The Ibanag Language

The Ibanag language is spoken by 500,000 speakers in Cagayan Province in Northeast Luzon, Philippines. It is a prestigious Northern Cordilleran language closely related to other Cagayan Valley languages: Gaddang, Itawis, Agta, Atta, Yogad, and Isneg. The term "Ibanag" derives from the root bannag "river." meaning "from the river," as the original homeland of the Ibanag people is along the banks of the Cagayan River.

Most Ibanag speakers are proficient in Ilocano, the lingua franca of Northern Luzon, Tagalog, and English.

Some Ibanag Songs

The Cagayan Anthem (Wein 1987:20):
Cagayan dawwun, nga kakastan niakan,
Egga ka lara nakuan ta piam.
Nu kurug tu maparayu ka niakan,
Ariat ta ka wula-wuga nga kattaman.

Cagayan, makemmemmi ka nga innan.
Cagayan, awan tu kagittam.
Nu anni kasta na dawwun karuan,
Egga ka la ta futu', nga ideddukan.

An Ibanag Harana (Serenade)
Manawag a lappau, emmu ubbawan
Taddanam mi mine kami tau.
Ta ume kamu ta dyam miau,
Nga danure artista
Danau nga emmi dangngan.
Iddanamam mi ume kamu
Ta dyam mi nga aleran.

Another Harana
Lappau makemmemmi,
Magumbbau ka na kari
Ta di yammu aggiddan
Sa ubbawan na kami.
Ariam mu kari iyyawwu
Yoye i kapobre mi,
Ta mentras initabba na baggi'
I enna niko kekemmi.

Adde gari kari ta kewussi mu
Ta san nenam, ai sinagkilalakku
Alawa pa bewai i egku nannun-nunnugan.
Darakal a palung i egku nelalatan.
Ariam mu kari iyyawwu tu lubbe i patai niakan,
Ta ariam ma la so muffunan.
Toye ta egku pataian.

A scornful (love?) song
Kagiam mu nyo' kinurugan,
Nu egga inaya mu tanakuan.
Ta kabbi lawa i futu kau
Magkagi tu ayatan na sikau.

Ariam mu nyo' ilil-lilli.
I aya mu kurug a baddi.
Ta piga pano paga na?
Tallu sentimo gamma.

The Cagayan Anthem
Cagayan land, most beautiful to me,
You should always be here because you are so wonderful.
Should you be far away from me,
I would never forget you.

Cagayan, you're so lovely to watch.
Cagayan, you have no duplicate.
Regardless how beautiful other lands are,
You, whom I love, are always in my heart.

An Ibanag Serenade
Shiny flower, come, show your face
As a compensation for us who came here.
Come here where we are,
(Not to) those (other) musicians.
Whom we have met.
We hope you'll come
Where we are to search (for a lover).

Another Harana (Serenade)
Show your face, lovely flower
There in the bed
To look at us.
Please don't care
How poor we are,
For, indeed
I promise
That I will love you.

Before you were conceived.
In the womb of your mother, I thought.
I were swimming in a vast ocean.
Surrounded by big waves.
Please don't ask that death comes to me.
For you have not yet helped me.
For (what) I'm going to die now.

A scornful lovesong
Tell me the truth.
If you loved someone else.
Pitiful is my heart.
Which says that it loves you.

Don't go away from me.
Your love may truly be small.
How much may be its worth?
Only three centavos.

A Monkey and Turtle Story in Ibanag (Verstraelen 1973:196-199)

Da Ayong anni Dagga'

Naggyak kanu dua nga makkofun // Danaw nga dua nga makkofun ay da ayong anni dagga' // Tadday kanu gafa nga aggaw ay minay kanu ira nappasiar ta agig nab bevay. // Taton nga pappasafasiarda ta agig nab bevay ay naketavug ira tat tadday nga fun nad dufo' -- -- nga kayu nad dufo' ay kinattura mga dua. // Tallabbe' da tab balera ay nagadduadda nga dua ay ya ina' ni dagga' ay ya funna. // Si ayong gafa: kwa'ya nguruna tafena nalogon nga matuvu kunna kanu ay ina'na // (Tap pammula) Ta edda kanu sa pangimula, taton pammulara ay navayavayag nga ari nattullun. // Tat tadday nga aggaw ay minay kanu ira nattulun ay narakay kanu ta yas swerte ni ayong ay natay, yore dufo'na nga egga yang nguruna, ay ni dagga' kanu ay natolay. // Taton kanu nga aggaw ay maraddam kanu si ayong ay magayaya' gafa si dagga'. // Labbe' ngana kanu nap pavvunga ta navayavayag kanu nga aggaw ay minay ira kanu nga nattullun taton nga karufatadda ay ya navunga yak kwa ni dagga', dufo' ni dagga' ay nalutuak kanu. // Labbe' kanu ni ayong sa, kinalena kanu si dufo'. // Pakkalena kanu sa ay yore: iddammake' ayong, kunna kanu di dagga'. // Gafu ta arianna ka la sa iddan, enna kanu sinitan yaf fun nad dufo' // Passi'na kanu gattag kanu ni ayong nasisitak kanu ngamin yab bagivagina. // Ngem inay gafa si dagga', nattotto' tag gukan nak katul // Pattotto'na kanu tag gukan nak katul ay gimittag kanu si dagga' ayong ay nasisitan kanu yaton. // Enna kanu magituvang taf (fun nak) katul, kinaga'na kanu gafa ni dagga ya ifu'na (ni ayong). // Pakkaga' kanu sa ay: sinni yaw? // Yore binukeran na kanu yan nasinganna si dagga'. // Iddaggammu ta pafatayattaka, kunna kanu ni ayong. // Iddaggammu ta ituppataka ta afi, kunna kanu labbi sa // Nafia yaya yap pagararuan nak kakavulukku, kunna kanu // Ilappattaka tad danum, kunna kanu sa // Ikallo'ma' ayong, yaya so yap patayakku kunna kanu a. // Inilappanna kanu tad danum // Nagayaya' kanu si dagga' // Ariammu ammu tu yaw ig gyan na bale' kunna kanu kani ayong anna navalin.

