Elena Laniog choreographers. An extraordinary festival of performance design, including exhibitions, performances and diverse events,attracted over 15, visitors from 71 countries. The musical revolves around Labaw Donggon, a demigod in an epic poem called the Hinilawod from the island of Panay in the Philippines. It chronicles his quest for three wives, his subsequent defeat from Saragnayan the Lord of Darkness , his salvation by his two sons, and the eventual realization of his own vanity and pride being his greatest enemies.
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MainMenu Link Contents Link. Prev Next List. Chanting epics is a traditional practice in the heart of the island of Panay in central Philippines. One of these is the Sulod epic of Hinilawod. The epic has two cycles: Labaw Donggon and Humadapnon.
This deity has a husband named Buyung Paubari. Three handsome sons are born to them. These are Labaw Donggon, Humadapnon and Dumalapdap. These three brothers are born with extraordinary powers.
For example, as soon as they are delivered into this world, they are strong and mature men. They also possess the power of speech. Shortly after birth, Labaw Donggon tells his mother that he is going on a journey to look for the beautiful maiden named Anggoy Ginbitinan. She lives in Handog, a place located at the mouth of the river Halawod. Abyang Alunsina gives her consent with extreme reluctance because she knows that her son is hardly a day old. To insure the safety of the young Labaw Donggon, she gives him a magic suit.
Riding on the shoulders of the wind and traveling over the region of the clouds, Labaw Donggon reaches Handog. He is able to win the hand of Ginbitinan without much difficulty. A few weeks after his marriage to Ginbitinan, Labaw Donggon hears about another beautiful woman from the underworld — Anggoy Doronoon. Doronoon is the spirit of springs and rivers.
She is related to the well-known underworld fighter and god, Sibay Padalogdog. Labaw Donggon also wins Anggoy Doronoon without any trouble. He stays with her for some time and later returns to Handog. Again, he hears about another beautiful woman — Nagmalitung Yawa or Sinagmaling Diwata.
This woman lives at the foot of the eastern horizon. She is the wife of Buyung Saragnayan, the Keeper of Light. Asking the consent of both Doronoon and Ginbitinan, as is the custom of his day, Labaw Donggon plans to take Nagmalitung Yawa as his third wife. Plural marriages are popular and acceptable at this time. So, the mighty fighter from the eastern sky set out to win the hand of the beautiful Nagmalitung Yawa. He inquires from the new arrival what his intentions are in coming to the Land of the Dawning Sun.
So they fight. Labaw Donggon takes hold of Saragnayan and submerges him in water. It takes Labaw Donggon seven years before he brings Saragnayan up to the surface. Much to his surprise, however, Saragnayan is still alive. Then, Labaw Donggon places his adversary on top of a flat, hard stone and beats him with the trunks of coconut trees.
The body of Saragnayan, as well as the coconut trunks, turns thread-like. However, the Keeper of Light withstands the beating unharmed. Next, Labaw Donggon hurls Saragnayan up into space, holding his feet and twirling him around and around and mixing him with the clouds. However, Saragnayan still remains alive. After many years, Labaw Donggon becomes tired and exhausted.
He tries all he can in order to subdue Saragnayan but in vain. His adversary proves more powerful than he. Noting that Labaw Donggon has weakened, Saragnayan assumes an aggressive role. He wrestles with Labaw Donggon. Because the latter is exhausted, he is not able to defend himself effectively. Saragnayan ties the hands and the feet of Labaw Donggon and imprisons him inside a pigpen underneath his kitchen. Meanwhile, down in the underworld, Anggoy Doronoon gives birth to a handsome boy.
She names him Buyung Baranugon. Like his father, Baranugon is able to talk immediately after he has seen the light of day. He insists that his mother allow him to look for his father, Labaw Donggon, in spite of the fact that his umbilical cord is still uncut. Anggoy Doronoon vehemently objects. However, Baranugon is determined to search for his father. As a child, Asu Mangga possesses magic powers.
