Thursday, February 11, 2016

Chinese New Year - The Twelve Animals

My grandmother is actually a Chinoy - her father is a Chinese and her mother is a Filipino. Well, it's actually obvious because of her eyes and her distinct attitude. Usually, people would ask if she's a Chinese. I affirmatively answer them. Of all her kids, my mom got her physical qualities, but not the attitude.

My mom knows how to speak Mandarin because she had once worked in China. She also adopted their way of living, their food, and even their beliefs.

Every time my mom is with us, we celebrate Chinese New Year. She often yell Gong Xi Fa Cai, not Kong Hey Fat Choi. It's because the former is Mandarin, and the latter is Cantonese. She also explained to me their meaning. It means, to be prosperous in the coming year, something like that.

About the Chinese New year

Chinese New Year, or actually a Spring Festival, was celebrated in the first day of the Lunar calendar. Chinese, Taiwanese, Cantonese, Koreans, Japanese, Thai, Mongolian, some Filipinos, and other East and Southeast Asian countries celebrate the said feast for the same reason we celebrate the usual New Year of January first. The most days to when the Chinese new year falls are on January 21 to February 20. People celebrate it with fire works, dragon and tiger dances, red clothes, foods and red envelopes with money inside it (My personal favorite, but it's actually a lucky charm. You're not supposed to use it the whole year. Maybe only if you needed.). The only difference comparing it to the usual new year is the animal mascots dancing like they're playing. (I wonder why they often use the two animals instead of the other animals in the Chinese Zodiacs even if the year doesn't pertain to them. I'll figure it out.)

What do you think is the reason why red is the dominant color, and often has fire works in celebrating the Chinese New Year?

There was a legend to which this tradition came from.

There was a monster who often plague the villages in China. Every first day of the Lunar calendar, this monster forcefully get the foods of the people. So they decided to put a bunch of food outside the door in order for the monster to not disturb them. One day, there was a brave person who wished for the monster to stop. A god visited him in his dream revealing the secret of the monster. He was told to put a red paper with fireworks outside the door. As the monster arrived he was terrified by the red paper, and the noise the fire crackers made. So the villagers started using it every New Year, and the monster never came back.

Every Lunar year, one animal is designated to represent and as guide to what the year will be. Feng Shui experts also use them to know the weakness and strength of everyone and everything in every aspect.

There are twelve animals in the Chinese Zodiac Sign, namely:
1. Rat
2. Ox/Cow
3. Tiger
4. Rabbit/Hare
5. Dragon
6. Snake
7. Horse
8. Goat/Sheep
9. Monkey
10. Rooster
11. Dog
12. Pig.

Each animal is distinct with it's own attitude, qualities, and abilities. If you are born in the year when that animal was designated, if you're a Chinese, you are often described and related to them. Especially, in searching your match (love life).

There's also a story (a legend) to why, of all animals in the face of the earth, they are chosen. Why not frog or fly or bird or worm.

The Origin

There are variations of this story, but I will only tell you the most common version of them all.

Once upon a time, Buddha was not in a state of good health. He knew he is about to leave the world. So he decided to call all the animals in the forest before he departs earth. When the animals heard this invitation, it became a race.

However, they need to pass through a river. The Cat and the Rat decided to talk to Ox to have a ride in his back. Ox, being a very kind and good-natured animal, he agreed to carry them both. Before they arrive on the shore, the Rat pushed the Cat on the water. The Ox still continued, not knowing what happened to the cat. As they arrived, the rat jumped on the shore and rushed to Buddha. Thus giving him the 1st place, then the Ox as 2nd.

Following closely was the tiger. He explained eagerly to Buddha how rough and hard it was to swim on the sweeping current of the river. And he was given the 3rd place.

Then the rabbit arrived. He told Buddha that he needed to jumped on the stones in order to cross the river. Midway, he almost lost the race as he fell on the water. Luckily, a floating log came and he grab on it. He stayed till the log was washed ashore. He was given the 4th place.

