Ibalong Festival who was accompanied by three legendary heroes, namely Baltog, Handyong, and Bantong

The Ibalong Festival is a non-religious festival in Legazpi City, Albay, Philippines based on the Ibalong Epic, and is held on August. The festival celebrates the epic story Ibalong who was accompanied by three legendary heroes, namely Baltog, Handyong, and Bantong. People parade in the streets wearing masks and costumes to imitate the appearances of the heroes and the villains, portraying the classic battles that made their way into the history of Bicol. The Ibalong Festival aims to express warmth and goodwill to all people; visitors and tourists are encouraged to celebrate with the Bicolanos. The Ibalong Festival is also known as the Ibalon Festival.

The annual festival’s name was inspired by the popular legend that regales visitors with tales of the city’s pre-colonial past. As part of the cultural celebrations, the festival is also held as a celebration of the locals’ tenacity. Legazpi city is prone to typhoons that regularly wreck devastation, yet it is simply amazing the kind of resilience that the locals portray. As with many festivals in the Philippines, the center of attraction at the Ibalong Festival is the synchronized dance parades on the city’s streets. The most spectacular thing about these dances is the majestic backdrop of the iconic Mayon Volcano. The dances are also a great place to interact with the locals. How to attend ibalong festival? From manila take a flight or bus to Legaspi Bicol Albay. By bus estimate travel time 9 to 12 hours, bus fare from 700 to 1000 pesos it depends on the bus class. By airplane estimate travel time about an hour, airplane fare from 3000 to 6000 pesos it depends on the flight class. Ibalong storyline. The epic opens with Iling requesting the bard Kadunung to recount the tale of the glorious Ibálong of long ago. Forthwith Kadunung described the ancient land and spoke of its first hero, Baltog, a White Aryan, who had come from Boltavara (Bharata-varsha). He planted a linsa patch in Tondol (now in Kamalig) which, one night, was foraged by a giant wild boar (Tandayag). The furious Baltog chased the Tandayag, killed it with his bare hands, and hung its enormous jawbones on a talisay tree in front of his house in Tondol. For this marvelous feat, he was acknowledged chief of the local hunters. The clans of Panicuason and Asog came over to marvel at the monstrous wild boar in Ibálong. Next to come was Handyong. With his followers, he fought the monsters of the land. But Oryol, a wily serpent who appeared as a beautiful maiden with a seductive voice, was one whom Handyong could not destroy. Meanwhile, Oryol admired Handyong’s bravery and gallantry. Because of this, Oryol helped Handyong clear the region of ferocious beasts until peace came to the whole of the land. With Ibálong rid of wild creatures, Handyong turned to making wise laws and planting the land to linsa and rice. A period of the invention followed: boat, farming tools, weaving looms, claywares, kitchen utensils, tree houses, and even a syllabary. Together, the people built a society with culture. It was a golden period in Ibálong when even slaves were respected under the laws of Handyong. Then came a great flood, freed by Unos, that changed the features of the land. Three volcanoes, named Hantik, Kulasi, and Isarog erupted simultaneously. Inundations caused lands to sink, from which Lake Buhi came about, or rise, as in the strip of seacoast in Pasacao, Camarines Sur, and wiped out many settlements, especially the Dagatnong settlement in the Kalabangan Gulf. The Malbogong Islet formed in the Bikol River.

The Inarihan River altered its course. A lofty mountain sank at Bato, forming a lake. Despite the calamities, Ibálong grew powerful under Old Chief Handyong, whose constant companion and good friend, by then, was the young Bantong. Although given a thousand men to destroy the half man and half beast Rabot, who could change its enemies into rocks, Bantong slew it single-handedly – to the loud cheers of his thousand warriors that reverberated throughout the forests and mangroves swamps. Brought to Ligmanan, the corpse of Rabot was horrible to behold. The Great Handyong himself was shocked at the sight. At this point, the Ibálong epic-fragment ends abruptly, and Kadunung promises to continue the story some other time. The curious ending of the Ibálong. The fragmentary epic ended at that part where Bantong killed the fierce half-man and beast, Rabot. Curiously, Handyong was saddened by Rabot’s death. In her study of the Ibalong Epic, the Bikol scholar, Ma. Lilia F. Realubit, explained that the reason behind this is that Handyong might have “mourned the passing of an era, when men were proved men by monsters and the skill of the hunt, when magic and ceremonial incantations infused life and explained his questions about life and nature and the supernatural.” She also added that Handyong could have “correctly foresaw the coming of a new age and aptly mourned the death of his time.” Meanwhile, some others speculate that he foresaw the subjugation and destitution of his people under a less benevolent leader – as what, indeed, happened under the Spanish colonial rule.

#IbalongFestival, #ophirph


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