Shop Forum More Submit  Join Login
Bakunawa: The Filipino Dragon by jrldorado Bakunawa: The Filipino Dragon by jrldorado
Bakunawa: The Filipino Dragon by jrldorado (print image)

Loading...

All rolled Fine Art Paper Prints ship with an additional 1.5" bright white border. learn more. Gallery framed Fine Art Prints ship with an additional 2" bright white border. All Gallery Wrapped Prints ship with an additional 1" bright white wrapped border. View Original
Actual products will not display the DeviantArt watermark.


When you say “dragon” here in the Philippines, typically the mythical Chinese dragon, the western, Saint-George-type dragons, and even Bruce Lee, quickly come to mind. We love them dragons. Well, mainly because dragons are cool!—aside from the various superstitions that surround them. We write about them, hang pictures of them on our walls, make movies, tattoo them on our bodies, etc.

But did you know that we Filipinos have our own type of draconic creature lurking in the pages of our ridiculously rich mythology?

Surprisingly, not a lot of Filipinos are aware about this fabled beast. I have asked a number of people, some of them artists, writers –people young and old; most of them did not have any idea about it. They were even surprised to learn we have such a character in our mythology. To me, it is flabbergasting, considering how awesome this creature is. I myself only learned of it just a few years ago, so I thought I’d share the knowledge to those who would be interested.

The dragon in Philippine mythology is called Bakunawa. It is often described as a gargantuan sea serpent, huge enough (in one version) to have eaten six of the seven moons of our ancient mythology’s skies! Our ancestors believed Bakunawa trying to eat the remaining moon is the reason why we have eclipses. To me the idea is just so cool, easily making the Bakunawa king of all Filipino mythical beasts in my book.

The legends come mostly in the Visayan regions of the country which I think explains why I wasn’t aware of it until recently. I’m guessing (and hoping) that the pinoy dragon must be more popular in Visayas than anywhere else. And although all the references that I read told a different story from one another, all of them agree that Bakunawa tries to eat the moon every now and then, causing eclipses, and that it kicks ass!

Stories about the myth depend on who you are asking. In some versions, Bakunawa is simply a deity, who has an appetite for celestial bodies, while in others, they say it is also a destructive monster that kills people and destroys villages.

Other indigenous tribes also have mythical creatures similar to Bakunawa. Some have giant birds, snakes and crocodiles replacing the dragon, but they all share the same premise of being moon-eaters.

I am hoping to see more of Bakunawa and other less popular mythical creatures in pinoy pop culture. I mean the aswangs, manananggals, tiyanaks, and tikbalangs are awesome too, but we have ample (but never enough) stuff about them right now. We need to tell the kids there is a lot more where they came from.

I was happy to see Bakunawa used in GMA 7’s Amaya last year, and I’ve seen several drawings of it in the internet, and then there is this song by Jr. Kilat that goes, “Bakunawa is not a fish… It’s a drrragon!”

I work in the local creative industry and my faith in the Filipino talent is unshakable. There is no doubt in our capabilities to create new and original stuff, but it is always welcome and comforting to know that we are left with a beautiful history that is a treasure trove of culture and ideas.

Jerald Dorado
April 25, 2012
Add a Comment:
 
:iconwhatitmeanstobehuman:
WhatItMeansToBeHuman Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
While I didn't get to include the Bakunawa in my finished zodiac, this artwork is the main reason I thought of focusing my project on Filipino creatures, so I wanted to thank you for making me discover such an interesting and rich mythology! 
I'll definitely find a way to include the Bakunawa someday... 


Here is the finished artwork in case you were curious! I'd love your feedback.

