MUNICIPALITY OF PAETE (LAGUNA), Historical Data of Part III - Philippine Historical Data MUNICIPALITY OF PAETE (LAGUNA), Historical Data of Part III - Philippine Historical Data


Municipality of Paete, Laguna



About these Historical Data

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her womb.

3. Conceiving wives should not look at ugly objects because she will have an ugly baby.

4. If anybody eats or tastes the food that a conceiving woman is eating, that person will feel sleepy.

5. If a visitor stays near the door of a house where a pregnant woman lives, the wife will suffer much during the delivery.

D. Festivals and other beliefs:

1. If a child eats too much and gets indigestion, the mother scrapes the boy's stomach with a rice spoon, saying that she is taking away some of the food inside and throwing it out of the window, and the child will be cured of his ailment.

2. If a child gets sick with stomach ache after eating something, a piece of what he has eaten is burned, placed in a glass of water, and the patient drinks it with the belief of getting well.

3. Never plant rice when you are hungry or else the harvest will be just a little or none at all.

4. Opening an umbrella inside the house will make the scorpions and centipedes floor on the floor.

5. Sweeping the floor at night will bring bad omen to the family.

6. Children who are very fond of putting their hands on their heads will soon become orphans.

No. 28 Witchcraft and Sorcery:

After interviewing old folks of the town, particularly Tandang Angge (Maria Villegas) and Inang Anday (Fortunata Afurong), some facts about local witchcraft and beliefs of the outer world of mystery came to light which are nearly forgotten by our present generation. It is rather worthwhile to know such trend as believed and practiced by our ancestors.

The world was created by the Almighty Sovereign and just after that, the Infinites tempted and tested God's wisdom and ability, which resulted to mysterious phenomena that were handed down to us in the forms of: "barang" or "himboboyog," "kulam," and other incredible works of malignant spirits. A certain Cabesang Juan Vicente used a triangular book which he used to take care and light every Holy Thursday and Good Friday. By doing so, this book would have letters on the printless pages and that was just for a short time. The spell about any desired thing was captured from this book, with reference to an old text [unreadable]

Many an old man possessed [unreadable] to son and so on. [Note: the remainder of this paragraph was torn in the original document and while some words are readable, they do not make sense at all and will not be transcribed.]

[p. 24]

the owner and used as his avenger against any enemy. The bite of this insect was said to be fatal. The "kulam" was also used by these "mambabarang," wherein the sorcerer used a cloth doll and a "barang." The only worse thing about this insect was if the master could not have a victim in a year, he was liable to be the next victim of his own pet. It was believed that anything that this sorcerer took fancy in looking at would fall to the ground.

The sorcerer possessed other secrets besides this, such as: bulletproof, fireproof, and the best was invisibility. Still others were the "galaw," "balis," "tabang," "gaway," and "gayuma," which were the mischiefs that a sorcerer could do. The "balis" was commonly a stomach ache threat; the "gala" an amnesia threat; the "tabang" a pain threat; the "gaway" the heat of the eyes on objects or persons; while the "gayuma," the charm of love and beautiful women. The doll or "diablito" was never taken away from the sorcerer's body, taking various forms in miniature. These idols were said to be fed with prayers, and they were given regularly or else the charm would be lost. In connection to this folly of our grandparents, they also believed that persons died through the appearances of the seven forms of death, such as: San Bernaldo, in the form and attire of a priest; San Girimaw, who took the shape and form of a skeleton robed in black, with a long scythe he used in taking people's lives; San Carlos, an invisible form, who was said to have the ability to enter bolted doors and windows without the knowledge of the persons in the house.

Our forefathers also believed that dead persons were just resting in one of the seven strata of the universe; and at the sound of heralds on the day of judgement, would come to life again, only in different forms and shapes.

Anting-anting or Mutya:

Theh possession of these talismans were highly-prized in the days of yore. Our forefathers were possessors of such charms as commonly as we possess a fountain pen nowadays. Our great revolutionists and rebels used various forms of "anting-anting." The one possessed by Asedillo, Ronquillo, and even our commong "beteranos" were in the form of medallions made of copper or bronze, wherein images of the Sacred Family were engraved, together with Latin scriptures. The precautions to those who possessed these charms were varied and as complicated as the prerequisites of those talismans themselves. They were never taken away from their bodies, usually as a necklace or tattooed on their arms and chests.

