Sie sind auf Seite 1von 9

The Extra-Ordinary Chicken (Monica Ledesma) Dear reader, please be aware of intellectual property rights, thank you.

Fried, roasted, baked, grilled, there are a lot of ways to cook this two-legged animal that can be seen in any part of the world, except Antarctica; well yeah, it's easy to guess that it's a chicken. However, the type of chicken that we'll talk about isn't mouth-watering. In the first place, it's existence is not for our stomachs and intestines to digest. This chicken, has long bothered me with its magnificent figure; poised proudly anywhere it stands, blinding me with its colourful feathers that extends to infinity. I just encountered it recently at the Museum of the Filipino People where I stood star-stricken for a couple of minutes after spotting it. I was really awed by the familiar but unusual figure. If you were an avid television viewer in the 90's you would also see this figure in a station ID of one of the top television stations here in the Philippines. It was also used as the logo for the 1974 Miss Universe which was held in Manila. UAAP Season 72 even welcomed it, not as a competitor, but as an icon that rose from its "celestial habitat to inspire the UAAP member universities to come together", (inboundpass).

This chicken was described by Bench/101 Filipino Icons as "a mythical bird" , " a traditional symbol of Maranaos" and "a symbol of good fortune". Obviously, the mythical creature I'm talking about is the Sarimanok. BAGANING_BALAYAN defined the term in his

blog archive, "It comes from the Sanskrit word 'sati' meaning garment, and 'manuk' a malay word for bird. It literally means "bird with a coat."

On the first Issue of 'Sarimanok' a magazine by the Eastern Telecommunications Philippines , Ederlinda M. Fernandez wrote: "The Sarimanok. . . colorful, enchanting, mysterious. This mythological bird is not only the central motif of Mindanao folk art nor Mindanao's cultural symbol but it is likewise considered a national art object valued for both its aesthetic qualities and cultural significance... In this modern times, the SARIMANOK, a messenger to the royalties, with all its mythical attributes and significance, may be used to symbolize telecommunications. . .near magical, swift and sure."

Nick Joaquin's "Sarimanok vs. Ibong Adarna" illustrates the Sarimanok as a bird that "crows loud enough to wake the dead". The said crowing counters the spell casted by the Ibong Adarna; turning people into stone by making them sleep with its very beautiful song and defecating on them. Also, in the story, it was mentioned that the Sarimanok is not as famous as the Ibong Adarna. Anton de Gracia, former disc jockey, even compared it to a very famous legendary bird. He stated that it was our very own version of the phoenix. There is no doubt that it symbolizes social rank and is an asset for the rich. The Sarimanok is also used in some rituals, since every Maranao believes that there is an unveiled spirit within him starting from his birth which is known as 'inikadowa'. During the baptism he is introduced to the unseen spirits, descendants of the 'inikadowa' or a diwata (Cultural Icons of the Philippines, p.4).

Another definition of the Sarimanok is 'an elusive work of art, literally, 'artificial bird' (CCP Encyclopedia , II p.170). If you think that the Sarimanok is all alone, no it's not, it has a female counter part, the 'Papanok'. It has also come to be used in the Maranao flag, actually a set of flags or massed banners which is composed of the Sarimanok flag and a whole series of lesser flags. It also became a popular folk-art enjoyed by both commoner and royalty. (Filipino Heritage, IV p. 852). The Sarimanok is a king-fisher-like-bird that is often used as the main motif of some instruments such as the 'gabbang' an indigenous xylophone, and horns. "It is also one of the principal okir designs, some are carved in wood while others are executed in brass", (Filipino Heritage, IV p.19). The naga tradition or the dragon and snake design is often confused with the Sarimanok, some people find no difference between the two, some claim that it is a shortened version of the naga and some say they are completely different. The important thing is that these figures are the main theme of the 'okir' or sometimes referred as 'okkil' which can be seen in the Maranao design themes. The said bird usually has a fish either hanging in its beak or clamped by its claw. The fish is the offering since it is abundant in Lake Lanao and is the major fare in the Maranao table. Finally, it is probably used to" enhance the beauty and symmetry" of the over-all bird motif that the Maranao artists have added (Filipino Heritage, VI p. 1581). Several species of birds are ordinarily encountered in Maranao oral folklore. The most common of these are the golden peacock (mera bolawan), the chicken (manok), the wild forest bird (limoken) and the national bird of Indonesia (garuda). Where is the Sarimanok? At present, there isn't a single oral folklore that has mentioned the Sarimanok,(Filipino Heritage VI p.1580).

We may relate the Sarimanok to that of the chicken, but remember we are not talking about an ordinary chicken.

