Monday, September 30, 2013


Labaw Donggon versus Saragnayan
Deviantart by waranghira

Saragnayan is seen as the master of Darkness by the ancient Visayans, and it was him whom the forces of evil and the blackness of night obey as their leader. It was said that he is actually a demigod, son of primordial chaos and a human woman, and lived in the lightless, eternally dark lands of Gadlum with his wife Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata.

The ancient Visayans believed he had a monstrous appearance, usually a gigantic, bald man with dark skin(some say it is even coal-black), deep red eyes with sharp teeth or have tusks like a wild board and long sharp nails.

He is a prominent character in the Sulodnon epic of Hinilawod as a rival of Alunsina's son, Labaw Donggon who wants to carry away Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata. He was also said to be very proficient in evil spellcasting, and it is believed as one of the causes why good men unexplicably do evil actions or why a peaceful community is plunged into chaos. Saragnayan is seen also to be the deity who can control or command malevolent spirits whom he commands to disrupt the community way of life and create war and strife throughout the land at night. He is also believed to be nearly invulnerable to physical weapons and magic as his real weakness, his heart, is said to be kept inside a wild pig that lives in an enchanted forest, instead of being inside his own body. He is also thought to be the deity whom evil sorcerers ask help from in their spellcraft and also to guide them in their chaoswork. Parents would often warn their children not to stay out and play at night for fear they might be kidnapped by the forces of Saragnayan and be sacrificed to him or be turned into slaves. Harmful wards of curses and amulets etched out in wood, bone or metal usually contain a chant or a verse to him in order to be effective, and it was thought that the real cause of wars between ancient Visayan communities is actually his handiwork, as he loves seeing chaos and bloodshed. He is a deity who is only worshipped by "manughiwit" (evil witches), anarchists, and other evil entities whom the ancient visayans believe, to roam the earth during night time, but all in all, most communities fear him and use him as a central antagonist in their stories.

Saragnayan and his evil forces
at the background of this Labaw Donggon cover
DeviantART by waranghira
Although a malevolent deity, it should also be noted that Saragnayan is also a picture of loyalty. He only had one wife and he guarded her with extreme vigilance, never eyed or desired any other maiden just as much as he had loved Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata. He fought Labaw Donggon to safeguard his wife, and for 7 years Labaw Donggon kept his head submerged in water, but he fought back as he can't be drowned, and after that Labaw Donggon beat him with a coconut tree, but it proved to be a futile attempt to kill Saragnayan. Finally Labaw Donggon threw Saragnayan up in the air, but Saragnayan came back, still alive and was able to defeat the hero by crashing down on him (other accounts say he was able to beat Labaw Donggon by beating his head with a coconut tree, the same way the hero tried to kill him beforehand.) and locked him up in the pig pen below his house.Saragnayan and his forces however, is finally defeated and killed by the sons of Labaw Donggon, Asu Mangga and Buyung Baranugan, by capturing the magic pig that contained Saragnayan's heart, and killing and roasting it in their quest to save their father.

Though this dark deity has been destroyed in the Hinilawod epic, it was still believed by ancient Visayans, particularly the Sulodnons, that his spirit lived on, tempting people to do bad deeds and continue to create chaos wherever he goes, even until this modern age.

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