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The power of the charms were: invisibility, freedom from being hit by bullets, blades, fire, and other weapons or hazards. The only time these "anting-anting" medals were acquired was during the ceremony of the church on Good Friday, just like the common forms of "penitencia" practiced by our old people. These superstitions or whatever they were called are slowly dying in our place since the introduction of modern Science and finer forms of pastimes and recreations. Yet, they are not totally forgotten by our people who still cling to their old ways. To the efficacy and effectiveness of these talismans, we are not in a position to give light because, after the death of the dark age of witches, goblins, fairies, and similar characters, the young world begins to believe what is only seen by their eyes, and thing supernatural and incredible are thrown away to the dogs. Science changed the minds and attitudes of our people who base their evaluations and deductions on scientific experiments and principles of natural phenomena which are accepted true by Science.

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No. 27 Traditions and Superstitions about Birth, Courtship, and Death:

Histories of the past of different countries portray many traditions, beliefs, and superstitions which are, at present, considered and interpreted to be myths and legends.

Our country, young and just on its stage of development, has hundreds of traditions and superstitions especially on birth, courtship, and death. These three stages are to be experienced by an individual from the very time he sees his first ray of light up to the time he learns to meet the multitude of difficulties and temptations in life, and until he breathes forth his soul into the hands of our Creator, are full of beautiful and wonderful stories and legends, some of which are still untold.

Part I - Traditions and Superstitions about Birth

A would-be mother is advised by her parents on the ways and hygienic practices of being a mother. Lots of warnings and counseling are given her, especially when she is conceiving. That she should eat possibly things she desires to have, and if she could not eat or even taste what she likes, it would mean miscarriage or abortion on her part. That she should not get from the tree the fruit she likes because the sweetness and deliciousness of the fruit, in that very tree, will turn to naught.

It is also a belief that when a person eats with a conceiving woman the food she likes very much, that person will surely feel sleepy and sometimes feel the same way as the conceiving mother does. An example is her occasional vomiting and headaches. In some instances during the wife's conceiving period, the husband feels the abnormal conditions instead of the woman.

It is also a belief that a conceiving mother should not be given stolen things because her offspring would surely grow up a thief. A story runs thus: in the town, a conceiving mother of a well-to-do family happened to like pomegrenate fruit. She told her husband about it, so he requested his servant to get one for her. It so happened that the owner of the tree was away, so he got a fruit without permission from the owner. In short, a baby boy was born and grew up to be a kleptomaniac. His problem was not solved until after he was informed by a certain friend that, during his wife's conception period, their servant stole a pomegrenate fruit. He concluded then that a conceiving mother should not be given stolen food to eat.

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When an expectant mother goes out for work outside the house, it is believed best for her to wear red undergarments or slip so that no evil spirits called "aswangs" will molest her. That should she urinate outside of a toilet, she should mumble, "Tabi-tabi Nuno, dadaan ang benditang mabaho" to ward off evil spirits such as the "nuno sa punso," dwarves, and other unseen beings from doing harm on her person. It is also believed that an expectant mother should beat the air around the house before bedtime to drive the evil spirits called "aswang" from disturbing her in her sleep. This should be done with a tail of the "pagi."

When a conceiving mother has to go to a funeral, she should not enter the cemetery for pain of stepping on unseen spirits who are capable of causing sickness and even death.

A mother, when giving birth, should lie down with the grain of the wood of the floor parallel to her and with her head toward the source of the stream. This is to facilitate an easy delivery. When, on her laboring period, so much difficulty is met, she should be given the essence of a burning coconut husk, incense, and salt because she may have been a victim of evil spirits.

That, during her labor hours, she should tie the bond or string taken from the waist of wild monkeys caught in the forest to aid also in delivery. Another way to facilitate delivery is to put in the mouth of the laboring mother the "mutya," which is a seed of the jackfruit. This "mutya" is determined by its ability to move or slip in a circle on a white plate. The characteristic of the seed is said to influence the delivery.

After the delivery of the first child, two inches of ginger root are pounded, to be applied on the four corners of the mat used, down to the floor towards the door, and to the steps, and the ginger is buried under it. This, it is believed, is to prevent pain after birth, which is usually experienced by all mothers, especially so when visited by women with menstruation. This is so from the date of delivery up to the eighth day. After the eighth day, anybody may visit the mother and child, even by those women who are sick.

In case a woman with menses happen to drop in, she should chew buyo or ginger root and wipe her saliva on the abdomen to avoid pain.

A well-known Filipino astrologer, Honorio Lopez, is well-recognized and believed by the townsfolk.