Filipino Creatures Zodiac by WhatItMeansToBeHuman  
Reply
:iconhadesxbox360:
HadesXbox360 Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2017
lol
Reply
:iconhoch-spannung:
Hoch-Spannung Featured By Owner May 12, 2017
That's a very interesting story to read. Have never heard of Philipino dragons before. Thanks! Greetings from Russia!
Reply
:iconjrldorado:
jrldorado Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2017  Professional General Artist
Thanks. A lot of Filipinos have never heard of Bakunawa neither, actually. :)
Reply
:iconanthonymti:
AnthonyMTI Featured By Owner Oct 3, 2016
Hello, your art work is very impressive, have you every thought about making a living off your art? We at the Master Tattoo Institute can make this possible. We would like to offer you a special offer from the school because of your artistic ability, if this is sounds like something you could be interested in give us a call at (888-227-9442), or check out our website www.mastertattooinstitute.com/
Reply
:iconlunalle:
Lunalle Featured By Owner Aug 19, 2015  Hobbyist Photographer
Oh god! I haven't heard this name in a very long time. I remember reading about it in a Filipino mythology book when I was a child. It seems like kids nowadays only know about the "aswangs" and "duwendes". Filipino myths are very rich in characters, monsters and lores. Thanks to you, I now have a beautiful reference photo of how the mighty Bakunawa looks like.
Reply
:iconjrldorado:
jrldorado Featured By Owner Aug 31, 2015  Professional General Artist
I really appreciate your comment, Luna. Thanks.
Reply
:iconh3mlockd:
h3mlockd Featured By Owner Aug 6, 2015
The first time I heard about bakunawa was from my dad. lol --basin naay bakunawa didto? "maybe it was a bakunawa?" he was referring to the the local river/ water source of our town which was rising and flooded due to the heavy rain. The river's name is Sawaga which translates to big snake. So everytime I hear about bakunawa I just imagine a big snake but now that I read about that, it's a dragon. wew that's something else! so cool Philippines has a dragon myth~~
Reply
:iconjrldorado:
jrldorado Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2015  Professional General Artist
I get thrilled every time I find people learning about Bakunawa from this post. Thanks. 
Reply
:iconjeantinehobbit:
JeantineHobbit Featured By Owner May 2, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Ngayon ko lang nadiskubre ito. (I apologize for flabergasting you ;))
But the Bakunawa is (evidently) very cool. Seriously, Moon-Eating Dragon! That's just awesome! :D
Recently, I was inspired (by Tolkien's work) to try my hand at making a mythology based on the Creation Story, Local Myths, and a slight pinch of Western Myths (right now just for the fun of it :))! And today the Bakunawa inspired me to add a new feature to the "Fall from Paradise"-type Phase of the story: He attacks the Moon (who in this story is sort of a living entity) and quickly flees the scene. The Sun goes over to tend to the Moon, which distracts both of them from their combined job of bending light to hide the location of the Sacred Land (which, in this story, is basically the pituitary gland of planetary evolution.) This allows Bakunawa (hypnotized maybe?) to attack the home of Kaznalak (Malakas na Lalaki) and Marinda (Marikit/Maganda) *wink, wink*. This leads to a huge mess involving their seven kids, blah, blah, blah, the story needs work.
Anyway, the existence of certain mythological creatures is explained as a stunted evolution resulting from the "Fall from Paradise"story. :)
* Putek, napa take down notes na ako dito sa comments section. Basta masaya ako na may sarili tayong dragon! :)
Reply
:iconjrldorado:
jrldorado Featured By Owner May 21, 2015  Professional General Artist
Awesome. Write it and finish it. All the best. :)
Reply
:icondeathwhisper123:
Deathwhisper123 Featured By Owner Feb 14, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
I really adore your depiction of the Bakunawa! I have so many friends that don't know about this awesome dragon, and they're Filipinos! Hahaha.

Then again, it could be because I'm obsessed with my country's mythology.Silly Pikachu plz 

I'm actually making a story with the Bakunawa as the protagonist. In my story, he passes off as a simple guy who owns a flower shop in a seaside town. Nobody knows who he really is - as most of them think he's just an ordinary dragon of sorts - but they do wonder why he never joins gatherings and parties (the kind where all monsters attending MUST be in their real forms). 

The Bakunawa or "Suko", the fake name he gave himself, doesn't really like to talk about his past, and the monster council in charge of overseeing the creatures that live with humans are concerned about his well-being. They send over an agent to live with him and hopefully uncover the truth behind Suko's odd behavior.....and that's the plot so far.

I'd love to tell you more if you'd like. And, I was also hoping that maybe you'd do an illustration or something......Just a thought.

Otherwise, this is a really cool take on the Bakunawa!Pikachu Loves It Plz 
Reply
:iconjrldorado:
jrldorado Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2015  Professional General Artist
Interesting story. Is this a comic? Good luck, and I hope you get to finish it soon. 
Reply
:icondeathwhisper123:
Deathwhisper123 Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2015  Student Traditional Artist
No, it's more of a novel. I've been developing the plot for some time now. I'm just about finished with the chapter plots now. Oh, and by the way, would you consider making an illustration for it? It'd mean so much if you did. Your art style is so nice, like the ones you'd see in real storybook illustrations.
Reply
:iconjrldorado:
jrldorado Featured By Owner Apr 6, 2015  Professional General Artist
Finish the whole book and I'll make an illustration for you. :)
Reply
:iconimnoobbutwithheart:
Imnoobbutwithheart Featured By Owner Dec 12, 2014
I really love this art :)

