El Filibusterismo Legends

In the third chapter of Jose Rizal's El Filibusterismo, you will read about the the various legends people recounted while traveling down the Pasig river.

For example, you'll learn about the place called Malapad na Bato (wide rock) which people used to fear because they thought it was inhabited by ghosts, spirits, and demons. That superstitious belief was proven false, because criminals and fugitives who began hiding in Malapad na Bato were not harmed by the so-called "spirits."

That gave the people more problems, because the beings who replaced the "spirits" ended up blocking, robbing, and killing people traveling down that part of the Pasig River.

This is probably some kind of social commentary by Jose Rizal. The Philippines used to be a highly superstitious nation (used to be?), then the friars came in with religion and corrected some of those wrong supersititious beliefs.

Similar to the brigands and bandits, the friars were responsible for dispelling the peoples' belief in ghosts. And similar to those Malapad na Bato criminals, the friars were responsible for sowing fear and for oppressing the people.

Today, there's a place called Malapad na Bato near the banks of the Pasig river. You'll find it near C5:

Based on the above map, Malapad na Bato is near the bottom of the screen.

On the opposite bank of the Pasig river is Barangay Pineda, where you will reportedly find a rock formation that looks like a crocodile. The legend of Buwayang Bato is also mentioned in Jose Rizal's El Fili.

Buayang Bato is near the border of Mandaluyong and Pasig City, so it's most likely near the Guadalupe bridge. There's also a Gawad Kalinga project in the area.

It would be interesting if someone would take photos of the old crocodile rock formation and of the communities in Buayang (or Buwayang) Bato and Malapad na Bato. If you do get the chance to do that, please interview the residents there who might remember stories about the place.

For more information, please visit the El Filibusterismo Chapter Summaries and Study Notes.

[ First posted on 08/08/2006 by Manuel Viloria ]



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