Introduction• Ibong Adarna is an epic about a legendary bird which is said to be found in Mt. Tabor, where it perches on the shimmering Piedras Platas at night (Piedras Platas is Spanish for silver stones). During the daytime, the bird goes off somewhere but it comes back at night to roost, and it sings before it sleeps.
Ibong Adarna• The Ibong Adarna is a narrative poem with the full title, Corrido at Buhay na Pinagdaanan nang Tatlong Principeng Magkakapatid na Anak nang Haring Fernando at nang Reina Valeriana sa Kahariang Berbania (Corrido and the Life of Three Princes, sons of King Fernando and Queen Valeria from the kingdom of Berbania).
Ibong Adarna (cont)• The poem has no exact date of origin and its author remains unknown. However, it is believed that the poem was composed by Huseng Sisiw, pseudonym of Jose de la Cruz.• Some says it was composed by Francisco Balagtas (Francisco Baltazar)
Ibong Adarna (cont)• It contains 1,722 stanzas (8 syllables per line, 4 lines per stanza• it is a corrido or metrical romance that involves the struggles of a heroic character.• It tells of the adventures and magical powers, the romance and love, the courage and piety, and the treachery and betrayal of highborn characters.
Ibong Adarna(cont)• At present, Ibong Adarna is an important Filipino literary classic that is being studied in secondary school (in the first year) in the Philippines, in accordance with the curriculum set by the Commission on Higher Education.
Major Characters• Ibong Adarna (Adarna bird)• An enchantress bird. It has a very long fancy tail with numerous shiny metallic colors.• It knows a total of seven songs that are believed to lull anyone to sleep as well as cure any type of afflictions and it changes its feathers into more colorful hues and shades after each song.• After the last song, it excretes waste, then finally, sleeps with its eyes wide open. When Adarna bird is sad, it looks very ugly and hopeless. It is believed that its droppings can turn any living things into stone.
Major Characters (cont.)• King Fernando Great ruler of Berbania kingdom.• Queen Valeriana Faithful wife of King Fernando and a loving mother to her three sons : Don Pedro, Don Diego and Don Juan.
Major Characters (cont.)• Don Pedro Eldest son of the King and Queen. He is a deceitful man, very envious and greedy of power.• Don Diego The second son, he does not have his own decision. He follows whatever his older brother, Don Pedro tells him to do.• Don Juan The youngest of the siblings. He is a man of integrity and compassion. These good qualities makes him the Kings favorite child.
Minor Characters• Old leper The old man who advices Don Juan to seek for the hermit’s cottage and ask for an advise on how to get the Adarna bird without any harm.• Hermit The old man who advices Don Juan on how to successfully get the Adarna bird.
Minor Characters (cont)• Princess Juana The princess whom Don Juan rescues from a giant who holds her in custody.• Princess Leonora Younger sibling of Princess Juana. Don Juan also rescues her from the serpent with seven heads.
Minor Characters (cont)• King Salermo Ruler of the kingdom of De los Crystal with black magical powers. He is the father of Doña Maria Blanca.• Princess Maria Blanca The princess of De los Crystal kingdom. She has white magical powers, which is greater than her father, King Salermo.
Part 1: Stanzas 1 – 256• The kingdom of Berbania is ruled by the king, Don Fernando. His wife is Doña Valeriana and they have three sons (from eldest to youngest): Don Pedro, Don Diego and Don Juan.• Don Fernando’s favorite is his youngest son, Don Juan. He falls ill after having a bad dream about his favorite son being attacked by two people before being thrown down a well. None of the healers in the kingdom could cure him. His condition worsens.
• One day, an old doctor arrives in the Berbania and says that the illness of Don Fernando, which was brought about by a nightmare, may be cured only by the song of the Adarna bird. This bird can be found on Mt. Tabor, where it perches on the Piedras Platas tree at night. During the daytime, the bird goes off somewhere but it comes back at night to roost, and it sings before it sleeps.• The old doctor warns that the “Ibong Adarna” is actually an enchantress, and it must be brought back to Berbania immediately to help heal the ailing Don Fernando.
• Don Pedro journeys to Mt. Tabor and reaches it after three months. He is mesmerized by the Piedras Platas tree with its leaves shimmering like diamonds. Unfortunately, the Adarna comes late in the evening. Since Don Pedro was tired from the journey, he was asleep by the time the bird perched on the tree.• The Adarna sheds its feathers and sings seven times, poops, and then falls asleep on the tree. The poop lands on the head of the snoring Don Pedro, and instantly turns him to stone.
