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Legazpi’s colorful month-long Ibalong Festival returns this October 2009. This year’s celebration promises to be more exciting and festive than ever before. The Ibalong Festival is a feast that celebrates Bicol’s ancient history as told in the Ibalong folk-epic fragment that recounts the adventures of Bikol’s early heroes: Baltog, Handiong and Bantong.
Ibalong, the sixty stanzas the remain of a full-length folk epic that is today little known even in Kabikolan itself, was presumably jotted down in its complete Bicol narrative by Fray Bernardino de Melendreras (1815-1867), a Franciscan missionary in Ginobatan, Albay, from a minstrel referred to in the epic as Kadungung and who could be the same wandering bard described years later by another Franciscan, Fray Jose Castaño (b. 1854), as “Homero de Ibalon.”