Thursday, August 23, 2012


Ramon Guillermo
Former Visiting Research Fellow,
Dept. of Filipino and Philippine Literature
University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City
The recent sensational discovery of two stones inscribed in the ancient Philippine baybayin script on Ticao island in the Visayas has generated a flurry of questions and speculations among Philippine scholars and in the popular imagination. A major Philippine television station has even done a few segments on the discovery and is currently putting together a more substantial documentary. These are the first stones inscribed with the clearly identifiable baybayin script to have ever been found in the Philippines. One of the stones is a roughly triangular slab measuring approximately 57 cm long, 44 cm wide and 11 cm thick weighing around 30 kilos. The smaller stone is oblong in shape with dimensions of 20 x 18 cm and 6 cm thick. The larger slab has writing on both sides. The inscription on one side has 56 symbols while its opposite face has 86. The smaller stone has writing only on one side with a total of around 16 symbols. Some parts of the inscription on the large tablet have been damaged and it is possible that parts of the stone may have broken off on both the left and right sides.

The baybayin is a type of alphasyllabary or abugida writing system which ultimately traces its provenance, like the majority of Southeast Asian scripts, to Southern India. The word “baybay” for its part means “to spell” though it could also refer to “seashore.” Each symbol in the script stands for a consonant combined with a vowel with a default value of “a.” Depending on the position of a diacritical mark called “kudlit” above or below the symbol, it can be followed by an “e” or an “o.” The Tagalog baybayin has a total of 17 symbols. The first European chroniclers who arrived in the Philippines such as Pedro Chirino and Antonio de Morga recorded the popular use of this script among the inhabitants of the archipelago. Indeed, one of the first books printed in the Philippines in Tagalog, the Doctrina Christiana (1593) was printed with a xylographic press in both roman and baybayin scripts. An attempt in 1620 by the Spanish friar, Francisco  Lopez, to add a cross-shaped “virama” symbol, or vowel killer, in order to facilitate the writing of independent consonants and make the reading of the script easier did not prevent the roman alphabet from eventually gaining dominance. Very few fragments, letters and signatures written on paper have survived to the present day. Philippine nationalists and revolutionaries in the 19th century evinced a fascination with these early writings systems as proof of an advanced “pre-colonial” Philippine civilization. Today, the baybayin system does not have any widespread contemporary use. Children are exposed to it only in the most perfunctory manner in schools and do not actually learn it. Perhaps its main use today is as a type of ornamental font used by various government and non-government organizations or even as logos for commercial enterprises. As part of a “cultural revivalism” of sorts in the digital domain, a “baybayin community” has sprung up in the Internet where mainly the artistic and cultural value of baybayin is celebrated by means of fonts, tattoos and other paraphernalia of interest to young Filipinos living in various parts of the world in search of their roots. Only the Mangyan and Tagbanua ethnic minorities continue to use their baybayin-type scripts as part of their persistent though increasingly endangered writing traditions.
The two stones had actually been dug up by elementary students within the grounds of the Rizal Elementary School located in the municipality of Monreal on Ticao Island, Masbate more than 10 years ago (2000). During the intervening period, the stones had just been placed near the entrance of a classroom and used to wipe the mud off the slippers and shoes of the students and teachers. It was only last April of this year that the new principal, Virgie Espares Almodal, realized the value of the stones for the community. She realized that these could be a source of pride among students who could be taught by means of these that their ancestors were not illiterates but possessed their own writings. Some grade school students were immediately put to work cleaning the stones. However, these untrained “restorers” unfortunately used a sharp metal implement (allegedly a nail), to make the symbols “clearer.” Almodal then had the stones exhibited on a specially built stand in front of the school for a few weeks. It was only after some members of the community had voiced concerns that the stones might be stolen were these taken down and deposited in a safer place.
Prof. Francisco Datar, a native of nearby Magallanes, Sorsogon, was then contacted by a relative on the island who thought he might be interested in taking a look at the stones. Prof. Datar, who teaches at the Department of Anthropology at the University of the Philippines at Diliman, Quezon City, made a preliminary survey and immediately informed the Philippine National Museum about the find. He then quickly formed the “UP Ticao, Masbate Anthropological Project Team” consisting mainly of his colleagues Prof. Ricardo Nolasco (Dept. of Linguistics, UP Diliman), Arnold Azurin  (UP Archeological Studies Program), Ramon Guillermo (Department of Filipino and Philippine Literature, UP-Diliman) and Myfel Joseph Paluga (Department of Social Sciences, UP-Mindanao).

Due to the problematic circumstances of discovery, it is only right that the scientific community should be guarded about issues of authenticity surrounding the inscribed stones. However, it is still too early to make any definitive statement about these questions in either a positive or negative direction. More detailed work still has to be done in order to clarify the various mysteries clouding the provenance of the stones and the nature of the actual inscriptions themselves. Very few artifacts have been discovered in the Philippines bearing evidence of the ancient scripts which were once said to have been widely used on the islands. Indeed, the lack of reliable information about another famous artifact with baybayin writing, the so-called Calatagan pot, which was discovered in 1961, has led to perennial and unresolved questions about its authenticity. Lingering doubts about the actual origin of the so-called Laguna Copperplate, dated 900 AD, in Sanskrit and Javanese language and written in the Kawi writing system but found in Laguna Province of Luzon island, continue to persist. A more recent discovery, this time excavated in situ in an archeological site in Intramuros, Manila, is another pot with an inscription on the shoulder which seems to be in yet another still unknown script. Other objects  with short fragments of text have also been found but have never been read due to the lack of knowledge about their seemingly sui generis scripts. Due to the paucity of baybayin samples from the ancient past, the field of palaeography has never been as developed in the Philippines as it has been in Indonesia which possesses a much richer store of ancient inscriptions on copper, stone and other materials.

Fieldwork on Ticao island itself was conducted by the UP team a few weeks after Prof. Datar’s announcement of the discovery. Dozens of interviews were conducted among community members in order to cross-check and verify the accounts of the individuals directly involved in the discovery of the stones. Anthropological site mapping was done by Prof. Paluga of the vicinity where the stones were said to have been found in order to look for traces of where dwellings may have existed in the past.
Finally, the team also strove to get as accurate as possible images of the writing in order to develop faithful transcriptions of the inscriptions. Prof. Datar also brought in a group of physicists led by Prof. Maricor Soriano who did 3D imaging of the inscriptions in order to help settle some unresolved problems in transcription and in order to make the most accurate possible record of the inscriptions.
The results of the fieldwork have not yet uncovered any prima facie evidence pointing to the possibility that the inscribed stones are a hoax or a deliberate forgery. Therefore, the most pressing question which the researchers currently face are the probable dates of provenance of the inscribed stones.

Some characteristics of the inscriptions such as the seeming presence of spaces between words, the lack of vertical bars usually separating phrases and sentences in baybayin text, and the presence of diacritical marks with an outwardly similar appearance to the cross-shaped “virama” symbol introduced during the Spanish era, seem to belie a pre-colonial origin.

However, it might still be prudent to not immediately foreclose such a possibility until the inscriptions themselves can be read and the ambiguous symbols and diacritical marks given more or less certain individual values. Several anomalous features such as the apparent lack of diacritical marks on one side of the large tablet and perceptible divergences in character sets used in the inscriptions on the opposite faces of the large tablet raise even more questions. Were the two sides of the large stone slab inscribed by different persons at different times? Is the inscription on the smaller stone contemporaneous with those on the large tablet or is it from another place and time? 20th or even 20th century dates of provenance for the inscriptions might also not be out of the question.

Though there is as yet no complete proposed reading of the stones, some word-forms have been identified which strongly indicate that the stones may be written in a Visayan language with probable traces of the local Ticaonon language. Some word-forms which seem to surface in the text are apparent borrowings from Malay and Javanese such as “bahaya” (danger) which in modern Visayan is “baya.” Other possible word-forms are “batahala” and “balahala” which are names for an ancient Visayan deity which in its original Javanese form is “barahala” but is rendered today as “bathala” in modern Visayan. Other possible word-forms in Visayan and the local language seem to point to a ritual or religious usage of the stones.

If the style of the inscriptions and some lexical traits are taken at face value, questions might be raised as to how a variant of the baybayin system very similar to the Tagalog system, with apparent spacings between words and “virama” looking diacritical marks arrived on the island of Ticao, Masbate? Moreover, how is it possible that it should contain ostensibly archaic lexical items of a seemingly non-Christian derivation (if these are indeed valid readings)? A theory which might account for these questions is a possible connection to 18th century religious revivalisms and so-called “nativist revolts” in the Visayas. However, the anthropological and historical contextual frame of such a theory still has to be constructed, and this task must necessarily be accomplished around a plausible reading of the inscriptions that can overcome and explain their purported anomalous characteristics. Other promising research directions must also be identified and pursued in a collaborative and interdisciplinary manner.

However one cannot discount the possibility that the authenticity of the “Baybayin Stones” of Ticao may never be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties. These may also turn out to be of a more recent origin than may be acceptable to those who wish for an earlier date in the distant past. Whatever may be the case, this discovery may jolt the Philippine scholarly community to give more attention to developing baybayin studies with greater historical and anthropological depth. These inscribed stones may also provide certain new and exciting perspectives on the study of Visayan history. Finally, it might provide a channel through which young people and schoolchildren might learn more about their own history and culture.

