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.

Image Source:

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.


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

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Paul Walker

I can't help it! The feeling of sadness after watching the latest Fast and Furious 7 (2015). My friends even cried after we watched it in the theater. They obviously were in love with Paul Walker.

Paul Walker died after a car accident. It was a surprising death of an actor who you always see riding a cool car in a movie. No one even thought that the one which brought him to stardom will be the cause of his death.

It was November 30, 2013 when the accident happened. His friend, Roger Rodas, had been driving the car at a speed of 160 kilometers per hour or 100 miles per hour before it hit a concrete pole and several other trees. Then, it bursts into flames after, although it was believed that Paul Walker died through those impacts they'd been.

Paul Walker (Paul William Walker IV, his real name) was born on September 12, 1973 in Glendale, California, U.S.A., and died at the age of 40.

Before he died, he co-hosted a charity event for the Typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda) victims in the Philippines in Santa Clarita, California through his non-profit organization, Reach Out Worldwide (ROWW).

Anyway, I always heard this conspiracy theory on what really is the reason of his death, and that's what we're going to talk about today.

The Origin

According to, below is the post that originated rumors about Paul Walker's death:

[Taken from the Internet:[1]]

"Paul Walker and his friend were killed shortly after they discovered a conspiracy to supply victims of Typhoon Haiyan with a prototype permanent birth control drug hidden in medicinal supplies and food aid. They had a damning recording and they were on their way to rendezvous with an ally who would have helped them get in touch with the right people. Turns out they were betrayed and someone rigged their car's breaks to malfunction after a certain speed. Now that the loose end has been tied up, and the recording destroyed, the people responsible have nothing to fear as this will become another "conspiracy theory" no one will take seriously."

I don't know if the creator of this is trying to connect it with the Reproductive Health Bill in the Philippines, which is as of now been discussed. Philippines continuously grows in terms of population, and such act of including a pill for birth control in relief medicines is one way of reducing the population, but one thing is alarming here, it says that it was a permanent birth control.

Well, obviously the person really dislikes the idea of birth control and RH Bill.

Another one, with a different story, came, which was posted on the same forum as the one above:

[Taken from the Internet:]

"Apparently, Paul Walker had discovered dirty money in the Philippines disaster relief and that would make sense because he owned a company that specialized in rapid disaster relief."

It was suggested that the money in the relief funds was being pilfered by the corrupt officials of the Philippines. These are not an unavoidable case of doubt for Filipinos, especially the Pork Barrel Scam was still fresh that time.


These rumors only mean two things: First, they can't believe that Paul Walker died just like that. And second, they don't want to believe that it's really just an accident. On the other hand, people are trying to make stories behind what's happening in the Philippines. I strongly believe a Filipino created such stories if not then I'm wrong.

2013 had been very harsh to my country. Small typhoons unexpectedly flooded places which usually don't flood at all. Earthquakes struck Visayan provinces and cities, then the gigantic and ferocious Typhoon we named Yolanda destroyed and wiped out a great city into a desert of debris. Then 22 days later, an actor who helped Filipino victims suddenly died.

Every time I see videos of the Typhoon Yolanda victims, I can't help regretting I was celebrating my birthday the same time it was destroying and killing hundreds or thousands of my countrymen.


Friday, February 20, 2015

The First European

When I was still an elementary pupil, our teacher in history taught us that the first Europeans who made it in the Philippines were Ferdinand Magellan and his troops, that they arrived in 1521 and died because of Lapu-lapu. But actually, they were not the only Europeans who had set foot in the Philippines, and even not the first Westeners who came here.

It is not known who really was the first European, but there are records written by those who came here evidencing their presence. Some of them just arrived here by accident, maybe driven by weather as it was a custom to sailors to find the nearest island so they can take refuge on it. And some are traders from our neighboring countries.

The First Europeans before Ferdinand Magellan

Tomé Pires

Tomé Pires was a Portuguese pharmacist who went to Malacca from Lisbon, and spent almost four years of his life in the Orient. He wrote a book entitled Suma Oriental Que trata do Mar Roxo ate aos Chins (Summa of the East, from the Red Sea up to the Chinese). At that same book, our country was mentioned. Of course, Philippines was not yet named as Philippines that time, so they named our ancestors Luções, as it was also the name they call themselves that time.

