Saturday, July 7, 2007

Maranaw Epic

The Maranaw Bantugan

The Maranaw epics have been partially recorded.
It appears that Frank Laubach was instrumental in having
Bantugan publicized in Maranaw before World War 11, but this
edition is very rare. Laubach said (1930) that the "poem in
Maranaw has been published with Roman letters and has had
the most stupendous sale in the record of the language." However,
this edition does not appear in Philippine bibliographies;
hence, the only sources used in this paper are the following:
Frank Laubach, "An Odyssey from Lanao," Philippine Public
Schools, vol. 3, no. 8 (Nov. 1930), 359-373, no. 9 (Dec. 1930). 459-
468; Datu Gumbay Piang, "Notes on Moro Literature," Philippine
Magazine, vol. 28, no. 8 (Jan. 1932), 413, 422-424; and Emma
Marohombsar, Maranao Folklore (MS., 1957, 47 leaves, in the
author's collection).
a. How Bantugan Died Below the-Mountain-by-the-Sea
b. How Bantugan Came Back from Heaven


Learning that his brother Bantugan has been
paying court to Babalai Anonan of All-the-Land-Between-Two-
Seas, the King of Bumbaran decrees that no subject should ever
talk to him upon his return. When King's council is gathered,
some members ask that the decree be reconsidered for it is a
cruel one; further, they assert that Bantugan has no peer and
that this man is the defender of the King. The King says
determinedly that should there be any opposition, he would leave
Bumbaran and establish another residence in the hinterland.
Some gallants depart, Madali and Mabaning being dissatisfied
with the decision.

A bell ringing from his blade is heard announcing the arrival
of Bantugan. But no one greets him. The King refuses to answer
him, and so with other gallants. He sees his son whom he
smothers with kisses; his sister explains that the king is old and
must be excused, combs and oils his hair, ties it into a knot.
Bantugan bids farewell to his son, to his sister "until we meet in
paradise." Women weep. He is overtaken by rain; crestfallen,
he tears off his attire, puts down his blade and rests under a
baliti tree. He calls on his diwata? and magaw, spirit protectors,
who lift him to a palace where Princess Timbang is sewing. The
Princess offers a hammock and betel-chew, touches his feverish
forehead, and calls a sorceress to give a remedy to the ailing man.

Bantugan dies and the king of All-the-Land-Between-Two-
Seas shows concern, orders the body placed in a royal bed in
the center of the hall, decked with flags and flowers. Gongs are
beaten to gather subjects to identify the unknown person. Ten
thousand come, but no one can tell the dead man's name. Bantugan's
parrot comes and swoons beside his master; upon being
resuscitated by water poured over its head, the bird identifies
his master. The King decides to take the body in state on his
fleet. The Princess sends the parrot to Bumbaran to inform
people; the message throws them in consternation and grief and
the King faints.

Mabaning and Madali, both gallants, ride on magic shields
to the sky world; arriving at its portal, they are directed to
another gate which they reach in a month. Mabaning transforms
himself into a lovely lass so that Angel of the Dead mistakes
him and think "perhaps the gods have given me a wife"; he
receives a proposal from Angel to be his bride. Mabaning asks
where the fruit of heaven, korna, may be found, but Angel does
not know and says he would go to the fifth heaven to find out.
Mabaning shouts where Bantugan is and a "tiny voice as soft as
music floating from a flute" answers from a corked bottle, which
he grabs. He now rejoins Madali, and the two gallants ride back
to Bumbaran where Bantugan lies in state. Mabaning opens the
bottle and out comes a soul which rejoins and reincarnates Bantugan
to life. There is much rejoicing.