The UP Ticao-Masbate Anthropological Project Team, with some other invited speakers knowledgeable on the subject, discussed their preliminary results with a conference held on August 5-6, 2011 on the island itself. The other convenors of the conference are the Department of Education (Region 5), the Local Government of Monreal, Masbate, the Masbate Provincial Government, the National Museum and 170+ Talaytayan MLE Incorporated. Another conference will also be held in Manila in the coming months.


An Lokdô nin Libmanan sarong takop nin tapayan-na-lulubngan na nakotkot sa Poro o Bigaho, Libmanan, Camarines Sur kan taon 1982. Pigtutubod na ini tunay na relikyang gikan pa sa soanoy na panahon kan Kabikolan.

An lokdô may 32 na sentimetro an kalakbangan, guminatak na sa duwang pidaso asin may mahihiling sa ibabaw garo mga pigura nin buaya, usa, damulag, halas, mangkô asin man pigura nin tawo. asbp.

Sarong etnolohista na si Dr. Zeus Salazar nagsurat nin libro manongod kaining lokdô na ini ("Liktao at Epiko", 2004) asin saiyang pagtubod nanggad na ini ginibo pa kan soanoy pang panahon.

Sa tangâ mismo kan takop may garo torre (kahoy na nagsaranga, paghuna ni Dr. Maria Lilia Realubit) na itsurang pagoda asin sa poon kani sa sarong gilid igwang hitsurang lalawgon-saldang na may mga tingraw na naka-palibot.

Dai pa determinado kun ini talaga gikan sa soanoy na panahon nin huli ta dai pa nag-agi sa inaapod na carbon dating sabi ngani kan Curator kan Museo del Seminario Conciliar na si G. Fabiana Arejola y masakit na ngani madeterminar ta kun in situ ini nakua, kuta idtong mga relikyas sa palibot kaini na organiko arog kan bungô, tu'lang o iba pang mga fossils sa paralibot pwedeng i-agi sa sinasabing carbon dating na matungod kan panahon nin pagkagibo kan artifak. Alagad an metodo ni Dr. Salazar iyo an pagkumpara kaini sa iba-ibang mga lokdô asin tapayan na nakotkot sa mga lungib siring sa Calatagan igdi sa Filipinas asin sa ibang parte kan Asya.

Si Salazar nagbutas man nin opinion na sa lokdô na ini igdi maririraw asin matatalâ an istorya kan epikong Ibalong asin an kahadean ni Handyong yaon nakasentro sa Libmanan. Ipinamugtak ni Salazar na an pagkagurang kan lokdô yaon sa pag-oltan kan 5,000 B.K. sungdô 10 A.D.



In 1982, a team from the Archeology Division of the National Museum went to Aguit-it to conduct archeological investigation of reported burial sites. Exploration and controlled diggings led to the recovery of human bones, teeth, pottery, metal objects, glass beads and stone anvils.

The earthware vessels or pots and jars found can be divided into whole pieces and sherds. Analysis showed that they were well made because of the complex designs and forms as well as the fine texture of the jars and pots. The pots can also be divided into secondary burial jars or containers for PABAON.

Iron objects were also found in the site. These were already corroded but the form can still be seen. there were knives and bolo as well as chisel.

Glass beads of different colors were also found. There were blue, red and yellow beads. Stone anvils were also recovered.

The iron objects, glass beads, stone anvils and some of the pots were found together with the human bones and teeth. These were placed with the dead person as a PABAON to the dead person so he has something to bring with him in his journey to the afterlife.

An analysis was conducted on these associated materials and were found to belong to the LATE METAL AGE, CA 500 AD - 800 AD. This shows that the Aguit-it burial sites are PREHISTORIC.


Nag-iitok an istorya sa pagminoroot-mootan ninda Baltog asin Daragang taga-Isarog.


Kan an malabsay na salog nag-ating makuri
An tubig na tabang dai na nagbobolos
An pagsabot kan iba may sumpa an langit
Kaya nagpondo na an biyaya kan salog

Inin si Sugitan totoong babayi
Alagad matanos mag ugid kan rason
Inin pigngangalas na pag ati kan salog
Sa oroistorya dai nanggad nagtobod.

Kaya sarong hapon mantang nasa salog
Kairiba an kadaragahan duman sa bulod
Nagdarakop sindang tabagwang asin boyod
Na palna-kadakul sa sarimamaw na tolog.

Nagparolokso-lukso sa ibabaw kan gapo
Hastang makarayo sa mga kaibahan
An toyo bakong buyod o tabagwang
Kundi an isihon kun ano an rason.

Ta an tubig sa enotan garo natatapaan
Mantang an daraga nagbabaktas duman
Sa gilid kan salog si Baltog otodoy man
Nagpapahingalo sa likod kan kagapoan.

Mantang tiglilinig an dugo sa sundang
Sa enot na mansay sa daragang nag-agi
Paghona ni Baltog tagulipdan ini.

Mantang inaalon kan doros nin kadlagan
An buhok asin gubing kaining namasdan
Pagmati ni Baltog abot saiya an hayahay
Mala ta daghan na dai pa lamang nabukas
Sa maski kiisay na pinapadangat
Nabatobalani kan daragang iyan.
Tolos binayaan an gakod-gakod
Baboydamo asin amid na nagkadarakop
Tulos na sinulod sa gilid kan kagapoan
An pusong nakadulag nalomay ni Sugitan.
Kun ining daraga totoong tagulipdan
O kun igwang sumpang arog ki Oryol man
Daing sukat na diskubrehon kun ano an toyo
Andam inin sundang kun igwang peligro.

Isay na magurang an totoong magtotogot
Bayaan sa kadlagan an daragang magayon
Na nagsosolo asin daing proteksyon
O pag-iribang masurog kun may remalaso.
Daing pagkaaram ini si Sugitan
May pades nin matang nagsusunod man
Sa balyo kan mga kagapoan
Masirot si Baltog sige man an sunod.

Inin paggamiaw kan daragang ogis
Duman an atensyon sa enotan kan batis
Huli ta nakatanaw nin silyab sa gapo
Na garo nagtapa nagsagop kan tubig
Kaya dai nagbobolos sa mga bakilid.

Kan makarani na totoong nahiling
Sarong halabang bagay an duman nakasagop
Sa balyo kainin trosong sinasabot
Bastante an tubig na pinagmamawot.

Kundi nagngangalas inin si Sugitan
Kun panong nakasagop an bagay na idto duman
Mahalnas, maitom, makintab an kublit
Garo batbat an ibabaw pambihira an hugis.

Sa kasisibot na makakua nin tubig
Pinorbaran an minasbad kun magtadom
Sa katitigbas kaini saka nagbongkaras
An trosong paghona saro palan halas.
Sawang kardakula inin tuminapa
Kaya dai nagbobolos an tubig sa ibaba
Pag olanto kan tubig kasabay an liog
An payo kan sawa uminikot pasiring saiya.

Minsan nanggirabo asin mati an peligro
Mayo ng panahon an pagdulag digdiyo
Kinapotan ni Sugitan nin kusog an polo
Asin inihandang tagpason an onglo.

Dai na nagsayang nin panahon si Baltog Duman sa kagapoan ini uminolwat Kapot kapot an pana asin pinuntirya An naglalaad sa anggot na mata kan sawa.

Praktisadong soldados kan saindang tribo Tinamaan tolos an mata kan sawa Sa kulog na namate lalong nag alboroto Iwinasiwas an hawak asin ikog sa salog.

Tolos na uminokbo sa Sugitan sa gapo Tanganing dai mahagop kan rapadong makusog An payo kan hayop minsan saro na sana an mata Dinagoso si Baltog nin mayong pataratara .

Sabay buminuka an nguso tanganing tikibon An maisog na si Baltog dagos nang pangoson Alagad an maisog na barobata dai natatakot Sa dakol ng peligro sa laog kan kadlagan.

Kabisado niya an hiro kan mga hayop Imbes na magdulag asin magpaipli Dinagoso man an sawang nagrarani Pagnganga kan halas saka itinukod.

An sibat sa ngala ngala na sa iyang kapot Sa ungis kan hayop asin ongot ongot Orog na nag wawasiwas an payong maisog Alagad si Baltog nagkapot nin kusog Dai nagbobotas sa sibat na tinukod. Sa pagkakaipli sa kagapoan ni Sugitan Nahiling kaini an ikog kan sawa Saka nagiromdoman an mga osipon An kusog kan halas sa ikog nagpopoon.

Mantang nagsisibot an sawa na matakdag An lalaki sa nguso na nagkukulambitay Paluway man na hinikap kan daraga an ikog Asin initaas an sundang na hios.

Itinao kaini an bilog na kusog Dangan tinigbas an ikog na may birtud Duman umanaringking an maisog na hayop Kan maputol na itong saiyang ikog.

