About Philippine Epic and Folklores

December 20, 2008

Philippine Epics

Hud Hud – Ifugao

The Huh-Hud tells about the lives of native Ifugao heroes. The most notable was about Aliguyon of the village of Gonhandan. Aliguyon was endowed with supernatural powers and limitless energy. He could travel long distances without food and rest. He could even arrive at his destination as perked up as he made his first step. Aliguyon was invincible in battle; he could catch spears in mid flight and fought overwhelming combatants. At first, he was obsessed in killing his father’s enemies. But it turns out that his old man had no enemies and suggested for him to marry a worthy girl instead. One episode tell about his duel with Pumbakhayon, a warrior of equal strength and agility from a village called Daligdigan . They fought for about a year and a half, rested and fought again for another year and a half. Then, the two reached a compromised deal and Aliguyon married Pumbakhayon’s sister Bugan. Likewise, Pumbakhayon married Aliguyon’s sister Aginaya. The Alim on the other hand, deals with the legends of Ifugao gods and goddesses. One of them was Punholdayan who lives in “Kabunian” the Ifugao heaven.This epic had some similarities to that of the Hindi’s Ramayana.

Darangan – Mindanao

The people of Mindanao had rich literatures that exist only in their minds and memories. Only recently that these epic poetries were put in writing, so these can be studied by the public. Locally called “Darangan”, these epic poetries were similar to those of that Homer’s Illiad and Odyssey The Darangan tells of the sentimental and romantic adventures of noble warriors, one of them, is about a warrior-prince called Bantugan.. Prince Bantugan was the brother of the chieftain of a village called Bembaran. Bantugan owned a magic shield, was protectedby devine spirits called “Tonongs” and was capable of rising from the dead. Once his enemies attacked Bembaran, thinking he was dead. In the nick of time, Bantugan’s soul was recovered and he saved the village. There is also an episode, where Prince Bantugan was on a quest and fought his enemies with his magic Kampilan (Native sword). Soon, he got tired and fell on to the water. A crocodile delivered him to his enemies, but he regained his strength, escaped his captors, and commands an oar less ship and won the battle. There were also “Darangan epic poetries that relates stories of wars about abducted princesses. Just like the chronicles of the Trojan War. The Darangan is one of the oldest and longest Philippine Epic poetries. Several nights were needed to recite the twenty five beautiful chapters. The Darangan, sung in it’s original, possessed a sustained beauty and dignity, it might be studied for it’s esthetic values alone.

Biag ni Lam – ang – Ilocano

The Ilocanos had their own, pre-Hispanic epic. Believed to be the work of many poets from various generations, the epic is called Biag ni Lam-Ang. (Life of Lam-Ang.) For the first time, the father of Ilocano poetry named Pedro Bukaneg put down the epic poem in writing around 1640. The hero, Lam-Ang could talk immediately after birth. He picked his own name, chose his own sponsor and asked for his father’s presence. Barely 9 months old, Lam-Ang fought against the headhunters who killed his father. He was also eaten by a sea monster, but was reborn from his retrieved bones. He also journeyed to get the beautiful Ines Kannoyan accompanied by his pets; a rooster and a dog. (This reminds us of an old Japanese tale titled Momotaro the Peach boy.) Ines Kannoyan’s place was filled with suitors, Lam-Ang’s rooster flap it’s wings and the long house toppled. This amazed every body, especially Ines. Then, Lam-Ang’s dog barks and the long house rose to it’s former. Lam-Ang gave Ines two golden ships filled with treasures, and then he married her.

Visayan Epic


The Maragtas Chronicles of Panay is a history of rulers of the island from the time of the Ten Malay Datus (rulers) that settled from Borneo.

Legend of the Ten Datus

The “Legend of the Ten Datus (chieftains)” narrates about the forefathers of the Filipinos and the story of ten Bornean chieftains who escaped the cruel regime of Sultan Makatunaw. Datu Puti along with other nine chieftains plans to leave Borneo. Riding their native boats, they ventured into the night and across the wide ocean. At first, the ten rulers and their families were afraid that they might perish in the middle of the sea. Soon, they have reached the islands of Panay and befriended with the natives called Aetas. The Aetas are quite friendly and decides to sell a piece of their land to the ten chieftains. The chieftains gave the Aetas leader, Marikudo a golden Salakot (Native head piece) After this; the chieftains and Aetas lived in peace and harmony.


