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The Legend of Mayon Volcano (Ang Alamat ng Bulkang Mayon)

Mayon volcano, Albay

In the town of Daraga, in the province of Albay in the Bicol Region, lays the most bea
utiful volcano in the Philippines- Mayon volcano. Its picturesque view may have bee
n what inspired the natives to come up with one of the most exceptional Philippine al
amats - the legend of "Daragang Magayon" of the Bicolanos, or "Dalagang Maganda
" (beautiful maiden) in Tagalog.

Long ago, along the streams of Yawa river lays a kingdom named Rawis. It is reigne
d by a very generous and intelligent king - King Makusog. His only daughter was ca
lled "Daragang Magayon" (beautiful maiden) because of the exceptional beauty that
she possesses. Because of this beauty, all the men in their kingdom, as well as in th
e neighboring kingdoms, dream to have her heart.

It has been a hobby of Daragang Magayon to secretly take a bath in the Yawa Rive
r every morning at the break of dawn. It was one morning when a traveler from the f
araway kingdom of Laguna accidentally saw her secret ritual. He was a young lad na
med Ulap (cloud). Upon seeing the beautiful maiden, Ulap was instantly hypnotized
by her beauty.

In the many journeys of Ulap, it was only then that a maiden has successfully captur
ed his heart. Every morning since then, he would secretly watch behind the bamboo
groves as Daragang Magayon takes a bath in the Yawa River. He was not contented
in being a secret admirer so he eventually decided to come out of his hiding place a
nd introduce himself to the maiden.

Daragang Magayon, startled by this revelation, started to come to her feet and run a
way, but as fate may have dictated it, she was tripped by a mossy stone and was ab
out to be drawn away by the river current when Ulap grabbed her arm. In that instan
t, she too was hypnotized by the lad's stance and charming eyes that she failed to tur
n her back from him and run away.
Not for long, the two became inseparable lovers and their relationship was happily bl
essed by King Makusog. Ulap asked permission from his lady love to go home to La
guna and fetch his relatives for the pamamanhikan (prenuptial get together). He was
away for two months.

Meanwhile, the news of the soon-to-


be wedding spread like fire in the nearby kingdoms including the Kingdom of Iraya w
hich is reigned by Patugo. This news enraged him and brought back the pain incurre
d by Daragang Magayon's refusal of his love proposal.

He convinced his people to set a battle against the Kingdom of Rawin by telling them
that Daragang Magayon's marriage to a foreign man is an insult to their maleness.
They agreed to capture King Makusog and ask for Daragang Magayon as a ransom.

Meanwhile, the Kingdom of Rawis is busy in the preparation for the arrival of the peo
ple from Laguna. This was used by Patugo and his army as an opportunity to attack
them. The people of Rawis was so stunned by this sudden attack that the king was e
ffortlessly captured. The festive mood was instantly replaced with doom. Daragang
Magayon offered herself as a ransom for the freedom of his father even if this was a
gainst her will. Just then, their expecting visitors, Ulap and his clan from Laguna, arri
ved and helped in fighting the enemies. "If you are real men, fight with men! Do not w
aste your power in terrorizing ladies and old men!", Ulap exclaimed. With this, the bat
tle heated up and there was bloodshed. Under the heat of the sun, behind the dusty
wind, swords and bolos were ravagely swished against each other. Daragang Maga
yon's heart beated outrageously because of the suspense brought about by the battl
e. A bloody body fell on the ground, and the maiden's heart skipped a beat thinking t
hat this might be his lover's. She ran closer and reveled when she saw that instead o
f Ulap, the lifeless body belongs to Patugo. She turned around and saw Ulap with hi
s arms wide open. She joyfully ran towards the waiting arms of her lover. As the two
passionately embraced each other, a deadly arrow came flying from one of the enem
ies and struck their entwined bodies. The sky was covered with gloom as the two lov
ers slowly fell on the ground.

The whole Kingdom of Rawis grieved upon their loss. King Makusog proclaimed that
the two shall be buried together since it is not right to separate what death has united
as one.

As they say, true love is hard to bury. Like a strong current, it will eventually struggle
and resurface. Daragang Magayon's love is as such. It is said that because of the str
ong love of Daragang Magayon for Ulap, her grave mounted into a towering mass of
volcano as if an emblem of her undying love. Raging lava even came out of it as a s
ymbol of her overflowing affection. This volcano which surfaced from the grave of Da
ragang Magayon is now known as the Mayon volcano. Daragang Magayon is what t
hey claim as the Mayon.

