Ibalong Festival no image

Published on August 10th, 2011 | by Legazpi City


Ibalong Heroes: Handyong

The second hero who came to the land of Ibalong was Handyong. Together with his men, he had to fight thousands of battles, and face many dangers to defeat the monsters. As warriors, they first fought the one-eyed monster with three necks in the land of Ponong. For ten months, they fought without rest. And they never stopped fighting until all these monsters were killed.


Artistic depiction of Handyong by Mark Anthony Taduran

Handyong and his men made their next attack against the giant flying sharks called Triburon which had hardy flesh and sawlike teeth that could crush rocks. They continued fighting until the defeat of the last Triburon.

They tamed the wild carabaos. They even drove away the giant and very fierce Sarimao which had very sharp fingernails. And using their spears and arrows, they killed all the crocodiles which were as big as boats. With all these killings, the rivers and swamps of Ibalong turned red with blood. It was at this time that the savage monkeys became frightened and hid themselves.

Among the enemies of Handyong and his men, the serpent Oryol was the hardest to kill. Having a beautiful voice, Oryol could change its image to deceive its enemies. To capture it, Handyong tried different ways. But Oryol escaped every one of it and disappeared.

So, alone and unafraid, Handyong decided to look for Oryol in the heart of the forest. He followed the beautiful voice and was almost enchanted by it in his pursiut. Days and nights passed until Oryol came to admire Handyong’s bravery and gallantry. Then, the serpent helped the hero to conquer the monsters, thus restoring peace to the entire Ibalong.

Artistic depiction of Oryol by Mark Anthony Taduran

In one of the areas of Ibalong called Ligmanan, Handyong built a town. Under his leadership and his laws, slaves and masters were treated equally. The people planted rice and because of their high regard of him, they named this rice after him. He built the first boat to ride the waves of Ibalong’s seas. Through his good example, his people became inspired and came up with their own inventions.

There was Kimantong who made the plow, harrow, and other farming tools; Hablom who invented the first loom for weaving abaca clothes; Dinahong, an Agta, who created the stove, cooking pot, earthen jar, and other kitchen utensils; and Sural who brilliantly thought of the syllabary and started to write on a marble rock. This was a golden period in Ibalong.

About the Author

Welcome to Legazpi! The City of Fun and Adventure | Gateway to Bicol's Many Wonders and the Regional Administrative Center of Region V.

  • Nik

    is Ligmanan now the present day Libmanan in Bicol?

    • Dex

      Yup, I think it is.

    • budji


      Ligmanan is Libmanan in Camarines Sur. There is a barangay in Libmanan called Handong, where apparently where Handiong built his supposed palace. Numerous Bicolano historians have identified Libmanan as the Ligmanan (please read Espinas ‘Ibalong’, p. 3). You must take into account that Castano was a Spaniard and his use of the primitive Bicol language was modified (think Morato when he misprounce ‘nangyayari’ into ‘nannyanyari’ anyway, i digressed..). According to Espinas (Ibalong, p.33, 1996) Ligmanan was not the only seat of power of Handiong but the center of earliest civilization in the Bicol Region. Some still-unverified accounts are saying that Handiong sailed from ‘Ibalong’ through the river system from Lake Bato chancing upon the winding and wide rivers of fertile alluvial lands of Libmanan and the surrounding areas and decided to settle in the fertile lands of Libmanan, but not clearing the land first of beasts and monsters.

      If you read the actual spanish poem written by Padre Castano, he places the legend of Ibalong around mostly in Camarines Sur and Norte, except for the mention of Lignon. He mention of old mountains: Asog, Masaraga, Iriga, Hantic, and Culasi (Cam. Norte) firmly places the area in Camarineses (north and south). At that time there was no mention of Mayon. According to geological findings, Mayon is the youngest (albeit the grandest and most beautiful of all mountains in our country) and may have not been fully-formed at the time of Handiong.

      While in the 17th century (precisely in 1636) the Spaniards divided the region into Partido de Camarines (East-northeast section) and Partido de Ibalong (West-southwest section) (Espinas, 1996). The whole region may have been Ibalong. The name ‘Camarines’ was actually coined when the spaniards first came to these regions and saw the land full of rice granaries, thus ‘camarin’.

      BUT let me re-iterate it again… the poem places much of the legend “Ibalon” (named much later by Bikolano Panganiban, because Castano named it “Yling” and “Cadugnung” and no mention of Ibalong) or the “El Ibal” (originally penned by Padre Bernandino Melandreras in the 19th century) in the area around the current province of Camarines Sur is located.

      I expect an intellectual rebuttal for this comment. Please check out the sources below.

      Thank you very much.

      Arce, Alejo. (1962). El Bikolano Y Su Ambiente Compendio. A master’s thesis presented at the University of Sto. Tomas Graduate School. Manila: UST

      Castano, Jose. (1895). “Breve Noticia Acerca del Origen, Religion, Creencias Y Superstitiones de Los Antigues Indios del Bicol”, in Wenceslao Retana’s Archivo del Bibliofilo Filipino, Tomo I. Madrid.

      Espinas, Merito. (1996). Ibalong, The Bikol Folk Epic-Fragment. Manila: University of Santo Tomas.

      Perez, Ma. Rosario D. (1967). A Critical Study of Handiong, A Bikol Epic. Masteral Thesis: University of Sto. Tomas, Manila.

      Pastrana – Riol, Fr. Apolinar OFM. (1982). Fr. Bernardino Melendreras, OFM (1815 – 1867) y su Obra Poetica Sobre La Region del Bicol (Filipinas). Madrid: Missionalia Hisponica 39. Pp. 85 – 181.

      Reyes, Jose Calleja. (1992). Bikol Maharlika. Philippines: JMC Press Inc.

Back to Top ↑
  • Legazpi City on Facebook

  • Legazpi City Weather

    Fatal error: Call to a member function get_forecasts() on a non-object in /home/content/y/v/e/yvesyu2/html/wp-content/plugins/yahoo-weather-forecasts/yahoo!-wheather.php on line 61