Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Ynaguinid and Macanduc

YNAGUINID and MACANDUC
GODS of WAR and STRIFE 

Ynaguinid in GMA Network's Indio, 2013
Sketch artist: James/Squeegool
http://squeegool.deviantart.com/
There are a few gods in the Visayan pantheon that play a significant role in important moments for a Visayan community, and Ynaguinid and Macanduc are examples of such deities. They are the personification of war and they also serve as inspiration and standard for ancient Visayans on the art of warfare, sieges and pillages. Babaylans and chieftains pray to these formidable gods to bless the warriors with their might, bravery and strength to overcome their enemies in the olden days, such as the Moros from Mindanao, whose raiding tactics have caused problems to Visayan barangays all over the Southern part of the archipelago. Ynaguinid and Macanduc are favored deities of warriors, war leaders, chieftains, guards and slave masters. They believed that these deities also awesome appearances to go with their titles: They are said to be able-bodied men covered in many tattoos, symbols of a victor and slayers of men, their dark bodies are smeared in coal or mud, their faces streaked with blood, their teeth sharpened like shark teeth yet blackened with coal and herbs. They were the epitome of bravery and victor in battles for many Visayan warriors, and they try to emulate them by also covering their bodies with coal, mud and red tints from herbs, sharpening and blackening their teeth, and when victorious in a skirmish, have their bodies tattooed to symbolize the men they killed in battle so that the villagers will glorify them more, raising their status in the village system.Ynaguinid is also known to be a deity of weapon and poison-making, and an old story once states that Ynaguinid appeared to a group of lost hunters or warriors as a beautiful woman of the forest, and taught them the secrets on how to create poisonous, oily concoctions by mixing poisonous plant oils from toxic floras such as the kayos/kolot, makasla and kamandag plants, to be used in hunting and wars.

Ynaguinid as portrayed by Sarah Lahbati
GMA Network's Indio, 2013
Ynaguinid also taught them how to extract viper venom and mix it in herbal oil to create the special war poison called, the "odto" which means "high noon" in english, for anyone who was wounded by any weapon coated with this poison was not known to survive by noontime (most battles of yore were done in early morning till afternoon) from and how to coat their arrows and "bagakay sibats" with these potent potions. It was due to these stories and contributions attributed to Ynaguinid that made this deity also the deity of poisons, and in the North of the archipelago till the Bicol region, Ynaguinid is also known as Nagined, and was paired with Makbarubak and Arapayan as the trinity of poison gods. Macanduc is a popular deity to southern and southeastern Visayan tribes of yore and was believed to be a really bloodthirsty deity, who loves spreading carnage and strife in the battlefields he walks on, taking lives of people from both sides without discrimination. It was also believed that he possesses tribe leaders and babaylans before the war, to empower the people with courage and a thirst for victory.

The Babaylan Asinas loses her voice after getting the ire
of Malanduk (Macanduc)
GMA Network's AMAYA, 2011
William Henry Scott, who documented the lives of ancient Visayans in the 16th century noticed some rites and rituals were made before war to appease the war gods. He noted that the ancient Visayans celebrated the art of sea warfare and excelled it, partly due to the fact that Moros tend to attack tribes from the sea and that the Visayas were made up of islands rather than a large mass of land. He noticed that one of the rituals Visayans do before going to a Sea Warfare is the ritual called, "pagdaga", which is a ritual of smearing the blood of the enemy on the prow and keel of the boats of the warriors. Ynaguinid and Macanduc are also venerated by weapon smiths, and prayers before making a weapon are customary as also are prayers done after the successful completion of a weapon. Ancient Visayans also kept idols of these war deities in the homes of the chiefs and head babaylans, and they bring them out on festivities such as the start and end of a war, to celebrate the warriors and the victors of these battles.

Ynaguinid as portrayed by Sarah Lahbati
GMA Network's INDIO, 2013
Photo Credit: Dencio Isungga
When the Spaniards came to archipelago, Visayan warriors fougth valiantly against these invaders, believing that they are blessed by the powerful Ynaguinid and Macanduc in their endeavors of protecting their lands and villages. While most of these tribes were successful in driving out the Spanish fleets, they soon found out that their pursuers were only gone temporarily, as the Spaniards came with more force and struck the Visayans hard, claiming victory in the end. They did not waste time colonizing the Visayan islands, and converting natives into the Christians. The Spaniards also ordered for the idols of nature gods and anything that reminds the natives of their old religion destroyed and burned, including idols of Ynaguinid and Macanduc, causing them to be forgotten over time. Nowadays, the powerful war deities Ynaguinid and Macanduc, and also the stories of bravery of the ancient Visayan warriors whom they inspired in life and in the battlefield, remains in the memory of the few surviving Visayan tribes all over the country, passed from generation to generation the the spoken word, and oral traditions these tribes still practice to this day.


Bulalakaw

BULALAKAW 
BIRD GOD of ILLNESS and PESTILENCE

Falling star photo courtsy of davmel.wordpress.com
Bulalakaw is said to be a deity who has the appearance of a gigantic, shining bird or a bird-humanoid hybrid, as some believed he looks like a thin boy wearing a bird-like headdress or even a genderless deity with a bird's head. Some stories describe him to be a diwata who visits the earthly plane in form of a comet, hence the name "bulalakaw" (shooting star).

Bulalakaw is regarded more of an omen than an actual worshipped deity, although he is worshipped by babaylans, it is usually to spare the villages of the disasters a "bulalakaw" may bring to earth. It was once believed that whenever a comet is seen, pestilence is sure to follow. In ancient times, the people thought that when a star "falls" it usually means a bad omen is going to befall their community, especially if the comet "falls" on rainy, cold seasons, when sickness is rampant in the community due to lack of modern medicine and proper hygiene and sanitation observed by ancient communities, but nonetheless… ancient Visayans believed that the bird god of illness can be appeased by performing necessary rites and rituals are performed by the shamans or "babaylans". Some of the rituals and rites involve sacrifice of the flesh for the bird god, in order for him to be satiated during his rare visits to earth. These sacrifices of the flesh in ancient times include, animal sacrifices, sacrifices of young maidens or children and even drawing of one's own blood or flesh and burning it in the community fire to satisfy the deity.

deviantart of the bird god of illness
from www.smitefire.com
It was also believed that anyone who sees the "shooting star" that fell to earth would be seriously blinded as a punishment from the god, or would suffer from an incurable illness, elders would tell the youth of the village to not look at the direction the bulalakaw will fall unless they want to suffer a great illness. Some babaylans would also tie this deity to war and famine, although he is mostly seen as a bringer of pestilence, as they believe that the nights bulalakaw is seen is a sign of other disaster about to come. Some babaylans would also burn some sacred "kamangyan" (incense) to appease the forest spirits and drive out the illness from the tribes, prompting Bulalakaw to leave and take the sickness with him back to Ibabawnon or Mt. Madia-as, a place that was believed to be a sacred ground for deities.

