Mythology of Mindanao
Indarapatra and Sulayman
A long, long time ago Mindanao was covered with water, and the sea
extended over all the lowlands so that nothing could be seen but
mountains. Then there were many people living in the country, and all
the highlands were dotted with villages and settlements. For many years
the people prospered, living in peace and contentment. Suddenly there
appeared in the land four horrible monsters which, in a short time,
had devoured every human being they could find.
Kurita, a terrible creature with many limbs, lived partly on land and
partly in the sea, but its favorite haunt was the mountain where the
rattan grew; and here it brought utter destruction on every living
thing. The second monster, Tarabusaw, an ugly creature in the form
of a man, lived on Mt. Matutun, and far and wide from that place he
devoured the people, laying waste the land. The third, an enormous
bird called Pah,  was so large that when on the wing it covered
the sun and brought darkness to the earth. Its egg was as large as a
house. Mt. Bita was its haunt, and there the only people who escaped
its voracity were those who hid in caves in the mountains. The fourth
monster was a dreadful bird also, having seven heads and the power
to see in all directions at the same time. Mt. Gurayn was its home
and like the others it wrought havoc in its region.
So great was the death and destruction caused by these terrible animals
that at length the news spread even to the most distant lands, and
all nations were grieved to hear of the sad fate of Mindanao.
Now far across the sea in the land of the golden sunset was a city
so great that to look at its many people would injure the eyes of
man. When tidings of these great disasters reached this distant city,
the heart of the king Indarapatra  was filled with compassion,
and he called his brother, Sulayman,  begging him to save the
land of Mindanao from the monsters.
Sulayman listened to the story, and as he heard he was moved with pity.
"I will go," said he, zeal and enthusiasm adding to his strength,
"and the land shall be avenged."
King Indarapatra, proud of his brother's courage, gave him a ring and
a sword as he wished him success and safety. Then he placed a young
sapling by his window  and said to Sulayman:
"By this tree I shall know your fate from the time you depart from
here, for if you live, it will live; but if you die, it will die also."
So Sulayman departed for Mindanao, and he neither walked nor used a
boat, but he went through the air and landed on the mountain where
the rattan grew. There he stood on the summit and gazed about on all
sides. He looked on the land and the villages, but he could see no
living thing. And he was very sorrowful and cried out:
"Alas, how pitiful and dreadful is this devastation!"
No sooner had Sulayman uttered these words than the whole mountain
began to move, and then shook. Suddenly out of the ground came the
horrible creature, Kurita. It sprang at the man and sank its claws
into his flesh. But Sulayman, knowing at once that this was the
scourge of the land, drew his sword and cut the Kurita to pieces.
Encouraged by his first success, Sulayman went on to Mt. Matutun
where conditions were even worse. As he stood on the heights viewing
the great devastation there was a noise in the forest and a movement
in the trees. With a loud yell, forth leaped Tarabusaw. For a moment
they looked at each other, neither showing any fear. Then Tarabusaw
threatened to devour the man, and Sulayman declared that he would kill
the monster. At that the animal broke large branches off the trees
and began striking at Sulayman who, in turn, fought back. For a long
time the battle continued until at last the monster fell exhausted
to the ground and then Sulayman killed him with his sword.
The next place visited by Sulayman was Mt. Bita. Here havoc was present
everywhere, and though he passed by many homes, not a single soul
was left. As he walked along, growing sadder at each moment, a sudden
darkness which startled him fell over the land. As he looked toward
the sky he beheld a great bird descending upon him. Immediately he
struck at it, cutting off its wing with his sword, and the bird fell
dead at his feet; but the wing fell on Sulayman, and he was crushed.
Now at this very time King Indarapatra was sitting at his window,
and looking out he saw the little tree wither and dry up.
"Alas!" he cried, "my brother is dead"; and he wept bitterly.
Then although he was very sad, he was filled with a desire for revenge,
and putting on his sword and belt he started for Mindanao in search
of his brother.
He, too, traveled through the air with great speed until he came to
the mountain where the rattan grew. There he looked about, awed at
the great destruction, and when he saw the bones of Kurita he knew
that his brother had been there and gone. He went on till he came to
Matutun, and when he saw the bones of Tarabusaw he knew that this,
too, was the work of Sulayman.
Still searching for his brother, he arrived at Mt. Bita where the
dead bird lay on the ground, and as he lifted the severed wing he
beheld the bones of Sulayman with his sword by his side. His grief
now so overwhelmed Indarapatra that he wept for some time. Upon
looking up he beheld a small jar of water by his side. This he knew
had been sent from heaven, and he poured the water over the bones,
and Sulayman came to life again. They greeted each other and talked
long together. Sulayman declared that he had not been dead but asleep,
and their hearts were full of joy.
After some time Sulayman returned to his distant home, but Indarapatra
continued his journey to Mt. Gurayn where he killed the dreadful bird
with the seven heads. After these monsters had all been destroyed
and peace and safety had been restored to the land, Indarapatra began
searching everywhere to see if some of the people might not be hidden
in the earth still alive.
One day during his search he caught sight of a beautiful woman at a
distance. When he hastened toward her she disappeared through a hole
in the ground where she was standing. Disappointed and tired, he sat
down on a rock to rest, when, looking about, he saw near him a pot
of uncooked rice with a big fire on the ground in front of it. This
revived him and he proceeded to cook the rice. As he did so, however,
he heard someone laugh near by, and turning he beheld an old woman
watching him. As he greeted her, she drew near and talked with him
while he ate the rice.
Of all the people in the land, the old woman told him, only a very
few were still alive, and they hid in a cave in the ground from whence
they never ventured. As for herself and her old husband, she went on,
they had hidden in a hollow tree, and this they had never dared leave
until after Sulayman killed the voracious bird, Pah.
At Indarapatra's earnest request, the old woman led him to the cave
where he found the headman with his family and some of his people. They
all gathered about the stranger, asking many questions, for this
was the first they had heard about the death of the monsters. When
they found what Indarapatra had done for them, they were filled
with gratitude, and to show their appreciation the headman gave his
daughter to him in marriage, and she proved to be the beautiful girl
whom Indarapatra had seen at the mouth of the cave.
Then the people all came out of their hiding-place and returned to
their homes where they lived in peace and happiness. And the sea
withdrew from the land and gave the lowlands to the people.
Term Paper: (First Written Output, write in a colored paper, due during the first meeting of the week)
Make an analysis of this epic base your analysis on:
- the culture of the people and their customs and tradition.
- time element and compare it with the present time
- compare and contrast with the Ilocano epic "Biag ni Lam-ang"