Patukan: Sleeping Beauty of Kalinga

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 [Note: Like any other folkloric tradition, this legend has been retold with certain variations. This version of the story with Lubting and Mawangga as main characters is based on the recordings of scholar-priests Francisco Billiet and Francis Lambrecht, CICM, whose opus The Kalinga Ullalim is the most extensive treatment of an oral tradition of the Kalingas thus far. Other versions have Dinayaw and Binsay as names of the star-crossed lovers. Dialectal variation in the Southern Kalinga languages also explains the differences in the spelling of terms in the various versions of the legend (e.g., Finsay/Binsay, Lupting/Lubting). See my paper, Ullalim/Sogsogna: Revisiting a Kalinga Music Tradition for an extended discussion on the continuing reformulation of the ullalim tradition. ✍ Scott Magkachi Saboy]

Related: The Living Anitos: Refashioning Tradition, Performing Ethnicity

Patukan: The Legend of the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ Mountain of Kalingaby

by Augustus “Gus” Ulát Sabóy, 27 February 1970 

Kalinga’s Sleeping Beauty. Taken from the village of Basao in Tinglayan, Kalinga, this photograph of the mountain ridge shows the outline of a woman lying in repose which inspired the creation of the etiological tale, “The Legend of the Sleeping Beauty of Tinglayan, Kalinga.” (Photo by Augustus U. Saboy, ca. 1983)

She may not qualify for a listening as among the “Wonders of the World” — not even for the 9th after her neighbor, the labyrinthine system of rice terraces in Banaue, Ifugao. She may not even be the most discriminating and nationwide to our country’s tourist spot hunters.  

But to the Kalingas, she represents their tribalistic pride and honor — the heroism of their forefathers who fought and died in the name of their people and their children’s children — and the fidelity of their women to their husbands. She is the perpetual “Lady Lubting” known to many a Kalinga tribesman today as the “Sleeping Beauty Mountain.”  

To a casual traveler along the Bontoc-Kalinga national road, the mountain is merely one of these mountain ridges monotonously following him all through the mountain roads from Baguio to the northernmost highland political territory of Apayao. She may not be seen at times because of the clouds blanketing the mountain range or because of one’s lack of an aesthetic sense. Or that she is viewed from another vantage point.

But she is there, supinely lying to remain for today’s generation and the generations to come as a symbol of a woman’s love for a man of her own choice.   One cannot cannot fully understand and feel the pride that a Kalinga has for this mountain unless he encounters the legend of Lady Lubting.

The legend is one of Kalinga’s most loved bedtime stories popularly sang in the native ballad called Ullalim. So popular is the legend that anyone from Tinglayan, Kalinga or from the neighboring municipality of Tanudan can sing it in the Ullalim verse by verse.   This is the legend taken from that immortal ballad:  

There once lived in Dakalan (a barrio/village of Tanudan municipality) a couple whose names were Gamu (wife) and Usa-ay (husband). Born out of their wedlock was a baby girl who was immediately named “Lubting.” The baby had shown unusual talents. She had a beautiful voice which attracted people in the village.   Lubting grew up to become the most beautiful maiden in the whole Kalinga land.

Many a dashing Kalinga young man had offered his love for Lubting but not one of them met the approving eyes of the beauteous village queen.   One day, Mawangga, a son of a pangat (wealthy Kalinga man and tribal chief) from Tinglayan heard about the wild news about beautiful Lubting.

He set for Dakalan, where he met the famed maiden. Mawangga was himself a famous, handsome, young warrior. Lubting fell in love with him, and Mawangga asked Lubting’s hands from her parents. With Gamu and Usa-ay consenting, a parental engagement was celebrated.   Since Mawangga was hurrying home to Tinglayan to tell his parents about the betrothal to the beauteous Dakalan girl, he and Lubting agreed to meet after five days atop Mt. Patukan where they would rendezvous to plan their future. (Patukan is a border mountain ridge bordering the municipalities of Tinglayan and Tanudan. This is the highest point in this mountain ridge overlooking both the Tinglayan and Tanudan valleys.)  

On that appointed day, a fierce tribal war erupted between the Botbot and the Tinglayan tribesmen. Mawangga led his Tinglayan men to battle. He killed many enemies but was himself slain at the end of the strife. He was decapitated and his head was carried off by the Botbot tribesmen.   The surviving Tinglayan warriors brought home the headless body of their slain warrior.

Upon remembering Mawangga’s promise to meet Lady Lubting at Mt. Patukan, the village leaders held an emergency meeting and decided to send a messenger to Lubting who was expected to be at the meeting place waiting for her Mawangga.   The messenger climbed the mountain with a heavy heart, wondering how he would break the terrible news to the lady.

