Malakas And Maganda

A Strong and Beautiful People
From the Filipino Legend of “Malakas and Maganda”
H. P. Ladera

The country is inhabited by people largely of Malay stock but sub-classified into hundreds of tribes, indigenous groups, and distinct languages. The colonizers, much to their disgust, could not penetrate the mountain tribes living in the remotest fastness of the Cordilleras nor subdue the “Moros” in the Muslim south, in the Sulu, and other parts of Mindanao. It is just as well. They have remained today as our brothers and sisters who have lived lives untouched by foreign influences and thus, have retained their cultural traditions as they had been before the first white man came.

One sees in the Filipinos a strong and beautiful people. Legend has it that once upon a time, long, long, ago, there lived a maid and a man who loved each other dearly. It is said that Malakas and Maganda were born on the same night, at the same hour just as the new moon was rising. And their people, whose loves were ruled by the movements of the sun and the stars and the moon, knew that this strange coincidence has a wondrous meaning. And even as they worshipped the newly-born babies, their diviners decreed that Bathala, in his mysterious wisdom, must have meant them for each other. And so it came to pass that the two kingdoms which were ruled by the parents of Malakas and Maganda held an joint festival to celebrate the double birth. And at this festival, Malakas and Maganda were promised to each other. They would be married after fifteen years.

However, on the night of their birth, a seer had prophesied that their marriage would not come true because an evil bird had sung. So, famine and drought delayed their marriage for three years. Finally, when the night of their wedding had come and both kingdoms were getting ready for the great feast, fears of war between the two kingdoms, one as strong as the other, did not augur well for the occasion. Malakas, came secretly to see Maganda, to tell her about his fears, but the he assured her he loved her and that nothing would ever separate them. Everyone thought they were so right for each other No other love was more powerful than theirs. Besides, the young and the romantic thought that their marriage was written in the stars.

At the marriage festival, the two rajahs, parents of the bride and groom, had confrontation over the disputed ancestral lands. There was no wedding. As the two kingdoms separated. They couldn't understand how some old hill could destroy a friendship of many, many years. To Malakas and Maganda, however, their love had grown stronger than it was before. They knew in their hearts they would find a way.

One night, when her father was out, Princess Maganda escaped from home and sought out Prince Malakas. Afraid that Maganda might not get another chance to escape, together, they ran away to distant lands. Legend says, they became parents of the first Filipinos. Their union gave birth to a strong and beautiful people.