In his book, he described our people as heathens, and that they (the pre-Hispanic Filipinos) are traders of gold and foodstuffs. Though he also mentioned that our golds are of very low quality.

Pero Fidalgo

He was mentioned in a Contesão commentary. According to it, in June 1545 a Portuguese named Pero Fidalgo left Borneo and was driven by winds towards the north where he found an island of which they called dos Luções because thats what the inhabitants called themselves.

Others with unknown identity

In addition to that, the Contesão commentary also said that it is possible that many Portuguese had already gone in the Philippines maybe by accident or by purpose, because when Magellan arrived in Malhou (an island south-eastern of the Philippines) the natives said, they've already seen people like them (Magellan and his comrades).


Hippalus was a sailor who made it in southeastern Far East and called it Maniolas which is probably Manila, then told Claudius Ptolemy about this Beautiful Islands south of China. Even Jose Rizal believed that on Ptolemy's map, Philippines was depicted. But this fact was dismissed by Trinidad Pardo de Tavera.

Shanti Deva

Reincarnation. Past Life. That's one mystery that people still believe there is. For what I know, Hindu believes in this kind of life cycle. When you are a wicked person now, in your next life, possibly you are an insect or some kind of unlikable animal, but if you lived in a good and promising life then in your next life you're still a human.

I wonder what I am in my past life.

Anyway, I just stumbled upon a bizarre article which amazes and wonders me. It even made me think, is there really a past life? As a Christian, I do believe that the Spirit of a deceased person goes directly to heaven or hell and never comes back to Earth, well, except if God wants that ghost to stay or go back from heaven.

The Story

Reincarnation and the case of Shanti Deva

For many, the coherent and cohesive descriptions of different environments recounted by very small children are altogether more persuasive. One benchmark case is that of Shanti Deva. In 1930, aged 4, Shanti told her parents that she had once lived in a place called Muttra, that she had been a mother of three who died in childbirth and that her previous name had been Ludgi.

Only when they were continually pressed by the youngster did the bewildered family from Delhi investigate. They discovered there was indeed a village called Muttra and that a woman named Ludgi had recently died there. When Shanti was taken to the village, she lapsed into local dialect and recognized her previous-life husband and children. She even gave twenty-four accurate statements that matched confirmed facts, an impressive feat for such a young child, and one that it would be impossible to hoax.

Since 1967, psychiatrist Dr Ian Stevenson has pioneered the scientific study of spontaneous past life recollections among infants. Usually a youngster is aged between two and five years old when they describe what went on in a previous existence. In most cases, although not all, recall has faded by the age of seven.

Having interviewed thousands of children from all over the world, Dr Stevenson has discovered some interesting facets to the phenomenon. In some cases, the mother had experienced a prophetic dream, announcing or implying the past life identity of the child in her womb. Meanwhile, a number of children claiming a previous existence bore birthmarks that corresponded to wounds inflicted on them when they lived before. For example, a boy in India who was born without fingers on one hand remembered that in a prior existence he had put his hand into the blades of a fodder-chopping machine, amputating the digits. Dr Stevenson aimed to corroborate the verbal evidence of a child with relevant death certificates and interviews with witnesses to both existences.

Critics think the prophetic dreams are no more than wishful thinking. They credit Dr Stevenson with collecting anecdotal rather than scientific evidence.

Yet some of his cases are compelling and strangely thought-provoking. On one occasion, Dr Stevenson made an unannounced visit to a Druze village in Lebanon to see if any children there were subject to past life statements. He was immediately dispatched to the home of 5-year-old Imad Elawar, who had for several years been talking about another life in a different village some 40km distant. Young Imad had even stopped a former neighbour in the street to share recollections about the life he once lived. His first words as a child were Jamileh and Mahmoud, the names of his mistress and uncle in his previous life. Stevenson noted more than fifty-seven separate claims by the child about his past life, the majority of which could be supported with evidence from elsewhere.

