(of Palawan)

By the river Tabunganan is a spring, which is the abode of an evil spirit. Tuwan Putli, accompanied by her cousin Ambaynan, goes there to fish. As they are about to leave, Tuwan Putli sees a river lobster with golden pincers. Ambaynan waits for her, but Tuwan Putli disappears. There is blood in her fish basket. Ambaynan goes home and reports the incident.

Tuwan Putli’s father, orders her husband (and son-in-law) Muta-Muta to search for her, but the man disobeys. Muta-Muta finds help in the person of the Young Man of the Clouds. It is agreed that if the Young Man of the Clouds can find Tuwan Putli, she will be his. With the help of a crocodile, the Young Man of the Clouds finds a fragment of Tuwan Putli’s toenail nestled inside a molar of an old crocodile. The old crocodile had accidentally eaten Tuwan Putli. Retrieving the nail, he sees Muta-Muta who tells him to bring home the nail fragment. The young man puts the nail inside the golden chest. In the afternoon, Tuwan Putli’s voice is heard inside the chest, pleading to be let out. The chest breaks open like a bamboo, filling the house with golden light. Tuwan Putli emerges and asks for a betel nut. Learning that the young man has recued her, she consents to live with him.

Soon the Young Man falls in love with the Lady of the Sea-Beings, the wife of Kudaman. The Young Man wins her love, forcing his wife, Tuwan Putli to leave him. Kudaman decides to bring the Lady of the Sea-Beings to her father Surutan Tamparan, the Sultan of the Seacoast. On his journey back aboard Linggisan, the Purple Heron, Kudaman meets Tuwan Putli and offers her a betel nut. She accepts, and she becomes his "puun" or principal wife. When Surutan Tamparan discovers that his daughter has left Kudaman for the Young Man of the Clouds, he beheads her at the place called Scissors of the World. But she emerges from the ordeal lovelier than ever.

Muta-Muta, Tuwan Putli’s first husband, and his brother, the Datu of Ligayan, visit Kudaman to offer a blood compact. Kudaman reminds Muta-Muta that Tuwan Putli is now his wife. Having become blood brothers, Muta-Muta asks to stay in Kudaman’s place. Kudaman agrees, and he has a big house built. Kudaman gathers his relatives and friends and offers to host a big feast of "tabad" rice beer.

Kudaman goes on a journey to look for beautiful garments for Tuwan Putli whom he entrusts to Muta-Muta. Riding on Linggisan, his pet bird, Kudaman travels for seven years. The Lady of the Wild Green Pigeon falls in love with him. The attraction is mutual, so Kudaman promises to return for her. Reaching the house of the Sultan of the Seacoast, Kudaman buys the garments he wants. His former wife expresses renewed yearning for him and his bird, so she is transported to Kudaman’s house, where she is welcomed by Tuwan Putli as sister and co-wife. As he has promised, Kudaman passes by the place of the Lady of the Wild Green Pigeon on his way back. He asks for betel nut, and she offers him her betel nut container. When she agrees to come with him, he puts her inside betel container for safekeeping. Tuwan Putli meets him with the news that the Lady of the Sea-Beings has come. Kudaman shows her what he has brought home: a new sister.

Kudaman goes on another journey, entrusting the two women to his principal wife. He encounters the Lady of the Ginnu Tree, who is gripped with admiration for his magnificent bird. Kudaman obtains her, as he did the Lady of the Wild Green Pigeon, but the Lady of the Ginnu Tree makes it clear to the other women that she has no desire to win the hero away from them, and that she has come with him only because she loves his bird.

Having put up his new "kalongbanwa" or big house, Kudaman wishes to offer a celebration in honor of Ampu, the Master of the Rice. Muta-Muta, Datu Ligayan, and the four "linamin" or ladies are in agreement. He lays his hands over the mouths of the jars of tabad, and right away, the rice beer ferments. Muta-Muta and Datu Ligayan play their gongs, for this is the music beloved of the Master of the Rice, who bestows sweetness and fragrance to the rice beer. Clad in wondrous garments and ornaments of gold, Kudaman’s four wives dance the "tarok", and they prepare the betel chew for their guests. The Young Man of the Clouds hears the music from the feast, and he hastens to join Kudaman. But far away, the dreaded Ilanun also hear the gongs, and they decide to test the mettle of Kudaman and get his wives. Informed through a dream, Kudaman orders the gong music to stop. He does not want violence, for it is an affront against Ampu, the Supreme Master, who is also Nagsalad, the Weaver of the World. He is the picture of calmness as he awaits the Ilanun’s arrival, chewing betel as he sits. He invites the Ilanun to come to the house, but they harshly reject the offer.

