By Luis G. Dato

In ancient times our people lived under their own kings,
Malayan sultans, rajahs of whom no bard now sings,
In this our Bikol region in centuries bygone,
They, too, had their own rulers, the kings of Ibalon.
Then came Castilla’s warriors who had the same old thing,
And Bikol bowed to Spanish, instead of kings, one king.
And they dethroned Bathala as well and brought the Cross,
But what we lost in freedom, Faith made up for the loss.
And then across the ocean Columbia came to rule,
She brought new laws, her language, democracy, the school,
She vanquished us but promised one day to set us free,
And Truman World War after proclaimed our liberty.

But free or subjugated, we kept from age to age
Our pristine creeds, our customs, our Malay heritage,
For ages immemorial our nation brave and free
One shining law has honored in changeless majesty.
The law: that men love ever and give allegiance due
To beauty when its presence they come upon to view.
Like other lands we cherish the beautiful and fair
Of sound and hue and figure that God shows everywhere
The golden day at dawning, the setting of the sun,
The starry host of Heaven, a radiant sun each one,
The green plains and blue mountains, the lakes so crystal clear,
The arch of sky blue-tinted, the streams that murmur near,

The gardens filled with flowers that tell of Nature’s art,
And zephyr perfume-laden that soothes the weary heart.
But fairer far than mountains, or rise or set of sun,
Or crystal lake or river, or star when day is done,
More fragrant than the lilies, more lovely than the rose,
Was Eve in Eden fashioned, man’s bliss and soul-repose.
And true to Hi s intention, the feminine has been
Man’s deathless inspiration, his muse, his light serene,
And though men through their women turned sinners, meeting death,
The nations won back Heaven, fired by a woman’s faith.
Be they of Shri-Visaya or Madjapahit race,
They lived and won their battles, but yielded to her grace.

It matters not what region, what creed or race of man,
The fair has held dominion since life on earth began.
And so, tonight, Queen fairest of Minalabac dear,
We but repeat here only what history makes clear:
The crown your brow adorning is but the symbol bright
Of this our love eternal, the ages’ deathless light,
For brighter far than jewels of any crown on earth,
More radiant than the splendor of gems of priceless worth,
O Elenor, brown goddess, is this that we bestow,
Our gift of lifelong homage that from our spirit flow.
Dear Queen and pure princesses, sweet gifts you be from God,
You stand as radiant symbols of this our native sod.

Who drawing breath still mortal will answer not your cry,
Remembering your beauty of face and form and eye,
Their homes and loved ones leave not to arms and you to fly,
And jubilant, exulting for you at need to die?
The sight of you is power immortal in your reign,
The old their youth remember, the long dead live again!
May God on you His blessings shed, Elenor, sweet queen,
And make your reign the brightest kingdoms here yet seen,
And though the years be many, and though the years be long,
So long will· shine resplendent our love than death more strong.
And you, O dear princesses, Leonisa, Francia sweet,
Likewise accept the homage we all lay at your feet,
And thus may you live always forever and a day,
Until the skies have crumbled and we have turned to clay.

Luis Dato
Luis Dato

Luis G. Dato (July 4, 1906 - January 29, 1985) was a poet, writer and educator from Sta. Cruz, Baao, Camarines Sur. He published books in English including Manila A Collection of verse (1926), My Book of Verses (1936) and the Land of Mai in 1975. He also wrote several books and text in Bikol such as, Vocabulario Bikol-Ingles-Kastila (1963), Cantahon na Bikol (1969), Morfologia kan Tataramon na Bikol (serialized in Naga Times), Patotodon sa Bikol (Bikol Mail) and Sarabihon sa Bikol.

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