USC Digital Folklore Archives / Posts Tagged ‘mountain’
Myths

Maria Makiling

Background: Y.G.M. is a 49-year-old Filipino woman who works at Nye Partners in Women’s Health as the office manager. She was born and raised in Quezon City in the Philippines, and lived there until she was 25 years old. Y.G.M. self-identifies as Filipino, and as a result of her upbringing, Filipino culture is very engrained into her personal beliefs. She attended college at Mirian College, and received a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts. Y.G.M. then immigrated to Chicago, Illinois with her family in 1997, and got her first job working at Citibank in River Forest, Illinois. She now lives with her husband in a suburb of Chicago.

 

Main piece:

Y.G.M.: So Maria Makiling is uh, one of our mythological um, how do you call – creatures – or no no sorry – she’s one of the fairies, uh, that we believe in.  Fairies they call us diwata, usually they are beautiful women. Maria Makiling, she is associated with one of the mountain ranges in the Philippines up north called Mount Makiling. So she is supposed to be like really beautiful lady and in the Philippine mythology she is the one who actually protects the mountains and volcanos and the forests in the Philippines. She is like the guardian of the mountains and um, responsible for protecting the, you know, the mountain. Sorry. The mountain resembles like the body with two breasts and the face of uh, a woman’s face.

 

Q: Where did you learn this from?

 

Y.G.M.: Uh, my Grandma Cion used to tell me this story when I was little. Also, my teacher from 3rd grade told me this story, and… and it was in a lot of children’s books. You know, like books of Filipino legends.

 

Performance Context: This story would typically be told to Filipino children to teach them more about Filipino folklore and legends.

 

My Thoughts: I think it is interesting that mythical creatures are such a vital part of the culture, even in making up the landscape of the Philippines. This shows a close relationship between the pride Filipinos find in their landscape and the pride in their culture and folklore.

Legends

Minggan the Giant

Background: Y.G.M. is a 49-year-old Filipino woman who works at Nye Partners in Women’s Health as the office manager. She was born and raised in Quezon City in the Philippines, and lived there until she was 25 years old. Y.G.M. self-identifies as Filipino, and as a result of her upbringing, Filipino culture is very engrained into her personal beliefs. She attended college at Mirian College, and received a bachelor’s degree in Communication Arts. Y.G.M. then immigrated to Chicago, Illinois with her family in 1997, and got her first job working at Citibank in River Forest, Illinois. She now lives with her husband in a suburb of Chicago.

 

Main piece:

Y.G.M.: So Minggan is also like a mythological creature and he’s a giant that lived in the Sierra Madre mountains which is up north in the Philippines and it was believed that he was in love with um a mountain goddess called Mariang Sinukuan. From time to time he would be in the mountains and um, he Mariang Sinukuan, the goddess, wanted to put him to a test and he could only win her heart if he would pass that test. Um – she wanted him to stop the river from flowing so they can build a pond in the mountains but Minggan failed the test.

 

Q: How could he have completed this test?  What was he supposed to do?

 

Y.G.M.: He was supposed to, um, create.  He was supposed to stop the river from flowing and build a pond in the mountains so she can be with all the living things that live under water. He was supposed to complete it before evening.

 

Performance Context: This story would typically be told to Filipino children to teach them more about Filipino folklore and legends.

 

My Thoughts: There are many stories throughout all of world folklore where there is a plotline involving a series of trials that the protagonist must pass in order to succeed, as in this legend. This idea of trials is a common motif and plotline that can be found in many folktales and myths. This element can be noted in Propp’s 31 Functions as well as in the ATU.

 

For another version of this story, please see Page 34 of Tales from the 7,000 Isles: Filipino Folk Stories: Filipino Folk Stories, written by Dianne de Las Casas and Zarah C. Gagatiga.

Casas, Dianne De Las, and Zarah C. Gagatiga. Tales From the 7,000 Isles: Filipino Folk Stories (Tales From the Seven Thousand Isles). N.p.: Libraries Unlimited Incorporated, 2011. Print.

Legends
Narrative

La India Dormida – A Panamanian Legend

“The youngest daughter of the chief of the native Guaymies tribe was a warrior girl. She was a simple girl who fought against the Spanish invaders. And then, she fell in love with one of the Spanish guys. So she left the tribe to visit him one day and one of the warriors of her tribe who loved her, knowing that his love was not going to be returned, killed himself by throwing himself from the top of a mountain. And then, the daughter of the chief tried not to betray her tribe, so she said no to the love of the Spanish soldier, and while crying, she got lost in the forest and laid down and died. Where she laid down and died became the mountain we know today. It is named after her and looks like her as well.”

According to the informant, the La India Dormida (translates to The Sleeping Native Woman) story is meant to explain how a famous mountain received its shape and name. It is intended to be a tragedy, as the young woman in the story was forced to abandon her true love and eventually ended up dying alone. The mountain is nearby an important highway in Panama, so many Panamanians see it often and are quite familiar with it.

The informant, Jonathan Castro, is a 21-year-old student from Panama. Because until recently, he had spent his entrie life in Panama, he believes that he is well informed in Panamanian folklore. Jonathan explains that because he drove by the mountain so many times as a child, his curiousity about it eventually compelled him to ask his mother about it during a car ride. It is then that she told him the story of the mountain and the tragedy behind it. To Jonathan, the story is a peek into what life was like for the native Panamanians during the Spanish invasion. It was clearly a difficult period for them, and this story only reflects their hardship.

In the United States, it is uncommon for the general public to hear tradtional creation stories about how our nation’s natural formations were made. This contrasts drastically from Panama, where stories like this are much more common. Although it is difficult to say why this difference exists, a likely explanation concerns the American emphasis on science and the reasoning derived from it. The average American would probably look at the mountain and try to find a scientific reason for why the mountain is shaped in such an interesting way. This doesn’t appear to be the case in Panama, however, as people seem to have the need to have an explanation for the shape that comes in narrative form.

Folk speech
Proverbs

Cart Proverb

The informant is recounting a Chinese proverb from home. He does not remember where he heard it.

The cart will find the way round the hill when it gets there.

He interprets to mean that you should not worry too much about the future.

 

This reminds me of the American saying: “You shouldn’t put the cart before the horse,” meaning you shouldn’t get ahead of yourself and think too far ahead. They have very similar meanings and both relate to carts. They could possibly be distant oicotypes of the same idea.

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