Gilhan Traditional Religion

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Gilhanese traditional religion or Gilhanese folk religion is the religious tradition of the Mutyarahi, or the indigenous religion of Gilhan. The religion primarily consists in the worship of the anito (spirits) which were either household deities, ancestors, nymphs, and engkanto (dryads).

The religion believes in Bathala as the supreme being of the universe. He resides in Kaluwalhatian (heaven), and thus cannot be spoken to directly. Instead Bathala sends down the anitos from heaven to provide for and watch over men and women.


It is believed that no one created the universe. It has appeared out of its own accord, and so has the three gods that came with it. The three gods were Bathala, Ulilang Kaluluwa (orphaned spirit), a huge serpent, and Galang Kaluluwa, a winged god. These three gods were not aware of each other's existence.

One day as Ulilang Kaluluwa was wandering Tiandi, he came upon Bathala and the two met for the first time. Sensing that Bathala was a rival god, Ulilang Kaluluwa challenged Bathala to a duel to determine who shall be master of the universe. After days of intense fighting in which the mountains and seas were inadvertently formed, Bathala emerged victorious and slew Ulilang Kaluluwa. He then burned the serpent in what is now modern day Bathalan.

Few years later, Bathala came upon Galang Kaluluwa. Believeing that they could rule together, Bathala chose not to fight Galang Kaluluwa. Galang Kaluluwa felt the same and they became friends, living happily for many years.

Galang Kaluluwa grew increasingly ill and knew that his time had come. He asked Bathala that he be buried where Ulilang Kaluluwa was burned. Bathala did so. Weeks after Galang Kaluluwa's death, a tree grew from his grave. Its trunk was hand and ugly like Ulilang Kaluluwa's body and its leaves looked like Galang Kaluluwa's wings and its hard nut reminded it of his head. This tree was the coconut tree.

Feeling lonely, Bathala created the animals, plants, man, and women. He built them a Nipa hut out of the tree and gave them the coconut as food, eating its white meat. As time passed, the men grew numerous and eventually wars would ravage the land. Bathala could not bear to see his creations fight, so he retreated to Kaluwalhatian where he would stay for all of time. He did not abandon his creations however. He created the anito who would roam and wander Tiandi, protecting and looking after those who sought it.