Q:

What is the most popular Philippine fable?

A:

There are many popular fables, known as pabula, from the Philippines, and many of them deal with animal and plant protagonists. One well-known tale is called "Amomongo and Iput-Iput," which translates from Tagalog into "The Ape and the Firefly."

In this fable, a firefly is at odds with an ape, because the ape thinks the firefly is a coward for always carrying a lantern. The firefly proposes that they end the dispute at sunset. The ape agrees, and secretly intends to bring along 1,000 fellow apes. At sunset, the firefly tricks the apes into killing one another until there is only one ape left. This fable is an explanatory myth that explains why apes fear fireflies to this day.

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