About Golden Realms: Inheriting the Panay Sugidanun黄金の国:

Golden Realms is a manga adaptation of sections of the Sugidanun by Iloilo artists, in both English and Japanese languages. These projects aim to honor and celebrate the Panay Sugidanun in the present and celebrate the resonances in oral literature between Japan and the Philippines. Golden Realms is under The Japan Foundation Asia Center’s Asian Literature Project, “Yomu,” which bridges connections between literary traditions around Asia, and explores how literature is read today.


Message from the Director of The Japan Foundation, Manila ごあいさつ

Together, let us embark on an epic journey into the Panay Sugidanun.

The Japan Foundation, Manila is proud to support the Golden Realms: Inheriting the Panay Sugidanun project with ThriveArt Projects, Iloilo. This initiative is under the Japan Foundation Asia Center’s Asian Literature Project “Yomu”, which is the Japanese word for “read”. We want to explore how literature is being read in different countries in Asia, and how these express the stories of our daily lives: our joys, hardships, and resilience of storytellers in different countries. Through literature, we can demonstrate the colorful and rich narratives of the Philippines, which can reflect the state of our society and culture.

I first encountered the Sugidanun during a visit to Iloilo in 2019, before the pandemic, and was immediately struck by how fantastic and otherworldly it was. These legends are passed on through voices and ears, evolving and growing along the way. As a Japanese person, for whom our very concept of literature is quite different and focused on written text, Philippine oral literature is quite extraordinary–and there is a lot to learn from these traditions in terms of how stories live and grow in communities. 

Golden Realms: Inheriting the Panay Sugidanun has three prongs. The first is this manga, which you are reading at the moment. The second is further documentation and translation of existing Sugidanun recordings by Dr. Felipe Jocano of chanters Ulang Udig and Hugan-an. The third was a five-part webinar series exploring the Sugidanun from the perspectives of anthropology, literature, law, and more. We want to create a meeting point, where Japanese and Philippine mythologies can sail along the same current, celebrating a shared uniqueness. 

I would like to acknowledge the generosity of elder Romulo “Tay Mulok” Caballero in sharing his vision and imagination with The Japan Foundation, Manila and ThriveArt Projects. This manga is also created in honor of Leopoldo “Tay Polding” Caballero, who recently passed away in 2021. 

We’d like this manga to be shared to young readers in the present, and we hope this reaches many libraries, schools, and homes. I hope that readers in Japan and the rest of the world will be as enchanted by the Sugidanun as I am. Welcome to the Golden Realms. Raku gid nga salamat sa tanan.







Ben Suzuki


The Japan Foundation, Manila


所長 鈴木勉

Message from Romulo “Tay Mulok” of the Caballero chanter familyカバリェロ詠唱家一族、