Sep 4, 2009

When the Lilies Return

Retold by: John M. Miller
(Pasig Metro Manila, Luzon)

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At the time when the Pasig River flowed peacefully along between flowery banks, when its breast was not torn by puffing steamers, and when only a few clustering huts marked the present site of Manila, there grew on the banks of the river, a beautiful field of lilies.The lilies glistened like silver in the sunlight and filled the air with delicious perfume. No hand plucked them from the earth, and no foot trampled out their fragrance; for an ancient prophecy had said that while the lilies stood the happiness of the people should endure.

But after a time cane dark days in the history of the Philippines. Yellow hordes swept across the water and carried all before them. The people could hardly expect to resist the invaders, for their warrior king, Loku, had profaned the word of the god, who, in the form of a lizard, was fulfilling his threats of punishment. Their armies were weal and scattered, and the conquerors marched on in triumph. As report after report of disaster reached Luzon, the people trembled for the safety of their fair land. Warriors gathered hastily for the defense of the nation, and all united and waited for the enemy to appear.

One day the water was dotted with the junks of the invaders. They came slowly down the bay, and anchored near the mouth of the Pasig. Then from the boat poured the yellow warriors. Spears rained upon them, stones and arrows laid them low, but their numbers were countless. The people were along the riverbanks. Fiercely they fought, but numbers told against them. Foot by foot they were pressed back, till they stood on the border of the field of lilies, where they made their last stand. But it was to no purpose.The invaders poured from the ships, and in one desperate charge drove back the ranks of the people, who fought and died among their sacred lilies. All through the night the battle raged, and all daybreak, when the victorious invaders rested on their spears, the beautiful field was no more.

The lilies were crushed and torn. The bodies of dead and dying warriors laid everywhere, and the crushed flowers were stained with blood of friend and foe. The peace of the land was lost.

Many years have passed since then. New races have come to the islands, and new manners and customs have been introduced. The Pasig still flows on to the sea, but its banks are harness by bridges. Lofty dwellings and stores took the place of the little huts, and a great city marks the site of the little village. Where once was the beautiful field is now a busy part of the great city. It is called Quiapo, after the lilies. Many of the older people remember the prophecy and wonder if the lilies will ever return.

The land is now a peaceful and contented one. Comfort and happiness maybe found among its inhabitants. Perhaps the fair, strange women from the great land over the sea are the lilies. Who can tell?

Si Malakas at si Maganda

Retold by: Teofilo del Castillo

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A long time ago, there was no land. There were only the sea and the sky. A bird was them flying in the sky. Soon she grew tired and wanted to rest. But she could not. As she was smart, she made the sea throw rocks up at the sky. And the sky turned very dark and poured down water. That was how the island came about. Now the waves break on the shore and can never rise as high as the sky again.

Horrified by the unusual downpour of rain, the bird flew away as fast as she could. She saw the land just created. And on that land, she could see tropical trees, throwing up their naked shoulders. These green things were merely bamboos.

As the bird was flying all the time, she became thirsty. But she could not quench her thirst with the salty sea water. She, therefore, looked for rivulets. Unfortunately, there was none. Realizing that some water was stored in the bamboo joints, she alighted, and started to peck on the bamboo clumps.

“Peck harder, peck harder,” a weak voice cried, the moment her bill struck the bamboo. The bird was extremely frightened, and was about to fly away. But like a curious woman, she restrained herself. She wanted to know that voice really was. Gathering her courage, she pecked, pecked, and pecked.

“Peck harder, peck harder,” the weak voice complained again. The bird became he more curious. She pecked and pecked with all her might. But as her pecking was ineffectual, she snatched a piece of rock nearby and dropped it on the bamboo. The bamboo was broken and split in two. In the wink of an eye, a man and a woman stepped out of the bamboo joint, the man bowing politely to the woman. The woman gave recognition to the man; then they walked away hand in hand.

The appearance of the human beings frightened the bird. She forgot her thirst and flew away, hardly realizing that she saw the first human beings, and had a role in their creation.

Mariang Makiling Legend

Retold by: Dr. Jose P. Rizal

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The many legends of Mariang Makiling tell of a young woman who lived on the beautiful mountain that separates the provinces of Laguna and Tayabas. Her dwelling place was never definitely known, because those who had the good luck to deal with her would wander about for a long time lost in the woods, unable to return; neither did they remember the way, nor were they agreed as to the place and its description.