While the study of reincarnation has leapt ahead recently, it is a subject that is by no means the preserve of the modern age. In 1824, a Japanese boy called Kastugoro recounted details of a village where he had once lived and the family that was once his own. Despite his tender age, the minutiae he recalled were sufficient to persuade investigators of the day that past lives were a reality.

Throughout the ages, belief in reincarnation has been powerful and widespread. Perhaps we are closer to history than we imagine…

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Wednesday, February 11, 2015

May Day Eve

Pumasok na naman ang buwan ng Mayo.
(May has arrived again.)

I can still remember the way how my Grandmother mutters those words everytime May 1 has arrived again. She's the one who told me everything about Agua de Mayo (literally, The water of May; The first rain of May). She said, the first rain water that pours on earth in May is considered a holy water. If you take a bath on the first rain, your illnesses, especially your skin diseases, will be washed away. Not exactly an instant healing just like a magic, but it cures slowly through time.

On the otherhand, the month of May is also the month of town fiestas, when every house prepares delicious and tempting foods for their neighboring town's people and relatives. That's the time when families are buried with debt. Flores de Mayo (Spanish word for Flowers of May), when beautiful young maidens and handsome youths of the town were chosen to take part on the famous parade, is also celebrated in the same month.

Overall, May is one of the busiest month in the whole year for Filipinos.

But not only good things prevail on this month. Many people believe that May is also one of the mysterious month of the year. I think, second to the month when the Holy Week is celebrated. Witches fly everywhere, collect herbs, create many powerful talismans, gathers inside a cave, and do their rituals (though it usually happens every Holy Week).

Aside of that, one story tells us some kind of a magical ritual that anyone can perform on the same month. And that's what the May Day Eve short story of Nick Joaquin tells about. But before we proceed with the story, let's first have a brief history.

May Day Eve

May Day Eve was used by Nick Joaquin, a classic Philippine Literature writer, as title to his short story of a lady, named Agueda, who wanted to know her future husband, performed the May day eve ritual, with Old Anastacia's direction of how to do it.

Old Anastacia warned her of the results she might face in doing such a deed. Thus, instead of seeing her future spouse, she saw the devil's face on the mirror.

Anyway, May day eve is actually an evening in the month of May (whatever day you choose). It's when people can perform paranormal or supernatural activities like playing with the ouija board, divinition, and many more, which will give you a better result.

One famous ritual still performed today was the same ritual used in the Bloody Mary urban legend from the Western countries.

"You must take a candle," she instructed, "and go into a room that is dark and that has a mirror in it and you must be alone in the room. Go up to the mirror and close your eyes and shy:

Mirror, mirror,
show to me
him whose woman
I will be.

If all goes right, just above your left shoulder will appear the face of the man you will marry."

A silence. Then: "And hat if all does not go right?" asked Agueda.

"Ah, then the Lord have mercy on you!" "Why." "Because you may see--the Devil!"
That's the direction given by Old Anastascia to young Agueda.

Nick Joaquin's story gave a large influence on many Filipinos. In those time, people are scared going on a dark room alone with a mirror hanged on its wall or standing by its feet, because they said, they might see the devil just like what happened to young Agueda.

[Here's the whole story:]

