Sunday, October 2, 2011

El Panangyatang Y El Caiman (1887)

Morga and Fr. Colin said that the Filipinos, at the time of conquest by the Spaniards, worshipped the caiman (crocodile) whom they called nono. To protect themselves from its harm, the Filipinos would always give it something they had in the boat. The fishermen threw their first catch to the crocodile. This practice exists to this day in Ilocos, and according to the Catecismo Ilocano of Fr. López (who was in Ilocos at the beginning of the 17th century) it is called panangyatang. But this was not practiced in other provinces. Probably Fr. Colin was mistaken when he stated that the Filipinos called the crocodile nono because this is a Tagalog word meaning grandfather and ghost. Both Ilocanos and Tagalogs call the crocodile buaya. This seems correct for in some places in the Philippines where there are crocodiles, the people throw rice and other objects like rocks of distinctive shapes so that their trips will be safe.

Isabelo de los Reyes
El Folk-Lore Filipino

English Translation by Salud C. Dizon

Link to Spanish Version