We are pleased to participate in the A to Z Blog Challenge (http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/). The Story Crossroads theme for this year is Kindness Across Cultures: Stories to Prove We Care. Each post highlights present-day and folktale examples.
Filipinos are welcoming people no matter their circumstances–from times of struggle to times of prosperity. While sometimes separated by waters, these people are united. This picture of these Filipino children is credited to lets-go-phillipines.
Present-Day Fidelity & Forgiveness
The United Nations Refugee Agency responded when violence erupted in Myanmar and over 600,000 stateless Rohingya refugees fled to escape in August 2017. Many countries helped these displaced people including the Philippines. Loreto Palmaera said, “The good thing is Filipinos are resilient. We learn from every mistake, we convert threats to opportunities, and we are able to still give when we ourselves have outstanding needs. Those are our traits.”
Here is an article providing a back story here: https://www.rappler.com/thought-leaders/188987-unspeakable-tragedy-rohingya-refugees-fly-safety
Here is how the Filipinos responded here: https://www.rappler.com/views/imho/190829-unhcr-filipino-humanitarian-gift-hope-rohingya-refugees
Past Fidelity & Forgiveness (Folktale)
The folktale can be found in the book “Filipino Children’s Favorite Stories” by Linda Romulo, published by Periplus Editions (HK) Ltd. The story is called “A Bridge of Flowers.”
The story can also be found at these links and note the differences yet combining all these sources (book and links) provides a better understanding:
- https://rainbowwall.com/rainbows-myths-legends/ and you must scroll down a little until you get to “A Phillipine Myth – Bighari’s Rainbow” as right before is “A Phillipine Legend – Rainbow Legend.”
Here is my summary:
Bighari, Goddess of the Flowers, was tending to one of many gardens on Earth. She traveled from place to place, garden to garden, to see that the flowers bloomed in vibrant colors. Bathala, God of All, sent his Messenger to find Bighari and summon her as well as his sons and daughters to a special meeting. With too many gardens to search, Bighari was not found. The others sat in the Halls of Heaven, anticipating the reason of the gathering. There was Tala, the Morning Star; Liwayway, the Dawn; Tag-ani, Goddess of the Harvest; Hangin, the Wind; Kidlat, Lightning; and Araw, the Sun. They all pleaded with Bathala to not be angry at Bighari, especially as Bighari was known as the kindest of all. Yet, this was not the first time that Bighari missed a special meeting. Of all meetings, Bathala planned to bid farewell to his children while he visited the people of Earth. Bathala would not be calmed, and he ordered that Bighari be banished from the Heavens. The Messenger sought out Bighari and, interestingly enough, could find Bighari this time. Bighari wept at the news. It was the first she even heard about the meeting that she had missed. Despite the unfairness, she did not want vengeance. Instead, her kind spirit prompted her to visit all the gardens of Earth and she inspired an effusion of colors and the biggest of blooms. The people of Earth, who already loved her, loved her even more. Bighari hoped that in time her father would forgive her. All people and creatures knew of the unfairness. In some versions of this story, Bighari built a giant bower made of flowers and reached into the sky. Although not making any declaration, she thought the beauty would soften her Father’s heart. When Bathala wished to ride to Earth, he found that rainbow and learned of Bighari’s gift. He did forgive her. In another version, the people of Earth wished to do a kindness for Bighari and built that giant bower made of flowers and named it after her. In another version, there is not much mention of Bighari and the focus is on Bathala on coming to earth and a bower was built with the name of “Bahaghari” that means “Bridge of the King.” He could then visit the people of Earth and the Earth and Sky could be connected. Though, that name is too close to “Bighari” to not be connected to her.
Interesting Notes on Kindness
- Bighari was the kindest of all the gods and goddesses
- Due to Bighari’s kindness, her brothers and sisters were quick to defend her
- Even kind people have unfair circumstances, as to the irrational rage from her Father
- Bighari chose to increase her kindness–despite being sad–and brought about more beauty on earth
- Two endings focus on Bighari’s patience and fidelity
- One ending shows how the kindness of Bighari inspired the kindness from the people of Earth
- Despite three different endings, overall there was eventual forgiveness from the Father
- Although not instant, kindness can win out
What stories of kindness do you know associated with Filipinos and the Phillipines? Anywhere in the world – past or present? Please share in the comments…or anything on your mind.
While you enjoy this blog, Story Crossroads has year-round offerings including the culminating Festival on May 23, 2018 (see schedule here: https://storycrossroads.com/2018-schedule/).
We thank our funders such as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Utah Division of Arts and Museums, the Western States Arts Federation, Utah Humanities, the City of Murray, the South Jordan Arts Council, Utah Valley University and many other individuals. Join us in the support by attending or donating or both! (Click here to donate or get tickets.)