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Ibong Adarna
Ibong Adarna, Painting by Nat Lamina, 2022
Authorunknown (attributed)
Original titleKorido at Buhay na Pinagdaanan ng Tatlong Prinsipeng Magkakapatid na anak nang Haring Fernando at Reyna Valeriana sa Kahariang Berbania
GenreFantasy, Folk-tale

Ibong Adarna, also known as The Adarna Bird,[1] is an early 19th-century Filipino epic poem that centers around a magical bird of the same name. During the Spanish era, the longer form of the story's title was Korido at Buhay na Pinagdaanan ng Tatlong Prinsipeng Magkakapatid na anak ni Haring Fernando at ni Reyna Valeriana sa Kahariang Berbanya ("Corrido and Life Lived by the Three Princes, children of King Fernando and Queen Valeriana in the Kingdom of Berbania"). Some researchers suggest that the tale may have been influenced by similar European stories.

The narrative focuses on the lives of King Fernando, Queen Valeriana, and their three sons: Don Pedro, Diego, and Juan. Upon learning of their father's incurable illness, the three princes embark on a quest to find the legendary Adarna bird, whose healing powers can save their father. The prince who successfully brings back the bird will inherit the throne.

While the story is commonly attributed to the Tagalog poet José de la Cruz or "Huseng Sisiw," the actual authorship remains unproven. Contrary to popular belief perpetuated on online platforms such as Facebook and Wikipedia, Ibong Adarna was not brought to the Philippines by Miguel López de Legazpi, as was the case with other European stories. According to Eulogio Balan Rodriguez, Assistant Director of the National Library in 1893, the tale is of Pre-Spanish origin and represents indigenous Philippine literature. However, it does bear some influences from 19th-century European romances, which infuse it with a medieval chivalry atmosphere. It holds a comparable status, or possibly even parallels, with the world-renowned Arabian Nights' Entertainments, a book included in the reading materials of both public and private schools.[2][page needed]

Ibong Adarna is included in the curriculum for Junior High School students and Grade 7 students in the Philippines.


King Fernando and Queen Valeriana of the Kingdom of Berbania have three sons: Don Pedro, Don Diego, and Don Juan. King Fernando falls ill after a dream in which he sees Don Juan being murdered. Desperate for a cure, he sends Don Pedro to find the Ibong Adarna, a magical bird known for its healing songs. Don Pedro embarks on a journey and eventually encounters the bird, but it sings seven songs that lull him to sleep, turning him into stone.

Next, Don Diego is sent on the same mission and suffers a similar fate. Three years later, Don Juan sets out on his quest and meets an old hermit who warns him about the bird's enchantments. The hermit provides him with a knife and dayap lemons to stay awake during the bird's songs.[3] He also gives him a golden rope to capture the bird and a bucket of water to revive his petrified brothers.

Don Juan successfully captures the Ibong Adarna, restores his brothers, and heads back to the palace. However, Don Pedro and Don Diego grow envious and beat Don Juan, leaving him unconscious on the road. They deceive the king, claiming they don't know what happened to Don Juan but that the bird awaits its true captor. Don Juan eventually recovers and forgives his brothers.

As a punishment, Don Pedro and Don Diego are tasked with guarding the bird for three hours each day. Don Pedro plots revenge and convinces Don Diego to trick Don Juan into thinking the bird escaped under his watch. Don Juan sets off to find the bird before the king discovers its absence. When the truth is revealed, Don Pedro and Don Diego are banished but spared due to Don Juan's forgiveness.

Don Juan continues his journey with the Ibong Adarna and his brothers, finding refuge on Mt. Armenia. They come across a well, and while exploring it, Don Juan discovers two enchanted palaces. Inside, he rescues Princess Juana and Princess Leonora from a giant and a seven-headed serpent, respectively. However, his brothers betray him by letting go of the rope while he descends, causing him to fall to the bottom of the well.

Don Pedro marries Princess Juana, and Don Diego plans to marry Princess Leonora after a seven-year delay. Don Juan survives with the help of an enchanted ring and sets out to find his way back to the Kingdom. With the guidance of an eagle, he reaches the Kingdom of Reino de Los Cristales. There, he encounters a crystal lake where three princesses bathe. Don Juan steals a dress belonging to one of the princesses and falls in love with her. They flee the pursuing king but are separated when Don Juan leaves her to make preparations for their entry into the Berbanian Kingdom.

