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of Philippine literature. "Florante at Laura" is an abbreviation of the actual title which is: "Pinagdaanang Buhay Nina Florante at Laura sa Kahariang Albanya: Kinuha sa Madlang Cuadro historico o pinturang nagsasabi sa mga nangyari nang unang panahon sa imperyo ng Gresya, at tinula ng isang matuwain sa bersong Tagalog." ("The Life of Florante and Laura in the Kingdom of Albania: culled from historical accounts and paintings which describe what occurred in ancient times in the empire of Greece, and penned by someone who enjoys Tagalog verse"). The story was written during Balagatas' imprisonment. His book is dedicated to Maria Asuncion Rivera, his sweetheart whom he nicknamed "M. A. R.". Maria Asuncion Rivera was later married to Balagtas' rival, Mariano Capule. It was Capule who made false charges against Balagtas. Literary Form It is called an "Alitaptapin" & a Korido, which means in English "song". Florante at Laura has 377 stanzas; in truth, the Alitaptapin is a poetic form which, in "Florante at Laura", had, among others, the following characteristics: 1. 4 lines/stanza; 2. 12 syllables/line; 3. a rhyme scheme of AAAA (in the Tagalog manner of rhyming described by Jose Rizal in Tagalische Verskunst); 4. a slight pause on the sixth syllable; 5. each stanza is usually a complete grammatically-correct sentence; 6. each stanza is full of figures of speech (according to Fernando Monleon, Balagtas used 28 types in 395 instances throughout the poem); 7. the author is usually anonymous (this is because Francisco Baltazar specified that no part of his work should be reworded, and everything should be left in its original state, lest it be like other old stories that the meanings have changed over time) Synopsis The story is about the struggle and love of Duke Florante and Princess Laura of Albania during the warring period between the Albanians and Muslims. Plot In the Albanian forest The story begins deep within a dark, (gloomy forest). Florante, a duke of the Kingdom of Albania is tied to a tree, lamenting the loss of his father, Duke Briseo. He is driven mad by the thought that his beloved, Princess Laura, has fallen into the arms of his enemy, Count Adolfo, son of Count Sileno. Nearby, two starving lions kept watch and tries to a attack Florante in hunger. He is saved, just in time, by Aladdin, a Muslim prince who happens to be at the forest at the same time. Weak and bewildered, Florante fainted. The merciful soldier nurses Florante to health. Upon recovery, Florante is initially taken aback by Aladdin as he consider as an enemy due to his Islamic faith. After a few explanations are made, however, Florante is grateful & begins to tell his story. Florante's tale The son of a princess and a royal adviser, Florante grew up in happiness, showered with love. He liked to play games when he was six,and was almost killed by a vulture that tried to snatch the gem on his chest. He was saved by his cousin Menalido, an archer from Epirus. At the early age of 11, his parents, Duke Briseo and Princess Floresca, sent him to Athens, Greece to study under Antenor, a renowned teacher. There, he met Adolfo, a fellow countryman, the brightest student in their school. After 6 years of study, Florante surpassed Adolf's capabilities, talents and intelligence, gaining popularity and recognition. Adolfo took this very personally. While acting during a school play, Adolf attempted to kill Florante. Fortunately, Florante’s friend, Menandro, was quick enough to intervene. Adolfo headed home to Albania after his
failed attempt. One year later, Florante received a letter from his father, announcing the death of his mother. Though filled with grief, Florante waited two months before he could return home. Menandro, unwilling to be separated from him, accompanied him on his journey. Upon his arrival to Albania, an emissary of the kingdom of Croton requested his assistance in the incoming war against the Persians. Florante had not the will to refuse, for the King of Crotone was his grandfather. During his stay in Albania, Florante was invited to the king's palace. There, he is stunned by the sight of Laura, the daughter of King Linceo, King of Albania. Coming to the aid of Crotone, Florante fought with the Persian general, Osmalik for 5 hours, finally slaying him in the end. He stayed in Crotone for 5 months before returning to Albania, to see Laura. He was surprised by the to the people of the Albania sight of a Persian flag waving atop the kingdom. He recaptured the palace and saved his father, the king, and Adolfo. He also saved Laura from being beheaded from the hands of an Emir. He was declared “Defender of Albania” for his bravery, deepening