A long time ago before Christ was born, the Igorots in Benguet believed that the earth was flat. They believed that the entire earth with the exception of some hills was level and covered with deep forest.
Whenever people traveled to trade with others, they were lost. They could not tell one place from another because the surface of the earth was the same throughout. There was great loss of lives. The population decreased instead of increasing.
Their god sympathized with the people for the loss of lives as well as for the hardships they were encountering. So he came down to earth as an old woman. The first man he met was a young man who lost his wife. He told him that the end of the world would come soon but he would be saved if he would put himself in a big box and close it securely. He also warned the young man of the signs of the things to come. It would happen in the morning. When the dawn would get as dark as the evening, that would be the time to get into the box.
The young man prepared his box for the coming event. When the neighbors saw him, they asked him why he was very busy with the box. He told them why. The people only laughed at him, cursed him, called him crazy, and they left him all alone.
A few days after, it came! It got dark in the morning. The young man stepped into his box and closed it securely. Then he waited for things to happen. Suddenly, he felt the tremor of the earth. He could feel the earth being dissolved. He felt, too, that he was floating. His box rocked gently and he soon fell asleep and forgot what had happened.
When he woke up, he found the box open. He looked around him. The sun was rising. He was on top of the hills that he once knew. To his great surprise, he found that the rest of the earth around him had sunk. He was on a high mountain from where he could see all the surrounding valleys, rivers, oceans, and mountains with evergreen grass and trees as they are now.
The survivor named the place Pulog meaning “to roll” since he was rolled there. He lived there alone for a few days until the old woman visited him again. She asked what he needed to make him happy. He told her that one of the important things he needed besides food was a wife.
The old women removed one of the ribs of the man, and transformed it to a young woman. She became the man’s wife, and the couple lived together happily raising their own food. Their children were of an even number of boys and girls. The children intermarried and moved to other places. They spoke different dialects. That is why there are different dialects in the sub-province of Benguet.
Mount Pulog is said to be the home of the anitos or spirits of the dead. The people here believe that when they die, their spirits go to Pulog. This is because this place is the origin of their ancestors. It is their land of Paradise.
Piok, Belario. “The Legend of Mount Pulog.” In Folk Tales of Mountain Province: Retold for Children-Grade V. 1st ed. Baguio City: n.p., 1960, 42-44.
This folk tale was produced by Area - - A during a Division Curriculum Workshop held in Baguio City, Philippines on February 9-17, 1960. The workshop’s theme was “Enriching the Curriculum Through the Development of Local Materials.”
“Division” in Division Curriculum Workshop refers to a schools division of the Department of the Education. It could have been then the “Mountain Province Schools Division.” (YBelen,11December2014)