Monday, May 2, 2011

Researching About "The Legend of Bernardo Carpio"

Bernardo Carpio: a being of great strength trapped in between two great rocks in the Mountains of Rodriguez, Rizal.

Some versions say he is keeping the mountains from crashing into each other (similar to the Greek titan Atlas holding up the sky), and some versions say he is trapped and trying to break free. When Bernardo Carpio shrugs his shoulder, an earthquake occurs.

Some say it is one form of revolutionary story against the abuses done during the Spanish occupation.

Filipino revolutionary heroes Jose Rizal and Andres Bonifacio are said to have paid homage to the Bernardo Carpio legend - the former by making a pilgrimage to Montalban, and the latter making the caves of Montalban the secret meeting place for the Katipunan.

From Wikipedia: The Spanish hired a local engkantado (shaman) and conspired to trap him through supernatural means. The engkantado used his agimat (talisman) and he was caught between two boulders which the shaman had caused to grind each other. The legend says he was not killed, but was trapped between these two boulders, unable to escape because the talisman's power was as great as his own strength.

People soon surmised that whenever an earthquake happens, it is caused by Bernardo Carpio trying to free himself from the mountain.

The tale of Bernardo Carpio can be considered an etiological myth which explains the occurrence of Earthquakes. Interestingly, the area hosting the legend is also home to the Valley Fault System (formerly called the Marikina Valley Fault System).

Damiana Eugenio was able to find and document a 1940 compilation of tales detailing the legend of Bernardo Carpio. It specifically says that "Bernardo Carpio is considered the savior of the Filipinos against national oppression and enslavement."

According to that particular telling of the tale, when the last link on the chains binding Carpio is broken, "the enslavement and oppression of the Filipino race will be replaced with freedom and happiness."

While this belief apparently referred to the Spanish Occupation of the Philippines and the later occupation by the Philippines by the U.S. and by Japan in WWII, the legend has continued to be told this way, an apparent reference to freedom from poverty rather than foreign domination.

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