BIAG NI LAM-ANG (Life of Lam-ang) is a pre-Hispanic epic poem of the Ilocano people of the Philippines. The story was handed down orally for generations before it was written down around 1640 assumedly by a blind Ilokano bard named Pedro Bucaneg.
BUOD NG OF BIAG NI LAM-ANG
(SUMMARY OF BIAG NI LAM-ANG)
Don Juan and his wife Namongan lived in Nalbuan, now part of La Union in the northern part of the Philippines. They had a son named Lam-ang. Before Lam-ang was born, Don Juan went to the mountains in order to punish a group of their Igorot enemies. While he was away, his son Lam-ang was born. It took four people to help Namongan give birth. As soon as the baby boy popped out, he spoke and asked that he be given the name Lam-ang. He also chose his godparents and asked where his father was.
After nine months of waiting for his father to return, Lam-ang decided he would go look for him. Namongan thought Lam-ang was up to the challenge but she was sad to let him go. During his exhausting journey, he decided to rest for awhile. He fell asleep and had a dream about his father’s head being stuck on a pole by the Igorot. Lam-ang was furious when he learned what had happened to his father. He rushed to their village and killed them all, except for one whom he let go so that he could tell other people about Lam-ang’s greatness.
Upon returning to Nalbuan in triumph, he was bathed by women in the Amburayan river. All the fish died because of the dirt and odor from Lam-ang’s body.
There was a young woman named Ines Kannoyan whom Lam-ang wanted to woo. She lived in Calanutian and he brought along his white rooster and gray dog to visit her. On the way, Lam-ang met his enemy Sumarang, another suitor of Ines whom he fought and readily defeated.
Lam-ang found the house of Ines surrounded by many suitors all of whom were trying to catch her attention. He had his rooster crow, which caused a nearby house to fall. This made Ines look out. He had his dog bark and in an instant the fallen house rose up again. The girl’s parents witnessed this and called for him. The rooster expressed the love of Lam-ang. The parents agreed to a marriage with their daughter if Lam-ang would give them a dowry valued at double their wealth. Lam-ang had no problem fulfilling this condition and he and Ines were married.
It was a tradition to have a newly married man swim in the river for the rarang fish. Unfortunately, Lam-ang dove straight into the mouth of the water monster Berkakan. Ines had Marcos get his bones, which she covered with a piece of cloth. His rooster crowed and his dog barked and slowly the bones started to move. Back alive, Lam-ang and his wife lived happily ever after with his white rooster and gray dog.
Pedro Bukaneg is one of the colorful figures in the history of the Philippines, particularly in the annals of Samtoy (ancient name of Ilocos, or Ylukon to the neighboring regions). From meager written sources and abundant oral traditions, biographers are able to weave the elusive strands of his life and remarkable achievements. They rhapsodized him as the first Ilokano man-ofletters. As Bukaneg reached manhood, he proved to be a remarkable Ilokano who was well liked and appreciated by the Augustinian friars. A gifted linguist, he mastered Latin, Spanish, Ilokano and Itneg (Tinggian) languages. The authorship of Biag ni Lam-ang, the famous Ilokano epic, was attributed to him by some authors. This was, however, a disputed issue. For the epic poem, containing 294 stanzas, about 1,500 lines, and the syllables of each line range from six to 12, was chanted by the Ilokano folks since pre-Spanish times.
OTHER LITERARY WORK Kaputotan ni Pedro Bucaneg Maibunubon, Agrusing ket tumanor latta Iti minuyongan ti kasaluyotan Sumarsaruno a kaputotan Ni Pedro Bucaneg. Ta uray saanton nga agtaraok Dagiti kawitan iti parbangon Malukagto latta ni Saluyot Baet narnekan a turog Ket idaniwnanto lattat’ kinasaluyotna. Agbukar a kas maysa a rosas Iti hardin ti prosa ken literatura Agsantak ket agadiwara ti banglona Ket tagibenennanto ti talugading A tawidna ken Pedro Bucaneg. Wen, maisarusar latta dagiti bin-i a binatog Maitukit ket agrusing iti muging dagiti tumantanor a mannaniw. PLOT OF BIAG NI LAM-ANG 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. CHARACTERS OF THE STORY Lam-ang – the son of Don Juan and Namongan Don Juan – the father of Lam-ang Namongan – wife of Don Juan Ines Kannoyan – wife of Lam-ang Sumarang – the enemy of Lam-ang Marcos – the diver who retrieves and recovers the bones of Lam-ang SETTING OF THE STORY In the town of Malbuan, in the rich valley of the Naguilian river. THEME OF THE STORY Childhood is not a hindrance to Success.