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The Magic Birth Of Banna

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This Ullalim, one of the “Banna – Dulliyaw Cycle” of Southern Kalinga, features the main heroes Dulliyaw of Dulawon and his son, Banna. The Bwa (buwa), or ‘betel nut’, is the magic character of the tale- it seems like it is a real actor who plays an important role not only in the first episode of the story, but more especially when successive events place Dulliyaw in a hopeless situation. It is through the intermediary of Dulliyaw’s betel nut that the young girl girl, Dinanaw, becomes magically pregnant and gives birth to a son whom the bard calls Banna. Other characters of the story are Ya-u, Dulaw, and the agta. Dulaw is the betrothed of Ya-u whom Dulliyaw seduces. The agta are the playmates of little Banna. The role of the other characters is insignificant in the development of the tale. The story begins when the betrothed couple, Dulaw of Kagayan and Ya-u find a betel nut that invites them to a feast in Madogyaya. At the village of Madogyaya, Dulaw attracks the attention of Dulliyaw of Dulawun.

Planning to court Dulaw, Dulliyaw makes Ya-u drink sugarcane wine until she is intoxicated. While Ya-u lies asleep in one of the houses, Dulliyaw courts Dulaw and dupes her by cunningly making her his chewing partner. Afterwards, Dulliyaw triumphantly tells her that, by accepting his betel nut slice, she has actually accepted his marriage proposal. Before Dulaw goes home toward evening, Dulliyaw tells her to expect him on the second night. Indeed, in the middle of the second night, Dulliyaw arrives at Dulaw’s house. While Dulliyaw chews betel nuts with Dulaw, he tells her that he had come totake her to his home at Dulawon. Just then, a cock crows. The people of the village are awakened. Dulliyaw leaves Dulaw’s house, meets a man with a head ax, and kills him. Men of the village close in upon Dulliyaw, who climbs a nearby tree to escape from them. Since no one dares attacks Dulliyaw, Ya-u decides to call the Spanish soldiers of Sakbawan ( at the eastern boundary of Kalingaland)

With his men, Guwela, the commander of the garrison, ascends the heights of Kalingaland, arrives at Kagayan, and orders the soldiers to take hold of Dulliyaw, still sitting on a branch of tree. Knowing that the odds are against him, Dulliyaw offers no resistance when the soldiers handcuff him. Upon Guwela’s order, the soldiers also arrest Dulaw. At Sakbaw an, the prisoners are kept in the stockade. The scene shifts to three years after the imprisonment of Dulliyaw and Dulaw. The prisoners have grown exceedingly thin. Trying to alleviate her sufferings in some way, Dulaw asks Dulliyaw for a betel nut slice. Dulliyaw takes the last betel nut in his bag and cut it into slices. Before the slice of betel nut is offered to the girl, it magically disappears. At this point, the bard abruptly transfers the scene of his tale to the village of Magobya. There, Dinanaw, a wealthy unmarried girl, is taking a bath in the river. After bathing, she sees a slice of betel nut, which she picks up and chews.

Without saying a word more about the slice of betel nut- that it was the slice which had mysteriously vanished when Dulliyaw was about to give it to Dulaw and that, by chewing it, Dinanaw had conceived and given birth to a son, whom she named Banna- the bard describes what happened three years later. Little Banna plays with the boys of Magobya. Teasingly they tell him that, if he is the genuine Banna, then he is the son of Dulliyaw, whom the Spanish soldiers kept in the stockade of Sakbawan. Banna reports to his mother what the agta boys have said; she answers that none of it is true. In a magic instant, little Banna becomes a vigorous young man craving for revenge. A magic force transports him in his companions to the plain of Sakbawan.

Banna kills Dulaw. One of Banna’s companions informs Dulliyaw that Banna is Dulliyaw’s son. Banna, his companions, and Dulliyaw all ride on the red beam of light and, in a single magic instant, reach the village of Magobya. Banna tells his mother that the handsome gentleman who accompanies him is his father and her husband. Dinanaw accepts with smiling lips the betel nut chew Dulliyaw offers her. They rejoice, they chew, they eat, and they sleep. The following day, a magic force carries the whole village of Magobya and all its inhabitants to Dulawon where, without delay, merry making begins and goes on day after day. Introduction:

Since then that older people thought us how to write and read. When we were still a child most stories that our parents read to us are this folklore stories, fairy tale stories and epics. Stories from the book that help us to enhance our thinking skills and welcome us to the different doors of the world which came from the magical words in the book. Certainly, epic are one of the styles in telling a story. It consist of imaginary and magical words that can hold the story and preserves its essence. Epic is about the life of the hero/heroine who has special power that adds ingredients to his/her character. In addition, the life of a certain hero/heroin is guided my gods/goddess. This kind of stories is like a food. A food that presents to the people and let them taste. In order to hook the taste of the people the food must presented well not only in its physical but it must also contains right ingredients that can make the food burning amazingly into the eyes of the people.