They say that if you want to see the best of Mt. Mayon, you should wake up very earl
y in the morning just about the crack of dawn. By then, you will see clearly the perfec
t shape of the volcano but as the time passes, clouds will then cover the slopes from
the view. These clouds are represented by the jealous Ulap who is not comfortable w
ith the numerous eyes laying upon his beloved Magayon.
Ang Alamat ng Bundok Arayat (The Legend of Mt. Arayat)

At the foot of Mt. Alindayat in Pampanga, Philippines, a beautiful maiden by the nam
e of Ara Ayat lived. She was an orphan and is only living with her sick grandmother.
Around their small nipa hut, various fruit-
bearing trees grow. There are also numerous vegetables, rootcrops, and flowering pl
ants. Ara Ayat patiently cares for these plants. She also tills the soil of their nearby fa
rm regularly.

Since their house is far from civilization and Ara doesn’t go to town often because sh
e can’t live her sick grandma, she’s not well-known to the townspeople.

One day, while Ara was gardening, an unknown young gentleman called her attentio
n.
“Good day to you, lady. Can I ask for a favour?” asked the gentleman. “Good day to
you to. What can I do for you?” answered Ara Ayat. “Can I ask for a glass of water? I
am really thirsty,” said the gentleman. Ara lead him inside the house and gave him t
he water.

Meanwhile, she heard three knocks from her grandmother’s room. She went inside a
nd was shocked by the paleness of her grandmother. Grandma summoned her to co
me closer and asked for her hand. Ara was more shocked by the coldness of her gra
ndmother’s hand. Her grandma gave her one final blessing and closed her eyes and
died. Ara broke down. She wailed upon the loss of her only relative. This loud cry ma
de the gentleman panic so she knocked on the door and went inside the room. She
was stunned by the dead body of the old lady. He pitied Ara and tried to console her.
“I am really sorry for your loss, lady. If you will let me, I can help you bury her. I also
understand that you are now alone. If you like, I shall marry you tomorrow,” proposed
the gentleman.

Ara, having fancied the gentleman, agreed on one condition. That they will stay in th
at place because she can’t leave the death bed of her parents. The gentleman agree
d and they were married the next day. Since then, the gentleman changed the name
of Mt. Alindayat to Arayat as a tribute to his wife- Ara Ayat.
The Legend of Chocolate Hills (Ang Alamat ng mga Bundok ng Tsokolate )

It is said that in the early times, the island of Bohol in the Visayas is a vast mass of d
ry land. Rice fields tend to crack under the heat of the sun. During the rainy season,
the dusty land turns into a stream of mud. It is only during the rice season that the fi
elds turn into a refreshing sea of green.

It was one day during the rainy season that two giants came into the land of Bohol. O
ne of them was from the north and the other was from the south. Not for long, the tw
o giants met eye to eye. The tension between the two rivals filled the air.
"Hey! You ugly giant! Stay away from my land!," said the South Giant. "Leave and lo
ok for your own land to conquer!"
"You must be mistaken! I am here first!," answered the North Giant. "If you want, yo
u leave!"
"This cannot be happening!" shouted the South Giant with a stomp. The whole groun
d shook. Since it has just rained, the ground was muddy. The giant scooped mud fro
m the ground and threw it on the other giant. The North Giant also scooped and form
ed his own balls of mud and threw it back on his opponent.
The battle of the two giants became intense. Balls of mud were thrown back and fort
h. The townspeople gathered to watch the two opposing giants. Each one used all of
his might to best the other. No one gave up until both of them ran out of energy. Bec
ause of the exhausting duel, both of the two giants fell on the ground and died. What
was left of their heated fight were hills of mud from the thrown mud balls. Since then
, the townspeople lived peacefully on their land along the hills.

During the summer seasons, these hills seem like chocolate candies, especially fro
m top view. This is the reason why it became known as chocolate hills. During the rai
ny seasons, however, these hills become covered with lush green vegetation.
The Legend of Gapan in Nueva Ecija

Long ago, there was a very stubborn kid named Dodoy. He doesn’t follow his mother
’s orders. Instead, he does the things that annoy her most.

One morning, Dodoy decided to have a trip in the rice fields. He kept on walking until
he doesn’t know where he is already. He got lost to the point that he has no idea of
how to come home. Due to exhaustion, he fell asleep under a tree.
Meanwhile, Dodoy’s mother is sick with worry. Someone told her that he saw Dodoy
circling the rice fields near a large tree and is seemed to be caught under an enchant
ed spell.

Dodoy was awakened by a loud cry of a naked infant with a bulging stomach. The ba
by was lying on a banana leaf on the ground. Dodoy took the baby in his arms and at
tempted to stop him from crying. It didn’t stop from wailing and this greatly annoyed
Dodoy. He was about to slap the baby when it mysteriously transformed into a filthy
old man with very long hair and beard. Dodoy was so shocked that he dropped what
he was holding and scrammed off his feet.