The Dragon finally arrived. Buddha was curious why the fastest animal who can fly made it on the 5th place. The dragon explained that he first needed to give rain on some people in other village and also to animals. Then, on his way to Buddha, he saw a hapless creature on the river grasping to breathe. So he gave the little puff a log to hold on to, and washed it on the shore. The rabbit realized it was the dragon who helped him, and they became friends.

Suddenly a galloping sound was heard. It was the horse who arrived. He should have made it on the 6th place but a snake appeared from his foot. The snake was coiling around the horse on his way to Buddha. Afraid, he fall back, and snake made it to the 6th place. The horse got the 7th place.

Not long after the Horse and the Snake arrived, the trio came - the Goat, Monkey and the Rooster. The three helped each other to cross the river. The rooster found a raft and took the two others with him. The monkey and the goat cleared the weeds and paddled on the water till they arrived on the shore. Because of their effort, Buddha gave them their place - Goat on the 8th place, Monkey on the 9th, and Rooster on the 10th place.

The Dog came too. He was supposed to be the best swimmer among the other animals. Buddha asked why he just got the 11th place. He explained that he enjoyed playing on the water that he almost forgot the race.

Then, an oink was heard after the dog arrived. The pig made it on the 12th place. He told Buddha that during the race, he felt hungry. So he stopped on a feast nearby, but fell asleep when he was full.

The twelve animals gave their farewell to Buddha as he departs.

Finally, the cat arrived, but Buddha was already gone. He felt very sad not giving his goodbye to Buddha. The Cat realized it was the rat's fault. He almost drowned on the water because of what the rat did. He chased the rat every where. That could be the reason why they hated each other.

The Variations

In other version of the story. It was the Jade Emperor who called for a meeting. Yet, in another legend, God the animals for a banquet. The rat fooled the cat that the feast will be the day after, so he slept that night. Upon knowing, the cat chased the rat.
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Sunday, January 31, 2016

Insects - infesting tongues

I often do it on an envelope. Using my saliva as paste through licking the edge of flap. It's the most easy way if you don't have a paste. I also do it on stamps. I don't know any danger that might cause me by doing such thing. I never even thought any possibility that an insect egg might be lurking on them.

Have you heard of a post office worker whose tongue was infested by cockroaches? She noticed a growing lump in her tongue, not knowing the cause of how and why it sprouts suddenly.

The Legend

By the way, here's the story:

[Taken from the internet:]

A woman was working in a post office. She was supposed to use a sponge to seal the envelopes but one day she didn't. She used her tongue instead.

Days after, she noticed that her tongue had a strange lump in it. It got so big that she was having a hard time eating or talking. That was when she decided to see a doctor. He cut open the lump and a live roach crawled out! Turns out, there were roach eggs on the envelope flap and they hatched in her tongue!

This urban legend did not actually originated in the Philippines. Someone adapted the story from US, and spread it here. I have no estimate when the story started to arrive in our country, I guess, when it was still a fresh talk of the mouth.

According to the original story, a women working in California post office started to use her tongue instead of a sponge. The same as the above story, she noticed a lump growing in her tongue so she decided to see her doctor to know what was happening on her. After doing some examination, they decided to cut it, and to their surprise, a living cockroach crawled from inside. It was discovered that the insect came from envelop flaps. It made its way to her tongue by her habit of just licking them. It was planted their not knowing it.


The thought of it was very disgusting. Even by just imagining how it crawled out from the cut wound in her tongue. But on the other hand, I don't believe the story. First, I was thinking how it end up inside her tongue. It could be possible that if she has a wound there during her usual licking, the eggs were planted. However, why will she still continue to lick the flaps if she had a wound. Maybe she's not stupid enough to do it knowing the possibility of infection. Second, how did it survive inside a lump? And third, she could have felt something moving there. Well, I haven't experienced such thing, so I am not sure with my own explanation. Besides, people have been using live maggots on their rotten legs if they have diabetes. (Have you heard of it too? It's actually true. NOT an urban legend.)


