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Philippine Pre - Colonial Literature

I. Historical Background
The variety and abundance of Philippine literature evolved even before the colonial periods. Folk tales,
epics, poems and marathon chants existed in most ethno linguistic groups that were passed on from
generation to generation through word of mouth. Tales associated with the Spanish conquest also took
part in the countrys rich cultural heritage. Some of these pre-colonial literary pieces showcased in
traditional narratives, speeches and songs are tigmo in Cebuano, bugtong in Tagalog, patototdon is Bicol
and paktakon in Ilongo. Philippine epics and folk tales are varied and filled with magical characters. They
are either narratives of mostly mythical objects, persons or certain places, or epics telling supernatural
events and bravery of heroes, customs and ideologies of a community.
Below are examples of ethno-epics popularized by different ethnic groups in the country:
Biag ni Lam-ang (Life of Lam-ang) of the Ilocanos narrates the adventures of the prodigious epic hero,
Lam-ang who exhibits extraordinary powers at an early age. At nine months he is able to go to war to
look for his fathers killers. Then while in search of lady love, Ines Kannoyan, he is swallowed by a big
fish, but his rooster and his friends bring him back to life.
The Agyu or Olahing of the Manobos is a three part epic that starts with the pahmara (invocation) then
the kepuunpuun ( a narration of the past) and the sengedurog (an episode complete in itself). All three
parts narrate the exploits of the hero as he leads his people who have been driven out of their land to
Nalandangan, a land of utopia where there are no landgrabbers and oppressors.
Sandayo, of the Subanon tells of the story of the hero with the same name, who is born through
extraordinary circumstances as he fell out of the hair of his mother while she was combing it on the ninth
stroke. Thence, he leads his people in the fight against invaders of their land and waterways.
Aliguyon or the Hudhud of the Ifugaos tells of the adventures of Aliguyon as he battles his arch enemy,
Pambukhayon among rice fields and terraces and instructs his people to be steadfast and learn the wisdom
of warfare and of peacemaking during harvest seasons.
Labaw Donggon is about the passionate exploits of the son of a goddess Alunsina, by a mortal, Datu
Paubari. The polygamous hero battles the huge monster Manaluntad for the hand of Abyang Ginbitinan;
then he fights Sikay Padalogdog, the giant with a hundred arms to win Abyang Doronoon and confronts
the lord of darkness, Saragnayan, to win Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata.
Other epics known to most Filipinos are the Ibalon of Bikol, Darangan which is a Muslim epic, the
Kudaman of Palawan, the Alim of the Ifugao, Bantugan of the Maranao, the Hinilawod of Panay, and the
Tuwaang of Manobos. The Tagalogs pride their Myth of Bernardo Carpio, a folk hero said to hold the
mountains of San Mateo apart with his powerful arms to prevent them from colliding.
There are shorter narratives that tell the origins of the people, the stars, the sky and the seas. A famous
story that tells of the origin of man and woman is that of Malakas (man) and Maganda (woman) who
came out of a bamboo after being pecked by a bird. This and other stories of equal birthing of man and
woman throughout the archipelago assert a womans equal position with a man within the tribal systems.