The epic “The magic birth of Banna” is came from one of the epic stories from Luzon in Southern Kalinga. There are two (2) main points of this epic story and it is about the betel nut and the magic. Betel nut is one of the dark red seeds of the betel palm that is wrapped in betel leaves with lime and chewed by people in Asia as a mild stimulant. Indeed here in the Philippines chewing betel nut is dominant from Cordillera Mountains in north and Muslims in south. Particularly it is called here in the Philippines as “Nga-nga” which means in Visayan language as “Nag-nga-nga” as chewing betel nut. It is custom in their culture already that chewing betel nut is one of their item symbolizing hospitality, friendship and love. Next is the role of “Magic” in the story. Magic gives possibilities to the impracticalities situation along in the story. First is when Dulliyaw takes the last betel nut in his bag and cuts it into slices. Before the sclice of betel nut is offered to Dulaw, it magically disappears. Second is when Dinanaw is taking a bath in the river and she sees a slice of betel nut accidentally in the river. Third was when a magic was happened in turning little Banna into a vigorous young man.

Third was when a magic force transports Banna and his companions to the plain of Sakbawan to fight for his father. And lastly is that through magic Banna together with Dulliyaw and their other companions reach the village Magobya instantly. We can identify the role of magic in the story. To be specific the significance of magic was present since then in the title. The magic adds ingredients to the story to make it more attractive to the eyes of the readers. The magic molded the story to make it more relevant and hold its essence and significance of being an epic.

Significantly the story displays different issues that stand as spicy ingredients in the story. The first issue is when Dulliyaw is not contented in just one woman. Even though Dulliyaw has already Ya-u as his betrothed he still choose to cheat Ya-u and court Dulaw instead. In this situation we can see that Dulliyaw is not contented in having a one woman in his life. This situation only shows that there is no loyalty in their relationship. The second issue is the characters of a woman. There are two different characters that has been displayed in the story is the side of being strong and being weak. In the side of being strong, it was shown in the story during the time when Ya-u orders to call the Spanish soldiers of Sakbawan to hold Dulliyaw for cheating in their relationship even though they were already a couple. In other words it only shows that a woman can be strong if she was hurt by the most painful pain ever. A woman’s decisions, actions or even instincts are unpredictable during the most unexpected situations in their life.

On the other hand, the story also shows the side of the woman of being a weak. First it is when without any single word Dulaw accepts the marriage proposal of Dulliyaw. Second was when Dinanaw without any other words also accepts Dulliyaw for being her husband knowing that from the very first place, she was just pregnant immediately without a touch of someone. In this scenario we can tell that the woman here is weak, weak in a sense of not saying what is in her mind, never dare to ask questions but instead accepts of what being told by a man. In this story, Feminism and Marxist was presented. The story brings out different subjects not only for us to understand the grammatical meaning of each words but also its pragmatic meaning that can go with us beyond what is normal but into its deep meaning.

Thus if we look in a perspective eye in feminism we can certainly agree that women should not be defined as weak and useless. It was shown in the story that two (2) women was stepped by the man and they never voice out of their sides. However, there is one woman (Ya-u) fights for her side because she knows that Dulliyaw betrayed her. In this, woman should not under in a man. A woman must be in the equal side of man. In addition Marxist perspective was also shown in the story in a way that the men in the stories who are Banna and Dulliyaw plays the role of being high officials in a certain society and thus Dulaw and Dinanaw who were women are the poor ones. We can apprehend that the story shows that there is power in men. Power in humiliating the sides of women.

Therefore the epic story “The Magic Birth of Banna” cast out different angles in understanding the distinctive sides of a man and a woman. Thus, we can also learned from the story that a woman is indeed a human. Human that has a worthy to be valued and not to be destroy in her dignity and no one should steal her freedom of choice and expressing her sides. Man and woman should be equal in different situations in life.

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