Marikas na kuminaripas-kamang sa kadlagan Maray sanang nakabotas tolos an Baltog na paladan Pagkahali kan hawak kaining makuring halas Buminulwak man an tubig na labsay.

Saka marikas na nagbolos sa kagapoan Mantang nagmamasid an duwang pagal pagal

Nawara an gayon na nahiling ni Baltog Sa daragang nasumpungan na pano nin isog Alagad an paghanga niya nag-orog pa lugod Huli ta saboot niya may katapat na si Baltog.

Si Sugitan man garo na-batobalani Sa kusog asin isog kaining lalaki Sa pagkakatindog kaini sa gapo An daghan ni Sugitan garo natagalpo.

Bago pa nakahoma si Baltog sa lugar Napadarinas na inin kagayonan Asin buminagsak sa tubig na andam Sinalo an hawak likay sa kagapoan.

Sa sulog na makusog tolos na inanod Garong inirayo ki Baltog na namoot Saka man bominoso ining barobata Paglobto linangoy an salog na labsay.

Sa kakakotab asin kakampay Naabot niya an kamot kan daragang tunay Mantang padagos sindang ihinuhuros Makusog na tubig na nagbubulos sa salog.

Nagkakawikaw na an bitis ni Baltog Sa iraraom kan salog tibaad may gamot Na sukat makapotan pansabat sa sulog.

Sinusurog gayod siya ni Gugurang Kun panong may bandalang iyong nakapotan Tolos na binotong asin narisang nakagakod Sa balyo kan kamot an daraga kapot kapot.

Kan sinda makagilid na asin makahawas An bandalang nagligtas kasumpay kan gakod Kan baboydamo asin amid na subago nadakop.

Saka duminatong na naghaharangos Pag iriba kan daragang nakasaksi kan gabos Saka nagkabistohan an duwang maisog Nabantog sa tribu an gibo ni Baltog.

Duman iniatang ni Baltog an dakop Sa lider kan tribong ama ni Sugitan Na minsan bolanos inin nagpasalamat Sa pagkakasalbar sa aking padangat May diit nin labsay ining namamati Huli ta an duwa pirming magkasalimbad Dai napupukit an matang nag-oolay.

Dai ini nahilom sa amang maimon Kaya pagkapamanggi pinalaog na si Sugitan Asin amay na pinagpahingalo likay sa ano man Mantang si Baltog boot kotanang makaolay An daragang napusuan sa isog asin bansay Alagad si Codong nakaisip na lamoson Sa tuba an bisitang sa saiyang daraga mahabon.

Nagpaonra an lalaki nin magkapirang tagay Dangan nagsayomang magpahingalo na man.

Sa boot kan lalaking amay pagkaaga Mahiling sa pamahaw inin magayon na daraga Alagad pagkaaga mayo na si Codong Kaiba an mga tawohan asin si Sugitan.

Olay kan saiyang napaghapotan Nagpuli an magarama sa lugar ni Amyanan Sa Mabalodbalod na iyo an pagngaran.

Tolos na suminunod inin binayaan. Inin si Sugitan biyong nagtatangis Kun tanong an ama biyong nauungis Sa lalaking may siring na ogma sa boses

“Ama kong Codong saimong dangogon Inin pakiolay kan aki kong bugtong Ta daw ta irinayo inin sakong puso Sa lalaking sakuyang namotan na gayo?”

“ Pagkamoot? Anong pagkaaram mo Sa taramon na iyan na dai nabibisto Siring sa lalaking nagligtas saimo Baltog ngani an ngaran ano pang aram mo?

Habo kong mag-abot an oras na magbasol Na ika togotan na saiyang maagom Huli ta habo kong ika mawara ng dagos Sa sakuyang paghiling mapara na tolos

Ika an solong ladawan ni Nanay mo Na natatadang atang niya sa sako Kun itotogot kong lalayon katong tawo Garo inako ko an kagadanan mo.”

“Ama kong tunay dai taka nasasabotan Panong mawawara ako sa atobang An pag-agom sako bako nin kawaran Kundi an mag-ogma asin madagdagan

Kung ngoyan ako sana an saimong bitoon Sa saimong mata orog na magayon Tawi man kami nin pagkakataon Na buhay pamilya samong atobangon.”

“Dai. Dai mo nasasabotan ining inoolay Magtobod ka sakuya kun habong makolgan Maabot an aldaw an gabos matotoltol Maipapamogtak an gabos na hatol An kamagurangan igwang tinutugon Na dapat sunudon dai pagbalgahon.” Kadugnong:

Naabot ni Baltog an ronang Mabalodbalod Pusikit na kadlagan sa balyo kan Isarog Alagad mayong Sugitan na nasumpungan Kundi kahiwasnan kan kabuludan

Makuring agrangay asin kapaoyan An sinapo kan lalaki sapirang aladaw na baklay Saen daw na lalawgon kan maliwanag na bulan Masisirip giraray an daragang napusuoan

“Ay bulan na maliwanagon sakuyang tingag ngonyan Minsan harayo ka ako simbagon man Saen daw na sirong kaining kakahoyan Nanalag an daragang sakuyang namomotan.

Palaada man inin sakuyang agrangay Asin ihapros mo an liwanag ki Sugitan Kun doros sukat mong sugoon paduman Ihinghing an sakit na sakuyang inaagihan.

Ay tadaw bulan kasurog ka baga ni Codong? Tadaw ta nagtatago sa mga panganoron? Hare pagtago sako an saimong lalawgon O bulan, bitoon daghan ko rangahon.”

Kan makapuli na si Baltog sa sadiring rona Nagtipo nin Kusog asin nin sandata Dangan nagpaaram na mabaklay ngaya Sa harayong lugar kun saen may ranga.

An saiyang paaram sa mga kahimanwa Saiyang susuyudon an bilog na rona Mga kabulodan asin kasalogan Saiyang uugidon kun igwang kalaban

Tandayag asin tagulipdan o mga tawohan Na tibaad may ambang peligro sa kagabsan Alagad sa balyo kan saiyang pagbaklay Daghan nagkokotad nag-oogmang tunay

Huli ta sa paagi kan saiyang lakaw Tibaad si Sugitan saiyang manompongan Daing bulod an saiyang papalihison Daing salog an saiyang sososogon

Daing kadlagan na paglilikayan Daing peligro an saiya mahampang Gabos tutumpahon gabos sosokayon Nawawarang daghan na lalay ni Codong.

Kun itinukdo siya sa Mabalodbalod Kan sarong tawohan ni Codong na maimon Tibaad an hanap na saiyang ranga Sa balyo kan Isarog duman an estada.

Kaya sa Subangan nangagi an lalaki Andam an sundang asin armas kaini Sa anoman na remalaso na tibaad umagi Dusay siyang andam aldaw man o banggi.

Kan mapabareta sa estada ni Codong Na may sarong lalaking nagbabaklay pasiring sa amyanon Tolos na ibinogtak si Sugitan sa tahaw Kan tolong gatos na kahoy nakapatindog sa langtad

An tolong gatos na darakulang kahoy Nakatusok sa daga nin labi kararom Piridpid iniyo na nakapaikot sa sarong labot Na toyong kinutkot.

Sa pag oltanan kaining barikadang kahoy Igwang mga litag na toyong pighilom Inin katahawan kun saen may kalot Duman ibinogtak Si Sugitan na maboot Asin an pagkakakan toyong tinotondog Tinotonton baga kan lubid na gakod

Kan uminabot na sa lugar si Baltog Dikitan ng magralaban ki Codong na kasurog Alagad nahiling kan ama ining pag maigot Kaya itinukdo an daragang nasa kalot.

“Naibareta na an saimong pagbaklay Asin pagmaigot na si Sugitan masompongan Yaon siya duman sa tahaw kan kalot Asin tolong gatos na kahoy na nakapalibot

Kun talagang bilog an pagmawot Sa laog nin sambolan sakuyang itotogot Na saimong laglagon an mga trosong nakaikot Na daing ibang katabang kundi an sundang na hios

Alagad kun somobra sa talaan na aldaw An saimong kaluyahan ki Sugitan magadan Huli ta an pagkakan na itotondog duman Tama sanang makatapar sa bilog na sambolan.” Baltog:

“Ta daw ta ginigibo ini sa daragang naoyayan Kun totoong padangat tadaw ta pinapasakitan Anong klaseng ama ikang nabansagan Sukat na mataha inin samuyang kamogtakan?”

“ May katanosan an gabos na disesyon Igwang birtud an gabos na paliyon Na saindong mga bagong tobo masakit tobodon Huli ta binobota kamo kan bagong paglaom

Alagad sa huri sukat nindong magimatan Ining paglilikay igwang katanosan Olay kaining mga kagurangan Pagtobod sana ngani tanganing makalikay.

Alagad kun siring an saimong pag agagha Tinasa ko na man an sakit na dara Hala paghumare punan na an kalda Tolong gatos na kahoy na lalaglagon Na sa tahaw si Sugitan na ogma.”


Minsan igwa pag tiunay an daghan Sa ginibong pagtogot ni Codong na ama Tanganing dai mahiling an sakit kan duwa Sa Mabalodbalod puminuli ngona.

