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 groups 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 devata which means “deity“, one of the several significant Hindu influences in the Pre-Hispanic religion of the ancient Filipinos. Below are some of the gods and goddesses among the Tagalogs of the ancient Philippines:
The Tagalog people are a major ethnic group in the Philippines. They form a majority in Manila, Marinduque and southern Luzon, and a plurality in Central Luzon and the islands of Mindoro, Palawan, and Romblon.
Good Tagalog Deities in Ancient Philippine Mythology
The first part as shown below were the residents of Kaluwalhatian (the Ancient Tagalog Skyworld). The list is divided into generations based on common beliefs about the offspring of the gods.
FIRST GENERATION GODS:
Bathala – The supreme god of being; creator of man and earth and addressed sometimes as Bathalang Maykapal. He dwells in Kaluwalhatian together with the lesser gods and goddesses. Aside from the lesser gods and goddesses, he sent his anitos in order to assist the daily lives of every human. When most of the natives were converted to Christianity during the Spanish Era, he was referred to the Christian God. [Click here to learn more about Bathala]
Amanikable – Originally this god was worshipped as the god of Hunters. In more modern stories he has become associated as the ill-tempered god of the sea, replacing Aman Sinaya among of the first generation gods (aside from Bathala), he was never married after his love was spurned by a beautiful mortal maiden, Maganda. In frustration, he swore vengeance against the humans by sending turbulent waves and horrible tempests in order to wreck boats and to drown men.
Idiyanale – The goddess of labor and good deeds. Natives used to call for her guidance in order to make their works successful. She married Dimangan and had two offspring.
Dimangan The god of good harvest. He was married to Idiyanale and had two offspring.
Ikapati – The goddess of cultivated land. She was the most understanding and kind among the deities of Bathala. Her gift to man was agriculture. As the benevolent giver of food and prosperity, she was respected and loved by the people. From her came fertility of fields and health of flocks and herds.
Ikapati was said to have married Mapulon, god of seasons. They had a daughter named Anagolay, who became the goddess of lost things. When Anagolay attained maidenhood, she married Dumakulem, son of Idianale and Dumangan, by whom she had two children, Apolake, who became god of the sun and patron of warriors, and Dian Masalanta, who became goddess of lovers.
Lakapati – Often confused with Ikapati from variant Tagalog pantheons, Lakapati was a major fertility deity. During sacrifices made in a new field, the farmer would hold up a child and say, “Lakapati, pakanin mo yaring alipin mo; huwag mong gutumin [Lakapati, feed this thy slave; let him not hunger]” (San Buenaventura 1613, 361).
Prominent among deities who received full-blown sacrifices were fertility gods. Lakapati, fittingly represented by a hermaphrodite image with both male and female parts, was worshiped in the fields at planting time.
Mapulon – The god of seasons and husband of Ikapati of whom they had a daughter.
SECOND GENERATION GODS:
Mayari – The goddess of the moon and one of the three daughters of Bathala by a mortal woman. She was the most charming of all the goddesses. She had two sisters, Tala and Hanan.
Tala – The goddess of the stars; sister of Mayari and Hanan and one of the three daughters of Bathala by a mortal woman.
Hanan – The goddess of morning; sister of Mayari and Tala and one of the three daughters of Bathala by a mortal woman.
Dumakulem – The strong, agile guardian of mountains and the son of Idiyanale and Dimangan. His sister was Anitun Tabu. He later married Anagolay.
Anitun Tabu – The fickle-minded goddess of wind and rain. She was the daughter of Idiyanale and Dimangan and the sister of Dumakulem.
Anagolay – The goddess of lost things and the only offspring of Ikapati and Mapulon. She was married to Dumakulem.
THIRD GENERATION GODS:
Apolaki – The god of sun and the chief patron of warriors. He was the son of Anagolay and Dumakulem.
Diyan Masalanta – The goddess of love, conception and childbirth and the protector of lovers. She was the daughter of Anagolay and Dumakulem and youngest of all the deities.
Some variations exist depending on what source material you are referencing. Some of these differences include:
- In some sources, Bathala is the father of Apolaki, aside from Mayari and Tala hence excluding Hanan.
- In some sources, Amanikable is referred as a sea deity of the Manobo tribe.
- In some sources, Idiyanale is identified as the goddess of agriculture.
- In some sources, aside from being a goddess of agriculture, Idiyanale is also identified as the goddess of animal husbandry.
- In some sources, Lakapati is identified as a hermaphrodite and confused with the female deity Ikapati.
- In some creation myth, Mayari is the sister of Apolaki.
- In some sources, Mayari is identified as an one-eyed goddess.
- In some creation myth, Tala is the sister of Mayari and Apolaki and the daughter of Bathala.
- In some creation myth, Apolaki is the brother of Mayari and the son of Bathala.
Harmful Tagalog Deities in Ancient Philippine Mythology
The list includes the god/goddess-like, residents of Kasamaan (Ancient Tagalog Underworld). They were the harmful entities all opposed to Bathala and the rest of his deities.
Sitan – The guardian of Kasamaan and the keeper of all souls therein, the counterpart of Satan. He had four agents whose task was to lead man to sin and destruction.
Manggagaway – She was the first agent of Sitan and was primarily blamed as the cause of diseases. Sometimes, she would change herself into a human form, appearing as a false healer. If she wished to kill someone, she employed a magic wand.
Manisilat – The second agent of Sitan, she was tasked to destroy and break every happy and united family that she could find.
Mangkukulam – The only male agent of Sitan, he was to emit fire at night and when there was bad weather. Like his fellow agents, he could change his form to that of a healer and then induce fire at his victim’s house. If the fire were extinguished immediately, the victim would eventually die. His name remains today as witch.
Hukluban – The last agent of Sitan could change herself into any form she desired. She could kill someone by simply raising her hand and could heal without any difficulty as she wished. Her name literally means “crone” or “hag.”
Other Tagalog Deities in Philippine Mythology
The list includes the gods and goddesses who don’t have a unified pantheon within the Tagalog deities mentioned above.
Aman Sinaya – She is the primordial goddess of the ocean and protector of fishermen. She was one of the three original deities along with Bathala and Amihan. She sent tempests into the heavens, to which Bathala responded by throwing boulders which would become the Philippine Islands. Amihan flew back and forth between them, making peace.
Galang Kaluluwa (Wandering Spirit) – The winged god present in some creation myths who loves to travel. He is identified as a close friend of Bathala.
Haik – god of the sea.
Lakambakod – The protector of the growing crops.
Lakambini – is know as the “pure maiden” for his incomparable beauty, ironic that he is a male diwata. He was originally known as the god of “kapurihan”(purity) and is also the god of food, festivity and anti-gluttony. worshiped mainly by men: they pray to Lakambini to let them find a beautiful maiden to wed. An obscure deity called “abogado dela garganta” (throat advocate) by the Spaniards and was turned into the god of gluttony.
Lingga – a phallic god.
Ulilang Kaluluwa (Orphaned Spirit) – It is a serpent god present in some creation myths that was killed by Bathala after an ensuing rival.