II. Literary Forms during the Pre-colonial Period


A. Myths - Mythology, body of myths of a particular culture, and also the study and interpretation of
myth. Myth is a complex cultural phenomenon that can be approached from a number of viewpoints. In
general, myth is a narrative that describes and portrays in symbolic language the origin of the basic
elements and assumptions of a culture. Mythic narrative relates, for example, how the world began, how
humans and animals were created, and how certain customs, gestures, or forms of human activities
originated. Almost all cultures possess or at one time possessed and lived in terms of myths. Myths are
traditional stories occurring in a timeless past. They involve supernatural elements and are beyond the
frontiers of logic. Long ago, when our ancestors heard the sound of thunder and saw lightning, they were
frightened because they could not understand why these things happened. In order to understand these
and other natural events, they created stories. The stories were handed down from generation to
generation all over the country. Although myths are not based on objective truth, they reflect both
universal worries and the worries of specific cultures.
World literature: In the cold northern countries, where the sun disappears almost completely during the
winter season, great fires were lit in the midwinter to help the sun to be reborn. The ancient Greeks tell a
myth in which Prometheus stole fire from Zeus, the chief god, and gave it to humans so that they could
keep themselves warm. To punish him, Zeus chained Prometheus to a rock where his liver was eaten by
an eagle every day but grew again every night.
1. Myths from the Different Regions of the Philippines
a. Iloko
The Gods and the Goddesses
Cabalangegan was a formerly a jungle at the edge of the river Abra. On the far side of the river
were mountains, high and steep. On these mountains lived an old man named Abra, the father of
Caburayan. The old man controlled the weather. It is said that the river Abra was covered by a gathering
of water vapor at night, and during the days, it was always bright with sunlight.
At that time, Anianihan, god of harvests, was in love with Caburayan, goddess of healing. Her mother,
Lady Makiling, knew about their mutual attraction, but Abra did not know it because the three were afraid
to tell him since he might punish them as he disapproved of Anianihan. Abra wanted his daughter to
marry either Saguday, god of the wind, or Revenador, god of thunder and lightning. This being so,
Anianihan took Caburayan from her home. Abra wept a great deal. He sent Lady Makiling away after
beating her.
When Abra was alone, he wept day and night till Bulan, god of peace and calm, came. Though Bulan was
there to brighten Abra's spirits, Abra did not stop weeping. He could not express his anger. He begged the
other gods to bring back his daughter.
One day the sun, eye of Amman, shone so brightly that the water of the river Abra was excessively
heated. Smoke rose from the river. Soon, thick, black clouds began to darken the sky. Then Saguday sent
the strongest wind until the crowns of the trees brushed the ground. The god Revenador sent down the
largest strings of fire. The heaviest rains fell. All these frightful events lasted seven days. The river Abra

then rose and covered the trees. There rose a vast body of water until only the highest part of the
mountain could be seen. It looked like a back of a turtle from a distance. This was the spot where Abra
lived.
On the seventh day, Abra heard a cry. He also heard a most sorrowful song. Abra dried his tears and
looked around, but he saw no one. He was determined to find Maria Makiling, his grandchild. He did not
find her, for the cries of the baby stopped.
The search for the baby lasted three full moons but to no avail, and the poor old man returned to his home
very sad. He lost all hope; his wits were gone. At that time Maria Makiling was under the care of the
fierce dog, Lobo, who was under a god of the Underworld. He had been punished by the other gods, and
that is why he looked like a fierce dog. He was sent down to do charity.
b. Ibanag
Why There is High Tide during a Full Moon
Long, long ago only gods lived in this world, the earth, seas, and sky were ruled by three different
powerful gods.The sun god, who ruled the sky, had a very beautiful daughter, Luna, the moon. Luna
enjoyed going around the heavens in her golden chariot. One day she found herself taking another path
which led her outside her kingdom. She wandered on until she reached the place where the sky met the
sea. Beautiful and unusual sights greeted her eyes. As she was admiring the beautiful things around, a
voice startled her. It asked, "Where has thou come from, most beautiful one?"
Turning around she saw a young man who looked much like her father though fairer. She wanted to run
away, but when she looked at him again, she saw that he was smiling at her. Taking courage she
answered, "I am Luna, daughter of the sun god."
The young man smiled at her and answered, "I am Mar, the son of the sea god. Welcome to our kingdom."
Soon the two became good friends. They had many interesting stories to tell each other. When it was time
for Luna to go, they promised to see each other as often as they could, for they have many more tales to
tell. They continued meeting at the same spot until they realized that they were in love with each other.
One day after one of their secret meetings, Luna went back to the heavens full of joy. She was so happy
that she told her secret to one of her cousins. The cousin, jealous of her beauty and her happiness,
reported the affair to the sun god. The sun god was angered at his daughter's disobedience to the immortal
laws. He shut her in their garden and did not allow her to get out. Then he sent a messenger to the sea god
informing him that his son Mar disobeyed the immortal law. The sea god, who was also angered by his
son's disobedience, imprisoned him in one of his sea caves.
Luna stayed in the garden for some time. She was very sad at not being able to see Mar. She longed to be
with him again. Feeling very restless one day, she escaped from the garden. She took her golden chariot
and rushed to their meeting place. Mar, who was imprisoned in the sea cave, saw her reflection on the
water. He wanted to get out to meet her. He tried hard to get out of his cave causing unrest in the sea.
Luna waited for Mar to appear, but he did not come. Then she went back home very sad. Each time she
remembered Mar, she would rush out in the golden chariot to the meeting place in hopes of seeing him
again.

