Philippine-mythology

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the sun who devoured the stars and the moon who cloaked them (layout insp)

The moon goddess Buan and the sun god Arao both had large families of stars, but Buan believed her stars could not survive the heat of Arao. They both agreed to destroy their stars, but while Arao ate his, Buan hid hers in the clouds where they would occasionally emerge. Upon seeing this, Arao was filled with rage and is eternally in pursuit of Buan, trying to destroy her. Eclipses are explained by Arao getting close enough to bite her.

she had walked the earth long
before the earth had any reason
to permit feet
(her name whispered in the dark
over, and over, and over,
passed down as a warning, and
never in pious prayer)
wildness was her dress, a saya of
leaves, and
madness adorned her dark hair,
brown in the firelight stories of
despair
(in lore, malakas and maganda live;
in this, they do not survive her).
when the uniformed guardias came,
they gave us maria:
a virgin in white, mute and in tears.
they had none of this goddess
untamed, hidden in the woods
(let the mother stand for
love, their friars said,
“out with this engkanto,
she isn’t real”).
they banished you to mythology.
they replaced you with the
virgin mother,
stripped you of that hedonistic will,
and forced you into veils.
when they think of love now, they
think of rosaries and blushing;
they have forgotten your
capacity for
bruised thighs and bloodied lips.
stir from the forest, goddess,
there are those who remember
your name
(i want to fall in love the way
you’d permit it: in
destruction, and
fire).
sasabay sa lukso ng
aking dugo ang
pag-tawag ko sa'yo
sa pagnanasang ako ay
marinig;
buwagin mo ang kinatatayuan ng
bawat pag-halik.
(they call you diyan masalanta;
it means “be destroyed there”)
—  the spaniards have mistaken our goddess of love for their virgin mother || bsc

Once upon a time, when the world was yet new, there were seven moons. Bathala — the creator of land, sea, and sky — had made them to light the sky at night. These moons were a sight to behold: gleaming like newly-polished silver amidst a velvet sky.

In the sea lived a dragon named Bakunawa. This dragon had a mouth as big as a lake, a tongue red as blood, the whiskers and gills of a catfish, and two pairs of wings: a larger pair grey as ash and a smaller pair found farther down its body. The Bakunawa was so enchanted by the beauty of the moons that one night, he rose up out of the sea and swallowed one moon whole. Inordinately proud of his feat, he slunk back down to his watery domain. Unfortunately, he soon realized that the moon inside of him was melting away like candle wax.

Wanting to take a moon that would last, the Bakunawa rose into the sky the next night and swallowed another moon. But this one too melted away. Night after night, he took another moon from the sky, and each time it melted away inside him.

By now, only one moon was left in the sky, and Bathala was furious. Rather than kill the Bakunawa, he punished the beast and commanded him not to devour the last moon.

They say Bakunawa obeys Bathala’s order… most of the time. Every now and then he tries — yes, he tries! — to eat the last moon, and that is why it turns red and causes an eclipse. But the people on earth raise a loud clamour of clanging and clashing metal, screaming and wailing, all to startle him into spitting the moon back out again. Others take the gentler approach, playing sweet music to lull him into a deep slumber so that the moon will roll out of his mouth and float back into the sky where it belongs. However, all wonder if the frightful time will ever come when Bakunawa will succeed in his desire to swallow the last moon.
— Ang Alamat Ng Bakunawa - The Philippine Legend of The Eclipse-Dragon.

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I collaborated with the social enterprise, Karaw Craftventures, and came up with these scary but cuddly “Encantures”. Karaw’s manager, Paul Orpiada and I have been talking about this for quite a time, but we only just realized the project this year.

The initial prompt for me was the Manananggal/USB idea, which came when I was desperately looking for the cap of my USB. This made me decide that the designs of all the Encantures must be functional and the function must relate to their personalities and mythical creatures. In every tag of each product, there’s a description and history of the encanture. 

modern day filipino deities

bathala // god of creation, ruler of the pantheon

works as a carpenter. makes intricate furniture and statues out of wood, and sells them at a roadside shop. each figure he makes is completely unique. sometimes he breathes life into them, but just temporarily. misses the advent of humanity and wants to recreate the experience. really hands-on when it comes to building things.

mayari, tala and hanan // goddesses of the moon, stars and dawn

regulars at coffee shops and indie band concerts. all about poetry and music, but don’t have time for petty things like heartbreak. stay up all night into the wee hours of the morning. they crave the silence right before the world rearranges itself into a new symphony.

diyan masalanta // goddess of love and childbirth

the campus love doctor, takes care of everyone and their fragile hearts. is just at the age when you first fall in love. she may seem young, but her words carry weight and are universal. is always there for you, whether you’re pining or heartbroken. volunteers at a lying-in clinic for expectant mothers, ready to give a hand.

anitan tabu // goddess of wind and rain

is there one moment and gone the next. almost never inside, and never stationary. the sidewalks and alleyways are her home. the leaves and other debri pick up just a little when she walks by. smells like the air right before it drizzles.