• Twelve months pass with no word from Don Pedro, so Don Diego goes to Mt. Tabor. He suffers the same fate as Don Pedro.• Three years pass, and Don Juan offers to look for his missing brothers as well as the Ibong Adarna. Don Fernando tries to stop his favorite son from leaving, but is convinced by Don Juan.• Don Juan brings five pieces of bread and decides to eat just one piece a month. After four months, he reaches the top of Mt. Tabor where he meets an old leper. The leper begs for alms, and the compassionate Don Juan gives his last piece of bread.
• The old leper asks Don Juan what he was doing on Mt. Tabor, so Don Juan tells him. The old leper admonishes Don Juan to listen carefully and follow his advice, lest he turn into stone just like his two older brothers.• Here’s the advice: 1. Avoid the beautiful tree and just keep walking until you see a hut. 2. Enter the hut and talk to the old hermit there. He will show you where the bird is.
• And here’s what the old hermit gave Don Juan: 1. Seven pieces of dayap (some kind of lemon-y fruit) 2. Straight razor blade (labaha) 3. A golden rope• Each time the Ibong Adarna sings, Don Juan will become sleepy. To stay awake, he should use the razor to make a cut on his palm, and then squeeze some dayap juice on the wound. The pain will keep him awake so that he can easily avoid the bird’s poop when it finishes its seven songs
• (The Ibong Adarna sleeps with his eyes open and its wings spread apart, so you should give credit to Don Juan for having the guts to climb the tree even though he had several razor cuts.)• The golden cord was used to bind the legs of the Ibong Adarna so that it could not escape.• Don Juan brings the bird to the old hermit who promptly puts it in a cage. He also instructs Don Juan to pour water on the stone figures under the Ibong Adarna’s tree. The two older brothers are thus saved, and they are fed by the old hermit.
• After the three brothers rest and recover from the ordeal, the old hermit sends them home and advises them not to betray one another.• The two older brothers attack Don Juan on the way home. So much for following good advice, right?
Part 2 (Stanzas 257 – 492)• The brothers Don Pedro and Don Diego grab the Ibong Adarna from Don Juan. They bring it back to Berbania hoping to get credit for the feat. Unfortunately for them, the Ibong Adarna refuses to sing for the king.• With a mute Adarna and no favorite youngest son in sight, the king’s condition worsens. Meanwhile, the badly beaten up Don Juan can hardly crawl. He prays to the Blessed Virgin Mary for help. Fortunately, an old person comes to his aid. Don Juan eventually recovers and goes back home to Berbania.
• Upon his arrival, the Ibong Adarna sheds its feathers and begins to sing! It sings seven times. (It’s not clear whether it pooped at the end of its performance.) Anyway, the king recovers from his illness. Since it was obvious that the two older brothers harmed their brother, King Fernando (after consulting with his council of advisers) orders Don Pedro and Don Diego into exile. Don Juan, being the compassionate fellow that he is, asks his father not to punish his two brothers. The king accedes to Don Juan’s request.
• King Fernando orders his three sons to guard the Ibong Adarna. He warns that anyone who allows the bird to escape will be executed. During Don Juan’s watch, he falls asleep at dawn. Don Pedro frees the bird. Don Juan wakes up later, and is surprised to see that the bird has escaped. He realizes that he will be put to death, so he heads for the hills. King Fernando wakes up and discovers the bird is gone. He asks the two brothers about it, and they say it was Juan who watched the Ibong Adarna. The king orders them to look for Don Juan.
• Don Pedro and Don Diego find Don Juan in the mountain of Armenia. They decide not to return to Berbania because they were certain Don Juan would tell the king what really happened. They agree to just stay on the mountain. One day, the three brothers find a deep well. Juan wanted to explore what lay at the bottom of the well, but Pedro (the eldest) says he should go down first. They find a rope and they lower Don Pedro. After going down 30 feet, however, Don Pedro tugs on the rope signaling his wish to be pulled out of the well.••
Part 3 (Stanzas 493 – 858)• The three brothers find a dark and deep well. The eldest, Don Pedro, is lowered into the well by his two brothers. He grows frightened by the dark and asks to be hoisted up after going down only 30 feet. Yes, fear is a factor for him. Don Diego attempts but also fails. Don Juan gives it a try and reaches the bottom (100 feet below).
• He finds a golden door and quickly enters a place filled with crystal-paved roads, sweet-smelling flowers, and palaces made of gold and silver. He also meets the beautiful Princess Juana. Since she is held prisoner by a giant, Don Juan kills the giant. Before they could leave, however, Princess Juana tells Don Juan about her sister, Leonora, who is being held prisoner by a seven-headed serpent. Don Juan battles the serpent but each time he chops off a head, it simply reattaches itself to the serpent’s body. Fortunately, Princess Leonora throws him some bottled liquid which he has to pour on each cut part to prevent the heads from reattaching themselves to the serpent’s body.