When he turned his head back, his fear increased for the old man disappeared. He r
an and ran but he seemed to be stuck in the same spot. He was trapped in that situa
tion until the sun set down. Exhaustion brought him down to his knees. With his rema
ining energy, he crawled just to get away from that bamboo grove.

Dodoy’s mother waited and waited until she saw Dodoy crawling towards their yard.
Dodoy was extremely dissipated since he crawled all the way home. It turned out tha
t dwarves jested on him. “That’s what stubborn kids get,” his mother scolded him. Ye
t, she was glad that her son was back.

From then on, it has become a saying amongst the townspeople that “You might end
up like Dodoy, gapang ng gapang (always crawling).” That is why the place near the
bamboo grove where Dodoy crawled was named Gapan (from gapang, meaning to
crawl). Until now, that town in Nueva Ecija, in the island of Luzon, is still called Gapa
n.
The Legend Of the Guava

Philippine culture is rich in folklore. One tale I enjoyed during my childhood was the
legend of the guava fruit, which comes with a moral lesson. A guava tree or fruit is
called bayabas in Tagalog, which is the language of the Philippines.
The story goes like this:
A long time ago, there's a king who ruled a rich, prosperous island. He had all the
things a king could ever ask for: the power, the wealth, and all the delicious foods
one could only imagine.The king's name was King Barabas.
King Barabas is a rude king and overweight, indulging himself to all the foods
available, hesitant to share. And his castle is starting to become filthy. He would
spend most of his time sitting and eating with his bare hands. As he eats, he drips
food on the floor and smile mockingly at the people around him, specially his
servants.
People in the kingdom would approach with requests for his help, but he would
always refuse. As he neglected his kingdom, people started to complain and starve.
After some time, an old hunched-back woman showed up at the castle begging for
food while the king was eating. The old lady asked for food as she was starving.
"Go away! I don't have anything to give. Can't you see I'm eating?" said the king.
"Please, my king, " said the old woman. "I'm asking for anything, anything you could
give me as I am so hungry. Even a little piece of bread or fruit would do."
"Get out at once! You disgust me," the king belittled the old beggar.
The old woman stood up straight, casting aside her stooped posture. "I've heard
much about you and how your kingdom is suffering." The tone of her voice had
changed. It was no longer the voice of a weak, old woman. "I asked for help, and you
shoved me away. You have a lot for yourself, but when I only asked for a little food,
you belittled me. You are selfish. No one loves you and no one will remember you
when you are gone!"
And the beggar disappeared.
After a few more days, the king slowly weakened and became sick. No one knows
what's wrong with him. He got weaker and weaker and lost much weight. He looked
older than his age. Soon after that, the king died. As unfortunate and unexpected as
it was, no one cried and nobody showed up at the king's burial. He died alone.
And where the king was buried, his people noticed a strange plant growing, a plant
they had never seen before. The plant soon grew into a tree, which bore rounded
fruits that turned yellowish when ripe.
People also noticed that the fruit seemed to have a crown as it develops, which
reminded them of their selfish, arrogant king. The flesh of the fruit tasted a bit sour,
just like the sour personality of the king towards them.
The people learned to eat the fruit, which helped them with starvation. And because
the tree was from the grave of their King Barabas and it has crown just like their king,
they named the tree after him: barabas, which in time they called bayabas.
The fruit is still called, as to this day, bayabas.
And although the guava may have came from the rude, selfish King Barabas, guava
fruit is one of the fruits that offers many health benefits when consumed, the fruit is a
good source of vitamin C. The leaves are made into tea and treats many diseases as
well from a simple toothache, to treating diarrhea, lowering blood sugar, and many
more. And it is used amongst young boys after their circumcision in the Philippines.
Or maybe it's the way of the late king to make up for the wrongdoings?
The Legend of Makahiya

Once there lived a rich couple, Mang Dondong and Aling Iska. They had a twelve-
year-old daughter whose name was Maria. They loved their daughter so dearly.

Maria was a dutiful and obedient daughter. Industrious and kind, she made herself
endeared to everybody.

But shyness was also one of maria's distinct characteristics. She was also shy that
talking to people posed a great burden to her. In order to avoid encountering people,
she usually locked herself in the room.

Maria had a flower garden. The flowers were beautiful and known all over the town.
She took care of the plants patiently and tenderly. For the flower plants were her
source of enjoyment and happiness.

One day a group of bandits raided a nearby village. The bandits killed every man
they found at took the money of the residents.

The next day the bandits came to the village where Mang Dondong and Aling Iska
and their daughter Maria lived. Mang Dondong noticed at once the arrival of the
bandits Fearing for Maria's safety, he decided to hide Maria in the garden, which he
did.

Aling Iska hid herself in the house. She trembled with fear when she heard the
bandits forcing their way to the gate. Then she prayed, preparing for whatever would
happen.

