Sunday, July 4, 2010

Faces of U.P. Los Baños 5: Maria Maquiling

“Si Mariang Makiling
Layang layang chug chug chug
Layang layang chug chug chug”

These are the lines to be sung for a game of thumbs where one has to catch the opponent’s thumb using his or her own. But beyond such a game, Maria Makiling – or Maquiling as I would like to put it – encompasses the towns of Bay (or Ba’i), Los Baños, and Calamba in Laguna. With a mountain of such scale, the name Maquiling and Maria Maquiling indeed have become sources of wonder and mystery for the inhabitants and the visitors as well.

There are numerous variations of the myth of Maria Maquiling, but one aspect does remain: that she inhabits the mountain and acts as its protector. I would admit that up to now, I still cannot picture out Maria Maquiling’s outline from the slopes of this mountain. And it is only this time when I dug in for information about her that I realized that it is not very clear if the mountain was named after, or if she got her name from the name of the mountain.

In any case, Maria Maquiling is certainly a part of UPLB, as portions of the mountain is within the jurisdiction of the university. A statue of her can be found as one goes up to the College of Forestry and Natural Resources (CFNR), a seeming welcoming image of the diwata for those who dare climb up the mountain. I learned that it was originally placed in front of the university library, but later on replaced by the imposing figure of Pegaraw. Anyway her current place is more suitable as I see it.

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