Philippine Mythology | The Story of Bathala | Malakas and Maganda| The Legend of Maria Makiling

The Story of Bathala

BathalaIn the beginning of time, there were three powerful gods who lived in the universe, although they did not know each other. The three gods were Bathala, the caretaker of the earth, Ulilang Kaluluwa (Orphaned Spirit), a huge serpent who lived in the clouds, and Galang Kaluluwa (Wandering Spirit), the winged god who loves to travel.

Bathala often dreamt of creating humans due to loneliness, but the empty earth forbids him to do so. One day, while Ulilang Kaluluwa was visiting the Earth, his favorite place, he met Bathala. Ulilang Kaluluwa was not pleased for he sees another god rivaling him, and so challenged Bathala to a fight to decide who would be the ruler of the universe. After three days and three nights of fighting, Bathala killed Ulilang Kaluluwa and burned his remains.

A few years later, Galang Kaluluwa wandered into Bathala’s home. The winged god was welcomed by Bathala with much kindness and invited him to live in his kingdom. The two gods became true friends, and they happily spent many years together.

However, Galang Kaluluwa became very ill. Before he died, he instructed Bathala to bury him on the spot where Ulilang Kaluluwa’s body was burned. Bathala did exactly as he was told. Out of the grave of the two gods sprouted a coconut tree. Bathala took a big round nut from the tall tree and husked it. The nut reminded him of the Galang Kaluluwa’s head, while the leaves reminded him of his friend’s wings. He also noticed that the trunk was hard and ugly like the body of his enemy, Ulilang Kaluluwa.

Bathala realized that he was ready to create the creatures he wanted with him on earth. He created the plants, animals, and the first man and woman. Out of the trunk and leaves of the coconut trees, Bathala built a house for the people. The first people drank the coconut juice and ate its delicious white meat for food. They used the leaves of the coconut trees for making mats, hats, and brooms. They also used the fibers of coconut trunk for making rope and many other things.

Back to top

Malakas and Maganda

Malakas and MagandaWhen the world first began, there was no land, only the sea and the sky, and between them was a crow. One day this bird, which has no where to land, grew tired of flying around, so she stirred up the sea until it threw its waters against the sky. The sky, in order to restrain the sea, showered upon it many islands until it could no longer rise but instead flow back and forth, making a tide. Then the sky ordered the crow to land on one of the islands to build her nest and to leave the sea and the sky in peace. From then on the crow lived peacefully, so as the other birds in the islands between the sea and the sky.

Now at this time the land wind and the sea wind were married, and they had a child which was a bamboo. One day when this bamboo was floating beside the seashore when it struck the feet of the crow who was on the beach. Shocked, hurt and angered; the crow hysterically pecked at the bamboo until it split into two section, and out one section came out a man named Malakas (Strong), and from the other a woman named Maganda (Beautiful).

Then the earthquake called on all the birds and fishes to see what should be done with these two, and it was decided that they should marry. Many children were born to the couple, and from them came all the different races of people.

After a while the parents grew very tired of having so many idle and useless children around. They wished to be rid of them, but they knew of no place to send them. Time went on, and the children became so numerous that the parents enjoyed no peace. One day, in desperation, the father seized a stick and began beating them.

This so frightened the children that they fled in different directions, seeking hidden rooms in the house. Some concealed themselves in the walls, some ran outside, others hid in the earthen stove, and several fled to the sea.

Now it happened that those who went into the hidden rooms of the house later became the chiefs of the islands, and those who concealed themselves in the walls became slaves, while those who ran outside were free men. Those who hid in the stove became the dark-skinned and curled haired aetas or negritos. Those who fled to the sea were gone many years, and when their children came back, they were the foreigners.

Back to top

The Legend of Maria Makiling

Maria Makiling

According to legend, there was a time when the gods could live like ordinary mortals do. Although these gods were enchanted, they could speak, love, and even go to the market like what people do in our time. This story tells what happened to the daughter of two such deities. This is the story of Mariang Makiling.

Two deities, Dayang Makiling and Gat Panahon, had an only daughter name Maria. Because of her beauty and charm, she was the delight of her parents. The source of their joy and strength, Maria was, to them, a jewel, a treasure that made life full of light and laughter.

At that time people could talk with the deities face to face, and even sit with them side by side underneath a tree. People could also ask for help when they were in need, provided that they asked in a solemn manner.

It was the custom of Maria to go to a small market, sometimes called talipapa, on weekdays. Just like other women, she would on such occasions wear clothes made of silk and embroidered with flowers and wide stripes for this was the fashion at that time. Maria had long, black abundant hair which she usually decorated with pomelo flowers. When she went to the market, her flowing hair would touch her ankles. As she passed along, gallant men would bow their heads to signify their respect.

When Maria went to the market, she was always accompanied by two Aetas, who served as her servants. These two servants stayed close behind Maria, and they both carried a basket each that was full of golden ginger. These golden ginger Maria would barter for such items needed for the home. There was no money at that time, and instead of buying, people bartered and exchanged their goods for the things that they needed.

On a market day, the residents of the area are not the only ones who would go to the talipapa. Merchants and people from neighboring towns would also go to the market. One day, Gat Dula, the ruler of the kingdom of Bay, came to the talipapa to while away the hours. A piece of animal skin with fine hair caught Gat Dula's eye and he reached out to touch the fur. At the same moment, Maria was also reaching towards the same piece of animal skin and their shoulders accidentally touched. Their eyes met and Gat Dula bowed his head as a sign of respect and apology. And Maria responded with a shy smile as they parted from each other's company.

Since that first encounter, Gat Dula often visited the talipapa but he was not able to see Maria during these visits. One day, he saw Maria at the very place where they first met. He approached Maria and greeted her and Maria responded with a very sweet smile.

That was the beginning of their friendship which blossomed into love as the months passed. As time passed, the love affair between Gat Dula and Maria came to be known to Gat Panahon, Maria's father. Gat Panahon was angry. Even Dayang Makiling, Maria's mother, was distresssed that her only daughter was in love with a mortal. Maria was then forbidden to go down to earth. Her parents even took away from Maria the power of enchantment which enabled a deity to look and act like an ordinary mortal. But even though Maria and Gat Dula could no longer meet physically, their love endured. Maria continued to watch over Gat Dula. During a battle with the army of Lakan Bunto, the ruler of a neighboring kingdom who invaded the kingdom of Bay, Gat Dula did not suffer a single wound due to the support of Maria's enchantment.

Unfortunately, Gat Dula's inability to see Maria caused him to fall ill and die. Maria asked the gods to give her the soul of Gat Dula and her request was granted.

Back to top

reation story. (n.d.). 1 Mar 2010 <>
Nestor Redondo gallery. (n.d.). 1 Mar 2010 <>
Philippine mythology. (n.d.). 1 Mar 2010 <>