Handiong: Epic of Bicolandia Translation

by Stephen Cenon D. Talla

Handiong or the Ibalon Bikolano epic was transcribed by a Franciscan missionary Bernardino de Melendreras from a Bikolano bard. In 1895, Fray Jose Castaño published the short fragment. It is said the the epic, originally 400, only had sixty stanzas upon publication of Fray Castaño. It is unfortunate, however, that the original Bikol version was lost or, probably, was never written.

In the early 1970s, Luis G. Dato translated the Handiong Bikolano epic1Florentino H. Hornedo Philippine Studies Vol. 32, No. 4 (Fourth Quarter 1984), pp. 526-528 from the Spanish version2Cultura filipina vol. 3-4: Manila 1912-1913 of Fray Jose Castaño to English, which he called, Handiong: Epic of Bicolandia.


Fray Jose Castaño (Spanish version)

ILING.

Cuenta, Cadugnung, la historia
de los tiempos de Handiong
con esa lira de plata
dulce encanto del Aslon.

Que solo cantar tu puedes
tanta belleza y primor,
tantos ocultos misterios
como encierra esta region.

Canta, y dinos de sus reyes
La prosapia y el valor,
La guerra, que sostuvieron
hasta vencer a la Oriol.

Dinos tambien por tu vida
la historia del viejo Asog,
la del joven Masaraga,
la del vetusto Isarog.

Que tu fuiste el tierno vale,
el mas dulce y seductor
de cuantos vieron el lago
que a la Tacay sepulto.

Canta, pues, que atentos todos
a tu hermosa narracion,
sentados aqui nos tienes
a la sombra de un daod.

CADUGNUNG.

Oid, pues, hijos del Bicol,
dijo Cadugnung veloz;
los hechos del viejo suelo
patria hermosa de Handiong.

Es el Bicol una tierra
Llana, feraz, de aluvion;
del mundo la mas hermosa,
la mais rica en produccion.

Fue Baltog el primer hombre
que en esta tierra habito,
oriundo de Botawara,
de la raza de Lipod.

Al Bicol llego siguiendo
un jabali muy feroz,
que sus sembrados de linza
una noche destruyo.

Cuando le tuvo acosado
al suelo tiro el lanzon,
y con sus brazos herculeos
las quijadas le partio.

Cada quijada tenia
una vara de largor
y los colmillos dos tercios
del hasta de su lanzon.

Al volver a sus Estados
los dos quijadas colgo
de un talisay gigantesco
en su casa de Tondol.

A los viejos cazadores
causaron admiracion
estos trofeos gloriosos
de su rey el gran Baltog.

Fueron a verlos las tribus
de Panicuason y Asog;
y dijeron, que, en sus dias.
no hubo jabali mayor.

Le llamaron el Tandaya
de los montes de Lignion
por su exacto parecido
con el monstruo Behemot.

Despues de este vino al Bicol
con sus guerreros Handiong,
quien do monstruos la comarca
en poco tiempo limpio.

Batallas para extinguirios
mil y Inil el empeno,
de todas siemnpre saliendo
con aires de vencedor.

Los monoculos trifauces
que habitaban en Ponon,
en diez lunas sin descanso
por completo destruyo.

Los alados tiburones
y el bufalo cimarron
que por los, montes volaba
en menos tiempo amanso.

Los buayas colosales,
como los balotos de hoy,
y los fieros sarimaos
al Colasi desterro.

Las serpientes, que tenian
cual, de sirena la voz,
del Hantic en la caverna
Para, siempre sepulto.

Pero no pudo vencer.
por mas maña que se dio.
a la culebra sagaz
conocida por la Oriol.

Estaculebra, sabia
mas que el famoso Handiong
y a sus ojos fascinaba
con afable seduccion.

Mil lazos Handiong le puso
y de todos se burio,
los nudos desenredando
con sagacidad mayor.

Con palabras seductoras
muchas veces le engaño,
que en eso, de fingimientos
eran gran maestra Oriol.

Cuantas veces por el bosque
sin descanso la siguio
creyendo de la sirena
en la seduactora, voz!

Los trabaJos del gran Hercules,
las conquistas que gano,
todo hubiera firacasado
por la influencia de Oriol.

Pero, colno era inconstante,
ella misma le ayudo
para vencer a los monstruos
que infestaban la region.

Luchaba con los buayas
brazo a brazo, y vencedor
de combates tan tremendos
sin menoscabo sallo.

Los pongos y orangutanes
le miraban con horror.
porque las aguas del Bicol
con su sangre coloro.

Eran menos pendencieros
de concido valor,
pero el gigante los hizo
retirarse al Isarog.

Y libre ya de alimañas
quedando asi la region,
en dar leyes a su pueblo
coil sumo interes penso.

Handiong y sus compañeros
plantaron en un bolod
linzas, que dieron sus frutos
tal grandes como un pansol.