Asin itinogon na kun si Baltog marata Sa litag na andam hilom ssa palibot kan kudal Ilobong sa kalot an hawak na langkaba Asin hawason duman si Sugitan na aki niya.

Pagbilog giraray kainin bagong bulan Si Codong mabalik digdi sa istaran Kun itogot nanggad kainin si Gugurang Sa saiyang pagpuli an duwa ikasal.

Mantang nagbabaklay parayo si Codong Nagpopoon na si Baltog sa saiyang silot Ta kun pagluyahan nin kusog o boot Herak man si Sugitan na saiyang pagkamoot.

“Kinudalan kan nin matatagas na kamagong Kan saimong amang si Codong Ilinaag ka sa kalot na sarong dakulang silot Alagad Sugitan ko na sakuyang minamawot Ako magtitios na ika mahiling sukat kan mata Na iyong mabolong kan sakuyang lugad

Gabos na dalan na sakuyang linakaw Gabos na angat sa buhay na sakuyang inatobang Gabos mawawaran nin saysay Kun ika sakuyang dai mabotasan.

Kada tigbas kaining sakuyang minasbad Sa tagas kan kahoy dai magngangalas Sa sakit na ining satuyang inaatobang Digdi man an lagwertang satong kaogmahan Ipapahiling ko saimo, ki Codong asin sa kagabsan An bunga kan pusong namoot na tunay.


Sambolan an nakaagi aldaw asin banggi Sukat daw malaglag ni Baltog an litag Asin malikayan an angat na hayag?

Sambolan, uni na nagdadangadang man Si Codong kaiba kan saiyang angkan Asin siring na sana an saindang pagngalas An dakulang silot sa abaga ni Baltog sinakat Ngunyan sarong dakulang harong an nakapamugtak

An mga harigi asin panalibot An mga panalgan asin mga kabaan Ang mga panaraytay asin mga soleras Patin mga lanob asin mga atop Gabos hali sa kahoy na kudal na silot.

An nahaman na harong na korteng paikot May halangkaw na sirong asin hagyanan na pusog Toyong pinamugtak kan madunong na Baltog Namitisan ini sa dating kalot Kun saen binogtak si Sugitan na matanos.

Kun sukat sa pagngalas, sa ogma o sa pagsuko Nagtogot na si Codong na si Baltog magsungko Asin sa sunod na pagbilog kan bulan An duwang dayupot saiyang ikakasal

Minsan sa likod kan hararom na torohok May napapaipli sa mata ni Codong nin lodok Na pagkalihis sana kan siyam na bulan Saka nagkaigwa an gabos nin katanosan Na dai pag oyon ni Codong kan enot Huli ta siring sa nangyari ki Amyanan Kan ipangaki kaini magayon na si Sugitan Iyo man an huring kusog na binotsan Ribay sana nin buhay an halipot na kaogmahan.

Duman sa kalot na pamitisan kan hagyan Saindang ilinobong inin si Sugitan Mantang an mga luha gulpi an dalahay Pinangaranan ni Baltog an aking Harubay.

Kun lumakaw an panahon sa saindong lagwerta Asin masumpungan inin awit ngaya Sumpayi na sana kan saindong kanta Tibaad nasa kamot nindo matapos an istorya.



Wednesday, August 22, 2012


By: Juan Escandor Jr.

First Posted 00:07:00 12/13/2007
Filed Under: Archaeology, history, Regional authorities
NAGA CITY - A pre-Hispanic burial urn at the Museo de Concilliar de Naga in Naga City speaks of Bicol?s Ibalon epic starring King Handiong, according to a study of a Filipino anthropologist.

Dr. Zeus Salazar believes that the urn?s cover design also reflects the period when the inhabitants of the archipelago were starting to relate with their Indo-Malaysian neighbors.

A summa cum laude graduate of history from the University of the Philippines with a doctorate in ethnology from the University of Paris, Salazar interpreted the design figures to be characters and creatures of the Ibalon epic.

His study was published as a book titled; Liktao at Epiko, Ang Takip ng Tapayang Libingan ng Libmanan, Camarines Sur.?

The urn cover, with a 32-centimeter circumference, details enigmatic forms and figures around a pyramid-like center that convey lines from the ancient epic.


Salazar does not consider Handiong's story a real ethno-epic, or a living tradition intertwined with people?s beliefs and religious practices, like the Darangen of the Maranaw, Ulahingan of the Manobo, and Olaging from Bukidnon.

It narrates the mystical origins of the first man and woman of Aslon and Ibalon (now the provinces of Camarines Norte, Camarines Sur, Albay, Sorsogon, Catanduanes and Masbate), and the exploits of the warrior-leader Handiong, one of the heroes of Ibalon.

Handiong, as the epic goes, fought a giant cyclops for 10 months, defeated the winged Tiburon and the fierce Sarimao, and won over the seductive serpent Oriol before starting a village.

The place prospered. Soon, the inhabitants invented farm implements.

According to curator Fabie Arejola, some historical buffs have speculated that the burial urn, unearthed in 1982 in Bigaho, Libmanan, might have contained the remains of Handiong himself.

In the epic, Handiong was the king of Libmanan who sent 1,000 warriors led by Bantong to kill the half-man, half-beast giant monster Rabot. Bantong slew Rabot while sleeping in a cave dwelling.

Handiong and his warriors came to Ibalon (Spanish colonizers once called Bicol the Tierra de Ybalon) to ?clear? the place and start planting, but the king was challenged by a serpent called Uryol or Oriol who later became a close ally in building the region?s civilization.

Arejola said the urn had yet to be carbon-dated to determine its age, but she said several experts had already examined and concluded its authenticity and prehistory, while others were skeptical.

Salazar traced the publisher of the ?fragmented? five-part Ibalon epic to Spanish friar Jose Castaño in the 1800s.

He ascertained that another friar, Bernardino Melendreras, wrote it in Spanish, using a European literary form in one part. But he finds the remaining parts ?more authentic.?

The anthropologist compared and correlated the designs and contents of the burial urn with those of similar artifacts found elsewhere in the Philippines to arrive at the period of 5000 BC to 10 AD when the burial urn cover was crafted.

Salazar traced its source from the villages of Poro or Bigaho in Libmanan, which the driver of artifact collector Dr. Ermelo Almeda said they frequented to buy artifacts in the 1980s. Almeda died in 1998 and left no catalogue of his large collection, ranging from fossilized dinosaur eggs and Stone Age instruments to Chinese porcelain wares.

Poro and Bigaho were mentioned by German-Russian ethnologist Fedor Jagor in 1851 archeological finds, such as human remains, deer horns, plates and pots, during a road construction, Salazar said.


National Museum officials consulted on the burial urn cover, however, doubted the authenticity of the piece. It was bought from an artifacts digger and not discovered through scientific methods of archeology, they said.

Dr. Jesus J. Peralta, a retired anthropologist and archeologist of the National Museum, wrote that ?the burial urn with minaret-like cover with incised designs was bought from a vendor, so that it cannot be ascertained where it came from, which was more likely from Mindanao.?

But Salazar said the absence of a scientific archeological process could be satisfied with ?topologically comparing and correlating a piece with pieces discovered in situ.? He cited the museum?s burial urn with a conical cover which was excavated in Calatagan, Batangas, as one example of one authentic piece not obtained in situ.

The National Museum even declared the Calatagan urn a national treasure and the ?first artifact ? to contain evidence of ancient Philippine writing,? he said.

Trying to interpret the figures and the tableau on the cover of the Libmanan urn, Salazar followed the three triangular divisions joined by a central pyramid-like figure. Each division contains figures that he believed were characters of the Ibalon epic or depictions of people?s life in pre-Hispanic Bicol.

 Salazar named the groupings ?Ang Tatsulok ng Bungo (Triangle of the Skull),? ?Ang Tatsulok ng Araw (Triangle of the Sun),? and ?Ang Tatsulok ng Bibig (Triangle of the Mouth),? based on the differentiating figure in each of the three sides of the tower-like structure. He considered them episodes of the epic.

?Ang Tatsulok ng Bungo? has a miniature head-like figure that Salazar sees as a skull. He explained that it lacked features to represent a human head, like hair, discernible face, teeth, ears, while its discernible eyes were mere points.

A container before the skull with two elongated figures tries to depict a ritual offering to the ancestors practiced by pre-Hispanic Filipinos, he said.

Ang Tatsulok ng Araw has carabao and sun representations, with at least 21 discernible rays drawn on one side of the central tower-like figure and four, points on the surface on the right side of the animal.

Salazar inventoried the figures as indicating what were lost. He explained that the scene reflected the prehistoric time because, he said, the carabao had no nose ring and did not pull a plow. The Spanish colonizers introduced the plow, he said.

He considers the Ang Tatsulok ng Bibig the most complete composition. He identified a crawling human figure holding in the right hand a crocodile; another human figure that seemed to be kneeling, head toward the mouth-like opening; two deer-like figures and another animal-like figure.

Salazar interpreted those to refer to an episode in the epic in which Handiong consulted the serpent. The mouth-like opening, he said, was actually a cave entrance, the protruded ?tongue? a serpent, and the kneeling figure, Handiong.