The fishermen out in the sea believe that each time Luna, the moon, appears, the sea gets troubled. "It is
Mar trying to escape from his cave," they say.
c. Ifugao
Why the Dead Come Back No More
A very long time ago, there lived a very kind woman with her three little children. She loved her children
so much that she worked hard to be able to feed them.
One day she fell ill, and in a short time she died. Her spirit went to Kadungayan, of course, as she lived a
good life, but one night she thought of her poor little children whom she left on earth. She imagined that
no one cared for them and that they must be hungry and cold. She pitied them so much that she decided to
go back to earth.
When she reached their house, she called her eldest child to open the door for her. The children
recognized their mother's voice and opened the door at once. She went in and spoke to them, but they
could not see her because it was so very dark and their fire had gone out. The children had not built a fire
since their mother died. The children were too small, and they did not know how to build one.
So the woman sent her eldest child to beg for fire from the neighbors as she felt very cold. The poor child
went to the first house, but when she told them that she wanted fire for her mother who had come back
home, the people just laughed at her. They did not give her fire. She went to the next house, but the same
thing happened. Thus, she went to the next house, from house to house, but no one believed that her
mother had come back. They thought the poor child had gone out of her mind. So the poor child went
home without fire. The woman was very angry with all the unkind people. She said, "Am I to die a second
death because men are so selfish? Come, my children, let us all go to that better place where I came from
- Kandungayan. There are no selfish people there."
She took a jar of water and went outside in the yard. She shouted to all the people, "Ah, what selfish
people you all are. From this time on all people will follow my example. No man will ever come back
again to earth after death." With these words she smashed the jar on a big stone. This made a horrible
sound. All the people became silent with fear.
The next morning the people came out to see what had caused the great voice. They saw the bits of
broken jar and they found the three children dead. They now knew that the woman had really come back
home that night and that in her anger at their selfishness had taken her three children with her. The people
were so sorry for not having given fire to the little girl.
Since then no dead person has ever come back to earth.

d. Tagalog
Mag-asawang Tubig

In the olden days, there was a small town in which few farmers' families lived. Among them was the
couple known as Ba Imo and Ba Sinta. They were well liked and respected in that place, for although they
were well off, they were humble and generous.
One day Bathala put them to the test. A beggar in tattered clothes came to their house and asked for
lodgings. The couple very hospitably welcomed their guest and even joined him for a meal at their table.
To the great amazement of the couple, although they had been eating for some time, the food at the table
did not decrease. Realizing that their guest was God, the couple knelt before him and prayed. The old man
blessed them. In their prayer, the couple asked that they may die at the same time, so that neither of them
would experience grief and loneliness which would surely happen if one of them died first.
God granted the wish of the couple. They died at the same time and were buried in adjoining graves. Not
long afterwards, a brook sprang from their graves. This later grew and grew until it became a river, which
was named Mag-asawang Tubig in memory of the loving couple.
e. Bukidnon (Mindanao)
How the Moon and the Stars Came to Be
One day in the times when the sky was close to the ground a spinster went out to pound rice. Before she
began her work, she took off the beads from around her neck and the comb from her hair, and hung them
on the sky, which at that time looked like coral rock.
Then she began working, and each time that she raised her pestle into the air it struck the sky. For some
time she pounded the rice, and then she raised the pestle so high that it struck the sky very hard.
Immediately the sky began to rise, and it went up so far that she lost her ornaments. Never did they come
down, for the comb became the moon and the beads are the stars that are scattered about.
B. Legend (story) - traditional narrative or collection of related narratives, popularly regarded as
historically factual but actually a mixture of fact and fiction. The medieval Latin word legenda means
things for reading. During certain services of the early Christian Church, legenda, or lives of the saints,
were read aloud. A legend is set in a specific place at a specific time; the subject is often a heroic
historical personage. A legend differs from a myth by portraying a human hero rather than one who is a
god. Legends, originally oral, have been developed into literary masterpieces. Legends are stories about
real people who are famous for doing something brave or extraordinary. Every time the story was told, it
became more exaggerated and so it is now difficult to tell how much of the story is really true.
World Literature: One of the greatest legendary figures in Britain is King Arthur. He was the son of
King Uther Pendragon, a Celtic King. King Uther gave his child to Merlin the wizard. Merlin taught
Arthur everything he knew so that he could become a great king. When King Uther died, Merlin stuck a
sword into a rock and said, This sword is in the stone by magic. Only the true king will be able to pull it
out. Many men tried but none succeeded. When Arthur tried, the sword slipped out easily. Arthur was
made king. He went on to found the Round Table, an order to knights who became famous for fighting
the wicked and helping the poor.

