P r e - c o l o n i a l M y t h o l o g y S e r i e s | x | M a g w a y e n, the Primordial Goddess of the Sea
Magwayen was one of the primordial deities in Visayan mythology, along with Kaptan, God of the Sky, who, in one version of the Visayan creation myth, helped create the world and the first humans with Kaptan. She is also a Goddess who brings all the souls of the dead to Sulad, a purgatory, by bringing them across a spiritual river called Lalangban on her boat, delivering them to Sumpoy, the God of the Underworld, before reaching the final resting place in Saad, land of the ancestors, where they are then brought to the God Sisiburanen, who takes in all souls, good or bad, and brings them to Mt. Madyaa’s, the home of the gods, where the Visayans living in the coastal regions were believed to live out their afterlife or in a tall mountain in Borneo.
Angered by Pandaguan, the youngest child and second son of the first people Sikalak and Sikabay, for blaming her and Kaptan for letting a shark that he caught in a net die that was the first death in the world, she created a lightning bolt with Kaptan, and used it to strike Pandaguan thus killing him. When he is killed they send him to Sulad, however after 30 days Magwayen and Kaptan eventually pity Pandaguan and revive him back.
P h i l i p p i n e M y t h o l o g y S e r i e s | x | L a o n , Goddess of Agriculture, Harvests, & Mt. Kanlaon.
In the Bisayas, one of the most worshiped and revered diwata was the Goddess Laon who resided on Mt. Kanlaon, a dormant volcano on the island of Buglas, which today is called Negros due to the colonization of the island by the Spaniards. She is also the most recorded in depth in the early Spanish accounts.
She is known by many names throughout the ethnic groups in the Bisayas such as Kanlaon, Malaon, Lalahon, Raom, Laon Sina, & Alunsina and was known as a supreme deity for most groups. Agriculture was and still is relevant among the Bisayans, thus it’s no wonder why one of their most important deities was a goddess of agriculture and harvest. The people would invoke her for a good harvest, giving her offerings and prayers for fear of her fiery wrath if disrespected. Though they loved her, she was also to be feared as she had the power to destroy their crops, their livelihood, by sending a swarm of locusts to feast on their main source of food.
She is known as the “creator of all things” and as “the one who disposes everything and renders everything equal” based on another name she was called by some groups such as the Bisayans of Ibabao, known as Makapatag. From this she was equated to the equality of the divine justice.
P h i l i p p i n e M y t h o l o g y S e r i e s | x | B a k u n a w a, the naga who causes eclipses & guardian of Sulad
Bakunawa is a naga in Visayan mythology who is seen as a gigantic sea serpent deity that lives under the sea. Bakunawa is described as having a mouth the size of a lake, a red tongue, whiskers, gills, small wires at its sides, and two sets of wings, one is large and ash-gray while the other is small and is found further down its body. There was a belief that instead of one moon there used to be 7 moons in the sky. Bakunawa fascinated by the beauty of the moons rose up from the sea and devoured 6 of the moons leaving one left. In order to save and protect the moon the people would try and scare the large serpent by making loud noises often using pots and pans. When an eclipse happened it was believed that Bakunawa was trying to devour the last remaining moon in which in every eclipse people would go out to try and scare the serpent. Today there is a childrens game that represents Bakunawa and the eclipses known as Bulan Bulan, Buwan Buwan, or Bakunawa. Bakunawa is also the guardian of Sulad, the land of the dead ancestors.