100-million-year-old fossil found in Bicol

A joint team of Filipino and Japanese scientists has discovered on this island in Bicol ammonite fossils said to be 100 million years old, the Catanduanes Tribune said in its March 24 issue.

Ammonite Discovered at the Silungan ng Higante (Giant’s Haven) deep in the forest of Dugui Wala, barangay San Vicente in this capital town in Bicol region in the south of Luzon, Dr. Yasanuri Shigeta of the National Museum for Nature and Science (NMNS) in Tokyo, Japan, said last week that they found the fossils of nine ammonite species in the area, the first of its kind found in Southeast Asia.

Classified among prehistoric animals, the said ammonites first appeared about 240 million years ago, though they descended from straight-shelled cephalopods called bacrites that date back to the Devonian, about 415 million years ago.

Ammonites were predatory, squid-like creatures that lived inside coil-shaped shells. They were prolific breeders, lived in schools and are among the most abundant fossils found today. They went extinct with the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Scientists use the various shapes and sizes of ammonite shells that appeared and disappeared through the ages to date other fossils.

The most important among the species found by the team, Shigeta said in the Tribune article, is the Mortoniceras, the first found in Southeast Asia.

Although the species is believed to be widely distributed in North America, Japan and India, Shigeta said, none had been found in those areas.

“Mortoniceras is an index ammonite, meaning its presence would indicate the age of the rock it is embedded in as about 100 million years old or in the Cretaceous period,” the Japanese scientist said in Catanduanes Tribune, noting that his team would be the first to study it.

He added that the ammonites recently found in Mansalay, Mindoro, are about 160 million years old (Jurassic period) while those found in Comagaycay, San Andres, Catanduanes, is 110 million years old.

Joining the team which undertook the exploration from March 15 to 18 was NMNS curator-in-chief Dr. Tomoki Kase. Also with them were Dr. Yolanda Aguilar, Wenceslao Mago and Emolyn Azurin of the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) of the Philippines’ Department of Environment and Natural Resources, MGB geology division chief Roberto de Ocampo and curator Priscila Ong of the Philippine National Museum.
The undertaking was in connection with a joint research project on “Collection Building and Natural History Studies in the Philippines: Tracing the Origin of High Marine Biodiversity in the Indo-Pacific through Fossil Studies.”

Virac personnel officer Oseas Alberto joined the team. Alberto first discovered the ammonite site by accident in 2007 while on a trek to get samples of small endemic fishes in mountain streams and rivers for possible breeding purposes.

The Catanduanes Tribune published the Alberto story on the find that year which caught the attention of the National Museum, and sent a team to the site in April 2009, the news report said.

The team also found part of a fossil of a belemnite, an extinct group of marine cephalopods very similar to the squid and closely related to the cuttlefish, the news report said.

The belemnites possessed an ink sac, but unlike the squid, they had 10 arms and no tentacles. The part that remained of the belemnite, which could be as long as three meters or 10 feet, is the back part of the shell and it looks like a slender bullet, the Tribune said.

The Japanese experts said in the news report that the Dugui ammonites could be found in a one-meter layer of sandstone at the bottom of the Silungan ng Higante rock outcrop, with the belemnite finds in the 20-centimeter thick muddy sandstone just below it.

While the Comagaycay site is older than the Dugui site, Aguilar said in Tribune that the Silungan site is far more biologically diverse because it has seashells, gastropods, sea urchins, squids, annelids or segmented worms and rudists, which are bivalves of a strange shape.

The team also went three kilometers up the Comagaycay River to look for ammonite samples but found only a small one embedded in a rocky bank.

The site was discovered by a geologist, a certain Sendon from the MGB regional office for Bicol based in Legazpi City in 1984 while the agency and Japanese expert Dr. Wataro Hashimoto found protozoan microscopic fossils belonging to the Cretaceous period at Bunag-bunag point in the same town, the news report said.

While the team did not find any fossil of a marine reptile, the possibility that there could be remnants of marine dinosaurs in the Silungan site remains, the Tribune said.

Alberto said he is still looking for a huge bone that was said to have been stored by an old man in one of the recesses of a labyrinthine cavern at the top of a rock outcrop.

The study’s objectives are to date the enclosing rock of the fossil and study the life habits of the strange marine animals that existed long before they became extinct, Dr. Shigeta told the Tribune.



Ang larawan ay mula sa Bikol Maharlika (1992) ni Jose Calleja Reyes.

Isang Pagtingin sa Natuklasang Bato sa Catanduanes

by: Bonifacio Comandante, Jr. at Victor Paz
Nuong Hulyo 12, 2002 sa ilog ng Payo, Panganiban, Catanduanes, nanghuhuli si Arnold Claveron ng mga ulang (Macrobrachium sp.) o freshwater prawns.  Ito ay bahagi ng programa ng Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) na maghanap at manguha ng mga inahin ng iba’t ibang uri ng isda sa tubig tabang. Ito ay kailangan sa pagpapalaganap ng gene pool ng naturang hayop kabilang ang mga hipon at ulang.  Naatasan si G. Claveron na mamuno sa gawaing ito bilang Project Manager ng BFAR Regional Freshwater Fisheries Center sa Camarines Sur.

Nakaugalian na ni G. Claveron na mamulot ng bato at kabibe sa mga lugar na kanyang pinupuntahan. Sa bihayeng ito, nakakita siya ng isang pahaba at hugis-rektanggulo (o parihaba) na bato na naisip niyang dalhin.  Ang mga ulang naman ay inilakbay ng mahigit sa kalahating araw patungo sa bagong tahanan na nakalaan sa kanila sa Fisheries Center, Bula, Camarines Sur.

Kinakailangan ni Arnold ng marami pang ispesimen kung kaya’t pinagaralan niyang mabuti ang mas magandang paraan sa paghuli at pagbiyahe ng iba’t ibang isda at ulang. Sa kanyang pag-aaral, nabasa ni Arnold noong 2004 ang pamamaraan ng pagbiyahe ng isda na walang tubig na natuklasan ng isang Filipino marine scientist na si Bonifacio Comandante.  Dagling nagkaroon ng kagustuhan si Arnold sa paraan ni Bonifacio subali’t dumaan pa ang ilang taon bago nagsalubong ang kanilang landas.

Ito ay nangyari noong si G. Comandante ang naging pangunahing tagapagsalita sa BFAR Regional Workshop on Action Research na ginanap sa Tabaco City noong Mayo 26-27, 2009 na siyang dinaluhan din ni Arnold.  Nagkapalagayang-loob ang dalawa at pagkatapos ng pagtitipon ay inanyayahan ni Arnold si Bonifacio na magsalita naman sa mahigit na isang daang mangingisda sa Bula, Camarines Sur hinggil sa tuklas-pamamaraan sa pagpapatulog ng isda.

Sa opisina ni Arnold nakita ni Bonifacio ang kakaibang hugis ng bato na nakuha sa ilog ng Payo.  Kalimitang ginagamit lamang ni Arnold ang bato na pabigat sa papel.  Ngunit may sapantaha si Bonifacio tungkol sa bato kaya ito ay kaniyang hiniling at ipinagkaloob naman ni Arnold.

Naisip ni Bonifacio na maaaring ginamit ang bato na pangkalang sa kabibe o taklobo (Tridacna sp.), kagaya ng ilang katutubong pamamaraan sa pagkuha ng taklobo mula sa ilalim ng dagat.  Isang halimbawa nito ay ang salaysay ni Galo, isang Tagbanua sa Burabod, Culion, Palawan, na ang pagkalang ng bato sa pagitan ng bahay ng kabibe habang ito ay nakabuka pa sa ilalim ng dagat ay mabisa upang mapanatiling buka ang taklobo.  Gayon din ang sinabi ni Miro Umhom, isang Hanunoo Mangyan sa Panaytayan, Mansalay, Oriental Mindoro, na ang katutubong salitang tuklang ay nangangahulugan ng pagkalang sa manlot (taklobo sa Mangyan) upang mapanatiling nakabuka ang kabibe.

Ang bato na nakuha ni Arnold ay karaniwang tinatawag na buhay na bato sa Bicol dahil sa pino at makinis na panlabas  pati na ang kapansin-pansing tingkad ng kulay itim. Ito ay may sukat na 12 x 3 x 1.5 cm.  Nakatatawag-pansin din ang marahil na pagkakaukit ng hugis na V sa isang dulo ng bato.

Sa pagsisiyasat sa bato, ang unang katanungan na kailangang sagutin ay kung ano ang batayan para sabihin na ito nga ay nagpapakita na may sinadya na pagbabago dulot ng gawa ng tao.

