DIWATAS (PHILIPPINE GODS)

Classification: Gods (Extra-Dimensionals/Immortals)

Location/Base of Operations: Kaluwalhatian

Known Members: Aman Sinaya (goddess of the sea), Amihan (god of wind), Anitun (goddess of wind, lightning & rain), Apo Laki (god of war & the sun), Aswang (god of evil), Bathala (god of the sky), Mayari (goddess of the moon), Tala (goddess of the stars)

Affiliations: Other races of Gods

Worshipped by the people of the Philippines.

Aliases: None

First Appearance: Invincible Iron Man#2 (August, 2008)

Powers/Abilities/Traits: The Diwatas all possess certain superhuman physical attributes. They are true immortals who cease to age upon reaching adulthood, and they cannot die by conventional means. The Diwatas are immune to all terrestrial diseases and are resistant to conventional injury. If a Diwata is wounded, his or her godly life force will enable him or her to recover at a superhuman rate. It would take an injury of such magnitude that it incinerates a Diwata or disperses a major portion of his or her bodily molecules to cause him or her to die. Even then, it may be possible for a god of greater or equal power, or several gods acting together, to revive the deceased god before the god's life essence is beyond resurrection. Diwata flesh and bone are about two-and-a-half times denser than similar human tissue, contributing to the gods' superhuman strength and weight. An average male god can lift about 25 tons; an average goddess can lift about 20 tons. The gods' metabolism gives them superhuman endurance in all physical activities. In addition, many Diwatas possess additional superhuman powers that may be magical in nature. For instance, the wind god Amihan possesses the ability to generate powerful monsoons. Diwatas are extremely attuned to all aspects of nature. However, Diwatas tend to weaken after prolonged stays in the Earth realm, and often bind their life essences to mortal hosts when away from Kaluwalhatian for extended periods.

History: (Thor & Hercules: Encyclopedia Mythologica) - The Diwatas were worshipped by the Philippine archipelago's various ethnic groups from approximately 4000 BC until the 16th century AD. Most of the Diwatas dwell in Kaluwalhatian, a small "pocket" dimension adjacent to Earth; an interdimensional nexus point between Kaluwalhatian and Earth exists somewhere atop the Kanlaon Volcano on the island of Negros (in the modern-day nation of the Philippines, between the provinces of Negros Occidental and Negros Oriental). The extradimensional netherworld realm of Impiyerno is associated with, but separate from, Kaluwalhatian and connected to Earth via an interdimensional nexus point that exists within the Mayon Volcano on the Philippine island of Luzon. The Diwatas are called different names by their human worshippers; for example, Bathala is also known as "Kan-Laon" to the Visayans, as "Gugurang" to the Bicolanos, as "Melu" to the B'laan, as "Kabunian" to the Ilocanos, and as "Ampu" to the tribes of Palawan. Although Diwatas worship on Earth has largely been supplanted by Christianity, certain gods, notably the lightning goddess Anitun (Anitun Tabu), still take active interest in humanity's welfare.

The Diwatas' precise origin, like that of all Earth's pantheons, is shrouded in legend. According to ancient myths, the Earth Mother Gaea gave birth to the three primary Diwata: Bathala (Bathalang Maykapal), the supreme Sky Father and Diwatas' king; Aman Sinaya (known as "Maguayen" to the Visayans), goddess of the sea; and Amihan (known as "Kaptan" to the Visayans), god of the wind. Together, these three gods fashioned the first mortals from a bamboo shoot and instilled them with a soul ("kaluluwa"). Later, Bathala fell in love with a mortal woman while visiting Earth and sired three additional Diwatas: Apo Laki, god of war and the sun; the beautiful Mayari, goddess of the moon; and Tala, goddess of the stars. Subsequent generations of Diwatas soon followed, and they devoted much of their time and energies to serving as guardians of nature.

Worship of the Diwatas spread throughout the Philippine archipelago. But following Spanish missionaries' arrival in the 16th century AD, Christianity began to replace the Diwatas' worship, and Bathala reluctantly decided that the time had come for his people to break most of their ties with Earth. Bathala retreated to the extradimensional realm of Kaluwalhatian, the location of the sacred "Abo Fire" that serves as the symbol of his power, where he has since defended his realm from his younger brother Aswang, the god of evil and ruler of the nether realm of Impiyerno, the lowest level of the Kasanaan underworld. Nevertheless, Bathala still retains a deep affection for and interest in the people of Earth.

(Invincible Iron Man#2, Invincible Iron Man#4) - In recent centuries, the lightning goddess Anitun chose a mortal host to serve as her embodiment in the Earth realm. When her host dies, she chooses a new host from the same mortal bloodline, often the previous hosts' daughter. In modern times, Anitun served with the Triumph Division ("Pangkat ng Tagumpay" in Filipino/ Tagalog), the premiere super-team of the Philippines, and used her superhuman mastery of the storm to serve those less fortunate. Under the leadership of the valiant hero Red Feather, Anitun and the Triumph Division operated out of Triumph Hall in Manila, protecting the populace of the Philippines from threats both great and small. However, during the unveiling ceremony of a monument outside the Manila Cathedral constructed to honor the Triumph Division, suicide bombers working for terrorist Ezekiel Stane killed the team, including Anitun's mortal host. Anitun has since transferred her life essence to her next host, who has continued her late predecessor's affiliation with the Triumph Division.

Comments:

The main image in this profile is by Ben Oliver.


images:
Thor & Hercules: Encyclopedia Mythologica, p21


Last updated: 08/18/02

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