• He thus saves Princess Leonora, and together with Princess Juan and Leonora’s wolf, they are pulled out of the well by Don Juan’s two older brothers. Don Pedro immediately falls in love with Princess Leonora (who’s in love, quite predictably, with Don Juan). Princess Leonora remembers that she left behind a diamond ring, and Don Juan offers to go down the well again in order to retrieve it. She tries to stop him but he insists. Don Pedro lets go of the rope after lowering his youngest brother only 10 feet, so Don Juan badly falls down the 100-foot well.
• Princess Leonora throws her wolf down the well and instructs it to look after Don Juan. Pedro, Diego, Juana and Leonora return to Berbania. Diego and Juana get married, while Leonora asks the amorous Pedro to wait first for seven years because she has a religious pact to fulfill. (There is no such pact. She was simply stalling and hoping that Don Juan would return soon.) In the meantime, the wolf finds the injured Don Juan and heals him with water taken from the Jordan river. After recovering from his fall, Don Juan finds the diamond ring of Princess Leonora and walks back to Berbania.
• It’s a long way back to Berbania, and the tired Don Juan rests under a tree. The Ibong Adarna perches on the tree and sings. Don Juan wakes up and listens to the lyrics of the Ibong Adarna’s song. It probably sounded like a popular OPM song, because Don Juan discovers from the lyrics that Leonora always thinks of him. The song continues, however, and reveals that there is a woman who is prettier than Leonora. She is Doña Maria Blanca, daughter of King Salermo of the Crystal Kingdom (Delos Cristal). The song also tells Don Juan that he can proudly present Maria Blanca to his father, King Fernando.•
Part 4 (Stanzas 859 - 1298)• Don Juan has been journeying on foot for three years now, but has still been unable to find the kingdom of Delos Cristal. He cant figure out where in the world is Delos Cristal. Anyway, he meets an old man and asks him about Delos Cristal, but the old man is equally clueless. The old man, however, advised Juan to go to the seventh mountain where he will find a 500-year old hermit. The old man gives Juan a piece of cloth.
• Juan goes to the old hermit, and shows him the piece of cloth. The hermit is amazed by the cloth and exclaims: "Jesus Christ, my Lord, it is only now that Ive seen your clothes!" (What I cant get is, if the old man Juan met along the way was Jesus Christ, why didnt He know where Delos Cristal is? Then again, perhaps He wanted Juan to see the 500-year old hermit. Also, if that was the first time the hermit saw the clothes of Christ, how did he recognize the Juan asks the hermit about Delos Cristal, but the hermit does not know where that kingdom is. He even asked the animals in the forest, but neither did they know about Delos Cristal.
• You can already see whats coming, right? As youve correctly guessed, the 500-year old hermit asks Juan to travel to the seventh mountain (from where they were), so that Juan can consult the 800-year old hermit there. The even older hermit consults with the birds and one eagle. Fortunately for Juan and his weary feet, the eagle knows where the kingdom of Delos Cristal is. At last, Don Juan will meet the beautiful Doña Maria Blanca whom the Ibong Adarna crowed so much about.
• Juan rides on the back of the eagle, and they fly towards the East for one month before they reach the kingdom of Delos Cristal. (Whew! Youve only traveled nine paragraphs and youre probably weary. Imagine how tired Juan is.) The eagle gives Juan some advice before flying away: "At 4:00 in the morning, three princesses wearing doves clothes will arrive, and will bathe. Hide and do not show yourself." As expected, the three princess arrive on time. Don Juan has no trouble guessing who Maria Blanca is, because she is the prettiest. Don Juan hides Maria Blancas clothes which used to be hanging on a pear tree.
• After a few minutes of bath time, Maria Blanca gets angry and homicidal because she cannot find her clothes. After one hour, Don Juan appears like a meek lamb before Maria Blanca, gets down on his knees, and tells her that he loves her. He also explains how his love for her made him steal her clothes, and that he is ready to accept whatever punishment he deserves because of the deed. Maria Blanca, overcome with compassion, is longer angry. She asks him to stand and gently speaks with him. She asks Juan to look at the stones surrounding the palace. Those used to be princes, horsemen and counts who tried to court Maria Blanca, but were turned to stone by her father after they failed his tests.
• She continues: "My father will wake up at 5am and he will see you. If he asks why you are here, tell him youve come to ask for the hand of one of the princesses in marriage. When he invites you into the palace, decline the invitation for you will surely die. If you wish to continue, accept whatever tasks he asks you to perform. Ill take care of everything!" The princesses leave and King Salermo awakes. As expected, he sees Juan and invites him to the palace. Juan declines, states his marital intentions, and says that he is ready to serve the king. King Salermo asks a servant to bring some wheat for the first task.