apolaki // god of the sun and war

always glaring. only comes out when everyone else is inside because of the sweltering heat. collects old war relics and frequents the small, out-of-the-way museums in the province. visits the graves of soldiers who have no one to remember them. can repair your gun for a small fee. doesn’t seem to run out of war stories, be it from the spanish times to the japanese colonization.

dumakulem // god of the mountains

volunteers as a guide for mountain bikers. knows obscure paths like the back of his hands, and can never get lost. speaks to animals in hushed tones, telling them where to pass and get food. not really for much conversation with mortals.

anagolay // goddess of lost things

her pawn shop-slash-restaurant is full of odd artifacts, from old masks to antique jewelry. helps people with important things they’ve lost. gives students the missing hard drives, employees their car keys, and children their toys. keeps the things that don’t belong to anyone, and writes down their stories.

idiyanale // goddess of labor and good deeds

works as a public school teacher. recognizes hard work, even the one most difficult to see, and rewards it justly. all students become silent once she opens her mouth. her word is absolute but kind. underpaid employees mysteriously receive bonuses when she’s around, and the overpaid ones somehow lose their salary, just like that.

mapulon // god of the seasons

somehow manages to dress just right - not too warm, not to cold. his little shop is stocked with whatever you need, right when you need it. raincoats for when you go back to school, jackets for when it starts to get cold, swimwear when summer starts. the fruits he sells are always ripe, since he knows exactly which ones are in season. his very appearance and mood seems to change just as the climate does, but just slightly.

amanikable // god of the sea and storms

stays by the coast. has a wild beard, and looks like he hasn’t bathed in weeks. the smell of day-old saltwater clings to his body. mumbles incomprehensibly about natural disasters. the locals, especially the fishermen, usually steer clear of him, except when his whispers involve typhoons or tsunamis, in which case they head for higher ground.

lakapati // goddess of fertility and agriculture

the rice paddies are her domain during june and july, the planting season. seedlings sprout on the ground she walks on. none of the seeds the farmers plant seem to go to waste. sometimes works as a family consultant for couples who are struggling to have children.

dimangan // god of good harvest

shows his head in the fields only when harvest time comes. gives farmers who harvest by hand that extra needed energy. tends to stick around longer than lakapati does, because the harvest involves so much more than uprooting the crops - there’s also cleaning and storing and selling. makes sure farmers have just the right amount to sell to make money but not so much that the crops go to waste.

B I S A Y A N   M y t h o l o g y   S e r i e s | x |
the trinity deities of war

I N A  G U N I D : Goddess of War & Poisons   

Ina Gunid, also known as Inagunid and Naguinid, was one of the three deities according to Miguel de Loarca in his Relacion de las Yslas Filipinas  (1582) who was invoked for success in war and mangayaw raids. She was also associated with another trinity of deities, the other two being Arapayan and Makbarubak, when working with and concocting poisonous oils and charms, one involving a charm made of coconut oil and crocodile teeth.

B A L A N G A W : God of the Rainbow 

Balangaw was the deified personification of the rainbow and the second deity invoked during times of war. Among the Bisayans the rainbow was seen as a bridge to the diwata. Those souls who were stabbed, eaten by crocodiles, or pierced by arrows were able to cross that sacred bridge and join the diwata, becoming ones themselves by dying honorable deaths. 

M A K A N D U K : God of War & Plunder

The last of the three deities who were invoked, Makanduk also known as Malanduk was the god of war and plunder. Not much else is known about this deity and the only mention is through Miguel de Loarca’s list of gods and goddesses among the Bisayans.

T E E N A G E  G I R L S  +  M Y T H O L O G Y: Maria Makiling

She climbs to the peak of the highest roof, the tallest tree, scales the biggest pylon, unaffected by vertigo and unafraid of the danger. There is something stoic and grand about her, as if she is carved from ancient stone, standing tall and proud for century after century. The soft curve of her lips pulls up into a smile when they tell her she is their pillar, the perfect support throughout hardship. She protects those who depend on her, offering them help in times of need.

modern mythology: diyan masalanta

Diyan Masalanta is the Philippine goddess of love,conception and childbirth and protector of lovers and stopper of storms and deluge. The guardian of Mount Makiling, its flora and fauna, and and of Laguna de Bay, she is often described as kind, gentle and approachable, gifting the poor villagers with gold, and singing so sweetly that ‘golden leaves from surrounding trees showered the audience like petals from the heavens.’

aesthetic punk modern mythmeme // Amanikable, Philippine god of storm and sea 

“Hold your breath. Don’t deny the pressure until I tell you to. I want the water inside you to be so unbearable in its ravaging that you would have no choice but to drown in me." A beat. And then, "please." Passed over again, and then again, his anger stretches itself thin until it breaks to reveal the desperation, the solitude. But what has he to offer to a girl of the earth? 

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mythology meme | (4/4) gods
— APOLAKI of PHILIPPINE MYTHOLOGY

apolaki is a howling in the blood.  the ruler of day, he lets his bright eyes illuminate the ragged plains of the battlefield, upon which are unceasing the restless movements of war-painted men.  never is he far from the hardened warrior’s lips, for it is known to all that apolaki is there in every arc of the bamboo stick, in every flash of the blade, in every spilling of blood.  