May Day Eve
By: Nick Joaquin

The old people had ordered that the dancing should stop at ten o’clock but it was almost midnight before the carriages came filing up the departing guests, while the girls who were staying were promptly herded upstairs to the bedrooms, the young men gathering around to wish them a good night and lamenting their ascent with mock signs and moaning, proclaiming themselves disconsolate but straightway going off to finish the punch and the brandy though they were quite drunk already and simply bursting with wild spirits, merriment, arrogance and audacity, for they were young bucks newly arrived from Europe; the ball had been in their honor; and they had waltzed and polka-ed and bragged and swaggered and flirted all night and where in no mood to sleep yet--no, caramba, not on this moist tropic eve! not on this mystic May eve! --with the night still young and so seductive that it was madness not to go out, not to go forth---and serenade the neighbors! cried one; and swim in the Pasid! cried another; and gather fireflies! cried a third—whereupon there arose a great clamor for coats and capes, for hats and canes, and they were a couple of street-lamps flickered and a last carriage rattled away upon the cobbles while the blind black houses muttered hush-hush, their tile roofs looming like sinister chessboards against a wile sky murky with clouds, save where an evil young moon prowled about in a corner or where a murderous wind whirled, whistling and whining, smelling now of the sea and now of the summer orchards and wafting unbearable childhood fragrances or ripe guavas to the young men trooping so uproariously down the street that the girls who were desiring upstairs in the bedrooms catered screaming to the windows, crowded giggling at the windows, but were soon sighing amorously over those young men bawling below; over those wicked young men and their handsome apparel, their proud flashing eyes, and their elegant mustaches so black and vivid in the moonlight that the girls were quite ravished with love, and began crying to one another how carefree were men but how awful to be a girl and what a horrid, horrid world it was, till old Anastasia plucked them off by the ear or the pigtail and chases them off to bed---while from up the street came the clackety-clack of the watchman’s boots on the cobble and the clang-clang of his lantern against his knee, and the mighty roll of his great voice booming through the night, "Guardia serno-o-o! A las doce han dado-o-o.

And it was May again, said the old Anastasia. It was the first day of May and witches were abroad in the night, she said--for it was a night of divination, and night of lovers, and those who cared might peer into a mirror and would there behold the face of whoever it was they were fated to marry, said the old Anastasia as she hobble about picking up the piled crinolines and folding up shawls and raking slippers in corner while the girls climbing into four great poster-beds that overwhelmed the room began shrieking with terror, scrambling over each other and imploring the old woman not to frighten them.

"Enough, enough, Anastasia! We want to sleep!"

"Go scare the boys instead, you old witch!"

"She is not a witch, she is a maga. She is a maga. She was born of Christmas Eve!"

"St. Anastasia, virgin and martyr."

"Huh? Impossible! She has conquered seven husbands! Are you a virgin, Anastasia?"

"No, but I am seven times a martyr because of you girls!"

"Let her prophesy, let her prophesy! Whom will I marry, old gypsy? Come, tell me."

"You may learn in a mirror if you are not afraid."

"I am not afraid, I will go," cried the young cousin Agueda, jumping up in bed.

"Girls, girls---we are making too much noise! My mother will hear and will come and pinch us all. Agueda, lie down! And you Anastasia, I command you to shut your mouth and go away!""Your mother told me to stay here all night, my grand lady!"

"And I will not lie down!" cried the rebellious Agueda, leaping to the floor. "Stay, old woman. Tell me what I have to do."

"Tell her! Tell her!" chimed the other girls.

The old woman dropped the clothes she had gathered and approached and fixed her eyes on the girl. "You must take a candle," she instructed, "and go into a room that is dark and that has a mirror in it and you must be alone in the room. Go up to the mirror and close your eyes and shy:

Mirror, mirror,
show to me
him whose woman
I will be.

If all goes right, just above your left shoulder will appear the face of the man you will marry."

A silence. Then: "And hat if all does not go right?" asked Agueda.

"Ah, then the Lord have mercy on you!" "Why." "Because you may see--the Devil!"

The girls screamed and clutched one another, shivering.

"But what nonsense!" cried Agueda. "This is the year 1847. There are no devil anymore!" Nevertheless she had turned pale. "But where could I go, hugh? Yes, I know! Down to the sala. It has that big mirror and no one is there now."

"No, Agueda, no! It is a mortal sin! You will see the devil!"

"I do not care! I am not afraid! I will go!"

"Oh, you wicked girl! Oh, you mad girl!" "If you do not come to bed, Agueda, I will call my mother."

"And if you do I will tell her who came to visit you at the convent last March. Come, old woman---give me that candle. I go."

"Oh girls---give me that candle, I go."

But Agueda had already slipped outside; was already tiptoeing across the hall; her feet bare and her dark hair falling down her shoulders and streaming in the wind as she fled down the stairs, the lighted candle sputtering in one hand while with the other she pulled up her white gown from her ankles.

She paused breathless in the doorway to the sala and her heart failed her. She tried to imagine the room filled again with lights, laughter, whirling couples, and the jolly jerky music of the fiddlers. But, oh, it was a dark den, a weird cavern for the windows had been closed and the furniture stacked up against the walls. She crossed herself and stepped inside.

