Like a spurned lover, Habagat is a very angry god, unleashing endless streams of rain in a show of might against rival Buhawi, the god of typhoon. Both smitten with Amihan, the goddess of cool, northeasterly wind, these legendary deities have elemental powers to win over the other – while lowly creatures that inhabited the earth cringe in fear and helplessness. Such were the stuff of Philippine mythology.
Oh, what a powerful and frightening image they make in the Himpapawiran (sky) – for love and for ego - in those days.
But these days, we got a female typhoon by the name of “Maring,” (a.k.a. Trami, which also sounded feminine) adding a twist to the plot of this myth about these gods. And as I wrote this, a terrible, rumbling cannonball-like sound echoed from the heavens. And stronger rains began to fall incessantly as if a universal message was being sent.
Maybe the weathermen got it wrong when they said typhoon Maring pulled Habagat in its upward direction. Could it not be a case of Habagat pursuing Maring as the latter tried to elude the obsessive overtures of the god of wind and rain that had dumped all this water upon us? It took only three days for an equivalent of a month-and-a-half long of precipitation to inundate the capital and outlying provinces as well.
When the Philippine islands were still very, very young, its natives, who believed in these gods, would have been imploring the heavens to appease their wrath when they were as relentless as the past three days. They must have those dance rituals and some offerings to calm down their gods. In Japan, they have the “teru teru bozu” paper or cloth dolls that they hang by their windows to make the rains stop and wish for good weather.
When our ancestors outgrew the gods of the elements, evolved into civilized people, became Christians and some-other, we inherited the land of our birth. Sadly, in the course of stewardship we became grossly irreverent to the point of undermining the power of the elements: the wind, the water and the soil. We abused their bounty in the belief that God created them all solely for us – and as such, they must do our bidding. But that was not the story of Creation.
A quick reading of Genesis 1 shows (as gathered by some Bible scholars, too) that the elements were already somehow present before God set out for six days to organize the Universe and create godlike humans to fulfill their destiny. Having that pre-existent state, the wind, the waters and the land possibly truly possess much greater divine power than we ever believed so.
As deities revered by the ancient peoples of our race, we must be wiser not to belittle them. Today, it is customary for us to resort to prayer when we are challenged by nature’s fury. Because we realize too well now that we cannot trample on the elements, not by any measure. Year after year, calamities borne by the elements are getting fiercer and more destructive. There’s no place for us to hide from the hellish wrath of Nature abused, exploited and violated.
Because they are. Like God is. And, we should be in awe.
King James Version (KJV)
1 In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.
2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.
3 And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.