Friday, August 30, 2013



"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.

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.

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.

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