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Monday, November 23, 2015


While I was browsing my e-mail messages (, I stumbled upon a private message from one of our readers - Grace Batarina. I would like to thank her first for contributing the story.

I already heard rumors about this Mananabas they called, but her version is much different than mine and I never have a knowledge that this monster was plaguing Pangasinan and Baguio

In my own version (the story I heard), this Mananabas is acting like the cult I already featured here - taking one of your slippers you left outside the house. The next evening, he will knock on your door and kills the owner through beheading. Much worse, not only you but also your whole family.

What is a Mananabas? (Pangasinan)

Mananabas is a Tagalog word more often used to refer to people cutting rice or the like during harvest. So obviously they use the tool called sickle. The same tool the said killer is using in murdering whoever he like to. He is much synonymous to the Grim Ripper but his tool is scythe.

In this urban legend, the Mananabas is named, and possibly a real person whose story spread and evolved into a much scary and detailed act of killing. I remember Warlito Toledo in this.

Who is the Mananabas

Back in January of 2002 , according to a local news paper, the name of the killer is Pefecto Rivera Picardal. He is about 26 to 30 years old from Payukpok, Bauang, La Union. He was the suspect in killing his four wives. The first victim was from Ilocos Sur, and the last one was killed on October 21, 2001 whose name is Arceli Oliveros Catabay, a resident of Barangay San Jose, Bani.

He was also pointed suspect in killing Rodolfo and Consuelo Arellano in December 13, 2001. The main reason of killing is his jealousy over his wife Catabay. There could have been an affair between Rodolfo and Arceli.

But the rumor didn't end up in identifying the Mananabas of Pangasinan. There's another one roaming over Baguio. This is a different story though, and a different individual with another version of gossip.

Who is the Mananabas? (Benguet)

According to another story, the Mananabas of Baguio is an overseas Filipino worker (OFW) who murdered his entire family not with a sickle, but of a Bolo. The same reason why Picardal killed his wives - infidelity. It was said that after beheading his partner, he placed the mutilated head on a kaldero (pot). In addition to his story, he was said to roam the night and preys on female victims while carrying the head of his wife.

His version is a lot more an urban legend than that of Picardal. Well aside of being unknown, the way how the tale goes is much unreal especially when they added fantasy on it.

This version is almost similar to the one I know, but he didn't steal slippers of his victims. He chants a spell on the foot ware inducing the owner to come out of the house and kill her instantly. That's the reason why his victims are always found in front of their houses.

However, no cases recorded involving the Baguio Mananabas, making the story not credible. I would rather believe on the Pangasinan Mananabas, though he didn't killed any one aside of those mentioned in his story. I don't know if Perfecto Picardal was already captured.


Grace Batarina

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Friday, November 20, 2015

The Cursed Juan Luna Painting

Have you visited the National Museum of the Philippines? Well, I've been there many times, and almost nothing changed. Just this October 2015 (when the museum was free to everyone - NO FEES needed to pay), I went there with my friends. First, I thought the place will be almost empty of visitors and tourists just like the last time, and surprisingly you can see people anywhere.

There's one painting by Juan Luna depicting a beautiful white woman holding a rosary, and rumored having a curse. It was said, whoever owns it, (s)he will be cursed with bad luck. But before we go to the main event, let's first know who Juan Luna is.

Who is Juan Luna?

Juan Luna y Novicio (or simply Juan Luna) was born October 23rd of 1857. He was one of the first artists from the Philippines ever recognized internationally, winning a gold medal in the 1884 Madrid Exposition of Fine Arts. He is also one of the celebrated members of the Propaganda Movement of the illustrados (or more comparable to Erudites of Divergent, because they are the educated class of the Spanish-Filipino caste system) studying and working overseas together with Dr. Jose Rizal. Most of his paintings depict historical events with a symbolic and political meaning. One of them, and my favorite, is the Spoliarium. It pictures a slave dragging a dead body of a gladiator.