"Oh my God!" prayed Aling Iska. "Save my daughter."

Suddenly the door opened. The bandits enered the house and hit Mang Dondong on
the head. Mang Dondong lost consciousness and fell on the floor. Aling Iska tried to
escape but was also hit in the head.

The bandits ransacked every place in the house. After taking the money and jewelry,
they searched for Maria. But Maria was nowehere to be found. So the bandits left th
house to plunder another village.

When Mang Dondong and Aling Iska regained consciousness, the bandits had left
already. THey quickly ran to the garden to look for Maria. But maria was not there.
Again and again, they searched every corner in the garden but poor Maria could not
be found.

"My poor daughter! They took my poor daughter!" wept Aling Iska.

All of a sudden felt something that pricked his feet. To his surprise, he saw a tiny
plant quickly closing its leaves. It was the first time he saw that kind of plant. He knelt
on his knees and took a close look at the plant. Aling Iska did the same. After looking
at the plant for a long time, the couple came to the belief that the plant was Maria.
For indeed Maria has been transformed by God into a plant to save her from the
bandits.

Aling Iska wept uncontrollably and to Mang Dondong's amazement, every tear was
transformed into a small and rosy flower of the new plant they found in the garden.

Since then Mang Dondong and Aling Iska tended the plant with utmost care. They
knew what the plant was, in reality, their child Maria. And, like their child, the plant
was very shy. So they called the plant "makahiya" because it showed it showed an
important characteristic of Maria -shyness - which in Tagalog means "makahiya".
The Legend of Waling-Waling

On the banks of the upper Daba-daba, whose waters meander from the northwest
bukids, a people headed by brawny Datu Musukul have set up village, called Dayaw.
Musukul's wife, Waling, gave brightness and beauty to the village.

The sun bled the Apo's swollen brow, ducking silently behind the old mountain. Little
children chased each other while the women shared laughs under the trees. The
village's men gathered for tuba to welcome the closing of another day of hardwork,
having tied their kabaws or having brought home the day's catch. Joyful sounds filled
the air in the peaceful balangay.

Then suddenly, like thunder to a sunny day, a man's loud shriek reechoed in the
fields, and the laughs died into silence. A baffling scene greeted their eyes: a rushing
horse driven by a man who went out hunting but brought with him not a baboy-halas
or usa, but a man hanging limply on his horse.

A strange frenzy caught the village like a fever.

"Mighty Datu! Mighty Datu! A terrible thing has befallen on Ambungan!" cried the
visibly shaken man, stumbling as he alighted from his horse. He knelt, breathing
rapidly, his blooded hands staining the base of the ladder to the village chief's house.
He had been Ambungan's mentor and hunting partner since the young man's
childhood.

Staying calm, though arrested by the assistant's ominous words, the Datu came on
his door to investigate. But before he could ask, he saw the man on the horse's back.
Lifeless. Unmistakable sorrow filled the chieftain's face.

The dead man was his only brother.


"What is it, Hantik, what has happened to my brother?" His eyes stuck on the blood
running down the horse's brown hidethe same blood that filled his veins. It is the
blood of their forefathers. A generation lost upon every drop that fell on the dust.
Anger filled him.

The chieftain eyed the assistant's blood-stained hands and chest and he clutched
the golden necklace that Ambungan made and gave him for a present. Waling stood
worried beside the Datu.

The assistant's words drowned in his grief. "We were hunting usa near the foot of the
Apo when a man attacked Ambungan!" Gasping as if drowning in his own tears, "I
had gone down the stream to drink water and I was so far away I was unable to
chase after the man." Then, looking up at the Datu, whose eyes have gone red in
grief and anger, he added, "but I saw clearly he was wearing a red band around his
head he took the catch and went deep into the woods of the Apo and he was
wearing a red band!" as if to make up for not being able to save the Datu's only
brother.

"Then, he is one of Makalisang's men!" exclaimed the ever-composed Datu, whose


eyes were sobbing, yet his noble stance never wavering. The Queen gasped at the
realization. Makalisang's men are known to wear bands doused in the blood of the
people they have murdered.

"Makalisang, time and again you have betrayed me, you have repeatedly infringed
into my territory, and now you have killed my only brother!" Musukul muttered to
himself. He and Makalisang had agreed that the Apo be divided equally among
them, the East side to Musukul and the West sidethe other side, to Makalisang. "I
have been forgiving to you and your men, but this blow is too much to bear. I shall
never allow you to go scot-free this time!"

His left clasp tightened on the golden necklace until it bled, as his right grabbed his
shining sundang, and he swore, "Makalisang, you shall pay with your own blood the
life of Ambungan!" A bead of blood kissed the bamboo floor.

