The Legend of Isla Gigantes in Carles, Iloilo*
In a place called Punta Bulakawe in the town of Carles,
there was a childless couple who endlessly asked for a child.
They were blessed with a son who grew up too fast.
Too fast he grew that he can no longer enter thier house when he was one
and all men were only as tall as his knees.
The giant child grew up and spent his adolescence in a mountain
known as the Beheya Hill.
Everytime this giant walked, the surroundings shook.
Each of his step meant earthquake for everyone.
This made everyone fear him.
Because of his steps, he was called Higante Tay-og --
literally means Giant Quake.
Higante Tay-og decided to remain in Beheya Hill
which he could access by two or three steps only.
To entertain himself, he learned to smoke cigars.
Each time he exhale smoke from his cigar, the surroundings dim.
When he accidentally inhaled the smoke, he coughed;
the folks feared it like thunder that shook the surroundings.
This caused everyone to fear for upcoming calamities.
Higante Tay-og got no human friends and made friends with wild animals.
One day, a boat docked at the foot of his home.
He spied and saw that inside the boat were an old woman and a beautiful lady.
The lady has a long hair and a slender body.
And judging from her dress, she came from an unknown foreign land.
From what he heard, she was named Prinsesa Maganda
which literally means Princess Beautiful,
and the old woman was her grandmother.
They stayed in a shanty left by a folk when Higante Tay-og lived in the hill.
When the giant first saw the lady, he felt something beautifully strange towards her.
The next day, he caught fishes and left them in front of the shanty.
He did this everyday and sometimes, he left raised animals too.
He did this until the grandmother and Prinsesa Maganda learned of his kindness.
The townfolks were at awe when they learned that Higante Tay-og
and Prinsesa Maganda became sweethearts.
They were set to be married on full moon.
Higante Tay-og was very busy preparing for his wedding.
He gathered Burot, a plant found in the forest.
He also gathered kalabasa or squash, gabi, kabugaw or pomelo, suha or calamansi, canya and tubo or sugarcane.
He prepared the Tulunan-an, a giant claypot, of his mother.
He also gathered cogon and anahaw to be used to build their house
and kept them in a nigo, a native round and flat container.
He also prepared a Binangon or a bolo and looked for a pair of giant shoes
and a little pair for the princess.
He gathered these all on top of the Beheya Hill.
On the day before their wedding, a sailboat carrying pirates came.
At this time, Higante Tay-og was still busy preparing for his wedding,
When the pirates docked, they went to the shanty and grabbed the princess away.
The townfolks stopped the pirates with their bamboo poles and bows
as well as sharp branches and rocks inorder to rescue the princess but to no success.
In this chaos, Higante Tay-og came.
When one pirate sensed that they were in danger,
he planted an arrow in the heart of the lady.
The heavens grieved because of the death of the princess.
The giant overturned the sailboat and looked for the princess but it was too late.
The giant grieved and cried and cried.
His cry was like thunder and his tears were like falling rains.
He slowly brought the body of the princess to his home.
With his brewing anger, he picked up the wedding gifts and threw them one by one to the seas.
He grabbed the small shoe first and threw it on the left
and this became the island of Sapatos Diutay, literally means small shoe.
Next, he grabbed the giant shoe and threw it beside the small shoe
and this became the island of Sapatos Daku, literally means big shoe.
He grabbed the bunch of cogon and he forcefully threw it away
so that it landed so far and this was later known as the island of Sicogon.
He grabbed the giant claypot filled with burot, kabugaw, kalabasa and gabi,
and farway, he threw them away so that the contents later became the island of Naburot,
Island of Kabugaw, Isla de Kalabasa and the claypot as Island of Tulunan-an.
The giant looked for the nigo filled with the leaves of anahaw and canya
which he threw upwards when he saw them so that they emerged
as Island of Manigo-nigo just near Punta Bulakawe and the leaves became Island of Island of Cana.
When he had nothing more to grab, the giant kissed the lady and let her float to the skies.
Because he could not accept what happened, the giant drew the binangon on his waist
and he hacked himself into two and when he lost grip of the binangon,
it bacame the Island of Balbagon.
The giant's halved body fell down just near each other
and they were later known as Higante Norte and Higante Sur.
After a long time, the body of the princess floating in the skies fell down
and landed on the head of Higante Norte and became the Island of Higantuna.
And then, the sailboat of the pirates was brought to Higante Sur and became the live rocks.
Because the live rocks take the shape of a ship, it was called by the folks as "Bapor-bapor"
or literally "ship-like." And they say that in these live rocks, there can be found a mysterious cave filled with haunting stories.
*Told in verse by Gerlie M. Uy
Based on a history of the island of Carles
courtesy of HRMO and Christie Ann Gelvezon
of LGU, Carles, Iloilo
*Photo by Roderick Espinosa of PALI