Legends from the Philippines

The Legend of the Sleeping Beauty


Kalinga
In those days, tribes were not in good terms with each other. Tribal wars were common.
There was a man in Tinglayan called Banna, who had extraordinary bravery and strength. He had an
unusual charm so people look up to him for leadership. He was also a very good "ullalim" singer.
One day Banna realized that he needed a life time partner, someone to share his life with, so he went in
search for a wife. Since there were no eligible women in his barrio he decided to ascend Mount Patukan, a
mountain east of Tinglayan and go to the sitio of Dacalan, Tanudan.
While it was still daylight, he stopped and rested under a big tree at a distance away from the village so
that no one could see him. This is because he might provoke trouble by his presence.
When night came, Banna slowly went down nearer to the village and searched for a place to observe.
After some time, he heard a soft, melodious female voice singing the ullalim. He was drawn to the voice
and moved closer to the hut. Peeping, he saw the most beautiful woman he had ever set eyes on. Long,
wavy hair, dark, fringed eyes, and a voice that grew sweeter and sweeter as he drew closer to the hut.
Banna was mesmerized...captivated by the lyrical voice. The leaves of the trees around him seemed to be
dancing in unison with the woman's ululations.
He knew it was extremely dangerous for him to reveal himself inside the village territory, but his burning
desire to meet the woman, was stronger than his sense of survival.
He knocked boldly at the "sawali" (bamboo made) walls of the hut.
" Anna tago," (Someone's here.)
" Umma sanat?" (Who is it?), the singing stopped, but the spoken words were the most appealing sound
Banna had ever heard.
" This is Banna" from Tinglayan.
He heard hurried movements from the house, then a male voice spoke harshly, "What do you need?"
The natives were very protective of their women and properties, and Banna knew that he could get killed
by his boldness.
"I don't mean any harm, I come in peace. I would like to meet the woman who sings the ullalim with
passion."
The family was so nervous of letting a stranger in the house and had urged him to go home instead. But
Banna was persistent and had refused to go.
Dongdongan - the father of the woman - slowly opened the door and saw a young, handsome man
standing like a sentinel at the door. He repeated his plea for Banna to leave but the stance of the Banna
indicated, he would not be budged from where he stood. So, he reluctantly let him in.
"I am Banna from Tinglayan"

