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Maria Makiling

Maria Makiling, in Philippine mythology, is a diwata (anito) or lambana (fairy) associated with Mount Makiling in Laguna,
Philippines. She is the most widely known diwata in Philippine mythology, and was venerated in pre-colonial Philippines as a goddess
known as Dayang Masalanta or Dian Masalanta who was invoked to stop deluge, storms and earthquakes.

Maria Makiling is the guardian spirit of the mountain, responsible for protecting its bounty and thus, is also a benefactor for
the townspeople who depend on the mountain's resources. In addition to being a guardian of the mountain, some legends also identify
Laguna de Bay — and the fish caught from it — as part of her domain. She was sent by Bathala to aid the people of the area in their
everyday life.

It is often said that Mount Makiling resembles the profile of a woman, said to be Maria herself. This phenomenon is described
as true from several different perspectives, so there is no single location associated with this claim. The mountain's various peaks are
said to be Maria's face and two breasts, respectively, and her hair cascades downwards a gentle slope away from her body

Maria Makiling is a prominent example of the mountain-goddesses motiff in Philippine mythology, other prominent examples
being Maria Sinukuan of Pampanga's Mount Arayat and Maria Cacao on Cebu's Mount Lantoy.maria makiling is the fairy of the
mountain forest

Legends of Maria Makiling

Because stories about Maria Makiling were part of oral tradition long before they were documented, there are numerous
versions of the Maria Makiling legend. Some of these are not stories per se, but superstitions.

Superstitions about Maria Makiling

One superstition is that every so often, men would disappear into the forests of the mountain. It is said that Makiling has
fallen in love with that particular man, and has taken him to her house to be her husband, there to spend his days in matrimonial bliss.
Another superstition says that one can go into the forests and pick and eat any fruits one might like, but never carry any of them
home. In doing so, one runs the risk of angering Maria Makiling. One would get lost, and be beset by insect stings and thorn pricks.
The only solution is to throw away the fruit, and then to reverse one's clothing as evidence to Maria that one is no longer carrying any
of her fruit.

Turning Ginger into gold

Perhaps the most common "full" story is that of Maria turning ginger into gold to help one villager or the other. In these
stories, Maria is said to live in a place known to the villagers, and interacts with them regularly. The villager in question is often either a
mother seeking a cure for her ill child, or a husband seeking a cure for his wife. The wise Maria recognizes the symptoms as signs not
of disease, but of hunger brought about by extreme poverty. She gives the villager some ginger, which, by the time the villager gets
home, has magically turned to gold. In versions where the villager is going home to his wife, he unwisely throws some of the ginger
away because it had become too heavy to carry. In some versions, the villagers love her all the more for her act of kindness. In most,
however, greedy villagers break into Maria's garden to see if her other plants were really gold. Distressed by the villager's greed, Maria
runs away up the mountain, her pristine white clothing soon becoming indistinguishable from the white clouds that play amongst the
trees on the upper parts of the mountains.

Spurned Lover

In many other stories, Makiling is characterized as a spurned lover. In one story, she fell in love with a hunter who had
wandered into her kingdom. Soon the two became lovers, with the hunter coming up the mountain every day. They promised to love
each other forever. When Maria discovered that he had met, fell in love with, and married a mortal woman, she was deeply hurt.
Realizing that she could not trust townspeople because she was so different from them, and that they were just using her, she became
angry and refused to give fruits to the trees, let animals and birds roam the forests for hunters to catch, and let fish abound in the
lake. People seldom saw her, and those times when she could be seen were often only during pale moonlit nights..In another version
of the story, told by the Philippines' National Hero, Jose Rizal, Maria falls in love with a farmer, whom she then watches over. This
leads the townspeople say he is endowed with a charm, or mutya, as it is called, that protected him from harm. The young man was
good at heart and simple in spirit, but also quiet and secretive. In particular, he would not say much of his frequent visits into the wood
of Maria Makiling. But then war came to the land, and army officers came recruiting unmarried young men. The man entered an
arranged marriage so that he could stay safely in the village. A few days before his marriage, he visits Maria one last time. "I hope that
you were devoted to me," she said sadly, "but you need an earthly love, and you do not have enough faith in me besides. I could have
protected you and your family." After saying this, she disappeared. Maria Makiling was never seen by the peasants again, nor was her
humble hut ever rediscovered.

The Three Suitors

Michelle Lanuza tells another version of the story, set during the later part of the Spanish occupation: Maria was sought for
and wooed by many suitors, three of whom were the Captain Lara, a Spanish soldier; Joselito, a Spanish mestizo studying in Manila;
and Juan who was but a common farmer. Despite his lowly status, Juan was chosen by Maria Makiling. Spurned, Joselito and Captain
Lara conspired to frame Juan for setting fire to the cuartel of the Spanish. Juan was shot as the enemy of the Spaniards. Before he
died, he cried Maria's name out loud. The diwata quickly came down from her mountain while Captain Lara and Joselito fled to Manila
in fear of Maria's wrath. When she learned what happened, she cursed the two, along with all other men who cannot accept failure in
love. Soon, the curse took effect. Joselito suddenly contracted an incurable illness. The revolutionary Filipinos killed Captain Lara.

"From then on," Lanuza concludes, "Maria never let herself be seen by the people again. Every time somebody gets lost on
the mountain, they remember the curse of the diwata. Yet they also remember the great love of Maria Makiling."