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A Mythical Story from the Philippines: The Origin of the Hundred Islands
Folktales, legends and myths from the Philippines. Originally written in Filipino by Dionisio Salazar. Translated into English by Erwin Cabucos.
Hundred Islands are a beautiful group of tiny islands found in Alaminos, Pangasinan, Philippines. It is a popular tourist spot in the country which visitors marvel with its varying colors, sizes and shapes. From a bird's eye view, one can wonder if, at the time of creation, the gods had spontaneously let loose hundreds of moss-covered turtles in a pond off Lingayen gulf in eastern Philippines. They are truly an enchanting site to behold! See picture below.
A long time ago, only one island was to be seen where Hundred Islands now stand.
A couple named Ipe and Antang lived on the island. The lived off fishing. Ipe was regarded as the most hard-working man in the place. He went fishing mostly at night, and Antang sold his catch at the break of day. The husband and wife did such routine for a long time.
One day, Ipe decided that he wanted to have lots of money. "When I become rich, I will definitely leave this place," he said to himself.
One night, while Ipe was at sea, Antang dreamed of an old man visiting their cottage.
"If you could wait, you will get rich in three years," said the old man in a soft voice. "This would happen to you, as long as you do not swear when times get rough in your life. Swearing displeases God."
When Ipe came home in the morning, she told him about the dream.
"Well, if god really wills that we would get rich, why does he need us to wait for three years?" Ipe said strongly.Why does he still want us to suffer? We are getting old and we don't have children who will look after us. What good is wealth for us if we are too old to enjoy it?"
"Calm down, husband. Luck will come our way," said Antang in an effort to make her husband happy.
"What luck? I don't believe in it. Next time, stop showing off dreams of such kind to me, you silly old woman!" retorted Ipe who briskly went off to bed without saying good night to his wife.
The following day, Ipe went back to sea. He threw his net in the open and he could not believe his eyes by what he saw when he hauled it back. Instead of fish, he got black pebbles. He whiningly dropped the rocks in the water and swore loudly and outrageously.
Right there and then, an unusual sound was heard reverberating from under the sea. Waves came crashing down. Ipe was scared and he hurried back to shore. He did not stop swearing as he paddled back to land.
The rushed, gritting sound of their bamboo steps woke Antang up. He told her what took place with him at sea, but kept off his burst of swearing from the story. After the conversation, the couple went to bed.
The following morning, Antang nearly had a heart attack from what she saw. Ipe's remains were cold and stiff in their bedroom. When she came to her senses, she saw the old man from her dreams who spoke to her with gusto.
"Look, if Ipe listened to you, he would not have lost his life. However, the man's mind is weak!" Then the man disappeared.
Antang looked outside the window. Her brains nearly escaped her eyes from seeing the puzzling spectacle: a hundred little islands turned up before her.
Suddenly, the old man came back.
"Antang, I want you to know that those islands would have been your way to the richness in exchange for the fishes that Ipe would have caught within three years. But luck has turned away from you. I regret to let you know that the wealth which were given to you became islands. They were thrown away by your husband last night."
Then the old man vanished.
Antang nearly passed out from what she heard. She was in tears when she walked up to her husband's coffin. She sighed at the fate to which it brought her.
Salazar, D. (2002). 'Mga Alamat at kuwentong bayan', Philippine National Bookstore, Manila.