Friday, October 26, 2012

Ang Alamat ng Ilog Pasig (The Legend of Pasig River)

(Pasig, Manila)

Pasig River, Manila Philippines

Ilog Pasig is one of the most famous rivers in the Philippines. It can be found in the city of Manila. At present, this river is notorious for being filthy and murky, but there was a time when Pasig River is pristine and is a romantic place for lovers…

Long ago, there were two young lovers. The girl was a Filipina named Paz and the gentleman was Spanish.  One night, they decided to boat along a quiet and deep river. The boy was the one paddling the boat while Paz was calmly seated in front of him. The two romantically sailed the length of the river under the moonlight and along the cool breeze.

As they passed along floating water lilies, Paz extended her am and reached for a flower. The guy, not noticing what Paz was up to, got off-balanced and fell into the waters. The guy doesn’t know how to swim so every time his head will pop above the water, he shouts, “Paz, sigueme! Paz, sigueme!” which means, “Paz, rescue me!” Paz tried hard to reach for her lover but she did not succeed. At the last time the boy emerged, all he managed to say was, “Paz, sig…”

The tragic incident spread among the people and from then on, this river was called Pasig. 

Translated from Rene Alba's "Mga Alamat Pilipino (Para sa Mag-aaral)", published 1914 by Century Publications.

Ang Alamat ng Lawa ng Sampalok (The Legend of Sampalok Lake)

 (San Pablo, Laguna)

In the province of Laguna in the Philippines, there is a lake called Sampalok (tamarind) Lake. It is said that this lake does not exist during the early times. This is how the lake emerged:

In the time that Magellan has just discovered the Philippines, a wealthy couple from San Pablo, Laguna owns many land, fruit-bearing trees, and a very beautiful house. One of the trees that they possess is a sampalok (tamarind) tree that bears very sweet fruits. This tree is the main source of their fortune.
Though this couple is famous for their wealth, they are more famous for their bad attitude. They are selfish and greedy, and all they think about is getting money by selling their properties. Because of this, the townspeople despise them. However, they still come to them to buy the extraordinarily sweet tamarind fruits.

One day, an old beggar with torn clothes went to the couple and begged for food. She was shivering from hunger. The two just scornfully stared at the old woman and then ignored her. The beggar continued to beg for food but the couple just kept on ignoring her.
“Your wickedness is unbelievable!” exclaimed the old beggar. “Punishment from the heavens must be brought upon you!” then the beggar’s face suddenly lifted up.

The couple’s faces turned pale. They wanted to scream but they couldn’t. “All you wealth will disappear!” the old lady declared as she tapped her cane against the sampalok tree. The old lady disappeared and water sprung from near the sampalok tree and drowned all the couple’s properties. The couple were not seen after that incident and the people assumed that they too were drowned by the water along with their wealth.

The water that sprung from the sampalok tree eventually became a lake and was called Sampalok Lake.

Translated from Rene Alba's "Mga Alamat Pilipino (Para sa Mag-aaral)", published 1914 by Century Publications.

Ang Alamat ng Malate (The Legend of Malate)

 (Malate, Manila)

Malate is a place that can be found in Manila, Philippines. This extends from Mabini and Harrison near Roxas Boulevard, beside the sea. This is how it got its name:

There were two sibling named Maria and Jose who used to bathe in the sea shore. One day, while they were bathing, some Spanish passed them. These foreigners ask people about their place as a part of their probe. That time, the two children were about to eat their packed food when they noticed that they forgot to bring drinking water. “Maybe it would be better if we just drink the sea water,” suggested the younger Jose. He then ran to the sea to taste the water.

Meanwhile, the Spaniards approached Maria and asked her about the place’s name in Spanish language. Maria didn’t understand them, and called for her brother instead who was tasting the sea water. He shouted the taste to Maria, “MAALAT ATE! MAALAT ATE! (salty sister!)”

The Spanish men heard this and they thought that it was the answer to their question regarding the name of the place. Since then, the Spaniards named the place Malate, from the salty waters of the sea.

Translated from Rene Alba's "Mga Alamat Pilipino (Para sa Mag-aaral)", published 1914 by Century Publications.

Ang Alamat ng Bayan ng Odiongan, Romblon (The Legend of the Town of Odiongan, Romblon)

(Odiongan, Romblon)

The town of Odiongan can be found in Romblon in the southern part of the island of Luzon in the Philippines. Romblon is well-known for its marble industry. It is said that the nme of Odiongan came from the story passed on by the natives from generation to generation.

