The 7,100 islands that comprise the Philippine archipelago have inspired a lot of myths since they became known years ago. Here is one of their versions.
According to a myth the country was once a big island. In the island lived a fierce warrior. Aside from his braveness and dexterity in the art of war, this warrior was also known for his pili (native nut) farm. Thus, the myth says, the locals fondly called him “Pili.” And he also fondly called the land his “pili” or “pinili,” meaning the chosen one.
Pinas was a farmer’s daughter. The myth says Pili and Pinas were getting along well as lovers, but a foreign king was threatening to invade the land. Pili, was not bothered in the least. According to the myth, he prepared his men for the impending invasion. Daily, he and his men trained fiercely for battle. The myth adds that Pili was a master in handling the native long sword “tabak” and the hard wooden shield “panangga.”
The myth says that finally, the day that the locals dreaded came. Not far from shore the proud sails of the invading ships suddenly appeared. The superior navy began to flex its muscles. The myth says that soon canon balls were flying overhead and destroying the defense lines of Pili’s tattered forces. The local defenders had no choice but to remain in shelters and wait for the canons to cease.
Then, the myth says, the soldiers of the foreign king landed and started to engage the local defenders with guns and swords. Many of the locals died. Pili, the myth says, with sword and shield in hands, stood his ground despite his outnumbered and badly injured men and their inferior weapons. He looked up the sky and whispered a prayer to God or “Bathala.” Immediately, the myth says, Bathala responded with a shout, saying “This is my chosen land in the far east!” Then Bathala slammed his giant foot on the land. The deep cracks and crevices swallowed the invaders, the myth adds.
The big island became several islands forming the shape of a warrior in a ready stance holding a shield (Visayas) and a sword (Palawan). Since then, the myth says, Pili and Pinas were nowhere to be found. Thus, the islands, since then, had been called Pilipinas.
In this myth, the Philippine archipelago was supernaturally formed by their faith in Bathala to save the natives from foreign invasion.