The Great FloodOne day, Aponi-tolau, god-hero of the Tingians, went down to the lowlands. He wandered aimlessly through the plains until he reached the seashore. The calm blue sea, massive and yet helpless beneath the morning sun which flooded it with golden light,  fascinated the young man. And unable to resist the beauty of the dancing wavelets, he made a rattan raft and rowed seaward.

On and on he rowed until he came to the edge of the world. There, in a place where the sea and the sky meet, Aponi-tolau saw a towering rock, home of Tau-mari-u. lord of  the sea. It was guarded by nine beautiful daughters of the seaweeds. The radiance of the ocean light reflecting silver and gold upon the greenish hair of the nine guards as they played around the palace gates, chasing one another in gay laughter, attracted the mountain lord.

Gathering the courage the Tingian warrior went nearer the palace gates. However, when he inquired what place it was, the maiden guard laughed at him and lured him further inside the palace walls. This made Aponi-tolau very angry. Taking his magic hook, he lashed at the unsuspecting maidens.

The hook hit the youngest and the most beautiful among them, Humitau. The young diwata gave a loud and piercing scream and struggled desperately to free herself from Aponi-tolau’s grip. But the magic oil which the mountain lord had placed at the tip of his hook weakened her blood and soon she was helpless.

A wild uproar followed as the guards screamed and fled the gates. Aponi-tolau hurriedly picked up the unconscious body of the sea-maiden, loaded it on his rattan raft and rowed shoreward. Shortly after the Tingian hero had left the bauwi ( native hut ) gates, Tau-mari-u went out of his abode to see what was the commotion was all about. But he was too late.

In his rage, Tau-mari-u summoned the waves and tunas of the sea and ordered them to bring back the intruder. The waves lashed at the raft of the mountain warrior and the tunas pushed it back.

Alarmed, Aponi-tolau cried out to his mother, Lang-an of Kadalayapan, mistress of the wind and rain, for help. The great goddess heard her son’s plea and immediately sent down strong winds to pull Aponi-tolau and efforts of the tunas, the Tingian warrior was able to reach the shore unharmed.

But Tau-mari-u was furious. He immediately called a meeting of the gods and demigods of the seas and oceans, who agreed to punish the dwellers of the land for what Aponi-tolau had done.

From the sky, Lang-an knew the plan. She immediately called for the north wind and sent him to warn her son of the impending flood. She instructed the mountain lord to go to the highest peak of the Cordillera mountains for safety. Obediently, Aponi-tolau took the members of his household to the mountain top and waited. The flood came. From his bauwi Aponi-tolau saw mighty waves sweeping across the plains, filling the valleys, and destroying the crops and working animals of the inhabitants. Higher and higher went the water until it covered the mountain top but for the few square meters where Aponi-tolau and his household took shelter.

Frightened, Humitau gave a desperate cry. She knew that she could no longer swim or live in the water after having tasted the mountain food which her husband had given her. The charm removed her seapowers. She imploted Tau-mari-u to save her.

Despite his anger, the water lord took pity upon his favourite Humitau. Si he called back the water and waves. But he promised that henceforth he would sink men’s boats and drown passengers until Aponi-tolau’s crime appeased. When the water subsided, Aponi-tolau and his wife went down to the lowlands and from them came the people of the world.

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