With his brother, Manuel Luna, they went to Europe to study. Unlike his brother who studied music, he took painting in Escuela de Bellas Artes de San Fernando. He befriended Don Alejo Vera, who was also a painter. Being not contented with the teachings of his school, he decided to go work with Don Vera. He was brought to Rome and was exposed with the Renaissance painters.

His artistic talent sprouted with the opening of the first art exposition in Madrid - Exposición Nacional de Bellas Arte. In 1881, he won silver medal for his painting La Muerta de Cleopatra (The Death of Cleopatra). Then on the next exhibition, he won three gold medals for his Spoliarium.

Married Life

I'm not being exaggerated with his life that I even included his marriage. I tell you, this is still part of the urban legend.

December 8, 1886, he married Maria de la Paz Pardo de Tavera. They got one son named Andres, and a daughter who died in infancy. Their marriage could have been fine if Juan Luna is not always attacked by his jealousy. He loved his wife so much that he liked to paint her.

Due to his envy, suspecting that she had an affair with someone else, he killed his wife and his mother-in-law. Both of them locked themselves in a room escaping the rage of Juan Luna, and Luna upon entering, he shot them both which caused their death. But that was one of the version of the said event. In other version of how he killed his wife and mother-in-law, Luna didn't enter the room. He just shot them from outside. Of course the bullet will penetrate on the door. Accidentally (or intentionally), the two women were shot dead. Yet, another story is that he personally shot them one by one. Well, it was not an urban legend, so I would rather let the historians explain to you what really happened. The Pardo de Taveras, Lunas and some historians got their own version.

He was acquitted of charges unwritten in the law (it was a crime of passion), and only paid a sum of money to his wife's family. After that, Juan Luna together with his other brother and son - Antonio Luna and Andres, they went to Madrid.

The Pardo de Tavera family erased all his depictions on their pictures.

The Painting

This picture (in the left) was said to be the rumored cursed painting of Juan Luna. Don't worry, bad luck will not leech you by just looking at it.

According to stories, the soul of Maria de la Paz Pardo de Tavera possessed the painting and whoever owns it, they will experience the hardest bad luck they can imagine.

The first owner of the painting was Manuel Garcia, a successful businessman before he owned the painting. Then, years after, his business was bankrupt. Then, Betty Bantug Benitez got the painting. She was one of the people behind the construction of the Manila Film Center. On her way in Tagaytay City, she met an accident which caused her death. Tony Nazareno was the next one who owned the image, and go sick.

It was also sold to Imee Marcos, and it was rumored that the painting cause her miscarriage. On the Oro-Plata Exhibition for the creations of Hidalgo and Luna, the painting was not named to Imee but to her mother - Mrs. Imelda Marcos. And you know what happened next - their family was overruled by the EDSA Revolution.

The painting was donated to the Museum after. Until now, it's there.


As an update, the painting is actually not Juan Luna's wide - Maria de la Paz Pardo de Tavera. The girl was, well, a Parisian prostitute (as others call her.) Most of Juan Luna's paintings with a girl, depicts her. Obviously, she was a favorite inspiration and model to him as she was always found on most of Luna's paintings. Being always the model, it is possible that she was often with the artist. I even think, she is one of the reason why the marriage of Maria and Juan slowly deteriorates. Even though the conflict before the killing happened after their youngest child's death, she was not an exemption on the causes. It was just my opinion.

The Me Novia, being not Maria dela Paz Pardo de Tavera, as my conclusion, is not cursed at all. Possibly, the incidents connected to it just a mere coincidence.

Last Update:
February 28, 2016

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Saturday, June 13, 2015

Why do lizards kiss the ground every evening?

When I was a kid, my grandparents always told me to go home before the lizards go down and kiss the ground. The words 'go down' seemed normal to me, but when they said 'kiss the ground' I wondered. Even my uncle told me the same. I asked them why, they didn't know the answer. But my grandmother remembered a phrase that other elders do say - Lizards are Godly. Well, their act of kissing the ground is like humility and remembers where they originated. Still, I have no idea and read no scientific explanation, however I read two Philippine legends (alamat ng butiki - the legend of lizard) explaining it.

