Igorot Folk Tale of the Creation

In the beginning there were no people on the earth. Lumawig(1) the Great Spirit, came down from the sky and cut many reeds(2). He divided these into pairs which he placed in different parts of the world, and then he said to them, “You must speak.” Immediately the reeds became people, and in each place was a man and a woman who could talk, but the language of each couple differed from that of the others.

Then Lumawig commanded each man and woman to marry, which they did. By and by there were many children, all speaking the same language as their parents. These, in turn, married and had many children. In this way there came to be many people on the earth.

Now Lumawig saw that there were several things which the people on the earth needed to use, so he set to work to supply them. He created salt, and told the inhabitants of one place to boil it down and sell it to their neighbors. But these people could not understand the directions of the Great Spirit, and the next time he visited them, they had not touched the salt.

Then he took it away from them and gave it to the people of a place called Mayinit(3). These did as he directed, and because of this he told them that they should always be owners of the salt, and that the other peoples must buy of them.

Then Lumawig went to the people of Bontoc and told them to get clay and make pots. They got the clay, but they did not understand the moulding, and the jars were not well shaped. Because of their failure, Lumawig told them that they would always have to buy their jars, and he removed the pottery to Samoki(4). When he told the people there what to do, they did just as he said, and their jars were well shaped and beautiful. Then the Great Spirit saw that they were fit owners of the pottery, and he told them that they should always make many jars to sell.

In this way Lumawig taught the people and brought to them all the things which they now have.

(1) Lumawig is the greatest of all spirits and now lives in the sky, though for a time his home was in the Igorot village of Bontoc, He married a Bontoc girl, and the stones of their house are still to be seen in the village. It was Lumawig who created the Igorot, and ever since he has taken a great interest in them, teaching them how to overcome the forces of nature, how to plant, to reap and, in fact, everything that they know. Once each month a ceremony is held in his honor in a sacred grove, whose trees are believed to have sprung from the graves of his children. Here prayers are offered for health, good crops, and success in battle. A close resemblance exists between Lumawig of the Igorot and Kaboniyan of the Tinguian, the former being sometimes called Kambun’yan.

(2) The Bukidnon of Mindanao have the following story: During a great drought Mampolompon could grow nothing on his clearing except one bamboo, and during a high wind this was broken. From this bamboo came a dog and a woman, who were the ancestors of the Moro.

(3) At the north end of the village of Mayinit are a number of brackish hot springs, and from these the people secure the salt which has made the spot famous for miles around. Stones are placed in the shallow streams flowing from these springs, and when they have become encrusted with salt (about once a month) they are washed and the water is evaporated by boiling. The salt, which is then a thick paste, is formed into cakes and baked near the fire for about half an hour, when it is ready for use. It is the only salt in this section, and is in great demand. Even hostile tribes come to a hill overlooking the town and call down, then deposit whatever they have for trade and withdraw, while the Igorot take up the salt and leave it in place of the trade articles.

(4) The women of Samoki are known as excellent potters, and their ware is used over a wide area. From a pit on a hillside to the north of the village they dig a reddish-brown clay, which they mix with a bluish mineral gathered on another hillside. When thoroughly mixed, this clay is placed on a board on the ground, and the potter, kneeling before it, begins her moulding. Great patience and skill are required to bring the vessel to the desired shape. When it is completed it is set in the sun to dry for two or three days, after which it is ready for the baking. The new pots are piled tier above tier on the ground and blanketed with grass tied into bundles. Then pine bark is burned beneath and around the pile for about an hour, when the ware is sufficiently fired. It is then glazed with resin and is ready to market.

Source: Philippine Folk Tales, page 99-102
Mabel Cook Cole, 1912
Gutenberg Ebook Project

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