Maranao Myths: How the Angels Built Lake Lanao

Philippine Folk Tales

How the Angels Built Lake Lanao

Long ago there was no lake in Lanao. On the place where it is now situated, there flourished a mighty sultanate called Mantapoli. During the reign of Sultan Abdara Radawi, the greater grandfather of Radia Indarapatra (mythological hero of the Lanao Muslims), this realm expanded by military conquests and by dynastic marriages so that in time its fame spread far and wide.

The population of Mantapoli was numerous and fast increasing. At that time the world was divided into two regions: Sebangan (East) and Sedpan (West). The mighty sultanate of Mantapoli belonged to Sebangan. Because this sultanate rapidly increased in power and population as well, the equilibrium between Sebangan and Sedpan was broken.

This dis-equilibrium soon came to the attention of Archangel Diabarail (Gabriel to the Christians). Like a flash of sunlight, Diabarail flew to the Eighth heaven and told Allah, “My Lord, why have you permitted the unbalance of the earth? Because of the power of Mantapoli, Sebangan is now larger than Sedpan.”

“Why, Diabarail,” replied the Sohara (Voice of Allah), “what is wrong with that?”

“My Lord, Mantapoli has a vast population countless as the particles of dust.  If we will allow this sultanate to remain in Sebangan, I fear that the world would turn upside down, since Sebangan is heavier than Sedpan.”

“Your words show great wisdom, Diabarail,” commented the Sohara.

“What must we do, my Lord, to avert the impending catastrophe?”

To this query, the Sohara replied, “Go right away to the Seven-Regions-Beneath-the-Earth and to the Seven-Regions-in-the-Sky and gather all the angels.  I will cause a barahana (solar eclipse) and in the darkness let the angels remove Mantapoli and transfer it to the center of the earth.”

Upon receiving the mandate of Allah, Archangel Diabarail, traveling faster than lightning, rallied the millions of angels from the Seven-Regions-Beneath-the-Earth and the Seven-Regions-in-the-Sky.  With this formidable army, he presented himself to Allah, saying, “My Lord, we are ready to obey Your command.”

The Sohara spoke, “Go to Sebangan, and lift the land of Mantapoli.”

Diabarail, leading his army of angels, flew to the east. In the twinkle of an eye, the sun vanished and a terrible darkness as black as the blackest velvet shrouded the universe. The angels sped faster than arrows. They swooped on Mantapoli, lifting it with great care and carried it (including its people, houses, crops and animals) through the air as if it were a carpet. They brought it down at the center of the earth, in accordance with the command of Allah. The very spot vacated by the sultanate of Mantapoli became a huge basin of deep, blue water-the present Lanao Lake.

The waters coming from the deep bowels of the earth rose higher and higher. Archangel Diabarail, seeing the rising tides immediately returned to the Eighth Heaven and reported to Allah, “My Lord, the earth is now balanced. But the place where we removed Mantapoli is becoming an ocean. The waters are rising fast, and unless an outlet for them can be found, I fear that they might inundate Sebangan and drown all Your people.”

In response, the Sohara said, “You are right, Diabarail. Go out, then, and summon the Four Winds of the World: Angin Taupan, Angin Besar, Angin Darat, and Angin Sarsar.  Tell them to blow and make an outlet for the overflowing waters.”

Obeying the Master’s command, the faithful messenger summoned the Four Winds. “By the Will of Allah,” he told them, “blow your best, and make an outlet for the rising waters of the new lake.”

The four winds of the world blew, and a turbulence swept the whole eastern half of the earth. The surging waters rolled swiftly towards the shores of Tilok Bay to the southeastern direction. But the towering ranges impeded their onrush. The Four Winds blew, hurling the waves against the rocky slopes but in vain; no outlet could be cut through the mountain barrier.

Changing direction, this time eastward, the Four Winds blew harder driving the raging waters towards the shores of Sugud Bay (situated east of Dansalan, now Marawi City). Once again, the attempt to create an outlet failed because the bay was too far from the sea.

For the third time, the Four Winds changed direction and blew their hardest. The waves, plunging with ferocity, rolled towards Marawi. Day and night, the Winds blew as the waters lashed against the shoreline of Marawi.  This time the attempt succeeded. An outlet now called Agus River was made, and through the outlet, that water of Lake Lanao poured out to the sea, thereby saving Sebangan from a deluge.

It came to past that there was a high cliff at the outlet, and over the cliff the waters cascaded in majestic volume. Thus, arose the beautiful falls which, aeons later, was named Maria Cristina, after a famous queen of Spain.

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