Gugurang vs Asuang

PHILIPPINE MYTHOLOGY

From the Land of Bicol

Noong unang panahon, nang ang  mundo ay bata pa at ang mga diyos ng kabutihan at kasamaan ay magkaibigan pa, ay may dalawang diyos na naninirahan sa mga bundok ng Bicol.  Si  Gugurang, ang mabuting diyos, ay nakaatira sa Mt. Mayon, at si Asuang naman, ang masamang diyos, ay nakatira sa katabi nitong bundok, ang Mt. Malinao.  Ang dalawang ito ay magkasundo at, ayon pa nga sa ibang alamat, sila ay magkapatid. 

Gayunpaman, mas makapangyarihan si Gugurang kaysa kay Asuang.  Si Gugurang din ang binigyan ng Dakilang Diyos ng kapangyarihan na mamuno sa mga tao kaya’t sa kaniya nagdarasal at nag-aalay ang mga tao noon.  Ayon sa alamat, kapag nagkakasala ang mga tao at nakakalimot ay pinapayanig niya at kung minsan, ay pinapasabog niya ang Bulkang Mayon upang matauhan ang mga tao.

Samantala, si Asuang ay walang apoy sa kaniyang tahanan.  Nainggit siya sa kapangyarihan ni  Gugurang, gusto niyang maging katulad nito.  Gusto niyang magkaroon ng apoy para kapag nagagalit siya sa mga tao ay masusunog niya ang mga ito.

So, isang araw ay lumapit siya kay Gugurang upang pakiusapan na bigyan siya ng apoy.

Mariin na tumanggi si Gugurang sa kahilingan ni Asuang.

“Isang paglapastangan ang iyong paghingi ng apoy ko.  Hindi mo ba alam na kung makamtan ng kasamaan ang apoy ay masusunog ang buong mundo?”

“Iingatan ko naman, ” sagot ni Asuang.

Natawa si Gugurang sa sagot ni Asuang, “Iingatan mo?  Ha! Kung ako mismo ay nahihirapang kontrolin ang apoy, ikaw pa kaya?”

“Teka, bakit ba kasi sayo pinagkatiwala ang apoy?” tanong ni Asuang kay Gugurang.

“Hindi ko kalooban na ipagkatiwala ang apoy sa akin.  Ito ay kalooban ng Diyos.  Hindi natin dapat kuwestyunin ang kalooban ng Panginoon.”

Naisipan ni Asuang na magpaawa-epek. “Ngunit paparating na ang tag-ulan kaya’t kailangan ko ng apoy para hindi lamigin.”

Ngunit hindi nakaalpas ang palusot ni Asuang, “Sus, ang tagal-tagal mo nang naninirahan diyan na walang apoy! Kahit nga ang mga taong tagasunod mo ay wala ring apoy.”

“Di ba panahon na parang bigyan mo sila ng apoy?”

Nagalit na talaga si Gugurang sa kakulitan ni Asuang.  “Ano ba ang sinasabi mo?  Hindi pa sila handa para tumanggap ng apoy!  Dapat silang maging karapat-dapat muna!”

“Ako ba ay hindi pa karapat-dapat?  Diyos din naman ako.”

“Ikaw?  Ang tamad-tamad mo!  Tingnan mo nga ang bundok mo.  Ni hindi mo nga ito mapaganda.  Tingnan mo naman ang bundok ko, ang Mt. Mayon,  na siyang pinakamaganda sa buong mundo!”

Kahit anong gawin ni Asuang na pangangatwiran ay hindi nakalusot kay Gugurang.  Ayaw talaga nitong bigyan ng apoy si Asuang.

Sa galit ni Asuang ay bigla itong naging inbisibol. Biglang naglaho! Pffft!

Laking gulat ni Gugurang nang biglang naglaho si Asuang sa gitna ng kanilang pagtatalo.  Ngayon lang niya nalaman na may ganito palang kapangyarihan si Asuang.

“Tandaan mo ito,” sabi ng tinig ni Asuang, “ipinapangako ko sa iyo na simula ngayon ay magiging kalaban mo na ako sa lahat ng bagay! At ipinapangako ko sa iyo na mapapasaakin din ang apoy balang araw!”

“Subukan mo lang,” sagot ni Gugurang, “at hahatiin ko sa dalawa iyang bundok mo.”

Tinawag at tinipon ni Asuang ang lahat ng masasamang espiritu upang kalabanin si Gugurang.  Pinakalat niya ang mga masasamang espiritu na ito sa lupain nila upang maging masama ang mga tao.  Hindi nagtagal ay tumindi ang imoralidad at kriminalidad sa mga bayan dahil sa pagkalat ng mga masasamang espiritu.