While some say her home was a beautiful palace, bright as a golden reliquary, surrounded by gardens and fine parks, others assert that they saw only wretched hut with a patched roof and bamboo sides. Such a contradiction may give rise to the belief that both parties were romancing, it is true; but it may also be due to the fact that Mariang Makiling, like may persons in comfortable circumstances, might have had two dwelling places.

According to eyewitness, she was a young woman, tall and graceful with big black eyes and long a nd abundant hair. Her color was a clear pure brown, the kayumangging kaligatan, as the Tagalog say. Her hands and feet were small and delicate and the expression of her countenance always grave and serious.

She was a fantastic creature, half nymph, halves sylph, born under the moonbeams of Filipinas, in the mystery of its ancient woods, to the murmur of the waves on the neighboring shore. According to general belief, and contrary to the reputation imputed to the nymphs and goddesses, Mariang Makiling always remained pure, simple, and mysterious as the genius of the mountain. An old maid servant we had, an Amazon who defended her house against the outlaws and once killed once of them with a lance thrust, assured me that she had in her childhood seen her passing in the distance over the reed grass so lightly and airily that she did not even make the flexible blades bend.

They said that on the night of Good Friday, when the hunters build bonfires to attract the deer by the scent of the ashes of which these animals are so fond, they have discerned her motionless on the brink of the most fearful abysses, letting her long hair float in the wind, all flooded with the moonlight. Then she would salute them ceremoniously, pass on, and disappear amid the shadows of the neighboring trees.

Generally every one love and respected her and no one ever dared to question her, to follow, or to watch her. She has also been seen seated for long periods upon a cliff beside a river, as though watching the gentle currents of the stream. There was an old hunter who claimed to have seen her bathing in a secluded fountain at midnight, when the cicadas themselves were asleep, when the moon reigned in the midst of silence, and nothing disturbed the charm of solitude. In those same hours and under the same circumstances was the time when the mysterious and melancholy notes of her harp might be heard. Persons who heard them stopped, for they drew away and became hushed when any attempt was made to follow them up.

Her favorable time for appearing, it is said, was after a storm. Then she would be seen scurrying over the fields, and whenever she passed, life, order, and calm were renewed; the trees again straightened up their overthrown trunks, and all traces of the unchained elements were wiped away.

When the poor country folk on the slopes of Makiling needed clothing or jewels for the solemn occasions of life, she would lend them and besides, give her a pullet white as milk, one that had never laid an egg, a dumalaga, as they say. Mariang Makiling was very charitable and had a good heart. Now often has she not, in the guise of a simple country maid, aided poor old women who went to the woods for firewood or to pick wild fruits, by slipping among the latter nuggets of gold, coins, and jewels.

A hunter who was one day chasing a wild boar through the tall grass and thorny bushes of the thickets came suddenly upon a hut in which the animal hid.

Soon a beautiful young woman issued from the hut and said to him gently: “The wild boar belongs to me and you have done wrong to chase it. But I see that you are very tired; your arms and legs are covered with blood. So come in and eat, and then you may go on your way.”

Confused and startled, and besides charmed by the beauty of the young woman, the man went in and ate mechanically everything she offered him, without being able to speak a single word. Before he left, the young woman gave him some pieces of ginger, charging him to give them to his wife for her cooking. The hunter put them inside the crown of his broad hat and after thanking her, withdrew in content. On the was home, he felt his hat becoming heavy so he took out many of the pieces and threw them away. But what was his surprise and regret when the next day he discovered that what he had taken to be ginger was solid gold, bright as a ray of sunshine. Although he tried to look for them later, he could never find even one.

But for many years now, Mariang Makiling’s presence has not been manifested on Makiling. Her vapory figure no longer wanders through the deep valleys or hovers over the waterfalls on the serene moonlight nights. The melancholy tone of her mysterious harp is no longer heard, and now lovers get married without receiving from her jewels and other presents, many fear that she has disappeared forever, or at least, she avoids any contact with mankind.

Yet on the side of the mountain, there is a clear, quite pool, and the legend persists that her vapory figure may still be seen reflected in this pool in the mists of early dawn, and from time to time people to the countryside go to watch for her there.

