Rajah Indara Patra and the Dragons - A Mindanao Legend

Wednesday July 15, 2015 ()

Rajah Indara Patra and the Dragons

A very, very long time ago, when the island of Mindanao was but newly sprung from the sea, a pair of gigantic dragons lived there - Omaka-an and his mate Maka-ogis. For a time they roamed over the entire island, but finally they settled in the region about Lake Lanao.

Omaka-an established one lair in the Gurayen mountain range in the northwest, and another in the Makaturing range in the southeast. They had another haunt on Mount Matutum in Cotabato. So big were these monsters that when they slept they used the summits of the mountain ridges for beds. When they wanted to fish in Illana Bay to the south, they had only to stretch out their monstrous limbs and scoop up water and fish with their great claws.

These dragons had a taste for human flesh and devoured those people who were daring enough to attempt to settle in Lanao. A very few did settle in the country, but had to hide in caves and trees, and Allah took pity on them and changed them into sprites. Reports of the cannibalistic monsters spread far and wide and reached even Mecca.

It happened that there lived in Mecca at that time two zealous servants of Allah named Rajah Indara Patra and Rajah Solaiman, the sons of the powerful Sultan Nabi. When they heard of the monsters plaguing Lanao, they decided to put an end to that terror and to bring the knowledge of Allah, the one true God, and of Mohammed, His Prophet, to that far land. They conferred with their father, and it was decided that Rajah Solaiman, the younger, should undertake the journey to Lanao first, and that if misfortune befell him, Rajah Indara Patra would follow.

Rajah Indara Patra and the Dragons - A Mindanao Legend

Forthwith Rajah Solaiman prepared for the journey. On the day he was to depart, he planted a certain tree known as the kilala and spoke to his brother thus: "If this tree of life withers, then go in search of my remains." Then the young Solaiman set sail alone. It was years before he reached Mindanao. He found Omaka-an on Mount Matutum, and challenged the dragon. "I am sent by my father Sultan Nabi and my brother Rajah Indara Patra", he said, "to kill you because you devour all the people who come here. Prepare yourself, for you shall pay at last for the evil you have done."

The crafty dragon replied: "Well, I am ready to die, but I advise you to cut me clear through, for if you do not, I will not die."

Rajah Solaiman with one great blow cut the dragon into two, but the two pieces became two dragons and Rajah Solaiman had to fight them both. He fought long and valiantly, but the more he hacked at the dragons, the more numerous his enemies became, and he was finally overwhelmed and died.

In Mecca, Rajah Indara Patra had been watching the growth of the kilala tree. For years it had thrived, then, suddenly, when it was about to bloom, it withered. Thus did Rajah Indara Patra learn of his brother's lone death.

Without as much as bidding his relatives goodbye, Rajah Indara Patra hastily set sail, eastward bound, to avenge the death of his beloved brother. He first touched the Lanao shore at the place now known as Malabang. From there he journeyed inland and when he reached Bandar Inged, near Binidayan, he sighted the gigantic Omaka-an on Mount Matutum. "There is the monster that killed my brother!" he said to himself.

When he faced the beast, he demanded: "Are you the monster who killed my brother, Rajah Solaiman?"

"Yes", replied the dragon. "I killed him in a fight."

"Then I shall kill you!"

"I am prepared to die", said the dragon calmly, "but I advise you to cut me through, or else I will not die."

Rajah Indara Patra was wiser than his ill-fated brother. In the fight that immediately began, he did not cut Omakaan through, but only slashed and slashed at him, and after a long battle, the crafty Omaka-an, bleeding from a thousand wounds, fell before the more cunning Rajah Indara Patra.

After killing Omaka-an, Rajah Indara Patra searched for Maka-ogis. He found her at Gurayen and forthwith slew her in the very same manner he had killed Omaka-an.

Then free to roam the country unmolested, he began a search for the remains of his brother, but all his efforts were in vain. He could find no trace of Rajah Solaiman's body. He could ask for no information from anyone, for there were as yet no human beings in the land other than himself.

One day he was benighted at Marantao, near Dansalan. He sought shelter under a balete tree and began to cook his food. He was so grieved at having been unable to find the body of his brother, that the tears began to trickle down his face, almost extinguishing the fire. The occupant of the tree, a good-natured sprite, took pity on him and asked: "Why do you grieve so, Allah's favored one?" Rajah Indara Patra was startled. He looked around and saw nobody. He doubted what he had heard; but the voice spoke again: "Why do you grieve, Allah's favored. one?"

His doubts vanished. It was certainly a voice, and he answered: "I am grieving, Kind One, over the death of my beloved brother, Rajah Solaiman, whose remains I can not find."

"Your brother's body was devoured by the monster, Omaka-an, whom you have slain." "But can you tell me, Kind Spirit, where his ring is?" he asked.

"I can not tell you exactly, brave one, where it is, but it was lost near Sogod, on the south bank of the Lake during the fierce encounter."

Then the voice ceased.

Rajah Indara Patra was much heartened. The next morning he thanked the Voice and set forth in quest of the ring.

Long he searched for it. He dove into the cold waters of the Lake and scooped up sand and shells, but to no avail. The ring was nowhere to be found. The heaps of sand and shell may still be seen on the Lake shore near Sogod.

Rajah Indara Patra went back to the balete tree and asked the spirit if there were any human beings living around the Lake. The spirit answered there was none, but that, nevertheless, on some mornings a beautiful maiden was to be seen bathing at the mouth of the Masiu river on the other side of the Lake. Rajah Indara Patra was in sore need of a companion, so when he heard this he determined to find the maiden.

Very early at dawn, on a Friday morning, he hid himself in a clump of grass near the river mouth, and as it became lighter he suddenly saw the form of a fairy-like creature, who except for a loosely woven tapis of reeds, seemed to be dressed only in a veil of mist. The Rajah's heart beat fast at the sight of the supple, nymph-like maiden, whose long, soft hair fell to her feet. A lovelier woman he had never seen. He crept stealthily upon her and as she was about to step into the cold water of the Lake, he seized her.

The maiden, Potri Rayna Laut, daughter of the Sultan Nabi Bacaramata of Ingod na di Katawan (the Unknown Country), became his wife. They lived happily together for many years and begot many children; these children begot children of their own, and these in turn begot children, and these were the ancestors of the people of Lanao. Early in the morning, on foggy days, a thin mist in the form of a ring is still to be seen near Sogod, and this is supposed to be the enchanted ring which Rajah Solaiman lost in that spot.


  1. Rajah Indara Patra and the Dragons, Manuel E. Buenafe, The Philippine Magazine, Volume 33, Number 9, September 1936, Manila


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