Long ago, before the First World War, Moros and pirates from the north reside in this town. There was a triangular shaped lake in this town where a massive tree stood in the middle. It is there that the pirates set their camp since all travellers pass along that route. It is in this camp too that they store their belongings and weapons.  They surrounded their camp with high walls to protect them from any untoward incidents. In their long time there, the Moros and pirates do not experience any harm and thus, they live a peaceful life.

Until one day, they were caught up in a surprise attack by a band of Chinese. They had no choice but to fight with them for the sake of the townspeople. Arrows and spears were everywhere. A lot from the Chinese were injured and so with the Moros. The Chinese retreated and went back to where they came from. The only thing left from the battle was a big arrow struck in the tree in the middle of the lake. This was not removed since the pirates regarded it as a symbol for their triumph over the Chinese invaders.

From then on, the town became known for the “Odiong” (arrow), and the arrow-stricken tree was called Odiongan. Through time, this town was then called Odiongan, Romblon.

Translated from Rene Alba's "Mga Alamat Pilipino (Para sa Mag-aaral)", published 1914 by Century Publications.

Ang Alamat ng Bundok Arayat (The Legend of Mt. Arayat)

(Pampanga, Central Luzon)

At the foot of Mt. Alindayat in Pampanga, Philippines, a beautiful maiden by the name of Ara Ayat lived. She was an orphan and is only living with her sick grandmother. Around their small nipa hut, various fruit-bearing trees grow. There are also numerous vegetables, rootcrops, and flowering plants. Ara Ayat patiently cares for these plants. She also tills the soil of their nearby farm regularly.

Since their house is far from civilization and Ara doesn’t go to town often because she can’t live her sick grandma, she’s not well-known to the townspeople. 

One day, while Ara was gardening, an unknown young gentleman called her attention.
“Good day to you, lady. Can I ask for a favour?” asked the gentleman. “Good day to you to. What can I do for you?” answered Ara Ayat. “Can I ask for a glass of water? I am really thirsty,” said the gentleman. Ara lead him inside the house and gave him the water. 

Meanwhile, she heard three knocks from her grandmother’s room. She went inside and was shocked by the paleness of her grandmother. Grandma summoned her to come closer and asked for her hand. Ara was more shocked by the coldness of her grandmother’s hand. Her grandma gave her one final blessing and closed her eyes and died. Ara broke down. She wailed upon the loss of her only relative. This loud cry made the gentleman panic so she knocked on the door and went inside the room. She was stunned by the dead body of the old lady. He pitied Ara and tried to console her. “I am really sorry for your loss, lady. If you will let me, I can help you bury her. I also understand that you are now alone. If you like, I shall marry you tomorrow,” proposed the gentleman.

Ara, having fancied the gentleman, agreed on one condition. That they will stay in that place because she can’t leave the death bed of her parents. The gentleman agreed and they were married the next day. Since then, the gentleman changed the name of Mt. Alindayat to Arayat as a tribute to his wife- Ara Ayat.

Translated from Rene Alba's "Mga Alamat Pilipino (Para sa Mag-aaral)", published 1914 by Century Publications.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The Legend of Mayon Volcano (Ang Alamat ng Bulkang Mayon)

(Albay, Bicol)

Mayon volcano, Albay

In the town of Daraga, in the province of Albay in the Bicol Region, lays the most beautiful volcano in the Philippines-  Mayon volcano.  Its picturesque view may have been what inspired the natives to come up with one of the most exceptional Philippine alamats - the legend of "Daragang Magayon" of the Bicolanos, or "Dalagang Maganda" (beautiful maiden) in Tagalog.

Long ago, along the streams of Yawa river lays  a kingdom named Rawis. It is reigned by a very generous and intelligent king - King  Makusog.  His only daughter was called "Daragang Magayon" (beautiful maiden) because of the exceptional beauty that she possesses. Because of this beauty, all the men in their kingdom, as well as in the neighboring kingdoms, dream to have her heart.

It has been a hobby of Daragang Magayon  to secretly  take a bath in the Yawa River  every morning at the break of dawn. It was one morning when a traveler from the faraway kingdom of Laguna accidentally saw her secret ritual. He was a young lad named Ulap (cloud). Upon seeing the beautiful maiden, Ulap was instantly hypnotized by her beauty. 

In the many journeys of Ulap, it was only then that a maiden has  successfully captured his heart. Every morning since then, he would secretly watch behind the bamboo groves as Daragang Magayon takes a bath in the Yawa River. He was not contented in being a secret admirer so he eventually decided to come out of his hiding place and introduce himself to the maiden. 

Daragang Magayon, startled by this revelation , started to come to her feet and run away, but as fate may have dictated it, she was tripped by a mossy stone and was about to be drawn away by the river current when Ulap grabbed her arm.  In that instant, she too was hypnotized by the lad's stance and charming eyes that she failed to turn her back from him and run away. 