Ang Alamat (The Legend)

The Legend of Lizard

Long ago, there was a mother who loved her only son deeply. She was a pious woman and her son imitated most of her good deeds, which were many. Her son was good at heart, but young. The woman knew that he still had much to learn before he could fully adopt saintly ways.

God decided to test this young son’s piety and love for his mother. He sent a beautiful woman to capture the young man’s eager heart. The beautiful woman urged the son to keep their meetings a secret from his mother, and though it pained the boy to do so, for he never kept secrets from his mother, he obeyed. But the real challenge had not yet been failed.

The beautiful woman beguiled the boy so that she was able to make him promise that he would do anything she asked. She therefore asked that he should – if he loved her as truly as he declared – cut out his mother’s heart and bring it to her. The young man, blinded by love, dutifully slaughtered his beloved mother. It was exactly six o’clock in the evening, and his mother was reciting the Angelus then. He held the still-beating heart in his hands as he rushed to where he knew the girl stood waiting. But when he got to their meeting-place, the girl was not there. Nothing was there – save for the realization of what he had done.

The heart still beat, though it tarried long in the hands of the prodigal son. And then it began to speak. In his shock, the boy dropped the heart, and it fell into a crack in the ground.

"Are you in pain, my child?" the mother’s heart inquired. "Let me sing you a lullaby, to soothe you to sleep." The heart softly started singing, as lovingly as its owner would have done. And in the son’s remorse he fell flat on his belly and kissed the ground that the heart lay on. The boy was so filled with guilt and grief that he did not notice himself changing, growing smaller, losing all his hair and clothing so that he was a tiny web-footed thing, that kissed and kissed at the ground as if begging for someone’s forgiveness.

At exactly six o’clock every night, when the Angelus strikes, the lizard comes down from the walls of the house, and crawls down to the floor, where it would make slight ticking sounds like quick kisses. It has been said that the lizard has not yet redeemed itself in its own eyes, and that with its tiny ears it could hear an ancient beating, and a lullaby that does not end.[1]

There was young boy who was naughty, he always play tricks and mischief to anyone and everything in the village. This character of him makes a lot of people angry and they don't like him, which is the reason why he always get spank and scolded by his mom and dad.

However, this kid hadn't changed his attitude and instead he got more hard headed and is being disrespectful of the elderly. No one doesn't want to be his friend because of this. And the animals has been his source of entertainment because nobody wants to play with him. And this created another problem, the tame animals become elusive once this mischievous boy got close or around these animals doing them harm.

Later on, he even got to the point of secretly destroying plants on the neighborhood.

One day, he did another mischief.

He got to the mound and ruined the mound while his mother was busy sweeping their yard. His mother saw this and she got very angry and scolded his son. Afterwards, she did all her best to ask for forgiveness to the mound's dweller (the goblin) that might be residing in there for what her son did.

"I ask for forgiveness ancestors," she pleaded to the mound. "My son wouldn't do it again and that he would be good, I promised."

The mother preached her son never to do it again to the mound because the goblin can get very angry.

In the country, it is a dreaded thing to do to stomp or step onto the mounds as they might be inhabited by this unseen beings.

But this kid didn't learned his lesson. After lashing the carabao the following day, he concentrated on going after a monitor lizard. The stubborn child followed the monitor lizard around but he missed it when the animal went through a protruding roots of a tree. He continuously search the area holding his slingshot.

How happy he was when he found the monitor lizard's eggs! He happily used his slingshot on each one of the eggs.

But he got startled when a goblin suddenly appeared in front of him.

"Hey there mischievous child! Didn't you know that there's life inside those eggs? Why did you cracked those eggs?" the goblin asked him. "I am going to punish you because of what you did. You are going to be a consanguine of the monitor lizard."