Once inside the house, as dictated by tradition, Dongdongan handed Banna a bowl of water. It was an old
tradition that once a stranger is accepted into a house, it is also understood that he will be protected and
kept safe by the host family. As a symbol of this unwritten agreement, the stranger would be given a drink
of water. This is called "paniyao". If a stranger is not given one, then it denotes an existing hostility which
may result to a deadly fight if the stranger does not leave immediately.
The second phase of the ritual continued. Dongdongan offered Banna the "buyo" - a bland, powder which
when chewed with certain leaves would produce red tinged saliva. This concoction is called "moma".
Ullalim was the official means of communication then so they sang as they talked. Banna too had a
strong, masculine voice and it was apparent he could sing well.
In his ullalim Banna revealed his search for a wife. Dongdongan introduced him to her daughter,
Edonsan, who readily accepted Banna's handshake.
Banna, then and there proposed to Edonsan. Edonsan in turn, accepted the proposal and there was a flurry
of activity, as all the village folk were invited to a meeting and then a "canao" (festivities with dancing
and singing). Banna and Edonsan dance the "salidsid" (courtship dance) to the tempo of the gongs, while
the community participated in the "tadok" (dance for all). The celebration lasted the whole day, with
everyone in the village participating. No one had gone to the fields and to the kaingin as people usually
did. The village people were the witnesses to the exchange of vows between the two. There were no
officiating priests or Judges, no official documents to sign, but the vows were always kept and were
considered sacred by everyone in the village.
Tradition also dictated that Banna had to stay with Edonsan's family for 7 days to prove his sincerity and
purity of intention. Banna and Edonsan had their honeymoon along the slope of the Patokan Mountain
picking guavas and wild strawberries, making love and dropping by the river to catch fish for supper.
In the evening of each day for the seven days that Banna was there, Edonsan took Banna to each of her
relative's house. It is considered good luck to do so, as it is believed that the blessings and approval of
relatives are vital to the happiness of the couple.
At the end of the 7th day, the couple prepared to leave for Banna's village where they will establish
residence. The parents of Edonsan and the village people prepared native cakes and tobacco as gifts for
the departure of the newly married couple.
As dawn broke, the village people came together to see them off. The two left happily, with their hands
entwined against each other. The trail was adorned with guavas and strawberries and they had a handful
as they trek towards the summit of Patokan. It took them 8 arduous hours to get to the top.
As soon as they reached the top, they heard unusual noises coming from Banna's village which was a few
miles below them.
Banna had a premonition that it was something dangerous so he instructed Edonsan to stay put and wait
for him. He was going down to his village to investigate the cause of the ruckus.

Banna ran all the way down to the village. As soon as he was seen by the village people, a cheer
reverberated in the air. He was informed hastily that their village was under siege and that his leadership
was needed to drive the trespassers away.
The bloody, face to face encounter of the two warring tribes went on for hours, spears and bolos clashed
against each other as more bodies piled up in between the cluster of the nipa huts. The great number of
the invading tribe slowly weakened Banna's men. One by one they fell, bloodied, to the ground. He could
not possibly go back to Edonsan, Banna thought. He would fight up to his very last breath - but he had to
make sure Edonsan does not come down to the village.
Hastily, he instructed one of his men to warn Edonsan, but the man never made it far. He and Banna were
simultaneously wounded and fell bleeding to the ground. Banna died with his spear in his hand and his
last vision was the face of Edonsan .
Edonsan, on the other hand, waited and waited...and waited. But there was no Banna to take her home.
She was weak from weariness and heartache. She had no desire to live without her Banna.
When it was evident, Banna was not coming for her, she slowly crumpled to the grassy- matted forest and
wept uncontrollably. Tears flowed down from her cheeks as she grew weaker and weaker and the tears
flowed more and more copiously.
Night came and Banna had not returned yet...and Edonsan had grown weak with grief and fatigue, her
breath slowly coming out in gasps... until she closed her eyes and breathed her last.
On the spot where her body was laid to rest, sprang two waterfalls which are believed to be the tears of
Edonsan.
In Tinglayan, one can clearly see from a distance, the beautifully, shaped body of a reclining woman.
And that is the legend of "The Sleeping Beauty" folks, as handed down orally, from one generation to
another.
As the story is passed on, additions and omissions are done by each set of generation. What is important
is that the undying love of Banna and Edonsan will always be remembered by the people of Kalinga.