The mirror hung on the wall before her; a big antique mirror with a gold frame carved into leaves and flowers and mysterious curlicues. She saw herself approaching fearfully in it: a small while ghost that the darkness bodied forth---but not willingly, not completely, for her eyes and hair were so dark that the face approaching in the mirror seemed only a mask that floated forward; a bright mask with two holes gaping in it, blown forward by the white cloud of her gown. But when she stood before the mirror she lifted the candle level with her chin and the dead mask bloomed into her living face.

She closed her eyes and whispered the incantation. When she had finished such a terror took hold of her that she felt unable to move, unable to open her eyes and thought she would stand there forever, enchanted. But she heard a step behind her, and a smothered giggle, and instantly opened her eyes.

"And what did you see, Mama? Oh, what was it?" But Dona Agueda had forgotten the little girl on her lap: she was staring pass the curly head nestling at her breast and seeing herself in the big mirror hanging in the room. It was the same room and the same mirror out the face she now saw in it was an old face---a hard, bitter, vengeful face, framed in graying hair, and so sadly altered, so sadly different from that other face like a white mask, that fresh young face like a pure mask than she had brought before this mirror one wild May Day midnight years and years ago.... "But what was it Mama? Oh please go on! What did you see?" Dona Agueda looked down at her daughter but her face did not soften though her eyes filled with tears.

"I saw the devil." she said bitterly. The child blanched.

"The devil, Mama? Oh... Oh..."

"Yes, my love. I opened my eyes and there in the mirror, smiling at me over my left shoulder, was the face of the devil."

"Oh, my poor little Mama! And were you very frightened?"

"You can imagine. And that is why good little girls do not look into mirrors except when their mothers tell them. You must stop this naughty habit, darling, of admiring yourself in every mirror you pass- or you may see something frightful some day."

"But the devil, Mama---what did he look like?"

"Well, let me see... he has curly hair and a scar on his cheek---"

"Like the scar of Papa?"

"Well, yes. But this of the devil was a scar of sin, while that of your Papa is a scar of honor. Or so he says."

"Go on about the devil." "Well, he had mustaches."

"Like those of Papa?"

"Oh, no. Those of your Papa are dirty and graying and smell horribly of tobacco, while these of the devil were very black and elegant--oh, how elegant!"

"And did he speak to you, Mama?"

"Yes… Yes, he spoke to me," said Dona Agueda. And bowing her graying head; she wept.

"Charms like yours have no need for a candle, fair one," he had said, smiling at her in the mirror and stepping back to give her a low mocking bow. She had whirled around and glared at him and he had burst into laughter.

"But I remember you!" he cried.

"You are Agueda, whom I left a mere infant and came home to find a tremendous beauty, and I danced a waltz with you but you would not give me the polka." "Let me pass," she muttered fiercely, for he was barring the way.

"But I want to dance the polka with you, fair one," he said.

So they stood before the mirror; their panting breath the only sound in the dark room; the candle shining between them and flinging their shadows to the wall. And young Badoy Montiya (who had crept home very drunk to pass out quietly in bed) suddenly found himself cold sober and very much awake and ready for anything. His eyes sparkled and the scar on his face gleamed scarlet.

"Let me pass!" she cried again, in a voice of fury, but he grasped her by the wrist.

"No," he smiled.

"Not until we have danced."

"Go to the devil!"

"What a temper has my serrana!"

"I am not your serrana!"

"Whose, then? Someone I know? Someone I have offended grievously? Because you treat me, you treat all my friends like your mortal enemies."

"And why not?" she demanded, jerking her wrist away and flashing her teeth in his face. "Oh, how I detest you, you pompous young men! You go to Europe and you come back elegant lords and we poor girls are too tame to please you. We have no grace like the Parisiennes, we have no fire like the Sevillians, and we have no salt, no salt, no salt! Aie, how you weary me, how you bore me, you fastidious men!"

"Come, come---how do you know about us?"

"I have heard you talking, I have heard you talking among yourselves, and I despise the pack of you!"