But where did this extra-ordinary chicken came from? Did it also struggle out of its colourful eggshell just like the other birds? There are currently four existing versions of the Sarimanok's origin in the Maranao folktale which was narrated by Nagasura T. Madale in the fourth volume of the Filipino Heritage Series. The first and second was A. V. H. Hartendorp's . The first story tells of the Sultan who threw a birthday party under a balete tree for his beautiful daughter named Sari. During the festivities a rooster suddenly appeared and the people wondered at its beauty. The rooster disappeared as magically as it had come, and Sari, the daughter, disappeared with it. The sultan and his people waited for the girl's return for many years, but at last they gave up hope. He asked his people to carve a rooster like the beautiful bird which has carried off his daughter ,(Filipino Heritage VI p.1577). The second one was entitled ,"The Perfumed Well" wherein a great prince, Radia Indarapatra, fell in love with the Goddess of the moon, who came to earth every Friday to take a bath in a perfumed well. The goddess of the moon told him that if he wanted to win her he would have to go to heaven. The prince returned to his palace and, while idly toying with one of his treasures, a golden bird, he asked it to carry him to the moon. It was an enchanted bird and no sooner had he expressed the wish than it rose him into the air . The prince vanished forever. The people did not wish to forget the beautiful golden bird and tried to make a copy of it. When they finished the work they saw that it looked like a rooster and they called it Sarimanok, (Filipino Heritage VI p.1577).

"A real live bird" was the third version by Abdullah T. Madale, it tells that a living bird was brought by Shariff Ali from Arabia to Johore. Later on, when Ali married the daughter of the sultan of Johore, the Sarimanok was given to him as part of the dowry. The children of Shariff Ali brought the Sarimanok to Mindanao, where it became a symbol of prestige, wealth and honor. When the Sarimanok died, a wooden replica of it was made, (Filipino Heritage VI p.1577).

Daniel Villanueva's "Soul Imprisoned in a Bottle" is the fourth version wherein he tells that the Sarimanok is mentioned in the Maranao epic Darangen. After the principal hero's death, Bantugen, his soul was put into a bottle and brought to heaven. A legendary hero, brother of the deceased, went up to heaven and released his brother's soul from the bottle. On their way down, the brother snatched a beautiful bird and brought it back to earth. The bird, because of its similarity to the chicken, was named Sarimanok, ,(Filipino Heritage VI p.1577).

Madale, however has some oppositions and cited some facts that proves that these 'said' tales of the origin of the Sarimanok are fabricated: "The first of the two Hartendorp stories of the bird's origin mentions the holding of a birthday feast underneath a balete tree. Obviously, the story could not have been based on Maranao customs. The celebration of birthdays is not customary among the Maranao who believe that it is on one's natal day that a person is weak and most vulnerable to magic spells. The balete tree, moreover, is said to be the abode of the spirits. Food offerings are never made underneath a balete tree but inside houses. The Maranao making the offering faces a hanging cubicle wrapped with yellow cloth known as the lamin, which represents the abode of the spirits. On the second version however, there was nowhere in the available translation of the epic Darangen, of 7 chapters and 2, 365 lines is Prince Radia ever said to have carried on a romantic interlude with the moon Goddess. What the epic does say is that Prince Radia is snatched from his parents at birth by a golden bird (mera bolawan, golden peacock). This mythical bird does not take him to the moon, however, but the clouds above the earth.

Madale's Sarimanok story claims that the Sarimanok is part of the traditional Maranao dowry, that it came from Arabia and that it is a symbol of prestige, wealth and honor. There are some elements of veracity in this version, since the chicken (manok) is still part of the bride price in Lanao, although that is not a significant aspect of the dowry. Such a gift is given when relatives of the bride-to-be make a certain vow. The vow is that the wedding will not be allowed if the groom cannot present her with, say, a dozen chickens with yellow beaks, yellow claws and white feathers. The vow is made when the promised bride as a young girl gets sick. The Maranao believe that the vow will enable her to get well. The Daniel Villanueva story tells about the Sarimanok being taken from heaven by the brother of the epic hero Bantugen. This bird is the mera bolawan, golden peacock. It is a peacock that informs the people that Bantugen is being held in the enchantment. This is the canto of the epic Darangen where Bantugen's brothers- one of them disguised as a girl to decieve the guard - retrieve the hero's soul and descend to earth, whereupon Bantugen comes to life again.There is absolutely no episode in the chapter of the epic where either of the hero's brothers or both of them had ever"... on his/their return to earth, snatched a bird (that) because of its similarity to the chicken was called Sarimanok". Villanueva's story could not, as is claimed, have come from the Maranao's Daragen epic."