Meanwhile Bumbaran is invaded by enemies upon learning
that Bantugan is dead. Hero calls on his diwata? and magaw
for assistance, and he rides on his magic shield cutting down
his enemies; but fatigue overtakes him, he is encircled. is shoved
down into the water. A crocodile lashes him back onto the
deck, and he gets locked up by his enemies. The other warriors,
becoming exhausted, go home to rest. Bantugan regains his
strength, takes command of a ship, and the fleet moves without
oars. Bantugan heads for other lands and takes the fair Maginar
for a wife; sails to Sun Girina Ginar and takes Princess Minoyod
for another wife; goes to Bagumbayan Luna and takes Princess
Maginawan; to All-the-Land-Between-Two-Seas and takes
Princess Timbang; to Solawan a Rogon and takes Bolontai a
Pisigi; and forty other women. He sails back and lands at
Bumbaran with the princesses and ladies where he is smothered
with kisses by the people, but escapes from them by hiding.

c. Kapungunsayan
This is the story of the bloody fight in Pungunsayana Rogong
between Misoyao, king of Kadaraan and the datus of Bumbaran.
Misoyao invades Pungunsayana Rogong to kidnap Malanodilabian,
sweetheart of Bantugan and daughter of Panganaiamindato
sa Pagunsayana Rogong and Aia Panganai a Bai. The
people of Pungunsayana Rogong, being unprepared, suffer
devastating defeat. What remains of the once beautiful and
happy place are ashes and lifeless bodies. The only living souls
left are Malanodilabian and her father. Just as Misoyao and
his men were about to leave carrying away Malanodilabian,
mighty Bantugan, Mabaning, Madali, and other datus of Bumbaran
arrive. These warriors fight the invaders for days, and
Misoyao and his few remaining followers retreat.

d. Kambagombayan
This story recounts the bloody battle fought in Bagombayaria
Luna where the bravery of the sons of Bantugan was tested.
After the public announcements of the engagement of Bantugan
and Boluntai Mingginaon, sister of Ayonan sa Bagombayana
Luna and while Bantugan is in Bumbaran, Misoyao, king of
Kadaraan and perennial enemy of Bantugan, with all his forces
invades Bagumbayan to kidnap Baluntai Mingginaon. After
Misoyao has landed his men, Manalang, cousin of Bantugan tries
to stop Misoyao. Manalang explains to him the consequences of
such an act, but Misoyao refuses to heed his words.
Meanwhile Bantugan arrives and engages the invaders in
combat. The odds are against him for his enemies are numbered
in the thousands. Just as he is getting exhausted, his sons-
Alongan Pisunyanan, Daidaimairinindo, Watakaiabarat. Barobarosaragat,
Ginaasanaorai, Misunaiasasabai and Monasumanpayongaii
arrive to support their father. After days of fighting,
Misoyao with only five wounded warriors remaining depart in
defeat leaving behind the vanquished and the dead.

1. Read and get ready for a quiz before discussion.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Five Pillars of Islam

The Five Pillars of Islam (Arabic: أركان الإسلام) is the term given to "the five duties incumbent on every Muslim". These duties are Shahadah (profession of faith), Salah (ritual prayer), Zakah (alms tax), Sawm (fasting during Ramadan), and Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). These five practices are essential to Sunni Islam.


The Shahadah (Arabic: شهادة (help·info) transliteration: Šahādah) is the basic creed or tenet of Islam: "'ašhadu 'al-lā ilāha illā-llāhu wa 'ašhadu 'anna muħammadan rasūlu-llāh", or "I testify that there is no god (ilah) but Allah, and I testify that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah". As the most important pillar, this testament is a foundation for all other beliefs and practices in Islam. Ideally, it is the first words a newborn will hear, and children are taught as soon as they are able to understand it and it will also be recited when they die. Muslims must repeat the shahadah in prayer, and non-Muslims wishing to convert to Islam are required to recite the creed.[2]

Technically the Shi'a do not consider the Shahadah to be a separate pillar, but connect it to the beliefs.[3]


The second pillar of Islam is Salah, the requirement to pray five times a day at fixed times.[4] Each salah is performed facing towards the Kaaba in Mecca. Salah is intended to focus the mind on Allah; it is seen as a personal communication with Allah, expressing gratitude and worship. According to the Qur'an, the benefit of prayer "restrains [one] from shameful and evil deeds".[Qur'an 29:40][4] Salah is compulsory but some flexibility in the specifics is allowed depending on the circumstances.[5] For example, in the case of sickness or lack of space, a worshipper can offer salah while sitting, or even lying down, and the prayer can be shortened when travelling.[5]