Tambien en un sifio bajo
sembraron el rico arroz
que de Handiong largos siglos
el sobrenombre llevo.

Hizo la primer canoa
que por el Bicol surco;
menos el timon y vela
que fueron por Guinantong.

Este invento los arados.
el peine y el pagolon;
la ganta y otras medidas,
el sacal, bolo y lando.

Los telares y argadillos
fueron obra de Hablom,
quien con asombro de todos
un dia al rey plresento.

Invento a gorgoreta,
coron, calan y paso,
y otros varios utensilios
el pigmeo Dinahon.

El alfabeto fue Sural,
quien curioso combino,
grabandole en piedra Libon
que pulimnento Gapon.

Hicieron ciudad y casas
en desigual prolporcion,
en las ramas suspenldiendolas
del banasi y camagon.

Que eran tantos los insectos,
tan excesivo el calor,
que solo en el moog podian
pasar el rigor del sol.

Y leyes mando may justas
sobre la vida y honor
a los que todos sujetos
estaban sin distincion.

Todos sus puesto guardaban,
el esclavo y el señor,
respetando los derechos
de prosapia y sucesion.

Hubo entonces un diluvio
promovido por Onos,
que el aspecto de esta tierra
por completo trastorno.

Reventaron lo volcanes
Hantic, Colasi, Isarog,
y al mismo tiempo sintiose
un espantoso temblor.

Fue tanta la sacudida,
que el mar en seco dejo
el istmo de Pasacao
del modo que se vehoy.

Separo del continente
la isleta de Malbogon
donde moran las sibilas
ilamadas Hilan, Lariong.

El caudaloso Inarihan
su curso al Este torcio,
pues, antes del cataclismo,
desagruaba por Ponion.

En Bato se hundio un gran monte
y enl su sitio, aparecio
el lago, que hoy alimenta
con su pesca a Ibalon.

Del golfo de Calabagnan
desaparecio Dagatnon,
de donde eran los dumagat
que habitaron enl Catmon.

Fue este reino poderoso
en los tiempos de Bantong,
compañero inseparable
del aguerrido Handion,

Le mando alli con mil hombres
para matar a Rabot,
medio hombre y medio fiera,
hechicero embaucador.

Todos los que alliabordaron
antes de esta expedicion.
en piedras, se convirtieron
al encanto, de Rabot.

Bantong sopu que este mago,
era un grande dormilon,
haciendolo asi de dia
sin ninguna precaucion.

Alla llevo sus soldados
en un dia de aluvion,
y antes que el despertara
de un tajo lo dividio.

Asi y todo daba gritos
con tan estentorea voz
que lo oyeron de los mangles
de bognad y camanagon.

Le Ilevaron, a Libmanan
do fue a verle el gran Handiong
y ante su vista asustado
por largo tiempo qnedo.

Pues jamas el hubo visto
un viviente tan atroz,
de figura tan horrible
ni de mas tremenda voz.

Aqui suspendio Cadugnung
su primera narracion,
dejando para otro dia
de continuarla ocasion.

Luis G. Dato (English Version)

YLING (to Kadugnung):


Kadugnung, minstrel wise,
Of Handiong’s time sing on,
With your famed silver lyre
The sweet land of Aslon,

For only you can laud
Its beauty, pristine charm,
The mysteries occult
That in the region swarm.

Sing of its kings of old,
Descent, their valor all,
The wars they waged until
They conquered old Oriol.

Recount on your dear life
The tale of old Asog,
Masaraga so young,
And ancient Isarog.

For tender bard you were,
Seductive most and sweet,
Of those who saw the lake
Where death Takay did meet.

Sing, for attentive all
Your lovely tale are we,
As seated round we list
Beneath this great, shade tree,

KADUGNUNG (Replying to YLING):

Hear, sons of Bikol, then,
Kadugnung swift replied,
The deeds of this old land,
Handiong’s loved countryside.

The Bikol is a land
Of rich, alluvial plain,
The fairest in the world,
And rich in yield of grain.

Baltog was the first man
To dwell on this great plain,
From Botarva he,
Not visible to man.

To Bikol he pursued
A fierce, wild boar in flight,
His linza plants it had
Marauded in one night,

When it he brought to bay
With spear he felled the boar,
With herculean arm
Apart its jawbones tore.

The jawbones measured quite
Or full arm’s length they were,
The fangs two-thirds the length
Of handle of his spear.

Returning to his land,
The jawbones he hung all
On a talisay tree
Near his house in Tondol.

Old hunters of the tribe
Did marvel at the sight
These glorious trophies brought
By King Baltog of might.

To view them came the tribes,
Of Panicuason and
Asog, in all their days
Had seen not beast so grand.

Tandaya they called it,
From the woods of Lignion,
It had in Behemoth
Its replica alone.

