina.
Catalina was a beautiful girl of sixteen and very good and industrious,
but with many strange ways. She scarcely ever spoke a word and spent
most of her time in looking out over the sea. Sometimes she would
suddenly stand erect and, clasping her hands, would remain for a long
time looking up at the sky as if she saw something that no one else
could see. On account of these strange manners the people thought
her a wonderful girl and she was supposed to have mysterious powers.
One day many ships came up from the island of Mindanao and hundreds
of fierce Moros landed. Shouting and waving their terrible knives,
they fell upon the peaceful people and killed many, among them poor
Banog. Then they robbed and burned the houses and, seizing all the
women they could find, set sail for their great southern island. Among
the prisoners was Catalina. With her eyes fixed on the sky she sat
very quiet and still in the bow of one of the boats, and though her
companions spoke often to her she made no reply.
Suddenly she sprang into the water and a wonderful thing occurred,
for, instead of sinking, she walked lightly over the waves toward the
distant shore. The Moros were so astonished that they did not try to
stop her and she reached the land safely.
Many people who had hidden in the forests ran out to meet her but she
spoke to no one. With her eyes still fixed above she walked through
the burning town and along the road to Dalugdug, the Thunder mountain,
that lies behind Dumaguete.
On Dalugdug there lived a terrible Sigbin. Its body was like that of
a monstrous crow, but just under its neck were two long legs like
those of a grasshopper, which enabled it to leap great distances
without using its wings. It ate any one who came near its home,
so when the people saw Catalina start to climb the mountain they
begged her to come back. She paid no heed to their cries, however,
but went up higher and higher, till her white dress seemed merely a
speck on the mountain side.
All at once she seemed to stop and raise her hands. Then a fearful
shriek was heard, and the fierce Sigbin came rushing down the
mountain. It appeared to be greatly frightened, for it took tremendous
leaps and screamed as if in terror. Over the heads of the people
it jumped, and, reaching the shore, cleared the narrow channel and
disappeared among the mountains of the island of Cebu.
When the people saw that the Sigbin had gone they ran up the mountain
and searched everywhere for Catalina, but they could find no trace of
her. Sorrowfully they returned to their homes and busied themselves
in building new houses and in making their town beautiful once more.
Several years passed in peace and then again the Moro boats came up
from Mindanao. The men hurriedly gathered on the beach to meet them,
and the women and children hid in the cocoanut groves.
This time the Moros had no quick and easy victory, for the Visayans,
armed with bolos and remembering their lost wives and sisters, fought
furiously, and for a time drove the enemy before them. But more Moro
boats arrived and numbers told against the defenders. Slowly but
surely they fell fighting until but a few remained.
Suddenly a bridge of clouds unfolded from Dalugdug to the town, and
across it came the lost Catalina holding a beehive in her hands. Then
she spoke and thousands of bees flew from the hive to the ground. Again
she spoke and waved her hand, and the bees changed into little black
men with long sharp spears, who charged the Moros and killed every
one of them.
Then Catalina, the hive still in her hand, went back over the bridge
and disappeared once more in the mountain.
The people came out of their hiding places, crowding around the little
black men and questioning them, but they received no answer. Instead
the little warriors gathered together and ran into the forest and up
the mountain side, where they were soon lost to view.
Such is the story of Catalina, Since that time Dumaguete has been safe
from the Moros. The Sigbin has never returned to Negros. It still
lives in the mountains of Cebu and the people are so afraid of it
that they lock themselves in their houses after dark and can hardly
be induced to come out. Up in the mountains of Negros live the little
black men. They are called Negritos and are very savage and wild.
The savior of Dumaguete still lives in Dalugdug and is worshiped by the
people. And in the town, now grown into a big busy city, the old people
for years to come will tell their grandchildren the story of Catalina.
The Fall of Polobulac
This is a tale from Panay. It probably originated with the Spanish
fathers, who wished to impress the doctrine of the Seven Deadly Sins
on the natives. The islands are just off Iloilo.
A little way from Iloilo there once was a beautiful island called
Polobulac, or Isle of Flowers. Its shores were covered with beautiful
trees and plants; splendid gardens of flowers were found everywhere;
fruits grew in abundance; fountains sparkled in the sunlight; and
the people were the happiest in the world. They danced and sang to
gay music, and were free from every care and sorrow.
