The Epic of Labaw Donggon - Page 2 of 2

(of the Sulod people of Central Panay)

In his fear, Saragnayan summons help from all parts of the universe – from the underworld, the upperworld, etc. Faced with a huge army of helpers, Asu Mangga and Baranugun advise them to go home since their fight with Saragnayan does not concern them. But the men insist on fighting, so the two brothers start shooting them down with their poisoned arrows until only Saragnayan is left. When they cannot kill him, Baranugun sends Taghuy, his spirit friend, to his grandmother Abyang Alunsina in the eastern sky, for advice. Alunsina sends back the information that Saragnayan’s life is kept inside the wild boar in the mountain, in Paling Bukid. She further gives them the charm that will put the boar to sleep so they can get its heart. The two brothers find the boar, put it to sleep and remove the heart which they then roast and ate whole. They then return to resume the fight with Saragnayan.

All of a sudden, Saragnayan feels a weakness all over his body. He weeps, knowing that he will be killed by Buyung Baranugun. He therefore asks for time to enable him to say good-bye to his wife. A tender scene follows in which Saragnayan cuddles his wife, while rocking her in the hammock, tells her of his defeat by Baranugun and advises her to obey Labaw Donggon and to try to get along well with his other wives. He leaves her only after she has fallen asleep and after instructing the servants to watch over her carefully and drive away the flies so that her sleep will not be disturbed.

The fight between Baranugun and Saragnayan is violent but brief. Baranugun succeeds in climbing Saragnayan’s head and, standing on top of his head, Baranugun strikes Saragnayan’s eyes with his poisoned arrows. With a great cry, Saragnayan falls, his death struggles sending the whole world a-tremble, for it is in Saragnayan’s body that the earthquake is kept. After killing Saragnayan, Baranugun returns to their boat to take his father home, but Labaw Donggon is nowhere to be seen. He has run away and hidden inside a fishing net. The two brothers sail home happily, thinking to find their father already there.

But Labaw Donggon is not at home, so his two brothers, Humadapnon and Dumalapdap go on an intensive search for him, the former going inland and the latter seaward. They finally find Labaw Donggon inside the fish net, "covering himself and shivering with fright." They take him home, first to Anggoy Ginbitinan at Handog and next to Abyang Doronoon in the underworld. But Labaw Donggon can no longer hear, his ears having been stopped by some substance, and is out of his mind. The two wives pity and wish to rehabilitate him although Ginbitinan cannot help blaming him for what happened, reproaching him for desiring other men’s wives. Humadapnon, however, defends Labaw Donggon by saying: "Well, that’s how the older one/ Dear Sister, should behave/ that’s what the skilled one/ the fighter should do."

Then Humadapnon asks whether Nagmalitong Yawa has any other sisters, and when told that she has two lovely ones, the two brothers happily announce that they will each court one of them. Upon hearing this, Labaw Donggon speaks up, reminding them that they have to fetch Malitong Yawa as his wife. The first two wives momentarily feel jealous and threaten not to restore Labaw Donggon’s powers, but upon the latter’s assurance that he will love all three of them equally and his explanation that he needs children to inherit his name, they are appeased. They let Labaw Donggon lie down and, as the two women jump over his head and feet, they invoke their "pamlang" to restore Labaw Donggon to his full power and bravery. This completed, they help him rise and ask him to give out a loud cry. Labaw Donggon gives out a cry so powerful that branches break off from trees and the nearby bridge splits, a sigh that his power has been fully restored.

"The Epic of Labaw Donggon" is one of two related epics from Panay Island, in the Visayas, both recorded by F. Landa Jocano. With its length of 2,325 lines in its printed version, it is much shorter than the second epic, The Epic of Humadapnon which runs to 53,000 lines.

Learn this Filipino word:

magalíng ang bibíg