Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Munsad Buralakaw


Munsad Buralakaw as portrayed by Raul Dillo
GMA Network's AMAYA, 2011
He is the diwata in charge of human affairs and politics, an important deity of the Visayan ancestors whom they both praise and honor as a protector of their communities and also in charge of their fates and the state of the nation. He is described as a refined god who loves order and peace, yet at the same time admires the bravado of heroes, chieftains and their armies. It is said that he is present in every community council, observing and lending a hand of inspiration to the datus, babaylans and other important figures of ancient Visayan society. He has the power to inspire great leaders, guide and bless heroes on their quests, give blessings and good fortune to a community, yet also has the power to take it all away in one fell swoop of his hand. Munsad Buralakaw also is believed to be one of the deities who loves to make his presence known to the early people, either in dreams or in real life situations by disguising himself either as a lone traveller or a poor beggar, observing and judging community life and testing it's inhabitants when it comes to their hospitality, generosity and kindness. It was also said that communities who drove him away from the village in his guise as a dirty vagabond or a beggar were punished severely for their selfishness and evil ways by allowing them to be captured by the enemy and civil unrest, while he bestowed glory and fame to the inhabitants of communities who treated him with kindness.

Munsad Buralakaw is said to be the patron of datus, heroes, war leaders, the chief babaylan, doctors and young adults due to his power of affecting a person's fate, either good or bad. Offerings were made to him during important community events like rites of passage, crowning or election of community leaders and datus, weddings, births, even during judgement of prisoners of war and wrongdoers, in which the datu and the chief babaylan ask his guidance that they may give the correct sentence and punishment to the wicked and determine and save the innocent and wrongly accused. In a sense, one can say that Munsad Buralakaw is one of the most important deities in ancient Visayan Society due to his central role in them.

Munsad Buralakaw and Suklang Malayon watching over a family
from the Children's Artbook of Marla Yotoko Chorengel
Illustrated by Bernadette C. Solina
 When the Spanish conquistadores came and introduced Christianity, Munsad Buralakaw's worship weakened and was replaced by the worship of Christ. The belief of Munsad Buralakaw's central role in the lives of the people were discredited by the Spanish lawmakers and friars, telling the Visayans that worshipping him and the other diwatas were wrong and in his stead, the teachings of Catholicism and faith in the Catholic Christian's God was planted in the hearts and minds of the people. Now, only a few ethnic Visayan groups believe in Munsad Buralakaw, and through them and their descendants, he remains as one of the most important gods of their daily lives.

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