One should also take note that beliefs regarding Bulalakaw continued till the modern times, even as the Spanish missionaries converted the people to Christianity, and tried to change the belief's of the ancient Visayans, as the strong beliefs of this bringer of illness prevailed to this day, and until now whenever there is a comet that darts in the night sky, the superstitious folks would warn the children not to point at it, or bite their fingers when they do, warning them that Bulalakaw does not like to pointed at and might punish them for this deed.

as some believed he looks like a thin boy wearing a bird-like headdress or even a genderless deity with a bird's head. Some stories describe him to be a diwata who visits the earthly plane in form of a comet, hence the name "bulalakaw" (shooting star).

Monday, September 30, 2013

Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata

NAGMALITONG YAWA SINAGMALING DIWATA
DEITY OF LUST & SEDUCTION

Malitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata
is literally a naked weapon
from Deviantart by amontay
Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata is one of the three most beautiful goddesses in ancient Visayan myths along with her sisters Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan and Lubay Lubyok Mahanginun si Mahuyokhuyokan. She is also the wife of Saragnayan, the deity of darkness and it was believed that she is the goddess of lust and seduction due to the heroes of Hinilawod charmed by her beauty and shapeshifting skills.

Born out of a night flower, Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata came to the world already in adult form and capable of stirring lustful emotions of men around her. Her name, which usually means "beguiling demoness, bedazzling goddess" is a juxtaposition in itself as she is seen by ancient visayans as both a malevolent deity and also a benevolent goddess all in one.

In the first part of hinilawod, she was married to Saragnayan, lord of darkness and was heavily desired to be owned by Labaw Donggon after he saw her image in his magic crystal ball. She hid away from sight in Saragnayan's house as her husband fought the valiant hero, and contrary to popular beliefs, Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata loved her husband and wanted to be by his side, even if he was portrayed by ancient storytellers as grotesque and unsightly, a sharp contrast to her ageless beauty. She is also thought to be an interpretation of the powers all women possess, the ability to seduce men and cause arguments and fights, as well as a helpful, and nurturing member of the society, as seen in the Hinilawod story. It is said that when Saragnayan died at the hands of Labaw Donggon's sons, Nagmalitong Yawa fled and cursed Labaw Donggon with madness and caused him to be lovesick. This caused the hero to wander aimlessly around the world until one of his brother's found and caught him and took him home. Nagmalitong Yawa's curse was so strong that even the skilled magical wives of Labaw Donggon, Abyang Ginbitinan and Abyang Diriinin were perplexed for a long time on how to break it, for everytime he would hear Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata's name, Labaw Donggon would break out in feverish states of madness, though he was eventually ultimately cured by his wives' magic. She was usually invoked by enchantresses, desperate, single women and also by practitioners of black magic and makers of early "lumay" or love potions.

Another story in Hinilawod, shows Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata's benevolent side, and not as a beguiling temptress bent on exacting revenge on lustful men, but as a helper of good. It was also believed that during her time away in exile after her husband's death, Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata learned to leave in peace and contentment in the forest, tending to the different animals in need and helping the lost. She took on the guise of a woman simply named Nagmalitong Yawa and aided and rescued Humadapnon when he was imprisoned by the evil enchantress Ginmayunan in the guise of a boy before revealing her true self to him and the two fell in love. Humadapnon however left on to do more adventures and didn't return for many years, Nagmalitong Yawa found another suitor, Buyung Sumagulung and was about to marry the man when Humadapnon returned. She was supposedly stabbed to death in Humadapnon's blind fit of rage but was brought back to life by the hero's sister, Labing Anyag and was given the gift of immortality. She was traumatized, shamed and insulted by Humadapnon's act that she fled to the Underworld and sought for her uncle, Panlinugun, the god of earthquakes for protection while she shapeshifted herself as a pot to hide from Humadapnon. The hero found her, but she was protected by Amarotha, another brother of Humadapnon and was the source of their feud once more, until Alunsina appeared and cut Nagmalitong Yawa into two with a golden sword from Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan, dividing the goddess and turning her into two for her sons to marry.

"White lady of the Forest"
a form of Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata
from clarkmonding
Another interesting angle about Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata is that it was also said that she was the origin of the first tales of bewitchment in ancient Visayas, stories of men who got lost in the forest by being seduced by a mysterious, nude, pale lady, also known as "White Lady" stories in modern times. Storytellers of yore told countless tales of male travelers being seduced by a naked female in the forest or by a lady in white at a night of a full moon, only to never return in their own communities or be found in the heart of the deep forest as a rotting corpse or a bunch of bones. Wives would worry about their husband's leaving at night and would continually warn their spouses about going on hunting expeditions alone. It was believed by the old Visayan folks that this was Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata's revenge to humanity for the death of her husband, Saragnayan, and her ways still continue even until this day. This belief was so strong in provincial Visayas, that even until now, that men who would wander alone in the forest were given "anting-antings" (protective amulets) by their loved ones, or risk being spirited away by the seductive goddess into oblivion.

Saragnayan

SARAGNAYAN
DEITY OF DARKNESS
Labaw Donggon versus Saragnayan
Deviantart by waranghira

Saragnayan is seen as the master of Darkness by the ancient Visayans, and it was him whom the forces of evil and the blackness of night obey as their leader. It was said that he is actually a demigod, son of primordial chaos and a human woman, and lived in the lightless, eternally dark lands of Gadlum with his wife Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata.

The ancient Visayans believed he had a monstrous appearance, usually a gigantic, bald man with dark skin(some say it is even coal-black), deep red eyes with sharp teeth or have tusks like a wild board and long sharp nails.

He is a prominent character in the Sulodnon epic of Hinilawod as a rival of Alunsina's son, Labaw Donggon who wants to carry away Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata. He was also said to be very proficient in evil spellcasting, and it is believed as one of the causes why good men unexplicably do evil actions or why a peaceful community is plunged into chaos. Saragnayan is seen also to be the deity who can control or command malevolent spirits whom he commands to disrupt the community way of life and create war and strife throughout the land at night. He is also believed to be nearly invulnerable to physical weapons and magic as his real weakness, his heart, is said to be kept inside a wild pig that lives in an enchanted forest, instead of being inside his own body. He is also thought to be the deity whom evil sorcerers ask help from in their spellcraft and also to guide them in their chaoswork. Parents would often warn their children not to stay out and play at night for fear they might be kidnapped by the forces of Saragnayan and be sacrificed to him or be turned into slaves. Harmful wards of curses and amulets etched out in wood, bone or metal usually contain a chant or a verse to him in order to be effective, and it was thought that the real cause of wars between ancient Visayan communities is actually his handiwork, as he loves seeing chaos and bloodshed. He is a deity who is only worshipped by "manughiwit" (evil witches), anarchists, and other evil entities whom the ancient visayans believe, to roam the earth during night time, but all in all, most communities fear him and use him as a central antagonist in their stories.