Adolfo’s envy and hatred. Florante protected the kingdom, once more, from the Turkish forces, under general Miramolin, an acclaimed conqueror. This took place in Aetolia, where he later received a letter from his father. The letter summoned him back to Albania. Leaving his troops in the care of his friend, Menandro, Upon returning, he was ambushed by 30,000 soldiers and under Adolfo’s orders and was imprisoned for 28 days. There, he learned of the tragic fate of his father and the king. Under Adolfo’s hands, they were beheaded. Florante was then exiled into the forest and tied to a tree. Aladdin's Tale After months of wandering in the forest, the Persian, Aladdin shares that he is also in a similar circumstance. Sultan Ali-Adab accused his own son, Aladdin, of leaving his troops and allowing his conquered enemy to be recaptured. He arranged for his son to be beheaded. Flerida, very much in love with Aladdin begged the Sultan not to kill, but merely exile his son. In return, Flerida agreed to marry the Sultan, who was very taken with her. Reunion and Peace Aladdin’s speech is interrupted when they hear voices. A woman narrates her escape from a kingdom and a marriage. She speaks of her search for her beloved, a search which lasted 6 years. She shares that while deep in the forest, she heard cries for help. Finding a lady harassed by a man, trying to rape her, she uses her bow and arrow to kill him. The woman introduces herself as Flerida. The lady saved by Flerida, revealed to be Laura, begins to tell her story. While her love was away at war, Count Adolfo gained the popularity of the people, having lied to them and turned them against the king. Count Adolfo then rose to the throne, forcing Laura to be his queen.An army under Menandro, Florante's childhood friend, was able to overthrow Adolfo from power. Adolfo, seeing all was lost, fled into the woods, taking Laura as hostage. After hearing all this, Florante and Aladdin reunite with their loved ones. Florante and Laura returned to Albania, and became king and queen. Aladin and Flerida returned to Persia, where Aladdin became the new sultan as his father committed suicide. The two kingdoms lived in harmony and peace.
Ibong Adarna The Ibong Adarna (Adarna Bird) is a mythical creature of Philippine legend. The Adarna has a very beautiful singing voice. The Adarna knows 7 songs. Every time that the Adarna finishes a song, it defecates, and its feathers change to a more beautiful shade, becoming more colorful and shiny. It is believed that its songs have the power to lull anyone to sleep, and its droppings could turn anyone into stone. Its song is also believed to cure any affliction. The Adarna bird is a very fancy bird with very long tail, displaying numerous metallic colors. It is considered the phoenix of the Philippines. The Ibong Adarna is the subject of a Filipino epic or korido of the same name. The epic narrates the story of three brothers sent by their father, a king, to catch the bird, in order to cure the king's ailment through hearing the bird's enchanted song. The only prince who was able to successfully capture the bird was the youngest, Don Juan. But on his way back to the palace - together with his rescued brothers - Don Juan encountered many other adventures and mysteries. He also met many princesses, and married one of them. Narration In a peaceful kingdom named Berbanya, a king known as Don Fernando lived, together with his queen, Doña Valeriana. The king and queen had three sons. The eldest was Don Pedro, the second was Don Diego, and the youngest was Don Juan. One night, while Don Fernando was sleeping, he had a terrible nightmare and got ill. The nightmare was about Don Juan being thrown into a deep well by two unknown men. The following morning, all the doctors in Berbanya were summoned to alleviate the king from his ailment. But no one among the physicians of Berbanya could determine the ailment, until a "ermitanyo"(hermit) diagnosed and proclaimed that the cure would be the song of the Ibong Adarna. The Ibong Adarna could only be found in the tree of Piedras Platas on Bundok Tabor (Mount Tabor). Don Fernando sent his two older sons to search for the bird, one after the other. The two brothers were unsuccessful. They were turned into stone after falling asleep while listening to the Adarna bird's song. Don Fernando hesitated on sending his youngest son, Don Juan, because of the fear that his nightmare might come true. Don Juan insisted on going and left to look for the magical bird. Along Don Juan's way, he met a leper(or also known as an old man and taong ketongin) begging for food. Don Juan, a kind prince, gave the beggar his piece of bread. Because of Juan's generosity, the leper helped