ULLALIM, THE EPIC OF LOVE OF THE MADUCAYAN
By Melvin Banggollay Jr.
An ullalim epic is a traditional music and poetry form of the Philippines. These are long chanted stories passed down for hundreds of years that tell the exploits of heroes. They are classics of the Malayo-Polynesian language family. The most skilled poets would memorize epic cycles that took two to four days to recite during all-night dramatic performances. Two examples of precolonial (before the Spanish came) epics that survive today are Biag ni Lam-ang (Legend of Lamang) in Ilocano (a northern Luzon dialect) and Ibalon in Bicol (a southern Luzon dialect) . The term ullalim is sometimes used today to refer to that style of song, but the real ullalim is the epic poem of the Kalinga people. An article I read says that the singer would dress up in brilliant, flashy clothes like the hero described in the story.
It is the considered an epic of the kalinga people depicting the struggle of Banna and Lagunwa who were the main characters of the love story Ullalim-this is a long epic song of the Kalinga about the adventures of Banna, the hero of the epic. Tagalog Epic Story Maragtas is the counterpart of the Ullalim Epic of the Kalinga people. Ullalim-this is a long epic song of the Kalinga about the adventures of Banna, the hero of the epic, and his amorous relationship with Laggunawa. The story tells us that Banna was a travelling adventurous man going from place to place in search for a maiden to marry until one day he found Lagunnawa that truly mersmerize him until they fall in love with each other. Lagunawa was known as the most beautiful woman in the villages he went though while Banna was known to be a young, handsome and brave tribal leader with unmatched skill in hand to hand with out without spear or bulo. He was feared by all men for having that lightning speed during combat but so sought by many woman with his sterling qualities and handsome looks and athletic feature.
One day, he came to a village and met Lagunawa that for the first time he felt in love with this beautiful woman oozing with enchanting beauty of an angel. To get her, he serenaded her with a song that started by giving a "moma" singing that if you like me oh woman of beauty so serene like the melody of the moon shining above, take my simple offering from the bottom of my heart. The woman on the other hand being so in love with this man whom he behold so handsome and kind, accepted the moma and chewed it while singing, " oh you are the man of my dream that cherished every dreams I have, come let me love thee with all the pearl of my heart. " Together, they dance and sung song full of burning passion until they decided to get married and form a union of their waring villages to end the conflict between their villages. From such marriage, the villages live in peace and harmony and shared the spirit of love Banna and Lagunawa have for the two village.
Every village have their own Ullalim depicting the struggle and journey of Banna in search for the woman of her heart, Lagunawa. Even the place of Maducayan, have such epic handed down from generations to generations depicting the struggle of a man in search for true love and passion. Banna was believed to originate from Maducayan an old village in the hinterlands of the Mountainous areas of the Cordillera Region. Lagunnawa, on the other hand, was believe to be from a village far away in the land of Kalinga.