The Legend of Alitaptap

(Valley of Pinak, Central Luzon)

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Once, a long time ago, in the valley of Pinak in Central Luzon, one of the islands of the Philippines, there was a deep, large lake rich with fish. There, the people of Pinak fished for their food, and always, there was plenty for all. Then suddenly, the big river dried up. In the shallow mud, there was not a fish to catch! For months, there was no rains. Out in the fields, the land turned dry. The rice stalks slowly withered. Everywhere in Pinak, there was hunger.

Night after night, the people of Pinak prayed hard.

“Dear Bathala,” they would recite together in their small and poorly built chapel, “send us rains, give us food to eat for the people are starving, and there is want among us all.”

Then one black and starless night, the good Bathala answered the prayers of the faithful people of Pinak. For suddenly, up in the skies, appeared a blaze of gold.

“A chariot! A chariot of gold!” shouted the people in fear and wonder.

True enough-zooming and blazing through the sky, was a beautiful chariot made of pure, glittering gold!

The people started to flee in panic, when a big voice boomed from the chariot:

“I am a Bulan-hari, and I have come with my wife, Bitu-in. We are sent from the heavens to rule Pinak from now on. We have come to give you a good life!”

As Bulan-hari spoke, the black skies opened. The rains fell in torrents. Soon the dry fields bloomed fresh again. The large lake rose till it was again deep and alive with fish. The people of Pinak were happy once more under the rulership of the good Bulan-hari.

Soon Bulan-hari and Bitu-in had a daughter. She grew up to be a beautiful maiden. Such long, dark hair! Such lovely eyes under long, curly lashes! Her nose was chiseled fine. Her lips were like rosebuds. Her skin was soft and fair like cream. They named her Alitaptap, for on her forehead was a bright, sparkling star.

All the young, brave, and handsome men of Pinak fell in love with Alitaptap. They worshipped her beauty. They sang songs of love beneath her windows. They all sought to win her heart.

But, alas! The heart of Alitaptap was not human. She was the daughter of Bulan-hari and Bitu-in who burst from the sky and were not of the earth. She has a heart of stone, as cold and hard as the sparkling star carved in her forehead. Alitaptap would never know love.

Then one day, an old woman arrived in the palace. Her hair was long and dirty. Her clothing was tattered and soiled.

Before the King Bulan-hari, Balo-na, the old, wise woman whined in her high and sharp voice.

“Oh, mighty king! I have come from my cave in the mountains. I have journeyed on foot to bring you sad news!”

Bulan-hari asked in fear, “What is it, wise woman?”

“I can see in my crystal ball that the future will bring ruin and sorrow. The warriors from the land of La-ut will come on their mighty horses with their mighty swords and conquer our mighty men. They will destroy our crops, throw poison in the lake, and bring ruin everywhere!”

“Oh, wise woman,” the king replied in despair, “what are we to do?”

“Alitaptap must bear a son. Only he can grew up to be the people’s leader. He will conquer all invaders, and keep the peace in our land!”

At once, Alitaptap! You must pick one of the young men to marry. You must bear a son. He will keep the peace and happiness our people now enjoy!”

But how could Alitaptap understand? The beautiful maiden with a heart of stone merely stood in silence.

Bulan-hari gripped his sword in blind despair. “Alitaptap!” he bellowed in the quiet palace. “You will follow me, or you will lie dead this very minute!”

But nothing could stir the lovely young woman’s heart. Bulan-hari, bling with anger nand fear of the dark future, finally drew his sword. Clang! The steel of his sword’s blade rang in the silence of the big palace. It hit the star on Alitaptap’s lovely forehead!

The star burst! Darkness was everywhere! Suddenly a thousand chips of glitter and light flew around the hall. Only the shattered pieces of the star on Alitaptap forehead lighted the great hall, flickering around as through they were stars with tiny wings.

Alitaptap, the lovely daughter sent from the heavens, lay dead.

And soon, Balo-na’s predictions came true. Riding on stamping wild horses, the warriors of La-ut came likt the rumble and clash of lightning and thunder. They killed the people of Pinak, ruined the crops, poison the lake. They spread sorrow and destruction everywhere.

When it all ended, the beautiful, peaceful valley of Pinak had turned into empty and shallow swamp. At night, there was nothing but darkness, but soon, tiny sparkles of light flickered and glimmered brightly in the starless night.

