Chapter 6: - Page 8 of 9

Capitan Tiago

(English version of “Noli Me Tangere”)

The lack of an heir in the first six years of their wedded life made of that eagerness to accumulate riches almost a censurable ambition.  Doña Pia was comely, strong, and healthy, yet it was in vain that she offered novenas and at the advice of the devout women of San Diego made a pilgrimage to the Virgin of Kaysaysay[9] in Taal, distributed alms to the poor, and danced at midday in May in the procession of the Virgin of Turumba[10] in Pakil.  But it was all with no result until Fray Damaso advised her to go to Obando to dance in the fiesta of St. Pascual Bailon and ask him for a son.  Now it is well known that there is in Obando a trinity which grants sons or daughters according to request—Our Lady of Salambaw, St. Clara, and St. Pascual.  Thanks to this wise advice, Doña Pia soon recognized the signs of approaching motherhood.  But alas! like the fisherman of whom Shakespeare tells in Macbeth, who ceased to sing when he had found a treasure, she at once lost all her mirthfulness, fell into melancholy, and was never seen to smile again. Capriciousness, natural in her condition, commented all, even Capitan Tiago.  A puerperal fever put an end to her hidden grief, and she died, leaving behind a beautiful girl baby for whom Fray Damaso himself stood sponsor.  As St. Pascual had not granted the son that was asked, they gave the child the name of Maria Clara, in honor of the Virgin of Salambaw and St. Clara, punishing the worthy St. Pascual with silence.

[9]Kaysaysay: A celebrated sanctuary in the island of Luzon, province of Batangas, jurisdiction, of Taal, so called because there is venerated in it a Virgin who bears that name....

The image is in the center of the high altar, where there is seen an eagle in half-relief, whose abdomen is left open in order to afford a tabernacle for the Virgin: an idea enchanting to many of the Spaniards established in the Philippines during the last century, but which in our opinion any sensible person will characterize as extravagant.

This image of the Virgin of Kaysaysay enjoys the fame of being very miraculous, so that the Indians gather from great distances to hear mass in her sanctuary every Saturday.  Her discovery, over two and a half centuries ago, is notable in that she was found in the sea during some fisheries, coming up in a drag-net with the fish.  It is thought that this venerable image of the Filipinos may have been in some ship which was wrecked and that the currents carried her up to the coast, where she was found in the manner related.

The Indians, naturally credulous and for the most part quite superstitious, in spite of the advancements in civilization and culture, relate that she appeared afterwards in some trees, and in memory of these manifestations an arch representing them was erected at a short distance from the place where her sanctuary is now located.—Buzeta and Bravo’s Diccionario, Madrid, 1850, but copied with proper modifications for the times and the new truths from Zuñiga’s Estadismo, which, though written in 1803 and not published until 1893, was yet used by later writers, since it was preserved in manuscript in the convent of the Augustinians in Manila, Buzeta and Bravo, as well as Zuñiga, being members of that order.

So great was the reverence for this Lady that the Acapulco galleons on their annual voyages were accustomed to fire salutes in her honor as they passed along the coast near her shrine.—Foreman.  The Philippine Islands, quoting from the account of an eruption of Taal Volcano in 1749, by Fray Francisco Vencuchillo.

This Lady’s sanctuary, where she is still enchanting in her eagle in half-relief, stands out prominently on the hill above the town of Taal, plainly visible from Balayan Bay.—TR.

[10] A Tagalog term meaning to tumble, or to caper about, doubtless from the actions of the Lady’s devotees.  Pakil is a town in Laguna Province.—TR.

Learn this Filipino word:

ligong-pato