"Please don't do that. Have pity on me. I'm going to be a good kid now. I swear!" pleaded the naughty kid.

"You are such a liar! How many times have you promised that every time your dad spanks you? And just yesterday it was your mom who made a promised, but you hadn't changed. Now, as your punishment, you will kiss the ground just before dusk. But you will still live inside a home because you are a human the Creator had created. You will be called as the house lizard." the goblin said.

The horrified naughty child hurriedly rush to his home while screaming.

"Help me mom! Please help me! I don't want to be a house lizard. I don't want to be a house lizard," he cried.

The mother had a glanced of her son from the window and she saw how he fall on his face even before he could go up the bamboo stairs. She wondered on her son's transformation until he became so small and looks just like a monitor lizard.

House lizard was the last word she heard from his son and so that's what she called him. And even though the strange animal was gentle, it is elusive because of shame on what happened that had led him to become like this.

Up to this day, the house lizard still continuously kisses the ground at sundown.

Can he still go back to his human form and be with his parents? He might be feeling really sorry for all the mischief he had done.

But only time can tell.[2]


Actually, I haven't caught a lizard doing the act. So, I am not even sure if they really do it or just a legend.

In my opinion, the lizards go down the ground to feed and/or drink water because they usually stay on the ceiling. They lay their eggs on any small cracks on the wooden wall or boxes on the old cabinets or anywhere they like to lay, but not on the ground. Thus, it's not their breeding time. Some lizards also only appear every night (maybe they are nocturnal), and they start to stay near the ceiling lights where the moths often flock for some reason.

I don't really know the reason behind those acts of the lizards, but I love to think they remember simple things - like kissing the ground habitually.


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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Warlito Toledo (Alias: Waway)

I didn't know anything about our subject. So what I have here (the information I included here) are from the internet.

I was tired of searching urban legends of the north (I mean, of Luzon), so I searched an urban legend somewhere in the south or central Philippines. One that took my attention is this person's name they called Waway.

This man has an amulet (they say), just like that of Nardong Putik. But, unlike Putik's amulet which can make him invisible every time he steps on the mud, Waway's makes him invincible. This is not a consistent story though. Other versions of his story made his amulet had a power to change his hairstyle instantly. So, supposedly, you're running after a fugitive, and you saw him having a black hair, then suddenly you saw someone with white hair and you didn't think it was him. It's cool I know, to have a power like that. You don't need to go to a hair salon or barbershop to fix you hair.

Anyway, let's go to his legendary story.

The Story

This is how his story goes.

[Taken from the Internet:[1]]

Waway was just a simple farmer in a sugar cane plantation, working with his beloved wife. One night, while resting their exhausted body after a day of harvest, a group of armed men attacked their house mercilessly. His wife was brutally raped and killed in front of his eyes. Then, he was stabbed and shot several times. The armed men left their house not even suspecting that Waway was still alive after what they did.

This event in his life changed him. He became a serial killer and looking for justice.

[Taken from the Internet:[1][2][3]]

As a killer, he especially liked targeting pregnant women for some unknown reason. Whenever entering the household of his prey is impossible, it was said that he will spit on the slippers of the people who live there, of course if their footwears are outside. As soon as there is an opportunity to do so, he will come back and murder all who are present.

Because of this spitting thing, people were warned not to leave their slippers or all types of footwear outside, and kids went home early. After nine at night, all streets are empty.

It was also said that he raped and killed almost 40 people a day just to avenge his wife's death. One victim, who was living in Danao, was raped and killed then plucked her breast out.


Waway (or Warlito Toledo) was just an ordinary fugitive who was rumored to have superpowers and abuses and slays thereafter all his victims as a form of vengeance to his wife's death. Another version of the story even tells that he was the one who killed his wife and suddenly found himself enjoying the deed. But accordingly, his wife was not actually murdered, that the story was just an urban legend.

The Danao authorities are not even sure how he got the name Waway. Based on his records at the Danao court, he was charged with reckless imprudence resulting to homicide on November 8, 1989, and was arrested on December 1, 1999 for a rape case filed on September 10, 1996. These cases were later settled out of court.

