As Thor hits the theatres, we are once again inundated with questions about the background of the original Thor, the Norse god of thunder, not the hero that was Marvel-lized for commercial purposes. We thought, though, that Thor is somewhat over-rated, especially when the Philippines have its share of superheroes whose lives are infinitely more interesting than the Norse god.
No, we’re not talking about Gagamboy or Lastikman. We are talking about the literary heroes from different epics all around the country – and each of them can easily beat Thor with one hand. Read on…
4. Saragnayan of Hinilawod
I feel for this guy, that’s why I refuse to call him a villain. I mean if some friggin’ demigod punk comes knocking at your door demanding to shag your wife, what is the guy to do?
The epic of Hinilawod identifies Saragnayan as the Lord of Darkness whose wife, Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata is famous for her beauty. The hero of Hinilawod, Labaw Donggon had recently collected two wives but, not content, he sought out a third wife, Nagmalitong Yawa Sinag—you know, Saragnayan’s wife. Anyway, Saragnayan and Labaw Donggon fought for the lady (don’t make me type the name, please. My fingers are bleeding).
In a duel that should not be tried at home, Labaw Donggon submerged Saragnayan underwater for seven years. That should teach the man from trying to defend the family honor. You would think that was the end of it, but no. Saragnayan managed to survive the attempt to drown him, and proceeded to beat Labaw Donggon with a coconut tree.
Yup, you read it right. Saragnayan vanquished the Hinilawod hero by thrashing him not with a police truncheon but with a coconut tree – and that was after having been submerged underwater for seven years.
The man just don’t know when to quit. In fact, years later, Saragnayan moved to the US and raped Michael Phelps mother  , thereby transferring his ability to hold his breath underwater for an indeterminate period of time. He also fathered a less successful progeny, Aquaman, who later on became the most useless member of the Justice League but that’s not what this article is all about.
And speaking of strong lungs, we go to the next hero…
3. Humadapnon of Hinilawod
Humadapnon is a bad-ass, that is a given. He would have handily defeated Thor and would have bitch-slapped the Thunder God to the next century.
Consider what he has done so far:
- He almost single-handedly slew the family and kin of Saragnayan as revenge for what happened to big brother Labaw Donggon with the use of his kampilan. Kind of like Bruce Lee, only with less kicks and more blood. And guts hanging out.
- Enraged after he discovered that his bride married another man a “mere” seven years after his absence — don’t ask me where they went because it’s really ridiculous — he slew, also almost single-handedly, the entire entourage and the guests during the reception. Kind of like Kill Bill with less automatic weapons.
- He battled an eight-headed monster that guards the Underworld when he went after his wife.
But, some of you might say, that has been done by Rambo. Rambo, however, does not have wives named Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata and Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan. The Civil Registrar at that time reportedly took one look at the name of the sisters and had a seizure.
Imagine what it was like to have a wife with that name. What if you are Humadapnon and you had a long day? You just waded through a sea of blood, battled a monster or was enchanted by a wily seductress – you know, the usual job hazards of being a demigod. Now you wanted a massage – very badly.
You will have to scream the name of your wives, and pronto! Quick, try saying Nagmalitong Yawa Sinagmaling Diwata or Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan in one breath and you will see what I mean. Or say you were having sex with either one of your wives and in the middle of the act she suddenly says, “Say my name, bitch!” That would be a real deal-breaker if you fail to say the name properly.
Humadapnon. Big arms, sharp kampilan. And most importantly, strong lungs.
2. Sulayman of Indarapatra and Sulayman
Sulayman was the brother of Haring Indarapatra from the Maranao epic Indarapatra at Sulayman. Sulayman was sent by big brother Indarapatra to the lands that were ravaged by different kinds of monsters and he dispatched of them one by one as easily as Jason Bourne did with the other agents.
And how did he get to the places? He didn’t ride a Porsche – he rode the wind, handily gaining the support of environmentalists and the cool dudes at the same time. He first sought out Kurita, a creature with many limbs (either a product of a freak scientific experiment or a radiation leak – take your pick).
He killed the creature – but the epic poem was not clear on how he did it, but for sure he did it with style and a few flicks of his kampilan while reading a Koran in one hand. Yes, he is THAT cool.
He next rode the wind (not a metaphor for anybody, I’m sure) and went to Mt Matutum and encountered a giant called Tarabusaw. *Yawn* He sliced and diced the monster before it can even touch him.
He went to Mt Bita next where the giant bird Pah was residing. He took one look at the bird Pah, then hit the bird with his sword. That was either one wimpy avian monster or Sulayman is just an expert in carving birds. Anyway, the bird was immediately killed, but as it fell, its wing clipped and crushed our hero knocking the wind (and his life) out of him.
But don’t grieve yet! Indarapatra after all, is more than just a name in the title. He learned about the death of Sulayman through a plant whose life force was somehow connected to the man (kind of like E.T.).
Indarapatra just simply gathered the bones of his brother, and poured water on them – and voila! He’s ALIIIIIIIIIVE again.
Yeah… well, what do you expect. These heroes are hardier than the X-Men.
Which brings us to Number 1…
1. Lam-ang from Biag Ti Lam-ang
Lam-ang is perhaps the most iconic of all pre-colonial literary heroes – or maybe he just pays his publicist well. Our hero, as soon as he was born, immediately told his mother to name him “Lam-ang”. His mother of course did not question whether a child that can barely even lift its head can already speak and boss people around about his name, and immediately acceded to the little brat’s request.
The little brat, as soon as he got his name, immediately drove her mother out of his home, became a wrestler and fell in love with a stripper. Oh, wait, that was the gritty reboot of Lam-ang by Warner Bros..
Lam-ang, according to literary sources, learned through his mother that his father Don Juan was slain by a band of Igorots. Naturally, Lam-ang went on a rampage and killed an entire band of Igorots single-handedly. In fact, the grime and the filth that he got after gutting his enemies one by one covered his body so thickly, when he washed it off in a nearby river, all the fish in the area died (probably the first recorded fishkill ever). Note, he was hardly a year old at that time (I smell a steroid user).
Lam-ang then fell in love with Ines Canoyan who, in stories like these, is as hot as a Victoria’s Secret model but showing less skin.
To impress Ines, Lam-ang brought with him his pet rooster and dog – a sort of demolitions-and-construction team – they alternately collapsed and rebuilt a nearby house (not sure if bones were found underneath the collapsed house – the epic does not concern itself with collateral damage).