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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The History Of Gintaguan, San Joaquin

San Joaquin Church

San Joaquin Cemetery Campo Santo

San Joaquin Public Plaza Facade

San Joaquin Public Plaza Interior

Balahidyong and Balanakon, the brave warriors of Datu Sumakwel were sent by their chieftain to look for Datu Marikudo so the purchase of Panay will take place. During those days, the area were so dense and wild and less settled. The two men were so surprised to see a very beautiful maiden sitting on top of the mountain. All of a sudden they are beside the lady and became rival best friend in the heart of newly found lady. However the lady considered giving them a test and said:

"I'm hungry. The first to cook banana from a green bamboo in fire will be my other half."

In an instance the two went down the mountain just like a lightning bolt and they are so hasty looking for what the beautiful lady wanted. They want to hurry in going up the mountain first. In his hurry to cook the banana, Balanakon continuously stir it on fire. Balahidyong who is strong and determined is a poet. He is not hasty. While cooking the banana, he made a poem about love referring to Alayen, the maiden. Balanakon is first to offer the food but it was rejected by Alayen because the preparation is not that good and choose Balahidyong's offer instead despite that it was the last to offer. The impulsive Balanakon is not happy with the result of the challenge so he considered the decisions of the bathalas or the gods to declare in a duel but Alayen intervened.

"No" she pleaded, I won't allow to that your friendship and good relationship will be destroyed because of me who is undeservedly to shed blood with the Malayan noblemen. For the reason that you both desires of me, cut my body into half. One half will go to Balanakon and the other half will go to Balahidyong and each of the half will be buried on top of either mountain.

"I Agree" shouted Balanakon.

Balahidyong did not answer but stare with fear to Alayen.

"Let's start the division," said Balanakon who got his sword.

Balahidyong speaks.

"Warrior brother and best friend, companion to countless number of battles in Borneo and Sumatra, listen to what I say. It's painful for me to hack you with my sword in our duel, however, it would be a thousand times painful for me to see Alayen, the woman I truly love, to be in danger because she unfortunately encounter  the two best friends who could not harm just like they usually do in the past few days for the safety of each other. For me, I am ready to bestow my half to you just to see Alayen alive however I could not own."

He started to leave and Balanakon joyfully shouted, "Let's all go back to the baranggay or community in Andona and Sumakwel will preside on our wedding in a true Malayan tradition." Balanakon prepared their belongings.

All of a sudden Balahidyong pulled the hands of Alayen  and jumped off the nearby cliff and the intense chasing began. Balanakon was so swift but Balahidyong and Alayen was way faster. Across the mountains, river he chased the two however he could not catch them. The darkness is not a hindrance because Balanakon has a very strong smell.  On the third day of chasing, he reached the river. He sensed and smelled the two in the surroundings but not a shadow appears. No imprints nor a broken twigs, stepped leaves, turned stones. Only the smell exists. Balanakon thought that Balahidyong has an amulet or spell of disappearing that makes them disappear like the bubbles. At dusk, Balanakon surrendered and left.

Beneath that waterfall is a cave. Balahidyong and Alayen stayed there until the birth of their child. This place was called "Gintagu-an" which means the hiding place. Balahidyong together with Alayen returned to Barangay Siwaragan. Balanakon got married and lived in Malandog ruled by Sumakwel. The old grudges had been healed when the son of Balahidyong got married to the daughter of Balanakon.

The Gintaguan is still a place of attraction by the town of San Joaquin and visited by guests and tourists.

Photo Source:,_Iloilo  courtesy of Marcos Caratao

1 comment:

  1. The story of Gintaguan or Tinaguan Falls in San Joaquin.


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