Filled with confidence in their good fortune, and proud of their
beautiful island, they began to slight the people of the neighboring
islands, and to treat them with insolence and scorn.
One night the sky was darkened, the lightning flashed, the rain fell
in torrents, and a voice cried from the clouds, above the roar of
"I am Pride. Avoid me or perish."
Terrified, they prayed to God for protection, but with the morning
sun their fears left them and they continued as before.
Days passed and the people grew richer, but, not satisfied with their
wealth and with their own beautiful island, they longed to possess
the lands of their neighbors.
Again came the storm, and again a voice cried from the heavens:
"I am Covetousness. Come to me and die."
Once more they appealed for protection, but they did not change
Weeks went by, and with wealth came low and base desires. The storm
came as before and brought the warning:
"I am Evil Desire. Fly from me or be lost."
But again it sounded to sealed ears. Months rolled on. The people
quarreled with their neighbors, and sent forth an army to make war
upon them. The voice thundered:
"I am Anger. I give eternal torment."
Years followed, and the tables of the people of Polobulac were loaded
with the finest foods and wines. Day and night found them feasting. The
cry sounded above them:
"I am Gluttony. I devour my children."
The winds alone echoed the warning.
Time flew by. Each man sought to outdo the others in display of luxury
and magnificence. The poor grudged the rich their fortunes, and sought
in every way to injure them. Again a voice came through the darkness:
"I am Envy. My people are condemned."
But they closed their ears and would not hear.
More wealth brought greater luxury. They lolled in idleness. They
idled in the midst of magnificence. The voice warned:
"I am Sloth. I bring final warning."
They were used to the voices now, and gave them not the slightest
heed. Their insolence and greed grew greater. The fair island shook
with dissension and strife.
One day the sun was hidden by blackness. A fearful tempest burst over
the land. The people on the other islands saw Polobulac wrapped in
seven huge pillars of flame.
When the sky cleared, Polobulac was nowhere to be seen. In its place,
seven blackened rocks marked the spot where stood the beautiful isle.
They are there to this day. You can see them as you leave the harbor
for southern ports. Sometimes they appear as one. Again they seem to
group in twos and threes. But there are seven.
They are called the Deadly Sins.
The Escape of Juanita
Have you heard of the terrible Tic-balan,
A tall and thin and very black man,
With terrible teeth and a horse's head,
And covered with hair that is long and red?
He lives in the awful Balete tree,
And to pass the place you must say "Tabi";
If you do not, the Asuang comes at night,
And throws big stones till you die of fright.
Now once there lived in Santa Cruz town
A little girl known as Juanita Calaon;
She was gentle and sweet and as good as could be,
And she always bowed low to the Balete tree.
One day to the forest alone she did roam
To get some good wood for the fire at home;
She gathered some twigs that she found on the ground,
And all of them fast in a bundle she bound.
Then happy and free, with the pack on her head,
She followed the road that back to town led.
She sang as she walked, and so happy was she
That alas! she bowed not to the Balete tree.
All at once then she heard a most terrible roar,
And the Tic-balan fierce through the air seemed to soar.
He seized poor Juanita, and quick as could be
He shut her inside of the Balete tree.
Two days passed, and when the girl failed to come back,
Her parents went out, and no friends did they lack
To help in the search, for the whole pueblo came,
And loudly they shouted poor Juanita's name.
At last when they thought that the search brought no good,
One man found Juanita's neat bundle of wood;
He called the good news, and as more came to see,
Loud knocking was heard in the Balete tree.
Then many were frightened, but many were brave,
And wondered by what means the girl they could save;
For they knew that it must be Juanita who knocked,
And that inside the Balete tree she was locked.
Soon they ordered that candles and music be brought,
And a crucifix holy was what they next sought;
And when all was ready they closed round the tree,
While they prayed to the true God to set the girl free.
They lighted the candles and then the band played,
And Juanita's mother, who was not afraid,
Advanced with the crucifix held in her hand,
And tapped with the cross on the evil tree grand.
