Subanon Folktales

Folklore by | April 10, 2016

Editor’s Note: These folk tales are reprinted, with permission, from the article “Subanun Folklore” written by Dr. Gaudiosa M. Ochotorena and published in Tambara Vol. XVII in December 2000. The Subanun are an ethnic group based in Sindangan, Zamboanga del Norte. They are descendants of the first wave of Eurasian immigrants from what is now Indonesia. This article was retrieved and encoded as part of a document digitization project of Ateneo de Davao University.

Legend of the First Crocodile / Ag Teriponan Neg Mona Buwaya

Many years ago in the village of Gayan, Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte, there lived a widow. She was a weaver named Logoloqan. She had only one son.

One day, Logoloqan took a bath in the river. After her bath, she was surprised to see a fish scale on her feet. She continued taking a bath everyday since she always felt very warm. She was surprised to note that every time she took a bath, another fish scale grew on her body.

Finally, when she had so many scales all over, she told her son that she could no longer stay in their house. She requested her son to build a fence by the bank of the river where she could live. With tears in his eyes and sadness in his heart, the poor boy obeyed his mother. So by the river bank Logoloqan lived by herself.

There she again requested her son to tell the Timuway and his followers not to throw any dead animal into the river. At this, the Timuway got angry and asked one of his slaves to throw a dead fowl over her fence instead. Logoloqan caught the dead animal in her mouth and broke out of her fence. She bade good-bye to her son and swam away into the river. There she wandered and became the first crocodile.


*Don daw denganto dig benowa neg Gayan, Liloy, Zamboanga del Norte, don neg gido don. Ag panday megabil ngalanen si Logoloqan sarabok daig bataqen.

Sa negendaw balenen merigo dig tubigan. Sa metobos merigoq enig mitagen, tanowaqan neg gonap dig posoqen. Anig balenen merigo sa megendae poq milingasa togaring.

Dagid meteranta don sa tedo merigo don demaig mitowa neg gonap dig lawasen.

Mendadi tenaroqen tog bataqen endiqen na migaya megenEng dig tasan (balay neran). Sinogoqen tog bataqen balan neg balay tog tubig poq dito na pegbenowa.

Mesaqel da isya sog gembataq ampora baig matanen saba sa alanen. Dagid sogoqan ma nog ginaqen. Mendadi megbenowa na si Logoloqan ditog diyalem nag tubig.

Tenaroqen tog bataqen bendowan sog Timuway, endig meg pedlak neg mematay metetobo dig tubigan. Dagid meglangit sog Timuway sa medengEgen, patuloy sinogoqen sog goripEn meg peglak neg menatay metetobo tog diyalem galad ni Logoloqan. Mendadi sinilabat ni Logoloqan sog menatay neg bebaqen, dayon ginebEn sog galaden. Sa memitaqen sog bataqen bisan merat dig ginanen senomalem dig tubigan. Andayon nito ag teriponan neg buwaya.

Source: Filemon Dagongdong and Liyos Ambog*

The Legend of the Coconut / Ag Teriponan Nog Mona Niyog

There was a family with an only child. The child wanted some viand. He cried when he ate without viand so the father and mother had to prepare some for him all the time. One day he asked for some viand. Mother said, “Sorry, we do not have any. It is raining. We cannot go and look for some. It is already dark.”

The child kept on crying. So Niyog, the father, pitying the son, went down. He hurried downstairs. But down he fell on earth.

Mother cried, “What happened to you?” Mother got a lamp. She looked for her husband downstairs. Mother did not find him. How worried Mother was! The child kept on crying. But Father did not come back.

Early in the morning. Mother saw a beautiful plant at the place where Niyog fell. It had roots, trunk and palms.

Niyog did not come back. The child cried for food again. But there was no viand. Mother got the fruit downstairs. She split and tasted the meat. It was good. She gave it to her son. “You eat this. This is good viand for you. This is your father.”

From that time on people called that tree Niyog. Niyog was named after the lost father, Niyog.