Saragnayan and his evil forces
at the background of this Labaw Donggon cover
DeviantART by waranghira
IMPORTANCE IN HINILAWOD
Although a malevolent deity, it should also be noted that Saragnayan is also a picture of loyalty. He only had one wife and he guarded her with extreme vigilance, never eyed or desired any other maiden just as much as he had loved Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata. He fought Labaw Donggon to safeguard his wife, and for 7 years Labaw Donggon kept his head submerged in water, but he fought back as he can't be drowned, and after that Labaw Donggon beat him with a coconut tree, but it proved to be a futile attempt to kill Saragnayan. Finally Labaw Donggon threw Saragnayan up in the air, but Saragnayan came back, still alive and was able to defeat the hero by crashing down on him (other accounts say he was able to beat Labaw Donggon by beating his head with a coconut tree, the same way the hero tried to kill him beforehand.) and locked him up in the pig pen below his house.Saragnayan and his forces however, is finally defeated and killed by the sons of Labaw Donggon, Asu Mangga and Buyung Baranugan, by capturing the magic pig that contained Saragnayan's heart, and killing and roasting it in their quest to save their father.

Though this dark deity has been destroyed in the Hinilawod epic, it was still believed by ancient Visayans, particularly the Sulodnons, that his spirit lived on, tempting people to do bad deeds and continue to create chaos wherever he goes, even until this modern age.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Taguibanua

TAGUIBANUA
DEITY OF HOSPITALITY and HOUSEHOLD BENEFACTORS

"DiwataTaguibanua clothing local girl"
From: Children's Artbook by Maria Yotoko Chorengel
Illustrated by Bernadette C. Solina
Taguibanua is a goddess that is seen as an important deity for travelers and benefactors. She is the goddess in charge of the care and protection of diplomats, travelers as well as the household benefactors that they stay in. She is usually described as a goddess with a lovely smile and carries a pot of cooked rice or carrying a vessel of "tuba", a special liquor made from coconut tree nectar, and a symbol of brotherhood and hospitality. She is believed to be the goddess of hospitality, brotherhood and protectress of both the visitor and the host alike. She is also believed to be the deity of customs and traditions observed in every household and oversees that the ancient visayans never forget to uphold these traditions of being a good benefactor, a gracious host and also right conduct and behavior as a visitor to a certain household. It was said that when a traveler or diplomat from a foreign barangay comes to a village, he is mostly expected to pay high respects to the chief, the babaylan and the officials of the said village, bringing gifts of peace for the host, extend the hand of friendship and brotherhood with a toast from a cup of tuba in hopes that he may be allowed passage and a stay for a night. And in exchange, the leader of the said village must accept these gestures peacefully, for harming the non-aggressive visitor would incur the wrath of Taguibanua and will cause her to bring misfortunes upon the household or the visitor, depending on who committed the worst breach of manners.

THE STRICT DEITY
Taguibanua was also believed to be a strict deity and that some customs are deemed unacceptable to her. here are some fascinating old beliefs in the olden days that the Visayans practiced for the sake of being in the good graces of Taguibanua, some of them has even evolved to modern day superstitions.
  • A benefactor must never eat before the guest, or else their teeth and hands will rot or fall off.
  • Women must never sweep the floors while the guest is present or eating or else they will be single for the rest of their entire lives.
  • Women must never throw water out of the house during evenings while the guest is present or they will be crying for the rest of their lives.
  • The benefactor and his family should never sleep beside the entrance/exit of the house or else the visitor might walk over them and steal their good fortune and the height of their growing children.
  • Babies are not recommended in the room when a visitor is around or they will get sick.
  • Offer the best meat/ or head of the meat to the visitor, for it will guarantee the family abundance for a year. Handing the visitor the hind parts or entrails will cause lack of good fortune.
  • Weaponry must never be present (or remain hidden) in the dining area. It can be considered an act of aggressiveness and will cause family squabbles.
  • Visitors must never jump on a bonfire of the host family, or the maidens of the house will never marry that year.
  • Visitors must always extend the cup of friendship first unless he wants his house to be burned down.
  • Visitors must offer prayers and gifts to the household deity of the place he is staying in, or he will never accomplish his task.
  • Visitors must never give bananas to maidens of the benefactor house first, or else his wife will be carried away/run away with another man.
  • Benefactors who cannot provide a visitor's special request must compensate it with better gifts before the visitor leaves or else he will be shunned by the entire village.
  • Pregnant housewives should never serve beans or legumes of any kind to a visitor who arrives at night, or their babies will be stillborn.
  • Household members are not supposed to speak while the visitor is eating, except for the head of the family and his wife, or they will be struck dumb.
  • The household must greet the visitor first or else the children will get sick.
  • The visitor should never offend the host, not only is it a declaration of war, but his wife will be barren, his male children will be incapable of giving offspring and his daughters will grow warts and no man shall ever marry them.
  • Visitors shall never insult the host's wife and daughters or else he will turn blind/ his own wife will turn into an animal, usually a frog.
The household and the visitors both offer prayers of thanksgiving to Taguibanua together to ensure luck and protection to both parties. Harming the visitor or the host family will cause Taguibanua to punish the offending party severely threefolds and is also seen as a declaration of war by the ancient Visayans.

EVOLUTION OF IMPORTANCE THROUGH SPANISH INFLUENCE
Spanish influence caused the people to abandon their old deities and embrace the Christian religion, and Taguibanua the goddess of hospitality faded into the background of history, but the beliefs and customs of the people who once cherished this mighty goddess of hospitality has forever lived on, and evolved into some of our well-loved superstitions that continued to the modern age.

Dalikamata

DALIKAMATA
GODDESS OF THE EYES AND AGAINST EYE AILMENTS

Dalikmata, as portrayed by Ellen Adarna
GMA Network's INDIO, 2013
Dalikamata is an important deity in the Ancient Visayan society due to her role as a health goddess, more specifically the health of the eyes. During those days, when modern medicine was not yet discovered and accessible by the people of yore, people believed that the state of their health were also in the hands of the deities that surrounds them and affects their daily lives. Dalikamata is a goddess with an awesome presence. She is depicted to be a lovely maiden surrounded by thousands of eyes all around her body, each eye is capable of seeing far and near and gifted with the power of clairvoyance, keeping track of every person that lives in the village and knows each action the villagers did. She is also said to be a sympathetic goddess, weeping at night for the misfortunes and evil deeds villagers may have made during the day and her tears can be seen on earth in the form of morning dew. The babaylans of the ancient times would collect the morning dew in pots believing that the tears of the benevolent eye goddess is a wondrous miracle-worker in potions, and healing salves for the tired and defective eyes of some people.

