Philippine Literature in English: "Pilandok in the Kingdom of Maranaw Sea" is a folklore in Mindanao. It’s one of the many folktales in the Philippines. Among the "kwentong bayan" or folk stories of the Philippines, "Si Pilandok sa Kaharian ng Dagat Maranaw" is the best story I’ve found in telling a moral story about greed and the value of cleverness among Filipinos.
What is “Kwentong Bayan” or Folktale, Folklore, or Folk Story
According to the “father of Philippine Anthropology,” Dr. H. Otley Bayer, the Philippines is richer in folk stories than most other countries like Russia, Japan, Persia (Iran), or India.
Philippine folk stories or “kwentong bayan” are tales usually told to children and kids by parents, grownups, or elders of the village. It is said that each region of the Philippines has their distinctive folklore passed on from generations to generations. These folk stories reflect the Filipino traditions like their characters, beliefs, experiences in society, and social issues. Filipino folktales are semi-non-fiction because they are based on the lives of real people. Yet folktales are also so creative that they even tell of unusual evens or uncanny stories. They are animating, funny, or sometimes even scary. One thing though is common among all Filipino folk stories – they aim to instill a moral lesson.
“Si Pilandok sa Kaharian ng Dagat Maranaw”
(Pilandok in the Kingdom of Maranaw Sea)
There was once a kingdom, where a selfish, cruel, and greedy king ruled. His name was Datu Usman. In that kingdom also live a young man named Pilandok, of whose great cleverness thought and made ways of fooling and getting even with the terrible Datu. Because of this, the Datu’s anger grew more and more.
When the Datu spotted Pilandok in the kingdom, he ordered the guards to capture Pilandok, then the Datu placed a punishment upon him. Pilandok was to be tied, placed inside a cage, then thrown into the sea. The palace guards were doing so, but the weather was hot and the sea was far away. The guards then, went to the coconut trees and rested. Until, they fell asleep. At that lucky instant, a merchant was passing by so Pilandok thought quickly of a clever idea. He cried and cried saying he doesn’t want to be married to the Datu’s daughter. The merchant heard him, and he thought Pilandok was being foolish. Who doesn’t want to be married into a wealthy royal family? And the merchant got greedy.
The merchant approached Pilandok and offered to trade places with him. Pilandok agreed urgently. So the merchant freed Pilandok, exchanged clothes with him, and went inside the cage. Pilandok even adviced the merchant to shout, “I agree now to marry the princess!”
The guards only laughed at the merchant and they threw him into the deep blue sea.
After a few days, Pilandok returned to the kingdom, and the Datu was shocked. “Why are you still alive?!” he said angrily. Pilandok explained that when the Datu ordered for him to be thrown into the sea, Pilandok rather landed in a kingdom under the sea! He also found out that the ruler of the Kingdom of Maranaw Sea was his long lost cousin, and who gave him lots and lots of riches. Datu Usman believed Pilandok because Pilandok indeed was very alive and didn’t drown when thrown into the sea. He believed Pilandok even more when Pilandok said that his cousin, who ruled the Kingdom of Maranaw Sea, was inviting the Datu. And the Datu was greedy.
Datu Usman immediately ordered his guards to prepare a cage for him, inside of which he will be thrown into the kingdom at the bottom of the sea. But when they reached the seashore, the Datu was scared. What Pilandok did was he dove into the water, and when he surfaced, he was now carrying a beautiful giant pearl. And the Datu was greedy.
The Datu went inside his cage and ordered his guards to throw him into the sea. He just reminded his guards to pull the cage’s rope when it moved. But they didn’t. Pilandok was stopping them, saying the Datu and his cousin were just having fun that’s why the rope was moving.
When the roped suddenly stopped moving, the guards panicked. They pulled the rope and were shocked upon seeing that the Datu was almost dead. His stomach got so huge from drinking lots of water.
When the Datu awoke, he was mad and searched for Pilandok. But Pilandok was now nowhere in sight.
The clever Pilandok escaped once again, and had tricked once more the greedy Datu.
(c) Ae Dechavez.
Image via Wikipedia