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Submitted by: Christine Pedery An Analysis of the Epic of Labaw Donggon I have read some epics of the other

regions but I am most interested with this epic of Labaw Donggon since this is quite amusing and of course speaks about the pre-colonial Panay. Labaw Donggon, just like the other Philippine epic heroes was characterized as handsome, mighty, and strong. When he went to seek Nagmalitung Yawa, Saragnayan was even in awe of how Donggon looked as a very fine man whose magnificence can be compared to a god or a deity from the sky. Even though Donggon was described as indeed very attractive, I can say that he was not vain. I just think that he was just too concerned in making a good impression to the ladies which is the reason why before he went to Abyang Ginbitinan, he asked first his mother to help him in ensuring that he is striking enough to present himself to the maiden. Aside from his physical characteristics, Labaw Donggon is also proud and desirous. During the precolonial time, taking many wives is not at all polygamy but it is more of a mans way to prove his manliness as well as to guarantee himself a great number of descendants. I was not surprised when Labaw Donggon took some more wives but when he desired Nagmalitung Yawa who was the wife of Saragnayan, I think that Donggon was just too proud of himself, ambitious and of course covetous. Nagmalitung Yawa was already married but it did not stop him from pursuing her. He also thought too highly of himself and his capabilities. I can say that his over confidence was one factor which led to his defeat against Saragnayan. It was given that he was captivated by the beauty of Nagmalitung Yawa but then is it enough for him to become covetous of others wife? Maybe it feeds his ego better. Basing on the text, he did not cared much when one of his wives told him how covetous and ambitious he was of taking away the wife of another man. I

think that his desire to obtain Nagmalitung Yawa was really strong and enduring as well as his want for more offspring. It was quite amusing how a superior thinking hero like Donggon hid like a baby after encountering a vast number of enemies though I would also consider it as a result of his old age. However, the bright side I saw here in our epic hero is that he was a very eager man who never failed in giving all his best shots just to achieve the goal he was aiming for. The epic of Labaw Donggon showed to us in general the already existing and rich culture of the Panay people. This epic further reflected the different customs or superstitions which are practiced by our ancestors before and even until today in some parts of Panay which are not yet urbanized or made into cities. One of the relevant customs presented in this epic is the proper of way of asking a lady for marriage. Just like in Siday sa Pamalaye, many talks were made before the relatives or the parents agreed with the marriage proposal. In Siday, the relatives of the lady first denied her existence which was also the same in the first part of the epic when the mother of Abyang Ginbitinan told Donggon that all her daughters were already married to different powerful men. In todays context, there are still proper arrangements made by the parents of both the man and the woman before a marriage agreement is made though in a less complicated way and usually without the involvement of a bride price. There is also a superstitious belief from the epic which sounds new to me. That superstition says something about how should one choose their clothing for luck matters. Aside from that superstition, I can also infer that Panayanons were already fascinated with divination and enchantments even before outside influences came in our land. This also shows that the pre-colonial Panayanons were also very animistic just like the other pre-colonial people from some regions. Throughout the text, crystal balls and charms were constantly mentioned in certain situations like when the sons of Donggon wanted to know what became of him through the help of a crystal ball. Charms and magical powers were also

mentioned especially when Saragnayan fought Donggon and when Baranugon challenged Saragnayan. Another belief which I think is just common for the Panayanons is the practice of making a lumay which according to what I have heard is usually a concoction which has a spell and is given to another person in the form of food. Before, I only thought that lumay is only meant for solving love problems but in this epic it was the tool used by Donggons son to subdue the pig which holds the life of Saragnayan. From this epic, I think that the pre-colonial Panayanons can be seen as people who are family oriented and are not afraid to seek revenge or give justice for the sake of an aggrieved loved one or relative. When Saragnayan was already weakened after the two brothers discovered his secret about him being unconquerable, they began fighting. After Asu Mangga killed Saragnayan, Baranugun expressed his pity for the skilled warrior but he added that his death is well deserved because he had wronged his father. Though he pitied Saragnayan, he stressed that his revenge must be carried out to also calm down his anger. On the other hand, the women here in this epic were shown as the ones who usually helped the male characters in achieving their purposes. When the sons of Donggon were oblivious of Saragnayans secret charm, they called for the help of Abyang Alunsina which was readily given to them. In the last part when Labaw Donggon was begging his two wives to help him gain back his mightiness, the women were at first wary of granting their husbands request . After Donggon assured his wives that Nagmalitung Yawa will be treated just like them, the women then complied with his wish. It might be that the pre-colonial wives of Panay were also very supportive of their husbands decision. An epic encompasses most aspects of a society and through reading it we can dig in deeper insights on how the pre-colonial experiences helped in shaping up the present society. Clich it may be but the epic of Labaw Donggon indeed provides us a window to our past.