Apolaki - The God of the Sun and War
Apolaki is a God of the Tagalogs and the Pangasinan. He is also considered to be the counterpart of the Kapampangan supreme deity, Aring Sinukuan, who is also a God of the Sun and War. It is believed by some scholars that the two Gods are the same deity with different names as both are so similar both in their attributes and their stories.
Besides being a sun God and a God of war, Apolaki was also the patron of warriors and fighters, the mandirigma. Today for modern practitioners of Anito, the collective term for the indigenous beliefs of the Philippines, he is the patron God for modern day warriors and fighters, those who are soldiers, police, and martial artists especially those who practice the Filipino martial arts, arnis/eskrima/kali.
In one myth he is known as the son of Bathala, the supreme deity of the sky, and a mortal woman. Along with his siblings, the sisters, Mayari the Goddess of the Moon and Tala Goddess of the Stars (there are some variations to this. In some sources it was only Mayari and Apolaki, others it was all 3, another is that instead of Tala being one of the siblings, it was the Goddess of the Dawn/Morning, Hanan) they were all given their own attributes by their father. One day Apolaki wanted to rule the world by himself, in which the Goddess Mayari objected as she wanted for them to rule equally. They quarreled because they both wanted to rule the world. Eventually they fought each other in a long battle where their fight became intense until words were not able to express their furious rage. They both picked up bamboo sticks and fought each other with fierce blows. Eventually the fight ended when Apolaki struck Mayari in one of her eyes resulting in her to being blind in one eye. Ashamed and regretting what he had done, he stopped the fight to help his sister, asking for forgiveness and agreeing to share their rule equally. With Mayari agreeing and forgiving her brother, from that point on both ruled the world equally. Both divided their rule by Apolaki ruling half the day during the day as he was the God of the Sun, while Mayari being the Goddess of the moon, ruled the night. During Apolaki’s turn, the world is flooded with warm light because the light beams from his two bright eyes. On the other hand, Mayari bathes the world with cool and gentle light due to being blind in one eye.
However in the Pangasinan myth, he is instead the son of the God Dumakalem and the Goddess Anagolay and is the brother of the Goddess Diyan Masalanta. One record of Apolaki being a personal deity is in the The Bolinao Manuscript which mentions the Sambal priestess, Bolindauan, in 1684 who has Apolaki as her Anito (personal deity). His name, Apolaki, literally means “big lord”, from the words “apo” which is a title for lord and a term for someone who is important and given with respect, and “laki” which means big.
Art and Sketch by iTrixia at DA.