Friday, August 30, 2013



"DiwataTaguibanua clothing local girl"
From: Children's Artbook by Maria Yotoko Chorengel
Illustrated by Bernadette C. Solina
Taguibanua is a goddess that is seen as an important deity for travelers and benefactors. She is the goddess in charge of the care and protection of diplomats, travelers as well as the household benefactors that they stay in. She is usually described as a goddess with a lovely smile and carries a pot of cooked rice or carrying a vessel of "tuba", a special liquor made from coconut tree nectar, and a symbol of brotherhood and hospitality. She is believed to be the goddess of hospitality, brotherhood and protectress of both the visitor and the host alike. She is also believed to be the deity of customs and traditions observed in every household and oversees that the ancient visayans never forget to uphold these traditions of being a good benefactor, a gracious host and also right conduct and behavior as a visitor to a certain household. It was said that when a traveler or diplomat from a foreign barangay comes to a village, he is mostly expected to pay high respects to the chief, the babaylan and the officials of the said village, bringing gifts of peace for the host, extend the hand of friendship and brotherhood with a toast from a cup of tuba in hopes that he may be allowed passage and a stay for a night. And in exchange, the leader of the said village must accept these gestures peacefully, for harming the non-aggressive visitor would incur the wrath of Taguibanua and will cause her to bring misfortunes upon the household or the visitor, depending on who committed the worst breach of manners.

Taguibanua was also believed to be a strict deity and that some customs are deemed unacceptable to her. here are some fascinating old beliefs in the olden days that the Visayans practiced for the sake of being in the good graces of Taguibanua, some of them has even evolved to modern day superstitions.
  • A benefactor must never eat before the guest, or else their teeth and hands will rot or fall off.
  • Women must never sweep the floors while the guest is present or eating or else they will be single for the rest of their entire lives.
  • Women must never throw water out of the house during evenings while the guest is present or they will be crying for the rest of their lives.
  • The benefactor and his family should never sleep beside the entrance/exit of the house or else the visitor might walk over them and steal their good fortune and the height of their growing children.
  • Babies are not recommended in the room when a visitor is around or they will get sick.
  • Offer the best meat/ or head of the meat to the visitor, for it will guarantee the family abundance for a year. Handing the visitor the hind parts or entrails will cause lack of good fortune.
  • Weaponry must never be present (or remain hidden) in the dining area. It can be considered an act of aggressiveness and will cause family squabbles.
  • Visitors must never jump on a bonfire of the host family, or the maidens of the house will never marry that year.
  • Visitors must always extend the cup of friendship first unless he wants his house to be burned down.
  • Visitors must offer prayers and gifts to the household deity of the place he is staying in, or he will never accomplish his task.
  • Visitors must never give bananas to maidens of the benefactor house first, or else his wife will be carried away/run away with another man.
  • Benefactors who cannot provide a visitor's special request must compensate it with better gifts before the visitor leaves or else he will be shunned by the entire village.
  • Pregnant housewives should never serve beans or legumes of any kind to a visitor who arrives at night, or their babies will be stillborn.
  • Household members are not supposed to speak while the visitor is eating, except for the head of the family and his wife, or they will be struck dumb.
  • The household must greet the visitor first or else the children will get sick.
  • The visitor should never offend the host, not only is it a declaration of war, but his wife will be barren, his male children will be incapable of giving offspring and his daughters will grow warts and no man shall ever marry them.
  • Visitors shall never insult the host's wife and daughters or else he will turn blind/ his own wife will turn into an animal, usually a frog.
The household and the visitors both offer prayers of thanksgiving to Taguibanua together to ensure luck and protection to both parties. Harming the visitor or the host family will cause Taguibanua to punish the offending party severely threefolds and is also seen as a declaration of war by the ancient Visayans.

Spanish influence caused the people to abandon their old deities and embrace the Christian religion, and Taguibanua the goddess of hospitality faded into the background of history, but the beliefs and customs of the people who once cherished this mighty goddess of hospitality has forever lived on, and evolved into some of our well-loved superstitions that continued to the modern age.



Dalikmata, as portrayed by Ellen Adarna
GMA Network's INDIO, 2013
Dalikamata is an important deity in the Ancient Visayan society due to her role as a health goddess, more specifically the health of the eyes. During those days, when modern medicine was not yet discovered and accessible by the people of yore, people believed that the state of their health were also in the hands of the deities that surrounds them and affects their daily lives. Dalikamata is a goddess with an awesome presence. She is depicted to be a lovely maiden surrounded by thousands of eyes all around her body, each eye is capable of seeing far and near and gifted with the power of clairvoyance, keeping track of every person that lives in the village and knows each action the villagers did. She is also said to be a sympathetic goddess, weeping at night for the misfortunes and evil deeds villagers may have made during the day and her tears can be seen on earth in the form of morning dew. The babaylans of the ancient times would collect the morning dew in pots believing that the tears of the benevolent eye goddess is a wondrous miracle-worker in potions, and healing salves for the tired and defective eyes of some people.

Dalikamata also was thought to have been a liaison between the human world and the diwata world, reporting the good deeds and evil deeds of the people to both Kaptan, the Sky god, Tungkung Langit, the ruler of Ibabawnon and Saad(heaven) Pandaki, the goddess who is the savior of souls and Suguinarugan who is the god of hell,to help. It was even said that Dalikamata got so worried and scared for the villagers falling into the clutches of evil and temptation in life, and damning their souls to a harsher fate in the hell dimension of Suguinarugan that she placed some of her eyes on the wings of a butterfly to watch over them during the day, being a constant reminder to the villagers to always do good and acts of piety and repentance, while the "bukaw" a visayan species of owl, another sacred animal to Dalikamata, watches over the people at night.