Dalikamata also was thought to have been a liaison between the human world and the diwata world, reporting the good deeds and evil deeds of the people to both Kaptan, the Sky god, Tungkung Langit, the ruler of Ibabawnon and Saad(heaven) Pandaki, the goddess who is the savior of souls and Suguinarugan who is the god of hell,to help. It was even said that Dalikamata got so worried and scared for the villagers falling into the clutches of evil and temptation in life, and damning their souls to a harsher fate in the hell dimension of Suguinarugan that she placed some of her eyes on the wings of a butterfly to watch over them during the day, being a constant reminder to the villagers to always do good and acts of piety and repentance, while the "bukaw" a visayan species of owl, another sacred animal to Dalikamata, watches over the people at night.

She was also believed to be the diwata who can see the past, the present and the future, the tangible and the invisible, and sometimes she would impart these gifts on a few special babies upon their birth. The ancient Visayans believed that a mark of this special blessing is in the form of a mole inside the eyeball, the closer the mole to the pupils of the eye, the greater the child's sensitivity to premonitions and invisible forces surrounding them, and naturally these babies were educated by the babaylans or "ermitanyos" (hermits) and "surwanos" (healers) to their pre-destined roles in the society. Dalikamata is also said to be the guardian of the Flower-of-make-believe, a rare flower that was said to have been the first plant on earth that sprung from the first tears of Tungkung Langit when Alunsina left him, the flower itself is said to hold a fragrant nectar so sweet and powerful, that anyone who tastes it would become anyone whom/what they want to be in life and would get whatever their heart desires.

THE MANY-EYED DEITY 
Dalikamata is said to be the patron diwata of people suffering from eye diseases, defects, healers and people gifted with the third sight. Although a benevolent goddess, she is said to also cause blindness and eye troubles on the sinful and evil people in the society of yore. Healers and babaylans invoke her to give them answers through visions, dreams and premonitions, as she is the only one who can see the past, the present and the future. Households usually have altars made for her, in the hopes that the family will be spared from eye troubles and diseases. They would be offering her small tokens of appreciation, through kamangyan (a type of incense) flowers and trinkets to symbolize their devotion to the many-eyed deity.

DALIKMATA in GMA Network's Indio, 2013
Sketch artist: James/Squeegool
http://squeegool.deviantart.com/
EVOLUTION OF IMPORTANCE THROUGH SPANISH INFLUENCE
When the Spanish conquistadores came to the Philippines, and converted and preached the word of Christianity to the ancient Visayans, they also banned the worshipping of the diwatas and replaced them with religious icons instead. Thus, Dalikamata was replaced by St. Lucy (Sta. Lucia) who is the patroness saint against eye diseases and defects of the Roman Catholic religion. The villagers accepted the change and Dalikamata was slowly forgotten by most Visayan societies. Her veneration and worship is still practiced by a few Suludnon families but her contribution to the ancient people of yore, will forever be etched on the fabric of culture and Visayan mythology. 

FOOTNOTES:
Dalikmata as portrayed by Ellen Adarna
GMA Network's INDIO, 2013
Photo Credit: Dencio Isungga
  • Dalikmata = Dalikmata or Dalikamata, Dughangmata, Matinaw-aw mata, has various names depending on the tribe elders of yore telling her story around the Visayan Isles. She was the daughter of Likabutan, and sprang out of his eye and was nursed by the spring of truth, in which whoever drinks from that spring shall never tell lies. She was worshipped as a higher tier deity by the babaylans due to the fact that she grants the gift of visions, premonition, prophetic dreams, clairvoyance, and the third eye. They also collect morning dew, said to be her tears that she weeps for the sins of man against fellow man or nature every night. In the olden days, the ancestors were prone to many eye ailments and blindness due to the climate, wars, poor diet and hygiene and for remote provinces,even malnutrition. They appeal to the many-eyed goddess to cure them of these ailments and babaylans would often bless food and water in name, along with talismans for the well-being of their eyes. Eagles and Hawks are sacred to Dalikmata, creatures with excellent eyesight, said to help her see far and wide around the archipelago. The pineapple plant, especially during the Spanish regime was thought to be a gift from her and is celebrated fruit during healing sessions invoked in her name.

  • Dalikamata has thousands of eyes all over her body,and is actually feared by the early people of Panay because it is said each eye represents a person and she can see all the good and bad actions they are doing in their lifetime. She hates people who are discourteous/disrespectful and curses them with blindness and cures the worthy of eye ailments.
  • Dalikamata, for her to be called the many-eyed diwata, is referred to in theVisayan myths as the " One who cannot be surprised " for she can see the past, present and future, and also the hearts and souls of men and the realm of the spirits and the invisible". 
  • Dalikamata is a naturally silent character in myths, she doesn't say that much except she loved humans and she was entrusted by Kan-Laon tolook after his creatures to prevent them from straying. Dalikmata is the most reserved of the diwatas, an introvert and is also quite sensitive. Each night, some of her eyes cries for the evil people who committed foul acts,and in the morning her "tears" are found on vegetation as the " morning dew" which babaylans collect in bottles for their spells, especially in gaining the ability of the 3rd sight (third eye) or to gain the ability of clairvoyance.
  • Dalikamata has some noteworthy weaknesses. She has a sensitivity to perfumes, aromatic nards of animal fat, ylang ylang and herbal oils of some plants which make her drowsy and can brought her to sleep. She can also be enraptured when she sees the future, that she gets incapacitated and she cannot be disturbed, for anyone who dares touching her will be obliterated by the optic rays of her cursed eye.
  • Dalikamata is also important during barangay trials and coronations and birth of children of nobility, they invoke her so that she may always guard them althroughout life, evil schemes of overthrowing a datu will be discovered, and in case of trials, that truth shall always prevail and any criminal who escapes will be brought to justice quickly.
DALIKAMATA AND HANGIN BAI
There once was a curious story in the southern islands, in which Dalikamata was brought to sleep by Hangin Bai, to help sultan Barom Mai, the sultan she fell in love with, fetch the flower of make-believe, which can only found in the invisible jungles at the edge of the world. Some say it was a wood nymph dedicated and blessed by Dalikamata with beautiful eyes that can turn anyone she gazed into wood or stone, that was guarding the flower and was made to sleep while she snatched the flower from her hair. Nonetheless, no matter how the story goes, Dalikamata, made a resolution that this would never happen again, so she placed eyes on wings of some forest moths and butterflies, so if it happens that she falls asleep again, she will still see the works of man and spirits day and night.




Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan

BURIGADANG PADA SINAKLANG BULAWAN
GODDESS OF GREED
Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan
as portrayed by Katrina Halili
GMA Network's INDIO, 2013
Photo Credit: Dencio Isungga

Wealth and greed go hand in hand, and both are under the special guidance of the "golden deity" of the Visayan pantheon, Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan (her name usually means Coveted Gold, Desired/Precious Gold), the goddess of greed. Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan is more known to the masses as the wife of Humadapnon, one of the three heroic sons of Alunsina in the epic poem, Hinilawod. She is one of the "Three Great Beauties", a triad of sister-goddesses who descended from Maklium sa T'wan (in some oral traditions it was said that Maklium sa T'wan was grandfather, in some he is actually her mother when his female form seduced and mated with a human datu in a mining cave) She is portrayed in the stories, as a goddess who rose from the earth with beautiful golden tanned skin, a seductive body clothed in rich golden fabrics and precious minerals and gems and a face of perfection, and it was said that her aura was also "golden" that no man can resist her and her charms. She is the sister of Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata, the goddess of lust and Lubay Lubyok Mahanginun si Mahuyokhuyokan goddess of the night breeze, her uncles are Panlinugon, the god of earthquakes and of Tungkung Langit, the Pillar of Heaven whose wife is Luyong Kabig, the goddess of snakes, who is also her aunt. 


PUNISHER OF THE GREEDY 
Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan
as portrayed by Katrina Halili
GMA Network's INDIO, 2013
Photo Credit: @joanneloya
She is both venerated and feared at the same time by the ancient Visayans, because this goddess holds power over precious metals and stones and also greed. It was said that she loves punishing the greedy, her mere breath can evoke emotions of greed and jealousy to a mortal and through this she was seen as an avenger goddess, who dispenses punishment to those who are greedy, especially thieves. In Hinilawod, she made her greedy suitors fight with each other to the death, and only did her curse stop when Humadapnon championed all of her suitors and carried her away. She is sometimes depicted to be in the company of dwendes(dwarves) in a house of gold outside human settlement, they are earth spirits who knows the secrets of the earth, and it was believed that the goddess' touch can turn anything to gold, thus that makes her an important deity to metalsmiths, miners, jewelmakers.

Her association with wealth and earthly abundance makes her a popular deity during weddings, in which the guests in attendance give toast and blessings to the groom and his bride, placing the newlyweds under the guidance of Burigadang Sinaklang Bulawan, that they may flourish also in material goods in their married life. Although she was not as heavily worshipped compared to other diwatas due to her title as the goddess of greed, she is venerated as a chief deity during wedding ceremonies, and the early laws against thievery were made with her in mind, and small trinkets of her image, made of gold or silver were made for travellers to carry with them to avoid being ambushed by robbers along the way, sure that Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan may curse the wrongdoers for the rest of their mortal lives.

Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan in GMA Network's Indio, 2013
Sketch artist: James/Squeegool
http://squeegool.deviantart.com/
EVOLUTION OF IMPORTANCE THROUGH SPANISH INFLUENCE
The veneration and fear of Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan were dissuaded by the Spanish colonists and instead told the natives to believe in the Catholic faith, they also had the natives baptized by the Spanish priests and told them to destroy the shrines of their deities. However, fear is sometimes much more stronger than faith, and even if a lot of the natives started to turn to the Catholicism, they still believe that Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan walks among them, ready to dispense her own brand of justice to the greedy and evil-hearted.

Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan
as portrayed by Katrina Halili
GMA Network's INDIO, 2013
Photo Credit: Michelle Amog

RELATED STORIES

THE ORIGIN OF THE ANGGITAY (the Philippine Kentauride or the female centaur)
Once upon a time there was a beautiful girl named Angga (means " love" in visayan). She was a descendant of a datu who was punished by Lubay Lubyok ni Mahuyokhuyokan and turned into the first "taiho" or the Philippine Centaur. Angga was beautiful though very vain and selfish, such as she captured the fancy of the god Barangaw that wherever she goes, a rainbow appears. She also had a penchant for shiny things and loved jewels very much, that she isn't above stealing the jewels and precious things of others to adorn her milky white body. One day, she happened to pass by a sacred grove of Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan and saw her servants, dwarves carrying gold on sacks, and followed them, asking them as to whom this bulawan belongs. The dwarves answered with "only to the fairest among the earth's children, Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan". Angga got jealous and arrogant, and proclaimed herself being the fairest of earth's children. She then rushed home and told the villagers to build her a throne encrusted with jewels and gold and carry her back to the shrine of BPSB. Her arrogance and fury boiled over and shouted, "Nothing and no one is more fairer than me, only I deserve those earthly treasures!"

In a flash of golden light, Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan, appeared before the girl. The townspeople fled but they were all turned into yellow field mice in a flash, Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan then stepped hard on the girls toes, and they turned into golden hooves, she then conked the girl in the forehead with her golden slipper and a big ivory horn grew, she then cursed the girl for her folly of declaring higher than any deity and made her the image of her ancestor, the lusty datu, into a half-woman, half horse and everyone would flee from her hideousness. Barangaw however felt pity on the girl and blessed her with her good looks back, even though she still has a horn and is half horse, and gave her the power to ride the rainbow, and take shelter at the end of the rainbow. Up to this day, natives believe, when you see a rainbow, make sure of it, an Anggitay is at large at the end of it, still looking for Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan's coffer of gold!

Additional note: Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan made a promise that the curse that turned the girl into the first anggitay would be broken if she is able to collect 7 sacks of gold. Barangaw promised to continue helping the girl, and they would hunt for it after the rain (Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan does not like getting wet), however Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan also blew some gold dust in Angga’s eyes, which makes her see mirages of golden forms from a distant, that way she is eternally bound to her monster form for she cannot finish her task.