Mine isn't good as this heck even a hair near >.<

Anyway when I was designing my Kaiju for CKC a game coming up on steam this is one of those art that I took some inspiration as it closely resembles the description on the myth.
Reply
:iconjrldorado:
jrldorado Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thanks, and keep on creating art! :)
Reply
:iconimnoobbutwithheart:
Imnoobbutwithheart Featured By Owner Dec 21, 2014
Thank you. I'm currently on the last leg of a contest for a Kaiju video game for steam. My Kaiju is base on what else... Bakunawa :P although mine isn't the real Bakunawa but a Kaiju that is called one. Not that great of an art but I'm proud of it since it's an entry that has the philippines in mind. Like if Japan has Godzilla and the US clover... We Have A Bakunawa :P

Again thank you very much and really thanks for the inspiration :)
Reply
:icondavedonut:
DaveDonut Featured By Owner Nov 4, 2014  Professional Filmographer
Hi ! i come from 9gag : 9gag.com/gag/aRgBw4B
too bad i's in bad quality, it's wayyy better here, congrats, it's a f***ing beautiful drawing ! 
Reply
:iconjrldorado:
jrldorado Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2014  Professional General Artist
Wow! that was unexpected. Too bad there wasn't a link back. I hope anyone interested can find their way here. I want people to read more about the Bakunawa.

Thanks for the tip, Dave!
Reply
:iconneph777:
Neph777 Featured By Owner Nov 5, 2014
Yeah well the way here's kinda easy. And there's no stones. Also it's totally worth the effort of typing "bakunawa" in google and coming to DA. ANYWAYS.
Pretty awesome. The drawing i mean. Eating moons is a totally badass thing to do. Also, badass description. I'll surely dig into the filipino mythology which i have, sadly, never heard or thought of. 
Thanks a lot good sirs, fellow 9gagger and Mr.Artist, for bringing me here and sharing something awesome o/
Have an awesomely badass day!
Reply
:iconjrldorado:
jrldorado Featured By Owner Nov 8, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thanks for those comments, Neph777. I got an illustration gig a few weeks ago that would have me draw more creatures from Philippine mythology. I may post them here too. :)
Reply
:iconzattik:
zattik Featured By Owner Oct 19, 2014
The mythological beast is awesome, and your drawing does it justice. But what really picked my interest is your attempt to value your native mythology, in contrast to how many of your fellow countrymen ignore it. It is very similar to Brazil regarding its own legends.

But like you, there are people trying to promote them around here:
www.behance.net/gallery/466613…

PS: I only know english and portuguese, but I wanted to know if you have any indications of material about filipino legends available in these languages, like a book or website. Thank you in advance.
Reply
:iconjrldorado:
jrldorado Featured By Owner Oct 21, 2014  Professional General Artist
I really appreciate your comment about valuing cultural heritage such as the obscure mythologies in the Philippines and all over the world. It saddens me when people disregard them. There is still so much to learn about ourselves as a society from these legends no matter how ancient they are.

As for researching about Philippine mythology, Wikipedia is always a good place to start! Search for Philippine mythological creatures, gods, and legends. Have a read and then research more on whichever creature, god, or story that catches your fancy. It will be easy to do further researches to most creatures, as there are plenty of information online. Almost all of them are in English too so you wouldn't have a problem. 

As for books, a good reference would be the books of Dr. Maximo Ramos -also written in English. I saw them listed in amazon.com before. :)   
Reply
:iconflukey0:
flukey0 Featured By Owner Sep 25, 2014
That's really cool. 

I love how you have taken the idea of "rising out of the ocean to swallow the moon" and applied that to a modern representation of the earth and moon.
The affect is amazing. Great job.
Reply
:iconjrldorado:
jrldorado Featured By Owner Oct 9, 2014  Professional General Artist
Thank you.  
Reply
:iconjenixs:
jenixs Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2014  Student Traditional Artist
thank you very much i needed help on researching him i did my version of him I also sponsor your work like put link of your artwork plus info thank you :) it also a good mythical creature of our country I glad we got our version of a dragon :)
Reply
:iconjrldorado:
jrldorado Featured By Owner Sep 19, 2014  Professional General Artist
Glad to be of help. :)
Reply
:iconjethrix:
jethrix Featured By Owner Sep 5, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This is so awesome!
I love the details, but I especially love that this is about the Bakunawa. It's so cool!
Reply
:iconcioven:
cioven Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Hi. my name is Jovencio Jimenez and Im a researcher about Philippine mythology.. I would just like to ask if you could participate in a survey that I made for my thesis, this involves the effect of an innovation of Philippine Mythology, by applying illustration from culture mapping.

or visit my page at www.facebook.com/mitopilipinas for more information



salamat
Reply
:iconcakeroll:
cakeroll Featured By Owner Oct 25, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
!!!! 
Reply
:iconraikyou:
RaiKyou Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2013  Hobbyist Artist

try ko gumawa ng versions ko ng gods and goddesses of Filipino myths

 

Reply
:iconjrldorado:
jrldorado Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2013  Professional General Artist
That'll be great. Good luck! :)
Reply
:iconraikyou:
RaiKyou Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2013  Hobbyist Artist

coolness!!!!

