Thursday, May 23, 2013


Rainbow Deity

Barangaw is a beloved deity from the Sulodnon pantheon of ancient Visayans living in Western Visayas. He is also one of the more popularly known deity because he has also
Art by James/Squeegool
been incorporated by other Visayan tribes in the archipelago, some even say his fame has reached the lands of Luzon and also in the more Islamic territories of Mindanao. Barangaw is known as the god of the rainbow, in the old days, the rainbow is thought of as a phenomenon that brings luck and victory… but most importantly the rainbow symbolizes hope against opposing forces in life. Barangaw is thought of as the guardian of this natural phenomenon that occurs after a huge storm or heavy downpour, thus he is also an important deity to pray to during times of war because a rainbow seen by his devotees are seen as a sign of a huge chance of victory against the other tribes. Barangaw is seen as an able-bodied man who guards the rainbow,

And the people long ago believed that it is also his job to transport the other deities from their home in Ibabawnon (Heaven) to Earth to visit the land and the people. In Antique, it is said he also help transport deities and worthy humans to the mountain fortress of the gods in Madyaas. He was also seen as a god of good luck, and rainbows during a wedding feast or village celebration is seen as a good omen.

Barangaw has been associated with a lot of good things, but even he too did not escape controversies in the old age. Some old folktales associate him as a god who prefers the company of lower form of spirits like the dwendes, taihos, busaw, and especially the Philippine Kentauride the Anggitay, which according to some legends was a mortal woman, who was vain enough to challenge and mock Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan, the goddess of greediness. The goddess punished her and turned her into a half-horse half human with golden hooves and a large horn for her foolishness and cursing her with endless thirst for gold that she will never find, but Barangaw granted the Anggitay a home beneath the rainbow. Due to this, local grandmothers would warn their children never to enter the forest when they see a rainbow unless they want to be spirited away by these mythical nature spirits. 

When the Spanish colonies established themselves in the Visayan Islands, Barangaw’s importance decreased due to the successful conversions of many Visayans to the Roman Catholic faith. In his place, grew a number of saints and angels that were seen by the ancient Visayans as better substitutes of their own gods. The devotions of the diwatas lessened and the veneration of the Catholic religion flourished little by little, and soon Barangaw was forgotten by many Visayans. His fame now lies in stories, when the world was young and the diwatas roamed freely. Barangaw, the noble rainbow god will always be in the minds and hearts of Visayans and a part of our country’s rich mythical heritage.

Story of Anggitay (the Philippine Kentauride/ female centaur) and Barangaw

Once upon a time there was a beautiful girl, a descendant of a datu who was punished by Lubay Lubyok ni Mahuyokhuyokan and turned into the first "taiho" or the Philippine Centaur, her name was Angga (means " love" in visayan) Angga was beautiful but very vain and selfish, the god Barangaw fancies her and wherever she goes a rainbow appears. She also had a penchant for shiny things and loved jewels very much, that she isn't above stealing the jewels and precious things of others to adorn her milky white body. One day, she happened to pass by a sacred grove of Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan and saw her servants, dwarves carrying gold on sacks, and followed them, she asked them to whom this bulawan belongs, they answered "only to the fairest among the earth's children, Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan". Angga got jealous and arrogant, and proclaimed herself being the fairest of earth's children, she then rushed home and told the villagers to build her a throne encrusted with jewels and gold and carry her back to the shrine of BPSB. Her arrogance and fury boiled over and shouted, "Nothing and no one is more fairer than me, only I deserve those earthly treasures!"  

In a flash of golden light, Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan, appeared before the girl. The townspeople fled but they were all turned into yellow field mice in a flash, BPSB then stepped hard on the girls toes, and they turned into golden hooves, she then conked the girl in the forehead with her golden slipper and a big ivory horn grew, she then cursed the girl for her folly of declaring higher than any deity and made her the image of her ancestor, the lusty datu, into a half-woman, half horse and everyone would flee from her hideousness. Barangaw however felt pity on the girl and blessed her with her good looks back, even though she still has a horn and is half horse, and gave her the power to ride the rainbow, and take shelter at the end of the rainbow. Up to this day, natives believe, when you see a rainbow, make sure of it, an Anggitay is at large at the end of it, still looking for Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan's coffer of gold!  

The curse of Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan turned the girl into the first anggitay, promising she would be reverted to normal if she is able to collect 7 sacks of gold. Barangaw promised to continue helping the girl, and they would hunt for it after the rain (BPSB does not like getting wet), however BPSB also blew some gold dust in her eyes, which makes her see mirages of golden forms from a distant, that way she is eternally bound to her monster form for she cannot finish her task!

Barangaw portrayed by Will Devaughn
GMA Network's Indio, 2013

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