Not for long, the two became  inseparable lovers and their relationship was happily blessed by King  Makusog. Ulap asked permission from his lady love to go home to Laguna and fetch his relatives for the pamamanhikan (prenuptial get together).  He was away for two months.

Meanwhile, the news of the soon-to-be wedding spread like fire in the nearby kingdoms including the Kingdom of Iraya which is reigned by Patugo. This news enraged him and brought back the pain incurred by Daragang Magayon's refusal of his love proposal. 

He convinced his people to set a battle against the Kingdom of Rawin by telling them that Daragang Magayon's marriage to a foreign man is an insult to their maleness.  They agreed to capture King Makusog and ask for Daragang Magayon as a ransom. 

Meanwhile, the Kingdom of Rawis is busy in the preparation for the arrival of the people from Laguna. This  was used by Patugo and his army as an opportunity to attack them. The people of Rawis was so stunned by this sudden attack that the king was effortlessly captured. The festive mood was instantly replaced with doom. Daragang Magayon offered herself as a ransom for the freedom of his father even if this was against her will. Just then, their expecting visitors, Ulap and his clan from Laguna, arrived and helped in fighting the enemies. "If you are real men, fight with men! Do not waste your power in terrorizing ladies and old men!", Ulap exclaimed. With this, the battle heated up and  there was bloodshed.  Under the heat of the sun, behind the dusty wind, swords and bolos were ravagely swished against each other. Daragang Magayon's heart beated outrageously because of the suspense brought about by the battle. A bloody body fell on the ground, and the maiden's heart skipped a beat thinking that this might be his lover's. She ran closer and reveled when she saw that instead of Ulap, the lifeless body belongs to Patugo.  She turned around and saw Ulap with his arms wide open. She joyfully ran towards the waiting arms of her lover. As the two passionately embraced each other, a deadly arrow came flying from one of the enemies and struck their entwined bodies. The sky was covered with gloom as the two lovers slowly fell on the ground.

The whole Kingdom of Rawis grieved upon their loss. King Makusog proclaimed that the two shall be buried together since it is not right to separate what death has united as one. 

As they say, true love is hard to bury. Like a strong current, it will eventually struggle and resurface. Daragang Magayon's love is as such. It is said that because of the strong love of Daragang Magayon for Ulap,  her grave mounted into a towering mass of volcano as if an emblem of her undying love. Raging lava even came out of it as a symbol of her overflowing affection. This volcano which surfaced from the grave of Daragang Magayon is now known as the Mayon volcano. Daragang Magayon is what they claim as the Mayon.

They say that if you want to see the best of Mt. Mayon, you should wake up very early in the morning just about the crack of dawn. By then, you will see clearly the perfect shape of the volcano but as the time passes, clouds will then cover the slopes from the view. These clouds are represented by the jealous Ulap who is not comfortable with the numerous eyes laying upon his beloved Magayon.

Translated from Rene Alba's "Mga Alamat Pilipino (Para sa Mag-aaral)", published 1914 by Century Publications.


Sanchez, Geisha, translator. Filipino legends for students. By Rene Alba, Century Publications, 1914, Accessed (day-month-year accessed).

The Legend of Olongapo (Ang Alamat ng Olongapo)

(Olongapo, Central Luzon)

Olongapo is a city located in the province of Zambales. It is one of the most cheerful cities in Central Luzon. It is near the Subic bay and is also one of the places which have been  largely affected by the eruption of Mt. Pinatubo. This is how it got the name Olongapo:

There was a lad named Dodong. He is a farmer with a wide rice field. Because of his generosity, he was well-loved by the people in his barrio. He was labeled as APO (term used for a respectable old man) and he became well-known to both the youth and the old.

In  the neighboring town, there was a very beautiful maiden who is very demure. Her name is Nene. Nene and Apo became very close friends though their age gap is large. One day, Nene’s family decided to relocate. This is the reason why Apo and Nene got separated.

Days passed into months. One day, Apo accidentally ran into Nene in one of the town’s public places. Time only enhanced Nene’s beauty. He noticed that Nene has transformed into a full-blown lady. He offered to take her home. This was happily accepted by the maiden.

“Father, mother, Apo is here. He wants to visit you,” Nene happily told her parents upon arriving home.
“Dodong! How are you? We’re glad that you came here to visit us!,” exclaimed Nene’s father.
After updating one another, Dodong promised to visit them more often so that he can help them with their chores. True enough, Dodong went there every Saturday and he and Nene became closer. Not for long, they became lovers. This was not opposed by Nene’s parents.