The people gathered outside the Datu's balay were stirred. They had known of
Makalisang's reputation as a bloodthirsty warrior who knew no mercy in killing men,
women, even children and razing whole villages to the ground. Women embraced
their husbands, brothers, or sonswhose lives they will risk in their quest for Musukul's
vengeance. But they were not entirely against Musukul's plans as they had their own
stories to say of the savageness of Makalisang and his men. Many of them have
grieved the loss of relatives and family members to this greedy people, and they
have lost horses, livestock and valuables, too. And they grieve for Ambungan, whom
they admired as a good gentleman who would sometimes help them tend the
kabaws and even to daro on the fields or feed the manok when he wasn't hunting or
doing metalwork. The day had gone in grieving too, as the sun sank into the rugged
horizon and darkness spilled all over the land.

Meanwhile, Ambungan had been lain on a wooden bed. Then, with a fiery torch, the
chieftain lit the dead twigs packed under the bed. Not long after, fire licked the dead
man's body, and dark smoke carried his soul to the heavens.

Moving back into his high abode, the mighty Datu called for Admanun, the village
sage and his most trusted adviser, and ordered that a hundred of his men prepare
for their attack.

But Admanun shook his head, "Datu, you cannot force yourself to attack
Makalisang's camp, they can easily outnumber you, and you know how fierce they
are to rival armies." Admanun, as with the others, silently recalled the news long ago
of heads being cut and placed on spears around bonfires as Makalisang's tribe
chanted all night long to their god, dipping cloth in a large tadyaw filled with the blood
of their ill-fated enemies and wearing them around their heads.

Musukul answered, "Even I do not worry about my life. They have violated our pact
and now killed my dear brother. I will make sure they pay with their lives for taking
away my brother'sand I will do that even if I had to die!" The fire outside his window
burned further, as though it was his fuming rage.

"But it is too much of a risk, Datu. We haven't had wars for so long and we are ill-
prepared for another and," glancing at the beauteous Queen who was silently
sobbing, "and what about the Queen? And your children?" Admanun turned to
Musukul, "will you be leaving them without the assurance of your return?"

The Queen embraced her husband, "Musukul, my love, I cannot bear to see you go
and place your own life on the blades of death!" her beautiful eyes overflowed with
tears.

"I have to fight for principles, Waling, I have to assert myself lest they continue to
spread tragedy and gloom" Musukul said gently, embracing back the weeping
Queen. "Besides, this is for the future, of our children and our people. If I must die, at
least I have caused them enough injury to disable their army and thwart their evil
scheme."

The Queen was speechless, tears still pouring from her eyes, but she is filled with
admiration for her husband's heroic stance. Yet his loss continues to worry her. "You
know Datu Makalisang is known for slaying whoever trespasses into their territory,
and he does so without mercy! Please do not go, Musukul!" she begs.

"I know that. But they have repeatedly overstepped our borders, and stole our
horses, our kabaws and manoks, they even killed Ambungan, along with many of our
hunters and farmers. If I had been as fierce, they would have long been banished
from the world of the buhi into the realm of kamatayun."
"Admanun, I entrust my wife and children to you, look after them while I am away,"
Musukul told the old man, the latter showing his assent. "Musukul!" Waling could
only cry.

His eyes looked far into the darkness, unmoving, as the fiery embers cracked in his
ears, "I am fighting back, Waling, and there is nothing that would stop me from
upholding what is right. Just wait, my Queen, with Bathala's aid, I shall return. That is
a promise." Musukul descended from the balay and joined the men, preparing for the
journey to battle.

The moon had flown midway across the raven sky when Musukul and a hundred of
his men marched into the thick forests on the way to the other side of the great
mountain. The Queen sat by her window, watching tearfully as their torches faded
gradually in the darkness, blending with the stars in the heavens. The trek to
bloodshed would take five days.

But countless somber days have passed and no sign of victory or defeat has arrived
in Dayaw. The Queen was intensely bothered and unable sleep as she had been
since the Datu left. "At this time they should already have arrived from the battle,"
she said impatiently to Admanun.

"My Queen, lose not hope, the Datu and the rest shall return," he retorted, "let us
wait a little bit more." The wise man showed no worries, but inside, he feared the fate
of the brave chief and his men.

And so did Waling. "I should find Musukul myself no matter what! Right now! I am
infinitely worried about him. He could be sick in the forest from days of battle, he
would need food and clothing. He would need the dahun for his wounds."
"Kugihana," she called her young servant, "prepare some clothes, food and dahun,
we shall go into the forest to find our Datu."

"In honor of my promise to the Datu, I cannot allow you to leave, My Queen. You
yourself have heard the words from the Datu's mouth that I should never leave you
and your children until his return," Admanun defended his orders.

