The Legend of the 'Sleeping Beauty' Mountain of Kalinga
by Gus Saboy
[Note for tourists: More info/contact person here]
27 February 1970
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 [Note: Mr. Nats Dalanao says the name is LUPTING, not LUBTING - see comment below]. 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, Mawanga, 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. Mawanga was himself a famous, handsome, young warrior. Lubting fell in love with him, and Mawanga asked Lubting’s hands from her parents. With Gamu and Usa-ay consenting, a parental engagement was celebrated…
Since Mawanga 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. Mawanga 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 Mawanga’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 Mawanga.
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 Mawanga?” 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 Mawanga?”
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.