And so, the fireflies came about. Once, a long time ago, they were fragments from the star on the forehead ob Bulan-hari’s daughter, the beautiful Alitapap.

The Legend of Hari sa Bukid

(Southern Luzon)

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Many years ago, in the high mountains of Southern Luzon, there was a beautiful place where the people were happy. They produced much tobacco. The people were governed by a certain king named Hari sa Bukid, who was very good. He had a very wide plantation in their domain, the mountain that was very beautiful. His people were happy.

One day he called all his men and said that he was going to a far-away land to visit his friends, who were kings. He bade them to be industrious and to continue planting. He told them to be diligent and to the slopes of the mountains with tobacco, if he was delayed in his return journey.

During his first ten years, the people of Hari sa Bukid faithfully fulfilled their vow to the king and the slopes of the mountains were virtually flower gardens full of beautifully cultivated tobacco plants. The whole tribe of Hari sa Bukid were happy and prosperous. Their tobacco trade was so large that even the people of the nearby lands flocked to barter their goods with them. All were happy and prosperous. Everyone tended his share of the land carefully. More and more tobacco was produced. The fame of the people in raising tobacco in Hari sa Bukid’s tribe became well-known.

Then they started to abandon the care and the cultivation of the field. Their harvests diminished greatly and their business with other people was discredited because of the small quantity that they could raise. Almont of the friends were abandoned.

When they were already in want because of lack of goods and other things that they needed in their livelihood, they felt a strong earthquake that shook the foundation of the earth and the volcano started throwing out fire and smoke. They were frightened and ran in all directions towards the sea.

To their astonishment Hari sa Bukid appeared in a terrible rage. Calling all his men together, he rebuked them for their disobedience to his order and advice. He scolded them severely for their improper and unbecoming conduct, ordering them in a thundering voice to answer him. All his men were speechless. They knew they were guilty of the serious crimes of disobedience and laziness. Upon seeing the guilt of his people, he punished them by gathering the scanty produce of tobacco in the fields and carried it to the top of the mountain. With a terrific blow of his fist, he bore a hole on top of the mountain and carried all the tobacco with him down to the center of the earth. He smokes in there when he is in good mood. Thus when we see the volcano smoking and sending out fire, it is Hari sa Bukid smoking his tobacco.

Unless his people will come again and show their industry and work hard, Hari sa Bukid will never return; the tobacco which he is still smoking in the center of the earth will continue.

The Legend of Marinduque

Retold by: Alfonso P. Santos
(Marinduque, Southern Luzon)

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In a small island kingdom there once lived a very beautiful princess. She was nicknamed Maring. Her favorite haunt was the top of a very tall mountain, Mount Malindig. She was very fond of hunting wild animals, a diversion which was much against her father’s wish. One day she espied a pretty white deer. It ran so swiftly that it took her a long time to catch up with it. She had the game already at bay when the owner came along looking for it. The stranger was a man of princely bearing and fine manners. He introduced himself as Duque and the deer to her as offered a token of their first meeting. Maring could not resist his gallant gesture. She could not help admiring the stranger, who fell in love with her at first sight. Since that day they often met in the forest. The beauty of Maring was known far and wide. Innumerable suitors came to woo her, but she turned a deaf ear to them all, for she had set her heart on the modest Duque. Not knowing about her secret love affair, her royal father announced that her hand would be given to the one who would win a ship race. So the most persistent suitors, three wealthy kings, fitted out vessels for the contest. Duque could not participate. He was not rich enough to equip a vessel.

Meanwhile, Maring was very unhappy. She prayed to the gods for help. Bathala heard her prayers. On the appointed day, the sky grew suddenly dark. The sea seethed turbulently and the winds blew furiously, but the contest could not be put off for another day. The three kings set forth bravely on their ships. Before they were halfway to the goal, one of them hit a rock and soon vanished from sight with his ship. The second vessel was able to move on a little farther and then it was also devour by the angry sea. The last ship met the same fate. The king and the spectators grieved over the fate of the three royal suitors. Only Maring did not feel grieved at the outcome of the race. When the sea calmed down, everyone was surprised to see three islands at the places where the ship had sunk. They were named Tres Reyes, or Three Kings, after the unlucky trio. The father of Maring did not wish to sacrifice more lives after that disaster. He gave his daughter freedom to choose her husband. So she confessed to him her secret love. The king consisted to the marriage. Seven days of feasting and merrymaking followed. To mark the happy union of the two young people, the island kingdom was named Marinduque, after Maring and Duque.

