Wednesday, May 8, 2013


(L-R) Licalibutan, Libulan, Lisuga, and Liadlaw
Artist Le Fou

The sun is unquestionably the most prominent thing we see in the sky during daytime, it's light, it's warmth and it's ever changing position is hard to ignore, and the ancestors always wondered how this " magical being" came into existence. Numerous myths and legendary stories were told all over the world about the sun. It is a usual fixture in creation myths all over the world from Asia to the Americas, and in popularity ranks among the top 2 most popular topic in myths, second only to the "Creator" of all things. Half of the myths over the world starts with the creation of the sun, the most popular story of the sun being created first would have to be the Christian Bible, in the book of Genesis, while other cultures believed the sun wasn't the start of it all, but the sky and the sea.

Our malay ancestors decided to go on that route to, stating in their stories that the sun, Liadlaw was the grandson of the sea (Magwayen) and the sky (Makaptan). He was the second son of Lihangin and Lidagat, and like most mythic depictions around the world, the sun almost has a very similar physical characteristics and traits. Almost all cultures depict the sun god as a strong, handsome man in his late 20's to early 30's and the epitome of male perfection. He is blessed with all the BEST QUALITIES in a man yet he has a cheery disposition and a fiery spirit. Liadlaw fits the mold, except with some slight differences, he has a body made of gold, and he is a second son, and being the middle child he is always torn among his brothers, Licalibutan and Libulan, he cannot make up his own mind that easily, he looks up to Licalibutan the eldest and yet he is also dependent on the advices of Libulan, the youngest. You can say he may be the brightest among the sky creations but he was not the wisest among the lot. He also has the tendencies to get attracted or seduced by female spirits and other beautiful deities, which makes Libulan's job of keeping him in focus even harder. When the brothers stormed Makaptan's heavenly realm, Liadlaw was struck second and his body shattered except his head, and when Makaptan grew remorseful of what he did, he picked up Liadlaw's head, molded it into the sun and set it in the sky after breathing onto it and returning his spirit. He was punished to forever travel only one route in the sky to keep him focused at all times, or else he might burn the earth or the heavens, and without Libulan enabling him or babying him at his side. The sun god considers every yellow flower in the world to be sacred to him, the "kahel" is a sacred fruit to him and so is the pineapple, and newly harvested palay which are the most favorable thanksgiving sacrifices to him. However, violent and aggressive barangays believe that The sun deity prefers virgin women as sacrifices to satiate his appetite, and they sacrifice one when the palay fields starts to turn golden to ensure continuous sunlight and good weather. He is also worshipped by youths in every baranggay who are going to undergo tests of manhood,a sign that they have grown up which could be perilous, and they pray to him in hopes that he will continue to guide them and protect them from imminent danger.*

Adlaw in GMA Network's Indio, 2013
Sketch artist: James/Squeegool
When the Spanish conquistadores arrived, Liadlaw's worship ceased, as the Spanish saw it as blasphemy and in his stead Christianity was introduced, putting an end to almost all forms of animism and pagan customs of the people. It is also said, that Liadlaw had a habit of kidnapping your women, and so farmers would tell their daughters to stay home when the sun is high lest they want to be abducted and never be seen from again, this was a scare tactic used by parents to make sure their young, unmarried daughters would not stray away from the house and do her duties faithfully. Liadlao, nowadays is only popular in the myths his name was included, especially the Creation Myth and until now, it is still being passed on by traditional Visayan parents to their children

Liadlaw's antithesis is the god Saragnayan, as he is the god of darkness and they are locked in eternal*struggle.Some folklorists believe that Saragnayan was the forgotten child of the chaos where sky and sea sprung from and grew slowly, being fed by the terror, fear, sadness and despair the diwatas and people felt when monsters of the old spread throughout the land to sow destruction. Liadlaw was was the first to defy his powers of darkness with his own, shooting down Saragnayan's terrible children with his spear of light. Liadlaw also created the first rooster according to some myths, his sacred animal, to alert the people of his coming, and warn the dark beings that he is near.

Related story : Liadlaw and Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan
Liadlaw as portrayed by Paolo Paraiso
GMA Network's Indio, 2013
Liadlaw and BPSB had a courtship moment before that ended in disaster. He spotted her while he was travelling his daily route in the heavens while she was displaying her naked buttocks on a rock (I assume that BPSB loves tanning to keep her golden glow). He went close to her and blew on her exposed skin. BPSB awoke, startled by the sun god, she ran as fast as her feet could carry, but the sun was too fast. She ran through the field of rice, the sun almost caught up with her, turning the grains golden yellow, and started a few wildfires which spread like the wind. BPSB called out to her mother, and she returned to the earth, while Adlaw was cornered by Makaptan and Ribung Linti, threatened to be zapped by lightning bolts once more, he finally gave up chase. The villagers put out the flames and cursed the sun, which added to his humiliation, he refused to come out the next day and the next and threatened the livelihood of farmers, each god and goddess, whispered to the earth to Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan to come out, but she won't budge either. Finally, Alunsina's sister, Suklang Malayon, started telling stories, and everyone was entranced, including BPSB deep down in the earth, and she finally couldn't take it no more and wanted to hear the story better she came out, and everyone tied her with godly ropes until she promises to make Liadlaw feel better. BPSB, planted a gold nugget and blessed it, and it grew into the first yellowbell. Alunsina, took it with her to Liadlaw and showed it to him, and he got over his sour mood, and returned to his normal course, never to stray again.

the Yellow Bell
Photo Credit:

1 comment:

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