*Don neg megdoway don neg batagan. Sog gembataq meyak neg sedaqan. Mengadoy yen sa endaq idon neg sedaqan. Gamaqen boq ginaqen megsokat neg sedaqan gendaw-gendaw. Megsala delabong sog gembataq mengadoy. Megsak neg gemay. Megsak sedaqan. Megtaroq sog ginaqen, "andon tadon daidon sedaqan. Misekeg dopiq. Endiq ita mikepenengaw sedaqen, poq medelm na." Kini bataq kini endiq na mesek pa mengadoy. Mendadi sog gamaqen, sog Niyog, merarat boq meminog boq megsilabo dig lupaqan. Mingadoy sog sawanen, "Megandon ka don?" Menalap sulo sog sawanen. Pikimaniman sog sawanen dig lupaqan, dagid endiq na meta nog sawanen. Meteranta na sog sawanen. Sog gembataq mesekpa na mengadoy. Sog gamaqen enda na dema puliq. Megsesalem ig benowa meta nog sawanen merangas neg pegimolan ditog kileboqen ni Niyog. Don naig ganitan, panganten tubilen, boq bonganen. Sog Niyog anda na uli. Mengadoy sa gid puli sog gembataq. Po daidon neg sedaqanan. Enalap nog ginaqen sog pegseboqananen. Beneklaqen, ma nanam neg sedaqan. Ba merengas. Benigayen tog bataqen. Boq megtaroq, "an mo yen. Yon merangas neg sedaqan niya. Kin lama sog gama mo." Tedo denganto en neg ngaran neg gayokuwin Niyog. Eningeranen neg Niyog tedo pa tog getaw denganto kito. Source: Pulqueria Bentilan* #### The Legend of the Monkey / *Ag Teriponan Neg Gutong* Weaving has long been a Subano industry. Even today they are still weaving. They weave abaca fibers. They weave cotton thread also. In a village there was a mother. The mother had a naughty son. The boy was named Gutong. Gutong liked to play. He played and played all day. He jumped and jumped. He climbed the roof. He did not obey his mother. He liked to get things he could see. One day the mother was weaving. Mother said, "Gutong, please play outside. I have work here. Outside you can play. Do not jump and jump around my work. Do not climb the roof. You might fall on my work." In a moment Gutong fell down. He fell into the loom. So mother got mad. She shouted with anger. "Oh, you destroyed my work!" She took the shuttle. She threw the shuttle angrily at Gutong cursing him. Mother said, "I hope you will have a tail; you will have hairs. Go to the forest. You should live there." What evil luck! The shuttle stuck to the boy's back. Little by little hair grew on him. His face became queer. His eyes became bright. He jumped out of the window. He jumped and jumped. Then he jumped down the trees. He bade goodbye to mother. He said, "I'll go to the forest. Find me there if you miss me." Monkeys are called guiong in the Subanun dialect. They originated from the naughty boy, Gutong.

*Ag gasal neg Subanen gegoden megabEl. Bisan pa nemon megabEl da sog doma. MegabEl dag baka, megabEl dag gapas.

Sog denganto donig mona enaq. Don daw wig bataqen. Gembataq kini pengeranen si Gutong. Gutong meliyag meglimit. Gendaw-gendaw balenen meglimit. Sigi lak megleksowan, manek dig gatep. Endiq sog megpitod tog ginaen. Bisan alandon mitaqen alapanan. Donig gendaw sog ginaqen megabEl. Laong nog ginaqen, “Gutong, peglemit ta tog liyo.

Donig baleng ko dini. Tog Iiyowa peglimit gopiya. Diya peg lEkso-lEkso dinig gopido. Diya pemenek dik gatepan. Melaboqa bos dini nan.”

Indaq meben milabo sog Gotong. Milaboqoren sog balenen. Mendadi liningitan sog ginaqen. Migbaksay neg langit, “Nema mesaba mo sog baling ko.”

Pegowaden sog goyanan. Pineglaken sog goyanan tog Gutong. Megtaroq soq ginaqen, “tamo pe tuboqan ka gikog tuboqan ka neg bok. Angaya tog gorangan. Ditang ka pagbenowa.”

Mendadi sa maniya! Sog gayanan mitana tog gembata. Andaq mesano tinoboqan na bok. Empangitig gongaren. Melega ig matanen. LinomEkso tog dongawan. Mekogog. Mendadi senomampak tog giyowanen. Megodas dayon tog ginaqen. Metaroqen, “Mangayo tog gorangan. Penengaw mo lak dito sa embogaqa dinaqen.” Mendadi enito ag tereponan neg gutong tedo dig bata neg Subanen garanen si Gutong.

Source: Conchita Perlada*

The Origin of Kalibugan (From a Subanun) / Ag Kalibugan Tedo dig Subanun

If you happen to visit Barrio Kipit, you can see an island offshore. This is Bayangan Island.

Long ago, Kipit and this island were not inhabited by people other than the Subanun. Only Timuway Sukli, with his brother Snake, and his people lived there.

Timuway Sukli was such a powerful and brave man that he was respected by all people. Because he was kind and helpful, he was loved and honored by the people very much. His bravery and power were known in near and far away places. Many Moros attempted to capture him but in vain.

Soon a Salip (a Muslim title), with his men, arrived from Mecca. They wanted to convert the natives to Islam. Timuway Sukli refused. He wanted to preserve his Subanun beliefs.

“So long as I am still alive, my people and I cannot be made Mohammedans,” Sukli said. “I have my own customs and traditions which were handed to me by my forefathers,” he continued.

“Well, if you don’t want to be converted to Mohammedanism, let us have a contest to prove our wit. We shall cross the sea to Bayangan by foot or any means with the exception of a boat. Whoever is defeated in this contest will become a slave.”

“Well, I’ll try my best,” said Sukli. “You are the invader so you have to cross first.” Kipit Beach was the starting place.

The Salip used a big iron bowl as a means of transportation. He started. The bowl moved fast across the sea towards the island. It went two times around the island and returned to the shore. The Moros shouted and applauded, feeling assured of victory.

“Now, this is your turn,” said the Salip. “You do your best or else you will get captured and be our slaves,” said the Moros.