Ang bato ay ginamit ng tao sa sumusunod na kadahilanan:
  •  Ang makinis na kanto sa dalawang bahagi ng bato, lalo na sa makitid na parte nito ay hindi marahil dulot ng pangkalikasang pangyayari o natural process of weathering (Larawan 1 baba).
  •  Ang hugis na V sa dulo ng bato ay nakalubog at banaag pa ang daan na  tipong  nagawa sa paraan ng paghahasa. Muli, mahirap itong mangyari sa hindi sinadya o natural na kaparaanan (Larawan 1 masbaba).
  • Hindi pareho ang kinis o texture ng mukha ng bato. Sa isang isang panig nito ay malaking bahagi ng datirating anyo o natural cortex ng bato ay wala na, imbes ay mayroong di pantay na magaspang na katangian na mapapansin sa hugis ng bato at may ilang mga natirang makinis na bahagi. Nang siniyasat ang mukha ng bato sa ilalim ng microscope na may magnipikasyon na x 10 at x 20, lumalabas na hindi pantay-pantay ang hugis ng bato lalo na sa paligid ng natitirang cortext ng bato na may epekto na parang pausbong o relief (Larawan 2).
Walang duda na ang bato ay ginamit ng tao (bago pa ito ginawang pabigat sa papel). Kung kailan ito ginamit sa unang  pagkakataon ay mahirap na malaman sapagkat napulot lamang sa tabi ng ilog.  Ang makinis na mga kanto nito, lalo na sa mga makitid na bahagi ay nagpapakita ng pagsasaayos o aksyon ng pagkikinis na maaaring sinadya – hinugis para sa isang gamit, o dili kaya’y hindi sinadya  – ito ay kuminis dahil sa gamit ng bato, may kilos na nagdulot ng pagkakinis nito.

Kung tatangapin na inukit ng tao ang isang mukha ng bato, ang maaring dahilan nito ay para lumabas ang anyo ng sulat baybayin na “Ka”,  na nagbibigay patotoo sa pagtingin ni Comandate na ito’y gamit na parang ‘tuklang’.

Ito’y isang panimulang pag-uulat sa maaaring kahalagaan ng isang batong sinauna o artifact na nakita sa Catanduanes.  May ilang maaari pang gawin sa hinaharap na panahon upang patibayin o kontrahin ang pananaw tungkol sa bato sa ngayon. Una, tingnan ang bato sa higit na mataas na  magnification gamit ang isang Scanning Electron Microscope kung saan  kakasya ang buong bato upang mapatunayang  ang mukha ng bato kung nasaan ang mga hugis parang baybayin ay inukit nga. Ang Historiographical  Institute sa Okinawa, Japan na tumutulong sa Pambansang Museo ng Pilipinas ang isang halimbawa ng maaaring pagdalahan ng bato.

Sa ngayon ay nalalaman natin na may dalawang halimbawa ng katutubong salaysay o ethnography sa pagkuha ng taklobo sa dagat na galing sa Mindoro at Palawan.  Marahil ay makakikita pa ng mga bagay na sadyang inukol na halimbawa ng tuklang at maililimbag ang paraan ng paggamit nito.  Maihahambing din sa hugis ng bato na siyang magpapalakas ng pagpasya kung ito nga ay may kinalalaman sa ganitong gawain.  Nakakatuwang isipin ang mga maaaring direksyon ng pananaliksik sa hinaharap.

Pasasalamat kay Dr. Mijares at Dr. Pawlik sa pagtingin din sa bato at sa kanilang opinyon.

*Comandante, Bonifacio Jr and Victor Paz, 2009. Isang Pagtingin sa Natuklasang Bato sa Catanduanes: TEST PIT, Chronicle of the University of the Philippines, Archaeological Studies Program. No. 14 p. 18-20

Larawan 1: Hugis ng bato na hindi nagalaw ng tao (baba) at bakat ng pagsasaayos (masbaba)

Larawan 2: Litrato ng lugar kung saan nandoon ang Ka (baba) at mas pinalaking Ka (masbaba)



Cave men lived here 3,000 years ago
SORSOGON, Sorsogon (ANFI) – From a nearby rain forest, a man in hairy animal clothing emerges carrying a wild boar on his shoulder while a woman, apparently his wife, builds a fire in the yard. She keeps an eye on her two naked frolicking small boys.

Their cogon house, almost similar in shape to the snow house of the Eskimos has only one opening, a door showing the damp, dark interior of the dwelling. The house has no windows.

This was what people saw in their minds when reports came out that artifacts about 3,000 years old, were discovered in a limestone cave in barrio Bato Bacon, Sorsogon, sometime ago.

They surmised that the first cave man walked in Bacon thousands of years ago.

The artifacts which consisted of burial jars with human bones intact, stone implements and drinking cups and used by the early cave dwellers were found by a team of archeologists headed by Dr. Robert Fox in 1956.

The description of the first cavemen in Europe: farmers cultivating green crops and using pottery and other stone implements is not much different from the description of the first ancient man in Bicol.

The oldest relics of man were found in 1977 by Mrs. Mary Leakey, a British lady archeologist, beneath the volcanic ashes at Latolil in Tanzania, Africa. The relics consisted of some teeth and jawbone of an adult, about 3,700 years ago.

Absalon Empleo, an investigator of the Commission on Human Rights in Sorsogon, Sorsogon, who is making a research on the history of the town said that another ancient burial site which yielded 2,000-years-old artifacts was discovered in San Juan, Bacon, Sorsogon.

The artifacts now at the National Museum in Manila will be sent back to Bacon when the town has finished building a museum for cultural treasures.

(Asian News & Features)


By: Atty. Vivencio F. Abaño

The official seal of the province of Camarines Norte has the figure of a landmark, which stands, in the capital town of Daet. Some of you, I am sure, must have visited the landmark. Or at least, have heard or seen the photograph of it.

I refer to a white three-sided spire with a square base, about twenty feet high made of coral stones. It is located in a small park just across the Daet town hall. The monument was erected by the people of Camarines Norte in honor of Dr. Jose Rizal on December 30, 1898, two years to the day after his martyrdom in Bagumbayan in 1896.

The Daet landmark is known, and officially recognize, as the FIRST RIZAL MONUMENT.

The First Rizal Monument symbolizes what happened in the province of Camarines Norte during the turbulent years of the Philippine Revolution. Its shape and design, the site on which it stands, the coral stones used, the writings on its base – all are expressions of the nationalist sentiments of the people of the province, their role and participation in that greater struggle of a nation for independence.

The tapering spire and its triangular shape is Masonic in design. It is the triangle of the Masons, and later, of the Katipunan whose insignias were patterned after Masonic triangular emblems. Like our national flag, it is reminiscent of the first Katipunan war standards and combat banners bearing a triangle with three K’s. the design is understandably Masonic because those inspired, organized and led the struggle in the province were not only nationalists but also were mostly, if not all, members of Freemasonry.

As early as 1889, the first predominantly Filipino Masonic lodge in Spain counted among its original members a native son of Camarines Norte. These members, like Marcelo H. Del Pilar, Graciano Lopez Jaena and Mariano Ponce, had intended to make use of their Masonic relationships for political purposes to obtain liberal reforms for the Philippines including representation in the Spanish Cortes. The lodge’s name was Revoluccion and its Bicolano member was Jose Maria Panganiban who was born in the gold mining town of Mambulao, which now bears his name.

Panganiban was the “JOMAPA” of the La Solidaridad, the eloquent and brilliant speaker highly admired by his peers in the Propaganda Movement. His fellow propagandist Jose Rizal wrote of him:
“Panganiban was a true orator, of easy and energetic words, vigorous concepts, practical and transcendental ideas, and of elevated thoughts. His was an eloquence, at once seductive and convincing. Deeply informed of things Philippine, how many times did he move his audience depicting the ills of that land, the profound agonies it suffers, the immense pains it feels. How many times did he excite the general admiration of those listening to him as he expounds suitable and practical remedies, indicating reforms that would be carried out in accordance with the peculiar needs of the country.”
It is a measure of Panganiban’s patriotism and his dedication to the cause that despite the rigors of poverty and the ravages of tuberculosis, he persisted till the end in the struggle of reforms. In August 1890, he died at the age of 27. On his grave as the epitaph: “Here lies the avenger of the honor of the Filipinos”, written by Graciano Lopez Jaena.

The same Masonic ties of those in the nationalist, and later revolutionary, movement would exist as well among Panganiban’s province mates living in Camarines Norte.

Then the first Filipino lodge in the country, named Nilad, was set up in January 1892, other lodges quickly sprang up both around Manila in the Provinces. Bicol had its Masonic Lodges, starting with the Logia de Bicol. The lodge in Camarines Norte was Triangulo Bicol, whose Worshipful Master was Vicente Lukban, a juez de paz of the town of Labo.

Sometime in 1894, the Masons of Triangulo Bicol led by Vicente Lukban founded the La Cooperativa Popular, an agricultural society which worked in spreading the ideas of the movement among the inhabitants of Camarines Norte. The members of cooperative avoided incurring the suspicion of the Spanish authorities by going to the barrios of the proince ostensibly for the purpose merely of buying agricultural products from the farmers. Their main objective, however, was to indoctrinate. While the cooperative did engage in the commerce of agricultural products, part of this profits was secretly sent as financial contribution to the Manila-based Katipunan organization. It appeared that Vicente Lukban had established early ties with Andres Bonifacio who was himself a Mason.

