KAYUMANGGI [MYTHS]-THE STORY OF THE UNFINISHED BRIDGE*
PHILIPPINE FOLK LITERATURE-The MYTHS
I. THE GODS: THEIR ACTIVITIES AND RELATIONSHIPS
12. THE STORY OF THE UNFINISHED BRIDGE*
At Balatoc, which is part of the municipality of Lubuagan, and the province of Kalinga-Apayao, is one of the oldest barrios. This barrio is situated at the foot of a high mountain where there is located a huge rock. The people who dwell there are the Tinguians from Abra, the Isnegs from Apayao, and some people from Dananao which is part of the district of Tinglayan. Some people in this barrio made caves at the foot of a huge stone as their houses in times past and even now.
In this barrio there was a beautiful woman. Her name was Ipogao. One day, a man whom none of the inhabitants knew, appeared. He went to Ipogao and said, "Ipogao, I am God (Kabunyan), from a distant place. I come to see you because I want to marry you." Ipogao answered, "I would like to marry you if you truly like me."
After their conversation was finished, Ipogao led God to her house which was very small. The house of Ipogao to which they went was very far from where the real barrio was situated. After many days had passed, God thought of a good thing that he would do. He went and wandered around the farms to look for some good work that he would do. When he looked down on Pasil, he decided to make a bridge across to the other side for the people to pass when they go to the opposite side to work for their supplies.
So then, God returned to their house to tell Ipogao what he wanted to do. He instructed their, "You, Ipogao, tomorrow I'll start out to go and work. Don't worry if I'll not be here or if no one will come to me. I don't need anything to eat. It will be just up to me, and I'll come here if I get hungry." When he had finished giving his instructions he started out to go to his work.
After many days had passed by, Ipogao longed for her husband. So then, she cooked rice to take to her husband. When her rice was cooked, she put it in a basket. Carrying it on her head, she started out. When she was almost at Pasil, she heard what sounded like a machine. So then, she silently drew near. When she had drawn near and spied what was making the noise, she saw God working. She carefully watched, and was frightened to see a flame of fire coming out of the navel of God. He was pointing the flame at the bridge that he was making.
Ipogao was frightened and so went silently away. As she was going away from the scene, a small piece of cooked rice fell and she made footprints at God's resting place.
When it was evening, God was tired so he went to rest at his resting place. As he was resting he saw some cooked rice and a person's footprint on the ground. He said, "There was a person who came here to my resting-place. He plainly saw me working. I want no one to see me working until I am finished with the work that I'm doing." After he'd finished what he was saying to himself, he went to their house to go and ask his wife who'd seen him. He arrived at their house and saw his wife was worrying. He conversed with her, "Ipogao who went to that place where I am working and dropped some cooked rice and whose footprint is it that is at my resting-place?"
Ipogao told the truth, "I'm the one who went. I was coming to bring your food. I was only worrying because you had not been here for many many days." God answered, telling Ipogao, "You were there and saw me working and interrupted me; you didn't listen to what I told you, so that thing I was working on will not be finished. I thought I would make a bridge for the benefit of the people here."
God then returned to the bridge. When he arrived, he cut it into four pieces. One-fourth was left connected to the big stone. The part left measured about 4-1/2 meters. The other cut parts fell into the river. When God had finished destroying the bridge, he returned to their house and instructed Ipogao, "I am repenting, Ipogao, for I thought that I would come to marry you so that I would do something for your benefit. Being therefore interrupted, I will leave you and these people here." So the next day God was no longer there.
When God had already gone away, Ipogao led the people to what he had worked. The people were surprised when they saw the part of the bridge that was left suspended and connected to the rock. While the people were carefully gazing at the bridge, they reprimanded Ipogao, "You should not have come and interrupted him until it was finished. Why ever did you come when he had instructed you?"
When Ipogao answered, she said, "It's just that in my mind I thought he was a person like us." After the people had seen that bridge they believed that God was that one who had come. There is a part of the bridge left there even now.
*Studies in Philippine Linguistics,vol.2, no. 2(1978), edited by C.E. Luzares and Austin Hale. Narrated by Elizabeth 0. Liban to Bruce Grayden in May, 1976, pp. 13-20. SPL gives the text also in the vernacular.