Then a roar shook the forest and chilled all their hearts,
And the awful Balete split into two parts;
Then they saw in the center, as each big half fell,
Their darling Juanita all smiling and well.
She ran from the tree to her fond mother dear,
While the band played and every one gave a loud cheer;
Then back to the pueblo they danced in delight,
And kept up their singing through all the long night.
Still there to this day lies the Balete tree,
But no more do the people that pass say "Tabi."
And the spirit no more can molest any man,
For God has more power than the fierce Tic-balan.
The Anting-Anting of Manuelito
The Anting-Anting is a stone or other small object covered with
cabalistic inscriptions. It is worn around the neck, and is supposed
to render its owner impervious to knife or bullet. Many are wearing
these charms, especially the Tulisanes or outlaws. The Anting-Anting
must not be confused, however, with the scapular, a purely religious
symbol worn by a great number of the Christian Filipinos.
Many of the older Filipinos remember Manuelito, the great Tulisane,
who, more than fifty years ago, kept all the Laguna de Bai district
in a state of fear. His robber band was well organized and obeyed his
slightest wish. He had many boats on the lake and many hiding places
in the mountains, and throughout the country there was no villager
who did not fear to oppose him, or who would refuse to help him in
any way when required to do so.
In vain the Guardia Civil hunted him. Many times they surrounded the
band, but Manuelito always escaped. Many shots were fired at him,
but he was never hit; and once, when he was cut off from his men
and surrounded, he broke through the line, and though fifty bullets
whistled around him he did not receive a scratch.
The officers of the Guardia Civil blamed their men for the bad
marksmanship that allowed Manuelito to escape. They told all the
people that it should never occur again, and promised that the next
fight should end in the death of the outlaw. The people, however,
did not believe that Manuelito could be killed, for he wore on his
breast a famous Anting-Anting that he had received from Mangagauay,
the giver of life and death.
This charm was a stone covered with mysterious signs. It was wrapped
in silk and hung by a string from the robber's neck, and even if a
gun were fired within a few feet of him the Anting-Anting was sure to
turn the bullet in another direction. It was this charm that always
saved him from the Guardia Civil.
Manuelito was very proud of his Anting-Anting, and many times, when
a fiesta was being held in some town, he and his band would come down
from the mountains and take part in the games. Manuelito would stand
in the town plaza and allow his men to shoot at him, and each time
the Anting-Anting would turn aside the bullets. The people were very
much impressed, and though a few of the wiser ones secretly thought
that the guns were only loaded with powder, they were afraid to say
anything; so the greater number thought it very wonderful and believed
that there was no charm so powerful as the Anting-Anting of Manuelito.
For years the Tulisane, protected by his charm, continued to rob and
plunder. The Guardia Civil hunted him everywhere, but could never
kill him. He grew bolder and bolder, and even came close to Manila
to rob the little towns just outside the city.
At last the government grew tired of sending out the Guardia Civil,
and ordered a regiment of Macabebes to hunt and kill the Tulisane
and his men.
Manuelito was at Pasay when news was brought to him that the Macabebes
were coming. Instead of running from these fierce little fighters, he
decided to meet them, and many people offered to help him, believing
that the Anting-Anting would turn away all bullets and give them
victory. So Manuelito and many men left the town, built trenches in the
hills near San Pedro Macati, and waited for the Macabebes to appear.
They had not long to wait. The Macabebes, hurrying from Manila, reached
San Pedro Macati and soon found that Manuelito was waiting to fight
them. They left the town at once and advanced on the Tulisane trenches.
It was a great fight. From the other hills close by many people watched
the battle. Five times the Macabebes advanced, and were forced to
fall back before the fierce fire of the Tulisanes. But the Macabebe
never knows defeat, and once more their line went forward and in one
terrible charge swept over the trenches and bayoneted the outlaws. In
vain Manuelito called on his men to fight. They broke and ran in every
direction. Then, seeing that all was lost, Manuelito started to follow
them; but a volley rang out, and, struck by twenty bullets, he fell to
the ground dead. The Macabebes chased the flying Tulisanes and killed
that of all the band only a few many, safely reached the mountains.