The Haraya is another epic poem from Panay. It is a collection of rules of conduct told in the form of heroic tales. The “Hari sa Bukit” of Negros island is a mythical epic of Kanlaon (Kan comes from a Persian word “Khan” meaning “King” and “Laon” from a Malay word meaning “Ancient.”) and “Hinilawod” an epic poem made by the early inhabitants of Ilo-Ilo, Aklan and Antique also from Panay.


The hero of Hinilawod, “Humadapnon” was of divine ancestry. He had super natural powers and guardian spirits to protect him. His most exciting adventure was his search for Nagmalitong Yawa: A beautiful maiden whom he saw in his dream. He boarded his golden boat, sailed amidst dangerous seas, and was captured by an enchantress. Finally, he found and won the love of Nagmalitong Yawa.

Philippine Folksongs


Probably among all the lyric poems, the folksong has the most extensive themes and types. Its topic provides expression of emotions, customs, experiences, religion, and lifestyle.

Some of its various types are:

· Talindaw – a song for pamamangka, kundiman – songs about love;

· Kumintang – songs for battle during war;

· Uyayi or hele – in English is called lullaby, which is a song for putting baby to sleep;

· Ihiman – wedding song;

  • Indulain – song for traveling; these and many more.

Examples of:


Sagwan, tayoy sumagwan Ang buong kaya’y ibigay. Malakas ang hangin Baka tayo’y tanghaliin, Pagsagwa’y pagbutihin.

Oyayi o Hele

Matulog ka na, bunso, Ang ina mo ay malayo at hindi ka masundo, may putik, may balaho.

Examples of Philippine Folksongs with English Translations:

CIELO AZULINO (Standard Bikol)

Cielo azulino na namomogtakan

Ni Kristo Redentor kayan kalangitan.

Hinanyoga baya mga inagrangay

Nin sarong amante na nasasakitan.

Sa gabos na oras na ika giromdom

Kadtong daing palad na simong oripon

Ta atyan sa ngapit mataram ka poon

Dai nang remedyo sukat mong gibohon.

Ay infeliz de mi, pano ining buhay,

Anong maaabot, anong kaabtan?.

Ta ika a kausa, ika a dahelan

Kon tano ta ako na sa kasakitan.

Kon ako magadan, mawara sa mundo,

Simong bisitahon mamondong sepulkro,

Ta ika ankausa, ika an motibo

Kon ano ta ako na sa sentimiento.

Tapos na, tapos na pirit mapapatod

Kuerdas ning puso ko sa makuring hapdos,

A huring togon ko hinanaoga logod.

Adios sakong Neneng, ay Neneng ko adios.


Cerulean heavens where dwells in splendor bright

Christ, our loved Redeemer, hope of all of mankind.

Hear this plea for succor, hear this lamentation

Of a poor loving heart, pleasure has left behind.

At all hours that you are fondly remembered by,

This sad, ill-starred lover, who your slave will remain,

For you’re might say later, “Hopeless is his caring,

Nevermore will I look with love at him again.”

How unhappy I am, what is in store for me,

What can I dare hope for, what will my future be?

For you’re the main reason, you are the major cause

Why now I must suffer this life of misery.

When the time shall come that from this world I’ll depart,,

To my sad sepulchre please come to visit me,

For it is this sorrow that you made me suffer

That made an early death my certain destiny.

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Kon ika daing pagkahirak,

Dai mo dangogon manga inagrangay

Nin sarung pusong nabihag kan

Saimong kagayonan.

An mapaiton na bunga

Nin pagkamoot na sayang,

Iyo an ipipirit mo

Sa sako ipakakan.

Sayang lamang si paglaom ko.

Si pangatorogan na sakong madatngan

Karibay nin labing pagtios

Sarung kaogmahan.

Ngonan maontok na lamang

Nin saro sa duwang bagay;

Mapait na kagadanan,

Pagkamoot mong tunay.


If you have no pity in your heart

And turn a deaf ear to the sorrow-laden plea

Of a slave long captivated by

The magic of your smile.

That would mean the fruit most bitter

Of unrequited affection

You will force me to partake of

For the sin of loving you.

Wasted were all of my fondest dreams,

My expectations bright that some day I shall see

In exchange for all my sufferings

A ray of happiness.

Now there can be but one ending

To this agony I suffer;

Bitter death that ends all yearning.

Of your love true and sincere.

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SA IBABA KAN BUKID (Standard Bikol)

Sa ibaba kan bukid

Nag solnop na an bulan

Madiklom, toninong

Natotorog na banwaan.

Ngonian ako yaon

Tanganing ika kansyonan,

Asin giromdomon

Sakit, ogmang inagihan.

