Ibong Adarna

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Ibong Adarna, or the Romance of the Life of the three Brothers Prince, Sons of King Fernando and Queen Valeriana of the Kingdom of Berbania, is a popular Filipino korido or metrical romance set in octosyllabic quatrains. It contains 1,722 stanzas and is subdivided into five main parts: the search for the Ibong Adarna or Adarna bird, the descent into a well, the rescue of two captive princesses, the hero's betrayal at the hands his brothers and his search for a fabled kingdom, and, finally, the hero's restitution to his rightful place in the kingdom of Berbanya/Berbania.

The Ibong Adarna is an original Philippine metrical romance, although it is culled from European, Asian and even African sources. It tells the adventures and magical powers, the romance and love, the courage and piety, and the treachery and betrayal of highborn characters.


  • Haring Fernando - King of Berbanya
  • Reyna Valeriana - Queen of Berbanya
  • Don Pedro - eldest son of Haring Fernando and Reyna Valeriana
  • Don Diego - second son of Haring Fernando and Reyna Valeriana
  • Don Juan - youngest son of Haring Fernando and Reyna Valeriana
  • Ermitanyo - old hermit (there are 7 in the story)
  • Maria Blanca - Princess of Reynos de los Cristales, the wife of Don Juan
  • Donya Leonora - sister of Donya Juana, the wife of Don Pedro
  • Donya Juana - sister of Donya Leonora, the wife of Don Diego
  • Haring Salermo - father of Maria Blanca, King of Reynos de los Cristales


Once there was a peaceful kingdom named Berbanya. It was ruled by Haring Fernando and Reyna Valeriana. They had three sons: the eldest, Pedro; the second, Diego; and the youngest, Juan.

One night, while Haring Fernando was sleeping, he had a terrible nightmare and got sick. The nightmare was of Juan being thrown into a deep well by two men. The following morning, all the doctors in Berbanya were summoned. Nobody could determine the ailment until a herb man was able to diagnose it. He said that the only cure was the song of the Ibong Adarna, which could be found in the tree of Piedras Platas on Mt. Tabor.

Fernando sent the two older brothers to search for the bird - first Pedro, then Diego - but both failed and were turned to stone by the bird's droppings. Fernando didn't want to send Juan for fear that his nightmare might come true, but Juan insisted and left Berbanya to find the Ibong Adarna.

On his way he met an old man who was very hungry. Juan was kind to the old man and gave him his bread. Because of his generosity, the old man helped Juan in finding the Ibong Adarna. He found the mystical bird and managed to restore his brothers. On the way home, his brother Pedro was envious of Juan's success in obtaining the Ibong Adarna. He told Diego about his plan to do away with Juan and he agreed. They attacked Juan and dropped him down a well while they took the Ibong Adarna back to Berbanya.

With the help of Donya Maria, a princess from Reynos de los Cristales, Juan was able to escape the well. He travelled to her kingdom, where he had to undergo a series of trials in order to be allowed to marry Donya Maria. At last, he was able to marry her and together they inherited the kingdom after Maria's father died.

In the meantime, the two brothers had brought the Ibong Adarna to Berbanya, and yet it refused to sing. When Juan returned with divine aid, the bird burst into song. It slowly changed into seven different colors during the course of its song, and the King was healed. Haring Fernando wished to impose the death sentence on his two older sons for trying to hurt their brother, but instead they were banished from the kingdom. And so the King was well, and Berbanya was at peace.

External links

  • Full text of Ibong Adarna. Uploaded in Filipiniana.net Digital Library. (27 October 2008).
  • Ibong Adarna