once there lived a man by the name of Gumangan. He was loved by the people of Ambabag1 and the neighboring tribes. During famines he fed the people. Rich and poor alike were always welcome to his house.
One time Gumangan was invited to a rich man’s feast. All the richest men in the village were present. Everybody enjoyed drinking the native wine. They danced to the sound of the gangha, gongs.
It was the custom that only the rich men could give a talk gopa. One rich man boasted to his wooden bench hagabi. He said, “No one can equal my hagabi. It was taken from the farthest forest. Many pigs and carabaos were butchered in order to have it made.”
Each one boasted of his wealth and hagabi.
Gumangan did not talk because he had no hagabi. He only listened and then went home. That night he thought of having a hagabi.
He said to himself, “I am rich. I better share with the people my wealth. I will invite all tribes to attend my feast. Then there will be no more tribal wars. Yes, I must have my hagabi.”
The native priests were called to perform the native rites. Chickens were offered as sacrifice to the ancestors. After the rites, the priests told Gumangan that the spirit of his ancestors were in his favor. Gumangan called the strongest men of Ambabag. He told them to make his hagabi from the farthest mountain.
The men took with them enough supply of rice, pigs and chickens. They traveled far and wide in the forest. After a month, they reached the mountain of Bayombong. In the forest, they found the biggest ipil tree. They cut the tree and made it into a beautiful hagabi. They left the hagabi in the mountain and returned home.
The rich men of the village held a council.
One of them said, “Let us all go so that Gumangan will butcher all his animals.”
“Yes,” said another, “We will all go so that Gumangan will become poor.”
Each rich man led a group and returned to the forest to carry the hagabi. From the forest of Bayombong, they passed Ibong, Nahdoman, Nayon2 and Ibulao River. While carrying the hagabi, they danced, shouted and sang the Ifugao hudhud, a ballad. In every village they passed, pigs and carabao were butchered. The people of the village became their friends.
At first nothing happened on their way. When they had crossed the Ibulao River, the Ayangan3 tribe came to steal the hagabi at night. They held it for two days while they demanded pigs and carabao.
The news reached the different tribes of Cudog, Lingay, Bokiawan, Buyya and Lagawe. The people remembered the kindness of Gumangan to them. Because they loved him, each headman led his warriors to get the hagabi. With their shields and spears, they went to meet the Ayangans. They were about to fight but Gumangan stopped them.
He said let us make peace with the Ayangans. They are our friends and brothers.”
The warriors of the different tribes obeyed him. They laid down their shields and spears. A peace pact was celebrated. The Ayangans offered to carry the hagabi. Gumangan thanked the Ayangans and sent them home to live in peace. He gave them pigs to raise.
The hagabi was brought to Numbalabag4. From there, it was carried to Baay5. Another feast was held for two days. They danced and sang the Ifugao hudhud. After the feast, the hagabi was at last brought to the home of Gumangan at Ambabag.
After five days the celebration of the hagabi began. All the people of the different tribes were invited. Gumangan told them that nobody should bring spears and bolos. Everybody was a friend and a brother. Men, women and children danced and danced to the sound of the gangha (gongs). The old men and women sang their hudhud. More pigs and carabaos were butchered and everybody enjoyed the feast.
On the last day, Gumangan and his wife danced with their shining beads called pang-o and balitok. Then Gumangan stopped and spoke to the people of all tribes.
He said, “This hagabi is nothing but a wooden bench to sit on. Let us not boast of our wealth and the many pigs and carabaos butchered. What we should always remember is that this hagabi made us friends and brothers. We are all children of our first parents, Wigan and Bugan. From now on and as long as this hagabi is under my house, there will be no more tribal wars among ourselves.”
After the feast the people went home happily. The old men never got tired of telling their children the story of the famous hagabi of Gumangan.
1a barrio of Kiangan
2barrios of Kiangan
3group of people of Ifugao
4name of a hill near Baay
5a barrio of Kiangan
de Leon, Raymundo. “The Hagabi of Gumangan.” In Folk Tales of Mountain Province: Retold for Children-Grade V, 1st ed. Baguio City: n.p. 1960, 163-166.
This folk tale was produced by Area - - A during a Division Curriculum Workshop held in Baguio City, Philippines on February 9-17, 1960. The workshop’s theme was “Enriching the Curriculum Through the Development of Local Materials.”
“Division” in Division Curriculum Workshop refers to a schools division of the Department of the Education. It could have been then the “Mountain Province Schools Division.” (YBelen,17December2014)