Ginoong Panay

It was a new year, so Ginoong Panay gestured a greeting to Lakapati before entering their domain. The husband and wife anito of the rice fields welcomed the honey-hunting anito by having the flowering head on the mango trees and the rice stalks nod with the breeze.

The wind was a shawl that Ginoong Panay wrapped about herself as she stepped into the vast farms that would feed the Tagalog people for the year. Upon that shawl was beadwork of bees, the onyx kiwot and the chatoyant ligwan. Only marginally larger than their cousin ant, the stingless kiwot hovered over flowers, sipping nectar, and collecting pollen in baskets on their legs for their young. The ligwan were more confident because they were larger and armed with a stinger. 

Ginoong Panay was not an anito of the civilization, unlike Lakapati who belonged with the people. She preferred a forest home in her kalumpang tree as her devoted legion made honey in the hollows of bamboo or other trees. 

When the fourth of the moons lazed across the sky, Ginoong Panay and Lakapati will meet again, this time to share upon the bounty of their domains, the rice in their golden hulls, the golden hearts of the mango trees and the honey thickened into a golden syrup that the Tagalog called panay.

[Joel Donato Ching Jacob is called Cupkeyk by his friends. He was the 2018 Scholastic Asian Book Award winner for ‘Wing of the Locust.’ He was an Editor’s Choice awardee for The Best Asian Short Stories 2019 for ‘Artifact from the Parent.’ He lives in Bay, Laguna in the Philippines with his mother and dogs. He enjoys fitness and the outdoors. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @chimeracupkeyk.]