Title Diwata (as shown at the bottom of the picture)
Description guardian spirits
Gender Male/female
Region Philippines
Equivalent Fairy
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In Philippine mythology, a Diwata (origin Sanskrit Devata), also known as Encantada, is a mythological figure similar to fairies or nymphs. They are nature spirits and live one with mother earth. They were benevolent or neutral and could be called upon ritually for positive crop growth, health, and fortune; however, they also caused 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 Hindu Devata, with the term Diwata originating from the Indonesian Dewata.

The term "diwata" has taken on various levels of meaning since its concept's being assimilated 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.



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 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.

In the GMA Network's fantasy television series Encantadia and Mulawin, Diwatas are a race of supernatural being living in Encantadia, a dimension beyond the human world. Pure diwatas 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 Diwatas 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 diwatas shown were Maguayen who ferries the souls of the dead to Sulad and Pandaki, who can change a fate of a dungan (soul).

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".[citation needed]


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.


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.

See also

  • Devata, deities, divine beings or lesser gods in Hindu-Buddhist concept
  • Hyang, similar concept in ancient Indonesia
  • Kami, similar concept in Japanese Shinto faith


  1. ^ William Henry Scott's BARANGAY: Sixteenth Centure Philippine Culture and Society, 1994

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