Balladeer’s Blog continues its examination of this epic myth of the Bukidnon people of the Philippines.


Modern-day view from the top of Mt Palaopao, created by Baybayan in this chapter.

Modern-day view from the top of Mt Palaopao, created by Baybayan in this chapter.

The divine ship called the Salimbal rose ever higher, bearing the demigod Baybayan and his hundreds of surviving followers toward Skyland, the home of the gods.

Eventually the craft entered the realm of the giants, three-eyed man-eating beasts with upturned lips. The giants shook the Salimbal and tried to reach their greedy hands through the windows but the kampilan and balarao swords that hung above those windows as if on hinges came to life and sliced off any hands that were thrust into the divine ship. 

Soon the giants were all left behind, howling in pain because of their amputated hands. From there the Salimbal journeyed on to the realm of the dragons, who emerged from the clouds within which they lived to attack the ship and the pilgrims inside.

The scaly hides of the dragons protected them from the kampilans and balaraos that had wreaked such havoc on the attacking giants. Baybayan’s supernatural strength and resiliency were needed to drive off these mighty beasts.

At length the dragons, too, were left behind and the Salimbal continued on its course toward Skyland. The mother of the troublesome child Bahinan (who caused trouble a few installments back) chose that time to release the child from her kabuka (basket). The little girl grew back to her normal size and began misbehaving immediately.

Bahinan insisted on leaning out one of the windows of the divine craft, whereupon she lost her balance and tumbled out the window back toward the Earth. Either the dragons or the giants were sure to gulp her out of the sky long before she would hit ground, however.

Baybayan leaped out the window after the child and flew to her rescue. He caught up with her by the time she had fallen back to the realm of the dragons and shielded her with his own body. As their momentum took them down to the level where the giants lurked Baybayan fought them all off and flew down to the Earth with Bahinan.

The demigod told the child that because of her repeated misbehavior she would not be welcome in Skyland at this time. She would need to remain on the Earth until the next time that the supreme deity Magbabaya decided to send the Salimbal, even if it took a thousand years or more.

As a child Bahinan was not able to take care of herself so Baybayan surrounded her with the bones of the gigantic slain beast called the Makadingding and caused the mountain now known as Palaopao to form around her. (In some versions he creates the mountain by piling up the plates upon which the meat of the Makadingding had been served to his disciples for their last meal on Earth.)  

Sheltered within that mountain Bahinan would endure indefinitely, living on the fruits, vegetables and streams of Palaopao while waiting for the day when the Salimbal would again arrive on Earth. As the decades and centuries wore on she would repent over her misbehavior and would recount her sad tale to any of the Bukidnon people capable of making their way through the labyrinthine caves of Palaopao to find her home cavern at its core. 

After securing Bahinan within the mountain and making her as comfortable as possible Baybayan flew back up into the heavens, where he soon overtook the Salimbal and rejoined his followers inside. +++

Balladeer’s Blog will continue this story soon. Check back once or twice a week for updates.




© Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Edward Wozniak and Balladeer’s Blog with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. 


Filed under Mythology


  1. Pingback: BAYBAYAN: EPIC MYTH OF THE PHILIPPINES | Balladeer's Blog

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