In the northern part of the Iloilo province is a small town that we call today as Lemery. The place is surrounded with mountain ranges and these mountains is full of verdant thick tall trees. This area is situated along the border of Iloilo and Capiz provinces. It is surrounded with the towns of Sara, Ajuy, Barotac Viejo and San Rafael in Iloilo and the towns of Dumarao, Maayon and Pontevedra in Capiz.
During the Spanish colonial period, only a few people lived in this area. Most of them lived near the foothills of the highest mountain "Anito." This mountain has lots of thickly growing trees. Of all the trees in that mountain, there is one which stood out among the rest as the tallest and biggest tree. This is called the "Lawaan" wood. At night, the tree is full of fireflies. On a night especially if there is no moonlight, the tree is beautiful to look at seems like a huge Christmas tree that shine through darkness.
The tree serves as a guiding light by the people who travels at night. This also serves as a marker of their area.
One day, the elders in the area gathered to give a name for their place. They talk about what is the proper and ideal name for their community. They unanimously name their place as "Lamenaria," referring to the tallest and biggest tree of Lawaan. Lamenaria means "light". They call it Lamenaria because at night the lawaan tree is like a light for the locals due to the fireflies which gather at the tree. Because of this, they call the place Lamenaria.
Through the passing of time and due to the increasing population coming to Lamenaria the name Lamenaria became Lameri probably due to the length of the name and difficulty in pronouncing or due to wrong pronunciation. Shortly after, Lameri became Lemery, which became the official name until now.
There is another story behind the origin of the name of the place.
Long time ago, there is a couple living in a small hut near the mountain. They are the poorest of the poor. They were accused by a rich individual for a crime they did not commit and they were imprisoned. Fortunately, they escaped and hide in the forest.
One day, the woman named Juana got sick. The husband doesn't know what to do to cure her wife back to health. Not far from the house of the couple are three mounds of almost the same shapes and sizes. These three mounds possesses mystery. At night these mounds are glowing and there are some singing. The couple is unaware of the bizarre things happening because it happens midnight on a full moon.
One night, Juana got really sick so the husband was forced to go out and find some leaves and herbs to cure her wife. It was midnight and full moon so the man saw the peculiar phenomenon. He saw three dwarfs in the three mounds sitting and singing. The man was so terrified. He wants to run but he cannot that he was not aware that the dwarfs were in front of him. The three dwarfs asked the man what he is doing there at the middle of the night and the man tried hard to respond saying he needs some leaves and herbs to cure her wife from sickness. The three dwarfs took pity and they immediately came to see the sick Juana. After awhile, the three dwarfs told the man that his wife is healed. The couple thanked the dwarfs who before leaving respectfully introduced themselves as Le, Me and Re.
Many years had passed and couple bore many children but the three dwarfs never appeared to them again. The man always tell this story to their children.
One day a tree flourish in the middle of the three mounds. It grows so fast and became a giant wood. At night this tree is full of thousands of fireflies that looks like a huge lamp that shines through the darkness especially during moonless night.
When the Spaniards came, they asked about the name of the tree and the locals said Lemere. Shortly thereafter, they called the place Lemery.
Jesse Losbañes Asuga from Lemery, Iloilo, Philippines Facebook Public Group
Love Love Montaño from Sa KaBukiran Facebook Page