Malakas and Maganda: About the Mythological Man and Woman From Bamboo

Malakas and Maganda are known to be the first man and woman in pre-colonial Philippine folklore. Men were described as strong and dependable, making them the pillars of their families, while women took on the role of gentle and delicate. Malakas and Maganda epitomize a Philippines love story and appreciation of God's greatness.

Who are Malakas and Maganda? Let’s look at the Philippine folklore characters.

Malakas and Maganda are the counterparts of Adam and Eve

Its theological connection is evident, as it follows the core attributes of the Creator, so they were created by the gods' abilities. Folktales and the Bible both develop from the stories and perspectives of individuals who share a common understanding of the supernatural.


Amihan is commonly portrayed as a golden eagle and is shown as a genderless deity. Amihan belonged to the first three beings in the world together with Bathala, heaven, and Aman-Saya, sea. And the rest is history.


There is a golden bird, Amihan, who had nowhere to nest, became weary of circling and, in fury, fought the Sea by stirring up the sky. Rain, storm, and lightning fell from the sky onto the sea, which swelled up and tossed waves and storms towards the skies. The Philippine Islands were created because the sky poured a slew of vast stones into the sea. With the help of these islands, it blocked the waves from swelling any farther. The flow of waves becomes a sweet rhythm.

Bamboo is the result of the love of Land Breeze and Sea Breeze. Straight away, Bamboo collided with the Kite's feet while sailing toward the water. The bird was frightened and as a result, the bird poked at the bamboo until it broke in half. By that, the magic unfurled. Malakas and Maganda showed up. After that, they got married and started a family. But their children started to leave and they developed different ethnic groups. 

According to Felipe Jocano Jr., a Filipino anthropologist from the University of the Philippines, Malakas is also known as Sikalak, while Maganda was also once known as Sikabay. It originated in Central Visayas mythology which portrays the story of the creation of the first man and woman.  Once upon a time, a god named Kaptan once planted bamboo. The bamboo grew and divided into two halves, a man and woman appeared and that’s how Sikalak and Sikabay were created.

There are a lot of versions of Malakas and Maganda story but the bottom line is the story denotes a deeper interpretation of family. In Filipino culture, it reflects that the rain symbolizes agriculture, which is the source of life for farming. Additionally, men are born with power and women rely on their intellect. In today’s generation, women empowerment acknowledges the diversity of potentials and possibilities available to them. We women practice our freedom to be who we are and who we want to become. Through this malakas (strong) and maganda (beautiful), with great potential to transform the norms that restrict their identity.