After the discovery of the Katipunan in August 1896, Vicente Lukban was among the many who were arrested were six other residents of Camarines Norte, namely: Gregorio Luyon, Diego Liñan, Adriano Pajarillo, Pablo Del Villas, Ramon Cabezudo and Florentino Peñaloza. They appeared to be, like Lukban, members of the Masonic lodge. Gregorio Luyon and Diego Liñan certainly were.

Undoubtedly, it was because of their membership in Freemasonry that Vicente Lukban and others had first drawn the suspicion of the Spanish authorities, and been branded as enemies of the regime. Ironically, it was these same Masonic ties that saved them later from execution by firing squad, a fate suffered by their fellow Bicolanos from Nueva Caceres in January 1897 at Bagumbayan.

According to Diego Liñan, as recounted by his own living son Dr. Jose Liñan, the Spanish officers who were in charge of them during their detention at Fort Santiago happened to be Masons themselves. These officers covertly protected them and even managed to exclude them from prosecution and trial. Eventually, these Spanish Masons succeeded in effecting their release from Fort Santiago.

The account of Diego Liñan most probably contained a measure of truth. A similar incident among Spanish and Filipino Masons is recorded to have happened twenty-five years earlier in the aftermath of the Cavite Mutiny of 1872. in his translation of Manuel Artigas y Cuervas “Sucesos de 1872 (Events of 1872), Onofre D. Corpus made the following notes about Rafael Izquierdo, the same Spanish governor-general who had sent the GOMBURZA priests to the gallows:
“We must take note of a fact of no slight significance. In Filipinas the Masons were viewed as enemies of the regime, and in 1872 as in other times the opportunity to check them arose. But Izquierdo was a Mason himself. When it was reported that this or that person was directly associated with events in Kawit he did not approved the death penalty on anyone who turned out to be a Mason. In the case of natives, he prohibited the re-arrest of those who were members of Masonic lodges, ordering that those who were already in custody be sent to Spain or Africa to serve out their sentences, a decision without precedent. Enrique Paraiso, Crisanto Delos Reyes and Maximo Inocencio, all natives, were sentenced to exile in the presidios of Cartagena and Ceuta [down the southeastern coast of Spain and at the northernmost tip of Africa, respectively]. Paraiso was a member of the Masonic lodge in Pandacan while Reyes and Inocencio were members of the lodge in Kawit.”
(National Glories Series, The Events of 1872, a Historico-Bio-Bibligraphical Account by Manuel Artigas Y Cuerva, Translation & Notes by O. D. Corpuz, University of the Philippines Press, 1996 page 155).

The arrest and imprisonment of Vicente Lukban and his fellow Masons did not deter them. On the contrary, most of them became all the more involved in the revolutionary movement. Soon after his release from Bilibid Prison in May 1897, Vicente Lukban joined Emilio Aguinaldo at the latter’s headquarters in Biyak-na-Bato. He would be a signatory to the Biyak-na-Bato Constitution in November 1898, and would later become one of the foremost Bicol Generals of the Philippine Revolution and the Philippine-American War.

The other Masons in Camarines Norte, including some of those arrested in September 1896, would form the core and leadership of Katipunan unit in the province headed by Ildefonso Moreno. By November 1897, the unit was fully organized, thanks in no small measure to the groundworks prepared years earlier by the La Cooperatiba Popular. It included members of the principalia like Jose Abaño, the capitan municipal of Daet, former gobernadorcillos Tomas Zaldua. Even the fifteen native members of the local Guardia Civil, including their cabo Salvador Marañon, were in secret league with the Katipunan and were receiving instructions from Ildefonso Moreno.

In April 1898, the Katipuneros of Camarines Norte rose in revolt. From April 14 to 17, the Daet uprising spread to the other towns of Basud, Calasgasan, Talisay and Labo. The Spanish military and civilian communities took refuge and barricaded themselves in the mansion of Spanish merchant Florencio Arana.

There they were besieged by the Katipuneros who fought and started their assaults from the very site where the First Rizal Monument now stands.

For four days, the Filipino fighters had almost total control of five towns, and would have captured the others if not for their lack of sufficient firearms and the apathy of some their countrymen.

The Daet Revolt was crushed mercilessly after a large Spanish reinforcement arrived from Nueva Caceres ad other parts of Camarines Norte on April 18, 1898. many Filipinos were arrested, tortured and/or executed. According ti historian Juan Elias Ataviado in hi book, “The Philippine Revolution in the Bicol Region”,around 500 Filipinos were killed, including the Katipunero leaders Ildefonso Moreno, Telesforo Zaldua, Gavino Saavedra and Jose Abaño.

The native members of the local Guardia Civil who had joined the revolt were meted particularly cruel punishment. They were beheaded upon the order of Captain Francisco Andreu, head of the Spanish contingent from Nueva Caceres, and their remains thrown to the dogs. Only one guard, Alipio de Leon, escaped the massacre of his compatriots.

The extreme cruelty inflicted on the Filipinos in Daet did not long remain unavenged. The Filipino civil guards in Nueva Caceres learned of what had happened, particulary to the native members of the Daet Guardia Civil. The following September 1898, they too revolted under the leadership of Elias Angeles and Felix Plazo. One of their first targets was Captain Francisco Andreu. He and his entire family, save for the two youngest children who feigned death, were killed in the assault on their house.

That same month of September 1898, Camarines Norte was totally liberated from the Spaniards. The Spanish authorities – military, civil and ecclesiastical – had fled or left the province posthaste upon hearing of the landings of Vicente Lukban’s expeditionary army at Mambulao and Paracale. He arrived in Daet on September 12, 1898, finding it free of the colonial masters, proceeded to Nueva Caceres with his army.

The following December, the free people of Camarines Norte embarked on the project to construct a monument in honor of Dr. Jose P. Rizal, the first province to do so.

The site chosen for the monument was he very place where the Katipuneros had fought and held their ground in the Daet Revolt of April 1898. the Spanish carcel where many of the Katipuneros were incarcerated, tortured and executed in the aftermath of the revolt was demolished. The coral stones therefrom, perhaps still bearing the stains of the martyrs’ blood were carted to the site and use as building blocks for the triangular spire and its square base. As a finishing touch, the words “Noli Me Tangere”, “El Felibusterismo” and “Morga” were painted on the three sides of the square base.

The inclusion of the word “Morga” was not without significance. It obviously referred to Rizal’s translations and annotation of Sucesos de las Islas Filipinas (Historical Events of the Philippine Islands), the Spanish official Antonio de Morga’s seventeenth-century account of the conditions obtaining in the country before and during the Spanish conquest. Although not familiar – even among present-day Filipinos – as Rizal’s Noli and Fili, his edition of Morga was no less important.

While his Noli revealed the decline of the fatherland under the destructive effect and exploitation by Spanish colonization, in contrast Rizal’s edition of the Morga sought to awaken among his countrymen the consciousness of their past and the advanced state of the Filipinos prior to the coming of the Spaniards, their early accomplishments as well as their ethnic and cultural links to other Malay peoples.

Rizal was at pain to show that the pre-Hispanic Filipinos had a system of writing, bodies of costumes, traditions and usages. Filipino artisans, like Panday Pira, had forged cannons and built seagoing vessels as few others did in Southeast Asis. Agriculture and industry – like the growing of cottons, the weaving of cloth, the mining of gold and other metals, even the export of silk to Japan where today the best silk comes from – existed prior to the Spanish colonial conquest. Pre-Hispanic Philippines appeared to be at one of the crossroads of Asian trade, and its products reached other countries of Asia.

Rizal’s preface to his edition of the Morga closed with the following words to his countrymen:
“If the book succeeds to awaken your consciousness of our past, already effaced from your memory, and to rectify what has been falsified and slandered, then I have not worked in vain, and with this as a basis, however small it may be, we shall be able to study the future.”
Such portrayal of the Filipino past and his Malayan links provided a rational and moral legitimation for a people who were used to the notion of loyalty to Spain but now were called upon to wage a revolution against it. Andres Bonifacio’s first manifesto to the public published in the Katipunan’s newspaper Kalayaan echoed Rizal’s Morga.
“In the early times when the Spaniards had not yet set foot in this land, under the government of our true compatriots, the Filipinos were living in great abundance and prosperity. They lived in harmony with neighboring countries, especially the Japanese, with whom they carried on commerce and trade, and their industry produced extra-ordinarily abundant fruits. As a result everyone lived in the fashion of the wealthy. Young and old, and even women knew how to read and write in our own native writing.”
To the people of Camarines Norte at the time, Rizal’s purpose in writing his edition of the “Morga” appeared to be known. Certainly, the painting of the word Morga on the First Rizal monument in Daet indicated that they were aware of its significance, and mayhaps of their country’s past and ethno-cultural heritage which Rizal had sought to reconstruct in his historical work.

Three decades later, that awareness and consciousness would be articulated with brilliant and forceful eloquence by another great son of Camarines Norte, Wencesclao Q. Vinzons. While the student council president at the University of the Philippines in 1932, he delivered his winning oratorical piece “Malaysia Frredenta” about the history of the Southeast Asian countries with Malayan origin. Vinzons, who would become the youngest delegate to the 1935 Constitutional Convention, and the later Governor and Congressman of Camarines Norte, went a step further by advocating a federation of Malaysian states, the Pan Malayan Union.