Waling acceded, and waited for her husband's return. But all had been in vain. Two
moons have now passed and still no word from her husband. Worry heightened
throughout the peaceful balangay of Dayaw as it had been so long since the battle
and many a life had been risked in the mission.

The Queen was sewing fine horsehair into a headdress, like the ones her husband
wore, when a coal-winged creature landed on the garment, attracted by its beads,
colorful like the flowers outside. Her attention swept aside from the work to the
perplexing spectacle, she accidentally stung herself with the needle. The garment fell
on the floor and the ebony creature flapped its way out the window. Waling glanced
at her hurting finger and blood oozed from the wound. She eyed the dark creature,
the forests in the background, and then the sobbing sky. She had made an important
decision.

One cold evening, the queen had put one of her children to sleep, and, while the
aging Datu Admanun lay in deep slumber, she crept down the balay and woke
Kugihana. They quickly packed some food, clothes and dahun in a huge cloth, along
with other things they needed, and tiptoed into the edge of the village. Then, taking a
torch, they crept into the thick underbrush of the forest.

They snaked through the forest for days but they could not see any traces of the
Datu or the army. But the Queen persevered. She and her trusted servant went
deeper into the moist, dark forest, stopping only to rest.

In the peace of the forest, Waling could feel her emotions bursting from inside her.
Tears rained down from her eyes as she moved around the forest shouting
"Musukul! My love, answer me, where are you!"

They came upon a wide section of the forest, almost like a clearing. A small stream
flowed nearby, boulders covered with velvety green moss were scattered on its
banks, and a tall white-stemmed tree with lianas spiraling on its trunk towered way
above the canopy, as if to command a view of the forest below. She gazed up to the
tree's body, and climbed it to have a better view of the forest, and hopefully to
heighten the chances of finding her lost love. This terrified the young Kugihana, who
could barely look as the Queen shakily clang to the giant vines embracing the tree.
The top spread seemed to be a perfect place for viewing and so she nestled there
where it was shady, moist and windy. She tied herself to the massive branches with
ropes to keep her in place and to avoid falling. She sat there for a whole day, her
eyes prowling through the lush canopy, her ears attentive for every rustle on the floor
or among the trees. She was ever diligent in her mission to bring her husband back
into her hands.

That noon, they have almost ran out of food and so Waling called from the treetop,
"Kugihana, go and search for food. We cannot continue our search if we do not have
food to keep us strong. Go to the bank of the Daba-daba, I like the mangoes there."

"But, my Queen, the Daba-daba is so far away it would take me long to come back
here. I cannot leave you that long!" the servant worriedly complained.

"Speak no more. Go and do as I say. I have enough here to stay on until the
morning. By then you should already be here," the beautiful Queen said.

And so the servant traced back the route to the river. She is baffled by the words of
the Queen. There seems to be something strange going on, she thought. Why
mangoes? Why that far? True, the Queen favors the mangoes grown on trees by the
Daba-daba, in fact she eats them all the time. But she also eats other fruits like the
bayabas or kapayas, even the lomboy and the pungent duryanand they are plentiful
in the forest nearby.

But she could not defy her master. "The Queen has her reasons, she is a smart
woman and everything she does bears a purpose," the servant told herself to
dismiss the thought and walked on.

While the faithful servant was away, Waling prayed to Bathala like she had never
prayed before. She closed her eyes, now blackened by her sorrow, as tears formed
rivulets on her cheeks, and prayed. "Almighty Bathala, bring back my beloved
Musukul. Guide his path into my arms so he will fulfill his promise and make my life
complete again. I will never be at ease until I see him. On these branches I shall
nestle, all my life if need beand beyond, until I see him trudge towards my arms. Let
not my efforts be put to waste." She went on praying through the twilight.

Meanwhile, it was almost dark and Kugihana had gathered mangoes from the trees
on the banks of the upper Daba-daba. But she had grown weary from the long trek
downhill from the forest and sore after many a fall from the huge mango trees.
Stumbling under one of the trees, and, lulled by the cool breeze, her own weariness
conquered her and she succumbed to sleep.

At dawn, the Queen's mournful sorrow reverberated through the forests of the Apo
while sooty clouds gathered overhead, as if to join the aggrieved woman. The sky
turned gray, concealing the rising sun, the cold wind blew as thunderclaps crackled
in the heavens scaring the raindrops from the clouds, as though they were Bathala's
voice.

A lonely raindrop kissed Kugihana's eye, prompting her to awake. But when she
opened her eyes, she saw that it was already dawnthe male fowls have intoned their
matutinal chorus, as the leaves above her seemed to clap in rave. But it was no time
to laze about, as she realized she had fallen asleep when she should have returned
to where her master was. She quickly rose, gathering the golden fruits she had
reaped the afternoon before, and braved the intensifying rain as she penetrated the
forest's thick undergrowth.