After a slow and heavy trek, the messenger reached the mountain peak where Lubting was.   “Where is Mawangga?” asked the lady in a surprised tone.   With faltering speech the messenger said, “You must go home. Luck has left you and Mawanga. He was slain in a battle with the Botbots. His head was taken by our enemies.”  

Bursting into tears, Lubting cried: “No, I will not go home to Dakalan. I am not going to see the body of my beloved, either. For of what use will it be to me to see the headless body of my Mawangga?”  

Throughout the day, Lady Lubting wept until her copious tears slowly eroded the mountainside. Suddenly, she stood motionless, her head raised to the heavens, and fell to the ground on her back — lifeless.  

As time wore on, the spot where she fell gradually took on a shape which developed into what the present-day “Sleeping Beauty Mountain” looks like. Lady Lubting lies there today eternally facing the heavens to remind Kalingas of her wish for the return of her beloved.



3 thoughts on “Sleeping Beauty of Kalinga”

  1. Avatarpopoy13 years agoEdit this comment3of 3:##
    scott saboy | August 14, 2008 at 12:17 pm | Replyay, there will always be another opportunity to explore the fastnesses of tinglayan. just get in touch with nats dalanao. 
    cheri leyaley | June 28, 2009 at 5:35 pm | Replygreat website!
    hope you’ll expand the coverage of your researches.
    more power and wisdom.*
    scott saboy | June 30, 2009 at 3:05 pm | Replythanks chery. will upload more materials in the next few months. will also be coming up with a new website hopefully within this month. ingatz! #
    cheri leyaley | June 28, 2009 at 5:46 pm | Replynice weekend!
    torogi girl | July 13, 2009 at 8:43 pm | Replyi am only 7 or 8 years old when i went to tinglayan but i can’t see the image of sleeping beautify but many of us like my father and mother have seen the image.
    sophia | July 15, 2009 at 1:12 pm | Reply.matagotago tako am in!
    “jonah” | September 2, 2009 at 5:22 pm | Replyyessss..very beautifull image “sleeping Beauty”…i see also this image at the top of the mountain of tinglayan…good day to all….
    Ems | January 8, 2010 at 9:09 pm | Replysir scott,
    Guday po! tnx 4 the story of our “Sleeping Beauty” tama po c Nataniel, since
    i was a child my grandma use to tell this story and even in school, its really Dinayao n Finsay. Lupting ay sa taas lng ng aming barrio, Where we use to go to get some bayabas nung bata pa kmi. Salamat saung pagpa2halaga ng aming legend. If u want the correct story of the legend u’r welcome to visit our place Tinglayan…
    matakutako tau losan
  2. Avatarpopoy13 years agoEdit this comment2 of 3:#
    Nathaniel Dalana0 | May 2, 2008 at 11:53 am | Replyhi long henson and reinalyn,I am nats the founder of the kalinga mountaineering society.. we have an scheduled climb at Mt. Sapocoy this May 15 2008..Mt. Sapocoy is the 4th highest mountain in the philippines.. you may check out our website at or simply visit our pictures at kalingatambayan.multiply.comor you can contact me at 09216023500just a correction on the above is lupting not lubting.. in tinglayan they name the lady dinayao and the man binsay… mt. patukan, lupting is on the same ranges of the mountain that composes the sleeping beauty..
    scott saboy | May 2, 2008 at 11:56 am | ReplyThank you for the info and correction, kabsat. Matagotago tako!
    winny | August 14, 2008 at 8:51 am | Replywow! how i wish Ii joined that climber group but i just had no time. and also i want to see that part of Kalinga mt. lubting in Tinglayan……..
  3. Avatarpopoy13 years agoEdit this commentfrom old WordPress blog, 1 of 3:13 Responses to “Patukan:The Legend of the ‘Sleeping Beauty’ Mountain of Kalinga”1.
    Long Henson | March 27, 2008 at 5:51 pm | ReplyHi,I have long wanted to travel to Balbalasang- Balbalan. As a hiker I was thinking if there are mountains I can climb there; maybe Sipocot as its the highest point in Balbalan.Anyways, any information, contact person you can share would greatly be appreciated as there are so little inform I can get even on the municipality webpage. You can e-mail me through my e-mail address.Regards and Thanks
    reinalyn | April 22, 2008 at 9:25 pm | ReplyI’m longing to see Tinglayan since I learned about the beauty of that place from my friends…I would highly appreciate it if you will send me any information about the place..Thank you so much and I’m looking forward to hearing from you about my request..God bless!!!Rein

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