Sunday, September 8, 2013

Philippine Dragons


BACONAUA (Hiligaynon)
    * Physical Description - basically big fish; from resembles that of a
      shark; mouth the size of a lake; red tongue; bewhiskered; large ash-gray
      wings, strong in flight; gills and small wires at sides
    * Domicile - in depths of sea
    * Activities - causes eclipses by swallowing moon and sun
    * Animal Instincts - induced to relase its prey by being intimidated by
      noises from earth

The Bakunawa, also spelled Bakonawa, Baconaua, or Bakonaua, is a dragon in Philippine mythology that is often represented as a gigantic sea serpent. It is believed to be the cause of eclipses.
It appears as a giant sea serpent with a mouth the size of a lake, a red tongue, whiskers, gills, small wires at its sides, and two sets of wings, one is large and ash-gray while the other is small and is found further down its body.

Tales about the Bakunawa say that it is the cause of eclipses. During ancient times, Filipinos believe that there are seven moons created by Bathala to light up the sky. The Bakunawa, amazed by their beauty, would rise from the ocean and swallow the moons whole, angering Bathala and causing them to be mortal enemies.

To keep the Bakunawa moons from completely being swallowed, ancient Filipinos would go out of their homes with pans and pots, and would make noise in order to scare the Bakunawa into spitting out the moon back into the sky. Some of the people in the villages would play soothing sounds with their musical instruments, in hopes that the dragon would fall into a deep sleep. Thus, the brave men of the village hoped that while the dragon was hypnotized by the musical sounds they could somehow slay the dragon. Although the dragon was known as a "moon eater" it was also known as a "man eater".

Other tales tell that the Bakunawa has a sister in the form of a sea turtle. The sea turtle would visit a certain island in the Philippines in order to lay its eggs. However, locals soon discovered that every time the sea turtle went to shore, the water seemed to follow her, thus reducing the island's size. Worried that their island would eventually disappear, the locals killed the sea turtle.

When the Bakunawa found out about this, it arose from the sea and ate the moon. The people were afraid so they prayed to Bathala to punish the creature. Bathala refused but instead told them to bang some pots and pans in order to disturb the serpent. The moon is then regurgitated while the Bakunawa disappeared, never to be seen again.

The island where the sea turtle lays its eggs is said to exist today. Some sources say that the island might just be one of the Turtle Islands.

Others tell how the Bakunawa fell in love with a human girl in one of the native tribes. The head of the tribe found out about their affair and had their house burned to ashes. The Bakunawa, finding out about this, became immersed in anger and tried to take revenge by eating all the 12 moons. When the 
Bakunawa was about to eat the last one, Bathala took action and punished the Bakunawa by banishing it from its home away from the sea. It also tells that the reason of the eclipses is how the Bakunawa is trying to come back to its home and deceased family.


    * Physical Description - large bird; island-size; steel beak and
      talons; eyes mirrors; feathers sharp as swords
    * Domicile - outside the eastern sky
    * Activities - waits for moon and tries to sieze her as she emerges from
      her hole in the eastern horizon
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - after engorging moon, peeps down
      to see what people on earth are making noise for, opens mouth to
      hear sound better
    * Animal Instinct - lies in wait while animals waiting for prey; monstrous
      appetite; is startled by noise from earth and opens mouth

Minokawa is a giant bird that belongs to the dragon family. Early people believed that this creature is so big that it can swallow (or cover) the sun to explain of occurrence of eclipses. It is even described as a giant bird named Minokawa that lives in outer space which can devour the sun and the moon, and would try to do the same with the earth.
In a Bagobo tale, the Minokawa is a bird as large as an island. Its feathers are those of sharp swords, the eyes reflect like mirrors, its beak and legs are like steel. It lives "outside the sky, at the eastern horizon". While the Baua lived "above the sky" because the Visayans believe that there is a cave called "calulundan" above the sky, the entrance covered by blue smoke.[3]

Basic Legend
Before time began, very long ago, a great bird called Minokawa swallowed the moon. Seized with fear, all the people began to scream and made great noises. Then the bird peeped down to see what the matter was, and opened his mouth. But as soon as he opened his mouth, the moon sprang out and ran away.

The Minokawa-bird is as large as the Island of Negros or Bohol. It has a beak of steel, and his claws too are of steel. His eyes are mirrors, and each single feather is a sharp sword. He lives outside the sky, at the eastern horizon, ready to seize the moon and after the unsuccessful attempt of swallowing the satellite, it journeys and haunts again lurking under the earth.

The moon makes eight holes in the eastern horizon to come out of, and eight holes in the western horizon to go into, because every day the big bird tries to catch her, and she is afraid. The exact moment he tries to swallow her is just when she is about to come in through one of the holes in the east to shine on us again. If the Minokawa should swallow the moon, and the sun too, he would then come down to earth and gulp down men also. But when the moon is in the belly of the big bird, and the sky is dark, then all the Bagobo people will scream and cry, and beat gongs, because they fear they will all be eaten. Soon this racket makes the Minokawa-bird look down and "open his mouth to hear the sound." Then the moon jumps out of the bird's mouth and runs away.


MAMELEU (Hiligaynon)

    * Physical Description - large snake; body and head size of those of
      carabao; two white horns; thirty fathoms long; eyes torchilike, fire
      jets in them; long teeth; large resistant scales
    * Domicile - secluded depths of ocean
    * Activities - ejects green spittle when hungry
    * Animal Instincts - makes series of bellowing sounds

A Hiligaynon sea serpent with body and head as large as that of a water buffalo. It also possess two white horns, and its body stretches up to thirty fathoms long. It has eyes torchi-like, fire jets in them; long teeth; and large resistant scales.

Buwaya or Buaia

BUWAYA (Tagalog, etc.)
* Physical Description - saurian; mottled skin; has coffinlike saddle
      on its back
    * Domicile - cave under deep water
    * Activities - puts victim in saddle on its back and takes him to its
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - venerated by various ancient
      Filipino groups; is offered food by boatmen; prayed to, called
      "grandfather" by folk

It was a Tagalog saurian, mottled-skin, monster with coffin-like saddle on its back. It usually live in a cave in the deep sea. Whenever it catches a victim, the coffin-like saddle serves as its bag.


  * Physical Description - large snake; prominent red crest; long tongue
      with thornlike hairs; sharp tusks; forked tail
    * Domicile - mountain top
    * Intellectual and Spiritual Endowments - sings sonorously on quiet
    * Magical Character - exhales very virulent poison

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