[p. 28]

No. 28 Myths and Legends


Pista noon sa Ermita. Ang tunog ng batingaw ay pumupukol sa taynga ng mga taga-nayon. Sa harapan ng munting "bisita" ay may mga pahiyas na bunga, palaspas, at iba't-ibang papel na may kulay. Ang lahat ng daang nasasakupan ng nayong Ermita ay may iba't-iba ring pahiyas. Ang munting bisita ay nagsisikip sa dami ng taong nakikinig ng Misa. Kabilang dito sina Tandang Angge at ang kanyang apong si Lucia.

Ang batang si Lucia ay lilinga-linga sa loob ng munting bisita. Wari bang siya'y nagtataka sa di pangkaraniwang dami ng taong nagsisimba, gayong talos niyang hindi naman araw ng Linggo. Hindi mapigilan ni Lucia ang pagtatalo ng kanyang isipan kung bakit sila'y nagsisimba sa araw na iyon. Hinila niya ang saya ng kanyang Tanda at kanyang itinanong, "Bakit tayo naririto, Tanda?"

"Makinig ka ng Misa at pagkalabas natin ay ikukuwento ko sa iyo ang pista ng patron ng bisitang ito."

At ito ang buod ng kuwento ni Tandang Angge:

Ika-apat noon ng buwan ng Nobyembre, sa isang pook na malapit sa lawa ng Laguna ay may sumibol na apoy. Di kaginsa-ginsa'y naglagablab ang apoy sa buong Ibaba patungong Ilaya. Ang mga tao ay nasindak. Nagkaroon ng malaking takot sila sapagka't ang apoy ay hindi na nilang makayang subhan ng tubig. Ang mga bata at matanda ay nag-iiyakan sapagka't marami nang tahanan ang natupok ng naglalagablab na apoy. Binalot nila ang kanilang mga gawa-gawaan at hindi nila malaman kung saan nila itatakbo upang mai-ilag nila sa apoy.

Mayroong isang mayaman na ang pagkakakilala ng lahat ay hindi wasto ang pag-iisip. Kahit na siya ay sinto-sinto ay nagkaroon din siya ng malaking sindak at matinding kaba ng dibdib dahil sa hindi maapulang ninga ng apoy. Tumakbo siyang papasok sa simbahan at kumuha siya ng isang santo at binigkas ang ganitong pangungusap, "Kung ikaw ay talagang mapagmilagro ay iyong pabuhusin ang malakas na ulan." Tila isang himala ay biglang nag-ulap ang langit at gumuhit ng matatalim na kidlat at dumagundong ang malalakas na kulog. Di kaginsa-ginsa'y bumuhos ang di pangkaraniwang ulan. Namangha at lubos na nagtaka ang mga mamamayan. Ang mga umiiyak ay napawi ang kanilang lungkot at sila'y nangatuwa sa malaking kagalakan.

Nagpasalamat ang buong bayan sa awang idinulot sa kanila ng Maykapal. Sa pook na hinantungan ng malaking apoy ay kanilang pinagsikapang itayo ang isang maliit na bisita na siyang naging pamalagiang tahanan ng nasabing santo. Mula noon ay naging kaugalian na ng mga tao ang magdaos ng pista sa araw na yaon.

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No. 28 Legend of Paete:

Several hundreds of years ago, in a small village now known as Lumban, there dwelt a couple by the names of Aling Sepa and Teban. Their trade was fishing, and as their regular routine, they used to sail as far as the shores of the so-called Wawang Paete.

Paete, during those times, was a mere forest. Because of the density of the woods, no one dared to make a clearing in this place. One day, this couple, Aling Sepa and Teban, fished as usual along the shores of Paete. A storm overtook them, and knowing that it would be dangerous to go back to Lumban that day, determined to spend the night in the unexplored forest. They had their banca tied to an old log by the shore and they proceeded to look for a better shelter inland. They noticed the vast plain stretching before them from the shore. In a chosen nook, they spent the night and returned to Lumban the next day. While in their hometown, the couple made plans to return to Paete, not to fish but to make their home. They packed everything they had at home and, the next day, sailed again for Paete.

Several months passed and they had a nice little clearing. The other people of Lumban noticed the progress of the couple and soon joined the adventure. Since then, the once uninhabited forest was settled and soon prospered into a town. It was founded in the year 1580 and became known as "San Lorenzo."

The changing of the original name of San Lorenzo to Paete was made by the Spaniards themselves. They noticed the remarkable skill of the Paeteños in chiseling figures out of wood. The name "Paete" was derived from the Tagalog word "pait," meaning chisel, and the most indispensable tool in wood carving, was given to the town.

