The legend of mount danglay

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The legend of mount danglay

  1. 1. The LEGEND OF MOUNT DANGLAY or “How TACLOBAN got its NAME”An Oral Tradition (usa nga Susumaton)Copyrighted by Dulce Cuna AnacionThis Tale has been passed down to me by my late Mother, Dr. Rosa Ester T. Cuna, an Englishand Literature professor of UP Tacloban College, she said this is an oral tradition shegathered from Basey, Samar, where my Father’s relatives come from.Long time ago when the island of Leyte (Tendaya island, named after a chieftain)[1] was stillsparsely uninhabited, a young couple lived in the swampy shores of Kabatok, their livelihoodwas catching crabs and shellfish and crossing the Bay to a village in Samar island (Ibabao orSibabao island, which to this day the village is named Basey), to sell in a “tabo”(market fair) inthat village everyday.[2]Dang, was a strong fisherman, he was a tall, good-looking relative of the Bornean Datu Siagu ofthe southern side of Tendaya. His body was tattooed (“patik”) all over in the tradition of histribe, he wore a loin cloth and was agile with the spear and machete he always carried withhim. His other possessions were a “bangka” (small boat) and some “taklub”(basket traps forcatching fish and crabs in shallow waters). His wife, Mulay was a weaver and basket maker. Shemade “taklub” to be sold in the Samar village during “tabo”. She was lithe, and agile too, herarms and legs were tattooed with motifs of birds and flowerets and crisscrossed with thepatterns of basket weaving. The rest of her body was not tattooed, she wore a “tapis” of clothmade from the tapa bark, kind of bark found throughout the islands of South Pacific. Her chestwas bare covered only with leis of shell and coconut. Her long hair was scrimped up into a buncalled “tagonibaisat” and adorned with cloth and shell too. On special occasions, both Dang and
  2. 2. Mulay would adorn themselves with gold earrings, necklaces and bracelets altogether withtheir shell leis to show off that they come from a noble lineage of the Datus. It was said thatGold was still found in the mountains of the island where they could fashion them intotrinkets…Dang and Mulay where childless. So their lives were dedicated to crab and shell gathering, andin some occasions pearl diving and gathering treasures from the sea…Mulay gathered theperennial grass that grew along in the swamp and made them to mats, baskets and cloth…[3]One day, Dang ventured into the bay that looped around the Kabatok area. The bay was filledwith varieties of fish and crustaceans and perhaps, he said into himself, he would gather pearlsto sell on the next “tabo”. His bangka reached far off the rim of the bay where the ocean floorinclined deep into the depths of the Pacific ocean. Here he took a dive and ventured into thefathoms..Underneath, he was enveloped by shadows and noticed a whirl of sand in the ocean, schools offish darted here and there as if in a frenzy. The ocean floor was moving!Hurriedly yet curious, Dang tried to make out what the moving shadow was and to his greatsurprise it was a huge crab which measured three big “balanghays” (big seafaring boats thatcould accommodate families), and was big as a hill.Dang swam hurriedly to the surface, rowed his bangka with speed to Kabatok and arrived soexcited to tell his wife. They planned to catch the enormous creature for it would indeed bemany meals for the coming months and its shell would be fashioned into utensils, weapons oradornment they could sell in the Ibabao markets. The couple built a crab basket to catch thecreature that measured as high as a big hill. It was an enormous crab basket (taklub) in whichthey towed with their boat far into the Bay as a trap.That night, lit by the fullness of the moon, they were able to capture the huge crab and theytowed the big basket with all their might to the shore. They were so triumphant of their catchthat they forgot one thing, a cover for the basket so that the creature could not climb out.Exhausted with the towing, Dang and Mulay settled into a tired sleep beside the enormoustaklub. The big sea crab with its huge legs and claws, climbed out of the taklub thru itsuncovered opening on top…This woke the couple and Dang, attempting to kill it, threw hisspear into the heart of the crab. Yet its shell was too hard that the spear broke. With its hugeclaws, the crab pinned the couple and dashed them against the rocks on the shore. The lastsound that was heard was the scream of Mulay in her terror: “TAKLUBAAAAAAA!!!” (cover it).The next day, the people in the nearby town of Basey who heard the screams ventured out withtheir bangkas to the site of Kabatok where the screams emanated. It was to their shock andhorror that they beheld the mangled bodies of Dang and Mulay, an enormous broken downtaklub and markings in the sand that told of a big creature that had gone down to the sea…
  3. 3. Whispers among them ensued that the couple had angered the Bay God Kabatok by trying tocapture one of its Children. The townspeople carried the bodies of Dang and Mulay and buriedthem in the outskirts of their town in a ritual ceremony. They did not resort to sending thebodies off to the sea in a bangka and burning them there as in the normal tradition, for theywere children that angered a sea God. Instead, they believed that burial in the earth to expiatethem would be proper, and perhaps the God of the mountains, Ibabao, would pardon themconsequently.Years passed, the site where the bodies were buried grew into a mound, then a hill, then amountain..a sign that Dang and Mulay were forgiven by the God Ibabao. The people startedcalling the mountain “Danglay” in honor of the tragic couple.The swampy “sitio” where the couple lived was called “Takluban”, or “covered” as that was thelast scream of the tragic Mulay. No one knows to this day where the creature of Kabatok hasgone, it is believed that it still lives deep in the fathoms of the Bay ready to pounce onfishermen and fishing boats that go beyond forbidden territories to scrounge on its hiddentreasures, navigated and known only to Kabatok.____________________________________________________________[1] Morga, Antonio de, “Historias de las Islas Filipinas”[2] Cuna, Rosa Ester T., The Spanish term for this type of livelihood in the olden times was“buscada”, or scroungers.[3] Anacion, Dulce C. “whether it is tikog or bari-is (grass found in Leyte and Samar ) is purelyspeculative.”Litho diptych paintings above: "The Legend" by Dulz Cuna, 2012(The Author: Prof. Dulce Cuna Anacion has a degree of Masters in Art History from UPDiliman. She teaches Humanities and the Communication Arts in UP Visayas Tacloban College.She is a Visual and Performance Artist, poet and a writer, singer and an esoteric art collector.She also is a practicing psychic and divinator (tarot cards). This is a family heirloom she wants toshare in her site.)

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