Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Paiburong as portrayed by Mike Gayoso
GMA Network's Indio, 2013

Paiburong is the mighty Ruler of Pagtung-an or the Middle World. It should be noted that during the ancient times, the Visayan ancestors’ once believed that the Earth is flat and that the “MIDDLE WORLD” denotes a vast expanse of water in the middle of the earth which travellers have to brave in order to get from one place to the next.

It is also a symbolic "crossroad" between the living and the dead and it is Paiburong's duty to guard the mighty expansion from island invaders, pirates to even lost souls who escaped the world below, also known as Idadalmun. Paiburong is described as a mighty god with immense strength and abilities to shapeshift, his favorite form is the mighty saltwater crocodile which was once abundant on the salty estuarines and sandy beaches of the Visayan archipelago, and naturally, this fearsome creature which is both revered and feared by travellers is regarded as one of his sacred animals.

Some tribes believed that Paiburong was nursed by a giant female crocodile when he was abandoned by an earth diwata on the shore of the sea. His mother, some say is the female aspect of Maklium sa T'wan (while some say it is Maklium sa Tubig) who mated with the different male and female aspects of nature and human society to beget descendants. He is also said to have been blessed by Magwayen with a magic shell that allows him to change size at will in order to pursue and defeat any intruder that comes close to his domain. Paiburong also has a wife, given to him by his sister or relative Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan when she saw the god in a lonely state one fine day and she felt pity for him. Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan fashioned a girl out of gold and breathed life into her and gave her to him as company. This maiden's name is Bulawanon (Maiden of Gold) .

Paiburong as portrayed by Mike Gayoso
GMA Network's Indio, 2013
Ancient Visayans would appease this god for safe passage along the seas and rivers, making offerings of meat and delicacies to appease the mighty crocodiles, allowing them to pass safely with their bangkas (small, wooden boats or balangays across the channel of water, some even say that the most fearsome of tribes would even give human tributes, usually a prisoner to these huge creatures.

Paiburong in GMA Network's Indio, 2013
Sketch artist: James/Squeegool

When the Spaniards came to the archipelago, Paiburong's worship ceased and was replaced by Catholicism. The use of human sacrifice was banned by the foreigners and imposed heavy punishment on those who will practice it.
Due to his nature of being a savage god, Paiburong was slowly wiped away by the Spaniards out of their altars and his veneration slowly disappeared. Now this mighty god of the middle world could only be found in stories and oral traditions of Visayans who strives to maintain the culture and traditions of yore.

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