“Beliefs as to the origin of the earth, and of the men, animals, plants, and various topographical features found in it, seem to survive with greater persistence than any other trait of primitive culture. These beliefs lie at the base of nearly all religions, and the myths in which the beliefs are preserved are the foundation of literature. The preservation and study of origin myths is, therefore, of much importance in the reconstruction of the history of mankind which is the chief aim of anthropology.” – H. Otley Beyer
Bicol Origin Myth
Thousands and thousands of years ago, there was a time when the space occupied by the universe was vacant. The moon, the sun, the stars, and the earth were conspicuous by their absence. Only the vast expanse of water and the sky above it could be seen. The kingdom of the sky was under the rule of the great god Languit, while the water was under the sovereignty of the god Tubigan.
Languit had a daughter called Dagat, the sea, who became the wife of Paros, the wind , who was the son of Tubigan.
Four children were born to Dagat and Paros, three of whom were boys called Daga, Aldao, and Bulan, and one girl called Bitoon.
Daga, a strong man, possessed a body of rock; Aldao, a jolly fellow, had a body of gold; Bulan, a copper-made man, was a weakling; while the beautiful Bitoon was made of pure silver.
After the death of their father Paros, Daga, being the eldest son, succeeded in control of the winds. Soon after, Dagat, the mother died, leaving her children under the care of the grandparents Languit and Tubigan.
After assuming control of the winds, Daga became arrogant and ambitious, desiring to gain more power, so he induced his younger brothers to attack the kingdom of Languit. At first they refused; at Daga’s anger, Bulan and Aldao were constrained to join him in his plot.
Preparations were made and when everything was ready, they set out on their expedition and began to attack the gates of the sky. Failing to open the gates, Daga let loose the winds in all directions so that the gate was destroyed and the brothers succeeded in gaining entrance. But they were met by the enraged Languit who set out three bolts of lightning after them. All of them were struck by lightning. The copper body of Bulan melted into a ball; so also was the golden body of Aldao. Daga’s body fell into the sea and became what is now the earth.
Their sister Bitoon, on discovering the absence of her brothers, went out to look for them. But upon meeting the enraged god Languit, Bitoon was also struck by another bolt of lightning which broke her body into many pieces.
Then Languit descended from the sky and called Tubigan and accused him of helping their grandsons in their attack on his kingdom. But Tubigan defended himself saying he had no knowledge about the attack for he was asleep far down into the sea. Tubigan succeeded in pacifying Languit and the two regretted and wept over the loss of their grandchildren. Since they could not revive them, they gave each body a light.
Tubigan then planted a seed which grew into a bamboo tree. From one of its branches came a man and a woman, who became the first parents of the human race. Three children were born to them. One called Maisog invented a fish trap. One day he caught such a very big and grotesque looking whale that he thought it was a god, so he ordered his people to worship it. The people gathered around and began to pray; but no sooner they had begun, when gods from the sky appeared and commanded Maisog to throw the whale to the water and worship no one but the gods. But Maisog was not afraid and defied the gods. Languit, the king of the sky, struck Maisog with lightning and stunned him. Then he scattered the people over the earth as a punishment. In this way the earth was peopled.
Maisog’s body was blackened by the lightning and all his descendants are black. But Maisog’s son was carried to the north and became the parent of the white people. His other children were brought to the south where the sun was hot and it scorched their bodies so that all their people were of brown color. The other people were carried to the east where they had to feed on clay due to scarcity of food. Because of this diet, their descendants were of yellow color.
In this way the earth came into being.