Mindanao Origins Part 2 - Still on Shaky Ground


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            Hello everyone! Kumusta ka? Welcome to today's episode! Also known as part two of this process of realizing just how the world actually is. Which is… Not ideal or simple. And something that needs to be properly considered and thought about before you jump into something like a podcast. To get into more specifics, I realized that H. Otley Beyer made some choices in the course of his work that were really destined to rub me the wrong way, assuming you can boil destiny down into something so simple. And so here's the major takeaway from this little dive, in place of the typical outpouring of information that I've done in the past. After all, there’s too much to say. And trying to break this narrative down into more digestible pieces is only going to be a detriment to a narrative filled with strife, grief and heartache that needs desperately to be understood.

            That much I know. But in terms of what I was expecting when I started this podcast… that’s a very different story. No pun intended. If that would count as a pun given the contents.

            You see, as I’ve said, I went into this not knowing what I was doing or what to expect, and it shows. In this way, I'm not all that different from Beyer. On the other hand, unlike Beyer, I knew I'm going into a world that was just as a valid and wonderful as the one I had always known. And I knew this is a world I want to be better and authentically acquainted with for my own sake. It’s more about me than about satisfying a fascination, but still, it's not going to be that easy for me. It's especially not easy when you're wandering into unfamiliar territory without a map, and you've come to love the scenery. And you also have a tendency of getting lost. That sums up my situation rather nicely.

            I keep promising that I have a plan for this podcast. And I do. But that plan came to me after I took the massive bite that is setting about to make a collection of origin stories. And one thing at a time, I guess.

            Like a story or two. So let's get into that.

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            I've heard many things over the course of my life, and sometimes they contradict. And I’m not knowing what to believe in. I'm constantly hearing things that I'm left unsure of. Beliefs can contradict each other. Tales can take on new shape in the air when they are permitted to fly freely, and it may get to the point where they are no longer recognizable.

            For example, those who live amongst the Argauan and Hibung Rivers know of the fundamental pillars that hold up the world. Well, they know of four of them, and they know of the python you may very well believe in who resides at their base. But the other inhabitant of that space beneath the world is not the man others know but a woman of equally great stature. Her name is Dágau. We must keep her calm and appeased just as we would any other being, but it doesn't seem so daunting with her. After all, what she desires most is not even peace but the absence of bloodshed. She can feel it when drops of human blood are maliciously sent down onto the soil. It shakes her. It angers her. It hurts her. And so, she retaliates.

            To her, hatred and violence are not to be fed. So when we display them,  she takes our rice from us, stealing it from our storage or making our fields barren. In this way, the rest of the world is safe, but we are left to pay for our sins.

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            There's so much more to Mindanao than the violence of one part. But the thing most capable of destroying is always that which gets the most attention. Whether or not we want to admit it, human beings are fearful creatures by nature, only releasing our grip on that sensation to latch onto denial, the one thing we love more.

            What you may not realize is that the moniker for Mindanao is The Philippines’ Land of Promise because of its rich biodiversity and abundance of natural resources. In addition to the beautiful sights, cities, and people, this region is the country's breadbasket with eight of its major agricultural exports coming from this island chain. It's really isn’t all bad. It’s just that, well, promises aren't automatically fulfilled.

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            I also heard a tale from the people I heard the Spanish call Manobo. It was taken from one of their words but is not really their name. But once uttered, sounds are set free and existent apart from their original mooring to be as they are. These people never meant to be called by this word or a version of that word that they could hardly recognize. But these things are what they are, which is: difficult to change.

            I remember this tale because it was a tale that felt familiar. The sounds reminded me of ones I had heard in days past. But it’s hard to say. So many stories float throughout the air that at some point, they blend together and all I can do is hold onto the moment.


            It was said that long before anything we knew, the Sun and the Moon were married to one another, and it was a good and loving marriage. To it, two children were born. And the four of them made a very happy family. For many years, they lived in peace and joy. Father, Mother, and two children.


            While it was a peaceful life, it was not a life without responsibility. We should all know that to be true. For it is the same for us as it was for them. The Moon kept her household together as all good mothers do, and then one day, the Moon had a task to do. Well, as all mothers do, she had many things to be doing, but this specific task required her to leave the dwelling place they had made for themselves. To leave home and venture outwards. She didn’t have to do this often, people say, but quite obviously, this can’t always be the case. You cannot stay in your home forever, we all know. Some say, she went to get water, others say it was to pick the fields for their daily harvest, but no one is really sure.

            But everyone knows that all mothers have a sort of routine before they leave their families. As all mothers do, she fawned over her children and lulled them to sleep, where she beckoned them to stay while she was gone. They were both still so young and small; resting was truly the best thing for them. And so, she cradled and sung to them until they fell into a deep, restful sleep.

            Once they were resting, she turned to her husband. Now the Sun was as we know him: large and hot. But there’s a side to him that we don’t always see. He can also be careless, destructive, reckless, ill-tempered… All of this he hides very well.