Back in the Berbanian Kingdom, Don Juan forgets his love for the princess from Reino de Los Cristales and becomes infatuated with Princess Leonora. However, when Doña Maria, the pilgrim princess, arrives, Don Juan realizes his mistake. Doña Maria uses her talisman to create a dance depicting their past experiences, reminding Don Juan of his betrayal. Don Juan returns Princess Leonora and the kingdom to Don Pedro and reunites with Doña Maria. They return to Reino de Los Cristales, where they are crowned as king and queen, bringing joy to the mourning kingdom.

The tale ends with Don Juan and Doña Maria's coronation, symbolizing their reunion and the restoration of happiness in Reino de Los Cristales.


The Philippine trogon's vivid colors earned it the nickname "Ibong Adarna".

The Ibong Adarna is often described as the most colorful bird in Philippine folklore. It is also thought to share a resemblance to other legendary birds such as the Sarimanok and the phoenix.[4]

Being one of the most colorful birds endemic in the Philippines, local birders associate the Philippine trogon (Harpactes ardens) to the mythical bird.[5]


According to professor Damiana Eugenio, the Ibong Adarna or The Adarna Bird epic reworks and combines themes from recognizable folktales of the international Aarne-Thompson-Uther Index, namely types ATU 551, "The Sons on a Quest for a Wonderful Remedy for their Father"; ATU 301, "The Three Stolen Princesses" (hero's descent into a lower world, pit or hole to rescue kidnapped princesses), and ATU 313, "The Magical Flight" (hero meets villain's daughter and falls in love with her; her father imposes tasks on the hero; hero and villain's daughter escape together at the end of the tale).[6]

According to Dean Fansler, the romance is very popular in the archipelago, with at least five different language printings: Tagalog, Pampango, Visayan, Ilocano and Bicol. The differences between the literary versions led Fansler to believe in a folkloric origin for the tale.[7]

Cultural significance

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In other media

The story of Ibong Adarna is known all over the Philippines[8][9] and has been told in different languages and media.


Film Starring Produced by Directed by Date Released
Ibong Adarna Mila del Sol (Prinsesa Maria), Fred Cortes (Prinsipe Juan), Ester Magalona, Deanna Prieto, and Ben Rubio LVN Pictures Vicente Salumbides and Manuel Conde October 17, 1941
Ang Ibong Adarna Nida Blanca, Nestor de Villa, Carlos Salazar, Cecilia Lopez, Nita Javier, Jose Vergara Manuel Conde July 4, 1955
Ibong Adarna Dolphy (Prince Adolfo), Panchito Alba (Prince Alfonso), Babalu (Prince Albano), Rosanna Ortiz (Ibong Adarna) Roda Films Pablo Santiago November 3, 1972
Ang Hiwaga ng Ibong Adarna Dolphy (Prince Adolfo), Panchito Alba (Prince Alfonso), Babalu (Prince Albano), Rosanna Ortiz (Ibong Adarna) RTL Productions, Roda Film Productions November 3, 1972
Si Prinsipe Abante at ang Lihim ng Ibong Adarna Rene Requiestas (Prinsipe Abante), Monica Herrera (Prinsesa Luningning), Paquito Diaz (Prinsipe Atras), Joaquin Fajardo (Prinsipe Urong-Sulong), Ruben Rustia (Ang Hari) Tagalog Pictures, Regal Films Tony Cruz December 25, 1990
Ang TV Movie: The Adarna Adventure Nida Blanca (Lola Binyang), Tirso Cruz III (Prinsipe Diego), Dindo Arroyo (Prinsipe Pedro), Gio Alvarez (Prinsipe Juan), Jolina Magdangal (Prinsesa Adarna), Gamaliel Viray (Hari ng Berbanya) Star Cinema Johnny Manahan October 2, 1996
Adarna: The Mythical Bird Jolina Magdangal (voice of Adarna), Marvin Agustin (voice), Martin Nievera (voice), Regine Velasquez (voice) FLT Films International, Guiding Light Productions Geirry A. Garccia December 25, 1997
Ibong Adarna: The Pinoy Adventure Rocco Nacino (Prinsipe Sigasig), Karen Gallman (Adarna) Gurion Entertainment Jun Urbano October 1, 2014


Narcisa “Doña Sisang” de Leon of LVN Studios produced the first two Ibong Adarna films. The first one, made in 1941, starred Mila del Sol as Prinsesa Maria, Fred Cortes as Prinsipe Juan, Ester Magalona, Vicente Oliver, Deanna Prieto, Ben Rubio and Angeles Gayoso who voiced the Ibong Adarna. It had a magical sequence that showed the singing of the bird. That used a painstakingly hand-painted process called "Varicolor", where the bird was colorized in this otherwise black and white film.[10][11] LVN was able to archive copies of the film which was shown again in theaters after the war in the late 40s and 50s.


