The story of Malakas at Maganda is the creation myth of the Filipinos:
In the beginning, the goddess of the sea, Maguayen, and the god of the sky, Kaptan, had a bitter quarrel. Kaptan threw rain, thunder, and lightning that reached the sea. Maguayen in turn threw waves, and hurricanes that reached the sky.
In his anger, Kaptan threw thousands of boulders at the sea, at Maguayen. These boulders became the islands that form the Philippines. The rivalry between Maguayen and Kaptan lasted for many many years.
Magaul, the god of the air, got tired of their fighting, and took on the form of a huge bird. Magaul flew back and forth from the sky to the sea to mediate in their quarrel. Finally, Kaptan and Maguayen made peace at the horizon, where the sky and the sea met.
Maguayen and Kaptan became very good friends and fell in love. Out of their love came a seed that was planted on an island. From this seed grew a gigantic bamboo.
One day, Magaul was flying over the sea, looking for a place to perch. Finally, he landed near the bamboo. Magaul heard a voice from inside the bamboo "Oh god of the air, peck on the bamboo and let us out." Magaul was afraid to peck on the bamboo, but a lizard jumped on the surface of the bamboo. Out of instinct, Magaul pecked, and the bamboo split into equal halves.
A man emerged from one of the halves, his name was Malakas (meaning strong), from the other half came Maganda (meaning beautiful). In time, their children became numerous and spread across the islands of the Philippines.
The story of Malakas and Maganda vary from region to region. For example, in one story, it was the bird who actually caused the quarrel between the earth and the sky in the first place. But elements of the story remain the same: there is a bird that splits a giant bamboo, and Malakas and Maganda emerge from the halves. Many people have commented on how the story presents man and woman as equals, each coming from one half of the same bamboo.
Malakas at Maganda (Strong and Beautiful)