Nalaman ni Gugurang na si Asuang ang may kagagawan ng paglaganap ng kasamaan sa kanilang lupain.  Kaya’t upang talikuran ng mga tao ang kasamaan, inutusan niya ang mga ito na mag-alay sa kaniya. Ngunit ayaw na nilang makinig.

Sapagkat alam ni Gugurang ang pinakalayunin ni Asuang, nagtalaga siya ng mga bantay upang pangalagaan ang apoy.

Ngunit nalaman ito ni Asuang at lihim nitong kinausap ang mga bantay at pinangakuan ng ginto kung papayagan nila siya na makapasok.  Kaya’t di nagtagal ay nakapasok si Asuang sa bundok ng Mayon at natunton ang kinalalagyan ng apoy. Ito ay kaniyang kinuha at inilagay niya sa isang bao ng niyog.

Sa pagkakataong iyon ay biglang nagdilim sa loob ng bundok at may isang malakas panaghoy ang lumabas mula sa kailalaliman ng bundok. Kaya’t nalaman kaagad ni Gugurang na may nagnakaw ng apoy.

Samantala, sa labas ay nagkaroon ng malaking sunog dahil sa lahat ng baryong daanan ni Asuang ay nasunog.

Hindi dapat makarating si Asuang sa kaniyang bundok at makaupo sa kaniyang luklukan na hawak ang apoy sapagkat kapag nangyari iyon ay mapapasailalim si Gugurang sa kapangyarihan ng masamang diyos.

Kaya’t agad na tinugis ni Gugurang si Asuang upang bawiin ang apoy bago ito makarating sa kaniyang tahanan. At nagkaroon sila ng labanan sa kalawakan. 

Nang si Asuang ay malapit na sa kaniyang luklukan, inabutan naman siya ni Gugurang at, pagkatapos ng kanilang paglalaban, ay nakuhang muli ni Gugurang ang apoy. Pagkatapos ay si Gugurang naman ang naging inbisibol. 

Sinubukan din ni Asuang na maging inbisibol muli ngunit hindi na niya kaya ito.  Tila humina ang kaniyang kapangyarihan.

Mabilis na bumalik si Gugurang sa kaniyang bundok at ibinalik ang apoy sa lagyanan. Muling nagliwanag sa loob ng bundok.

Pagkatapos ay hinarap niya ang mga bayan upang patigilin ang kumakalat na apoy.  Tinawag niya ang ulan upang ito maapula.

Ang lahat ng ito ay nasaksihan ng mga taong-bayan kaya’t natakot din sila kay Gugurang dahil sa taglay niyang kapangyarihan. Bilang pasasalamat at pagbibigay-pugay sa kaniya, sila ay nag-alay kay Gugurang.

Pagkatapos niyang patigilin ang apoy ay pinarusahan naman ni Gugurang ang mga bantay na nagtaksil sa kaniya. Kaniyang kinadena ang mga ito sa banging-malalim. 

Tinawag niya si Linti (kidlat) at Dalogdog (kulog) upang parusahan ang Mount Malinao at si Asuang.

Sinubukan pa rin ni Asuang na makalusot sa pamamagitan ng pag-alok ng suhol kina Linti at Dalogdog ngunit narinig ito ni Gugurang kaya’t siya mismo ang naghagis ng kulog at kidlat kay Asuang at sa tirahan nitong bundok. 

Sa isang iglap ay nahati ang Mount Molinao (kaya ngayon ay makikita na may biyak ang bundok na ito)!

Ayon sa alamat na ito, si Gugurang ang naghati sa bundok ng Molinao.

Akala ng mga tao ay namatay si Asuang ngunit hindi pala sapagkat hanggang ngayon ay nararamdaman nila ang impluwensiya ng kaniyang kasamaan sa mundo.

Gayundin, may mga tao na nakakuha ng baga ng apoy ni Gugurang sapagkat nang ninakaw ito ni Asuang ay kumalat ang ilang baga nito sa mga bayang kaniyang dinaanan kaya’t ito marahil ang dahilan kung bakit may ilang tao sa mundo na matuturing natin na masama.

(Note:  This story is mythology.  Please do not take this story literally.)
The artworks used in this post are by William Blake.
Photo of Mayon  Volcano by Sir Mervs (Creative Commons Attribution 2.0)
Photo of Mount Malinao by Chris Newhall (U.S. Geological Survey)

10 Financial Advice to my 20-Year Old Self

I am now in my 50s and, although we have a fair amount of money in the bank and some good investments, I feel that I could have done much more in terms of wealth-building. The first thing that I regret is not starting earlier. So, looking back, here are some of the things I want to tell my 20-year old self when it comes to finances. Maybe those in their 20s and 30s will also find something valuable in my advice.