Fifteen years later, in 1956, LVN produced a second version, this time under the full direction of an older Manuel Conde, and starred Nida Blanca, Nestor de Villa, Carlos Salazar, Cecilia Lopez, Nita Javier and Jose Vergara. The 1956 film was the first Filipino commercial film shot and shown in its entirety in Eastman Color.


Roda Film Productions produced two films, Ibong Adarna (1972) and its sequel Ang Hiwaga ng Ibong Adarna (1973) starring Dolphy as the lead Prince Adolfo and comedians Panchito Alba as Prince Alfonso, Babalu as Prince Albano and Rosanna Ortiz as the Ibong Adarna.


Tagalog Pictures, Inc. produced the film Si Prinsipe Abante at ang Lihim ng Ibong Adarna in 1990 starring comedian Rene Requiestas as the lead Prinsipe Abante (English: forward), Paquito Diaz as Prinsipe Atras (English: retreat), Joaquin Fajardo as Prinsipe Urong-Sulong (synonymous to atras-abante; English: back and forth) and Monica Herrera as Prinsesa Luningning/the Ibong Adarna.

In 1996, Star Cinema produced the film Ang TV Movie: The Adarna Adventure. Jolina Magdangal played the Ibong Adarna/Prinsesa Adarna. The cast included Nida Blanca as Lola Binyang, Tirso Cruz III as Prinsipe Diego, Dindo Arroyo as Prinsipe Pedro, Gio Alvarez as Prinsipe Juan and Gamaliel Viray as Hari ng Berbanya along with the kids and teens of Ang TV.

Adarna: The Mythical Bird which premiered on December 25, 1997, is the first Filipino full-length theatrical animated film. It stars Jolina Magdangal — who previously played the Ibong Adarna — as the voice of Princess Carmona along with other voice casts: Marvin Agustin, Martin Nievera and Regine Velasquez. Nievera and Velasquez sung the soundtrack "Touched by Your Love" and "Nagmamahal", "Believe It" was performed by Velasquez and "Halakhak" by The Youth.[12]


A young man sets out on a dangerous quest for a magical bird with the power to heal any ailment in "Ibong Adarna: The Pinoy Adventure". The 2014 film starred Rocco Nacino as Prinsipe Sigasig, Joel Torre as Sultan Mabait, Angel Aquino as Sultana Mabunyi, Leo Martinez as Datu Maimbot, Benjie Paras as Sipsipayo, Ronnie Lazaro as Dulangkaw, Patricia Fernandez as Diwata, Lilia Cuntapay as Bruha, Gary Lising as Nuno ng Lipi, Miss Intercontinental 2018 Karen Gallman as Adarna and Philip "Kohol" Supnet as Higante.[13]


MALA (Movies Adapted from Literary Arts): Ibong Adarna

“MALA” (Movies Adapted from Literary Arts), an educational puppetry film series for children directed by actor Xian Lim and written by renowned ventriloquist Ronaldo "Ony" Carcamo, is part of the Cultural Center of the Philippines' "Sining Sigla", a season-long virtual outreach program of the CCP Office of the President Arsenio “Nick” Lizaso.[14] Lim and Carcamo used muppets, visual effects and live action with music and poetry in the dialogue on their adaptation. MALA's production designers are shadowplay and puppet designer Aina Ramolete and production designer and art director Kaye Banaag. Joined by music composer Jem Florendo and sound designer Miguel Hernandez.[15][16][17][18][19]

New 4K Digital Scan of Ibong Adarna (1941)

In time for the 100th year of Philippine cinema, Cinema One brought the film that was scanned in a high definition 4K resolution back via cable TV on June 30, 2019.

[20][21] Ibong Adarna was the opening full-length film of the 12th Cinema Rehiyon held on February 24–28, 2020, at Naga City, Camarines Sur.