The Legend of Lake Ticob

Retold by: Nita Umali-Berthelsen
(Quezon Province, Southern Luzon)

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In one of the lesser-known barrios of Quezon Province in Southern Luzon, there lies a small, clear lake, beautiful in shape like a gem set in the middle of an emerald circlet. It is said that on clear days one can see the depths of this lake and distinguish four posts. And on still nights if one is very quite, one may see crocodiles come up to the and quietly sleep under the moonlight.

The people who have live around the lake say that many, many years ago there was no water in the place. A small house where an elderly couple lived stood on the spot where the lake is now. Although happy in their love for each other, the man and his wife had one sorrow-that in there advanced age they still had no child. Finally his wife, who had about given up all hope, received an answer to all her prayers and one day gave her husband the good news. “I dreamed I would be with child son, a daughter. She shall come on the ninth moon. There is only one thing. The gods who will give us this child have commanded that she shall never stop out of our house or misfortune will befall us.

In their joy at the arrival of the child, little did the couple think of the latter part of her dream. It did not take long before the dream came true, and the baby was bouncing on its father’s knee. The couple could hardly contain their joy. As the years passed, they saw that not only did they have an obedient, diligent daughter whom they, however, always reminded never to set foot outside their door, but that they also had a beautiful child. In time suitors came to ask of her hand, but too young to understand what love meant, she laughed off her admirer’s extravagant words. One day while her parents were in the field working on the soil that gave them their livelihood, one of these suitors came. He have been dared by his other friends who were quite certain that the damsel would never consider his suit. “Why, you can’t even make her come down from her house,” they mocked him. Stung by their remarks, he promised that he could do at least that.

He found the maiden sitting by the window, finishing a piece of embroidery on a pillowcase. When he came, she offered him a seat and settled back to her sewing. “Can’t you leave your work for a minute?” asked the young man, wondering at her unusual diligence. She smiled in apology. “I cannot today. This works is expected to be finished this afternoon. My mother will deliver it to the lady who ordered the embroidery. She will not forgive me if she comes home with the work unfinished.”

Silently the man watched her, seeing in her explanation a way of realizing his plans. He did not waste time. After the girl finished the length of thread and was reaching for some more, he brushed his hand against the needle lying on the windowsill and sent the silver of steel falling down to the ground. The girl exclaimed in consternation and then asked the suitor to go down and get it. Apparently willing, he hurriedly found the needle, reached it up to her, and then, suddenly playful, urged her to come to the door and reach down for it.

Without thinking, the girl did as he asked, her arm stretched out, her feet remaining inside the door. But the man backed away, and she had to go forward. “Come on, take a step down,” he cajoled. She did. He backed away again, and she had to take another step down the stairway. As she did so faint rumbling could be heard, and it grew louder with every downward step she took. Too frightened to think that it was her descent that could be the cause of the noise, the girl hurried to the man, but no sooner had her feet touched the ground than water came rushing down, covering them and the whole house. The parents, having heard the noise, came and they too were enveloped by water.

But the gods, punishing them, still gave them life and changed the four people into crocodiles. That is why, it is said. The crocodiles in Lake Ticob have always been tame and at one time they even played with the children who romped around the beach. And when fishermen rowed on the lake, the crocodiles swam around the boats and never harmed human beings.

But one day, just a few years ago, a stranger who did not know that the crocodiles in the lake were human, shot one of them. Only then did the crocodiles turn unfriendly, and although they still do not kill people, they no longer play with children. This legend explains how some things came bout in Lanao.

The Prowess of Aliguyon

Retold by: F. Landa Jocano
(Ifugao, Visayas)

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Long ago in Hannanga there lived a rich couple, Amtulao and Dumulao. They owned the longest and widest of the rice terraces that covered the mountainsides, and their harvests were the most plentiful. Their thatched house, large enough to contain three of their neighbors’ huts, had piles of red and white camote. Buried in the earth were jars of rice wine. Amtulao’s dogs were fat and well fed, not lean and starved looking as were the dogs of his neighbors. But will all their wealth, Amtulao and Dululao were unhappy, for they were childless. They offered numerous sacrifices to the spirits; and they lived frugally and simply feeling somehow that austerity and lack of ostentation would please the anitos.

