Philippine mythology

Philippine mythology

Philippine mythology and folklore include a collection of tales and superstitions about magical creatures and entities. Some Filipinos, even though heavily westernized and Christianized, still believe in such entities. The prevalence of belief in the figures of Philippine mythology is strong in the provinces.

Because the country has many islands and is inhabited by different ethnic groups, Philippine mythology and superstitions are very diverse. However, certain similarities exist among these groups, such as the belief in Heaven ("kaluwalhatian", "kalangitan','kamurawayan"), Hell ("impiyerno", "kasanaan"), and the human soul ("kaluluwa").

Philippine Folk Literature

Philippine mythology is derived from Philippine folk literature, which is the traditional oral literature of the Filipino people. This refers to a wide range of material due to the ethnic mix of the Philippines. Each unique ethnic group has its own stories and myths to tell.

While the "oral" and thus "changeable" aspect of folk literature is an important defining characteristic, much of this oral tradition had been written into a print format. To point out that folklore in a written form can still be considered folklore, Utely pointed out that folklore "may appear in print, but must not freeze into print."Utely, Francis Lee. "A Definition of Folklore," American Folklore, Voice of America Forum Lectures, ed. Tristram Coffin, III 1968, p14.] It should be pointed out that all the examples of folk literature cited in this article are taken from print, rather than oral sources.

University of the Philippines professor, Damiana Eugenio, classified Philippine Folk Literature into three major groups: folk narratives, folk speech, and folk songs.Eugenio, Damiana (2007). Philippine Folk Literature: An Anthology, 2nd, Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press, 498. ISBN 978-971-542-536-0.] Folk narratives can either be in prose: the myth, the "alamat" (legend), and the "kuwentong bayan" (folktale), or in verse, as in the case of the folk epic. Folk speech includes the "bugtong" (riddle) and the "salawikain" (proverbs). Folk songs that can be sub-classified into those that tell a story (folk ballads) are a relative rarity in Philippine folk literature. These form the bulk of the Philippines' rich heritage of folk songs.

The Philippine pantheon

The stories of ancient Philippine mythology include deities, creation stories, mythical creatures, and beliefs. Ancient Philippine mythology varies among the many indigenous tribes of the Philippines. Some tribes during the pre-Spanish conquest era believed in a single Supreme Being who created the world and everything in it, while others chose to worship a multitude of tree and forest deities ("diwata"s). "Diwata"s came from the Sanskrit word "devadha" which means "deity", one of the several significant Hindu influences in the Pre-Hispanic religion of the ancient Filipinos. Below are some of the gods and goddesses of the various ancient Philippine tribes:

Luzon gods

Bathala - The supreme god of the Tagalogs. He is the Tagalogs' chief god, the creator of the universe and humanity. The origin of his name is Sanskrit, "Battara Guru" which means "The Great Teacher".

Apolake - Tagalog protector of the sun and lord of war.

Anitun Tabu - the Tagalog goddess of the wind and rain.

Dian Masalanta - The ancient Tagalogs' goddess of love, conception and childbirth

Idianalé - The ancient Tagalog goddess of animal husbandry and agriculture.

Lakambakod - The protector of the growing crops.

Lakampati - The ancient Tagalog's deity of harvest and agricultural fields, a hermaphrodite.

Mayari - The ancient Tagalog goddess and protector of the moon. Hanan is her sibling.

Other gods

The Bicolanos also have "Aswang", the god of evil. Aswang is the brother and enemy of "Kagurangnan/Gugurang". Gugurang/Kagurangnan is the Bicolano chief god and keeper of a sacred fire atop Mt. Mayon. "Haliya" is the Bicolano goddess of the moon and protector of women. The Visayan supreme deity is "Kan-Laon" (or "Lalahon"). He lives in Mt. Kanlaon. The ancient Visayan sky god is "Kaptan", who he is often shown as the sibling of Maguayen, the god of the sea.

Creation stories

There are many different creation stories in Philippine mythology, originating from various ethnic groups.

Tagalog version

The ancient Tagalogs had various stories about the creation and unlike the other ethnic groups of the Philippines (such as the Bicolanos, Hiligaynon, etc.) their animistic belief system is not bound to mythologies.

The Sky, the Sea, and the Crow

When the world first began, there was no land, only the sea and the sky, and between them was a crow. One day this bird, which has no where to land, grew tired of flying around, so she stirred up the sea until it threw its waters against the sky. The sky, in order to restrain the sea, showered upon it many islands until it could no longer raise but instead flow back and forth, making a tide. Then the sky ordered the crow to land on one of the islands to build her nest and to leave the sea and the sky in peace. From then on the crow lived peacefully, so as the other birds in islands between the sea and the sky.