Credit: Jr. Red Cross Magazine
Dec. 1948
Correspondence Album Prepared
by the Eastern Laguna College
Paete, Laguna.

[p. 30]


Nestling at the foot of the towering Sierra Madre, a few meters up from the provincial road connecting the town of Paete and Longos, is a small hill. Snugly as it is, it branches out of the larger mountain like a woman's bust, now covered with lusty vegetation for a soft green mantle, when she lies on her side. In that hill is a rippling little pool of clear cool water. It is not just like an ordinary pool to one who would come with a keen eye to decipher from the prints on the rocks the romance of its past.

Every early morning, the crystal water would have no doubt served the fairies to look into their beauty, just like a mirror, as they pin each a morning glory on their hairs or put a fairy's leigh around their necks. At midday, when the summer sun casts an unblinking eye upon this pool, there might be seen a bright rhodora afloat that brought the songs of joy among the feathered creatures never yet felt by human hearts. In the afternoon, it might be filled with speckled shade and sunshine and its golden fishes would then sally forth to catch a glimpse of the setting sun. And in the evening, there might be served a more mystic charm as the pebbles glow into luminous marbles vying with the glory of the moonlight.

This is why "Talagang Dalaga" is not just an ordinary waterhole: it is a maiden's pool as its name carries. Around it are woven the beautiful fabric or our folktales — the mysteries of a hidden world.

One of the stories we used to hear from our townsfolk goes to say:

Time was when Paete was a budding settlement of simple "kaingeros" who moved about their rustic place as if they were still strangers inhibited by superstition of their unknown world. One late afternoon, a young man coming home from his kaingin saw a great luminous spot at the place he used to stop to wash each day. He was very much frightened at the sight of it and did not seem to know what to do. But somehow, his superstitious bent of mind taught him to behave in an uncanny way so as to befit himself of the trust of the evil spirit, or whatbeit, and from then he learned to muster enough courage to become curious of the strange phenomenon.

Our young man strove to come closer to the source of light and lo! The light he saw shining was coming from a number of brilliant gems on a fairy's crown held by an attending nymph. There were countless more jewels on the fairy's wand, each emitting a radiant glow as of ember. And there were four nymphs holding a princess' gown, which also gave a brilliant light that dulled the glow of a million host of fireflies on a moonless night.

There was in the center of all that, he saw a beautiful maiden dipping her toes in the limpid water of the pool. She was apparently taking her bath as was her favorite debut when the sun

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set low in the west.

The perfect charm that unfolded before the gloating eyes of our young man dispelled away his fears and aroused in him an interest surging up to transform his courage to a daring and adventurous desire in a strange hunt for love. For what could hold a man to shy away from such a sight, except that a more powerful spell came unto him and forced him to become as a stubble? And our young man advanced to meet the fairy; to touch her, and night — to kiss.

"Hold your steps!" commanded the fairy in a firm but sweet voice. "You very well know that if I am caught naked in this water, I am without power to protect myself. But that I have my wand in my hand, if you have come to lust after me, just as if I am a common earthly being, I can bring you to your fate of death and you shall become as a cold stone. I bid you, therefore, to take heed of my warning!"

The young man heeded the fairy's warning and stood at one place to recompose himself. Then, he gathered enough courage to beg: "O Maiden Enchanter, I have come not to do evil upon thee but to worship thy fairy charm. Let me serve thee as thy humble servant."

"Does a fairy need an earthman for her servant?" And the fairy scornfully demanded, "Go on your way and don't hide your intent with pretty excuses!" There really seemed nothing in our earthly minds that we could hide from a fairy: not that because it had a divine power to perceive the secrets of what we thought but because it was gifted with a keen sense for righteousness.

Our young man felt ashamed of himself on hearing the words of the fairy. However, he managed to speak to prevail himself a little longer within sight of the fairy's splendid beauty that had never been equalled on earth. "If my presence displeases thee, o fairy, I shall leave. But pray give me a token that I may show my people that I have seen thee."

"How dare ye ask! Haven't you done wrong against me already that I ought to give you a favor still? Here is your token." And the fairy threw a piece of rod on the ground. "This shall be a beautifully-colored snake with the charm of a fairy and it shall be heard to crow like a cock the same hour you saw me today. But it shall carry with it venom in its mouth to signify the wrath I have for those who break my privacy."