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            But the Moon, as his wife, knew him quite well, so before she left, she cautioned her husband to not approach their children or draw to close to them. The Moon had been worried what the Sun’s nature would do their children since she ever had given birth, so she had been keeping them apart their children from him their whole lives with this very concern in mind. Not that the Sun ever understood it. The Sun did not understand what his wife was doing or why she was doing it, but at the same time, he did not question her. She had shown herself to be the keeper of great wisdom. So he had always agreed with her as he did right then.

            The Sun gave the Moon his word that he would keep his distance from their children. And with his promise, the Moon started on her errand.

            With his wife gone, the Sun felt the warmth of his love for his children build inside of him until it became a force he could not ignore. He longed to be near to his children, as all fathers do. Add to that, in his wife’s brief absence, a sense of loneliness was building up inside of him.

            These two forces came together and created a great storm in the sun’s core. In the shadow of that raw emotion, his senses of logical fell away, and he forgot his promise. He banished all memories of the Moon’s concerns from his mind, and he approached his children where they slept. He moved silently, without any sort of dramatics or fear, until he was standing above them and looking down upon them with the warmth of paternal love in his eyes.

            He’d never been allowed in this place before, and he couldn’t help but take it all in for a few extra moments. His children lay still beneath him. They needed their rest, he remembered, so he made his quick. The Sun gazed upon his children for one more moment before he knelt down and kiss each of them.

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            Blessedly, they had already passed on by the time he kissed them. The heat of his presence had melt them away quickly. And so they did not suffer. The touch of the Sun’s against their flesh caused them no pain. Or at least, no more pain than they had already felt.

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            When the Sun pulled away from his kiss, he looked upon his children again and saw that they were did. He realized with great horror what he had done. Briefly, he wept before he fled into the wilderness, driven by fear of his wife and the anger that would seize her when she found out that he had broken his word.

            But, of course, she would find out. There was no way to hide this forever.

            The Moon returned from her errand and hurried over to her children’s side. She reached up to stroke their heads, but they were lifeless. Gone. Deceased. So many words to describe a state that should not be. It had been as she feared. That’s yet another way of saying it. Her nightmare had come true.

            Under the weight of this horror, The Moon collapsed and wailed. She cried in grief. She cried in sadness. She cried in anger. She cried in rebuke of her husband. Over and over again, she wept and wept. The force of the tragedy burst out of her chest. She could not control her emotions. She made no attempt to control them. She made no attempt to control herself. After all, there was no reason to.

            The emotion of her cries shook the entire world. The Sun felt it from where he was hiding. He felt the Moon’s repeated cries, and each time, he was shaken to his core. But he did not come out, and he gave no answer. Not at first. And not even out of fear. He just said nothing. He felt no need to say anything.

            But in time, he did come out, and when he did, the Moon was still wailing as all mothers would. Perhaps, he thought, time could soften her pain, but it could not be so. And it could certainly not happen in his presence. After all, it had been from his carelessness that their children had died, and there he stood before her now, able to lift his head as high as he always had. As if he was not crushed under the weight of his sins like she was. She: the innocent parent who had done no more than tend to her duties was the one that was suffering.

            The Moon did not think it was possible, but she found another reason to hate the sun.

            She charged at him, but the Sun did not accept the Moon’s anger. He did not submit himself to her wrath. He dodged her blows and tried to calm her down. But she would have none of it. She would have none of his consolations. She did not want to be calmed. She only wanted to be angry. The Moon cried again Her despair renewed, and the Sun tried to soothe her. But he attempts only stoked the fire within her as his words told her that he did not understand or share in her pain.

            Once again, the Moon found another reason to hate the Sun. Anger grew in her.

            The Sun did not like her reactions. It had made no more than a mistake, he knew. He did not mean to harm their children, but from her reactions, it was clear she had already tried him for their deaths and labeled him a malicious being. He tried to argue his side, his innocence. The Moon refused to see his logic, and so he cursed at her over and over again, calling her his chattel—saying she was nothing compared to him.

            At first, the sight of his anger, calmed the Moon. She worried what the Sun would do to her in this state, but the pain of her loss throbbed once more, and the Moon realized that she did not care about anything the Sun could do. He had done enough. He had hurt her in a way that she could not recover from. In a renewed rage, she threw the burnt forms of her babes into the ground in different directions, screaming all the while.

            It was the final straw for the Sun. He threw a packet of taro leaves into her face and went back out into the wilderness while she cried. She cried and cried for a great while, but in time, she calmed. Believing her outburst to be over, the Sun returned home, only to find her gone.

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            Alone, the Sun regretted his actions and his anger. He still loved his wife greatly and yearned to be by her side again. And so he chased after her. But despite the many centuries he has been chasing her, the sun has yet to catch the Moon and her face marked with the taro leaves he had thrown at her. He may never catch her. For she does not want to be caught.

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            This has been a production of Miscellany Media Studios. Thanks for listening! If you like what you heard, you should subscribe, we’re on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Player FM, and other players. Find us and transcripts at miscellanymedia.online or on Twitter @miscellanymedia for updates on current and future projects. As well as cat pictures.