The Sun & the Woman in Flames


The Sun & The Woman in Flames


This story hails from the Tinguian or the Itneg from Abra. Aponibolinayen appears in several of their folktales and goes on to wed other husbands. In Tinguian culture, the chewing of betel-nut has great significance and is often done before introductions are made. Spittle from the chewing is said to foretell future events and relationships. 


Download the story or preorder the riso zine to support our indigenous peoples.

One day, Aponibolinayen, the most beautiful woman in the world, was swept up into the sky by vines. There, the vine set her under a tree where she beheld the beauty of a nearby spring surrounded by sands of rare beads and tall gold-topped betel-nut trees.

Near the spring was a house. Filled with fear that the owner would find her, Aponibolinayen hid on top of a betel-nut tree. She noticed that the owner was Ini-init, the Sun, who was away in the day to give light to the world. With the house empty, a hungry Aponibolinayen sneaked in to cook food by dropping a stick into boiling water to turn it into fish. Satisfied, she lay down on the bed to sleep.




Ini-init, home from a day's work, found his house on fire.

He hurried home and realized that the flame was a beautiful woman fast asleep. He decided to prepare a meal and invite her to eat with him. But awakened by the noise, Aponibolinayen slipped out back to the top of the betel nut tree.

Aponibolinayen came back to cook the following day but this time, left food for Ini-init. When he saw this he thought, “Perhaps this is from the woman who looks like a flame. If she comes again, I will try to catch her.” The next day after work, he crept quietly up the ladder of the house, and he sprang in and shut the door behind him. Surprised, Aponibolinayen was angry. But Ini-init gave her a gold-covered betel-nut, which they chewed together as told each other their names. They ate and talked together and slowly got to know each other.


After some time Aponibolinayen and Ini-init were married. After shining light into the world, Ini-init returned every night with supper ready for him, made with love and magic by the woman in flames.



In honor of the indigenous Filipinos, Gunitaan partnered with PAGASA to help support Aeta, Lumad, T'boli, and communities in Buhi, Camarines Sur affected by supertyphoons. In exchange for donations of any amount of your choosing is a digital compilation of the library designed for mobile.

The library is also a risograph art zine in collaboration with Bad Student, for pre-order until Dec. 11, 2020. In light of the typhoon damage they sustained, 10% of the zine proceeds will go towards their recovery. The rest of the zine proceeds will also be donated to the indigenous communities supported by PAGASA.



Gunitaan is a humble library of folktales that tell us who we are, who we have been for centuries, and what inspires us as a culture. Gunitaan seeks to use design to shed light on, honor and preserve the beauty inherent to the many cultures that keep our identity alive.

By the humans of Serious Studio.