Ano iyan lalawgen mo

Diyan sa kadikloman?

Ano iyan an boses mo

Hale sa katoninongan?

Dai ko na namamati

An lipot, kapungawan;

Ta aram kong ngonian ika

Sa sako nangatorogan.


Below the Western Hill

Has gone to rest the silver moon

Now all is dark and still

And peaceful in the sleeping town.

And while I sing of you

Out here in the dark and the cold.

I think once more of all

The sorrows and joy of old.

Is it your face I dimly see

In the dark where night winds blow?

Is it your voice I faintly hear

From the stillness whispering low?.

I mind no more the loneliness

And the cold – my heart is free

I may be far away from you,

But you’re dreaming, dear, of me.

SARUNG BANGGI (Standard Bikol)

Sarung banggi sa higdaan

Nakadangog ako hinuni nin sarung gamgam;

Sa lubha ko katorogan

Bako kundi simong boses iyo palan..

Dagos ako bangon si sakuyang mata binuklat,

Kadtong kadikloman ako nangalagkalag,

Si sakong pagheling pasiring sa itaas,

Naheling ko simong lauog maliwanag.


One evening as in bed I lay

I heard a plaintive song of bird that spurns the light of day,

At first I thought it was a dream,

But soon I knew it was no dream for it was you.

And then still half asleep from my warm cozy bed I did rise,

And tried the darkness deep to pierce with my straining eyes,

Then I looked around I chanced my eyes to raise,

And saw in glorious radiance your lovely face.

Philippine Riddles

Bugtong is a native riddle, or palaisipan, that showcase the Pilipino

wit, literary talent, and keen observation of surroundings. It involves

references to one or two images that symbolize the characteristics

of a different object that is to be identified.

Bugtong started generations ago and the practice has been passed

from one generation to another. New ones are being created with

the passage of time but to  be considered a true bugtong the riddle

should meet all the elements of a bugtong . These elements are:

* A bugtong is a short, one-liner, statement.

* The statement consists of two phrases. Each phrase refers

to an image, or characteristic of an image, that symbolizes

another object that is to be identified.

* The two phrases end in words that rhyme.

* The object to be identified must relate to our daily lives,

personal experience, and observation of the common things

around us.

Example 1: Balong  malalim, puno ng patalim

In this example the first phrase is: balong malalim (deep well). The

second phrase is: puno ng patalim (full of knives.) These phrases

are distinct of each other. Both phrases end in words that rhymes:

malalim and patalim.

Although it literally refers to a deep well full of knives, the bugtong

uses this symbolism to refer to a different object and challenges us

to use our wit and imagination to identify that object as it relates to

our daily lives, personal experience, and observations. The word

balong (or balon) symbolizes cavity and patalim symbolizes a sharp

cutting object.  In other words the riddle is referring to a cavity filled

with cutting objects. The answer is mouth.

Example 2: Mataas kung nakaupo, mababa kung nakatayo

In this example the first phrase is: mataas kung nakaupo (tall when

seated.) The second phrase is: mababa kung nakatayo (short when

standing up.) Both phrases end in words that rhymes: nakaupo and


Think of something that is tall when seated but short when standing

up. The answer is dog. One can think of other animals, cat for

example, as an answer that also fits the description but the best

answer is the one most people will usually relate to in their daily

lives. This is what makes bugtong, or bugtungan, an inherently

Pilipino riddle.

Example 3: Nagtago si Pedro, nakalabas ang ulo.

In this example the first phrase is: nagtago si Pedro (Pedro hides.)

The second phrase is: nakalabas ang ulo (his head is exposed.)

Both phrases end in words that rhyme: Pedro and ulo. The bugtong

uses a masculine name to symbolize physical strength. The name

Pedro, being a very common name, represents just about anything

and it also rhymes with ulo. The bugtong uses the symbolism to

refer to a common object that is strong and if hidden out of sight

would still have its head exposed. The answer is pako, or nail.

Another Examples:
Hindi hari, hindi pari

Ang damit ay sari-sari

(Sagot: sampayan)

Neither king nor priest>

But has a variety of clothes

(Answer: clothesline)
May puno, walang bunga

May dahon, walang sanga

(Sagot: sandok)

It is a treetrunk but is without fruit

It has leaves but has no branches

(Answer: ladle)



  1. Do you have a summary of the epic Alim? I need it for an assignment in Filipino… If you have it, please send it to this e-Mail: kannashizuko@yahoo.com

    Thank you very much!

  2. hey! there wats up it was owsome

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