And after this Handiong
With comrades in one hand,
To Bikol came and freed
From monsters all the land.

A thousand fights he waged
Against the monsters fierce,
Victorious over them,
Each one his lance điđ pierce.

The one-eyed, three mouthed beasts
Inhabiting Ponon,
Without rest in ten months,
Without fail he brought down.

The winged sharks of the sea,
The buffalo cimarron
That past the mountains flew,
He tamed them every one.

Colossal crocodiles
The size of boats, ’twas said,
The fierce sarimaos wild,
To Mt. Colasi fled.

The serpents there who were
Like sirens in their voice,
He buried in Hantik,
Each there forever lies.

But never he subdued
Despite all craft and guile,
The snake sagacious known
By the name of Oriol.

This snake knew even more
Than famed Handiong could tell,
His eyes did exorcise
And wrought on all a spell.

A thousand knots he tied,
The snake turned far, too smart,
It disentangled all
With great, sagacious art.

With words seductive it
Handiong’s attempts would foil,
For in deceit and skill
No master had Oriol.

Many the time in chase
He trailed the woods in vain,
He thought the voice Oriol’s,
He was deceived again!

The tasks of Hercules,
Each conquest, victory
All failures would have been
By dint of witchery.

But insincere itself,
The snake Handiong helped gain
And conquer monsters all
That dwelt the Bikol plain.

They fought the crocodile,
In combat hand to hand,
In the tremendous fray,
Won Handiong and his band.

The apes, orangutans
At him looked on with dread,
The Bikol stream he tinged,
With blood he colored red.

These monkeys quarrelsome
For valor proved and known,
Handiong subdued them all,
To Isarog had flown.

From beasts of prey thus freed,
Did now the Bikol live,
Handiong proceeded then
Laws to his people give.

Handiong and all his peers
Grew linzas by a hill,
Which gave them roots as big
As beams or bigger still.

Then all the lowland plain
Palay fields all became,
Which through long centuries
Gave to Handiong great fame.

Handiong the first boat made
The Bikol coursed along,
Except the rudder, sail,
These were by Ginatong.

The comb Ginatong made,
The roller the turf broke,
The ganta, measures all,
The bolo, hoe and yoke.

The bobbin and the loom
Were fathered by Hablon,
Who all amazed one day
By these gifts to Handiong.

The water jar of clay,
The pot and kiln and bowl
Utensils various too,
Dinahon made them all.

The curious alphabet
Engraved on Libon stone,
Which Surat did continue
Was polished by Gapon.

A city rose and houses
Of various sizes hung
From the big boughs of the
Banasi, Kamagong.

The insects swarmed about,
Hot the rays of the sun,
And shelter they all sought,
In the moog alone.

Just laws Handiong decreed
Life, honor to protect,
Applied to subjects all,
No favors, no elect.

They guarded each his post,
The lord as well the slave,
Respecting all the rights
Which death and birth each gave.

By Opos (tempest) moved
To them a great flood came,
And the face of the earth
Completely changed became.

Kolasi did erupt,
Hantik and Isarog,
An awful quake was felt,
The whole world was agog.

So great the tremor was,
The sea left the land dry,
The isthmus Pasacao
Formed as we see it lie.

From the mainland was torn
The isle of Malbogon,
Where sibyls old now dwell,
Named Hilan and Lariong.

And Inarihan swerved,
To eastward wandered on,
Ere cataclysm came,
It emptied on Ponon,

In Bato a big mount
Submerged beneath the ground,
A lake that teems with fish
Now in its place is found.

From Calabanga gulf
Vanished the Dagatnon,
Whence the Dumagats came
Who then lived in Catmon.

The kingdom powerful
Was, in times of Bantong
The bosom comrade of
Embattled, great Handiong.

Handiong with thousand men
Sent him Rabot to kill
Who was half-man, half-beast,
And yet a wizard still.

For those who landed there
Ere came ashore Bantong,
Rabot enchantment wove,
And turned them all to stone.

Bantong knew all too well
Rabot slept, it was said,
Most of the time of day
With no precaution made.

With his men came Bantong
When there was flood one day,
And ere Rabot could wake
He is sundered body lay.

They gave stentorian shout,
Bantong and all his throng,
The mangroves heard them all,
The banga, Kamagong.

They to Libmanan brought
The corpse for great Handiong
To see, and at the sight
He was so shocked and long.

For never man had been
Of such atrocious guise,
Such figure horrible,
Or such horrendous voice.

And here Kadungung stopped
The first part of his lay,
On some occasion next
To end some other day.

Footnotes

  • 1
    Florentino H. Hornedo Philippine Studies Vol. 32, No. 4 (Fourth Quarter 1984), pp. 526-528
  • 2
    Cultura filipina vol. 3-4: Manila 1912-1913
Stephen Cenon
Stephen Cenon

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