Inang Kalikasan needs help to pacify the birds nesting on her hair. She called the whole kingdom of animals, giants, sea creatures, dwarves, and humans to help her solve this problem. Vibal tells a story of a fun and creative kind of bayanihan with regards to Mother Nature and the environment in itself.  

Inang Kalikasan wore the rich fertile soil and the clear blue sea as her skirt. A garden of white flowers, with all its beauty and fragrance, served as her blouse. The smooth brown bark of young, sturdy forest trees covered her from head to foot. She had the beauty of nature and life on her face, and her hair was a globe of night as round as the Earth.

Branches and leaves sprouted from her head, and that is where Inang Kalikasan’s problem lay. The branches and leaves attracted birds that started making nests on Inang Kalikasan’s head.

She loved the company of birds and their songs, of course, but their nests messed up her hair. Straws, twigs, and bird poo began to fill her once beautiful head.

She tried shooing the birds away, but they simply returned and built their nests when Inang Kalikasan slept.

“What should I do with this hair of mine?” Inang Kalikasan asked the Sun. “I think birds are great, but not on my head.”

“Have you tried covering it with a hat?” The Sun asked.

“My leaves will die if they don’t catch your light, oh silly Sun, and the rain cannot water my head if I wear a hat.”

“Then teach the birds of cleanliness while they live on your head.”

“Birds are free, dear Sun. I will not change their nature just to please myself.”

“Then I am lost for more intelligent advice. Please forgive me, my queen without a crown.”

“That’s it!” Inang Kalikasan said. “You are very wise, oh bright bright Sun!”

“I am?” The Sun scratched his head.

“A crown! A crown!” Inang Kalikasan jumped up and down. “That’s what I need—a crown!”

Inang Kalikasan ordered the Wind, “Fly far and wide. Tell everyone that their Inang Kalikasan needs a crown. Whoever brings the best crown for my head will receive a reward.”

The wind flew and whispered the queen’s message to all creatures all over the world.

The next day, Inang Kalikasan looked outside her window and saw the long line of nature’s citizens.

Each had a crown for their queen.

A group of mermaids and mermen offered a crown of corals, sea water, and fish. But their crown felt hard and hurt her head. Worse, water from the crown kept her wet, and the fish fought with the birds.

She thanked the citizens of the sea, and called for the next crown.

Fairies from the nearby garden brought a crown made of flowers. Chains of different colors and clusters of petals wove in and out of the fairy crown.

Inang Kalikasan smelled the crown’s fragrance. When she tried it on, the flowers hugged her hair and branches. Unfortunately, the crown did not last very long as the birds quickly took the petals and vines and used them for their nests.

The next crown came from the Forests’ wildlife. Their crown was made of bark and branches. Inang Kalikasan looked in the mirror and saw that the crown looked just like the branches on her head.

Angels brought a crown made of clouds that always went up and never stayed on Inang Kalikasan’s head.

Giants brought a crown made of boulders that the queen simply waved off and didn’t even try to put on. It was too big and too heavy!

Dwarves forged gold and precious metals into a crown that was so small it could only serve as the queen’s bracelet.

The Sun offered a crown made of sunlight and fire. But it burned so bright it hurt Inang Kalikasan’s eyes.

The moon and stars presented a crown torn from the night sky, that unfortunately could hardly be seen against the queen’s jet black hair.

Finally, a group of children entered the room to present their crown.

“Greetings, Inang Kalikasan,” Maya, the children’s leader, said.

Maya took out from her basket a birdhouse that she had made.

“I painted mine green,” Maya said. “I know it’s your favorite color.”

Inang Kalikasan picked up Maya and allowed the little girl to place the birdhouse on her head. Before she could put down Maya, a bird had already claimed the first birdhouse.

The other children followed Maya’s lead. Each offered a birdhouse, and each was of a different color and shape. Each child carefully placed the birdhouse on Inang Kalikasan’s head, and each was immediately occupied by another bird.

After the last child placed his birdhouse on Inang Kalikasan’s head, the queen looked in the mirror. Her crown accentuated the branches and leaves, made her head beautiful, kept her hair clean, and gave the birds a nice home.

Inang Kalikasan smiled. “I choose these children’s gifts as my crown,” Inang Kalikasan told the whole world. “Now, children, what are your wishes?

An open field so you can run all day? A forest filled with trees to climb and animals to play with? Or a lake of your own where you can swim and play with fish from sunrise to sunset?”

Maya stepped forward and said, “All of those, you have already given us, Inang Kalikasan!”

Inang Kalikasan smiled.

The birds began to sing.

The queen and the children began to dance. Everyone smiled, then laughed, and joined the dance.

The party lasted until the moon and the stars finally came, and it was time to sleep.

Artworks by John Paul Antido & Story by Recle Vibal
Credits: Story

A product of the Romeo Forbes Children's Storywriting Competition, Inang Kalikasan's Bad Hair Day is CANVAS' 13th story book.

Do check for a free, downloadable copy of the full story!

First printed in hardcover 2015
Originally published in English with Filipino translation
Printed in the Republic of the Philippines

Book and layout design by Daniel Palma Tayona
Edited by Annette Ferrer
Front cover artwork “Scene 19” by John Paul Antido
All artworks are originally rendered in oil on canvas
Photography by Ocs Alvarez

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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