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Rizal Technological University News

Posted on July 12, 2017

Why There Is High Tide During Full Moon, An Ibanag Tale

From Volume II of Damiana L. Eugenio’s monumental work in Philippine Folk Literature, The Myths, I gathered this tale about why there is high tide during full moon. This is an Ibanag tale about two lovers, Luna and Mar.

Luna, the Moon, was the daughter of the sun god. She was young and very beautiful and was so full of life and loved to travel in the heavens in her golden chariot. According to Eugenio, “One day she found herself taking another path which led her outside her kingdom.” She wandered into the place where the sky met the sea, and then she heard a voice.

Where have you come from, beautiful one?”

Luna saw a young man. According to the myth the young man looked like her father but fairer. She became afraid and turned to flee but she could not restrain herself. She looked back and introduced herself: “I am Luna, the daughter of the sun god.”

The young man answered: “I am Mar, the son of the sea god. Welcome to our kingdom.”

Soon they became friends. They told each other stories. They saw each other often. They fell in love. Nobody knew about it except the two of them.

And then Luna committed a blunder. She told her secret to a cousin who was jealous of her beauty and happiness. The cousin revealed the secret to the sun god who became very angry. Never tell your secrets to anyone even to your most trusted friends.

The sun god ordered Luna confined to their garden and ordered that she would not be allowed to go out. This is her punishment for having disobeyed the “Immortal Laws.” The sea god was equally angry with his son Mar and for his disobedience to the “Immortal Laws” was imprisoned in a sea cave.

Love will find a way, better be sure about that. Luna was very restless. She wanted to see her lover. She escaped from her confinement, rode her golden chariot, and flew to the sea, to their meeting place. Luna could not see Mar, but Mar in his cave saw Luna. He struggled to free himself but could not, even causing the walls of the cave to shake in the process. In his efforts, the sea rose, but Luna did not see her lover coming. She went back home very sad, but she would be back in their meeting place. Her love for Mar would not die. Every time she missed Mar she would ride her golden chariot and go to their meeting place. Mar would again struggle to be free, and the sea would rise.

According to Eugenio, “The fishermen out in the sea believe that each time Luna, the moon, appears, the sea gets troubled. ‘It is Mar trying to escape from his cave,’ they say.”

I asked two professors, Dr. Andres Delos Santos and Prof. Nicanor Macaballug who are both Ibanags. They heard about the story and added some information about supernatural beings which inhabit their place. They call them the “Biwag” in Isabela and “Malanna” in Cagayan.

But what is the “Immortal Laws”?


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