Sunday, May 26, 2013

Luyong Baybay profile

Luyong Baybay
Goddess of the Tides

The deity who controls the rising and falling of the tides. Her name Luyong Baybay is translated as “She who was born from the Sea” and was worshipped by ancient Visayan fishing villages especially in the island of Panay. One myth recounting her birth, states that she rose from Lidagat’s hair when she died and assumed her role as a sea goddess, while other say she is a daughter of Maklium sa Tubig who was a Panayanon sea god, and the rest tells us she is a sister to the 3 beautiful goddesses of the earth and a niece of Panlinugon. Another myth says that Luyong Baybay is very much infatuated with the Moon Deity, Libulan, that whenever he gets close to earth, the tides rise up because she is trying to get close to him. Luyong Baybay is also believed to have married a fire spirit or demigod named Paigrab and they had a daughter together named Magsauladung Biday, a mythical wise woman who lives near the beach and helps the fishermen in need of divine instructions to get a great catch. Luyong Baybay is also believed to be a causer of accidents at sea, fishermen who don’t properly treat her domain with respect especially when fishing find themselves a target of her watery wrath, capsizing their boat in a whim. Fishermen were advised to always give something back to the goddess as thanksgiving for a great catch (usually pieces of fresh red meat). There is also a folktale that says on nights of the full moon, Luyong Baybay would come up to shore and take the form of a lonely, young woman in need and she would seduce men back to her domain to stay with her for eternity. It was also believed that Luyong Baybay also knows the directions of mythical places like Gadlum (the land of darkness) the domain of Saragnayan, the god of darkness and his bride or Burutlakan-ka-adlaw which is the hidden realm of Lubay Lubyok Mahanginun si Mahuyokhuyokan, which in some tales were her brother-in-law and sister respectively.

Unfortunately for Luyong Baybay, her worship diminished following the Spanish invasion. Most Visayans went on to become Catholics and their belief on her started to disappear, and are replaced instead by venerations to the Mother of Good Voyage, Nuestra Seniora dela Buen Viaje, an aspect of the Virgin Mary who protects sailors and fishermen from calamities of the sea. Luyong Baybay however remains in the memory of the Visayan elders, and aslong as these wonderful stories of old is passed down from generation to generation, she will always stay alive in the hearts of the Visayan people.

Luyong Baybay arguing with Saragnayan
Children's artbook from Maria Yotoko Chorengel
Illustrated by: Bernadette C. Solina

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