The Sarimanok was also the subject of some of the Filipino artists. Some of them were even awarded, that only proves that we, Filipinos are creative and very talented. Hernando Ocampo had one of his works entitled "Sarimanok" which was dated 1953 (oil on canvas). "Ocampo's depiction of the mythical bird, Sarimanok is truly a festive sight to behold. Lush, tropical orange and yellow hues light up the canvas, carefully balanced by cool shades of green. . . " ( Vadellon, N./ Ferrer, N., p124). Virgilio Arguelles Aviado recieved an award during the Shell National Student's Competition with his work "Sarimanok" in 1964 (CCP Encyclopedia IV p.316-17). Bernadino Feliciano Custodio created a piano piece (piano solo) in 1976 with the same title (CCP Encyclopedia, VI p.308). A modern dance drama, "Sarimanok" in 1968 was created by Rosalia Merino-Santos, it showed the clash of the present and the Filipino ethnicity ( CCP Encyclopedia, IV p. 64, 221)

The Sarimanok with its intricate designs, bright and lovely colours and variations reflects not only the Maranaos but also we, Filipinos as a whole. This mythical bird shows how the Filipino

mind works, swift and fast but exhibits gracefulness and beauty at the same time, one of the reasons why it was usually used in telecommunications; in magazines and television stations. Ederlinda M. Fernandez concluded in her article that through the Sarimanok everyone can see that the symbolism such as power, wealth, rank and prestige is reflected by its use in Maranao royalties' heraldry. She even added that beauty, grace and symmetry are just some of the distinctive Filipino characteristics that this certain folk art shows. "The survival of the Sarimanok is a result of an extraordinary fusion of time-honored old traditions with new religious teachings. The Sarimanok has been transformed into a symbol of power, wealth and rank. The transformation has been backed-up by myth", Nagasura T. Madale mentioned at the last part of his essay. The true origin of this mythical creature is still questionable, just like our own past. We think we already know a lot of our history as Filipinos but there are still things that we haven't grasped; just like who are the first real Filipinos. The genuine tale that tells of when, where and how it came is still hidden somewhere we haven't discovered , but the absolute fact I know is that the Sarimanok contributed a lot to our culture and heritage and it truly deserves to be a Philippine icon; mysterious, exquisite and beautiful.

Bibliography: Adarna House, Inc & Bench.101 Filipino Icons. Philippines. Adarna House, Inc. 2007 BAGANING_BALAYAN. "Sarimanok: The Filipino Spirit" DOSE: Filipino Martial Arts. 14 June 2008 Online. 9 March 2012 de la Torre, Visitacion. Cultural Icons of the Philippines. Makati City. Tower Book House. 2002 de Gracia, Anton. " The Sarimanok" The Pinoy Warrior. 19 June 2011 Online. 14 March 2012 Fernandez, Ederlinda. The Magic of the Legendary Sarimanok Manila, Philippines. Eastern Telecommunications Philippines, Inc.1990 Joaquin, Nick. Sarimanok Vs. Ibong Adarna Manila, Philippines. Adarna House Inc.1993 Mindanao Fabrics.Filipino Heritage Series Vol. II Philippines.Lahing Filipino Publishing Inc.1978 Myths.Filipino Heritage Series Vol. III Philippines.Lahing Filipino Publishing Inc.1978 Okir.Filipino Heritage Series Vol. IV Philippines.Lahing Filipino Publishing Inc.1978 Philippine Art.CCP Encyclopedia Vol. IX Manila, Philippines. Vera Reyes, Inc. 1994 Philippine Dance.CCP Encyclopedia Vol. V Manila, Philippines. Vera Reyes, Inc. 1994 Peoples of the Philippines (Aeta to Mapun).CCP Encyclopedia Vol. I Manila, Philippines. Vera Reyes, Inc. 1994 Peoples of the Philippines (Kalinga to Yakan).CCP Encyclopedia Vol. II Manila, Philippines. Vera Reyes, Inc. 1994 Philippine Theatre.CCP Encyclopedia Vol. VII Manila, Philippines. Vera Reyes, Inc. 1994

Philippine Visual Arts.CCP Encyclopedia Vol.I V Manila, Philippines. Vera Reyes, Inc. 1994

Sarimanok Profile.Filipino Heritage Series Vol. VI Philippines.Lahing Filipino Publishing Inc.1978

inboundpass. UAAP Season 72 welcomes the Sarimanok Inboundpass. 19 June 2009 Online. 14 March 2012