She was also believed to be the diwata who can see the past, the present and the future, the tangible and the invisible, and sometimes she would impart these gifts on a few special babies upon their birth. The ancient Visayans believed that a mark of this special blessing is in the form of a mole inside the eyeball, the closer the mole to the pupils of the eye, the greater the child's sensitivity to premonitions and invisible forces surrounding them, and naturally these babies were educated by the babaylans or "ermitanyos" (hermits) and "surwanos" (healers) to their pre-destined roles in the society. Dalikamata is also said to be the guardian of the Flower-of-make-believe, a rare flower that was said to have been the first plant on earth that sprung from the first tears of Tungkung Langit when Alunsina left him, the flower itself is said to hold a fragrant nectar so sweet and powerful, that anyone who tastes it would become anyone whom/what they want to be in life and would get whatever their heart desires.

Dalikamata is said to be the patron diwata of people suffering from eye diseases, defects, healers and people gifted with the third sight. Although a benevolent goddess, she is said to also cause blindness and eye troubles on the sinful and evil people in the society of yore. Healers and babaylans invoke her to give them answers through visions, dreams and premonitions, as she is the only one who can see the past, the present and the future. Households usually have altars made for her, in the hopes that the family will be spared from eye troubles and diseases. They would be offering her small tokens of appreciation, through kamangyan (a type of incense) flowers and trinkets to symbolize their devotion to the many-eyed deity.

DALIKMATA in GMA Network's Indio, 2013
Sketch artist: James/Squeegool
When the Spanish conquistadores came to the Philippines, and converted and preached the word of Christianity to the ancient Visayans, they also banned the worshipping of the diwatas and replaced them with religious icons instead. Thus, Dalikamata was replaced by St. Lucy (Sta. Lucia) who is the patroness saint against eye diseases and defects of the Roman Catholic religion. The villagers accepted the change and Dalikamata was slowly forgotten by most Visayan societies. Her veneration and worship is still practiced by a few Suludnon families but her contribution to the ancient people of yore, will forever be etched on the fabric of culture and Visayan mythology. 

Dalikmata as portrayed by Ellen Adarna
GMA Network's INDIO, 2013
Photo Credit: Dencio Isungga
  • Dalikmata = Dalikmata or Dalikamata, Dughangmata, Matinaw-aw mata, has various names depending on the tribe elders of yore telling her story around the Visayan Isles. She was the daughter of Likabutan, and sprang out of his eye and was nursed by the spring of truth, in which whoever drinks from that spring shall never tell lies. She was worshipped as a higher tier deity by the babaylans due to the fact that she grants the gift of visions, premonition, prophetic dreams, clairvoyance, and the third eye. They also collect morning dew, said to be her tears that she weeps for the sins of man against fellow man or nature every night. In the olden days, the ancestors were prone to many eye ailments and blindness due to the climate, wars, poor diet and hygiene and for remote provinces,even malnutrition. They appeal to the many-eyed goddess to cure them of these ailments and babaylans would often bless food and water in name, along with talismans for the well-being of their eyes. Eagles and Hawks are sacred to Dalikmata, creatures with excellent eyesight, said to help her see far and wide around the archipelago. The pineapple plant, especially during the Spanish regime was thought to be a gift from her and is celebrated fruit during healing sessions invoked in her name.

  • Dalikamata has thousands of eyes all over her body,and is actually feared by the early people of Panay because it is said each eye represents a person and she can see all the good and bad actions they are doing in their lifetime. She hates people who are discourteous/disrespectful and curses them with blindness and cures the worthy of eye ailments.
  • Dalikamata, for her to be called the many-eyed diwata, is referred to in theVisayan myths as the " One who cannot be surprised " for she can see the past, present and future, and also the hearts and souls of men and the realm of the spirits and the invisible". 
  • Dalikamata is a naturally silent character in myths, she doesn't say that much except she loved humans and she was entrusted by Kan-Laon tolook after his creatures to prevent them from straying. Dalikmata is the most reserved of the diwatas, an introvert and is also quite sensitive. Each night, some of her eyes cries for the evil people who committed foul acts,and in the morning her "tears" are found on vegetation as the " morning dew" which babaylans collect in bottles for their spells, especially in gaining the ability of the 3rd sight (third eye) or to gain the ability of clairvoyance.
  • Dalikamata has some noteworthy weaknesses. She has a sensitivity to perfumes, aromatic nards of animal fat, ylang ylang and herbal oils of some plants which make her drowsy and can brought her to sleep. She can also be enraptured when she sees the future, that she gets incapacitated and she cannot be disturbed, for anyone who dares touching her will be obliterated by the optic rays of her cursed eye.
  • Dalikamata is also important during barangay trials and coronations and birth of children of nobility, they invoke her so that she may always guard them althroughout life, evil schemes of overthrowing a datu will be discovered, and in case of trials, that truth shall always prevail and any criminal who escapes will be brought to justice quickly.
There once was a curious story in the southern islands, in which Dalikamata was brought to sleep by Hangin Bai, to help sultan Barom Mai, the sultan she fell in love with, fetch the flower of make-believe, which can only found in the invisible jungles at the edge of the world. Some say it was a wood nymph dedicated and blessed by Dalikamata with beautiful eyes that can turn anyone she gazed into wood or stone, that was guarding the flower and was made to sleep while she snatched the flower from her hair. Nonetheless, no matter how the story goes, Dalikamata, made a resolution that this would never happen again, so she placed eyes on wings of some forest moths and butterflies, so if it happens that she falls asleep again, she will still see the works of man and spirits day and night.