|Image Credit to olrakbustrider of deviantart|
The epic opens with Iling requesting the bard Kadungung to recount the tale of the glorious Ibálong of long ago. Forthwith, Kadungung described the ancient land and spoke of its first hero, Baltóg, a white Aryan, who had come from Botavara (Bharata-varsha or India). He planted a linsa patch in Tondol (now in Kamalig) which, one night, was foraged by a giant wild board (Tandayag). The furious Baltóg chased the Tandayag, killed it with his bare hands, and hanged its enormous jawbones on a talisay tree. For this marvelous feat, he was acknowledged chief of the local shaggy hunters.
Next to come was Handyóng. With his followers, he fought the monsters of the land. But Oryól, a wily serpent who appeared as a beautiful maiden with a seductive voice, Handyóng could not destroy. In the end, Oryól helped Handyóng clear the region of ferocious beasts.
With Ibálong rid of wild createures, Handyóng turned to making wise laws and planting the land to linsa and rise. A period of invention followed: boats, farm tools, weaving looms, claywares, even a syllabary. Together, the people built tree houses.
Then came a great flood that changed the features of the land. Three volcanous erupted simultaneously. A strip of seacoast rose from the sea bottom in Pasakáw. The Malbogóng Islet fromed in the Bikol River. The Inarihan River altered its course. A lofty mountain sank at Bató, forming a lake. A Dagatnóing settlement was wiped out along kalabangan Gulf.
Despite the calamities, Ibálong grew powerful under Old Chief Handyóng, whose constant companion, by then, was the young Bantóng. Althoughgiven a thousand men to destroy the half man and half beast Rabót who could changed its enemies into rocks, Bantóng slew it single-handedly – to the loud cheers of hos thousand warriors that reverberated throughout the forests and mangrove swamps. Brought to Ligmanan, the corpse of Rabót, the corpse of Rabót was horrible to behold. The Great Handyóng himself was shocked at the sight.
At this point, the Ibálng epic-fragment ends abruptly, even as Kadungung promises to continue the story some other time.
From: Ibálong, the Bikol Folk
By: MERITO B. ESPINAS, Ph.D.