Vinzons’ eloquent words are a fulfilled prophecy as they echo along the corridors of time:
“Óur racial history is marked by the occasional display of the genius of remote ancestors. Under the influence of Hindu culture, the Shri-Visayan empire consolidated a vast territory from Formosa to Ceylon, and embracing to the South Java and the Moluccas. A unified Malaysia extending from the northern extremity of the Malay Peninsula to the shores of New Guinea, from Madagascar to the Philippines and to the remotest islands of Polynesia will be a powerful factor in the oceanic world. Its magnitude seems to be preposterous and absurd – a highly impossible project. But your answer to this challenge will be your verdict on the capacity of your race for civilization and your vision of a redeemed Malaysia will be the salvation of your prosperity.”
Vinzons’ vision of regional cooperation among peoples of common Malay stock but bearing the diverse imprints of Western, Islamic and Indic influences was an idea ahead of his time. But it would be a reality in the MAPHILINDO of the 1960’s and to a certain extent in today’s ASEAN.

Where did Vinzons get his initial inspiration? Did he, as a young boy studying in Daet, often walk past the First Rizal Monument? Did he at times tarry and stand before it, pondering its significance and meaning?

Years earlier, in the early morning of December 30, 1898, a multitude of Camarines Norteños had gathered and stood at that same place to witness the unveiling of the First Rizal Monument. It must have been a glorious sight bringing tears to well in the eyes of the men and women present, the survivors and eyewitnesses of the Daet Revolt. There before them, glistening in white, was the symbol of their province’s struggle for the cause of freedom, a testament to the heroism and martyrdom of her sons as much as it is a monument in honor and recognition of the greatest hero and martyr of the nation, Dr. Jose Rizal, pride of the Malay Race.

MERITO B. ESPINAS (Author of Ibalong)

Si Merito B. Espinas sarong Bikolanong parasurat, iskolar, asin edukador. Siya an kaggibo kan librong Ibalong.

Siya tapos sa kolehiyo, A.B. sa Pilosopiya, M.A. sa Ingles (Meritissimus) asin Ph.D. Siya an 1965 Bipradas Palchaudhuri fellow kan Unibersidad kan Calcutta sa India. Nagin man siyang profesor nin pilosopiya, comparative religion, literatura, speech asin Ingles, sa humanidades asin sa syensya sosyal.

Nagtokdo siya nin Oriental Philosophy sa Graduate School kan Unibersidad kan Sto Tomas asin nagin sarong beses paratokdo sa Unibersidad kan Nueva Caceres sa syudad kan Naga. Sa Aquinas na Unibersidad kan Legazpi kinaptan niya bilang pamayo, sa magkairibang panahon, an Departamento sa Ingles, Literatura asin Speech, sa Departamento kan Syensya Sosyal, kan Humanidades asin Behavioral Sciences, asin nagin man siyang Assistant Dean kan Graduate School. Sa Bicol University, nagin siyang dean kan College of Arts and Sciences.

Dakulon pa man siyang mga sinurat na nalagda' sa mga magasin, msa pang-iskolar na journal, sa mga peryodiko asin mga libro na an tinotokar iyo an sa pilosopiya, literatura, relihiyon, kultura asin Ingles.

Kan 1983, nagin siyang editor kan Bikol Voices Anthology na an mga napapalaman mga artikulo tinokda' kan mga Bikolanong parasurat.

Komo dakul an saiyang pinagkakainteresan, nag'adal man siya sa mga bagay-bagay na supernormal, mga istoryang banwaan, sa historya asin kultura, sa arkeolohiya asin siring man sa kapalibutan asin sa mga isyung ekolohiko.



An epikong Ibalong dai pa determinado kun siisay talaga an nagsurat kaini sa tekstong Kastila.

An Kastilang teksto kaini maguguno sa sinurat ni Padre Jose Castaño sa saiyang artikulong "Breve noticia acerca del origen, religion, creencias y supersticiones de los antiguos Indios del bicol" na napalakip sa Archivo del bibliofilo filipino, vol. I, na an nagtipon man iyo si Wenceslao Retana asin ipinublikar kan Impr. de la viuda de M. Minuesa de los Rios duman sa Madrid,España, taon 1895.

Kaya an iba naghuna an kagsurat kaini iyo si Padre Castaño, pero ini an nasambit ni Merito B. Espinas sa bagay na ini,(Ibalong, p. 48) " si Fray Bernardino Melendreras y de la Trinidad asin bako si Fray Jose Castaño, na iyo an pigtutubod kan dakul, an orihinal na nagpompon kan epikong ini sa Bikol asin dangan saiyang ipinalis sa Kastila mapapatunayan ni Valentin Marin y Morales sa saiyang Ensayo de una sentisis de los trabajos realizados por los corporaciones religiosos españoles de Filipinas, Tomo 2, Estableciemnto Tipogreafico del Colegio Santo tomas, Manila: 1901, p. 596, na kun saen nabanggit niya na si Fray Bernardino Melendreras, nagsurat sa Kastila nin sarong orog-orog (poesia) dapit sa antigong kinaugalean kan mga Indio sa Albay, na tituladong Ibal, sarong 400-na-pahinang manuskrito na kun saen nagsapi' si Castaño kan rawitdawit na Ibalong na nakalakip sa artikulong ginibo niya asin ikinaag ni Wenceslao Retana sa Archivo kan 1895:

"La poesia que trae el Jose Castaño en su obrita publicada por Retana en 1985 esta tomada de Ibal del P. Melendreras." --- na boot sabihon kinua man lang daa ni Castaño, sabi ni Valentin Marin, an rawitdawit-epikong ini sa Ibal ni P. Melendreras.

An problema man daa ta sagkod ngonyan dai pang nahahanap na kopya kan obra ini ni Melendreras, kaya an argumento ni Jose Calleja Reyes, na sagkod dai pa mapaluwas an sinabing Ibal tutubodon niyang si Jose Castaño pa an masabing autor kan Kastilang teksto.

Iyo ini an rason na pigdara ni Reyes sa saiyang librong pinalagda', an Bikol Maharlika ta sabi niya ngani sagkod na mayo an corpus delicti, komo sarong abogado siya, dai dapat pagtubodon. Si Reyes binikol man an Ibalong asin mababasa ini sa libro niyang Bikol Maharlika (p. 64-82) asin tinampadan niya man kan tinagalog na bersyon ni Arturo Camua Sampana.

Si Jaime T. Malanyaon ilinakip man niya an bersyon na bikol ni Leoncio F. Elopre sa saiyang librong Istorya Kan Kabikolan (p. 514-523).

An iba nagdududa ngani na totoong epiko ini kan Bikol ta may mga elemento ini hale asin nakakaagid sa mga epiko kan Griyego arog kan persona ni Hercules na agid-agidan sa gawe ni Handiong saka ni Baltog, duwang importanteng heroe sa Ibalong. Garo soboot daa gibo-gibo lang ni Melendreras. An iba man nagsasabi autenticong osipon nin gugurang ta may mga elementong tinubo arog kan mga bukid na Kolasi, Hamtik, Isarog asin kan mga lugar na nasususog pa ngonyan arog kan Ponong (sa Magarao?), Panikwason (sa may pamitisan kan Isarog), Inarihan na salog o kan Kotmo' (sa may Pasacao). Asin an mga termino sa mga kagamitan na minukna arog kan "gatang", "surod", "landok" asbp mga termino lumaon na sa bikol.

Ano ta dai lamang nasambitan an bulkan Mayon sa epikong ini? An bukid na "Masaraga" na "aki pa." naenot pang marhay sa pagtuhaw asin huri na nagtalubo an Mayong? Kun hihilingon sa Vocabulario ni Lisboa, an "masaga" boot sabihon "malaad", "mabanaag" o sa Kastila, "...que relumbre mucho." Bako daw na an bulkan Masaraga naglalaad pang gayo kun naputok kumpara sa mga gurang nang bukid arog kan Isarog o Asog?

Sabi ni Stephen Sergio, sarong parasurat, an "Mayong" hale sa Buhi-non na taramon na "ma'yong" na boot sabihon "boklod, bukid" asin inaapod ninda an tinutuboan pa sana nin suso nin nagdadaraga na "moro-ma'yong". Ma-oyon ini sa analisis na an epiko antigo nang maray asin enot pang maray na naglakop sa panahon na an Ma'yong nagtatalubo pa sana. Totoo, kahurihan kan kag-anom (16) na Siglo, inaapod na kan mga Bikolnon an bulkan na iyan na "Ma'yong" susog sa natala' ni Lisboa.

Naggikan an mga taga-Buhi sa Albay mansana asin nangaranan sindang Buhi-non ta sinda su mga "nakabuhi"   (nakadurulag) kan tuminuga an Ma'yong.

Nota: An sinurat ni Fray Jose Castaño napalaman asin nakukua sa Archivo del bibliofilo filipino, vol. I, na an nagtipon man iyo si Wenceslao Emilio Retana y Gamboa asin ipinublikar kan Impr. de la viuda de M. Minuesa de los Rios duman sa Madrid,España, taon 1895.