English Translation (not mine):
Once upon a time there were two friends. These two friends were a monkey and a turtle. One day they went for a walk along the seashore. When they were walking along the seashore, they saw a banana tree, and they two carried it along. When they arrived at their house, they divided it and the turtle took the trunk. The monkey however said: "The top is mine, in order that it may grow easily", and he took it. When they had planted it, for a long time they did not come to see it. One day they went to have a look, and to the misfortune of the monkey, his tree was dead, the banana tree which had only the top, but the one of the turtle was still alive. On that day the monkey was sad, but the turtle was happy. When the time came to bear fruit, after a long time, they went to see their banana tree, and the tree of the turtle had fruit! When the monkey went there, he climbed the banana tree. When he had climbed on it, the turtle begged: "Please give me, monkey." Because he did not give any, he started placing thorns at the trunk of the tree. When the turtle had placed the thorns, and when the monkey had come down, he was stung with thorns over his whole body. But the turtle went away and hid under a coconut shell. The monkey, stung by the thorns, went to sit down on the coconut shell, and the turtle bit his tail. When he had bitten him the monkey said: "Who is this?" He opened the coconut shell and saw the turtle. "Wait and I shall kill you!" said the monkey. "Wait and I'll throw you in the fire," he added. "That is good, because that is the place where I have many friends," said the turtle. "I shall throw you in the water then," said the monkey. "Have mercy, monkey, that is the place where I shall die!" the other said. He threw him in the water. The turtle was happy. "Don't you know that this is my home?!" he said to the monkey. The end.

Do you have a monkey and turtle story? E-mail me if you do!!

An Ibanag Bibliography:

(Note, an * indicates that I have yet to acquire a copy of the work)

Bausa, Humberto G. 1966. Elements of Ibanag Structure (with lexicon). Unpublished M.A. Thesis, Ateneo de Manila University.
Brandes, Carlos O., and Otto Scheerer. 1927. On Sandhi in the Ibanag Language. The Archive, Paper No. 6. Manila.
Bugarin, Jose OP. 1854. Diccionario Ybanag-Espanol. Manila: Amigos del Pais. xii, 280 + 72 pp.
*Calauian, Ma. Concepcion. 19??. A Linguistic Description of Ibanag. Unpublished PhD Dissertation, Centro Escolar University.
Castillet, Ed de Rivera. 1960. Cagayan Province and her People. Manila: Community Publishers.
*Dongallo, Rosalia Almeda. 1954. A Study of Typical Ibanag Folklore: Folksongs, Poems, Proverbs, and Riddles. Unpublished MA Thesis, Far Eastern University.
Fausto de Cuevas, Fr. Jose Maria. 1854. Arte Nuevo de la Lengua Ybanag. Manila: Imprenta de los Amigos del Pais.
*Fernandez, Miguel. 1867. Diccionario Espanol-Ibanag: o sea tesauro Hispano Cagayan (sacado de los manuscriptos antiguos y nuevamente corregido y anadido en gran parte por dos religiosos Dominicos ministros en aquella provincia. Manila: Imprenta de Ramirez y Giraudier. 511pp.
Ibarbia, Zorayda Beltran. 1970. An Ibanag-English Dictionary. Unpublished MA Thesis, University of San Carlos, Cebu. (I have the PhD version which seems to have more Spanish than Ibanag, 131pp)
Keesing, Felix M. 1962. The ethnohistory of Northern Luzon. Stanford University Press.
Llamzon, Teodoro A. 1968. The IPC Guide to Tagalog, Ilocano, Ibanag. Quezon City: Ateneo de Manila University Press. 86pp.
Verstraelen, Eugene. 1973. Analysis of Ibanag. Philippine Quarterly of Culture and Society, vol. 1, 39-57, 175-199.
Wein, Clement. 1987. Ibanag Songs. Cebu City: University of San Carlos, 304pp.

Are you Ibanag? If so, please write!

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