Wednesday, June 12, 2013



He is a deity in the Sulodnon pantheon that is featured prominently during the first part of Hinilawod as the most aggressive suitor of the virgin goddess Alunsina. Among all the suitors of the goddess, Maklium sa T'wan (sometimes called BAKHAW in the play) was the angriest when she chose to have the mortal, Datu Paubari as her husband. This mighty diwata devised a plan with his brothers to drown the couple while they are inside their house on the plains with a flash flood, though his plans were thwarted by Suklang Malayon who warned her sister and her brother-in-law to escape before the flood destroys their house.

Bakhaw, also known in Hiligaynon mythology
as Maklium sa T'wan from the Hinilawod Comics website
Maklium sa T'wan is the god of the plains, the forests and most animals, except for the snakes and reptiles of the land, and is considered to be one of the primary earth deities due to his vast association with the land, the flora and the fauna and as such is treated by the ancient Visayans with much reverence and respect. Maklium sa T'wan is also thought to be the ancestor of the diwatas who live on land and deities who govern human society. Being the resident earth god of the pantheon, a position that usually falls on a woman due to their nurturing nature and ability to produce offspring (i.e. Gaia of Greek mythology, Papa of Polynesian mythology) he is also thought to have the power of duality, having the ability to split himself into male and female spirits and mate with the other spirits of the land to produce more godly offspring, while others say he has the ability to give birth to other deities without any help at all. Among his descendants were Panlinugon, an underworld god and lord of earthquakes, the lesser Tungkung Langit who supports the sky on his shoulders, and his wife Luyong Kabig, his granddaughters Lubay Lubyok Mahanginun si Mahuyokhuyokan, the goddess of the night breeze, Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata, the lust goddess and bride of darkness, and the golden deity of greed, Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan to name a few. Maklium sa T'wan himself was said to have descended from the essence of Licalibutan, god of the world when he died and his body fellon earth to form the great islands, some tales in the South say he appeared when Kan-Laon gave a part of his/her "spark of divinity" to all aspects of nature and space, giving birth to the diwatas governing both nature and human society.

He was widely worship by many tribes before, especially during planting and harvest seasons, hunting seasons and even during weather invocation ceremonies. Babaylans would often pray to him for signs and visions to guide them when would be the best time to plant and hunt for food. They would also give him blood sacrifices after a successful hunt as thanksgiving and tribal huntsmen were careful not to harm the young and were careful to avoid "sacred" areas in the forest, in fear that they may anger the forest god and will be punished by an incurable disease or pestilence and famine on their tribe.

from a Children's artbook by Maria Yotoko Chorengel
Illustrated by: Bernadette C. Solina

When the Spanish regime started on the Philippines, the worship of this deity suffered and declined, having to compete with the teachings of Christianity and the baptism of most Visayans to the new faith. His altars were replaced by churches, chapels and icons of Christ, the Virgin Mary and the Saints, nowadays only a few untouched tribes that escaped the modernization of the world revere Maklium sa T'wan, but his name will never be forgotten by the Philippine people due to his part in the epic poem of Hinilawod.

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