Philippine Embassy in Vienna revisits Filipino Mythology for National Heritage Month

In celebration of National Heritage Month, Vienna PE/PM goes online to tell the stories of deities, mythological creatures, and heroes of long ago. (Clockwise: Taguwasi, Kimat, Maria Makiling, Nuno sa Punso)

The Philippine Embassy and Permanent Mission in Vienna has turned the spotlight on Philippine mythology for this year’s National Heritage Month, in keeping with the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA)’s theme of “Mga Kwentong Pamana.”

For the entire month of May, the Embassy mined the rich landscape of Philippine mythology by featuring, on social media, supernatural beings and forces which populate Filipino folklore, tales, and belief systems. Told in four parts, Vienna PE/PM’s Philippine mythology series sought to renew popular interest in the fearsome “Aswang,” the beautiful “Maria Makiling,” and the plucky “Lam-ang,” while calling attention to lesser known but equally fascinating creatures such as “Kimat,” “Kiwig,” and “Taguwasi.”  The stories accompanied by carefully rendered original artworks by the Philippine Embassy Cultural Officer Kristine Camille D. Cruz were published weekly at the Philippine Embassy in Vienna official Facebook page.

Philippine Ambassador to Australia Maria Cleofe R. Natividad spoke of Embassy’s cultural diplomacy initiative as a way of harnessing the ubiquitous power of social media to engage with multiple generations of Filipinos and as a means of ensuring that these stories – previously passed on mainly by oral tradition – will endure in the digital age.  Aside from being cost-efficient, this medium lends itself particularly well to Philippine mythology, she said, because the latter is “enriched by multiple retellings.”

“Storytelling has always been central to the Filipino way of life.  Stories of our ancestors have a way of binding us together as a people – deepening our understanding of society, ensuring continuity of customs and traditions, and offering a respite from reality,” said Ambassador Natividad.

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