In the end their prayers were answered, and Dumulao gave birth to Aliguyon, a sturdy and handsome child.

Even as an infant, Aliguyon was precocious. He quickly learned the songs with which his mother lulled him to sleep, and in no time he could recite the long prayers chanted by the warriors on Hannanga. He even knew by heart the village lore, the stories that the old folks of the village told, reciting them word for word as he had heard them in the cool evenings. But what pleased Amtulao most was Aliguyon’s skill with the spear and the shield. Amtulao made for him a little spear; and when at the age of three Aliguyon speared his first fish, Amtulao offered a pig as a sacrifice to the gods in thanksgiving. At five Aliguyon had speared wild chickens, at seven he was an accepted companion of Amtulao on hunting trips.

Among his playmates Aliguyon was a favorite. He was accepted as the leader, and no one challenged his leadership, for could he not spin a top better than anyone else? And could he not “kill” the strongest tops by hitting them with the pointed stem of his own top? Amtulao loved his son and carefully taught him all the arts of hunting and fishing that he knew, and he told the boy all the stories of valor and prowess of which he knew so many. But always, he ended with the story about his bitter enemy in the village across the mountain. Pangaiwan of Daligdigan had to be conquered before Amtulao could die in peace.

So when Aliguyon reached manhood, he called his childhood friends, now skilled workers, and talked to them about the glories of war, the prize they could bring back , and the adventures and fame awaiting them if they joined him in an expedition to Daligdigan. Eagerly his friends ran for their spears and shields, and with provisions for three days, Aliguyon and ten warriors set forth. When they reached the enemy village, Aliguyon challenged Pangaiwan to fight, but Pangaiwan was old. Instead, up rose Pumbakhayon, his manly son, as skilled a warrior and as strong and keen eyed as Aliguyon.

For three years the two men fought, and when they rested, theor friends fought an to man. But so well matched were the men, so equal in the arts of war, that no one was beaten. Each combat was a draw, each encounter ended with no one seriously wounded. At last Aliguyon and Pumbakhayon grew to admire each other. The people of Daligdigan, who had watched the strangers with suspicion, learned to like them for their courteous bearing and fair fighting. And the warriors of Hannanga found the girls in Daligdigan winningly shy and sweet.

One day, therefore, while Aliguyon and Pumbakhayon sat resting from a hotly contested fight, Pumbakhayon remarked: “What a waste of time! If were not enemies, we could be at home drinking rice wine and eating broiled river fish or roasted meat. But were enemies even though neither of us did the other any harm.” Aliguyon replied, “Ah, how truly you speak. Perhaps the anitos do not favor this fight, for neither has won. Perhaps the gods put your words into your mouth and this feeling in my heart, for I no longer wish to kill you, O Pumbakhayon.” His words fell on the ears of the listening warriors and on those of the villagers watching the combat. With a loud shout of approval, the warriors ran to their leaders and carried them to the house of Pumbakhayon where old Pangaiwan waited. Preparations began for a huge celebration. Squealing pigs were drag to be killed. The fattest dogs were killed and cooked. The fields were scoured for river fish and snails. Prized camotes, violet and orange, glutinous and sweet, were boiled or roasted. Bananas were laid out y the bunches; guavas and berries were heaped high, and in white scrubbed wooden bowls steamed small-grained upland rice, sweet smelling of fragrant herbs and banana leaves, and black-bottomed earthen pots. Everyone came to the feast, and as the jars of rice wine were emptied, the friendship between the strangers from Hannanga and the people of Daligdigan grew.

All throughout the feast, Aliguyon was fascinate by the light movements of Bugan, by her gaiety and her poise. At the end of the three-day feast, he approached Pangaiwan and said, “O Pangaiwan, once my father’s enemy but now his friend, grant, I beg of you, this one request. Let us bind our friendship with ties that even death cannot break. Give me your daughter Bugan for my wife. I love her; she is to me the brilliant sun that warms the earth and drives away the chill of the night. She is to me the golden moon that brightens the dark and drives away the weariness of the day’s work. Without her I cannot return to my village as I left it, for with her I have left y heart and my thoughts and my happiness.”