BURIGADANG PADA SINAKLANG BULAWAN and the MAIDSERVANTS
A long time ago, Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan had a bunch of female dwarves attending to her, and they were happy to be of service to her for she pays them with gold nuggets as much as their heart desires, and the reputation serving the beautiful deity has their merits too in the realm of elemental beings. One day however, the dwendinas were too lazy to search for rare Kachuchi leaves/or flowers for the goddess to smoke, and as everyone knows... deities are very particular when it comes to demands and tastes. The eldest of the group told her friends that they should start looking for it, lest they want to suffer a terrible fate, so they combed the forests and only after a short while, they got tired and frustrated, for they were a lazy group of dwarves. In haste they reasoned out with the eldest and pointed at a bunch of wild leaves growing on the forest floor as substitute. They also exclaimed that they will just tell the goddess it is a new discovery and worth trying. Little did they know that those leaves were the infamous sagai leaves, a plant that is sometimes linked to the family of toxic plants of either the poison sumac or ivy variety which grows in tropical conditions. They took the leaves to the diwata who was curious enough to try it. A few puffs and instantly the diwata knew something was wrong, her tongue itched and her mouth was on fire, her lips swelled twice the size in appearance, and made her face break out into rash. The diwata was furious at the disfigurement, and punished her lazy servants, turning the eldest into a toadstool mushroom (poisonous mushroom) and the rest into termite hills, vowing that any unlucky traveller who gets to taste of this innocent looking fungus will feel terrible pains, and that the mounds of soil and clay that we call now as termite hills would serve houses to terrible pests known to man, wrecking and eating their most prized possessions and homes.

Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan
as portrayed by Katrina Halili
GMA Network's INDIO, 2013
Photo Credit: @joanneloya

BURIGADANG PADA SINAKLANG BULAWAN & THE BEAUTY CONTEST
Once upon a time there was a very rich datu, Bulahon on Panay Island who finally won the hand of the woman of his dreams, a princess from the Sulu sea, and of course the entire town and every deity in the area was invited. Among the divine personages present was Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan, Bai Suga the light fairy, and Lubay Lubyok Mahanginun si Mahuyokhuyokan. The wedding feast went on for a week, and wine was generously poured to the guests, and there was constant merriment and good cheer among the people. The drunk datu however suggested that the 3 divinities present should have a friendly competition on who is the fairest of them all.

Bai Suga was one vain fairy, and would not want to lose the contest. However, she knows that she has 2 beautiful goddesses to compete against… with Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan as her biggest competition, for the golden deity is the fairest in the land next only to Alunsina. Bai Suga decided to devise a way for the audience not to take note of her main competitor’s beauty. She told the diwata, who was inebriated with alcohol by that time, " Mahal na diwata, your beauty is incomparable, every man and woman notices you, we are nothing but grains of sand beneath you." The goddess took the compliment and was very pleased, " For that you have gained a favor from me. Ask and you shall have it." The sly fairy answered " I want only one simple thing, may I suggest the location for this competition? I want to lose gracefully." The goddess was delighted to hear such a small request and gave consent.

Then the fairy told the datu to hold the competition in a very dark CAVE in the middle of the night, and whomever the people appreciates the most wins it all. After that, everyone went to the cave when midnight approached and the competition began, Lubay Lubyok Mahanginun si Mahuyokhuyokan went in first, and pleased the crowd with her sweet smelling night air, enticing their senses of smell and feeling since it was pitch-dark. Bai Suga went in second,and danced to her heart's content, everyone could see her due to her powers of light and appreciated every movement of the dance. Finally, Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan then went inside the deep cave, only to realize that she was tricked and the people could not appreciate her golden beauty, and since it was pitch dark inside, even her golden glow is no match for the extreme darkness.She was humiliated but kept silent until the datu said " My lovely goddess it is no use, we cannot see you, it is too dark. I am afraid Bai Suga won this one." The deity went from embarrassed to furious, when Bai Suga came again inside the cave to claim her prize, the deity yelled and screamed at her, tearing all her clothes off and leaving her stark naked for everyone to see, humiliating the fairy since she was "glowing" that everyone could see her. Bai Suga screamed in pain and asked for forgiveness for the trickery but Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan would have none of it. The diwata however was not finished and continued to kick and stomp the fairy until she shrunk to the size of a pea. The people could no longer hear the screaming fairy but instead they saw a small glowing bug and they followed it till they reached the exit of the cave, and they knew that the goddess turned the fairy into this insect which is now called iput-iput (since her light is at the end of her buttocks and sometimes it flashes which reminded them of droppings).

Santonilyo

SANTONILYO
GOD OF BLESSINGS
 
Santonilyo as portrayed by Kyle Jimenez
GMA Network's INDIO, 2013
Photo Credit: Dencio Isungga
Santonilyo is both an old god and a new god to the visayans. He was worshipped as one of the anitos in community and when the spanish came, this anito evolved and took on the name derived from the Christian St.Nino. In pre-spanish times, each community had their very own anito of various names who is supposed to dispense blessings and abundance on a family or a society. These anitos or spirits is usually an old ancestor who was known to have lived a virtuous life when they were alive, and due to the fact that they were known in life, they were venerated after death. Each house in ancient visayas was supposed to carry a wooden "larawan" (wooden idols) with tusks whom the family pay honor and pag-anito (worship) daily to ensure a continuous flow of blessings upon them.

MAGELLAN 
When Magellan came to the Philippines and landed in Cebu in April 1521, he was received by Rajah Humabon and his wife Humamay (some sources say her name was Amihan) and requested them to pledge allegiance to Spain and to allow the catechists to do their work and spread the tenets of Christian faith. Within a week, the Rajah and the Queen were baptized and were given the Christian names Carlos(after Holy Roman Emperor Charles V) and Juana(after Joane of Castile) and one of the Scribes, Antonio Pigafetta, an Italian Chronicler presented to the Queen an image of the St.Nino, to which she fell in love with immediately and said she was ready to renounce her animist ways and accept the Child Jesus, it was even reported that as she received the figure, she was overjoyed and wept, bathing the statue with her tears as she is hugging it, and after her baptism, 800 other Cebuanos were also baptized and were given an image of the Virgin Mary and Ecce Homo, a depiction of Jesus before Pontus Pilate and a crucifix.

Santonilyo in GMA Network's Indio, 2013
Sketch artist: James/Squeegool
http://squeegool.deviantart.com/
But the Spaniards underestimated the power of the animist faith, as it is deeply ingrained within the people, a few days later, Magellan was shocked to discover that Rajah Humabon still kept his idols and was astounded by the discovery that not only are animist shrines present in every homes but can also be found in fields and even in grave sites. It was thought that the Queen readily accepted the Sto. Nino because it looked more regal, refined, and decked out in foreign finery unlike her wooden larawans with tusks that looked old and grimy, coupled with the fact that the natives were in awe of their Spanish visitors. Nonetheless, sources say that Magellan became a champion of Rajah Humabon and requested all the other chiefs of Cebu to surrender, and he personally sailed to Mactan and unbeknownst to him, Lapu Lapu was ready and waiting to strike them. Magellan died in that encounter, the Spanish forces retreated back to Humabon, but were unaware that the repudiation of the newfound faith has already started among Humabon's people, abandoning the Catholic faith once more in favor of the old religion. On May 1, 1521, Humabon ordered the massacre of the Spanish Survivors during a banquet, and some of them (Pigafetta included), escaped back to Europe, and nothing was documented about what happened to the Sto. Nino image.

