Biag ni Lam-ang
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|Biag ni Lam-ang|
|Description||Eponymous hero of the Ilokano epic Biag ni Lam-ang|
Biag ni Lam-ang (English: "The Life of Lam-ang") is an epic poem of the Ilokano people from the Ilocos region of the Philippines. Recited and written in its original Iloko, the poem is believed to be a composite work of various poets who passed it on through the generations, and was first transcribed around 1640 by a blind Ilokano bard named Pedro Bucaneg.
Lam-ang was an extraordinary being, manifesting in his early years when he started to speak, thus enabling him to choose his own name. His adventure began when his father, Don Juan, set out for a battle but never returned. At barely nine months, he went to search for Don Juan in the highlands where the latter was said to have gone. Aware that her child was a blessed, exceptional creature, his mother Namongan allowed him to go. Lam-ang then went off to search for his father, leaving his grieving mother behind.
When Lam-ang reached the area his father purportedly disappeared to, he was enraged upon seeing Don Juan’s severed head atop of a bamboo pole that was planted in the ground; the scene came to him in a dream prior to reaching that place. Lam-ang then demanded to know the reason as to why that had happened to his father, but did not receive an answer from the locals. Instead, the chieftain of the village demanded that he leave under pain of suffering the same fate as his father. Lam-ang defied the caveat and bravely fought with the chieftain and his tribesmen. The hero emerged victorious from the battle with little effort, finally avenging his murdered father.
Prologue: The Birth of Lam-ang (lines 5-108)
I Quest for Father (lines 109-370)
A. Preparation (lines 109-192) B. Obstacle: Burican (lines 193-261) C. Triumph (lines 262-315) D. Return to Home (lines 315-370
II. Quest for Wife (lines 455-1300)
A. Preparation (lines 455-586) B. Obstacles: Sumarang and Saridandan (lines 587-724) C. Wedding Banquet (lines 725-1286) D. Return to Home (lines 725-1286)
Epilogue: The Death and Restoration of the Hero (lines 1301-1477)
Source: Randolf C. Flores,SVD, "Literary Unity and Structure of the Ilocano Epic, Biag ni Lam-ang," Diwa: Studies in Philosophy and Theology 32 (2007): 25-38.
Biag ni Lam-ang, although dominated by action and tragedy, nonetheless contained some comedic points. An example would be the scene where as Lam-ang was going home, he passed by a river (identified by some with the Amburayan River, the biggest river in Ilocos) and then decided to have a dip. The dirt and blood that came off from his body caused the death of the river's fish, crabs, and shrimp. As he was bathing, some of the maidens who were present at the river gladly attended to him.
Lam-ang, upon arriving home, decided to court his love interest, Ines Kannoyan who lives in Calanutian (Kanluit). Despite his mother’s disapproval, he followed his heart and set off again on another journey to his love. He faced one of Ines’ suitors and various monsters, but again was able to vanquish them with ease. Aiding him were his magical pets, a cat, dog, and a rooster. The bird flapped its wings and a house toppled over. This feat amazed everybody present, especially Ines. Then, Lam-ang’s dog barked and the house rose up. Being invited to the lunch of the family of Ines, Lam-ang impressed Ines’ parents with his wealth and upon returning he gave the family two golden ships. Their nuptials were celebrated with a lot of feasting.
Death and subsequent rebirth
After his death due to being eaten by a huge fish, Lam-ang's bones were recovered and he was resurrected with the help of his magical pet. Ines was ordered by the rooster to wrap the bones with her tapis while the hen flapped its wings and the dog was growling. In an instant, Lam-ang was happily reunited with his wife.
Summary of the story of Lam-ang
Centuries ago, there was a great warrior who was widely known in Ilocos as a hero who fought the Igorots. When Lam-ang was born, he had the most unusual ability to speak immediately at birth. He immediately asked where his father was, and, upon being informed that his father was killed by Igorots, Lam-ang vowed revenge: A vendetta was born.
Lam-ang grew up immediately, and went up into the mountains to take his vengeance. Alone, he fought off dozens of Igorot warriors, defeating them all. He cut off the ears of the warriors, as trophies, and returned to Ilocos. He then met and was captivated by a beautiful woman named Ines, and he immediately fell in love. He pledged her all of his gold, land, and livestock.
Naturally, as the most beautiful woman in the province, Ines had many suitors, but all quietly gave way to Lam-ang, since they knew that they could not compete with him for her affections. All except a giant of a man, named Sumarang, who would not yield. So, Lam-ang and Sumarang fought, and Lam-ang won, easily defeating Sumarang.
Lam-ang and Ines were married with the largest wedding feast that ever been seen in the province. In order to secure the union’s blessing, Lam-ang was informed that he must dive down to the very depths of the sea and retrieve a pearl from a magical oyster, otherwise the marriage would have bad luck. (Other versions say that Lam-ang went to fish for a rare fish called rarang.) So Lam-ang dove into the sea and, on his way down, was eaten by a fearsome fish called the Berkaken.
Heartbroken, Ines went into mourning, as did most of the town, as Lam-ang was their hero. The next day, Lam-ang’s rooster, who had magical powers (Lam-ang also owned a magic dog and cat), spoke to Ines, and told her to have Lam-ang’s bones fished out of the sea. Ines did as she was instructed, bringing Lam-ang’s bones before the rooster, who then blew on them.
In 2012, it was recently made into a movie adaptation called "Lam-Ang" which will be led by actors Rocco Nacino and Rochelle Pangilinan. Since it was originally supposed to be a TV series according to some reports, it was later decided to become a movie adaptation instead. -by Gabriel Lorenzo Quizon