Pangaiwan listened, and the men grew quite. Bugan blushed and bent her head. Fourteen times her father had harvested his yearly crops since she was born; she knew that after two or more harvests her father would begin looking critically at the young men who talked to her. But Aliguyon was such a hero, so strong and brave, so well spoken of and handsome! Would her father allow her to leave the house and follow Aliguyon?

Pangaiwan looked at his daughter fondly. He could read her thoughts as she looked at him mutely from under shyly lowered eyelashes. Clearing his throat, he answered slowly:

`“Aliguyon, you are my son. The spirits are good. They have given me a worthy man for a son-in-law. Take Bugan. I pray the anitos that she will be a worthy wife for you and a dutiful daughter-in-law for Amtulao and Dumulao.” His words were drowned by the joyous shouts of Aliguyon and his men. Aliguyon sprang into the air, yelling with happiness, and his friends chanted the first words of the courting song. The women took up the rhythm with their hands on bronze gongs and hollowed-out logs, and everyone crowded around to see Aliguyon mimic the strut of a rooster as he danced before Bugan.

In triumph he led her to his father in Hannanga, and kneeling before Amtulao and Dumulao, he cried:

“O Father! O Mother! Your enemy in Daligdigan is no more.Pangaiwan, your enemy, no longer lived. In his place is Pangaiwan, the father-in-law of your only son Aliguyon. If you love me, love too the man whom your son promised to honor as the father of his wife. Behold, I have brought you my wife, Bugan of Daligdigan, the lovely daughter of Pangaiwan. I bring her to you, Father, so that someone can pound the dried meat for you when you are hungry. I brought her to you, O my mother, so that someone can carry water to you when you want to drink.

“I destroyed your enemy by making him a friend. Therefore, O Father, you can die in peace, for we have conquered him. But Bugan conquered my heart, and with her I can live in peace.”

Thus did peace come to Amtulao and Dumulao. They lived to see Bugan enrich their lives with several grandchildren. Often Amtulao and Dumulao were honored guests at Daligdigan, in the house of Pangaiwan; and as often as they visited Pangaiwan, so often did he go to Hannanga to visit his grandchildren and to talk of old times with Amtulao and Dumulao.

The Legend of Nusa

Retold by: Abdullah T. Madale
(Lanao Del Norte, Central Mindanao)
(Scripted for a Radio Play)
Rajah Indarapatra
Rajah Solaiman
Omaca-an, a powerful giant of Lanao
Ba-i a Salendagao, an evil spirit

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Long, long ago Lanao was inhabited by a powerful giant called Omaca-an. He was so big that he easily stepped from one hilltop to another when he walked. His legs were like two pillars that reached almost to the clouds. It was said that the sea came up only to his knees and that he could break the tops of mountains and hurl them as weapons. He was so cruel and greed that all living things in Lanao trembled for their lives as soon as they heard the earth shake under his feet.

One day Rajah Indarapatra and his brother Rajah Solaiman were having a serious talk. They were very strong men and their fame as fighters was known far and wide. They were very brave too. Nothing on earth scared either of them.

Solaiman: Lanao is a very beautiful region, but it is neglected because people are afraid to go and live there. They are afraid of the giant Omaca-an. Lanao will remain uninhabited as long as the great monster is alive.
Indarapatra: This cannot go on forever. Brother Solaiman, let us do something about it. We have to go and fight the giant. Once he is slain, people will be living to go back to Lanao.
Solaiman: Let us go around the lake. I go one way, and you go by another. We shall meet at Cape Timbalangan.

The brothers bade goodbye to each other on the shore of Lake Lanao. Rajah Indarapatra held his brother by the shoulder.

Indarapatra: Goodbye, my brother. I am sad because I have a feeling that we may never see each other again. Maybe it is I who shall die. Maybe it is you, my brave brother. But whoever is left will avenge the other’s death. Take good care of yourself and guard your magic sword and ring.
Solaiman: Goodbye, my brother. I know that Omaca-an is the most deadly of foes. There is death in his very breath. His grip is as the grip of a hundred men and his strides are so long that no man can run away from him. So be careful for your own dear self, O my brother Indarapatra.

After the brothers had exchanged words of affection, they parted. It happened that on the way Rajah Indarapatra had to stop to marry a beautiful nymph. So he was delayed. When he arrived at Cape Timbalangan, he knew that he was too late for the meeting with his brother. He could see in the torn hillsides and the rocks scattered on the shore that there had been a great fight.