Santonilyo as portrayed by Kyle Jimenez
GMA Network's INDIO, 2013
According to Nicomedes Marquez Joaquin, a Filipino historian, as stated in his works in 1980… when the Spanish conquistadores came once more 44 years later, they discovered that there was a new god in the pantheon of the visayans. A native version of the Sto. Nino whom they call Santonilyo. The new god is in the form of a child and was said to have reached the islands when a fisherman caught a piece of Agipo (a stump or driftwood) and when he tried to burn it, the driftwood would not burn and instead started to form in the shape of the St. Nino or Santonilyo
and blessed the fisherman with abundance and a better life. Santonilyo was also worshipped as a rain god for 4 decades since the spanish first arrived, blessing the natives with rain to the land during times of drought, as shown by this passage and ritual:

During drought, the ancient Cebuanos would bathe the image in the sea, just as mentioned in the Sto. NiƱo’s gozos published in an 1888 novena:

Santonilyo as portrayed by Kyle Jimenez
GMA Network's INDIO, 2013
“Cun ulan ang pangayoon
Ug imong pagadugayon
Dadad-on ca sa baybayon
Ug sa dagat pasalomon,
Ug dayon nila macuha
Ang ulan nga guitinguha”

(If they seek rain
And you delay it
You’d be brought to the shore
And bathed in the sea,
And they then obtain
The rain they desire.
—Translation by author)

The image regained it's Christian significance when Juan de Camuz, a soldier in Legazpi's fleet found the image inside a wooden chest in one of the burnt houses. It's rediscovery was later construed as an auspicious sign by Legazpi to continue subjugating Cebu and the entire archipelago for the Spanish crown. However, Santonilyo's fame is already widespread among the other islands of the Visayas, reaching as far as Mindoro, Panay, Negros, Bohol, Siquijor, Samar and Leyte. And even if, the Sto. Nino's devotion as a Catholic figure flourished and thrived in the Philippine archipelago, Visayans who were untouched by the Spanish rule continue to offer pag-anito to their beloved Santonilyo even to this day.

Suklang Malayon

SUKLANG MALAYON
DEITY OF HOMES and PROTECTRESS OF HAPPINESS

Magayon, a character loosely based on Suklang Malayon
as portrayed by Rhian Ramos
GMA Network's INDIO, 2013
The ancient visayans also worship a goddess of the home and hearth in the form of Suklang Malayon, who is also the goddess of families and happiness. Suklang Malayon is known as the protective sister of Alunsina and is described as a fair lady surrounded by birds, which serves as her messengers. In the epic poem, Hinilawod, Suklang Malayon discovered the plan of Maklium sa T'wan of flooding the plains to drown Alunsina and Datu Paubari. She warned the couple of this impending danger and advised them to retreat to the mountains and hide there until the great deluge passed. The flood destroyed the plains and the couple's home and when all is safe and sound once more, Suklang Malayon ordered her winged friend (some say it's a maya bird and some say it was Suklang Malayon in the guise of the bird) to deliver the news to the couple that it is safe to return and build their house once more.

Magayon, a character loosely based
on Suklang Malayon in GMA Network's Indio, 2013
Sketch artist: James/Squeegool
http://squeegool.deviantart.com/
Suklang Malayon is honored by housewives, mothers, aunts, sisters, and the womenfolk. She symbolizes compassion and sympathy and is a constant reminder of the sisterly bonds women of the village share with each other, and women who look for help and compassion are in her care, and it was said that any woman who rejects their fellow woman in need in the care of this goddess is said to incur the anger of Suklang Malayon and would be punished by chaos and disasters at home as well as loss and unsatisfaction in life. Birds, especially the humble maya, is said to be messengers and friends of this benevolent goddess, since birds make homes themselves in the form of nests and usually near human settlements and sings happy melodies especially during mating season. It was believed to be good luck to find maya birds in a person's backyard or in makeshift kitches in which the visayan ancestors cook, because they believed that Suklang Malayon is visiting their homes and blesses them with happiness. It was also believed that Suklang Malayon hates noises, especially from pots, and banging a pot with a ladle drives her away and invites evil spirits instead, thus mothers always warn their children never to play with the kitchenware, in fear the goddess would leave their homes and therefore lose her patronage and protection. Important events of the household is a time of worship for Suklang Malayon, like cleaning the rice, cleaning the house, doing laundry and most especially, cooking and preparing the family meal. Women pray to her as they do their household duties, asking her to bless them and their cooking so that their husbands would always return to them and their children would grow up to be strong and healthy individuals.
Munsad Buralakaw and Suklang Malayon watching over a family
from the Children's Artbook of Marla Yotoko Chorengel
Illustrated by Bernadette C. Solina

EVOLUTION OF IMPORTANCE THROUGH SPANISH INFLUENCE
The worship of Suklang Malayon may have ceased to most visayans when the spanish inquisition flourished in the islands, however, local customs and household superstitions regarding her continued, examples of these are the prohibition of banging the pots and pans with a ladle during cooking, never cry or argue while cooking or you will lose a loved one, never clean the house during dusk and at night, and never eat the rice out of the pot directly unless you want to have your fortunes reversed to bad luck and risk your family being poor for the rest of their lives. Superstitions revolving around the goddess of the homes are numerous and practiced by many Visayans until now, and it is through these that the memory of this benevolent deity is well and alive in the hearts of present-day Visayans.

Munsad Buralakaw

MUNSAD BURALAKAW
DEITY OF HUMAN AFFAIRS & POLITICS

Munsad Buralakaw as portrayed by Raul Dillo
GMA Network's AMAYA, 2011
He is the diwata in charge of human affairs and politics, an important deity of the Visayan ancestors whom they both praise and honor as a protector of their communities and also in charge of their fates and the state of the nation. He is described as a refined god who loves order and peace, yet at the same time admires the bravado of heroes, chieftains and their armies. It is said that he is present in every community council, observing and lending a hand of inspiration to the datus, babaylans and other important figures of ancient Visayan society. He has the power to inspire great leaders, guide and bless heroes on their quests, give blessings and good fortune to a community, yet also has the power to take it all away in one fell swoop of his hand. Munsad Buralakaw also is believed to be one of the deities who loves to make his presence known to the early people, either in dreams or in real life situations by disguising himself either as a lone traveller or a poor beggar, observing and judging community life and testing it's inhabitants when it comes to their hospitality, generosity and kindness. It was also said that communities who drove him away from the village in his guise as a dirty vagabond or a beggar were punished severely for their selfishness and evil ways by allowing them to be captured by the enemy and civil unrest, while he bestowed glory and fame to the inhabitants of communities who treated him with kindness.

