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King Sinukwan Mythology and the Kapampangan Psyche

Author(s): Julieta C. Mallari, Ph.D.

Journal: Coolabah
ISSN 1988-5946

Volume: 3;
Start page: 227;
Date: 2009;
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Keywords: Sinukwan | Kapampangan psyche | Kapampangan history

This paper focuses on the metaphorical categories of the Sinukwan legendsthat could account for the ethnocentric qualities of the Kapampangans (people ofPampanga, a province in the northern part of the Philippines) and their behavioralpatterns as a distinct race. According to oral accounts, Sinukwan, supposedly the firstinhabitant in Pampanga, was a noble, gigantic being whose countenance reflectedbeautiful traits such as royalty, wisdom, faithfulness, ability and love.Sinukwan is a product of the Kapampangans’ primordial culture but, in many respects,he serves as a central image in the maintenance of their internal racial affinity as well asin the interaction of their past and present. On one hand, he may be perceived as aninstrument of sentimental evocation. But on the other, Sinukwan is an indispensableforce in asserting and reasserting the Kapampangan identity. The Kapampangans stillbelieve that their historical beginnings were woven into and their society constructedwithin the realm of a powerful cultural symbol.In the development of Kapampangan civilization, Sinukwan has become an establishedarchetype in Kapampangan arts and literature, a rallying point in the socio-politicaltransformation of the Kapampangan community, and the paradigmatic model that isconstantly invoked in the unfolding events of Kapampangan history.To be mentioned in particular is an aspect of a Sinukwan legend that provides a colorfulexplanation of one of the worst calamities that struck Pampanga: the eruption of Mt.Pinatubo. The story is, in a sense, an imaginative articulation of a historicalphenomenon that pierced through the very heart of Kapampangan civilization andaltered the course of its development.
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