The Story of Mambucal

A Podcast episode on The Story of Mambucal
The myth as recorded in Philippine Folk Literature: The Myths (1994)
A very long time ago when Mambucal was inhabited by mountain people, no falls were found there. The place, although rich and fertile, had one handicap. It had very little rain.

One year it did not rain at all. There was a very long drought, and the people feared that famine was knocking at their door. Their plants were wilting, their rice was withering, and the trees were beginning to dry up. The earth was parched throughout the place, and so the people, as was their custom, held a panait to Kanlaon, their chief goddess.

They prayed to her to give them rain to save them. They promised to give Kanlaon a beautiful girl, Kudyapa, to tend her fire at the foot of the mountain if their prayers were granted. When they told Kudyapa of their wish, the girl did not refuse them, for she loved her people and was willing to be sacrificed for them.

Then, believe it or not, the prayed-for rain fell. It rained as it had never rained before. The plants began to revive and soon the people’s fear of famine vanished. They rejoiced and thanked Kanlaon for her kindness.

Each day Kudyapa, as the people promised Kanlaon, went to the shrine at the foot of the mountain to offer flowers. For several weeks this happened until one day a handsome young hunter from a neighboring village spotted Kudyapa at the shrine.

The young hunter fell in love with her. She was too beautiful too be alone, so he approached her and expressed his love to her. The girl, human as she was, fell in love with him too. They met secretly everyday at Kanlaon’s shrine.

“Come with me, Kudyapa,” said the young hunter one day. “I will make you my wife. Come with me to where I live and I will love you with all my heart.”

Kudyapa was delighted to hear these words. She had never fallen in love before. She thought it would be very bad for her to deny him, for she loved him as much as he loved her.

But as soon as she stepped from the shrine, the earth began to shake. It shook and shook until the earth opened and lightning struck everywhere. Thunder rolled and the skies darkened.

Kudyapa felt very afraid. She tried to call for her lover but she lost her power of speech. She tried to run away but her feet looked like crystal. They had turned to water! And she tried to grasp the hand of her lover, but she could not move her arms. They too had turned to water.

Why, she thought, I am turning into water! She touched her dress but she had no dress at all. Her body was flowing like a silken fabric, cool, and clear. She tried to move her head and touch her hair, but she could not do it. She could only feel the cool dropping of her tresses on her shoulders and down to her feet. She had been turned into a waterfall.

The hunter tried to catch her and take her away with him, but the wrath of Kanlaon knew no bounds. He too found himself immobile. He was turned into a stone at the side of the mountain and on it the water cascaded.

And so they were united in matrimony–stone and waterfall–the waterfall always gliding and sliding over its lover, the motionless stone.

This was how Mambucal spring came to be.
Eugenio, D. L. (1994). Philippine Folk Literature: The Myths. University of the Philippine Press.

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