"How foolish of me! How could I!" she scolded herself as she cut through the
bamboo grove. "The Queen is short of food and there I was sleeping! Forgive me,
Bathala. Forgive me, Queen Waling!"

The rain had grown furious, and the winds had gone harsh. The forest, proud and
impenetrable, shuddered at the sudden wild weather. The heavens burst in
thunderbolts, and lightning flashes overwhelmed the sun, already choked by the
somber clouds.

"Now, even Bathala is mad at me," Kugihana whispered in fear, trembling under the
leaking roof of the forest. "Oh Queen, scourge me, punish me. I deserve your blows.
But cast me not away, I shall desire to be with you in your quest and to be of service
to you, both as recompense and conviction" she muttered to herself.

The young servant did not realize the speed she went through the forest; neither did
she sense exhaustion. It seemed her guilt caused her sinews to numb from
weariness. Her speeding legs brought her to where the giant, white-stemmed
emergent stood. Then suddenly, the storm ceased, the winds were silenced, the
lightning vanished and the quaking canopy lay still. And the sun emerged from
behind the clouds, casting rays through the canopy.

Kugihana sensed that she had reached the place and stopped at the very foot of the
tree. It it was still cold and dark. A steady, cool current brushed against her face,
and, as soon as she directed her eyes skyward, she could all but drop the cloth in
which the fragrant fruits were placed. Speech refused to escape her mouth. It was
for what she was beholding.

The Queen was not there but her eyes beheld something as lovely as the missing
queena strange plant in full bloom.

"So beautiful splendid," Kugihana was captivated by the strange plant. It had huge,
radiant flowers clothed in the color of the Queen's garments, and it had dark lower
corollas, like the Queen's mourning eyes. The blossoms were firm and sturdy,
watchful and unwavering like the Queen. And it had roots that look like they had
been tied to the tree trunk, much like the ropes of the missing queen. Kugihana was
staring motionless for a long time. It was as if she was beholding the Queen herself.

The great bird's moan resonated through the cavernous section of the forest to
awaken her from the trance. And, as soon as the creature perched beside the
unusual blooms, talons bearing a struggling creature that a while ago nibbled on her
mangoes, blood rushed into the lady's veins arousing her into frenzy.

"Oh! The Queen! I must find her!" Kugihana inched farther from the tree, but still
glancing at the beauty perched on its highest spread. Looking away, she searched
the bushes and rocks and trees, while shouting, "Waling, my Queen! Answer me,
where are you!"

Kugihana searched for two days but she could not find her Queen. Her guilt fueled
her aching muscles to search through the treacherous thickets and scurry around the
littered floor. And in her search, she kept returning to the giant, liana-hugged tree
and could not resist the temptation to look above at the glorious sight. Each time the
resplendent blooms crossed her sight, her guilt would fade away and she is taken
into a trance until that bird yells to awaken her.

One morning, shaken off anew by the great bird from the trance, she decided to seek
help from the village.
With amazing speed she traveled through the dense rainforest reaching the village in
two days in a trip that would normally take three or four. Stumbling upon the village
entrance of Dayaw, Kugihana called wearily unto the village elder. "Datu Admanun! I
have come to seek help! The Queen is missing, please help me find her."

Her anguished moan reverberated through the fields. Frenzy caught the village like a
fever.

Distraught and laden with guilt, the servant kept blaming herself, "I am to blame for
the queen's loss! I left her atop that tree, all alone and short of food!"

Medication pierced deep into her bleeding wounds, onto her swollen flesh, yet this
pain pales to that which throve inside her heart. "This is all my fault!" These words
kept gushing out of her lips like a prayer-chant, and the pain that was in her heart
engulfed the entire village.

When she was better, the village sage, face wrinkled by age and sorrow,
approached the pained maiden. "Kugihana, we have searched for many days in the
forests around the village but we could not find you and the Queen. We are deficient
in means and in strength, and I am burdened by age, so I ordered to stop the
search." Only a few men were left in the village and these men were the weaker,
older ones, since the ablest hundred have taken off with Musukul.

Shaking his head, he quipped in mourning, "Now, it seems, my wisdom fell off with
my hair." Then tears begin to gather in his weary eyes. "Had I not ordered a halt, we
might have found you, and saved the queen from loss." Tears spilled down the old
man's crumpled cheeks. Infectious grief filled the room.

The frail servant says, "Datu Admanun, let us not lie here wailing. Let us seek out
into the jungle, I remember the very spot where I had left the Queen. It is a white-
barked tree, the tallest I have seen, and on its highest spray, on which the queen
had been sitting, a strange bloom nestlesand it had the most beautiful flowers I have
seen."

