The Philipppine Bamboo | From Folklore To Livelihood

in steemph •  last year  (edited)

The Strong and The Beautiful
Si Malakas at Si Maganda

Before Time began, the dwelling of God was a vast empty universe. He became lonely for there was nothing to hear or see. The sun rose in all its golden glory and the blue sky was made beautiful by soft, cotton clouds. A full moon was peeking from the distance; along with it, a multitude of dancing stars.

God lifted His hand, and with one swift gesture, the earth was created. Green forests emerged. Rolling fields of grass sprouted. Fragrant flowers blossomed. The oceans surged and the rivers flowed. Birds flew high in the sky, singing their sweet melodies.

God made the world, and it is a magnificent and wondrous paradise.

One day, the king of birds was exploring the wild blue yonder. He was proud of his majestic wings and beat them ferociously as he roamed the clear sky. He then flew into he forest, where he saw a tall, gigantic bamboo swaying to whispers of the gentle breeze. He alighted the bamboo and decided to rest there when he heard the sound.

Tok! Tok! Tok!

He felt as much as heard the resounding knock coming from inside the massive tree. His heart pounded as he heard a voice. "Set me free, o, powerful king of birds", it pleaded. "Strike the bamboo and free me from this confinement. I can hardly breathe!".

"A trap! It must be a trap!" thought the bird. Right then, a lizard crawled near him and before he realized it, he struck the bamboo tree with his mighty beak as he tried to peck on the fleeing lizard. He struck the bamboo tree once more and the bamboo tree was cut in half.

A strapping man gallantly stepped out of the tree.

"Thank you, o, great king of birds. My name is Malakas. I humbly ask that you please strike this other bamboo with your powerful beak and release my companion".

The majestic bird was still astounded with what he just saw but was eager to see how this will unfold and so he did as this strange creature requested. He struck the other bamboo and alas, another creature came out of the tree that he just cut in half. This time it was, a modest beautiful creature with dainty features.

"She is Maganda, my wife. You have freed us, o great bird, and we will forever be grateful. Live with us and be our companion for the rest of our lives".

"Thank you, but that cannot be.", replied the bird. "I am a bird and I belong in the sky. My wings were made for flying and I am destined to cruise the wind. However, I shall grace you with my melodies and so shall my offsprings when I am gone."

"Come! Ride upon my pinions. I shall show you this world where you now belong. I will bring you to the blessed lands where you shall live". Malakas and Maganda were bought to a land of abundant islands, where the golden sun gloriously shines.The many islands were like precious pearls strung together. A vast string of glistening treasure in the East. There, Malakas and Maganda lived together - the parents of the FIlipino Race.


'Si Malakas at Si Maganda' is a Philippine Folklore that tells of the story of creation. It is a myth that is used to tell us the humble beginnings of our bloodline. In the story, the first man is named Malakas, a Filipino word that means strong. While the first woman is named Maganda, which means beautiful. Both of whom were sprung from a bamboo tree, signifying how we are one with Nature.

The Philippine Bamboo

The Bamboo, fondly called bamboo tree here in the Philippines, is actually a grass. It is the tallest perennial grass that belongs to the Graminae family. There are 49 species of Bamboo growing in the country. It is known that Bamboos provide numerous environmental benefits as they help with erosion control, regulate water levels in watersheds, and supply organic matter. They also serve as carbon sinks with their capacity to absorb carbon better and give off 35% more oxygen than hardwood trees.

As exhibited in the story featured above, the Bamboo has long been used in Philippine Literature because of its significance in the daily lives of our ancestors. The versatile yet resilient characteristics of the Bamboo was not lost to early Filipinos and they often used it as a reflection of traits that they admire and would like to emanate. Much like how the Bamboo bends with howling winds, the Filipinos have stood through many trials and are known to smile even amidst struggles.

The Bamboo was also well-loved because of its many uses. It is a great material for house construction, furniture, and handicraft. They were used daily as farm implements, fishing gears, paper, and even to create musical instruments. One of Philippines' declared National Treasure is a bamboo organ from the 19th Century. It was built in 1824, and suffered water and stone damage after a series of earthquakes and typhoons in 1882. It went through a number of restoration, and now has 1 031 pipes, 902 of which are made of bamboo.

Although modernization took its toll on the bamboo industry, we've seen its comeback in more recent years. In 2017, Senate Bill 1478, otherwise known as the Philippine Bamboo Industry Development Act was introduced to the Senate. The bill aims to to make the Philippine Bamboo industry competitive in the local and international scene, which will also provide local employment in bamboo-based businesses inside targeted communities. But even before this bill was drafted, Bayawan has been using Bamboos in making handicrafts.