In 2013, GMA Network produced Adarna, a contemporary television series adaptation starring Kylie Padilla in the title role.[22]

In the 50th episode of season 1 of GMA's drama fantasy anthology series Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko which aired on April 22, 2018, lola Goreng (Gloria Romero) narrated the story of the Ibong Adarna. The episode starred Kyline Alcantara as Ibong Adarna, Jeric Gonzales as Juan, Lucho Ayala as Pedro, Aaron Yanga as Diego and Rey 'PJ' Abellana as Fernando.[23]




Ballet Manila soloist Abigail Oliveiro took on the role of Ibong Adarna with Mark Sumaylo as Don Pedro, Romeo Peralta as Don Diego and Ballet Manila's Principal dancer Rudy de Dios as Don Juan.[25]

It featured music by Diwa de Leon, with Gia Macuja Atchison as the voice of Ibong Adarna, and script by Angela Blardony Ureta.[26]

Ballet Manila's CEO and Artistic Director Lisa Macuja-Elizalde described the show as "a modern ballet with neo-classical and classical styles that serve as the cornerstone of the dance vocabulary." It even featured the Alitaptap (lit.'firefly') Dance and the Monkey Dance. It made its world premiere on August 26, 2017, at the Aliw Theater stage.[27]



REP staged an English version of the epic which featured fun, child-friendly music, and bright and colorful costumes.[29]

Art and literature


[33] Project Gutenberg also has a version of the epic in its library.[34]


Title Retelling by Illustrations by Year ISBN Pages
Ibong Adarna[35] Virgilio S. Almario Jordan Santos 1980 971-508-125-8 32
Ibong Adarna (Board Book)[36] Jason Sto. Domingo[37] 2015 978-971-508-565-6 18
Ibong Adarna (Complete Text)[38] Virgilio S. Almario 2016 978-971-508-606-6 268
Magkulay Tayo ng Kuwento 9: Ibong Adarna[39] Virgilio S. Almario Jordan Santos 2020 978-971-508-843-5 20

National costume in beauty pageants

Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray’s preliminary gown by Mak Tumang[40] at the Miss Universe preliminary competition was called “Adarna: Blazing Siren.” Her gown which was inspired by the Ibong Adarna[41] and the Phoenix Mikimoto Crown[42] was adorned with layers of embroidered gold feathers and thousands of hand-placed genuine Swarovski crystals in different shades of orange and topaz; she paired it with a nationalistic pair of dangling earrings she designed herself, Tessera Jewelry executed her vision with the Philippine sun and golden South sea pearls.[43]