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PHILIPPINE MYTHOLOGY & FOLKLORE 

Mangkukulam (/mahng-koo-KOO-lam/) is the Filipino - Tagalog term for a witch, sorcerer, or anyone who practices folk magic. They use black magic to sumpa (curse) their target. They concoct their own potions, recite a sacred passage, participate in rituals that involve candle, stones or anything alike. Aside from that, their most commonly used poisons are scrying or tawas, barang which is another practice of dark art where the mambabarang command his or her insects to infiltrate the victim’s body. It is also said a mangkukulam will need a personal belonging from the victim, like a strand of hair, drop of blood or photography for a much effective result. They frequently reside in rural areas and are usually feared by the people because of their strangeness.

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PHILIPPINE MYTHOLOGY: THE DAUGHTERS OF BATHALA

They were said to be the daughters of Bathala by a mortal wife who died after she had given birth to these three beautiful goddesses. So Bathala took the three sisters to the sky and made them members of his celestial court. In the court of Bathala was Mayari, goddess of the moon, Hanan, goddess of the morning, and Tala, goddess of the stars.

SWAMP MONSTER

IF YOU’RE IN THE PHILIPPINES, WATCH OUT FOR FISH. IF YOU SEE A FUCKLOAD OF FISH IN A SHALLOW POOL, GET THE FUCK OUT OF THERE. THE POOL IS PROBABLY OWNED BY A BERBEROKA.

THE BERBEROKA DRINKS THE WATER FROM A POOL SO YOU CAN SEE THE FISH, AND THEN WHEN YOU COME OVER TO LOOK AT THE FISH IT SPITS ALL THE WATER BACK AT YOU UNTIL YOU FUCKING DROWN IN IT. THEN IT EATS YOU. WHAT A FUCKING DICK.

SEXY MERMAN

ONE DAY, WHILE SHE’S WALKING ALONG A BEACH, A WOMAN RUNS INTO A REALLY FUCKING BEAUTIFUL MAN. HE SMELLS A BIT FISHY, BUT SHE DOESN’T GIVE A FUCK. HE’S SO HOT THAT IT MAKES UP FOR THE SMELL.

SHE TAKES HIM HOME, AND THEY HAVE SHITLOADS OF REALLY GREAT SEX. WHEN SHE WAKES UP IN THE MORNING, THOUGH, HE’S GONE. SHE RUSHES OUTSIDE JUST IN TIME TO SEE HIM FUCKING OFF TO THE BEACH, AND RUNS AFTER HIM. JUST AS HE REACHES THE WATER, THOUGH, HE TURNS BACK INTO HIS TRUE FORM.

HE’S A MOTHERFUCKING MERMAN. HALF MAN, HALF FISH. BASICALLY, HE’S A FUCKING MASSIVE FISH WITH LEGS. YEAH, THAT’S FUCKING RIGHT. HE’S A FISH WITH LEGS. NOT A DUDE WITH A TAIL. A FISH WITH MOTHERFUCKING LEGS. THEY’RE PRETTY SEXY LEGS THOUGH.

MERMAIDS IN THE PHILIPPINES ARE PRETTY FUCKED UP. ALSO THEY EAT PEOPLE. SOME OF THEM HAVE TENTACLES. THEY’VE ALL GOT REALLY FUCKING GREAT LEGS THOUGH.

kay buti, buti mo, panginoon

because above all, gods are good, and pure, and holy. gods do not smile as you bleed through the nose, they do not revel in the pain that folds you, they do not accept it as thanks for causing you to fall in love.

(maybe this is why you are no god anymore. maybe it’s this dogma that has you painted over and over as magdalena, magdalena, sinful woman, ravaged but absolved) (maybe it’s because you laughed as they howled through the forest fire smoke, sinta, sinta)

sa lahat ng oras, sa bawat araw

because above all, gods extend their grace just before every clock hand ticks, for those who need it, those who ask for it, those who don’t. they do not halt kindness, do not suspend mercy, they do not decide on specific stretches of time on which to open their arms and bid you come.

(maybe this is why you are no god anymore. maybe it’s your fickle heart, or the playfulness with which you dictate men to burn, kahit kailan, kung saan mo gusto, kung sino) (maybe this is why three hundred years later, they still come promptly when the bells toll to kneel to a god hanging) (maybe this is why nobody knows your name anymore)

ika'y laging tapat kung mag-mahal

because above all, gods love. they love, and they conquer, and they absolve. they know hatred only as an anti-thesis, deconstructed by the blood they shed and wiped away, invalidated by the lack of condition. they know hatred only as something outside them.

(maybe this is why you are no god anymore. maybe it has been dictated by who you are, a self-fulfilling prophecy you can’t shake because it’s what you call yourself. diyan masalanta, diyan masalanta. love is the wreckage, love is the rifle, and then the bayonet) (maybe this is why it still hurts)

—  a brief history in godmaking in the philippines || bernice