Monday, October 18, 2010


Erle Frayne D. Argonza / Ra

Let me bring you another folk lore from the Malays: the creation myth of the Tagalogs. Tagalogs are the ethnic groups of Luzon island in the Philippines, from whose dialect came forth the foundations of the national language of Filipino.

Tagalog is a coinage of Taga Ilog, literally meaning “from the river.” The river in the term is a referent for the hydrological societies that pervaded the Philippine archipelago prior to the advent of western imperialism and colonialism.

A nation richly endowed with folklore, with myths and legends, the Philippines counts among its popular lores the myth of ‘Malakas and Maganda’. Literally, it translates as ‘myth of Strong (Malakas) and Beautiful (Maganda).’

The myth goes that there was once a bamboo floating listlessly by the oceans. The bamboo finally ceased to float as it landed on a coast in the Philippines. As it did so, a white dove flying above descended on the bamboo and pecked it accordingly. The bamboo then split, and out came Malakas and Maganda. The Filipinos are their descendants.

A very ancient narrative, the mythos is, to my mind, a repository of a science that was already known in the ancient times: the science of birthing. Such a science was eventually lost, as the end of the ice age inundated land masses, sunk continental chunks of lands, and led to a dark age of sorts.

Despite the retreat of civilization after the end of the last glacial period, the survivors found ample means to preserve the knowledge and information that they could preserve through folklore (myths & legends). Let’s take the signifiers one by one.

• Let’s take the case of the sea/ocean first of all. The water in the seas is a signifier for the amniotic fluid inside the mother’s womb. In the womb is, of course, the ovum which is a facility for birthing.

• The bamboo, with its nodes, long and pliant, is signifier for the DNA/genes. It is unimaginable to create humans without the genetic vehicle for their making, the vehicle being no other than the DNA.

• The dove is a bird. The bird is signifier for ‘desire’ and the phallus as well. Both desire and phallus are key biological facilities in creating life forms. The bird pecking the bamboo signifies the procreation act.

• From inside the bamboo, one presumably finds the masculine (Malakas) and feminine (Maganda) elements or identities. Which is what it is: both masculine and feminine genes are already inherently present in the DNA.

• Having both a Malakas (masculine) and a Maganda (feminine) in one space, co-equal, refers to the law of duality. The DNA has two (2) strands, gender has two identities (male, female), and so on.

• The soil, as indicated by the coast, signifies the elements of the Earth. All such elements are present in the human body. Without such elements, without biological matter containing such elements, babies can’t be produced. Soil is matter, from the Latin word ‘mater’ or matter, as it is also the feminine element (mother, mater).

That Malakas and Maganda simultaneously came out together from the same bamboo signifies the gender equality among the ancient Malays. Patriarchy was alien to the Malays, who were among the last subraces of the Atlantean ‘root race’ to evolve in history.

Patriarchy was largely imposed from the outside: from Islam it was imposed upon southern Filipinos, from Christianity unto Northern Filipinos. Indians and Chinese also migrated to the islands, introducing their brand of patriarchy.

Yet no matter how much tons of debris may have buried the ancient ways of the Tagalogs/Filipinos, they were not totally buried after all. One only needs to mine their folklores, of which volumes of documentation works were already published, to be able to extract and unveil hidden truths.

As I’ve been saying all along, the contributions of Malays to the Teaching (‘God’s Word, higher mysteries) are found more in their folklores rather than their scriptures. Malayan scriptures are Islamic, Buddhist, and Christian, or impositions from outside. Folklores are originally their creative production, and are repositories of High Knowledge and wisdom. Such a thesis is exemplified by the Tagalog creation myth.

[Philippines, 22 May 2010]


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