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Title Diwata (as shown at the bottom of the picture)
Description guardian spirits
Gender Male/female
Region Philippines
Equivalent Fairy

In Philippine mythology, a diwata, based on Sanskrit devata (देवता) and also known as encantada from Spanish, is a dryad-like spirit which is benevolent or neutral and invoked ritually for positive crop growth, health, and fortune; they may also incur illness or misfortune if not given proper respect.[1] They are said to reside in large trees, such as acacia and balete and are the guardian spirits of nature, casting blessings or curses upon those who bring benefits or harm to the forests and mountains. They have their origin in the Devata beings included in Hinduism and Buddhism. The Laguna Copperplate dated 900 AD also makes mention of a Chief of Medang in Java, Indonesia referred as representative of the Chief of Diwata in Butuan, Mindanao island.

The term "diwata" has taken on various levels of meaning since its concept's assimilation into the mythology of the pre-colonial Filipinos. It is sometimes loosely used to refer to a generic type of beings much like "elf" or "fairy," or very specific ones as mentioned above. It has been noted that the term "diwata" is synonymous to "anito," and that the usage of the word "diwata" is more prevalent in the Southern Philippines, while "anito" takes its place in the Northern areas.


  • Characteristics 1
  • Types 2
  • Popular culture 3
    • Comics 3.1
    • Television 3.2
    • Music 3.3
    • Literature 3.4
    • Cinema 3.5
  • See also 4
  • References 5


Although there are numerous and varied accounts as to what they should look like, a general trend may be observed in that they are normally human in appearance—beautiful and seemingly ageless at that—save for some distinct characteristics. This may take the form of not having a philtrum or having continuously smooth and supple skin that somehow resemble fingernails, without any wrinkled parts as in the elbows and knees. They also tend to be fairer than average, as pale skin has been associated with the supernatural even during pre-colonial times (for example, the "white lady" belief is prevalent in the East and Southeast Asian regions).


A male diwata is also called enkanto, and it resides primarily in the sea. It is customary for Filipino fishermen to offer meat and other delicacies to the enkanto by throwing them into the sea, after a day's bountiful catch. Popular mythology states that the diwata who live in large trees do not live in them like you would imagine a monkey. It is believed they actually live inside the trunk of the tree itself, in the form of a spirit. In the Philippines, it is common to see tree trunks of trees with trunks larger than 5' or 6" in diameter left standing when trees have been cut. This is believed to prevent the spirit from being released, as it is not known if he is a "white" or "black" spirit. If he is a black spirit, it is believed he can cause serious misfortune to the one who stole his home.

Popular culture


In the comics character created by Gener Pedrina for the Sanduguan Universe, Diwata is a half-human and half-encantada whose real name is Maria Klarissa Valiente.


In the television sitcom Okay ka, Fairy Ko created by MZET productions, diwatas live in a mythical world named Enkantasya where Ina Magenta is the Queen of the diwatas. Ina Magenta's daughter, Faye, is married to Enteng Kabisote, a human.

Diwata have also been featured on GMA Network fantasy series Encantadia and Mulawin whereby diwatas are a race of supernatural being living in Encantadia, a dimension beyond the human world.[2] However, the depiction of a diwata on both series have European influences as pure diwatas were shown to have pointed ears like elves, one of them is Cassiopeia and some resemble fairies, like Muyak, human-like diwatas are born from a diwata and another encantado. All diwatas and encantados reside in the Kingdom of Lireo. A diwata or an encantado that has royal blood is called Sang'gre, which can be distinguished by their markings on their back, the nga character from the Baybayin script. The Queen of the diwata in Lireo carries the title of Ynang Reyna. Lirean society is matriarchal and only a Sang'gre in the matriarch line may ascend the throne.

Another television series from GMA Network, Amaya, depicts diwata as goddesses who may be called upon through a ritual. The series revolves around the life of Amaya, a binukot (kept maiden) and her fate to become the most powerful woman of her time. It is set during the pre-colonial times of the Philippines. The diwata shown were:

  • Maguayen, who ferries the souls of the dead to Sulad (Purgatory).
  • Pandaki, who can change a fate of a dungan (soul)She also brings good dungan from Sulad to Saad(Heaven) to be an umalagad.
  • Malandok, goddess of war.
  • Bakunawa (A Dragon), guardian of Sulad.

In another GMA Network TV series, Indio, diwata are gods or goddesses that can be called or prayed upon. Indio is about a man with a diwata mother and a human father who grew up after the pre-colonial times and during the Spanish colonial period, he protects the Filipinos from the Spaniards. Many diwata are shown in Indio:

  • Makaptan, the supreme god.
  • Ynaguiginid, war and earth goddess(successor of Maladok) .
  • Magayon, goddess of flying animals, wood goddess.
  • Lalahon, goddess fire and volcanoes.
  • Lidagat, water goddess.
  • Libulan, moon goddess.
  • Lihangin, wind goddess.
  • Dalikmata, goddess of eye diseases, ice goddess.
  • Adlaw, sun god.
  • Barangaw, rainbow god.
  • Ribung Linti, lightning god.
  • Lisantonillo, god of blessngs.
  • Burigadang Pada Sinaklang Bulawan, goddess of greed.
  • Paiburong, god of the middle world. He is the brother of Burigadang Pada.
  • Makabosog, god of gluttony.
  • Sidapa, god of death.
  • Pandaki, goddess who saves souls for a better fate.
  • Magwayen, goddess who ferries the souls to the land of the dead.
  • Alunsina, goddess of eastetn skies

The term, lambana, an old Tagalog word for a drawing symbol or picture that represents a deity of the ancient pagan religion of the Tagalog people was recently used in fantasy-themed television shows such as ABS-CBN's Pedro Penduko as a term for "small fairies". Although, it can also be argued that the term was first used in Encantadia as a reference to Muyak, and later on in Luna Mystika where it was used to identify the characters played by Pauleen Luna and Michelle Madrigal.


Diwata is a Filipino singer-comedienne who made a mark with the Tagalog remake of the English song "Sincerely" and became well known with "Sisirin Mo," a naughty song with double meaning that titillated the masses' imagination from her self-titled album "Diwata". This album launched a whole new genre of songs that shocked the sensibilities of the predominantly Catholic Philippines in the year 2001. In 2014, rapper Abra released a song titled "Diwata", which features Parokya Ni Edgar vocalist Chito Miranda, from his self-titled debut album.


Diwata is the primary character in the play Speech and Debate written in 2007 by Stephen Karam. The character constitutes an ironic representation of the Diwata, as an awkward, socially rejected high school student intent on creating her own club to catalyze the downfall of her closed-minded drama teacher.


The independent film 'Faraway' focuses on a woman and her quest to find the Diwata tribe. [3]

See also


  1. ^ William Henry Scott's Barangay: Sixteenth-Century Philippine Culture and Society, 1994 ISBN 9789715501354
  2. ^ I Juander': Naniniwala pa ba sa diwata si Juan?"'". GMA News. July 15, 2013. 
  3. ^

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