Philippine Folk Tales

Mabel Cole
Philippine Folk Tales

The Project Gutenberg EBook of Philippine Folk Tales
Compiled and Annotated by Mabel (Cook) Cole This eBook is for the
use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions
whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms
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Title: Philippine Folk Tales
Author: Compiled and Annotated by Mabel (Cook) Cole
Release Date: July 4, 2004 [EBook #12814]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1

Produced by Jeroen Hellingman and the PG Distributed Proofreaders
Team from scans made available by the University of Michigan

Compiled and Annotated by
Mabel (Cook) Cole

From time to time since the American occupation of the Islands,
Philippine folk-tales have appeared in scientific publications, but never,

so far as the writer is aware, has there been an attempt to offer to the
general public a comprehensive popular collection of this material. It is
my earnest hope that this collection of tales will give those who are
interested opportunity to learn something of the magic, superstitions,
and weird customs of the Filipinos, and to feel the charm of their
wonder-world as it is pictured by these dark-skinned inhabitants of our
Island possessions.
In company with my husband, who was engaged in ethnological work
for the Field Museum of Natural History, it was my good fortune to
spend four years among the wild tribes of the Philippines, During this
time we frequently heard these stories, either related by the people in
their homes and around the camp fires or chanted by the pagan priests
in communion with the spirits. The tales are now published in this little
volume, with the addition of a few folk-legends that have appeared in
the _Journal of American Folk-Lore_ and in scientific publications,
here retold with some additions made by native story-tellers.
I have endeavored to select typical tales from tribes widely separated
and varying in culture from savagery to a rather high degree of
development. The stories are therefore divided into five groups, as
follows: Tinguian, Igorot, the Wild Tribes of Mindanao, Moro, and
The first two groups, Tinguian and Igorot, are from natives who inhabit
the rugged mountain region of northwestern Luzon. From time
immemorial they have been zealous head-hunters, and the stories teem
with references to customs and superstitions connected with their
savage practices. By far the largest number belong to the Tinguian
group. In order to appreciate these tales to the fullest extent, we must
understand the point of view of the Tinguian. To him they embody all
the known traditions of "the first times"--of the people who inhabited
the earth before the present race appeared, of the ancient heroes and
their powers and achievements. In them he finds an explanation of and
reason for many of his present laws and customs.
A careful study of the whole body of Tinguian mythology points to the
conclusion that the chief characters of these tales are not celestial
beings but typical, generalized heroes of former ages, whose deeds
have been magnified in the telling by many generations of their
descendants. These people of "the first times" practiced magic. They

talked with jars, created human beings out of betel-nuts, raised the dead,
and had the power of changing themselves into other forms. This,
however, does not seem strange or impossible to the Tinguian of today,
for even now they talk with jars, perform certain rites to bring sickness
and death to their foes, and are warned by omens received through the
medium of birds, thunder and lightning, or the condition of the liver of
a slaughtered animal. They still converse freely with certain spirits who
during religious ceremonies are believed to use the bodies of men or
women as mediums for the purpose of advising and instructing the
Several of the characters appear in story after story. Sometimes they go
under different names, but in the minds of the story-tellers their
personality and relationships are definitely established. Thus Ini-init of
the first tale becomes Kadayadawan in the second, Aponitolau in the
third, fourth, fifth, and sixth, and Ligi in the seventh. Kanag, the son of
Aponitolau and Aponibolinayen, in the fifth tale is called Dumalawi.
These heroes had most unusual relations with the heavenly bodies, all
of which seem to have been regarded as animate beings. In the fourth
tale Aponitolau marries Gaygayoma, the star maiden who is the
daughter of the big star and the moon. In the first story the same
character under the name of Ini-init seems to be a sun-god: we are told
that he is "the sun," and again "a round stone which rolls."
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