Myth (part 1)


My parents came from the Philippines. They raised my sister and me in the United States and judged it would be better to allow us to focus our language-learning skills on English. They didn’t teach me much about my culture, and I wouldn’t understand when people asked me about the Philippines, the culture, the food–I couldn’t even point where the Philippines was in my geography class in fourth grade.

That being said, my parents didn’t teach me about their childhood stories or anything like that. My sister and I grew up learning Mexican myths, Greek mythology, and other mythologies–but we didn’t know anything from the Philippines.

In seventh grade, my English teacher from Pennsylvania asked to describe a myth–from anywhere. She said it could be Greek, American, Mexican, French–anything. She was extremely interested in the stories she would hear from us. We were given the weekend.

I asked my dad about a story he told my sister and me long ago. It was about a bird whose poop could turn people into stone. He didn’t teach us fully about it, but I always thought it was an interesting story.

He said it was the story of the Ibong Adarna.

Ibong, I eventually learned, meant bird. As for Adarna, my dad said it was just a name and that there was no translation.

It turns out, my dad didn’t know much about the story either. I read the story from Wikipedia out loud to my dad, and he was surprised at some parts because he couldn’t remember them.

Long story short, it was about three princes (or at least, that’s what I remember since reading it in seventh grade) going after the legendary bird. Why–I can’t remember. If you’re interested, you can look at the link. Remember, human memory is flawed in some way always. On the first two princes, the bird pooped on them, and they turned into stone. The third one achieved his goal of getting what he needed from the bird. Then there was something about a talisman and marrying girls and moving mountains and maybe a well? I don’t know. It’s pretty foggy in my mind.


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