The salah must be performed in the Arabic language to the best of each worshipper's ability. If he or she cannot speak Arabic, then their native language can be used. The lines of prayer are to be recited by heart (although beginners may use written aids), and the worshipper's body and clothing, as well as the place of prayer, must be cleansed.[5] All prayers should be conducted within the prescribed time period (waqt) and with the appropriate number of units (raka'ah). While the prayers may be made at any point within the waqt, it is considered best to begin them as soon as possible after the call to prayer is heard.[6]


Zakah, or alms-giving, is the practice of charitable giving by Muslims based on accumulated wealth, and is obligatory for all who are able to do so. It is considered to be a personal responsibility for Muslims to ease economic hardship for others and eliminate inequality.[7] Zakah consists of spending a fixed portion of one's wealth for the benefit of the poor or needy, including slaves, debtors and travellers. A muslim may also donate more as an act of voluntary charity (sadaqah), in order to achieve additional divine reward.[8]

There are two main types of zakah. First, there is the zakah on traffic, which is a fixed amount based on the cost of food that is paid during the month of Ramadan by the head of a family for himself and his dependents. Second, there is the zakah on wealth, which covers money made in business, savings, income, and so on.[9] In current usage zakah is treated as a 2.5 percent levy on most valuables and savings held for a full lunar year, as long as the total value is more than a basic minimum known as nisab (three ounces or 87.48g of gold). As of 16 October 2006, nisab is approximately US$1,750 or an equivalent amount in any other currency.[10]

Many Shi'ites are expected to pay an additional amount in the form of a khums tax, which they consider to be a separate ritual practice.[11]


Three types of fasting (Sawm) are recognized by the Qur'an: Ritual fasting,[2:183-187] fasting as compensation or repentance,[2:196] and ascetic fasting.[33:35][12]

Ritual fasting is an obligatory act during the month of Ramadan.[13] Muslims must abstain from food, drink, and sexual intercourse from dawn to dusk during this month, and are to be especially mindful of other sins.[13] The fast is meant to allow Muslims to seek nearness to Allah, to express their gratitude to and dependence on him, to atone for their past sins, and to remind them of the needy.[14] During Ramadan, Muslims are also expected to put more effort into following the teachings of Islam by refraining from violence, anger, envy, greed, lust, harsh language, gossip and to try to get along with each other better than normal. In addition, all obscene and irreligious sights and sounds are to be avoided.[15]

Fasting during Ramadan is not obligatory for several groups for whom it would be excessively problematic. These include pre-pubescent children, those with a medical condition such as diabetes, elderly people, and pregnant or breastfeeding women. Observing fasts is not permitted for menstruating women. Other individuals for whom it is considered acceptable not to fast are those in combat and travellers who intended to spend fewer than five days away from home. Missing fasts usually must be made up soon afterwards, although the exact requirements vary according to circumstance.[16][17][18][19]


The Hajj is a pilgrimage that occurs during the Islamic month of Dhu al-Hijjah in the city of Mecca. Every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so is obliged to make the pilgrimage to Mecca at least once in his or her lifetime.[20] When the pilgrim is around ten kilometers from Mecca, he must dress in Ihram clothing, which consists of two white sheets.[21] Main rituals of the Hajj include walking seven times around the Kaaba, touching the Black Stone, running seven times between Mount Safa and Mount Marwah, and symbolically stoning the Devil in Mina.[21]

The pilgrim, or the haji, is honoured in his or her community. For some, this is an incentive to perform the Hajj. Islamic teachers say that the Hajj should be an expression of devotion to Allah, not a means to gain social standing. The believer should be self-aware and examine his or her intentions in performing the pilgrimage. This should lead to constant striving for self-improvement.[22]

Mythology of Mindanao

Indarapatra and Sulayman


A long, long time ago Mindanao was covered with water, and the sea
extended over all the lowlands so that nothing could be seen but
mountains. Then there were many people living in the country, and all
the highlands were dotted with villages and settlements. For many years
the people prospered, living in peace and contentment. Suddenly there
appeared in the land four horrible monsters which, in a short time,
had devoured every human being they could find.