 

the details are epic!

 

Reply
:iconpiezelle:
Piezelle Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2013  Hobbyist
Epicness.
Reply
:iconejsalvillaanasarias:
EJSalvillaAnasarias Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2013  Student General Artist
do you know of minokawa sir
Reply
:iconjrldorado:
jrldorado Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2013  Professional General Artist
Yeah. If I'm not mistaken, it's basically a version of the bakunawa except it's a gigantic bird instead of a dragon.
Reply
:iconejsalvillaanasarias:
EJSalvillaAnasarias Featured By Owner Jul 27, 2013  Student General Artist
yes sir
Reply
:iconotakubhogs:
otakubhogs Featured By Owner May 26, 2013
Excellent piece.
Reply
:iconjrldorado:
jrldorado Featured By Owner May 27, 2013  Professional General Artist
Thank you.
Reply
:iconmanaista:
manaista Featured By Owner Mar 13, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Wow... Just wow... :iconclapplz:
Reply
:iconjrldorado:
jrldorado Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2013  Professional General Artist
Thank you! :)
Reply
:iconmanaista:
manaista Featured By Owner Mar 14, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
You are very much welcome :D
Reply
:iconbracey100:
Bracey100 Featured By Owner Mar 5, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
I love learning about other countries' mythologies so the story behind the image is cool, but dear God this drawing all by itself is mindblowingly AMAZING! Best art Ive seen out of the Philippines since the comic book work of Jay Anacleto.
Reply
:iconjrldorado:
jrldorado Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2013  Professional General Artist
Thank you so much, Bracey. This is the best comment that I received on DA! Jay Anacleto is one of my heroes. There are many other great artists in the Philippines, and I have the honor of calling some of them my friends. :)
Reply
:iconbracey100:
Bracey100 Featured By Owner Mar 6, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Youre very welcome. Overlooking your gallery, youve earned it brother, SOme truly amazing stuff there. Makes my stuff look like stick figures lol. I thought your drawing were in pencil but Ive noticed they all say digital art. Tell, did you do all those fantastic drawing completely in the computer? Its something Im trying for the first time myself this year.
Reply
:iconjrldorado:
jrldorado Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2013  Professional General Artist
You are too humble. You have top notch quality artworks in your gallery as well. :)

Yeah, most of the stuff I have on DA are digital works. I used Sketchbook Pro to do them with some tweaking in Photoshop. I love the program's simplicity and excellent line quality. Obviously, I love zooming in too; that's why I get to put in all of those details. It takes a bit more time to finish getting those in, but hey, it's therapy! lol.

I'm sure you'll do awesome going all digital. I, on the other hand, is thinking of doing more traditional art this year. :)
Reply
:iconbracey100:
Bracey100 Featured By Owner Mar 7, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Funny, last year I went back to traditional art, this year back to digital. Guess its just a mood thing. Im going to have to try out Sketchbook. Ive been doing my drawing with Illustrator but its not 100 precise. It likes to "guess" at your line to fit the vector equation and I dont always care for that.
Reply
:iconjrldorado:
jrldorado Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2013  Professional General Artist
Yeah. I tried doodling on my sketch pad just recently and felt really rusty. Haha. It's important to keep tabs on both mediums.

The most recent, Sketchbook Pro 6, is the best version to date. It's got all the drawing tools I need already --plus a complete set of digital copic makers! Haha :D Nowadays, I only use PS if I need to distort, blur, or liquefy some parts.
Reply
:iconbracey100:
Bracey100 Featured By Owner Mar 8, 2013  Professional Digital Artist
Digital copic marker! Ha! Thats awesome!
Reply
Add a Comment:
 
  • Art Print
  • Canvas
  • Photo
Paper Prints: Premium giclée prints on high-quality paper stock. learn more...
FRAME:
IMAGE SIZE:
IMAGE SIZE:
IMAGE SIZE:
$22.80 or 1,824
Canvas Prints: Combining simplicity and elegance, our Canvas Prints are the classic way to present your art. learn more...
FRAME:
IMAGE SIZE:
IMAGE SIZE:
IMAGE SIZE:
$32.40 or 2,592
Photo Prints: High-quality prints in glossy, matte and lustre finishes. learn more...
FINISH:
IMAGE SIZE:
IMAGE SIZE:
IMAGE SIZE:
$28.79 or 2,304
All prices in US Dollars (change)
Estimated Shipping Rates
  • Art Print
  • Canvas
  • Photo




Details

Submitted on
April 25, 2012
Image Size
6.6 MB
Resolution
3500×2500
Link
Thumb

Stats

Views
17,276
Favourites
226 (who?)
Comments
68