Author Archives: juliettn

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.

Un hombre con pelo en el pecho vale dos

Background: E.M. is an 18-year-old student at USC studying Cinema and Media Studies. She is Salvadoran but as lived all over the US, so she has picked up folklore and customs from a lot of different places. Her father grew up in El Salvador, so Salvadoran culture has been engrained into her upbringing and has influenced things that she learned from her parents.

 

Main piece: “Un hombre con pelo en el pecho vale dos,” “A man with hair on his chest is worth two”

 

“So this is a proverb that my father told me- he’s from El Salvador. To me as a joke-it’s not something he believes, just something he heard growing up and he thought it was funny so he decided to share it with me.

 

Basically what the proverb means is that you are more of a man if you have chest hair! It’s a parody of the more recognizable proverb that exists in both Spanish and English since It’s a comedic take on the proverb “a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”

 

It was something he would hear a lot growing up from his dad and brothers, as well as something that got repeated a lot and is all boys school. It was usually said to tease boys who didn’t have facial hair yet as that was seen a sign of immaturity or weakness. My dad says that to get revenge, sometimes the boys who were teased would shave their bully’s’ chests in their sleep! It was all in good fun though – this wasn’t a proverb that was taken very seriously or meant to be truly insulting.”

 

Performance Context: This proverb would be told usually among men, from older men to younger boys.

 

My Thoughts: I think this proverb better reveals Latin American society’s attitudes towards boyhood, masculinity, and coming of age. It is definitely used in a way such that growing chest hair makes a person part of “the group,” as the person now has something that all of the other members of the group have.

Hilots in Filipino Culture

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 Filipinos also have superstitious beliefs like um a person called Hilot [hee-loht] which is an expert woman who can deliver um deliver a mother in labor so they are supposed to have supernatural powers to just deliver a woman without any problems and they are blessed you know to be in to help women in labor without any problems – kinda like midwives.  So it’s like they have supernatural powers to do that instead of taking women to the hospital.

 

Q: How are the Hilots chosen?

 

Y.G.M.: They say, like “oh I have that special gift from above to perform such a miracle,” like a special gift from God.

 

Q: Is it from a specific God or just all the gods?

 

Y.G.M.: All the gods. And up to this moment, they still believe in that.

 

Q: So they just self-proclaim themselves as Hilots?

 

Y.G.M.: Yes yes – uh huh.

 

Performance Context: Hilots would be used to help women during childbirth in the Philippines.

 

My Thoughts: I think that it is interesting how the Filipinos relate childbirth to a religious and magical process with the use of Hilots’ god-given powers to help women in labor. Instead of using “medicine” in the general sense to help with childbirth, this practice shows that Filipino culture believes more in religion and magic to assist with everyday life.

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.

Filipino Creation Myth

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: So in the Philippines mythology – the creation – there’s this one region up north that it says like creation started first – there were like three gods – Bathala, who was the caretaker and then Ulilang Kaluluwa and Galang Kaluluwa.  So those three gods did not know each other, then when Ulilang Kaluluwa met Bathala (the caretaker, which is one of the gods) they um kind of competed with each other and um he um like a how do you call that – was into a fight with Bathala to see who was the best and then finally he dies, so he was buried and the third god, which Bathala met – they were getting along with each other – he also died.  So when those two – when Bathala buried those two gods, then um he saw that there was like from the buried bodies like a tall tree grew with like a round nut and then from there he opened – Bathala opened that nut – which is like a coconut and then it looked like inside eyes, nose, ears so that’s when he kind of figured out that he got lonely that he has to create man and woman.  So that’s where creation started in that thing.  From the trunk of the coconut – that’s where he built the house – the house for men and women that he created. And the leaves of the coconut and the food for those people they got it from the coconut juice and the meat – that’s where he fed the people with those from the trees. So that’s where creation started.

 

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

 

My Thoughts: I think that because the coconut is such a symbolic and important element in this creation myth, it shows how vital and central the coconut is to Filipino culture and the Filipino people. The central theme of the coconut may also reflect that the Filipino people have a tradition of making their livelihood through agricultural goods, and they find pride in this.