Tagalog Myths: Adam and Eve

Philippine Folk Tales

Adam and Eve of the Tagalog

Many hundreds of years ago, when Luzon was still uninhabited, Bathala–our Supreme God–was envious of Laon–the god of the Visayans–because Laon had many subjects, while Bathala’s kingdom was a barren desert. It was within the power of Bathala to create human beings but not food for them, so he asked for advice from Diwata, the supreme god of the universe.

Diwata told Bathala that on the next day he would send an angel to Earth with seeds to be planted. The promise was fulfilled, and Bathala scattered the seeds all over Luzon. Within a short time, the island was covered with trees and shrubs and was then ready for human habitation.

Accordingly, Bathala created Adam and Eve, the ancestors of the Tagalogs. Though they were forbidden to eat the green fruit of a certain plant, they disobeyed and ate it. So, as punishment, they were poisoned and made very sick. The did not die, however. As a result of their experience, they gave the name lason (poison) to this plant.

Conscious of their fault, Adam and Eve begged for the forgiveness of Diwata. By order of Diwata, Bathala forgave the criminals, but the lason still remained poisonous. In order to rid it of its dangerous properties, the angel was sent to earth. He put the marks of his finger-nails on the surface of the pulp of each lason seed, and these marks may be seen to this day. Afterwards, the name of the plant was changed from lason to lanzon, the name by which it has been known ever since.

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