Legend of the Dama de Noche


A thousand years ago, there was a rich maharlika, or nobleman, who spent his early bachelor days
recklessly, wining and dining in the company of nobility. He drank the finest wines, ate the most
delectable food and enjoyed the company of the loveliest, perfumed and bejewelled women of the noble
class.
After years of this kind of life, the maharlika finally felt it was time to settle down and marry the woman
of his choice. "But who is the woman to choose?" he asked himself as he sat in the rich splendour of his
home, "All the women I know are beautiful and charming, but I am tired of the glitter of their jewels and
the richness of their clothes!" He wanted a woman different from all the women he saw day and night,
and found this in simple village lass. She was charming in her own unaffected ways, and her name was
Dama.
They married and lived contentedly. She loved him and took care of him. She pampered him with the
most delicious dishes, and kept his home and his clothes in order. But soon, the newness wore off for the
maharlika. He started to long for the company of his friends. He took a good look at his wife and thought,
she is not beautiful and she does not have the air of nobility abouther, she does not talk with wisdom. And
so the maharlika returned to his own world of glitter and splendor. He spent his evenings sitting around
with his friends in their noble homes , drank and talked till the first rays of the sun peeped from the iron
grills of their ornate windows.
Poor Dama felt that she was losing her husband. She wept in the silence of their bedroom. "I cannot give
my husband anything but the delights of my kitchen and the warmth of my bed. He is tired of me." She
looked to the heavens. "Oh, friendly spirits! Help me. Give me a magic charm. Just one little magic charm
to make my husband come home again, that he will never want to leave my side, forever!"
It was midnight when the maharlika came home. He opened the door of their bedroom and called for
Dama to tell her to prepare his nightclothes. "Dama! Dama, where are you?" he called. He shouted all
around the bedroom. He sarched the whole house. Still the nobleman could not find his simple wife.
Finally the nobleman returned to their bedroom, tired and cross. But, as he opened the door, he stopped.
He smelled a very sweet and fragrant scent. It was a scent he had never smelled before. He entered the
room and crossed to the window where the scent seemed to be floating from. A strange bush was growing
outside the window. Some of its thin branches had aleady reached the iron grills and were twisting
around. And all over the bush were thousands of tiny starlike, white flowers, from which burst forth a
heavenly, enchanting scent!
He stood there, completely enraptured by the glorious smell. "Dama..." he whispered softly, onderingly,
could this be Dama? The rich maharlika sat by the window, and waited for the return of his loving simple
wife. But she did not come back. She never returned to him again. Only the fragrance of the flowers
stayed with him, casting a spell over his whole being.
In the moonlight, Dama of the night, or Dama de Noche would be in full bloom, capturing the rich
maharlika, making him never want to leave her side, forever.

Legend of the Banana Plant


In the early days when the world was new, spirits and ghosts lurked everywhere. They lived in gloomy
caves, they hid in anthills and tree trunks they frolicked in nooks and corners under the houses. In the
dark, sometimes their tiny voices could be heard dimly, or their ghostly presence be felt. But they were
never seen.
It was during these days of phantoms and unseen spirits that a young and beautiful girl lived. Her name
was Raya, and she was a girl bold and daring. She was never afraid of spirits. She would walk in the
shadowy forests, bringing along a lighted candle.
Then she would tiptoe into dark and dirty caves, searching the place for spirits. Raya only felt or heard
them never having seen them. But Raya always felt the presence of one kind spirit, whenever she walked
in the forest the spirit was with her at all times.
One day she heard someone call her name, and she looked up to see a young handsome man. She asked
him who he was, and he replied that his name was Sag-in, and he was the spirit who followed her around,
and even confessed that he had fallen in love with a mortal.
They married had a child and lived happily, but Sag-in knew that his time on earth was short for he was a
spirit-man, and would have to return to the spirit world soon. When he knew his time had come, he called
Raya and explained why he had to leave. As he was slowly vanishing, he told Raya that he would leave
her a part of him. Raya looked down and saw a bleeding heart on the ground. She took the heart and
planted it. She watched it night and day. A plant with long green leaves sprouted from the grave.
One day, the tree bore fruit shaped like a heart. She touched the fruit and caressed it. Thinking could this
be Sag-in's heart? Slowly the fruit opened , Long golden fruits sprouted from it. Raya picked one, peeled
it and bit into it. Then, she heard Sag-in's voice floating in the air:
"Yes, Raya, it is my heart. I have reappeared to show you that I will never forsake you and our child. Take
care of this plant, and it will take care of you in return. It's trunk and leaves will give you shelter and
clothing. The heart and fruits will be your food. And when you sleep at night, I will stand and watch by
your window. I will stay by your side forever!"

