Ever heard of The Legend of Mount Makiling? How about Malakas at Maganda? Maybe you know Biag ni Lam-ang.

These are a couple of examples of Filipino folk literature.

On Philippine Literature

Philippine folk literature has a long history in the Philippines, existing even before the country’s long periods of colonization. In the pre-colonial era, the Filipinos expressed their culture through various ways like folk songs, folk narratives, and rituals. Other forms of folk literature include epics, myths, and legends.

Once the Spanish colonized the Philippines, its oral traditions were eventually overtaken by different forms of literature, such as theater and religious poetry— which were often written in Spanish. Eventually, during the American colonization, these Spanish writings fell in favor of the English language.

Thankfully, the culture and oral traditions of several indigenous tribes found throughout the Philippines survived despite the long history of colonization.

So why is it important?

Folk literature contains stories that show the core of Filipino culture, beliefs, values and worldview. They’re a crucial part of Filipino identity, and understanding their value is important because they are a basic part of Filipino social tradition and heritage, as mentioned by Rabuco.

What are myths, and why them?

Myths are a form of folk literature that are considered sacred, and tell “true accounts of the world” as defined by Eugenio. They represent the beliefs and values of the people who believe in and speak of these myths. While the characters aren’t usually humans, they do have human characteristics.

Many of the myths recorded on this website were taken from books which were recorded by scholars who set off to study the myths of different indigenous cultures found within the Philippines. These were translated into English, with some alongside the original language.

Our goal is to help archive these myths into a digital medium so it can act as a source for people interested in Filipino mythology. There is a lack of accessibility to these key sources we’ve gathered these myths from, and we want to help preserve and protect these stories for generations to come.

References

Eugenio, D. L. (1994). Philippine Folk Literature: The Myths. University of the Philippine Press.
Godinez-Ortega, C. F. (2015, June 2). The literary forms in Philippine literature. National Commission for Culture and the Arts. https://ncca.gov.ph/about-ncca-3/subcommissions/subcommission-on-the-arts-sca/literary-arts/the-literary-forms-in-philippine-literature/
Rabuco, A. C. (2006). Hiligaynon Mythological Stories and Folktales: Analysis and Translation. University of San Agustin Publishing House.