Kurita, a terrible creature with many limbs, lived partly on land and
partly in the sea, but its favorite haunt was the mountain where the
rattan grew; and here it brought utter destruction on every living
thing. The second monster, Tarabusaw, an ugly creature in the form
of a man, lived on Mt. Matutun, and far and wide from that place he
devoured the people, laying waste the land. The third, an enormous
bird called Pah, [142] was so large that when on the wing it covered
the sun and brought darkness to the earth. Its egg was as large as a
house. Mt. Bita was its haunt, and there the only people who escaped
its voracity were those who hid in caves in the mountains. The fourth
monster was a dreadful bird also, having seven heads and the power
to see in all directions at the same time. Mt. Gurayn was its home
and like the others it wrought havoc in its region.

So great was the death and destruction caused by these terrible animals
that at length the news spread even to the most distant lands, and
all nations were grieved to hear of the sad fate of Mindanao.

Now far across the sea in the land of the golden sunset was a city
so great that to look at its many people would injure the eyes of
man. When tidings of these great disasters reached this distant city,
the heart of the king Indarapatra [143] was filled with compassion,
and he called his brother, Sulayman, [144] begging him to save the
land of Mindanao from the monsters.

Sulayman listened to the story, and as he heard he was moved with pity.

"I will go," said he, zeal and enthusiasm adding to his strength,
"and the land shall be avenged."

King Indarapatra, proud of his brother's courage, gave him a ring and
a sword as he wished him success and safety. Then he placed a young
sapling by his window [145] and said to Sulayman:

"By this tree I shall know your fate from the time you depart from
here, for if you live, it will live; but if you die, it will die also."

So Sulayman departed for Mindanao, and he neither walked nor used a
boat, but he went through the air and landed on the mountain where
the rattan grew. There he stood on the summit and gazed about on all
sides. He looked on the land and the villages, but he could see no
living thing. And he was very sorrowful and cried out:

"Alas, how pitiful and dreadful is this devastation!"

No sooner had Sulayman uttered these words than the whole mountain
began to move, and then shook. Suddenly out of the ground came the
horrible creature, Kurita. It sprang at the man and sank its claws
into his flesh. But Sulayman, knowing at once that this was the
scourge of the land, drew his sword and cut the Kurita to pieces.

Encouraged by his first success, Sulayman went on to Mt. Matutun
where conditions were even worse. As he stood on the heights viewing
the great devastation there was a noise in the forest and a movement
in the trees. With a loud yell, forth leaped Tarabusaw. For a moment
they looked at each other, neither showing any fear. Then Tarabusaw
threatened to devour the man, and Sulayman declared that he would kill
the monster. At that the animal broke large branches off the trees
and began striking at Sulayman who, in turn, fought back. For a long
time the battle continued until at last the monster fell exhausted
to the ground and then Sulayman killed him with his sword.

The next place visited by Sulayman was Mt. Bita. Here havoc was present
everywhere, and though he passed by many homes, not a single soul
was left. As he walked along, growing sadder at each moment, a sudden
darkness which startled him fell over the land. As he looked toward
the sky he beheld a great bird descending upon him. Immediately he
struck at it, cutting off its wing with his sword, and the bird fell
dead at his feet; but the wing fell on Sulayman, and he was crushed.

Now at this very time King Indarapatra was sitting at his window,
and looking out he saw the little tree wither and dry up.

"Alas!" he cried, "my brother is dead"; and he wept bitterly.

Then although he was very sad, he was filled with a desire for revenge,
and putting on his sword and belt he started for Mindanao in search
of his brother.

He, too, traveled through the air with great speed until he came to
the mountain where the rattan grew. There he looked about, awed at
the great destruction, and when he saw the bones of Kurita he knew
that his brother had been there and gone. He went on till he came to
Matutun, and when he saw the bones of Tarabusaw he knew that this,
too, was the work of Sulayman.

Still searching for his brother, he arrived at Mt. Bita where the
dead bird lay on the ground, and as he lifted the severed wing he
beheld the bones of Sulayman with his sword by his side. His grief
now so overwhelmed Indarapatra that he wept for some time. Upon
looking up he beheld a small jar of water by his side. This he knew
had been sent from heaven, and he poured the water over the bones,
and Sulayman came to life again. They greeted each other and talked
long together. Sulayman declared that he had not been dead but asleep,
and their hearts were full of joy.