Don Juan in finding the Ibong Adarna.The leper says that there was a little house near a mountain - where a hermit lives - that will give instructions to catch the bird. Don Juan comes and see the hermit and the hermit asked him to eat. And when the hermit showed him the food, Don Juan was shocked because the bread that he gave to the old man was with the hermit. Don Juan thought that the hermit and the old man was one. The hermit gave Don Juan a duhat(in some cases 'dayap'), a knife, gold "sintas"(laces) and holy water. Don Juan succeeded in locating the mystical bird, and was also able to save his older brothers, reviving them back to life. But despite of this, Don Pedro envied Don Juan because he was the only person to catch the Ibong Adarna. Don Pedro told Don Diego about a plan to eliminate Don Juan. Don Diego agreed with Don Pedro's plan. They injured Juan and left him unconscious, taking with them the Ibong Adarna back
to Berbanya. The old man who helped Don Juan catch the bird helped him again to cure all his wounds and made him stronger. In the castle of Berbanya, the bird refused to sing, until Don Juan's return to the kingdom. In Don Juan's presence, the bird sang and transformed itself into seven different colors, while singing its mystic song and revealing the treachery done by Don Pedro and Don Diego. The king was healed. Don Fernando wanted to punish his two other sons by imposing a death sentence upon them, for hurting Don Juan. The king later changed in his mind, since Don Juan loved his brothers and asked for them to not be killed. The king was cured and Berbanya was again at peace. The king then instructed his sons to guard the magical bird. Three hours for each one of them. But then, Don Pedro again thought of another evil plan for Don Juan. The time he was about to guard the Ibong Adarna, he told Don Diego his plans. They woke up Don Juan and pleaded him to guard the bird for the two of them. Don Juan as a good brother, agreed. Accidentally, Don Juan fell asleep. Of course, who would not feel sleepy when you're awaken in the middle of the night? While he was asleep, his two elder brothers unlocked the cage and let the Ibong Adarna go. The next morning, Don Juan was surprised to see the cage empty. He knew it was his brothers who did that, but because of his love for his brothers, he found a way for them not to be given death punishment by their father. Don Juan secretly ran away from their kingdom. He did this for them to think he stole the bird. When Don Fernando asked his two older sons regarding the whereabouts of Don Juan, they shrugged and answered in negation. Don Fernando felt something wrong about this. He then commanded Don Pedro and Don Diego to find their brother. The traitors followed for they want the entire kingdom of Berbanya to think that they're loyal. After a long period of seeking, they finally saw Don Juan on the mountain of Armenya. They had gatherings on Sundays. One day, they saw a well. Don Juan had a dream about a land located under the well. They went down one at a time and Don Pedro and Don Diego came out after a few minutes in the deep well. Only Don Juan was brave enough to go all the way down. When he reached the bottom, there was actually not really a bottom and he descended to a beautiful golden palace. There, he met princesses. Each of them was guarded by a serpiyente (serpent) and a giant. They decided to live together so they went up back to Armenya. One of the princesses, Donya Leonora, forgot her diamond ring and asked if one of them would get it. Don Juan went to get it but Don Pedro had a treacherous plan again. They threw the merciful young prince into a deep well. Princess Leonora asked her wolf to look after Don Juan but she was forced to leave. When Don Juan was healed by the wolf because of magic water, he hugged the wolf and left afterwards thanking him. On his way back he rested and his sleep was disturbed when the Ibong Adarna saw him and sang him a song saying he should forget Leonora and find the De los Cristal Kingdom instead. There he would find 3 princesses much prettier; and the youngest and most beautiful of them is Maria Blanca. Don Juan was able to reach the De Los Cristal Kingdom because of the help of an eagle who flew him directly to the bathing area of Maria Blanca. Don Juan stole her clothes while she bathe but returned it after some time. They fell in love and decided to get married by King Salermo, the father of Maria Blanca, gave Don Juan several tests. One by one, Don Juan overcame the tests with the help of Maria. In the end, they got married, King Salermo was dead and Don Juan became the ruler of the De Los Cristal kingdom.
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