Legend of the Firefly


Fireflies!
Lovely little creatures, glittering, sparkling, throwing fragments of light in the dark night skies. How did
the fireflies or alitaptap come about?
Once, along time ago, in the valley of Pinak in Central Luzon, one of the islands in the Philippines. There
was a deep large lake rich with fish. There, the people of Pinak fished for their food, and always, there
was plenty for all. Then suddenly, the big river dried up. In the shallow mud, there wasn't a fish to catch.
For months, there were no rains. Out in the fields, the land turned dry. The rice-stalks slowly withered.
Everywhere in Pinak, there was hunger. Night after night, the people of Pinak prayed hard.
"Dear Bathala," they would recite together in their small and poorly-built chapel, send us rains, give us
food to eat. For the people are starving, and there is want among us!"
Then one black and starless night, the good Bathala answered the prayers of the faithful people of Pinak.
For suddenly up in the dark skies appeared a blaze of gold! A beautiful chariot of gold was zooming thru
the sky. The people started to panic but a big booming voice came from the chariot soothing them with
words.
" I am Bula-hari, and I have come with my wife, Bitu-in. We are sent to the heavens to rule Pinak from
now on. We have come to give you good life!" As Bulan-hari spoke, the black skies burst open. The rain
fell in torrents. Soon the dry fields bloomed again. The large lake rose and once again was filled with fish.
The people were happy once more under the rulership of Bulan-hari.
Soon Bulan-hari and Bitu-in had a daughter. She grew up to be a beautiful maiden. Such long dark hair!
Such lovely eyes under long curling lashes! Her nose was chiselled fine. Her lips like rosebuds. Her skin
was soft and fair like cream. They named her Alitaptap for on her forehead was a bright sparkling star.
All the young, brave handsome men of Pinak fell in love with Alitaptap. They worshipped her beauty.
They sang songs of love beneath her windows. They all sought to win her heart.
But alas! The heart of Alitaptap wasn't human. She was the daughter of Bulan-hari and Bitu-in, who burst
from the sky and were not of the earth. She had a heart of stone, as cold and as hard as the sparkling star
on her forehead. Alitaptap would never know love.
Then one day, an old woman arrived at the palace. Her hair long and dirty. Her clothing tattered and
soiled. Before the king Bulan-hari, Balo-na, the old, wise woman whined in her sharp voice... that she had
come from her dwelling in the mountains to bear the king sad news. The news being that she saw the
future in a dream and it betold of their fate... the warriors of La-ut are coming with their mighty swords to
conquer the land, the only solution is to have a marriage between Alitaptap and one of the young men, so
as to have a heir to win the war.
At once Bulan-hari pleaded with his daughter to choose one of the young men in their village. But how
could the beautiful maiden understand? Alitaptap's heart of stone merely stood in silence. Bulan-hari
gripped his sword in despair... " Alitapatap!" he bellowed in the quiet palace, "You will follow me, or you
will lay dead this very minute!"

But nothing could stir the lovely young woman's heart. Bulan-hari blind with anger and fear of the dark
future finally drew his sword. Clang! the steel of his sword's blade rang in the silence of the big palace. It
hit the star on Alitaptap's lovely forehead!
The star burst! Darkness was everywhere! Until a thousand chips of glitter and light flew around the hall.
Only the shattered pieces of the star on Alitaptap's forehead lighted the great hall, flickering as though
they were stars with tiny wings.
Alitaptap, the lovely daughter from the heavens lay dead.
And soon, Balo-na's prediction had come true. Riding in stamping wild horses, the warriors of La-ut came
like the rumble and clashes of lightning and thunder. They killed the people of Pinak, ruined crops, and
poisoned the lake. They spread sorrow and destruction everywhere.
When it all ended, the beautiful, peaceful valley of Pinak had turned into an empty and shallow swamp.
At night, there was nothing but darkness. But soon, tiny sparkles of light would flicker and lend glimmers
of brightness in the starless night.
And so, the fireflies came about. Once, a long time ago, they were fragments from the star on the
forehead of Bulan-hari's daughter, the beautiful Alitaptap.