Indarapatra: Alas! My brother is dead. I know that he was torn to pieces by the claws of Omaca-an. but before I go and fight him, I must find the magic sword and ring that belonged to my brother Solaiman. I have more chances of winning if I have them with me.

To find the sword, Indarapatra thought of a trick. He stooped near a balete tree and placed two stones near each other. With the stones and his own knee, he made a stove in which he built a fire. The sight of a man making a stove out of his knee was so funny that the evil spirit who lived in the in the balete tree laughed aloud.

Ba-i a Salendagao: You silly man, why do you do that? Can you not put a third stone to complete the stove? He-he-he!

As soon as Rajah Indarapatra heard the laughter of Ba-i a Salendagao, he stood up and climbed the balete tree. He made such noise and shook the tree so strongly that the evil spirit begged him to stop.

Ba-i a Salendagao: Pleads, great rajah, please go down. You are shaking me off the tree!
Indarapatra: I shall go down only when you tell me what happened to my brother, Rajah Solaiman.
Ba-i a Salendagao: I will tell, I will tell! But you must go down at once.

Rajah Indarapatra went down and Ba-i a Salendagao told her story.

Ba-i a Salendagao: The good Rajah Solaiman arrived at Cape Timbalangan and waited for you while you married the nymph. As he waited, he rested on a rock on the shore. It was there that Omaca-an found him. They fought a terrific battle. The earth thundered with their struggles, and lightning flashed from the sparks of their weapons. The giant said to your brother: “Since you must strike me with your sword, why don’t you strike hard enough to cut me in half? In that way you will kill me at once.” Upon hearing this, Rajah Solaiman struck at the giant with all his might.
Indarapatra: What happened then?
Ba-i a Salendagao: The two halves of the giant fell to the ground. Immediately, upon touching the ground, these halves became two giants as big as the original. Solaiman struck at these and split them into two halves each, and immediately the four parts became four giants. From four, they became eight. This was too much even for brave Solaiman. He fell under the combined might of the eight giants. They tore his body apart. They got his sword and his ring and threw then into Lake Lanao.

Immediately, upon hearing the story, Rajah Indarapatra went to the water, scooped the mud from the bottom of the lake, and dumped it on the hills. After working like this for a day, he found the sword and the ring. It was then that the monster Omaca-an came upon Rajah Indarapatra (sounds of heavy footsteps).

Omaca-an: Who is this man that dares to come and disturb the sleep of Omaca-an with his scooping of the mud from the lake?
Indarapatra: I am Indarapatra. I have come to avenge the death of my brother.
Omaca-an: You are going to kill me? What can a little man like you do?

The giant stretched a finger at Rajah Indarapatra with the intention of picking him up and making him dance on his huge palm. The brave rajah struck at him with his mighty sword.

Omaca-an: How dare you strike me, you little man! I’m going to kill you for that.

With one blow, the giant struck at Rajah Indarapatra, but the rajah quickly jumped to one side and stuck the giant on the breast. The blow was so strong and the sword was so sharp that the giant was almost cut in two.

Omaca-an: If you have to strike me, why don’t you cut me into two? That is the surest way to kill me.
Indarapatra: Oh, no, you clever giant. I will strike at you, and wound you, but I’ll never cut you into two.

The fight lasted all morning and all afternoon. By jumping from place to place, Rajah Indarapatra kept the giant from l laying a blow on him, for the giant had a big club made from the trunk of the biggest tree in the forest. Late in the afternoon, as the sun was sinking, the giant’s strength was completely spent. He was bleeding from hundreds of wounds. He was almost cut in two in several places. One more stroke from the brave raja’s sword and the giant Omaca-an was dead.

Indarapatra: At last Lanao is freed from that terrible monster. Lanao will be inhabited by happy people once more.

The Maranaos still tell stories of this great fight. When they go to the hilltops and see the shells, they say, “Look! Those are the shells that the great Rajah Indarapatra scooped from the bottom of Lake Lanao when he was looking for the magic sword and the ring of his brother, Rajah Solaiman.” When they see the hills, they say, “Look! Those are the rocks Thrown by Rajah Indarapatra and Omaca-an when they tried to kill each other long, long ago.”