Then, the Maiden Enchanter disappeared behind a mist by the time she had already donned her fairy's cloak. The young man stood for a time disbelieving the sudden disappearance of the fairy. Then, he thought to himself how bitter he had offended so charming a maiden. But it was quite late now. He could just look around to trace where the Maiden Enchanter had stood before him. There was the pool of water, clear, cool, and pure, but the white pebbles had turned to become the

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dull ash-colored stones. There were no more gold fishes but ugly black trouts with hungry mouths. The rod that the fairy left had become a venomous reptile and had moved away among the brushes and cracks on the ground. Our young man's vision had faded, indeed.

Then, around was already getting dark. The bats could be seen swooping to catch the insects under the trees. The night lizards were making the fallen dry leaves rustle. And, a myriad tiny sounds were beginning to fill the night. This nocturnal concert drove our young man home but with a mind full of the tale about Maria, the Enchanter, whom he had seen.


Submitted by: MRS. DOMINGA Q. BAISAS

[p. 33]


"Benditang Tubig," the biggest spring and source of the water supply of Paete, is located at the foot of the Sierra Madre Mountains east of the town. Its icy clear water gushes out of the cracks in the rocky base of the slope. It is such a place that will be appreciated by picnickers and those who love the solitude of nature under the shadow of a towering and almost wall-like mountain cliff. Happily, it is found at the end of a long mountain trail where the mountaineers used to have their rest on the flat rocks, take a sip of cool water, and wash before proceeding to town.

During the early days, when people had but a scant knowledge of good health practices, the spring earned a bad reputation for being the abode of malignant spirits that often caused their illnesses. Imagination ran high, and soon, different versions of tales circulated in town which terrified the townspeople.

Among the many tales gathered about the works of those evil spirits were:

1. At unascertained times, some people saw by accident atop some rocks a nude old man (tikbalang) with knees reaching higher than its head when sitting in a squatting position.

2. People taking baths, if fancied by these hidden beings, in the spirit of fun, suffered various types of diseases ranging from wounds, high fever, to insanity.

3. Those who happened to offend those spirits, especially the newcomers to the place, soon fond parts of their bodies swollen. Most commonly, this occurred on their intimate parts.

To counter those evil spirits, a group of persons appealled to the local priest to sprinkle holy water in the place in order to drive away those malefactors. The priest consented, according to old folks, and that is the reason why the spring is called "Benditang Tubig."

Submitted by

[p. 34]

(Toong ni San Roque)

Hardly a century ago, the people of Paete, the home of the sweet lanzones, santol, and other fruits, were once harassed by superstitious beliefs, legends, or fabulous news which made the people susceptible to mythical narrations. One of those legends which the young generation has a meager knowledge of is "The Legend of San Roque's Well."

One moonlit night in the month of May, a stranger who was afflicted with a skin disease came limping into the town. He told everyone whom he met that, according to his mysterious dream, in the town of Paete, there was an old man named Roque. He was the owner of a well, the water of which was a sure cure for any kind of skin disease. He (Roque) further described the place of his abode or identification as follows:

1. That he lived in the farthest east end of the town just ten feet away from the Paete River, tower the south, under a mango tree with a well in front of his cottage.

2. That there was a flight of stone stairs leading just below the well to the river.

3. That there was a dike nearby, the water of which was used to turn the main wheel of a rice mill.

4. That the neighboring people used the water of the well for cooking and drinking purposes.

A kindly peasant man who happened to be from one of the families who lived in its vicinity imagine the place the afflicted man was describing. He was one of those who were fetching water from the well.

"I know the place you are describing, but there is one thing I doubted. There is no cottage under the mango tree."

"If you will follow me, I will lead you to that place," suggested the man.

"Thank you for your kindness," the sick man explained. "I may reciprocate your kindness toward a lonely stranger like me in the near future," continued the stranger.

The two men went together. The stranger felt at ease, hoping that his ailment would at last be cured and Mang Serapio, the native of Paete, was baffled as to what kind of man he was going with.

"This is the well you are talking about," Mang Serapio pointed to the well under the mango tree. "But mind you," he warned, "you should boil the water in the well for it is the water from this well that we use for drinking." Remembering the Filipino hospitality, Mang Serapio invited the stranger to dine with him and to stay for the night with his family. The stranger declined the invitation, giving his reason that his dream forbade him to stay with somebody. He should stay near the well until the owner would come. Mang Serapio then went home and was glad to be relieved of the stranger.

The stranger sat on one of the stones under the mango tree waiting for the arrival of the owner of the well. At the strike of twelve midnight, a radiant light appeared under the mango tree. The stranger was so amazed and afraid that he fell on his knees to pray to the Almighty for his protection.


Transcribed from:
Historical Data of the Municipality of Paete, Province of Laguna, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections.
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