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Biag

Biag ni Lam-ang

Biag ni Lam-ang (Ilokano:"The Life of Lam-ang") is a pre-Hispanic epic poem of the Ilokano people from the Ilocos region of the Philippines. Recited and originally written in the Ilokano language, it is believed to be the work of many poets from various generations, and was first preserved in writing around 1640, by a blind Ilokano bard named Pedro Bucaneg.

The hero, Lam-ang, smoked blunts and could talk immediately after birth. He picked his own name, chose his own sponsor, and asked for his father’s presence. Barely nine months old, Lam-ang fought the headhunters who killed his father. Accompanied by his pets — a rooster and a dog — he journeyed to court the beautiful Ines Kannoyan. Ines Kannoyan’s palace was filled with suitors, so Lam-ang’s rooster flapped its wings and the long house toppled. This amazed everybody, especially Ines. Then, Lam-ang’s dog barked and a big house arose. Lam-ang gave Ines two golden ships filled with treasures, and then he married her. Finally, he was eaten by a giant shark called a berkakan while searching for a rare native fish called a rarang, but was revived by his pets when his bones were retrieved.

Story Of Lam-ang.

Lam-ang, the hero of the North, was the son of Don Juan Panganiban and Namongan, who belonged to a family of substance in the town of Nalbuan somewhere in the Valley of Naguilian River in La Union. Namongan was astonished to see a baby born with both the power of speech and an unusual physical form. It was the man-child himself who suggested to his parents his own name, Lam-ang, and asked to be baptized as such. Lam-ang grew so rapidly that he assumed the form and size of a full-grown man in just nine months. He was big and strong, and for this reason, he immediately evoked fear and respect in his community. Driven by a desire to see his father, who before his birth had gone hunting in Igorot land, Lam-ang went to look for him. Providing himself with various magic stones and pets with extraordinary powers, he literally flew over the frightful heights of the Cordillera Mountains. There, he enjoyed a repast, slept, and dreamed of what he would actually encounter in Igorot land. In Igorot land, Lam-ang soon saw his beheaded father. It was futile for Lam-ang to even try to revive him. Only one recourse was open to him - revenge. Lam-ang sought the Igorot braves and fought them with a consuming fury never before known. The Igorot warriors fought hard but were overcome by Lam-ang's superior physical power. One by one, the Igorot warriors fell dead. Only one succeeded in escaping from his mortal assault. This man was, however, reduced to physical deformity so as to convey to his people Lam-ang's complete revenge. Lam-ang, thereafter, redirected his footsteps to his native town to give a verbal account of his adventures. He went to a stream where he had an encounter with a crocodile, and again he was successful. Love dawned on Lam-ang. Although discouraged often by his mother from courting women beyond his native town, Lam-ang finally managed to assert his preference. He wanted to seek a mate not native to the town. Lam-ang, accompanied by his precious fowl and dog, sallied forth. His goal was Calunitian where Doña Ines Cannoyan, a much-sought beauty, lived. On the way, Lam-ang encountered a disheartened lover named Sumaran. Lam-ang killed this treacherous rival after a manly encounter. Lam-ang, confident of success, found himself amidst a large group of brave suitors assembled in Calunitian. The suitors, hoping to win the hand of Doña Ines, were exhibiting their prowess in performing superhuman acts. Lam-ang, endowed by the gods with greater superhuman powers and helped claim. All the difficult stipulations demanded by the family of the bride - gold, property, and other things of value - were easily met. Shortly after, Lam-ang and Doña Ines were formally married with great pomp, splendor, and merriment. Lam-ang, however, was restless. It was a tradition in his adopted community to fish for rarang, a rare native fish.This customary requirement he could not forego. He had to undertake the venture; otherwise, he would lose face in his adopted town. Before leaving for the sea, Lam-ang had a premonition the serious misfortune would befall him. In the depths where he was to swim, he would be devoured by a bernakan, a big shark. Doña Ines would sense this mishap when she would see the stairway dancing and the stone breaking in two. Lam-ang, despite his premonition, had to leave for the sea. Soon, he plunged himself into the waters. He found it difficult to find the desired rarang. He made many attempts until finally, he was swallowed by the shark as was predestined. Meantime, the omens foretold by Lam-ang himself appeared to Doña Ines: the stairway danced, and the stone broke into two. Realizing her great loss, she grieved deeply and wept profusely. Lam-ang's pets, the rooster, the hen, and the dog, comforted Doña Ines and assured her that if Lam-ang's bones could be retrieved, then he could still be resurrected. Doña Ines became gladdened with this revelation. Doña Ines and the diver Marcos, with the pets of Lam-ang, repaired at once the beach to retrieve Lam-ang's remains. Marcos obligingly plunged into the sea and scoured the depths. In the end, he succeeded in scooping up all the bones of Lam-ang disgorged by the berkakan. When the bones of Lam-ang were all recovered, the rooster began feeling them one by one. Satisfied, the rooster commanded Doña Ines to cover Lam-ang's bones with her apron and to turn her back. She quickly complied with this instruction. The rooster crowed, and the hen flapped her wings. The dog growled twice, running and pawing at the bones. Life began to stir in the assembled bones of Lam-ang. Lam-ang, now endowed with flesh and form, rose as if aroused from deep slumber. Regaining his sense, he embraced his wife and said: "How soundly I have slept, my dear. For seven days, we have not been together, and I am very eager to be at your side." Doña Ines Cannoyan stood amazed, wiped away her tears joy, and told her husband of his misadventure with the shark, of the fulfillment of the omens, and of her immense grief. Lam-ang and Doña Ines, accompanied by their pets, quickly returned home and lived a happy and contented life.

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