In September 2002, he was implicated for another rape case against him. Thus, he fled and his whereabouts are never known. Five years later, he again dragged to another rape and murder case of a 17-year-old student in Danao.

Because of these cases wherein he was involved made him famous as a fugitive, and it resulted to rumors just like the above stories. There were even some stories spreading that he attempted to rape another woman, but the police station didn't receive any new complaints against him.

The Danao police decided to distribute photos of him and because rumors continued to proliferate.

One good thing that came out of the “Waway tales” is that the police are finding it easy to implement the ordinance that bans minors from staying out from midnight to 4 a.m.

Danao City Mayor Ramonito Durano III has put up a reward for those who can give valuable information that would lead to Waway's arrest.


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Monday, April 20, 2015

San Juan de Dios Church

. . . . Nakita niya ang isang silid na mayroong dalawang nakasinding kandila. Isang pari na may hawak na tambo sa kamay ang matamang nakikinig sa isang sakristan na nagsasalita sa ibang lenggwahe. Naroon si Crispin at takot na takot na inililibot ang mga mata na puno ng luha kahit saang dako, na tila humihingi ng tulong o naghahanap ng isang lugar na maaaring pagtaguan. Humarap ang pari kay Crispin at tinanong ang bata. Tumakbo ang bata sa likod ng sakristan, ngunit iniharap naman siya nito sa pari. Hinawakan siya ng pari sa likod at galit na galit na pinalo. Ngunit nanlaban ang bata, sumipa, sumigaw hanggang sa bumagsak sa sahig. Muli itong bumangon, ngunit muli ring bumagsak at humampas ang ulo sa sahig. Desperadong bumangon ang bata kaya't galit na galit na kinagat ang kamay ng pari. Kinuha ng sakristan mayor ang isang kahoy at pinukol ito sa ulo ng bata na biglang bumagsak. Nang makita ng paring may sugat ang kanyang kamay ay sinipa niya ang bata na nasa sahig na at hindi gumagalaw o sumisigaw man lang; nagpagulung-gulong ito sa sahig na tila wala nang buhay.[1]
. . . . He saw a bedroom where two dim tapers burned. The curate, with a rattan whip in his hand, was listening gloomily to something that the senior sacristan was telling him in a strange tongue with horrible gestures. Crispin quailed and turned his tearful eyes in every direction as if seeking some one or some hiding-place. The curate turned toward him and called to him irritably, the rattan whistled. The child ran to hide himself behind the sacristan, who caught and held him, thus exposing him to the curate’s fury. [Then he hold Crispin at the back and furiously beat the child.] The unfortunate boy fought, kicked, screamed, threw himself on the floor and rolled about. He picked himself up, ran, slipped, fell, and parried the blows with his hands, which, wounded, he hid quickly, all the time shrieking with pain. Basilio saw him twist himself, strike the floor with his head, he saw and heard the rattan whistle. In desperation his brother rose. Mad with pain he threw himself upon his tormentor and bit him on the hand. The curate gave a cry and dropped the rattan — the sacristan caught up a heavy cane and struck the boy a blow on the head so that he fell stunned — the curate, seeing him down, trampled him with his feet. But the child no longer defended himself nor did he cry out; he rolled along the floor, a lifeless mass that left a damp track.[2]

Do some of you still remember this small portion of a novel? Well, maybe the high school students do. The above passage came from Jose Rizal's Noli me Tangere. It was actually used by Rizal as a dream of Basilio (Crispin's brother) of what was happening to his brother back in the church. Of course, some of us will think the story just came from the creative brain of this little man. Thus, concluding it was just an imagination. But townsfolk in San Rafael, Bulacan believed that this story was an actual and real happening. That Sisa and Basilio were real individuals that lived in the place back in old days. They also believed that Bayan ng San Diego (Town of San Diego, to where Sisa, Basilio, and Crispin live) was in fact San Rafael.

