Filipino myths and legends are a treasure trove of storytelling that resonates with society even today. Many Filipinos, both young and old, have grown up hearing about the stories of these heroes.
Mythology is all about storytelling; it tells centuries-old stories to teach people values about bravery, love, honesty, and community.
These Filipino mythological heroes show how strong and brave they can be in the face of adversity. These characters provide an empowering story to people, a window into our history and culture.
Who are the five Filipino mythical heroes you need to know?
Bathala, also known as ‘maykapal’ or ‘abba’ in Philippine mythology, is the highest-ranking god of the ancient Tagalog people. Bathala is represented as being incredibly humanlike. Bathala created everything, including the sea, sky, earth, and all vegetation. Bathala represents divine entities that protect nature from outside forces like external enemies and natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes.
He inhabited the highest region of the sky. Bathala's origins are unknown. Bathala is so strong that no one dares to dispute his demand for loyalty and devotion.
Haliya and Bakunawa
Haliya is a Bicolano mythological moon goddess who descends to earth to bathe in its waters regularly. According to legend, the world was once ignited by seven moons. These moons were wiped up by the bakunawa, a mythological beast found in the early Bicolano and Hiligaynon civilizations.
Tungkung Langit and Alunsina
Tungkung Langit is a well-known god among Panay's Suludnon people. He is their interpretation of the 'creator,' who created the universe from primordial chaos. Tungkung Langit was a minor deity and the brother of Panlinugon, the god of earthquakes, in other Visayan pantheons.
While Alunsina, also known as "laon-sina," is the "virgin goddess" of the eastern sky and the wife of Tungkung Langit ("Pillar of Heaven"). Alunsina's name has been said to be the "Unmarried One" in a Panay rendition of the Creation Myth.
Apolaki is a Tagalog and Pangasinan deity. His name, Apolaki, literally means "great lord," derived from the term "apo," which is a title for the lord and a phrase for someone significant and offered with respect, and "laki," which means "big."
He is also the polar opposite of Aring Sinukuan, the Kapampangan ultimate god, both a Sun and War God.
According to the Ancient Visayans of the South, the first goddess of the water and sea is Magwayen, who Kanlaon created to balance Kaptan, the Sky God.
She personifies the vast ocean that encompasses the entire globe.
Magwayen is said to be a nurturing source of food for our Malay ancestors, who rely on the abundance of fish and kinds of seafood to feed their barangays or "community."
Still, she is also known to be fierce and violent at times, capable of causing giant tsunamis and heavy rains when she is enraged.
Mythology is one of the most important aspects of Filipino history. It’s the untainted part of our history. They are stories that have been passed down from generation to generation, often with many variations and interpretations. They are stories that are made by our ancestors, unruled by any colonial culture.
These stories have become the roots of our society--the beginning of who we are. Stories that should be valued and treasured.