See also


  1. ^ "Tagalog Folk-Tales". In: American Folklore Society. Journal of American Folklore. Volume XX. Washington [etc.]: American Folklore Society. 1907. pp. 107-108.
  2. ^ The Adarna bird : A Filipino tale of Pre-Spanish origin incorporated in the development of Philippine literature, the rapid growth of vernacular belles-letters from its earliest inception to the present day / By Eulogio B. Rodriguez. 2005.
  3. ^ Jaykez (July 24, 2010). "Jayke Story Collection: IBONG ADARNA STORY (English Version)". Jayke Story Collection. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  4. ^ Limos, Mario Alvaro (May 7, 2020). "This Colorful Bird is the Real-Life Ibong Adarna from Philippine Myth". Esquire. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  5. ^ Mallick, Rom (December 7, 2020). "Look: The real life inspiration for the legendary Ibong Adarna". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved November 20, 2021.
  6. ^ Eugenio, Damiana L. (1987). Awit and Corrido: Philippine Metrical Romances. University of the Philippines Press. pp. xxix, 166–174. ISBN 978-971-10-5024-5.
  7. ^ Fansler, Dean Spouill. Filipino Popular Tales. The American folk-lore society. 1921. p. 169.
  8. ^ Fansler, Dean Spouill. Filipino Popular Tales. The American folk-lore society. 1921. pp. 169-171.
  9. ^ Gardner, Fletcher. "Tagalog Folk-Lore I". In: Journal of American Folklore. Vol. XX. 1907. pp. 107-108.
  10. ^ Dolor, Danny (May 19, 2001). "Ibong Adarna sang before the Pearl Harbor bombing". Phil Star Global. Retrieved March 9, 2021.
  11. ^ Valiente, Tito Genova (February 28, 2020). "Breaking the spell: The Ibong Adarna". Business Mirror. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  12. ^ "Adarna: The Mythical Bird (1997 animated film)". IMDB. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  13. ^ "Ibong Adarna: The Pinoy Adventure". IMDB. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  14. ^ "Xian Lim proud to be part of CCP's 'Sining Sigla' project as director". ABS-CBN News. September 17, 2020. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  15. ^ CCP (October 31, 2020). "'Ibong Adarna' to open Sining Sigla's new puppet series for kids". Philippine Information Agency. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  16. ^ "'Ibong Adarna', 'Florante at Laura' Puppetry Films to Stream Online". Theater Fans Manila. September 16, 2020. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  17. ^ Bernardino, Stephanie (January 5, 2021). "Xian Lim's 'Ibong Adarna' screened as tribute to late National Artist Amelia Lapeña-Bonifacio". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  18. ^ "CCP to screen Xian Lim-directed film as tribute to late National Artist". ABS-CBN News. January 4, 2021. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  19. ^ "MALA (Movies Adapted from Literary Arts): IBONG ADARNA". Cultural Center of the Philippines. October 31, 2020. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  20. ^ "Remastered edition ng "Ibong Adarna," mapapanood nang libre online sa November 1". ABS-CBN. October 30, 2020. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  21. ^ Magcamit, Yann (October 26, 2020). "Remember 'Ibong Adarna'? Versions of this epic are streaming online this weekend". Nolisoli. Inquirer. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  22. ^ "Adarna (TV series)". IMDB. Retrieved March 10, 2021.
  23. ^ "Daig Kayo ng Lola Ko: Ibong Adarna". IMDB. Retrieved March 6, 2021.
  24. ^ "'Ibong Adarna' enchants audiences anew". The Manila Times. October 5, 2016. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  25. ^ Cancino, Rafael (July 27, 2017). "WATCH: Ballet Manila To Premiere Two All-Original Ballets With 22nd Performance Season". Theater Fans of Manila. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  26. ^ Marquez-Jacinto, Erica (August 29, 2017). "REVIEW: Ballet Manila Takes Flight with Ibong Adarna". Theater Fans Manila. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  27. ^ "'Ibong Adarna' World Premiere Launches Ballet Manila's 22nd Season". Theater Fans Manila. August 19, 2017. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  28. ^ "'The Quest for the Adarna' Musical to Stream". Theater Fans Manila. February 26, 2021. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  29. ^ Miranda, Pauline (August 29, 2019). "Filipino epic "Ibong Adarna" gets a new English staging by Repertory Philippines". Nolisoli. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  30. ^ Neni Sta. Romana-Cruz (February 16, 2004). "Door to the World of Reading Must Be Unlocked for All Children". Archived from the original on May 4, 2014. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
  31. ^ The Adarna House (February 13, 2008). "Ang Alamat ng Aklat Adarna | The Adarna House Blog". Retrieved May 4, 2014.
  32. ^ "Businesses Aimed at Kids". Archived from the original on May 23, 2010. Retrieved January 11, 2013.
  33. ^ "'Ibong Adarna' flies high, hits the iPad | ABS-CBN News". Archived from the original on February 15, 2013. Retrieved January 11, 2013.
  34. ^ Ibong Adarna by Anonymous. Project Gutenberg. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
  35. ^ "Ibong Adarna". Adarna. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  36. ^ "Ibong Adarna (Board Book)". Adarna. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  37. ^ "Jason Sto. Domingo 1989-2016". Adarna House. February 9, 2016. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  38. ^ "Ibong Adarna (Complete Text)". Adarna. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  39. ^ "Magkulay Tayo ng Kuwento 9: Ibong Adarna". Adarna. Retrieved March 5, 2021.
  40. ^ "Mak Tumang YAS". YouTube. August 12, 2020. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  41. ^ "Mak Tumang shares the origin of the gowns worn by Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray Magandang Buhay". YouTube. June 20, 2019. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  42. ^ "WATCH: The story behind Catriona's 'Adarna' gown, original sunray earrings in Miss Universe prelims". ABS-CBN News. December 14, 2018. Retrieved March 11, 2021.
  43. ^ "UKG: Catriona Gray, standout sa Miss Universe 2018 preliminary competition". YouTube. December 14, 2018. Archived from the original on December 21, 2021. Retrieved March 11, 2021.