One morning, a large vessel ridden by drunk Spaniards came ashore.  They caught sight of Nene and so they approached her. They asked something to the maiden which she did not understand. She just nodded her head. The Spaniards, thinking that Nene agrees to what they want, started to kiss and hug her. Nene screamed and asked for help.

In an instant, the people called Apo and informed him of Nene’s situation. Apo was  enraged and  he attacked the Spaniards. The armed foreigners struck Apo and killed him. They slashed their head and hanged it on a bamboo pole to serve as a warning to other natives.

"Ulo ng Apo! Ulo ng Apo!" (head of Apo) the children repeatedly shouted. The Spaniards thought that this is the name of the place. Time passed by and "ULO ng APO"  became OLONGAPO. This is now one of the most controversial cities in Zambales, Central Luzon.

Translated from Rene Alba's "Mga Alamat Pilipino (Para sa Mag-aaral)", published 1914 by Century Publications.

The Legend of Gapan in Nueva Ecija

(Gapan, Nueva Ecija)

Long ago, there was a very stubborn kid named Dodoy. He doesn’t follow his mother’s orders. Instead, he does the things that annoy her most.

One morning, Dodoy decided to have a trip in the rice fields. He kept on walking until he doesn’t know where he is already. He got lost to the point that he has no idea of how to come home. Due to exhaustion, he fell asleep under a tree.
Meanwhile, Dodoy’s mother is sick with worry. Someone told her that he saw Dodoy circling the rice fields near a large tree and is seemed to be caught under an enchanted spell.

Dodoy was awakened by a loud cry of a naked infant with a bulging stomach. The baby was lying on a banana leaf on the ground. Dodoy took the baby in his arms and attempted to stop him from crying. It didn’t stop from wailing and this greatly annoyed Dodoy. He was about to slap the baby when it mysteriously transformed into a filthy old man with very long hair and beard. Dodoy was so shocked that he dropped what he was holding and scrammed off his feet.

When he turned his head back, his fear increased for the old man disappeared. He ran and ran but he seemed to be stuck in the same spot. He was trapped in that situation until the sun set down. Exhaustion brought him down to his knees. With his remaining energy, he crawled just to get away from that bamboo grove.

Dodoy’s mother waited and waited until she saw Dodoy crawling towards their yard. Dodoy was extremely dissipated since he crawled all the way home. It turned out that dwarves jested on him. “That’s what stubborn kids get,” his mother scolded him. Yet, she was glad that her son was back.

From then on, it has become a saying amongst the townspeople that “You might end up like Dodoy, gapang ng gapang (always crawling).” That is why the place near the bamboo grove where Dodoy crawled was named Gapan (from gapang, meaning to crawl). Until now, that town in Nueva Ecija, in the island of Luzon, is still called Gapan.

Translated from Rene Alba's "Mga Alamat Pilipino (Para sa Mag-aaral)", published 1914 by Century Publications.

The Legend of Chocolate Hills (Ang Alamat ng mga Bundok ng Tsokolate )

(Tagbilaran Bohol – Visayas)

It is said that in the early times, the island of Bohol in the Visayas is a vast mass of dry land.  Rice fields tend to crack under the heat of the sun. During the rainy season, the dusty land turns into a stream of mud. It is only during the  rice season that the fields turn into a refreshing sea of green.

It was one day during the rainy season that two giants came into the land of Bohol. One of them was from the north and the other was from the south. Not for long, the two giants met eye to eye. The tension between the two rivals filled the air.
"Hey! You ugly giant! Stay away from my land!," said the South Giant. "Leave and look for your own land to conquer!"
"You must be mistaken! I  am here first!," answered the North Giant. "If you want, you leave!"
"This cannot be happening!" shouted the South Giant with a stomp. The whole ground shook. Since it has just rained, the ground was muddy. The giant scooped mud from the ground and threw it on the other giant. The North Giant also scooped and formed his own balls of mud and threw it back on his opponent.
The battle of the two giants became intense. Balls of mud were thrown back and forth. The townspeople gathered to watch the two opposing giants. Each one used all of his might to best the other. No one gave up until both of them ran out of energy. Because of the exhausting duel, both of the two giants fell on the ground and died. What was left of their heated fight were hills of mud from the thrown mud balls.  Since then, the townspeople lived peacefully on their land along the hills.

During the summer seasons, these hills seem like chocolate candies, especially  from top view. This is the reason why it became known as chocolate hills. During the rainy seasons, however, these hills become covered with lush green vegetation. 

Translated from Rene Alba's "Mga Alamat Pilipino (Para sa Mag-aaral)", published 1914 by Century Publications.


Sanchez, Geisha, translator. Filipino legends for students. By Rene Alba, Century Publications, 1914, Accessed (day-month-year accessed).