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Wednesday, February 23, 2022

The Legend of Bernardo Carpio: The Philippine Giant

Goliath the champion and warrior of the Philistine who stood at over nine feet tall, wearing a bronze armor with huge spear killed by the young, small shepherd David. This Biblical tale of David and Goliath is one of the most popular parable and best children’s stories of all time. The story suggests that size doesn’t matter and with bravery, courage, and a strong will, nothing is impossible. But do you know the Philippines has its own Goliath with the heart of David? Ever heard of Bernardo Carpio, who is a hero chosen by the destiny to fulfill exceptional deeds?

Bernardo Carpio is a legendary figure in Philippine mythology, the sturdy guy who is to be the cause of earthquakes and tremor who would exchange his freedom leading his people out of slavery and into salvation. Back in the days when the Philippines was still under the Spanish rule, there’s a young couple residing at the foot of San Mateo mountain, Rizal. The couple is poor, but they are kind, helpful to others, especially to those like them who are suffering, and to those who are sick. Because of their kindness, patience, and faith, Bathala (God) took pity on them and heard their prayer to have a child of their own. 

They were finally blessed with a healthy baby boy. Apart from that, Bathala (God) also blessed the baby with extraordinary strength and charm symbolizing the strength of faith and kindness displayed by his parents. At an early age, Bernardo was shown to have extraordinary strength and elegance. Just a few weeks after he was born, he was able to lie down and crawl on his own. His name is derived from Bernardo del Carpio, a brave, famous and legendary warrior of the medieval Spain. As he grew older, Bernardo's extraordinary strength became even more impressive. Like his parents, Bernardo grew up to be kind, helpful, and courageous. Meanwhile, the Spanish oppression and repression of the rights and freedoms of the Filipinos intensified. Even though the Filipinos were patient, the time came when they could no longer accept the oppression of foreigners. The men began to gather and form groups to fight for the rights and freedoms of Filipinos. Because of his extraordinary strength and patriotism, Bernardo was chosen to lead the impending rebellion against the Spaniards.

When they heard the upcoming rebellion, the Spanish employed a powerful sorcerer and conspired to lure Carpio thru supernatural means. Calling for a negotiation, they allured him in the direction of a cave withinside the mountains of Montalban. The shaman used his amulet, and Bernardo Carpio become stuck between two mountains which the sorcerer had triggered to grind each other. The legend says he wasn`t killed, however become trapped and he is keeping the big mountains from crashing into each other as the amulet's energy become as incredible as his personal strength. Old folks from San Mateo, Rizal believe when an earthquake occurs, it is caused by the one and only Bernardo Carpio – stretching those gigantic shoulders.


By Joshua Marasigan, IFY Books

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