Kapampanga Origins - The Cusp of New Horizons


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            Hello everyone! Kumusta ka! Welcome to today's episode. And just to remind you, it will be the last one until April 25th just to remind you. It’s for good reason. It’s because we are about to cross a threshold into season 2, and I need some time to prepare. Exciting. But we aren't there yet.

            We've still got a story to finish.

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            The great god was troubled as the clamor of the love-struck suitors grew louder. It was a gradual roar and only a roar. No one would have acted against him. No one and nothing could hurt him, the great god knew. He knew this logically, but all the same, the foundation for the perfect storm was there. Do not forget that the god has well-versed in his weaknesses and in his limitations. It was why he had created those councils anyway and why he had permitted himself to rely on them as he had when things needed to be done. Like then. Though in the chaos of the moment, the issues that had brought them all together were long forgotten. And the issues that created this chaos were not ones that could solved in the traditional ways.

            This whole state of affairs left the great god shaking. And it might not have just been him. Though it could have just been his perception, it felt as if the whole universe was rumbling, restless, and scared. It would make sense for the universe to be so uneasy. After all, duty and obligation kept the fabric of the cosmos together and pristine. Without that, it would all likely be torn asunder.

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            It’s quite illogical to thin the stakes were so high, yes, particularly for a god. But it was a moment of failure in a state of distressa. Panic took hold, and a fateful decision was made.

            “Enough,” the god called out. “I will not have this, and I will not worsen affairs by picking a victor.”

            Therein might have been the wisest choice for the god to make. A selection would leave those who were not chosen restless and the universe just as fragile. For slights against egos that large were deep cuts that could bleed existence dry.

            No, the great god had to be more careful than that. And he did try to be.

            “Instead,” the god called out. “We will settle this by combat. After all, my daughter’s life partner must be devoted to her, strong enough to protect her from all harm and clever enough to provide for her against any odd or foe. I do not doubt that the being capable of beating all of you would be the best match for my daughter. So I must find him.”

            Though no one had they wanted, the promise was enough to satiate them. It was clear that this was the best plan. Or it was clear to everyone who had gathered before him with their singular, common demand. Meritocracies can bring peace where it is otherwise hard to find. The status of strongest and most courageous fighter was one earned not bestowed, one that each had a fair chance of getting. And as such, it seemed completely justifiable, though the word they wanted to use was “fair.”

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            And so the gods retreated to their abodes in order to prepare for the battle ahead. They gathered weapons and large rocks, as they called them. We would know them as meteorites if not outright planets, but perhaps our word choice is not so important. This was not our fight; it was theirs and one they were eager to fight. I only hope you understand the scale of it all.

            Just before the appointed day and hour, the great god took his place at the tip of the universe. He stood there, absorbed in the stillness that came from the anticipation. The rest of the universe held its breath, and in such a distracted state as it was in, it had seemingly abandoned him to his sense of doubt. A torture, he was inclined to say, as his mind raced.

            Was this the right thing to do, he wondered. That was the query his mind constantly returned to. After all, it was one without an answer, though he desperately needed an answer. He found it hard to be sure either sure. He hadn't been sure since that day in the Temple. But there was no going back now. The fighters were far too ready and far too engulfed by their love for his daughter to see any reason.


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            And so he called out to them. And the war began.

            The war was more violent and longer that anything we could comprehend. It’s beyond the capabilities of the words that I am speaking. The scars are all around us, you know. But the great god hardly saw any of it. Upon completion of that starting moment, he retreated to his own lair, trying to find some sense of peace in what had happened and what was going to happen.

            He retreated into full solitude. Even his wife and daughter could not find him. And they did look, dear listeners. They searched high and low for him. They knew the universe needed him because it was quite clear the war was going to be worse than anything the gods had imagined.

            After all, love is a powerful midwife. It can lead to the birth and creation of all that could not be previously conceived. Think of children or transformations.

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            But now imagine complete destruction. Because that is what happened.

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            The Temple was destroyed first. And then the first god fell. More after. But by then, all had seemed to lose their souls for they did not care as their compatriots fell one by one. Even the princess was killed in this bloody conflict. She, the prize, was gone, but her death came too late to mean much of anything. This war had taken on a life of its own, one outside of her. But as with all lives, it naturally reached some sort of end. And died away.

            When that finally happened, an unfamiliar silence fell over the universe. And for all that had been lost. Miraculously. One thing had been gained: the planet we stand on. For whatever it may be worth.

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            It’s always hard to know what to include in these episodes. There’s so much to say and no good metric to use to prioritize things. And whatever I do include is going to be drastically shortened. I could never say everything, even about one small thing.

            But I do want to point out that for those who inhabited the Pampanga region, it’s easier to see the way Catholicism wrote over their indigenous beliefs than it may be in some other cases. For example, the traditional New Year celebration, for example, that welcomed the coming of the monsoon season and the start of the planning season was made to coincide with the feast of John the Baptist, a figure who in Catholicism ushered in his own type of being by being who baptized Jesus Christ in the Jordan River. Then there’s the traditional thanksgiving celebration that once honored the river—the thing that universally and in all cultures could be seen as the source of life—that was then connected to the feast of Saint Peter. And it’s harder to make a connection in that case. Because while Saint Peter is someone you could be thankful for… Well that’s the best I could do

            And most importantly, there’s the dramatic festivals and festivities of the celebration of Holy Week, the week of penance that leads up to Easter. Think Filipinos crucifying themselves because that makes the news every year. Which… yes does happen in this part of the Philippines, and also self-flagellation or whipping, although that seems less extreme in this context. But you also have, in this case, the people raises a temporary shrine known as the puni where the passion or the story of Christ’s suffering and death is chanted in the ancient dialect.

            And I need to add that it’s a very specific chant, too. Its melody is derived from—if the legend is to be believed—an ancient epic whose original story and words were lost over time. The story of Christ, this Catholic hero, was written over that a more traditional hero or several. There’s really no way to know.

            I bring this up because this part of Filipino history is something I want to go into, regardless of the implications or assumptions you might be making as a result. From the rest of my research this is a group of people, this is incredibly proud of their identity and heritage and still the traditional was literally overwritten by this new religion. Or what was a new religion at the time. And now it’s just par for the course.

            I’m not denying the universality of this tale. It happened whenever there was colonialism. But I think this story and my own mirror themselves rather well. So I really do need to include it. Eventually. After all, the traditional—the origins, the nature you were born with or born into—is wiped away by circumstances. Not quite context but something close.

            Yes, these origins stories have kind of dragged on, or you might think that relative to what I said in the pilot. To remind you, I said that I want to connect with the culture my mother left behind. Because it was still my culture. But circumstances had broken the traditional methods of inheritance and retention. So now I have to go on some grand quest to find it again. And yes, Rome wasn’t built in a day.

            So I think there’s an aspect of that to explore. Among other things. Many other things.

            With that in mind, I will see you on April 25h.

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            This has been a production of Miscellany Media Studios. Thank you for listening. We will be back on April 25th. But for now, check out one of our two other shows: Miscellany Media Reviews or the Oracle of Dusk. More information can be found on our website: miscellanymedia.online. Once again, that’s miscellanymedia.online.

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