• Diwata or Lambana is a mythological figure similar to fairies or nymphs, although this trivializes the importance of diawata in pre-colonial Philippine culture. 400+ years ago, diawata were seen as gods and goddesses. They were benevolent or neutral and could be called upon ritually for positive crop growth, health, and fortune; however, they also caused illness or misfortune if not given proper respect. They are said to reside in large trees, such as acacia and balete and are the guardian spirits of nature, casting blessings or curses upon those who bring benefits or harm to the forests and mountains. They have their origin in the Hindu Devata, with the term Diwata originating from the Indonesian Dewata.
  • The term "diwata" has taken on various levels of meaning since its concept's being assimilated into the mythology of the pre-colonial Filipinos. It is sometimes loosely used to refer to a generic type of beings much like "elf" or "fairy," or very specific ones as mentioned above. It has been noted that the term "diwata" is synonymous to "anito," and that the usage of the word "diwata" is more prevalent in the Southern Philippines, while "anito" takes its place in the Northern areas.


  • Although there are numerous and varied accounts as to how they should look like, a general trend may be observed in that they are normally human in appearance--beautiful and seemingly ageless at that--save for some distinct characteristics. This may take the form of not having a philtrum or having continuously smooth and supple skin that somehow resemble fingernails, without any wrinkled parts as in the elbows and knees. They also tend to be fairer than average, as pale skin has been associated with the supernatural even during pre-colonial times (for example, the "white lady" belief is prevalent in the East and Southeast Asian regions), though the characteristics of having nose bridges and blonde hair are suspiciously colonial in nature.


  • A male diwata is also called enkanto, and it resides primarily in the sea. It is customary for Filipino fishermen to offer meat and other delicacies to the enkanto by throwing them into the sea, after a day's bountiful catch.

In the Tagbanua mythology, the diwatas are considered equivalent to other creation gods such as, Bathala and Kan-Laon, in the sense that, they are also creators of the world and of the human beings. Although Mangindusa is considered their supreme being, he was traditionally more of a punisher of crime (dusa) rather than the sole "creator" of the world.

Some prominent diwatas include:

  • Maria Makiling, guardian of Mount Makiling in Laguna province
  • Maria Sinukuan, guardian of Mount Arayat in Pampanga province
  • Maria Cacao, guardian of Mount Lantoy in Argao, Cebu
  • Maria Magayon , guardian of Mount Mayon in Albay

In other parts of the Philippines, diwata is analogous to the Greek gods and goddesses. Some of the famous Diwata are:

  • Apolake (or Adlaw), god of the sun
  • Amanikable, the ruler of the seas
  • Anitan, the guardian of lightning.
  • Bathala (also known as Kabunian, Malayari, Apo, and Lumawig) the ruler of the heavens
  • Dian Masalanta the goddess of love,
  • Mayari (or Bulan in other areas), the goddess of the moon,
  • Tala, goddess of the stars


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