Now at this time the land wind and the sea wind were married, and they had a child which was a bamboo. One day when this bamboo was floating beside the seashore when it struck the feet of the crow who was on the beach. Shocked, hurt and angered; the crow hysterically pecked at the bamboo until it split into two section, and out one section came out a man named Malakas (Strong), and from the other a woman named Maganda (Beautiful).

Then the earthquake called on all the birds and fishes to see what should be done with these two, and it was decided that they should marry. Many children were born to the couple, and from them came all the different races of people.

After a while the parents grew very tired of having so many idle and useless children around. They wished to be rid of them, but they knew of no place to send them. Time went on, and the children became so numerous that the parents enjoyed no peace. One day, in desperation, the father seized a stick and began beating them.

This so frightened the children that they fled in different directions, seeking hidden rooms in the house. Some concealed themselves in the walls, some ran outside, others hid in the earthen stove, and several fled to the sea.

Now it happened that those who went into the hidden rooms of the house later became the chiefs of the islands, and those who concealed themselves in the walls became slaves, while those who ran outside were free men. Those who hid in the stove became the dark-skinned and curled haired aetas or negritos. Those who fled to the sea were gone many years, and when their children came back, they were the foreigners.

The Story of Bathala

In the beginning of time there were three powerful gods who lived in the universe. Bathala was the caretaker of the earth, Ulilang Kaluluwa, a huge serpent who lived in the clouds, and Galang Kaluluwa, the winged god who loves to wander. These three gods did not know each other.

Bathala often dreamt of creating mortals but the empty earth stops him from doing so. Ulilang Kaluluwa who was equally lonely as Bathala, liked to visit places and the earth was his favorite.One day the two gods met. Ulilang Kaluluwa was not pleased. He challenged Bathala to a fight to decide who would be the ruler of the universe. After three days and three nights, Ulilang Kaluluwa was slain by Bathala. Instead of giving him a proper burial, Bathala burned the snake's remains.A few years later the third god, Galang Kaluluwa, wandered into Bathala's home. He welcomed the winged god with much kindness and even invited him to live in his kingdom. They became true friends and were very happy for many years.

Galang Kaluluwa became very ill. Before he died he instructed Bathala to bury him on the spot where Ulilang Kaluluwa’s body was burned. Bathala did exactly as he was told. Out of the grave of the two dead gods grew a tall tree with a big round nut, which is the coconut tree.Bathala took the nut and husked it. He noticed that the inner skin was hard. The nut itself reminded him of Galang Kaluluwa’s head. It had two eyes, a flat nose, and a round mouth. Its leaves looked so much like the wings of his dear winged friend. But the trunk was hard and ugly, like the body of his enemy, the snake Ulilang Kaluluwa.

Bathala realized that he was ready to create the creatures he wanted with him on earth. He created the vegetation, animals, and the first man and woman. Bathala built a house for them out of the trunk and leaves of the coconut trees. For food, they drank the coconut juice and ate its delicious white meat. Its leaves, they discovered, were great for making mats, hats, and brooms. Its fiber could be used for rope and many other things.

Visayan version

This is an ancient Visayan account of creation:

:"Thousands of years ago, there was no land, sun, moon, or stars, and the world was only a great sea of water, above which stretched the sky. The water was the kingdom of the god Maguayan, and the sky was ruled by the great god, Kaptan."

:"Maguayan had a daughter called Lidagat, the sea, and Kaptan had a son known as Lihangin, the wind. The gods agreed to the marriage of their children, so the sea became the bride of the wind."

:"A daughter and three sons were born to them. The sons were called Likalibutan, Liadlao, and Libulan, and the daughter received the name of Lisuga."

:"Likalibutan had a body of rock and was strong and brave; Liadlao was formed of gold and was always happy; Libulan was made of copper and was weak and timid; and the beautiful Lisuga had a body of pure silver and was sweet and gentle. Their parents were very fond of them, and nothing was wanting to make them happy."

:"After a time Lihangin died and left the control of the winds to his eldest son Likalibutan. The faithful wife Lidagat soon followed her husband, and the children, now grown up, were left without father or mother. However, their grandfathers, Kaptan and Maguayan, took care of them and guarded them from all evil."

:"After some time, Likalibutan, proud of his power over the winds, resolved to gain more power, and asked his brothers to join him in an attack on Kaptan in the sky above. They refused at first, but when Likalibutan became angry with them, the amiable Liadlao, not wishing to offend his brother, agreed to help. Then together they induced the timid Libulan to join in the plan."

:"When all was ready, the three brothers rushed at the sky, but they could not beat down the gates of steel that guarded the entrance. Likalibutan let loose the strongest winds and blew the bars in every direction. The brothers rushed into the opening, but were met by the angry god Kaptan. So terrible did he look that they turned and ran in terror, but Kaptan, furious at the destruction of his gates, sent three bolts of lightning after them."

