Biag ni Lam-ang – A Famous Philippine Epic
Biag ni Lam-ang is a pre-Hispanic epic poem of the Ilokano people from the Ilocos region of the Philippines. Recited and originally written in the Ilokano language, it is believed to be the work of many poets from various generations, and was first preserved in writing around 1640, by a blind Ilokano bard named Pedro Bucaneg.
Its origin occurred during the pre-Spanish period of the Philippines and it is one of the greatest Ilocano epics of the pre-colonial literature of the country. The story is a mix of adventure and romance with exciting and unpredictable outcomes. Lam- ang was an extraordinary being. He started to speak at an incredibly young age and was the one to choose his own name. His adventure began when his father, Don Juan, went to a battle but never came back. At the age of barely nine months he went to search for his father in the highlands where his father was said to go. Aware that her child was a blessed, extraordinary creature,Namongan, his mother, allowed him to go. Lam-ang then went off to search for his father, leaving his grieving mother behind. When Lam-ang reached the place, he was enraged upon seeing his father’s head on top of a bamboo pole that was stuck in the ground which was a scene that he had dreamed before reaching the place. Lam-ang then demanded to know the reason why that had happened to his father, but did not receive an answer. Instead he was demanded by the chieftain of the village to go or else he would receive the same fate like his father. Instead of running, Lam-ang bravely fought with the chieftain and its tribesmen. Lam-ang won the fight with less effort, serving as his revenge for his father.
This famous philippine epic poem showed some of the earlier customs, culture, tradition and belief of the Ilocano people of the Philippines. The story presented some of the qualities of the people of the Ilocos region- adventurous, hard, and brave as strongly portrayed by Lam-ang. The epic poem presented the fact that life is full of trials and problems. One must be strong and just accept the reality as it is already part of life.