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.

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