After some time Sulayman returned to his distant home, but Indarapatra
continued his journey to Mt. Gurayn where he killed the dreadful bird
with the seven heads. After these monsters had all been destroyed
and peace and safety had been restored to the land, Indarapatra began
searching everywhere to see if some of the people might not be hidden
in the earth still alive.

One day during his search he caught sight of a beautiful woman at a
distance. When he hastened toward her she disappeared through a hole
in the ground where she was standing. Disappointed and tired, he sat
down on a rock to rest, when, looking about, he saw near him a pot
of uncooked rice with a big fire on the ground in front of it. This
revived him and he proceeded to cook the rice. As he did so, however,
he heard someone laugh near by, and turning he beheld an old woman
watching him. As he greeted her, she drew near and talked with him
while he ate the rice.

Of all the people in the land, the old woman told him, only a very
few were still alive, and they hid in a cave in the ground from whence
they never ventured. As for herself and her old husband, she went on,
they had hidden in a hollow tree, and this they had never dared leave
until after Sulayman killed the voracious bird, Pah.

At Indarapatra's earnest request, the old woman led him to the cave
where he found the headman with his family and some of his people. They
all gathered about the stranger, asking many questions, for this
was the first they had heard about the death of the monsters. When
they found what Indarapatra had done for them, they were filled
with gratitude, and to show their appreciation the headman gave his
daughter to him in marriage, and she proved to be the beautiful girl
whom Indarapatra had seen at the mouth of the cave.

Then the people all came out of their hiding-place and returned to
their homes where they lived in peace and happiness. And the sea
withdrew from the land and gave the lowlands to the people.

Term Paper: (First Written Output, write in a colored paper, due during the first meeting of the week)

Make an analysis of this epic base your analysis on:
- the culture of the people and their customs and tradition.
- time element and compare it with the present time
- compare and contrast with the Ilocano epic "Biag ni Lam-ang"

Monday, July 2, 2007

Phil. Epic Poetry

Philippine epic poetry

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Centuries before the Spaniards came, the Filipinos already had their own cultural traditions, folklore, mythologies and epics. There were substantial writings by early natives that Jesuit historian Fr. Pedro Chirino noted: "All of the islanders are much given to reading and writing. And there is hardly a man, much less a woman who did not read and write." (Relacion de las isles Filipinas-1604)

Stories of epics, done in poetry displayed tremendous vitality, color and imagination. Tales of love and adventures about native heroes, endowed with powers from the gods, battle monsters, and triumphs over formidable armies, rode the wind, traveled in flying shields and protect the earliest communities of the islands.

Established epic poems of notable quality and length blossomed. And early historians like Padre Colin, Joaquin Martinez de Zuniga and Antonio Pigafetta have all attested to the existence of these epics. There were even reports of a dramatic play given by natives at the arrival of Don Miguel Lopez de Legaspi in 1565.

Epic poems and songs about the exploits of enchanted folk heroes were performed during festivities and proper occasions. Most often, these epic poems (folk epics or ethno-epics) were titled after the names of the hero involved, except for some which carry traditional titles like the Kalinga Ullalim; the Sulod Hinilawod; the Maranao Darangan; or the Bicol Ibalon.

Stories about folk heroes of long ago were described as "Old Time History" because; they can be used to study the lifestyle and beliefs of the people who produced them. They were also referred to as "Lost", because they were soon forgotten by natives influenced heavily by Spanish and "western" colonization. The famed orientalist, Chauncey Starkweather , stressed that : "These epic romances are charming poem in the Malayan literature."

But there are those who perpetuated myths that in the early days of Spanish intrusion, priests in their zealous rage against paganism destroyed all existing records, as well as all forms of writing and art works, regarding ancient Philippine folk heroes. But this is not true. The colorful and fascinating literature of pre-Hispanic Filipinos are still here. Giving the new generation an over view of a heritage that is an unusual and invaluable source of joy and information. Regarding the life style, love and aspirations of early Filipinos. It is from these, wonderful epics, where a Filipino can find his or her national identity. It is from these that a Filipino can feel heroic, truly pulsating with splendor of a magnificent and authentic cultural force.



