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Darangen

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Darangen
The Maranao musical instrument.
CountryPhilippines
DomainsOral traditions and expressions; and social practices, rituals and festive events
Reference00159
RegionAsia and the Pacific
Inscription history
Inscription2008 (3rd session)
ListRepresentative

Darangen is a long epic poem of the Maranao Muslim people from the Mindanao region of the Philippines. It tells stories in 17 parts, with 72,000 lines. One important story is about a famous hero, Bantugan. The word Darangen means "that which is narrated by song or chant" in the Maranao language.[1][2]

In 2002, Darangen was named a National Cultural Treasure by the National Museum of the Philippines. The Lanao del Sur provincial government also called it a Provincial Treasure. UNESCO declared Darangen a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity in 2008. It's the longest epic poem in the Philippines.[3][4]

Darangen is usually sung or chanted. Sometimes, singers perform parts of it during weddings and celebrations. They use instruments like kulintang gongs, Tambor drums, and kudyapi stringed instruments. Dancers also act out different parts of the story. It can last a few hours or even a week. The poem also teaches about Maranao customs, values, and practices of both the Islamic period and before the Maranao converted to Islam in the 14th century.[5][6]

History[change | change source]

The Darangen is a story passed down through generations, not written by a single person. It has 72,000 lines divided into 17 cycles, each telling a different story but connected together. The epic is written in an old version of the Maranao language.[7]

Skilled singers called onor memorized the Darangen. It was often sung at night, during weddings, or to lullabies for children. A full performance of the epic takes about a week, but shorter performances are more common, lasting a few hours. Singing is accompanied by traditional Maranao instruments like kulintang gong ensembles and Tambor drums.[8]

A traditional dance performance.

The Darangen mostly reflects the beliefs of the Maranao people before they became Muslim. Heroes in the story worship and interact with ancestor spirits and nature spirits. For example, Batara-sa-Marudo, a nature spirit who can control floods and storms.[9]

The main setting of the epic is the city of Bembaran, once a grand city near a river. It's said to have vanished into the sea. The story also talks about relationships between the Maranao people and other groups like the Manobo and the Sama-Bajau.[1]

In written form[change | change source]

The Darangen was only in form of chants and songs. An American missionary and teacher, Frank Charles Laubach, found its value in 1930. He was amazed when Maranao leaders sang it during a boat journey. Laubach decided to write down the epic. He met a nobleman named Panggaga Mohammad who helped him. Laubach published part of the Darangen in 1930, making it the first time Maranao songs were written in Latin letters.[10]

When you pass by the houses of the Maranaws at night, you can hear them singing folk songs or reciting poems that are beautiful and strange. Yet on account of the absence of a Maranaw writer, Maranaw literature has remained in the dark for other people. It has become something of a tale that other Filipino tribes hear only from visitors to Lanao

— Frank Charles Laubach, [11]

Laubach's version was not complete. Later, scholars from Mindanao State University worked on it. They gathered different parts and versions from Maranao elders and handwritten books. It took them ten years. From 1986 to 1988, they published the whole epic in eight books, in both Maranao and English.[12]

Folk dances[change | change source]

A man performing the Sagayan dance at the 14th Annual Fil-Am Friendship Celebration at Daly City, California.

Dances related to the Darangen include:

  • Kaganat sa Darangen: This dance tells the story of Prince Lomna's journey to propose marriage. Dancers move gracefully, using fans, and sway their fingers and hips.[13]
  • Sagayan: This is a war dance that shows Prince Bantugan preparing for battle. It's sometimes called Kasagyan.[14]
  • Singkil: In this dance, dancers use bamboo sticks, clashing them together. It portrays the abduction of Princess Gandingan and her rescue by Prince Bantugan. It's also known as Kasingkil or Kasayaw sa Singkil.[15]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Saber, Mamitua (1961). "Darangen: The Epic of the Maranaws". Philippine Sociological Review. 9 (1/2): 42–46. ISSN 0031-7810.
  2. "HUDHUD AND DARANGEN: VOICES FROM PRE-COLONIAL PHILIPPINES". UniPro | Pilipino American Unity for Progress, Inc. 2015-07-23. Retrieved 2024-02-09.
  3. "UNESCO - Darangen epic of the Maranao people of Lake Lanao". ich.unesco.org. Retrieved 2024-02-09.
  4. "Unesco proclaims Maranao's Darangan epic as 'masterpiece of intangible heritage'". Philstar.com. Retrieved 2024-02-09.
  5. "PnoyAndTheCity: A center for Kulintang - A home for Pasikings: The Art of Trickling". Retrieved 2024-02-09.
  6. Darangen: In Original Maranao Verse, with English Translation. Folklore Division, University Research Center, Mindanao State University. 1995. ISBN 978-971-11-1120-5.
  7. Readings in Philippine Literature. Rex Bookstore, Inc. 1994. ISBN 978-971-23-1564-0.
  8. Jacinto, Joelle Florence Patrice (2018-07-02). "A UNIVERSAL EMBODIMENT OF THE HERO: Translating the Darangen as a Ballet". Journal of English Studies and Comparative Literature. 15 (1). ISSN 0119-1721.
  9. "Darangen, The Maranao Epic – ICH Courier Online". web.archive.org. 2019-12-26. Archived from the original on 2019-12-26. Retrieved 2024-02-09.
  10. Eugenio, Damiana L. (2007). Philippine Folk Literature: An Anthology. UP Press. ISBN 978-971-542-536-0.
  11. Madale, Abdullah T. (1997). The Maranaws, Dwellers of the Lake. Rex Bookstore, Inc. ISBN 9789712321740.
  12. Gowing, Peter G. (1983). "The Legacy of Frank Charles Laubach". International Bulletin of Missionary Research. 7 (2): 58–62. doi:10.1177/239693938300700203. ISSN 0272-6122.
  13. Casanova, Arthur de la Peña (2001). Diksyunaryo sa drama at teatro (in Tagalog). Rex Bookstore, Inc. ISBN 978-971-23-3084-1.
  14. Madale, Abdullah T. (1997). The Maranaws, Dwellers of the Lake. Rex Bookstore, Inc. ISBN 978-971-23-2174-0.
  15. "The Traditional Dance Of Lanao Del Sur, On The Spotlight In Teleserye Wildflower - Choose Philippines - Authentic Filipino Experiences". web.archive.org. 2019-11-28. Archived from the original on 2019-11-28. Retrieved 2024-02-09.