Philippine Folklore and Mythology

Philippine Folklore and Mythology

Philippine mythology and folklore include a collection of tales and superstitions about magical creatures and entities. Some Filipinos, even though heavily westernized and christianized, still believe in such entities. The prevalence of belief in the figures of Philippine mythology is strong in the provinces.

Because the country has many islands and is inhabited by different ethnic groups, Philippine mythology and superstitions are very diverse. However, certain similarities exist among these groups, such as the belief in Heaven (kaluwalhatian, kalangitan','kamurawayan), Hell (impiyerno, kasanaan), and the human soul (kaluluwa).

Philippine Folk Literature

  • Philippine mythology is derived from Philippine folk literature, which is the traditional oral literature of the Filipino people. This refers to a wide range of material due to the ethnic mix of the Philippines. Each unique ethnic group has its own stories and myths to tell.
While the oral and thus changeable aspect of folk literature is an important defining characteristic, much of this oral tradition had been written into a print format. To point out that folklore in a written form can still be considered folklore, Utely pointed out that folklore "may appear in print, but must not freeze into print."It should be pointed out that all the examples of folk literature cited in this article are taken from print, rather than oral sources.

University of the Philippines professor, Damiana Eugenio, classified Philippine Folk Literature into three major groups: folk narratives, folk speech, and folk songs.Folk narratives can either be in prose: the myth, the alamat (legend), and the kuwentong bayan (folktale), or in verse, as in the case of the folk epic. Folk speech includes the bugtong (riddle) and the salawikain (proverbs). Folk songs that can be sub-classified into those that tell a story (folk ballads) are a relative rarity in Philippine folk literature. These form the bulk of the Philippines' rich heritage of folk songs.

The Philippine pantheon

  • The stories of ancient Philippine mythology include deities, creation stories, mythical creatures, and beliefs. Ancient Philippine mythology varies among the many indigenous tribes of the Philippines. Some tribes during the pre-Spanish conquest era believed in a single Supreme Being who created the world and everything in it, while others chose to worship a multitude of tree and forest deities (diwatas). Diwatas came from the Sanskrit word devadha which means "deity", one of the several significant Hindu influences in the Pre-Hispanic religion of the ancient Filipinos.
Mythological creatures

  • Filipinos also believed in mythological creatures. The Aswang is one the most famous of these Philippine mythological creatures. The aswang is a ghoul or vampire, an eater of the dead, and a werewolf. Filipinos also believed in the Dila (The Tongue), a spirit that passes through the bamboo flooring of provincial houses, then licks certain humans to death.[citation needed] Filipino mythology also have fairies (diwata and engkanto), dwarfs (duwende), kapre (a tree-residing giant), manananggal (a self-segmenter), witches (mangkukulam), spirit-summoners (mambabarang), goblins (nuno sa punso), ghosts (multo), fireballs (Santelmo), mermaids (sirena), mermen (siyokoy), demon-horses (tikbalang) and demon-infants (tiyanak). Indian Influence

The Philippines has cultural ties with India through the Indianized kingdoms of Southeast Asia. Ancient Filipino literature and folklore show the impress of India. The Agusan legend of a man named Manubo Ango, who was turned into stone, resembles the story of Ahalya in the Hindu epic Ramayana. The tale of the Ifugao legendary hero, Balituk, who obtained water from the rock with his arrow, is similar to Arjuna's adventure in Mahabharata, another Hindu epic. The Ramayana have different versions among the many Philippine ethnic groups. The Ilocanos have the story of Lam-Ang. The Darangan, or Mahariada Lawana, is the Maranao version of the Ramayana.

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