Writing makes me happy away from home. I now have a diploma from the Institute of Children’s Literature having completed the requisite course of study on Writing for Children and Teenagers. www.InstituteChildrensLit.com
Applying what I learned, I wrote “They Came, They Saw, They Stayed.” It is like a journey to my native land-the Philippines.
How do we know about events that occurred in the Philippines before the time of the Spaniards? How do we know the names of the people who lived then and the things they did?
Much of what we know about the prehispanic era came to us through legends. These are stories that were not written but were spoken by each generation to its following generation.
Many legends are usually nothing more than stories about the creation of the world, the first man and woman and such. It is easy to see that these are not meant to be regarded as fact. There are some legends that may have been based on actual events but they are not reliable records of the past because legends can change with each talking. Often a teller’s memory can be weak or mistaken or the teller may even add or remove parts of the story to spice it up.
When history and legend are mixed, the stories often sound better but the truth always suffers.
One legend, the legend of Maragtas are about the ten datus or chiefs who escaped the tyranny of Datu Makatunaw of Borneo and immigrated to the island of Panay. Once, there, they supposedly bought the lowland plains of the island from Marikudo the leader of the indigenous Aetas, for the price of a solid gold salakot (hat). According to the legend, these ten chiefs and their families are the very ancestors of the entire Visayan population in the Philippines. This is the legend that has been celebrated yearly in the Ati-atihan festival since the late 1950s when it became a part of the annual feast of the Santo Nino in Kalibo, Aklan.