Bayawan City

Bayawan City is dubbed as the "Agricultural Capital of Negros Oriental". Although a city, it is more of a rural setting than an urbanized one as its economy runs on an agricultural platform. Majority of the income contributions come from land farming, livestock productions, and marine fishing revenues. The city is not yet self-sufficient and the local government has been strongly pursuing agricultural development through different livelihood projects. In 2014, their local Office of the City Administrator gathered nine craftsmen to form the Bayawan Bamboo Builder’s Guild. The craftsmen were trained to make Bamboo Bikes by John Climaco, a Filipino who worked with the pioneer designer of bicycles made of lightweight carbon fiber metal - Craig Calfee. Apparently, the bamboo "has one of the highest tensile strengths in terms of fiber" and rich bikers have been quoted to say that the bamboo bikes ride like the ones with a titanium frame.

Since then, the locals have actively taken part in creating other handicrafts made from bamboo. Both the National Government, through the Department of Trade and Industry, and Bayawan Local Government have been working together to progress the Bamboo Industry there. However, being a second-class city, they need all the help they can get to further their aim to be self-sufficient. In line with this, SteemPH has pledged to raise funds that can be used to buy bamboo seedlings for the City of Banawan. This initiative will be part of the Walk Of Hope Project with @flabbergast-art. All liquid rewards will be sent to SteemPH to help fund this initiative.


About the Bamboo
Bamboo Benefits
Senate Bill No. 1478
Bamboo Bikes of Bayawan
Bayawan Handicraft Photo from @flabbergast-art
Walk of Hope Banner designed by @bearone

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Nice story of the Strong and the Beautiful! The bamboo has many benefits, I especially love the handicrafts which were made of bamboo, too.

Besides, the bamboo bike is really amazing! I haven’t heard about this before.

Great article! ;)

How about the bamboo car?

I have yet to find out more about that Bamboo car lola!

I just remember this morning...i got loads of bamboo socks!!! i swear, theyre more comfortable than wool. i-reresearch ko yan.

  ·  last year (edited)

WOW! That sounds great! I would love to see bamboo car in very near future.... ;)

P.S. : @immarojas! Thanks so much for your great support to my work! ;))

I'm glad you like the story, @tangmo. Before this post, I never knew some of the great benefits of bamboos. It's amazing how one can learn by trying to impart knowledge to others. =)

Thank you for dropping by, my friend. Your words encourage me to keep on posting here in Steemit. And of course, your blogs also inspire me to discover more of my own country too. Much love from the Philippines!

You are much welcome! I learned a lot from your blog, too! You did really great job here in Steemit, I sincerely admire you.

With warm hug, my dear friend. ;))

I was thinking that the bamboo is a sort of a food for certain dinosaurs since it it is a gigantic grass itself.

that's one way to imagine it, Arnold!

I love it @dandalion...big big "thank you"!!
Let's do this A-team!

anytime, lola!

I'll remember that lola!😚😚😚

What a beautiful story Danda ❤ I didn't know this one, thank you so much for sharing it.

Another option along with the seeds night be propagating some of the bamboo plants they already have (the more the merrier). You know me and plants atm ;)

I found this article that might be helpful.

I have a lucky bamboo I'll be trying to propagate 😊

teehee! I'm glad you like it momi!
I've learned a lot from creating this post too. We discussed the story of Si Malakas at Si Maganda when I was in 2nd grade and I never forgot about it, but I never knew about the crazy benefits of bamboos in the environment. I'm already thinking of planting some. Thank you for sharing the article, I shall read that before I go to bed. =)

bamboos are very impressive.. this is the only tree/grass where all of its part from root to tip have purpose.. you can make viand using the tambo, grass to design furniture's, and pole to build native houses, leaves to create indigenous sandals.. and many more.. You also discussed the benefit of bamboo to nature and people. excellent post..

Thanks, @jezmacher! They actually remind me of the efficiency of the coconut tree. If the coconut tree is aptly called "the tree of life", then the bamboo should be called "the grass of life"? lol

Always a great read and source of learning. I did not know there were different kinds of bamboo!

Have u tasted of the sprouts? As a viand or a salad or pickles☺

I also just learned about them by writing this post, @cloh76. I never thought of the Bamboo to be as useful as it is. The things I learned thanks to Steemit. lol. Thank you for dropping by despite your busy schedule!

Bamboo has many uses.
It could be used for building
Its leave could also serve as food supplement to goats and other herbivorous animals.

The sprouts can be made as salads for mankind too...and pickles. Hmmm, i need to post about this one @dandalion!!

Pickles! that's interesting (and yummy!)

You mean you haven't tried it?????

so cool! ;) the part about the carbon sink is pretty amazing. I also thought the bamboo bikes were very cool! :)

yes! they're lit!

Bamboo always does a great job and works the extra mile. Bamboo to me is unsung hero!

Congrats on getting through the challenge!

Lovely story that never grows old, needs to be passed on to the next generations.