Muta-Muta loses his restraint and attacks. The Young Man of the Clouds joins him. The leader of the Ilanun and the Young Man of the Clouds duel in the heavens for seven years. Moved by Young Man’s spirirt, Kudaman joins the fray. He entrusts to his grieving wives a bouquet of basil flowers whose wilting or blossoming will signal his state. The ladies plead that Linggasan watch over its master; the bird itself is anguished over Kudaman’s decision to fight. Up in the clouds, astride of a ray of sunlight, Kudaman merely observes at first. But when the Young Man of the Clouds falls, he comes to the Young Man’s rescue and puts the Young Man inside his betel container. Then he confronts the Ilanun leader, Apo Tugbu. A battle between them lasts for many years, taking them to several levels of the worlds. Finally Kudaman wins. The Ilanun are wiped out.

On their way home, Kudaman and the Young Man of the Clouds pass by the house of Limbuhanan, the hero’s first cousin. They meet the Lady of the Agoho Tree, Limbuhanan’s wife. The couple apologize to Kudaman for having gotten married without notifying him. The Young Man of the Clouds relates the war he and Kudaman have just been through. The Lady of the Agoho Tree offers to accompany the two back home.

Muta-Muta, Datu Ligayan, and the four wives are overjoyed when Kudaman arrives. The interrupted feast resumes. A jural discussion is held, regarding harmonious relationship in marriage, the duties of relatives, and other points of the "adat" or custom law. Among the guest are the Datu and Lady of the Edge of the World, the Datu and Lady of the Surrounding Worlds, the Datu and Lady of Median Space, the Chief Judge Pinagsaran and his wife, the Lady of the Atmosphere. The Sultan of the Seacoast arrives with his seven wives, and he is offered the first sip of the tabad. The merriment lasts for three days, but no violence or rowdiness occurs. Kudaman finds himself in a state of stupor. His being is transported, it seems, to another universe, and the heavens have been cindered by his drunkenness. But he is brought back to consciousness, and, seeing the face of the Lady of the Hooks, he proposes to marry her. Revived, Kudaman chews betel and spits at the dead army of the Ilanun. They are resurrected, and they surrender their weapons as a sign of compact.

Earlier, during the start of the feast, an old conflict over Tuwan Putli between Kudaman and the Chief Judge Pinagsaran took place. The Lady of the Luray Tree, wife of Pinagsaran, proposed that Tuwan Putli be cut in two so that the two men could each have half of her. Kudaman takes a blade and slices her. Each half of her becomes a lovelier Tuwan Putli. The Sultan of the Seacoast takes his leave, and the others follow suit, but not before everyone has agreed that there must be another feast in the future.

The rest of the epic contains episodes about Kudaman’s odysseys to distant lands and visitations of friends and relatives, during which great feasts are held. In one of his drunken revelries, having gulped down 180 jars of "tabad", Kudaman plummets into the navel of the world and wrestles with himself. In his drunken state, he meets the Lady of the Young Men, who fans his face to bring him back to his senses and offers him betel chew. She becomes his fifth wife. Riding his heron to the ends of the world, Kudaman wins his other wives who are all uniformly described as falling into a swoon at the sight of his magnificent bird. They are the Lady of the Sandbar, who leaves her husband to go with the hero; the Lady of the Last Level of the Universe; the Lady of the Oil of the World; the Lady of the Maiden Space, also married; and the Lady of the Hooks, to whom he had earlier proposed.

"Kudaman" ends with a final celebration of Kudaman’s marriage to ten women. At the same time, the Young Man of the Clouds takes the sultan’s seventh daughter in marriage, and the dowry he gives is a river which begins from the skies and flows beside the Sultan’s house, while "macopa" tree and a pomelo tree bear fruit the whole year round.

"Kudaman" is an epic of Palawan. It is dramatization of nature and social life, a validation of the beliefs, ethics, way of life to Palawan culture. The complete epic is composed of six songs. It takes seven nights to perform the epic. The first night is used to introduce the epic; each of the six songs takes a night to perform. The hero Kudaman appears after the introductory chant.

Learn this Filipino word:

masamá ang bibíg