"But clearly you do not despise yourself, senorita. You come to admire your charms in the mirror even in the middle of the night!"

She turned livid and he had a moment of malicious satisfaction.

"I was not admiring myself, sir!"

"You were admiring the moon perhaps?"

"Oh!" she gasped, and burst into tears. The candle dropped from her hand and she covered her face and sobbed piteously. The candle had gone out and they stood in darkness, and young Badoy was conscience-stricken.

"Oh, do not cry, little one! Oh, please forgive me! Please do not cry! But what a brute I am! I was drunk, little one, I was drunk and knew not what I said."

He groped and found her hand and touched it to his lips. She shuddered in her white gown.

"Let me go," she moaned, and tugged feebly.

"No. Say you forgive me first. Say you forgive me, Agueda."

But instead she pulled his hand to her mouth and bit it - bit so sharply in the knuckles that he cried with pain and lashed cut with his other hand--lashed out and hit the air, for she was gone, she had fled, and he heard the rustling of her skirts up the stairs as he furiously sucked his bleeding fingers.

Cruel thoughts raced through his head: he would go and tell his mother and make her turn the savage girl out of the house--or he would go himself to the girl’s room and drag her out of bed and slap, slap, slap her silly face! But at the same time he was thinking that they were all going to Antipolo in the morning and was already planning how he would maneuver himself into the same boat with her.

Oh, he would have his revenge, he would make her pay, that little harlot! She should suffer for this, he thought greedily, licking his bleeding knuckles. But---Judas! He remembered her bare shoulders: gold in her candlelight and delicately furred. He saw the mobile insolence of her neck, and her taut breasts steady in the fluid gown. Son of a Turk, but she was quite enchanting! How could she think she had no fire or grace? And no salt? An arroba she had of it!

"... No lack of salt in the chrism
At the moment of thy baptism!"

He sang aloud in the dark room and suddenly realized that he had fallen madly in love with her. He ached intensely to see her again---at once! ---to touch her hands and her hair; to hear her harsh voice. He ran to the window and flung open the casements and the beauty of the night struck him back like a blow. It was May, it was summer, and he was young---young! ---and deliriously in love. Such a happiness welled up within him that the tears spurted from his eyes.

But he did not forgive her--no! He would still make her pay, he would still have his revenge, he thought viciously, and kissed his wounded fingers. But what a night it had been! "I will never forge this night! he thought aloud in an awed voice, standing by the window in the dark room, the tears in his eyes and the wind in his hair and his bleeding knuckles pressed to his mouth.

But, alas, the heart forgets; the heart is distracted; and May time passes; summer lends; the storms break over the rot-tipe orchards and the heart grows old; while the hours, the days, the months, and the years pile up and pile up, till the mind becomes too crowded, too confused: dust gathers in it; cobwebs multiply; the walls darken and fall into ruin and decay; the memory perished...and there came a time when Don Badoy Montiya walked home through a May Day midnight without remembering, without even caring to remember; being merely concerned in feeling his way across the street with his cane; his eyes having grown quite dim and his legs uncertain--for he was old; he was over sixty; he was a very stopped and shivered old man with white hair and mustaches coming home from a secret meeting of conspirators; his mind still resounding with the speeches and his patriot heart still exultant as he picked his way up the steps to the front door and inside into the slumbering darkness of the house; wholly unconscious of the May night, till on his way down the hall, chancing to glance into the sala, he shuddered, he stopped, his blood ran cold-- for he had seen a face in the mirror there---a ghostly candlelight face with the eyes closed and the lips moving, a face that he suddenly felt he had been there before though it was a full minutes before the lost memory came flowing, came tiding back, so overflooding the actual moment and so swiftly washing away the piled hours and days and months and years that he was left suddenly young again; he was a gay young buck again, lately came from Europe; he had been dancing all night; he was very drunk; he s stepped in the doorway; he saw a face in the dark; he called out...and the lad standing before the mirror (for it was a lad in a night go jumped with fright and almost dropped his candle, but looking around and seeing the old man, laughed out with relief and came running.

