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- Big thanks to manong Romulo Tangbawan for the corrections to the original post! Many thanks too to my cousin Lyndon Saboy Banganan for the information he shared about ulitog Ilin.
Hajit Anak un Innalan Ji Alan (‘The Child Who was Taken by an Ogre’; see video below) is a folktale retold for generations among the Vanaw community and is narrated here by my ulitog (uncle) Ilin (Brent Ulat Banganan), husband of my ikit (aunt) Portia “Tinya” Saboy-Banganan, the youngest sister of my father.
This is one of the community’s many folk stories that feature an Alan (ogre). Portia Banganan describes the Alan as a huge, frightening, hairy creature with deep-set eyes and unusually beaked nose. He is supposed to be a human being with superhuman powers, having the uncanny ability to disappear at will and to find anyone who tries to hide from him.
The story is about a man who had to make a deal with an ogre, after taking some ripe fruits from one of the mango trees guarded by such a creature. His wife was then conceiving and craving for the fruit. As agreed, when the boy was born, the giant came and took him away to his lair, deep into the ground. The child grew up to be a large fellow himself, making him a prospective tasty meal for the giant. The boy fought off and killed his captor, and was rescued by his parents and their fellow villagers who eventually hauled him out of the pit.
The storyteller was born in the village of Balbalasang on 23 February 1937. He has worn many hats from being a forester, farmer, and miner to storyteller and tribal leader. He served as a barangay captain of Balbalasang from 1994-2002 during which he accomplished the following projects:
- Microhydro facility at Jukligan which generated 18 kilowatts of electricity for the sitios of Saltan and Balbalasang;
- Balbalasang barangay hall in Jukligan;
- Stage at the Balbalasang plaza;
- Waterworks at Batugan;
- Irrigation at Tapaw;
- The Balbalasang viewdeck;
- Concreting of the Kaallangan bridge; and
- Improvement of the picnic grounds (unfortunately swept by a powerful storm some years later).