The Hud-Hud tells about the lives of native Ifugao heroes. The most notable was about Aliguyon of the village of Gonhandan. Aliguyon was endowed with supernatural powers and limitless energy. He could travel long distances without food and rest. He could even arrive at his destination as perked up as he made his first step. Aliguyon was invincible in battle; he could catch spears in mid flight and fought overwhelming combatants. At first, he was obsessed in killing his father’s enemies. But it turns out that his old man had no enemies and suggested for him to marry a worthy girl instead. One episode tell about his duel with Pumbakhayon, a warrior of equal strength and agility from a village called Daligdigan . They fought for about a year and a half, rested and fought again for another year and a half. Then, the two reached a compromised deal and Aliguyon married Pumbakhayon’s sister Bugan. Likewise, Pumbakhayon married Aliguyon’s sister Aginaya. The Alim on the other hand, deals with the legends of Ifugao gods and goddesses. One of them was Punholdayan who lives in "Kabunian" the Ifugao heaven.This epic had some similarities to that of the Hindi’s Ramayana.

Mindanao Epic Poetry

The people of Mindanao had rich literatures that exist only in their minds and memories. Only recently that these epic poetries were put in writing, so these can be studied by the public. Locally called "Darangan", these epic poetries were similar to those of that Homer’s Illiad and Odyssey.

The Darangan tells of the sentimental and romantic adventures of noble warriors, one of them, is about a warrior-prince called Bantugan.. Prince Bantugan was the brother of the chieftain of a village called Bumbaran. Bantugan owned a magic shield, was protectedby devine spirits called "Tonongs" and was capable of rising from the dead. Once his enemies attacked Bembaran, thinking he was dead. In the nick of time, Bantugan’s soul was recovered and he saved the village.

There is also an episode, where Prince Bantugan was on a quest and fought his enemies with his magic Kampilan (Native sword). Soon, he got tired and fell on to the water. A crocodile delivered him to his enemies, but he regained his strength, escaped his captors, and commands an oar less ship and won the battle.

There were also “Darangan epic poetries that relates stories of wars about abducted princesses. Just like the chronicles of the Trojan War.

The Darangan is one of the oldest and longest Philippine Epic poetries. Several nights were needed to recite the twenty five beautiful chapters. The Darangan, sung in it’s original, possessed a sustained beauty and dignity, it might be studied for it’s esthetic values alone.

Maranaw Epic Poetry

It tells about The Maranaw people have their own heroic epic, Indarapatra and Sulayaman. the heroic exploits of Emperor Indarapatra of the kingdom of Mantapuli: The emperor had a magic spear, which he can use like a boomerang. There was a huge monster, terrorizing his kingdom and he killed it in defense. Frank Lewis Milton published and English translation of the epic through “The Philippine Magazine in 1929. These are some of the lines that shows the beauty and vividness of the epic:

The Flight of the Magic Spear – (Aliguyon)

Far above the sun set clouds,

In an arch of flaming splendor,

Aliguyon cleft the sky,

And fell upon a summit,

Of angry Budmatutun;

And thunder crashed,

And rumbled,

Through the sullen hills,

And the mighty mountain split,

Throwing high a horrid vomit,

Of burning rocks.

And the tortured land,

Rocked and trembled.

Ilocano Epic Poetry

The Ilocanos had their own, pre-Hispanic epic. Believed to be the work of many poets from various generations, the epic is called Biag ni Lam-Ang. (Life of Lam-Ang.) For the first time, the father of Ilocano poetry named Pedro Bukaneg put down the epic poem in writing around 1640. The hero, Lam-Ang could talk immediately after birth. He picked his own name, chose his own sponsor and asked for his father’s presence. Barely 9 months old, Lam-Ang fought against the headhunters who killed his father. He was also eaten by a sea monster, but was reborn from his retrieved bones. He also journeyed to get the beautiful Ines Kannoyan accompanied by his pets; a rooster and a dog. (This reminds us of an old Japanese tale titled Momotaro the Peach boy.) Ines Kannoyan’s place was filled with suitors, Lam-Ang’s rooster flap it’s wings and the long house toppled. This amazed every body, especially Ines. Then, Lam-Ang’s dog barks and the long house rose to it’s former. Lam-Ang gave Ines two golden ships filled with treasures, and then he married her.