"Oh Grandpa, how you frightened me. Don Badoy had turned very pale. "So it was you, you young bandit! And what is all this, hey? What are you doing down here at this hour?" "Nothing, Grandpa. I was only... I am only ..." "Yes, you are the great Señor only and how delighted I am to make your acquaintance, Señor Only! But if I break this cane on your head you maga wish you were someone else, Sir!" "It was just foolishness, Grandpa. They told me I would see my wife."

"Wife? What wife?" "Mine. The boys at school said I would see her if I looked in a mirror tonight and said:

Mirror, mirror
show to me
her whose lover
I will be.

Don Badoy cackled ruefully. He took the boy by the hair, pulled him along into the room, sat down on a chair, and drew the boy between his knees. "Now, put your cane down the floor, son, and let us talk this over. So you want your wife already, hey? You want to see her in advance, hey? But so you know that these are wicked games and that wicked boys who play them are in danger of seeing horrors?"

"Well, the boys did warn me I might see a witch instead."

"Exactly! A witch so horrible you may die of fright. And she will be witch you, she will torture you, she will eat

your heart and drink your blood!"

"Oh, come now Grandpa. This is 1890. There are no witches anymore."

"Oh-ho, my young Voltaire! And what if I tell you that I myself have seen a witch.

"You? Where?

"Right in this room land right in that mirror," said the old man, and his playful voice had turned savage.

"When, Grandpa?"

"Not so long ago. When I was a bit older than you. Oh, I was a vain fellow and though I was feeling very sick that night and merely wanted to lie down somewhere and die I could not pass that doorway of course without stopping to see in the mirror what I looked like when dying. But when I poked my head in what should I see in the mirror but...but..."

"The witch?"


"And then she bewitch you, Grandpa!"

"She bewitched me and she tortured me. l She ate my heart and drank my blood." said the old man bitterly.

"Oh, my poor little Grandpa! Why have you never told me! And she very horrible?

"Horrible? God, no--- she was the most beautiful creature I have ever seen! Her eyes were somewhat like yours but her hair was like black waters and her golden shoulders were bare. My God, she was enchanting! But I should have known---I should have known even then---the dark and fatal creature she was!"

A silence. Then: "What a horrid mirror this is, Grandpa," whispered the boy.

"What makes you slay that, hey?"

"Well, you saw this witch in it. And Mama once told me that Grandma once told her that Grandma once saw the devil in this mirror. Was it of the scare that Grandma died?"

Don Badoy started. For a moment he had forgotten that she was dead, that she had perished---the poor Agueda; that they were at peace at last, the two of them, her tired body at rest; her broken body set free at last from the brutal pranks of the earth---from the trap of a May night; from the snare of summer; from the terrible silver nets of the moon. She had been a mere heap of white hair and bones in the end: a whimpering withered consumptive, lashing out with her cruel tongue; her eye like live coals; her face like ashes... Now, nothing--- nothing save a name on a stone; save a stone in a graveyard---nothing! was left of the young girl who had flamed so vividly in a mirror one wild May Day midnight, long, long ago.

And remembering how she had sobbed so piteously; remembering how she had bitten his hand and fled and how he had sung aloud in the dark room and surprised his heart in the instant of falling in love: such a grief tore up his throat and eyes that he felt ashamed before the boy; pushed the boy away; stood up and looked out----looked out upon the medieval shadows of the foul street where a couple of street-lamps flickered and a last carriage was rattling away upon the cobbles, while the blind black houses muttered hush-hush, their tiled roofs looming like sinister chessboards against a wild sky murky with clouds, save where an evil old moon prowled about in a corner or where a murderous wind whirled, whistling and whining, smelling now of the sea and now of the summer orchards and wafting unbearable the window; the bowed old man sobbing so bitterly at the window; the tears streaming down his cheeks and the wind in his hair and one hand pressed to his mouth---while from up the street came the clackety-clack of the watchman’s boots on the cobbles, and the clang-clang of his lantern against his knee, and the mighty roll of his voice booming through the night:

"Guardia sereno-o-o! A las doce han dado-o-o!"

Philippine Short Stories, 1941 - 1955: 1941-1949, Part 1. Leopoldo Yabes Ed. UP Press, 2010. ISBN 9715420842, 9789715420846

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