The Origin of the Myth, Si Malakas at Si Maganda
The Origin of the Myth, Si Malakas at Si Maganda
by: Pmel Oki
I believe stories don't just pop out of nowhere. It has to come from something. Someone must be inspired by an actual event for him/her to create something. In the beginning, for example, God was lonely so he decided to create things to end his solitude. Similarly, we each have our own reason to make something to improve our lives.
Sometimes people have difficulty accepting the truth because they don't know any better and it's often easier to tell it to them in a literary form. Politicans, writers, parents and grandparents have done that for eons, telling true stories to the mass/to the poor/ to the children in a literary form, orally so that they won't be frightened or shocked by the world innocent or ignorant as they are.
One of the stories whose origin, I believe, is astronomical is the Filipino Creation Myth called, "Si Malakas at Si Maganda" and/or the tale of Adam and Eve. I believe that it is/both are a tale based on an actual event that happened way before humans walked the earth.
Recently, thanks to science, a new theory (let's call this Theory C) explaining the existence of the moon have surfaced and is likely to be an accurate hypothesis. This new theory states that the moon was once a part of the earth. A comet came crashing into the earth, splitting it in two and over time, due to the sun and the earth's gravitational pull, the moon's shape improved. Since the rocks of the moon is distinctly like that of the earth's minerals, and its core, strange and unique, Theory C is assumed to be true.
Now, let's first go to the story of Adam and Eve. God was lonely so he created a world in which animals can live in, breathed life into Adam so that he may rule the world in God's image. But Adam soon grew lonely so God decided to give him a partner. He took a rib from Adam's side and created Eve.
If you think about it, the earth being split into two with it's other half 1/4 its size and Adam's rib being taken out to form Eve, you wonder if the myth of Adam and Eve is actually a literary form based on a scientific theory. What if the theory is true?
There are thousands of myths, fairytales and legends that speak of the moon as a female figure and of the earth as a male figure. Why is that? Is it because our ancestors are trying to tell us something that we don't know about? And because we find it hard to believe them they tell it to us like it's an old wives' tale?
Perhaps the reason why they hesitate to tell us the truth is because we might ask them a question that they dread. "How can you know that the moon came from earth? You were not even born then?" During those times, who knew science but the demi gods? And were they not banned from teaching us things we should figure out for ourselves?
Perhaps demi gods existed and they told us about it through heroes, leaders, and rulers of mankind. Perhaps they wanted us to know about it and sang it to us, narrarated it to us out of love and admiration; bards and prophets must have known about it and so must the wise men and women of the past.
Assuming that Theory C is true, I believe that it is a scientific theory that inspired the tale of "Si Malakas at Si Maganda". For many years, I've puzzled over the random symbolism in the Filipino Creation Myth. It barely made sense to me, but now it does.
Let's go over the Creation Myth:
In the beginning, there were the sky and the sea. The only thing between them was a bird that kept flying. Finally the bird grew tired of flying and irritated the sea. The sea raged and crossed over its boundary disturbing the peace in the sky. Maddened by the chaos caused by the bird the sky threw rocks at the sea for the bird to rest.
As the bird landed on the rocks its feet hit a stick, which pricked it. The bird was so angry it pecked at the stick splitting it in half. From the first half sprang a man and the other, a woman. Thus were the birth of Malakas (Strength) and Maganda (Beauty).
The sky and sea, if you take them out of their literary context, are not really the sky or the sea. They are the cosmos and the galaxy. The bird might have seemed like it made the cosmos throw rocks at the galaxy, but it, too is one of those rocks or comets that have wandered in between the cosmos and the galaxy and hit the earth splitting it in half.
Why is the earth symbolized as the bamboo? Because the bamboo is a symbol of growth, strength, and life which is what earth is all about. And earth has a lot of greenery and vegetation.
Why is earth, after splitting in half, personified as Malakas or Strength? To make it easier for the people during the Age of Agriculture to understand and accept the story, existence of human race must be included otherwise, the people will question the storyteller (It could have been a bard, a prophet, or a demi god. Who knows?). To avoid doubts, the earth was personified as a generic farmer: plowing, planting, and tending to farm animals require a lot of strength and stamina back in those days. And Maganda, the moon is called that because she or it is as beautiful and mysterious as the pearls in the sea. Back then, they didn't know how pearls grow. They just grow. And for men, women are indeed beautiful and mysterious beings.
If you take the myth out of its literary context and break it down, bit by bit it starts to make more sense and you develop a new perspective on life, tradition and culture. So next time you read a myth, think twice. Is this just a story or is it a crypted tale of an actual event?
I understand that Theory C is a theory for now, but if you place the myth and the theory side by side, the puzzle pieces fits perfectly. Don't you agree?