PATRON OF DATUS, HEROES 
Munsad Buralakaw is said to be the patron of datus, heroes, war leaders, the chief babaylan, doctors and young adults due to his power of affecting a person's fate, either good or bad. Offerings were made to him during important community events like rites of passage, crowning or election of community leaders and datus, weddings, births, even during judgement of prisoners of war and wrongdoers, in which the datu and the chief babaylan ask his guidance that they may give the correct sentence and punishment to the wicked and determine and save the innocent and wrongly accused. In a sense, one can say that Munsad Buralakaw is one of the most important deities in ancient Visayan Society due to his central role in them.

Munsad Buralakaw and Suklang Malayon watching over a family
from the Children's Artbook of Marla Yotoko Chorengel
Illustrated by Bernadette C. Solina
EVOLUTION OF IMPORTANCE THROUGH SPANISH INFLUENCE
 When the Spanish conquistadores came and introduced Christianity, Munsad Buralakaw's worship weakened and was replaced by the worship of Christ. The belief of Munsad Buralakaw's central role in the lives of the people were discredited by the Spanish lawmakers and friars, telling the Visayans that worshipping him and the other diwatas were wrong and in his stead, the teachings of Catholicism and faith in the Catholic Christian's God was planted in the hearts and minds of the people. Now, only a few ethnic Visayan groups believe in Munsad Buralakaw, and through them and their descendants, he remains as one of the most important gods of their daily lives.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Chapter 4: Gods of the Human Society

The Ancient Visayans also believed in deities that govern their own day-to-day lives, from important community decisions to even simple household tasks, as they trust that a deity is there to guide them to success or curse them with failure if they fail to acknowledge their presence. They have specific deities that preside upon them through important community events such as choosing leaders, declaring war, weddings, death and birth of a new life. Unexplainable and common human actions, state of being and feelings are also said to be works of diwatas, such as greed, lust, happiness, justice, and even salvation. There are also gods that preside over illness and healing, the body and the soul. These special gods hold a special reverence in every Visayan home, just as much as the people of yore have high respect for the gods of nature. Old folktales in Negros says that after the creation of the world was finished and the world is starting to be populated by the first people, Kan-laon gave a "spark of his/her divinity" which prompted to the different gods of the sky, land and sea to be born, in this story, the nature gods came first to make sure everything was ready for the first humans, and the gods of the human society came second after the first humans have established the first community. Another tale is that, after the mighty Kaptan killed his grandchildren and set them in the heavens as the sun. moon, and stars, and threw the body of Licalibutan on earth to make the first islands, the mysterious god Kan-laon used some of his power to bring back the life to these heavenly bodies and used the essence of Licalibutan to jumpstart the birth of the earth gods and later the gods of the human society. No matter how these deities started and influenced the daily lives of ancient Visayans, they played a role that gives us all a hint of how early civilization and the Visayan culture started and evolved until the Spanish conquistadores arrive, and although most of these deities were no longer worshipped today, they will always have a special part in molding the Visayan culture that we have today.

An illustration of Kan-laon sharing a "spark of divinity"
which gave life to the diwatas of nature and human society.
From Children's artbook of Maria Yotoko Chorengel
Illustrated by: Bernadette C. Solina


MAIKLUM SA T'WAN

MAKLIUM SA T'WAN
GOD OF THE PLAINS, FOREST AND MOST ANIMALS

He is a deity in the Sulodnon pantheon that is featured prominently during the first part of Hinilawod as the most aggressive suitor of the virgin goddess Alunsina. Among all the suitors of the goddess, Maklium sa T'wan (sometimes called BAKHAW in the play) was the angriest when she chose to have the mortal, Datu Paubari as her husband. This mighty diwata devised a plan with his brothers to drown the couple while they are inside their house on the plains with a flash flood, though his plans were thwarted by Suklang Malayon who warned her sister and her brother-in-law to escape before the flood destroys their house.

Bakhaw, also known in Hiligaynon mythology
as Maklium sa T'wan from the Hinilawod Comics website
@ hinilawod.posterous.com
THE EARTH GOD
Maklium sa T'wan is the god of the plains, the forests and most animals, except for the snakes and reptiles of the land, and is considered to be one of the primary earth deities due to his vast association with the land, the flora and the fauna and as such is treated by the ancient Visayans with much reverence and respect. Maklium sa T'wan is also thought to be the ancestor of the diwatas who live on land and deities who govern human society. Being the resident earth god of the pantheon, a position that usually falls on a woman due to their nurturing nature and ability to produce offspring (i.e. Gaia of Greek mythology, Papa of Polynesian mythology) he is also thought to have the power of duality, having the ability to split himself into male and female spirits and mate with the other spirits of the land to produce more godly offspring, while others say he has the ability to give birth to other deities without any help at all. Among his descendants were Panlinugon, an underworld god and lord of earthquakes, the lesser Tungkung Langit who supports the sky on his shoulders, and his wife Luyong Kabig, his granddaughters Lubay Lubyok Mahanginun si Mahuyokhuyokan, the goddess of the night breeze, Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata, the lust goddess and bride of darkness, and the golden deity of greed, Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan to name a few. Maklium sa T'wan himself was said to have descended from the essence of Licalibutan, god of the world when he died and his body fellon earth to form the great islands, some tales in the South say he appeared when Kan-Laon gave a part of his/her "spark of divinity" to all aspects of nature and space, giving birth to the diwatas governing both nature and human society.

He was widely worship by many tribes before, especially during planting and harvest seasons, hunting seasons and even during weather invocation ceremonies. Babaylans would often pray to him for signs and visions to guide them when would be the best time to plant and hunt for food. They would also give him blood sacrifices after a successful hunt as thanksgiving and tribal huntsmen were careful not to harm the young and were careful to avoid "sacred" areas in the forest, in fear that they may anger the forest god and will be punished by an incurable disease or pestilence and famine on their tribe.

from a Children's artbook by Maria Yotoko Chorengel
Illustrated by: Bernadette C. Solina

EVOLUTION OF IMPORTANCE THROUGH SPANISH INFLUENCE
When the Spanish regime started on the Philippines, the worship of this deity suffered and declined, having to compete with the teachings of Christianity and the baptism of most Visayans to the new faith. His altars were replaced by churches, chapels and icons of Christ, the Virgin Mary and the Saints, nowadays only a few untouched tribes that escaped the modernization of the world revere Maklium sa T'wan, but his name will never be forgotten by the Philippine people due to his part in the epic poem of Hinilawod.