Sunday, April 14, 2013

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Bakunawa "Giant Sea Serpent" Mythology

The Grand Champion of Aliwan Fiesta 2013, Tribu Panayanon of Iloilo City National High School give an unmatched awesome performance with a theme and concept "PANAY'S ANCIENT FOLKLORE: THE BAKUNAWA and the LUNAR ECLIPSE". So what is a Bakunawa by the way?

The Bakunawa, also spelled Bakonawa, Baconaua, or Bakonaua, is a dragon in Philippine mythology that is often represented as a gigantic sea serpent. It is believe to be the sun and moon eater. in Panay Folk Stories, it is believe to be man eater as well.



Tales about the Bakunawa say that it is the cause of eclipses. During ancient times, Filipinos believe that there are seven moons created by Bathala to light up the sky. The Bakunawa, amazed by their beauty, would rise from the ocean and swallow the moons whole, angering Bathala and causing them to be mortal enemies.

To keep the Bakunawa moons from completely being swallowed, ancient Filipinos would go out of their homes with pans and pots, and would make noise in order to scare the Bakunawa into spitting out the moon back into the sky. Some of the people in the villages would play soothing sounds with their musical instruments, in hopes that the dragon would fall into a deep sleep. Thus, the brave men of the village hoped that while the dragon was hypnotized by the musical sounds they could somehow slay the dragon. Although the dragon was known as a "moon eater" it was also known as a "man eater".

Other tales tell that the Bakunawa has a sister in the form of a sea turtle. The sea turtle would visit a certain island in the Philippines in order to lay its eggs. However, locals soon discovered that every time the sea turtle went to shore, the water seemed to follow her, thus reducing the island's size. Worried that their island would eventually disappear, the locals killed the sea turtle.

When the Bakunawa found out about this, it arose from the sea and ate the moon. The people were afraid so they prayed to Bathala to punish the creature. Bathala refused but instead told them to bang some pots and pans in order to disturb the serpent. The moon is then regurgitated while the Bakunawa disappeared, never to be seen again.

The island where the sea turtle lays its eggs is said to exist today. Some sources say that the island might just be one of the Turtle Islands.

Others tell how the Bakunawa fell in love with a human girl in one of the native tribes. The head of the tribe finding about their affair had their house burned to ashes, the Bakunawa finding out about this became immerse in anger and tried to take revenge by eating all the 12 moons. when the Bakunawa was about to eat the last one, Bathala took action and punished the Bakunawa by banishing it from its home away from the sea. It also tells that the reason of the eclipses is how the Bakunawa is trying to come back to its home and deceased family.

image: https://www.facebook.com/GarryPalomoPhotography

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