• Philippine Arts Council

Bakunawa - Harang for our Anitos and Diwatas

The Filipino in Me - Insights into Living Heritage

Entry by Chef Earl Briones. Edmonton, Alberta

 

Harang for our Anitos and Diwatas


Concept

My submission aims to celebrate our pre colonial beliefs, rituals, and offerings through a cultural lens of someone from the diaspora. The Philippines has had a rich culture before the Spanish colonization absorbed some of our ancient beliefs with theirs. My submission aims to tell some of my favorite folktales from the three main geographic areas of the Philippines. From Luzon, the tale of Tala and how wet rice cultivation was introduced. From Visayas, the legendary moon eater Bakunawa and how we explained lunar eclipses in ancient times. From Mindanao, the legendary bird Sarimanok, and the old tales from the Maranao people.


I also aim to showcase our traditional food in a modernized look according to my interpretation. These submissions are my love letter to the Philippines. Our food, our culture, and who we are and were. A way of telling the past using the medium of our food and presenting it in the present.


Thank You!


Humba and Bibingka Illongo

Art through food and plating while telling old folktales of Pre-Colonial Philippines


Bakunawa

Bisayan/Cebuano Folklore


There were then seven moons in the heavenly kingdom when Bacunawa, the huge serpent that rules the seas, first fell in love with them. From this dark retreat among the caverns many a time he had gazed with wonder and admiration at the “seven sisters” as they traversed the windy blue, and yearned to possess them. If he could only swallow them and thus be the eternal possessor of them.


One night he flew and swallowed one of the moons and came down to earth again in fiery haste. Months had passed when the moon he had swallowed melted. He tried to get another. He succeeded but this too melted away. He tried again. He tried six times, and he succeeded six times, but six times also the precious booty melted away.


Meanwhile Bathala became conscious of the mysterious disappearance of the moons. He tried to find out what had happened to them but failed. One night he was awakened by a deafening sound of drums and the shouts of men and women. He woke up and he saw that the last moon was being swallowed by Bacunawa and the whole earth was in consternation for it was in complete darkness. Hearing the shouts and the noise, Bacunawa left the moon and went back to his cavern in haste.


So a moon was left soaring in the skies and to prevent Bacunawa from swallowing it up Bathala planted a bamboo tree in its midst. And still the bamboo tree can be seen as a dark spot in the face of the moon.


Bacunawa has never given up; at times he tries again to swallow it up. But the people are always on the alert. They shout and make all sorts of noise when he tries to do so, and it is supposed that as long as the bamboo tree is not killed, he cannot succeed in his malicious enterprise.


 

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