The many legends of Maria Makiling tell of a young woman who lived on the
beautiful mountain that separates the provinces of Laguna and Tayabas. Her dwelling
place was never definitely known, because those who had the good luck to deal with her
would wander about for a long time lost in the woods, unable to return; neither did they
remember the way, nor were they agreed as to the place and its description.
While some say her home was a beautiful palace, bright as a golden reliquary,
Surrounded by gardens and fine parks, others assert that they saw only wretched hut
with a patched roof and bamboo sides. Such a contradiction may give rise to the belief that
both parties were romancing, it is true; but it may also be due to the fact that Maria
Makiling, like many persons in comfortable circumstances, might have had two dwelling
According to eyewitness, she was a young woman, tall and graceful with big
black eyes and long and abundant hair. Her color was a clear pure brown, the
kayumangging kaligatan, as the Tagalog say. Her hands and feet were small and delicate
and the expression of her countenance always grave and serious.
She was a fantastic creature, half nymph, halves sylph, born under the
moonbeams of Filipinas, in the mystery of its ancient woods, to the murmur of the waves
on the neighboring shore. According to general belief, and contrary to the reputation
imputed to the nymphs and goddesses, Mariang Makiling always remained pure, simple,
and mysterious as the genius of the mountain. An old maid servant we had, an Amazon
who defended her house against the outlaws and once killed once of them with a lance
thrust, assured me that she had in her childhood seen her passing in the distance over the
reed grass so lightly and airily that she did not even make the flexible blades bend.
They said that on the night of Good Friday, when the hunters build bonfires to
attract the deer by the scent of the ashes of which these animals are so fond, they have
discerned her motionless on the brink of the most fearful abysses, letting her long hair
float in the wind, all flooded with the moonlight. Then she would salute them
ceremoniously, pass on, and disappear amid the shadows of the neighboring trees.
Generally every one love and respected her and no one ever dared to question her,
to follow, or to watch her. She has also been seen seated for long periods upon a cliff
beside a river, as though watching the gentle currents of the stream. There was an old
hunter who claimed to have seen her bathing in a secluded fountain at midnight, when the
cicadas themselves were asleep, when the moon reigned in the midst of silence, and
nothing disturbed the charm of solitude. In those same hours and under the same
circumstances was the time when the mysterious and melancholy notes of her harp might
be heard. Persons who heard them stopped, for they drew away and became hushed when
any attempt was made to follow them up.
Her favorable time for appearing, it is said, was after a storm. Then she would be
seen scurrying over the fields and whenever she passed, life, order, and calm were
renewed; the trees again straightened up their overthrown trunks, and all traces of the
unchained elements were wiped away.
When the poor country folk on the slopes of Makiling needed clothing or jewels
for the solemn occasions of life, she would lend them and besides, give her a pullet white
as milk, one that had never laid an egg, a dumalaga, as they say. Mariang Makiling was
very charitable and had a good heart. Now often has she not, in the guise of a simple
country maid, aided poor old women who went to the woods for firewood or to pick wild
fruits, by slipping among the latter nuggets of gold, coins, and jewels. A hunter who was
one day chasing a wild boar through the tall grass and thorny bushes of the thickets came
suddenly upon a hut in which the animal hid.
Soon a beautiful young woman issued from the hut and said to him gently: “The
wild boar belongs to me and you have done wrong to chase it. But I see that you are very
tired; your arms and legs are covered with blood. So come in and eat, and then you may
go on your way.”
Confused and startled, and besides charmed by the beauty of the young woman,
the man went in and ate mechanically everything she offered him, without being able to
speak a single word. Before he left, the young woman gave him some pieces of ginger,
charging him to give them to his wife for her cooking. The hunter put them inside the
crown of his broad hat and after thanking her, withdrew in content. On the was home, he
felt his hat becoming heavy so he took out many of the pieces and threw them away. But
what was his surprise and regret when the next day he discovered that what he had taken
to be ginger was solid gold, bright as a ray of sunshine. Although he tried to look for
them later, he could never find even one.
But for many years now, Mariang Makiling’s presence has not been manifested
on Makiling. Her vapory figure no longer wanders through the deep valleys or hovers
over the waterfalls on the serene moonlight nights. The melancholy tone of her
mysterious harp is no longer heard, and now lovers get married without receiving from
her jewels and other presents, many fear that she has disappeared forever, or at least, she
avoids any contact with mankind.
Yet on the side of the mountain, there is a clear, quite pool, and the legend
persists that her vapory figure may still be seen reflected in this pool in the mists of early dawn, and from time to time people to the countryside go to watch for her there
(Disclaimer: the story and picture are not mine, i just found it on the web and like to so much to share with everbody.)