Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Suklang Malayon


Magayon, a character loosely based on Suklang Malayon
as portrayed by Rhian Ramos
GMA Network's INDIO, 2013
The ancient visayans also worship a goddess of the home and hearth in the form of Suklang Malayon, who is also the goddess of families and happiness. Suklang Malayon is known as the protective sister of Alunsina and is described as a fair lady surrounded by birds, which serves as her messengers. In the epic poem, Hinilawod, Suklang Malayon discovered the plan of Maklium sa T'wan of flooding the plains to drown Alunsina and Datu Paubari. She warned the couple of this impending danger and advised them to retreat to the mountains and hide there until the great deluge passed. The flood destroyed the plains and the couple's home and when all is safe and sound once more, Suklang Malayon ordered her winged friend (some say it's a maya bird and some say it was Suklang Malayon in the guise of the bird) to deliver the news to the couple that it is safe to return and build their house once more.

Magayon, a character loosely based
on Suklang Malayon in GMA Network's Indio, 2013
Sketch artist: James/Squeegool
Suklang Malayon is honored by housewives, mothers, aunts, sisters, and the womenfolk. She symbolizes compassion and sympathy and is a constant reminder of the sisterly bonds women of the village share with each other, and women who look for help and compassion are in her care, and it was said that any woman who rejects their fellow woman in need in the care of this goddess is said to incur the anger of Suklang Malayon and would be punished by chaos and disasters at home as well as loss and unsatisfaction in life. Birds, especially the humble maya, is said to be messengers and friends of this benevolent goddess, since birds make homes themselves in the form of nests and usually near human settlements and sings happy melodies especially during mating season. It was believed to be good luck to find maya birds in a person's backyard or in makeshift kitches in which the visayan ancestors cook, because they believed that Suklang Malayon is visiting their homes and blesses them with happiness. It was also believed that Suklang Malayon hates noises, especially from pots, and banging a pot with a ladle drives her away and invites evil spirits instead, thus mothers always warn their children never to play with the kitchenware, in fear the goddess would leave their homes and therefore lose her patronage and protection. Important events of the household is a time of worship for Suklang Malayon, like cleaning the rice, cleaning the house, doing laundry and most especially, cooking and preparing the family meal. Women pray to her as they do their household duties, asking her to bless them and their cooking so that their husbands would always return to them and their children would grow up to be strong and healthy individuals.
Munsad Buralakaw and Suklang Malayon watching over a family
from the Children's Artbook of Marla Yotoko Chorengel
Illustrated by Bernadette C. Solina

The worship of Suklang Malayon may have ceased to most visayans when the spanish inquisition flourished in the islands, however, local customs and household superstitions regarding her continued, examples of these are the prohibition of banging the pots and pans with a ladle during cooking, never cry or argue while cooking or you will lose a loved one, never clean the house during dusk and at night, and never eat the rice out of the pot directly unless you want to have your fortunes reversed to bad luck and risk your family being poor for the rest of their lives. Superstitions revolving around the goddess of the homes are numerous and practiced by many Visayans until now, and it is through these that the memory of this benevolent deity is well and alive in the hearts of present-day Visayans.

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