Bicol Epic Poetry

From the Bicol province comes the Ibalon. The Ibalon relates the mystical origins of the first man and the first woman of Aslon and Ibalon, which are current provinces of Camarines, Albay, Sorsogon, Catanduanes and Masbate. Hiandong, one of the heroes of Ibalon (The others are Baltog and Bantong) was a great leader of warriors. He fought against a giant Cyclops for ten months, defeated the winged Tiburon and the fierce Sarimao and won over the seductive serpent Oriol before starting a village.

His Village prospered and soon, others invented the plough, harrow and other farming implements. Events in this epic also had a flood story similar to that of the Biblical Genesis.

Visayan Epic Poetries

The Maragtas Chronicles of Panay is a history of

rulers of the island from the time of the Ten Malay Datus (rulers)

that settled from Borneo.

The "Legend of the Ten Datus (chieftains)" narrates about the forefathers

of the Filipinos and the story of ten Bornean chieftains who escaped the

cruel regime of Sultan Makatunaw. Datu Puti along with other nine

chieftains plans to leave Borneo. Riding their native boats, they ventured

into the night and across the wide ocean. At first, the ten rulers and

their families were afraid that they might perish in the middle of the

sea. Soon, they have reached the islands of Panay and befriended with the

natives called Aetas.

The Aetas are quite friendly and decides to sell a piece of their land to

the ten chieftains. The chieftains gave the Aetas leader, Marikudo a

golden Salakot (Native head piece) After this; the chieftains and Aetas

lived in peace and harmony.

The Haraya is another epic poem from Panay. It is a collection of rules of

conduct told in the form of heroic tales. The "Hari sa Bukit" of Negros

island is a mythical epic of Kanlaon (Kan comes from a Persian word "Khan"

meaning "King" and "Laon" from a Malay word meaning "Ancient.")

and "Hinilawod" an epic poem made by the early inhabitants of Ilo-Ilo,

Aklan and Antique also from Panay.

The hero of Hinilawod, “Humadapnon” was of divine ancestry. He had super

natural powers and guardian spirits to protect him. His most exciting

adventure was his search for Nagmalitong Yawa: A beautiful maiden whom he

saw in his dream. He boarded his golden boat, sailed amidst dangerous

seas, and was captured by an enchantress. Finally, he found and won the

love of Nagmalitong Yawa.

Bagobo Epic Poetry

The Bagobo tribe has an epic hero named Tuwaang (Tatuwang) Tuwaang was a brave and strong warrior with various powers. In one story, he rode a lightning to the land of Pinanggayungan and later, met the maiden of the Buhong Sky who was running away from the young man of Pangumanon: A giant with great vigor. Tuwaang and the giant fought but it was an even match. So the giant used his magical powers and threw a flaming bar at the hero. Entwining itself at Tuwaang, our hero escaped this ordead and used his own magical ability to call the wind to fan the flames and let the giant be engulfed by the flames.

Other Epic Poetries

Dr. Jose Panganiban, in his book on Philippine literature mentioned that "Old Folks" in the Batangas area which anciently covered part of the Rizal province up to Morong, all of Laguna, Batangas, Quezon , Marinduque and the Mindoro Priovince, mentioned an epic that their elders used to chant but can’t remember. These are not definite stories. Only war songs and war dances accompanied with music on the "Kulintang". The "Kulintang", it should be noted, is a native "Tom-Tom" consists of a bamboo reed with "strings" raised up from its own fibers. Josue Soncuya mentions the epic that Dr. Jose Panganiban calls "Kumintang", in Chapter XIX of the Boletin dela Sociedad Historico-Geografica de Filipinas.

There was a tale around the 14th Century: King Soledan sent his sons Bagtas, manduquit and Likyaw of the house of Madjapahit to mai and Lusong which were then, part of the kingdom of Lontok. The conquest of the northern territories through singing and dancing of warriors form the integral part of the "Kumintang."