• "Flatten that mountain, scatter the wheat, harvest it tonight, and turn it into bread. I want that bread served on my breakfast table tomorrow morning. Juan takes the wheat and waits in the concierges house. After everyone had gone to sleep, Maria Blanca goes to Juan who then explains to her what the task is all about. King Salermo knows the dark arts or black magic, but Maria Blanca is well-versed in white magic. She is more powerful than her father, so Juan is able to accomplish the task easily.
• The following morning, the king is amazed that Juan was able to perform the task. He then gives instructions for Task Number 2. He shows Juan a wine bottle that contains 12 negritos. The king then frees the 12 into the sea and instructs Juan to catch the 12 and return them into the wine bottle. As in the previous evening, Maria Blanca meets Juan, gets instructions, and performs the task for him. The following day, King Salermo gives Juan the third task: "Juan, put that mountain in the middle of the sea. Build a castle there. I want to see it by tomorrow morning. Build a road from my palace to that castle."
• As expected, the task is performed. King Salermo inspects the castle while wondering where Juan is getting his powers. During the ocular inspection, King Salermos ring falls into the sea. This gives the king an idea on how to ask for an even more difficult task. He asks Juan to remove the castle from the sea. Juan, with the help of Maria Blanca, performs the task. The king then asks Juan to find his missing ring. The king also requires that he wants to find the ring under his pillow.
• Juan relays the message to Maria Blanca, who for the first time says that the task is quite difficult. They ride a raft to middle of the sea. Maria Blanca asks Juan to chop her up and drop the pieces into the sea. She cautions him not to lose any of pieces, and that he should be alert and stay awake so that he will be able to get the ring once Maria Blancas hand emerges from the water. He does as instructed and the pieces of Maria Blanca turn into many fish.
• Unfortunately, Juan falls asleep and fails to get the ring from the surfacing hand of Maria Blanca. They then go through the whole thing again. Juan rushes and end up losing the finger of Maria Blanca. Fortunately, he no longer fell asleep so he was able to get the ring when Marias hand resurfaced. Maria shows Juan her fingers and tells him to remember that she is missing one of her fingers. She asks him to remember that, so that he will be able to recognize her when the time comes. The following day, King Salermo finds the ring under his pillow. He calls Juan for the final task. He asks Juan to attach his horse in the royal stable to the royal carriage.
• Maria Blanca tells Juan to be extra careful because he might die. She explains that the horse is actually the king, the coach are her two sisters, and she will be the brakes. She tells Juan not to be afraid of how the horse looks. If the horse rears, Juan should rain blows on the horses body. Once the horse weakens, bring the horse back to the stable. Juan overcomes the king. King Salermo accepts defeat and accepts that Juan is more powerful.•
Part 5 (Stanzas 1299 – 1722)• Since King Salermo has no other tasks to assign to Don Juan, he summons him so that Don Juan may choose who among the three princesses he will marry. Since the faces of the princesses are covered, Juan may choose only by touching their fingers. Juan remembers that Maria Blanca is missing a finger, so he easily chooses her.
• King Salermo notices the unusual closeness between Juan and Maria Blanca, and plans to have them banished to England. The couple elope and are able to escape from the king. King Salermo breathes a curse on Maria Blanca: “You will be forgotten by Don Juan! He will leave you and marry someone else!” In the bewilderment of his grief, he sickens and dies, and is unable to witness the fulfillment of his curse. Don Juan and Doña Maria Blanca reach the outskirts of the kingdom of Berbania. Don Juan temporarily leaves Maria Blanca so that he can tell his father, King Fernando, to have a group go and meet Maria Blanca.
• Before he leaves, Maria Blanca warns him that if any woman approaches him, he will forget Maria Blanca. Juan promises that he will not allow any woman to come near him. Unfortunately, as soon as Juan enters Berbania, Leonora goes near him. Can’t blame her, really, it’s been so many years, right? Juan forgets Maria Blanca, and he makes plans to marry Leonora. Maria Blanca attends the celebration and requests that a program be held before the wedding ceremony begins. The program is dramatic play between negritos. The female negrito hits the male negrito with a stick and asks him if he remembers how Doña Maria Blanca helped him in the kingdom of King Salermo, her father.
• Each blow does not hurt the negrito; instead, Don Juan feels the pain each time the negrita hits the negrito. Don Juan’s memory returns, and he remembers all that he and Maria Blanca went through. The wedding is called off. Don Juan marries Doña Maria Blanca. Don Pedro marries Princess Leonora. Juan and Maria Blanca return to the kingdom of Delos Cristal, where they rule with compassion and justice, over their people who love them.••