At the house.
One day, Bulawanon engaged the help of Tikum Kadlum, a hunting dog with the gift of sensing the spirits, in cooking rice for his husband Paiburong and his brother Dumaraog who will be going hunting. When the rice was cooked, the brothers ate fast. Then, while Bulawanon packed the betel nut for her husband, Paiburong and Dumaraog dressed themselves, with Dumaraog suggesting they match their sashes and belts, since he is his brother's loyal protector. To complete their hunting preparations, the two brought out their long-bladed sharp knives, shields, spears, and lances from their gold chest and wall hanger. When everything is set, Paiburong bade goodbye to his wife, Bulawanon, who reminded her husband to be careful as he might meet in the forest one named Makabagting, who is accompanied by a man-eating woman called Muwa. Makabagting is a nobleman and a warrior who is widely known as having tasted human flesh. Paiburong went out of his house, and he heard a sound. It warned him of some bad luck ahead. He ignored the omen and called for Tikum Kadlum, and the three headed to the forest as planned.
At the forest.
The brothers reached the hunting grounds in the forest. Nothing was heard by either of them but the incessant barks of Tikum Kadlum. The brothers were wondering what was the dog seeing. Paiburong and Dumaraog wielded their weapons and rushed to where Tikum Kadlum was, only to find out that there was nothing in his midst except the Buriraw, a golden bamboo tree, which he kept looking up to. Paiburong declared that he will cut down the bamboo tree because Tikum Kadlum appears like a fool gazing up to its tip where the burugsak or the golden bell is tied, and he would not leave it and even incessantly circles the same. Dumaraog stopped his brother and reminded him that he was warned of a bad luck earlier but still Paiburong can never be held back. Paiburong cut the Buriraw and there was a series of bursting sounds. The burugsak attached to the window of Makabagting sounded off.
Makabagting has awaken.
Makabagting, whose chest measures seven stretches of one's thumb and pointfinger, got angry. His Muwa was also awakened and declared that she will shred into pieces the culprit who cut down Makabagting's buriraw. Makabagting explained that the Buriraw tied with a burugsak has a tuos or sacred promise to his ancestors Makalikbo and Luon-luon, so that whoever cuts it or bends it shall exchange it with his life. The Muwa repeated what Makabagting has just explained. This revelation made Paiburong tremble with fear, and Makabagting reached for Paiburong. Dumaraog interrupted, apologized and pleaded for mercy. He insisted that they have no knowledge that the Buriraw tied with a burugsak has a tuos.
In lieu of Paiburong's life.
Makabagting, whose chest measures seven stretches of one's thumb and pointfinger, felt mercy towards Paiburong and decided to spare him his life. Then the Muwa declared that in return, Paiburong should offer his two daughters as payment. Right there and then, Paiburong and Makabagting agreed as to the month when the latter will come back for his daughters and the former can take the cut Buriraw home with him as he has exchanged it already with his daughters. Makabagting and the Muwa left for their home. Dumalaog hurried up Paiburong in completely cutting down the Buriraw which he has exchanged with his daughters. And thereafter, the latter called for Tikum Kadlum.
Back to the house.
Paiburong climbed up the steps of his house with a heavy heart. Bulawanon suspected that something was wrong and started to ask questions. Dumaraog made Bulawanon sit down first. He then narrated that "Tikum Kadlum was barking incessantly towards the tip of the Buriraw and even encircled the same as if he hears a Binanog or an eagle-immitating dance and Paiburong decided to cut down the same and bursting sounds from the bell attached to Makabagting's window were heard and it turned out that the Buriraw has a tuos because Makabagting inherited the same from his ancestors. Not long after, Makabagting arrived together with his Muwa. Paiburong pleaded for mercy. Makabagting spared his life but he has to give him their daughters." Upon hearing the story, Bulawanon weeped and asked Paiburong why he did not challenge Makabagting when he is the courageous one and why he did not offer his life when he is already old anyway and finally, why he allowed her two cherished daughters to be taken in exchange.
The time has come.
The marked day of the month when Makabagting had to come for Matan-ayon and Suranggaon, the two daughters of Paiburong and Bulawanon, had finally arrived. Bulawanon was thinking of ways to spare her daughters from being taken away. She bathed her daughters with Tagom, a plant with blue violet dye and placed them by the stove. Bulawanon bathed her maidservant and slave, and dressed them with beautiful clothes and let them lay down in the hammock. Then the Muwa and Makabagting arrived. Makabagting looked for the daughters whom Paiburong had exchanged with his Buriraw. Bulawanon, hiding her grin, pointed at the hammocks where her maidservant and slave were. Makabagting would not believe that they were her daughters. Bulawanon challenged him to look around the rooms to verify whether she keeps her daughters. Makabagting caught a big housefly and the Muwa tied it with her hair and the fly glided around and the Muwa told the fly to look for the daughters of Bulawanon. The Uwa declared that whoever the fly land to, they are the daughters of Bulawanon. And the huge housefly landed on Matan-ayon first and then to Suranggaon who were situated on the side of the dirty kitchen. Buluwanon pleaded to spare her daughters as she could not live without them. Paiburong comforted Buluwanon and explained that he could not do anything as their fates were already written on their palms. The Muwa left and Makabagting left carrying Matan-ayon and Suranggaon on his neck and shoulder.
Inside the enchanted cave.
Makabagting arrived home with Matan-ayon and Suranggaon and he instructed his Muwa sister named Amburukay to boil water in a kawa or giant wok in order to cook them. Instead, Amburukay welcomed the two maidens and she placed the two on her breast, and then, she told her elder brother that she will keep them in the house and make them as her binukot or well-kept maidens. She told Makabagting that she will hide them inside the golden chamber inside the enchanted cave.
Amburukay's motherly instinct.
Amburukay paced back and forth since she could not contain her joy for having her two daughters. She bathed them in the kawa and dressed them elaborately with her own clothes. She also decorated them with all of her accessories. She made them stand, place their hands on both waists, and walk while swaying their hips. She then stared at them and followed them with her eyes; she has nothing bad to say about them. They are all perfect for her. The two will be her playthings.
She made a tu-os on the two maidens. Amburukay pledged that whoever can get or take hold of her golden pubic hair which she inherited from Luon-luon, he will pay it with his life, but if he is a good-looking man, he will be the two maiden's husband. Then, she kept Matan-ayon and Suranggaon inside the locked golden chamber inside her cave.
Amburukay leaves the enchanted cave.
She would always check on the two binukot Matan-ayon and Suranggaon inside the golden chamber inside her cave everyday. She derived joy in looking at them. She would always feed them and make them sleep on her two laps. In some days, Amburukay would request the two maidens to take the lice off her head by the window. Amburukay would then contemplate about the future of her two daughters. She forbade Makabagting to get inside the chamber where she keeps them because he might fall in love with her binukot. Amburukay told Makabagting about her tu-os. She weeped upon thinking about the future of her two daughters and her wish to go back to the forest. She said that whoever has the fate of having her daughters as his wives will have pride in them. According to Amburukay, she will just return to the forest because she is not used to sleep in a room and when she is in the woods, she would just gather snails and turtles. But whenever she will be called for, she will come like rain drops by the porch.
*Retelling of the story is based on this blogger's personal understanding of the Contemporary Kinaray-a translation of the Archaic Kinaray-a in the Book 1 of Epics of Panay entitled, Tikum Kadlum, as told by Federico Caballero and Teresita Caballero-Castor with Dr. Alicia Magos as chief translator and published by UP Press. Copyright 2014
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