While the Macabebes were chasing the outlaws, many people came down
from the hills and stood around the body of Manuelito. They could
hardly believe their eyes, but the many wounds and the blood staining
the ground proved that the great Tulisane was indeed dead.
What of the Anting-Anting? Had it lost its power?
One man timidly unbuttoned the shirt of the dead robber and pulled out
the charm. The mystery was explained. Fixed firmly in the center of the
Anting-Anting was a silver bullet. There was but one explanation. The
Macabebes had melted a statue of the Virgin and used it to make bullets
to fire at Manuelito. Against such bullets the charm was useless,
but against ordinary lead it never would have failed. Had not the
people seen Manuelito's own men fire at him?
The charm was taken from the neck of the dead Tulisane and many
copies were made of it. Even to this day hundreds of people are
wearing them. They will tell you about Manuelito's great fight and
also about his famous Anting-Anting.
"But," you say, "the Anting-Anting was useless. Manuelito was killed."
They answer, "Yes, Señor, it is true; but the Macabebes used bullets
of silver. Had they used lead the story would have been different. Poor
When the Lilies Return
A legend of the Chinese Invasion. Quiapo, even at the time of the
early Spaniards, and for years after, was a deserted field. The story
is an old one and generally known to the Tagallos.
At the time when the Pasig flowed peacefully along between flowery
banks; when its breast was not torn by puffing steamers; and when
only a few clustering huts marked the present site of Manila, there
grew on the banks of the river a beautiful field of lilies.
The lilies glistened like silver in the sunlight, and their sweet
odor filled the air with delicious perfume. No hand plucked them from
the earth, and no foot trampled out their fragrance; for an ancient
prophecy had said that while the lilies stood the happiness of the
people should endure.
But after a time there came dark days in the history of the
Philippines. Yellow hordes swept across the water and carried all
before them. The people could hardly expect to resist the invaders,
for their warrior king, Loku, had profaned the word of the god, and,
in the form of a lizard, was fulfilling his punishment. Their armies
were weak and scattered, and the conquerors marched on in triumph.
As report after report of disaster reached Luzon, the people trembled
for the safety of their fair land. Warriors gathered hastily for the
defense of the nation, and all waited for the enemy to appear.
One day the water was dotted with the junks of the invaders. They
came slowly down the bay, and anchored near the mouth of the Pasig.
Then from the boats poured the yellow warriors. Spears rained
upon them, stones and arrows laid them low, but their numbers were
countless. The people were swept back along the river banks.
Fiercely they fought, but numbers told against them. Foot by foot
they were pressed back, till they stood on the border of the field
of lilies, where they made their last stand. But it was to no purpose.
The invaders poured from the ships, and in one desperate charge
drove back the ranks of the people, who fought and died among their
All through the night the battle raged, and at daybreak, when the
victorious invaders rested on their spears, the beautiful field was
The lilies were crushed and torn. The bodies of dead and dying warriors
lay everywhere, and the crushed flowers were stained with the blood
of friend and foe. The peace of the land was lost.
Many years have passed since then. New races have come to the Islands,
and new manners and customs have been introduced. The Pasig still
flows on to the sea, but its banks are harnessed by bridges. Lofty
dwellings and stores take the place of the little huts, and a great
city marks the site of the little village.
Where once was the beautiful field is now a busy part of the great
city. It is called Quiapo, after the lilies. Many of the older people
remember the prophecy and wonder if the lilies will ever return.
The land is now a peaceful and contented one. Comfort and happiness
may be found among its inhabitants. Perhaps the fair, strange women
from the great land over the sea are the lilies. Who can tell?
balete tree = a type of tree, Ficus indica, often believed to be the
home of evil and vengeful spirits.
camisas = shirts.
chinela = slipper.
cocheros = drivers of horse-drawn carriages.
Datto = chief.
Guardia Civil = Spanish police.
ladrones = thieves.
lubi lana = coconut oil.
Moro = Muslim's from the southern islands of the Philippines.
Negritos = Negroid people indigenous in some parts of the Philippines.
nipa = palm leaf of which the roofs of cheap houses are made.
sacayan = small outrigger boat.
tuba = alcoholic drink made from the sap of the coconut tree.
tuñgud = the red bark of a mangrove tree.