:"The first struck the copper Libulan and melted him into a ball. The second struck the golden Liadlao and he too was melted. The third bolt struck Likalibutan and his rocky body broke into many pieces and fell into the sea. So huge was he that parts of his body stuck out above the water and became what is known as land."

:"In the meantime the gentle Lisuga had missed her brothers and started to look for them. She went toward the sky, but as she approached the broken gates, Kaptan, blind with anger, struck her too with lightning, and her silver body broke into thousands of pieces."

:"Kaptan then came down from the sky and tore the sea apart, calling on Maguayan to come to him and accusing him of ordering the attack on the sky. Soon Maguayan appeared and answered that he knew nothing of the plot as he had been asleep deep in the sea. After some time, he succeeded in calming the angry Kaptan. Together they wept at the loss of their grandchildren, especially the gentle and beautiful Lisuga, but even with their powers, they could not restore the dead back to life. However, they gave to each body a beautiful light that will shine forever."

:"And so it was the golden Liadlao who became the sun and the copper Libulan, the moon, while Lisuga's pieces of silver were turned into the stars of heaven. To wicked Likalibutan, the gods gave no light, but resolved to make his body support a new race of people. So Kaptan gave Maguayan a seed and he planted it on one of the islands."

:"Soon a bamboo tree grew up, and from the hollow of one of its branches, a man and a woman came out. The man's name was Sikalak and the woman was called Sikabay. They were the parents of the human race. Their first child was a son whom they called Libo; afterwards they had a daughter who was known as Saman."

:"Pandaguan, the youngest son, was very clever and invented a trap to catch fish. The very first thing he caught was a huge shark. When he brought it to land, it looked so great and fierce that he thought it was surely a god, and he at once ordered his people to worship it. Soon all gathered around and began to sing and pray to the shark. Suddenly the sky and sea opened, and the gods came out and ordered Pandaguan to throw the shark back into the sea and to worship none, but them."

:"All were afraid except Pandaguan. He grew very bold and answered that the shark was as big as the gods, and that since he had been able to overpower it he would also be able to conquer the gods. Then Kaptan, hearing this, struck Pandaguan with a small lightning bolt, for he did not wish to kill him but merely to teach him a lesson. Then he and Maguayan decided to punish these people by scattering them over the earth, so they carried some to one land and some to another. Many children were afterwards born, and thus the earth became inhabited in all parts."

:"Pandaguan did not die. After lying on the ground for thirty days he regained his strength, but his body was blackened from the lightning, and his descendants became the dark-skinned tribe, the Negritos."

:"As punishment, his eldest son, Aryon, was taken north where the cold took away his senses. While Libo and Saman were carried south, where the hot sun scorched their bodies. A son of Saman and a daughter of Sikalak were carried east, where the land at first was so lacking in food that they were compelled to eat clay."

Mythological stories

The legend of Maria Makiling

A popular Filipino myth is the legend of Maria Makiling, a fairy who lives on Mount Makiling.

Mythological creatures

Filipinos also believed in mythological creatures. The "Aswang" is one the most famous of these Philippine mythological creatures. The aswang is a ghoul or vampire, an eater of the dead, and a werewolf. Filipinos also believed in the "Dila" (The Tongue), a spirit that passes through the bamboo flooring of provincial houses, then licks certain humans to death.Fact|date=August 2007 Filipino mythology also have fairies ("Diwata" and "Engkanto"), dwarfs ("Duwende"), "Kapre" (a tree-residing giant), "Manananggal" (a self-segmenter), witches ("Mangkukulam"), spirit-summoners ("Mambabarang"), goblins ("Nuno sa Punso"), ghosts ("Multo"), fireballs ("Santelmo"), mermaids ("Sirena"), mermen ("Siyokoy"), demon-horses ("Tikbalang"), Hantu Demon and demon-infants ("Tiyanak").

Indian Influence

The Philippines has cultural ties with India through the Indianized kingdoms of Southeast Asia. [cite web
url=|title=Indian Origins of Filipino Customs
] Ancient Filipino literature and folklore show the impress of India. The Agusan legend of a man named Manubo Ango, who was turned into stone, resembles the story of Ahalya in the Hindu epic Ramayana. The tale of the Ifugao legendary hero, Balituk, who obtained water from the rock with his arrow, is similar to Arjuna's adventure in Mahabharata, another Hindu epic. The Ramayana have different versions among the many Philippine ethnic groups. The Ilocanos have the story of Lam-Ang. The Darangan, or Mahariada Lawana, is the Maranao version of the Ramayana.




*Barangay-Sixteenth Century Philippine Culture and Society by William Henry Scott
* []
* []
* [ Philippine Folklore Stories by John Maurice Miller]

ee also

*Buddhism in the Philippines
*Folk religion
*Hinduism in the Philippines

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