San Juan de Dios Church: Crispin

San Rafael is one of the municipalities in the province of Bulacan. The place is a witness of many bloody wars and violence against its inhabitants. San Juan de Dios Church, particularly, was the place in which these events concentrated. This church was constructed in 1863 (though such year is not sure), and was administered by Augustinian friars. Fray Antonio Piernavieja, OSA was the first friar of the said church.

To those who don't know who are Sisa, Basilio, and Crispin, they are three of the most famous characters of Jose Rizal's book Noli me Tangere. The two children (Basilio and Crispin) were employed in the church of San Diego (according to JR's book) as bell-ringers. They are helping their mother Sisa for everyday expenses. Their father (which I can't recall if he was named by JR or not) was always on cockfighting (sabong in Tagalog), and oftenly beating Sisa. This story of a typical poor family makes it very terrible to imagine that it really is happening till now.

According to a local lore, the above story of Crispin actually happened in San Juan de Dios Church. The real boy was accused of stealing money (2 gold pieces, some say) by the Senior Sacristan from the donations. In Noli me Tangere, it was not really said if Crispin actually died. When the Senior Sacristan discovered a deviation on the donated money, he accused Crispin and never let him go home while his brother Basilio can only go home till 10pm (however, that time there is a 9pm curfew). When Sisa went to the church to fetch Crispin, she asked the priest his whereabouts but the clergyman answered that the child ran away the night before. However, there are stories that the Senior Sacristan threw Crispin's body into a well in the convent, and never to be seen by his mother. Sisa lost her mind because of the incident.

There was a bloodstain on a wall in San Juan de Dios Church still believed by the townspeople to be Crispin's handprint. It still exist until now. According to modern stories, Crispin's ghost still visits or still replays what happened to him when he was alive. People can hear an agony of the dead boy and laughing sounds of playing children in the church.

It was believed that Fray Antonio Piernavieja was the priest in the story. From Bulacan, he was transferred to Cavite in 1896 because of the brutality he made similar to Crispin's story. There, he was taken prisoner by the insurgents and made him their bishop. However, he took advantage of his position in collecting and forwarding information about the plans and preparations of the insurgents to the Spanish authorities in Manila. Discovering this, they tied Fray Antonio Piernavieja in the open field and leave him killed by hunger and thirst.

He was also Jose Rizal's inspiration for the character of Padre Salvi.

San Juan de Dios Church: Battle of San Rafael

The famous Battle of San Rafael was the celebrated revolution that happened there. It was also the bloodiest fight claiming hundreds of lives not only of Filipinos but also few of Spanish soldiers who fought in the war.

General Anacleto Enriquez was the Katipunero in-charge of the Filipino troops who fought in the said war. On November 30, 1896, from Hacienda Buenavista (now San Ildefonso), Enriquez and his troops moved to San Rafael after finding out that the place to where General Torres ordered to moved was hard to defend.

By seven in the morning, Anacleto’s forces were under the strongest artillery and infantry attack unleashed by the Spanish forces since the start of the revolutionary war. Either because all means of escape had been cut off or because they simply preferred death instead of surrender, Anacleto, and his men proceeded to the San Rafael Church (San Juan de Dios Church) for their last stand. At noontime, one of the largest military contingents ever mobilized by the Spanish authorities during the Philippine Revolution assaulted the church.[3] The soldiers engaged in combat hand-to-hand. When the war was over, the church was said to be full of blood - in the altar, sacristia, and choir area. Bodies of the dead and internal organs scattered throughout the place. It was a gruesome scene if you imagine how other people describe it.

Now, the church is still standing and, according to the locals, also haunted by its past.

[1] Noli Me Tangere. Mayla B. Atienza Ed. St. Augustine Publications, Inc. 2006. ISBN 971-683-514-0. 1624-1626. Espana cor. Don Quijote St., Sampaloc, Manila.

Image Source:
Photographer : Ash Castro
Gantimpala Theatre Foundation, Manila Philippines

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