Other Epic poems being written and chanted are:

The Sud-Sud of the Tagbanuas from Palawan The Dagoy, also from Palawan The Parang Sabil of the Sulo Muslims The Ulagingen and Selch of the Manobos The Panglima Munggona and Jikiri of the Tausugs The kalinga Banna Bidian of the Ibaloys The Sulod labaw Denggen …and, Agyu of Bukidnon.

Eulogio B. Rodriguez, former director of the Philippine National Library said that "Anonymous vernacular writers of past ages had no thought of bringing glory to their own, but labored with the central idea of transmitting to prosperity in a concrete and permanent form, the great mass of Philippine legends which was only preserved by word of mouth…With their work as corner stone, later writers have been gradually adding block by block to the literary edifice to approximate something similar to a national literature of our own."

When the late American Noble Prize winner William Faulkner visited the Philippines, he was impressed by our epic poems. He stated that:

" The Filipinos have their own traditions of poetry in their folklore, in their language and dialects. This must be recorded and that’s the job of the writers. In doing that, he gives a pattern of hope and aspirations for the people to advance not merely as a nation of people but as a member of a family of nations, the human family."

External links

Portions of this article also appears in * The Ranao Blog

Biag ni Lam-ang: Synopsis

Biag ni Lam-ang

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The Biag ni Lam-ang or Life of Lam-ang (complete Iloko title: Historia a Pacasaritaan ti Panagbiag ni Lam-ang iti Ili a Nalbuan nga Asaoa ni D.a Ines Cannoyan iti Ili a Calanutian) is a pre-Hispanic epic of the Ilokano people from the Ilocos region of the Philippines. Recited and originally written in Iloko language, it is believed to be the work of many poets from various generations. At around 1640, a blind Ilokano bard named Pedro Bucaneg put the epic poem into a written language.

[edit] Synopsis

The hero, Lam-ang, could talk immediately after birth. He selected his own name, chose his own sponsor, and asked for his father’s presence. Barely nine months old, Lam-ang fought against the headhunters who killed his father. He was also eaten by a river monster called "Berkakan," but was reborn from his retrieved bones.

Nine months before Lam-ang was born to a noble family, his father Don Juan left for the mountains to defeat an evil tribe of Igorots. Unfortunately, he was beheaded, and his head was displayed at the center of the village as a prize. When Lam-ang's mother Ina Namongan gave birth, she was surprised when the baby grew up instantly. Lam-ang, as he was named, promised to find out what happened to his father by going up the mountains himself. There, helped by a good tribe of Igorots, he encountered the evil tribe and killed every one of them as vengeance, just by using a single spear.

When he returned home, he was so tired that he wanted to bathe. He dipped into the Amburayan River, which was instantly drenched in mud and blood. So filthy was the flow that the fish in the river crawled out and died on its shores.

The following day, he told his mother Ina Namongan that he wanted to marry. Using his supernatural abilities, he predicted he would wed a woman named Ines Kannoyan in a place called Calanutian. Accompanied by his pets, a rooster, a hen, and a dog, he journeyed to get the beautiful Ines Kannoyan. On the way, he encountered a man called Sumarang with very big eyes. They fought and Lam-ang won, killing Sumarang.

Ines Kannoyan had a multitude of suitors, and they crowded her house in Calanutian. So many were they that Lam-ang had to step on their heads and walk through a window just to enter the house. Lam-ang’s rooster flapped its wings, and the long house toppled. This amazed everybody, especially Ines. Then, Lam-ang’s dog barked and the long house rose to its former site.

Ines Kannoyan was so immediately stricken by his strength that she agreed to marry him. Nevertheless, her parents were still skeptical: they needed a dowry from his parents in return for Ines Kannoyan’s hand. Lam-ang agreed to return in a week to bring his mother as well as wealth and goods. Back in his town, Lam-ang prepared a house gilded with gold, filled with fruit, jewels, statues, and other amenities. When he sailed back to Calanutian, Ines Kannoyan’s family was stunned. The wedding was done on the spot.

After the wedding Lam-ang was tasked to catch some fish in the Amburayan River and when he dove into the river he went straight to the mouth of the Berkakan. His wife was deeply anguished. The old diver Lacay Marcos was fetched to get the bones of Lam-ang excreted by the Berkakan. When the bones were retrieved, the pets of Lam-ang performed magics and Lam-ang was again brought to life.