By: Daniel-Jay Pascual
IP411: Ilokano Literature in Translation/English
Story of the Life of Lam-ang, Husband of Dona Ines Kannoyan, is an Ilokano epic describing the life story of Don Lam-ang, an immortal being capable of wielding various powers of the supernatural realm. From being born with the ability to speak, to being resurrected by a special group of mystic animals, the story encompasses a wide selection of detailed scenes filled with enticing material. Whether you are of Ilokano culture or not, Story of the Life of Lam-ang, is an exceptional piece that should be read by people of all cultures.
The story begins by introducing the parents of Lam-ang. Namongan (Lam-ang’s Mother) and Don Juan (Lam-ang’s Father) had recently been unified in marriage. Shortly after, Namongan became pregnant and Don Juan performed the various tasks needed to prepare for the birth. Don Juan sets out to engage into a fight with the checkered Igorots. Namongan gives birth to a baby boy who is able to speak and requests to be named Lam-ang. At nine months, Lam-ang discovers that his father, Don Juan, has been gone and sets out to search for him. Lam-ang brings various magic stones on his journey as well as weapons. Eventually, Lam-ang encounters an Igorot gathering and learns that his father was killed and head severed. Lam-ang then engages into battle and wins the fight with the Igorots of the various Igorot towns and villages. Lam-ang then returns home and achieves various tasks, such as cleaning the barn, washing his hair, and defeating the crocodile. Lam-ang then determines that he would like to visit Dona Ines Kannoyan of Kalanutian and attempt to court her.
Dona Ines Kannoyan is described as a “perfect” woman who has many suitors. She is the daughter of Unnayon. Against the wishes of his mother, Lam-ang travels to Kalanutian to meet Kannoyan. During his journey he encounters two people, a man named Sumarang, a man killed by Lam-ang who shared the same task as Lam-ang, and Saridaadan, a woman Lam-ang ignores. Upon arriving in Kalanutian, Lam-ang observes various suitors of Kannoyan. The animals Lam-ang travel with create a disturbance and therefore achieves Kannoyan’s attention. Lam-ang finds that Kannoyan has been expecting him and moves on to meet the parents. Lam-ang asks for the permission to marry Kannoyan. Kannoyan’s parents allow it only if Lam-ang is capable of producing the same wealth the family possess. Lam-ang proves his prosperity and a wedding is planned. Lam-ang travels home to prepare for the wedding and returns to Kalanutian with his mother, townspeople, and wedding supplies. Lam-ang and Kannoyan get married in a church on a Monday and a celebration takes place shortly after. The townspeople of the bride and groom, as well as the family members, travel on the two ships of Lam-ang to Lam-ang’s home town where another chain of festivities take place.
Afterward, Kannoyan’s parents leave Kannoyan to live with Lam-ang and the couple begins their lives together. The town head delegates a task to Lam-ang in which he must fish for raring. Lam-ang attains a premonition of an incident in which the berkakan, a monster fish, consumes his entire body. The premonition also includes an omen in which, “a dancing staircase and the kasuuran breaking into pieces.” Undoubtedly, the premonition and omen become true, and Lam-ang is devoured by a berkakan. Kannoyan has seen the omen and searches for a diver to locate the bones of her husband. Kannoyan brings the animals of Lam-ang to the bones and the white rooster, hen, and hairy dog perform a ritual on the bones which bring Lam-ang back to life.
Story of the Life of Lam-ang, Husband of Dona Ines Kannoyan, is somewhat of a mythical story which portrays the characteristics of an Ilokano. The various recompilations of this story prove that it is one that will remain for future generations to read. Hopefully, the main ideas may be selected and passed to those of the younger generations.