Nodding, while inching to prepare, the sage ordered all the able men of Dayaw to
ready themselves for the search. Shortly after, they had begun the trek to Waling's
nest, led by Kugihana.

A few days passed and they reached the place. Kugihana pointed at the unusually
large tree hugged by sinewy vines, "That is the tree! The tree where the queen
perced!"

And they all looked, awed by its sheer size, and, tracing the snaking vines skyward,
they were awed the more. Something so strange yet so beautifu greeted their eyes.
They beheld the flowers which Kugihana had seen the morning of Waling's loss.
Their faces brightened, as though they had seen the queen at last. But the great bird
moaned at its mate and took off from among the trees, and the people's faces
awakened to the reality. The queen was not there. And their eyes roamed to the
neighboring trees. They were astonished.

On almost every tree was the same plant, abloom. It looked like some unseen hand
had deliberately placed them on those steep branches. Eyes blackened by grief,
their heads ever attentive, it seemed the flowers were looking for something.

This led Admanun to force words out of his stubborn mouth, "What spectacle! What
beauty!" His wisdom returning, he added, "We will never find the queen. But these
flowers remind us of her, aggrieved by the loss of her husband and searching
untiringly for him."

"We shall name these flowers Waling-Waling, for they remind us of the queen."

And so it came to pass and nothing was heard again of Musukul and his troops, nor
of Makalisang and his fabled savageness. And the flower, named after the queen,
flourished in the forests, just as peace flourished in Dayaw.
The Legend of Mango

There was once a man named Daeogdog who lived in a quiet village in the Aklan
province. He was known for his quick, explosive temper and for always trying to get
his way. Thus, it was no surprise when he forced his beautiful and gentle daughter,
Aganhon, into an engagement with Maeopig, a young man who was as quarrelsome
and domineering as he was. Aganhon pleaded with her father to cancel the
engagement, but he flatly refused and kept insisting that his choice was the best.

On the day of the wedding, Aganhon was nowhere to be found. The bridal party
searched high and low, until someone finally ventured into a nearby stream and
stumbled upon the young bride’s motionless body, with a dagger sticking out of the
poor girl’s chest. (I suppose she preferred to stab her own heart rather than give it to
the pig she was supposed to marry.)

Stricken with grief and remorse, Daeogdog dreamt of his daughter on the night of her
funeral. In the dream, Aganhon led her father to a tree that grew on the spot where
they found her body. As soon as he awakened, Daeogdog rushed over to the stream
and found the same tree, its branches heavy with bright yellow fruits that were
shaped like hearts. He sampled one and found it to be as sweet and tender as the
heart of the daughter whose feelings he callously disregarded. He called it
“mango”/”mangga”, which meant “heart-shaped” in their ancient tongue.

The story doesn’t say how the smoke-belching kapre came to dwell in mango trees,
but my brother reckons that Aganhon’s ogre of a suitor might have started the trend.
The Legend of Durian

According to Philippine legend, the durian wasn’t always so ugly and smelly. It’s said
that the spiked fruit originated in Calinan, Mindanao, back when its islands were still
ruled by kings. One such king was called Barom-Mai, and he ruled with an iron fist.
But powerful as he was, he couldn’t keep his young and beautiful queen from running
off to her father’s kingdom every chance she got. (Barom-mai was no Ryan Gosling,
you see.)

Desperate, the king consulted Impit Purok, a half-god hermit, on how to make his
wife remain by his side. The hermit told the king to obtain three things: the egg of the
black tabon, twelve ladles of fresh milk from a blemish-free carabao, and the nectar
from the flower of the tree of make-believe. The king blanched at the hermit’s
shopping list, but he was able to get all three items in the end, albeit with the help of
some talking animals and an air nymph (and probably a Disney-esque song number
or two).

Impit Purok was pleased at the completion of the task, but before he worked his
magic, he made the king promise to make him the guest of honor at the feast
celebrating the queen’s return. Barom-Mai agreed. The hermit carefully made a small
hole in the tabon egg, poured the carabao milk and nectar into it, and stirred the
mixture together with his magic bamboo stick. Impit Purok then told the king to
plant the potion in his garden, and to make his wife eat the fruit of the tree that
would spring from it.

Barom-Mai followed the hermit’s orders and indeed, his wife did fall in love with him
after one taste of the smooth and fragrant enchanted fruit. Overjoyed, the king called
for a big celebration, but consequently forgot to invite the hermit. Indignant at the
snub, Impit Purok cursed the fruit, replacing its sweet fragrance with a nasty odor
and covering its hide with thorns.

The fruit became known as durian, with duri being a native word for “thorn”
and an from the queen’s name: “Anne.” Okay, I may have made up that latter half.

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