There is a beautiful legend about Mt. Arayat. The legend says that
Mt. Arayat is a home of an enchanted lady who is a sort of fairy godmother. This lady is
popularly known as Mariang Sinukuan. Mariang Sinukuan is said to
be a beautiful lady. Her black hair, is naturally curled, reaches down to her ankles. Her
eyes are framed by long lashes which are black. Her eyebrows are arched. Her nose which is
beautifully either too high or too flat is finely chiseled. Her lips are well formed. Her
skin is a flowless brown. Her clothes are made of white flowing robe. But Mariang Sinukuan
is not only known for her physical beauty. Far more beautiful is her character for she
possesses a kind and generous heart. Never was it known of her not to help those who
needed her help.
Once upon a time, they say that Mt. Arayat abounded in all kinds of fruit trees.
Aside from the fruit trees, it is said that animals of all kinds once roamed this
mountain. The strange thing about this fruit trees and animals is that the fruit trees
bore exceptionally big fruits all the year round and the animals was no other than Mariang
Sinukuan. These fruit trees and animals, Mariang Sinukuan used to distribute to the poor.
Needy families often woke up on the morning to see at their doorsteps fruits and animals
for their needs. They knew it was Mariang Sinukuan who left this foods while they were
sleeping. How grateful the people were to be graced by the enchanted lady. And to show
their gratitude and respect they never tried to go to her hide-out in the mountain. The
people considered her home as a sacred place.
But such was not always the case. There came a time when the people were no longer
satisfied with what the enchanted lady left at their doorsteps. They wanted to get more.
One day, some young men decided to go up Mt. Arayat. They wanted to get more of
Mariang Sinukuan's fruits and animals. They started for the mountain early at dawn. They
reached the base of the mountain at sunrise. Guavas bigger than their fists dangled from
the guava trees. Pomegranate branches almost reached to the ground because of the many and
big fruits they bore. Ripe mangoes were just within one's reach. Fowls of every kind were
plentiful. Pigs, goats and other animals roamed around. The young men were still viewing
this wonder of nature when from nowhere came Mariang Sinukuan. They were dazzled by her
brilliance. They could not find any words to say to her. It was Mariang Sinukuan who first
spoke to them.
" Welcome to my home, young men. Help yourself to the fruits. Eat as
much as you can but I'm warning you not to take anything home without my knowledge."
With this, the enchanted lady departed.
After recovering from their amazement, the young men
started to pick up fruits. They ate and ate until they could not eat anymore.
"Let us pick some more fruits. I want to fill this sack which I
brought," said one.
let's not do that. Let's go home now," said another. "I'm scared."
be scared? Did we not come to get more fruits and animals?"
the lady warned us not to take anything home without her knowledge."
come on. She won't know we took home fruits and animals. They're so plentiful, she won't
know the difference."
And so the young men started to fill their sacks with as many fruits and animals
as they could get hold of. Then they started for home. As they were about to begin their
descent they felt their sacks becoming heavier. They didn't mind this, but they had not
gone ten steps farther when they felt that their load was pulling them down. Putting the
sacks down, how surprised the young men were to find that the fruits and animals had
become big stones. They remembered Mariang Sinukuan's warning. The young men became
terribly frightened. Leaving their sacks behind, they ran as fast as their feet could
carry them. But before they reached the base of the mountain whom did they see blocking
their way? It was Mariang Sinukuan who was very angry.
"You ungrateful wretches! I help you in times of need. But how do
you repay me. You are not satisfied with what I leave you at your doorsteps. And now you
even try to steal my things! Because of your greediness I'm going to turn you all into a
swine." With the wave of her wand, Mariang Sinukuan changed the young men into swine.
This was not the last time that people tried to get hold of Mariang Sinukuan's
fruits and animals. Again and again they tried to steal them. At last, fed up with the
people's greediness, Mariang Sinukuan stopped leaving food at their doorsteps. She caused
the fruit trees and animals in the mountain to disappear. She no longer showed herself to
the people for she was disgusted with their
Taken from Arayat Town
Fiesta '97 Souvenir Program