He shows skills in fighting. Like Baranugon, he also insists that his mother allow him to look for his father whom he has not seen since he was born. With a heavy heart, Anggoy Ginbitinan permits her son to search for Labaw Donggon. Asu Mangga and Baranugon meet on the way. Asu Mangga is riding on a magic boat, while Baranugon is walking on the sea as though it were land.
Great waves break to give him way. They see their father imprisoned under the kitchen of Saragnayan. Angered by this, Baranugon challenges Saragnayan to a fight. He advises Baranugon to go home to his mother; however, the latter insists on fighting with him.
The first encounter is a contest of the power of their respective charms or pamlang. Recognizing the power of his adversary, Saragnayan calls for help from other supernatural beings. Groups of spirits from all parts of the universe come. They are all armed to the last man. Upon seeing this army of fighters making a formation to attack, Baranugon and Asu Mangga push their black magic boat a little away from the shore.
Baranugon and Asu Mangga take their own bows and poisoned arrows. With the help of the powerful magic that their mothers have given them, Baranugon and Asu Mangga are able to kill all their enemies.
For every arrow they shoot into the air, a number of men are killed. Everyone is killed except Saragnayan. Baranugon tells his brother, Asu Mangga, that he will take care of Saragnayan. His anger over the fact that Saragnayan put his father in prison has not been appeased by the laughter of the thousands of men who had come to help the Keeper of Light.
The two brothers bring their boat back to the shore. Baranugon runs ashore and wrestles with the gigantic Saragnayan. With the agility of a wild boar, Baranugon wards off the blows of Saragnayan. They fight hard. However, Baranugon finds out that Saragnayan cannot be killed. So, he sends his spirit friends to his grandmother, Abyang Alunsina, for help. Alunsina tells Baranugon through the spirits that the only way to overcome Saragnayan is to kill and eat the heart of the wild pig in Paling Bukid where Saragnayan keeps his breath.
With the use of the charm, called lumay, Baranugon and Asu Mangga leave the exhausted but unbeatable Saragnayan. They are able to locate the wild pig, kill it, and eat its heart. After they have partaken of the wild boar, they return. All of a sudden, Saragnayan becomes weak. He knows his end has come. Knowing that he is doomed, Saragnayan asks Baranugon to allow him to see Nagmalitung Yawa for the last time.
His request is granted. The Keeper of Light bids goodbye to his wife, at the same time advising her to obey whatever Labaw Donggon desires of her. He also puts her to sleep so that she cannot witness the bloody battle. He gathers himself with all the powers that he can muster to stand his ground.
Baranugon shoots him with a poisoned arrow. Saragnayan is hit in both eyes and gives a very loud cry. The force of his voice breaks the trees and the bamboo tops. The world trembles and darkens. This is the first earthquake and the first night.
When the fight is over, Baranugon and Asu Mangga look for their father in order to take him home. Labaw Donggon is gone. He cannot be located. The two brothers therefore proceed home, thinking that their father might have gone home ahead.
But they find Labaw Donggon is not there.
The Epic of Labaw Donggon
Hinilawod is an epic poem orally transmitted from early inhabitants of a place called Sulod in central Panay , Philippines. The epic must have been commonly known to the Visayans of Panay before the conquest, since its main protagonists, like Labaw Donggon, were noted in the accounts of the Islanders' beliefs and recorded by early Spanish colonizers. These worshippers would stealthily enter a certain cave in Dingle in the evening of a certain day of the year, in order to render homage and to offer chickens, doves, rice, bananas, and pigs to the ancient Visayan god. Hinilawod is a 29,verse epic that takes about three days to chant in its original form, making it one of the longest epics known, alongside that of Tibet's Epic of King Gesar. Hinilawod is one of the many pieces of oral literature passed from one generation to the next, changed and morphed by the chanter to one degree or another as he told it to his audience. The Hinilawod is not just a literary piece but also a source of information about culture, religion and rituals of the ancient people of Sulod; showing us that ancient Filipinos believed in the "sacred," in the importance of family honour and in personal courage and dignity.
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