  1. Saving in itself is not a wealth-building strategy. No one will tell you that you can get rich by saving, but it is a good way to begin your journey. Having cash in the bank can help you start a small business using your own money without having to borrow from the bank. So, do save money regularly. However, your aim should not be simply to grow your money in the bank, but to use the money eventually whether to buy what you need in cash, start a business or make investments.

2. Buy everything in cash, particularly your wants. Want a new cellphone? Save money and buy it in cash instead of taking out a loan. Ditch the concept of buy now, pay later. If you can’t afford it now, then defer it until you can pay for it in cash. Live by the mantra: SAVE NOW, BUY LATER. Repeat: SAVE NOW, BUY LATER. SAVE NOW, BUY LATER. Why? Paying in cash can save you a lot of money because I’m sure you know that you end up paying more than what it’s worth when you take out a loan because of the interest on the loan. This brings me to my next point.

Avoid debts no matter how tempting.

3. Loans have the tendency to pile up if you’re not careful about it. Why? Because it’s easy money and makes you think that the monthly payment is so affordable or ‘magaan sa bulsa.’ But what happens is that you are tied up and obligated to this monthly payment for several months or even up to four years. In effect, you have exchanged your freedom for the next few months or years for this amount of money and the interest on your loan. Yeah, you may have heard that there good loans and bad loans according to Robert Kiyosaki. But, until you have fully understood his concept, stay away from debts.

4. If you want to achieve financial freedom, then get rid of your mental and emotional issues about money. This is the biggest hurdle there is. It’s not whether you are born poor or not, the biggest hurdle is your perception about money. Get to the bottom of it because you cannot expect to make money if you have negative perceptions about it. If you think that money is the root of all evil, then what’s the point of having money? Do you want to know how to get to the bottom of it? Observe what you think of people who have money. Do you somehow think that rich people are bad people or that they were able to acquire wealth by stepping on other people’s toes? Do you think they are inherently bad? Do you think they are just stealing from other people? Do you think they are just oppressing and victimizing the poor? Yet, at the same time, do you feel envious of their success and wealth? All of these are indications that you have a negative attitude towards money and that you need to work it out. You cannot attain financial success and freedom if you have these beliefs. If you don’t like money, then money will not like you back.

5. Start a business while you are young. Any successful and wealthy person will tell you that having your own business is the best investment strategy there is. It is not easy and you might fail in your first few attempts. Just consider your failure as part of your journey to success. Learn from it, but don’t give up too easily. Stay on course and you will get there eventually.

6. Get yourself some financial education. Our parents did not educate us about how to manage money. There’s no financial subject in our educational system (unless it’s your course in college). So we must take the initiative to learn it on our own. There’s so many books on financial education and lots of free courses on the internet. Start your search with Coursera or edX. Warning, the courses may be free but you have to turn in some works (assignments, essays, contribution to discussion boards, quizzes), so do take them seriously.

7. Invest early. Trust me, the sooner you do this, the better. You will have more leverage if you start at a young age. You will also learn a lot by investing early – what’s good investment, what’s not. You might make a lot of bad decisions, but, then again, it’s all part of your learning curve. By the time you reach 40, you will be more financially sophisticated than most people and will probably be able to retire ahead of your peers.

Get the advice of successful people.

8. Do not take financial advice from your neighbors or kamag-anaks (or your school teachers) who have nothing to show you. This is common sense and self-explanatory. Why should you listen to people who have not achieved what you want to achieve? Find someone who is successful and listen to that person because they can guide you to where you want to go.

9. Get out of your comfort zone. Get out of that job that isn’t paying you good salary. Get out of the place where you grew up unless that environment is helping you nurture and achieve your dreams. Don’t wait too long to do this because you will lose a lot of opportunity.

10. Make good use of your time. Time is money. What you do with your time is very important. If what you spend your time on/with does not add value to you, then it’s just a waste of your time. Sure, recreation and relaxation are important for your emotional and mental well-being, but make sure that you’re spend just the right amount of time on this activity and nothing more than enough. If you are spending 8 hours a day watching videos of cats and dogs or looking at the photos of your friends on Facebook, then do you think that’s still recreation? What value do they add to your personal and financial growth? From now on, assess your time by asking whether it adds value to any of the following major aspects in your life: personal (includes personal relationships), financial and spiritual.

Quote of the Day

Positive thinking is a conscious effort to view ourselves with high esteem.  It is a choice to bring out our strengths and lovingly work on our weaknesses.  It is a choice to appreciate, support and encourage the positive characteristics of those around us, especially the people we love.  It is a conscious mental effort to appreciate our past and current circumstances in life while also seeing that the future has much in store for us, that the future is for us to make.  It is a decision to be happier. – Pili Losa