So Sukli stood on the sea and prayed heartily. All of a sudden his brother Snake passed by him. Then he stepped on the surface of the sea. As he stepped one foot after the other dry sand received his feet. He walked on the surface of the sea easily and swiftly. He went around the island of Bayangan seven times and returned to the shore. His people applauded with happiness while the men of the Salip remained silent.

“Now, we won the contest,” said the natives in chorus. “Your chief went by some means while our chief went by foot. You shall all be captives and be our slaves.” The Salip and his men remained speechless.

“Neither one of us could be slaves anymore. I may have this to say. My people and I will live with you here for the rest of our lives. I may adopt your own way of life.”

Timuway Sukli, who was kindhearted, agreed to the appeal of the Salip. He adopted Salip. So the two people lived side by side along Kipit river for some time.

After the death of Sukli, Salip attempted to bathe the grave of Sukli. The grave cracked and there was a violent earthquake so Salip discontinued pouring water. Some of the natives, however, were baptized. Those who were baptized were made Mohammedans now called Kalibugan.

Some Kalibugan are found in many places of the Archipelago. Those who refused to be Mohammedans, have remained as of now Subanun.


*Sa mangaya to Kipit, meta mo ig benowa megeranen Bayangan. Sog begoden pa kini Kipit mekepenglaw pa daidon nog layen meg benowa don longkan pag Subanun. Lak pa si Timuway Sukli boq sog ngodanen Memowan boq dalag peglegetawanen.

Si Timuway Sukli embero mekison asma pegendekan nog dalag gensakopanen. Poq bisan maganto metawar embetad mekison imbantay dig ginsakopan. Ig berogqanan boq kekesonen medepit dig kereyoqan beqowa. Metiba nag geranan besiyap denen dagid endiq da embaloy.

Mendadi don nog geranon boq dalag peglegetawanen tedo pa tog Meka. Ni iliyag geran domap dig dalag Subanun balen nog goripen.

Sapulo dekso na pegoberoberay dagid endiq malap si Timuway Sukli. Liyaganen don endiq da mekolangen nog dalag Subanun.

“Sa dan poq metas peg gomoro diyo meliyag don oripenan nog gensakopanen ko,” tenaroq ni Sukli, “di niyo ami oripenay poq don daig mibiba dinami mani pasiyag.”

“Sa kiya meliyag mampo dinami dalag geranon megtagi ita sampay somol. Liyagen tag dagat nog Bayangan pametangan nog dalag getaw nog megaped sekayan. Ayen sog dagen dig tagi ta kini papas meg megpendag.”

“Edanan ta mendaqo,” taron si Sukli. “Yaqa mag mememoras yaqa pegona.” Kini Kipit kini enig teglenganta.

Sog Salip megona ag misilag sakayan putaw enig benalen neg gendanan, linolid tog dibabaw dagat. Duwa dekso empoliq dayon mipuli dito neran. Sog dalag geranon megbeksay poq ilan na daw ig megpendag.

“Nadaw, diyan niqa na gid,” tenaroq nog Salip. “Bal niqa gekteb megagamo, po sa dagengka amo ig goripEn namo,” sara tawan Geranan megtaroq.

Monday si Sukli, megendeg tog dagat dayon menenabi. Boq miseripot sog godanen si Memowan meniyan tog gopeden. Dayon menendeg tog dibabaw nog dagat. Mada minindig dig pesaqan nog geksoden. Mipanaw megdayon peglimbaylimbay. Pigilibidlibiden sog puro nog Bayangan. Pito dekso megdayon empoliq ditog pesaqan. Megbeksay sog dalag peglegitawanen sabe liliyag mendadi sog dalag Geranon endaq pegataroqtaroq.

“Nandaw, memendag gami. Pegtinoday niyo sog dalag pegligitawan. Amo nandaw goripEn na name,” megtaroq sog dalag Subanun nog Besowan. Sog Salip boq sog gensakopen endaq pegtaroq taroq.
” Bisan ita di name oripenan ba nyo”. Inig teroqeng ko. Awo bo dala gensakopen ko megbenowa dini niyo sampay omol. Amo pegbentay ko.”

Si Timuway Sukli, ito dan mekison ma, miliyag na donn sogtoro nog Salip. Mendadi mibantay iran na di Sukli. Mendadi sog dalag getaw megdipag boq megdipag dig tubig Kipit iran meg benowa.

Sa menatay na si Sukli, sog Salip enig megligemo don sasuko dalag remetar bo dalag kebebuwan megera neran emoway di Sukli. Merengas sog Kubolen. Benal pa dig bEto neg merayo dig tubigan. Sa meg maqanto na sog dalag Subanen nog Mebilin ditog Salip megiselam na iran nog pangilanan nog kalibogan. Domag kalibogan meta ta dig layen benowa. Sog genda peg geselam in nandaw ig mibelen nog Subanun. Ag subanon don nog begaden bow pekisonan.” Donig dalag lagaqen tedo dig pengapo pa nog pemgapoken nog don da demig kiliwat do dalag, geranon.*

Source: Giobano Bernardo, Labason, Zamboanga del Norte.

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