Was humming Rolando Tinio’s “Minsan Pa” when I reached the word Kundangan (If It Were Not For), and after a trip to Google, stumbled upon the e-text version of Florante at Laura, the great Tagalog epic written by Francisco Balagtas, as painstakingly typed into text form by May Lim and Arlene Lim.
1. The song/story opens with Florante (son of Duke Briseo and Princess Floresca) bound to a tree, in a forest outside the Kingdom of Albania. Surrounding Florante are two lions getting ready to pounce on him.
2. Fortunately, walking in the forest is Aladin, a young moor from Persia and son of Sultan Ali-Adab. He left his kingdom because he felt bad about his dad who stole the love of Aladin’s sweetheart, Flerida.
3. He hears Florante crying out about the injustices committed in Albania, the murder of the King and his allies, and the (supposed) betrayal of Laura (Florante’s sweetheart). Aladin finds Florante and kills the two lions before they could pounce.
4. Aladin frees Florante and watches him throughout the night. The following morning, he asks Florante why he was bound to a tree, and whatever the heck he was doing in the forest.
(Okay, time for a flashback…)
5. Florante recounts that he was sent to study in Athens when he was 11 years old. There he met his kababayan Adolfo, who is the son of Count Sileno. Adolfo was admired by his teachers and ten of his classmates, because Adolfo was kind and highly intelligent.
6. After six years, however, Florante surpassed Adolfo, and in the process exposed Adolfo’s true character. This was especially seen when, during a play, Adolfo tried to really hack Florante (instead of following the script). Fortunately, Florante was saved by Menandro, the nephew of the teacher Antenor. The following day, Adolfo was sent back to Albania.
(The play was about Eteocles and Polyneices, the sons of Oedipus and Jocasta. Check out Seven Against Thebes)
Seven Against Thebes
7. Florante stayed in Athens for one more year before receiving a letter from his father stating that Florante’s mother died. After two more months, he received another letter urging Florante to return home to Albania.
8. Upon returning home, Florante receives a plea for help from the king of Krotona, whose kingdom was being invaded by the Persian army of General Osmalik. Duke Briseo introduced Florante to King Linceo, and Florante was made commander of the defending army of Krotona.
9. In the palace, Florante meets King Linceo’s lovely daughter Laura, and decides to let her know his feelings for her before he goes to battle.
10. Florante goes to war and defeats General Osmalik in five hours. Florante stays in Krotona for five more months.
11. He misses Laura so much so he returns to Albania. Upon his arrival, he is astonished to see a Moro flag waving over his land. He is shocked to witness a woman about to be beheaded. Florante fights the Persian army (led by Aladin!), liberates Albania, and frees King Linceo, Duke Briseo and Adolfo from the dungeon.
12. Miramolin invades Albania again, but Florante is able to repulse the attack. Seventeen kings surrender to Florante.
13. I don’t know why Florante goes to Etolia (probably took a break from all those wars!), but he receives a letter one day from the King, urging him to return to Albania.
14. Florante returns to Albania, only to be captured by a 30,000-strong army of Albania (they were probably that insecure given the military record of Florante), and was promptly sent to the dungeons. Adolfo led the coup and killed King Linceo and Duke Briseo while Florante was away.
15. Florante stays in jail for 18 days, and then is ordered tied to a tree in the forest so that he will be ravaged by the wild animals. He was there for 2 days before Aladin chances upon him.
16. Enough of the flashback. Now it’s time for Aladin to tell his own story.
17. Aladin is the son of the sultan of Persia, Ali-Adab. Aladin wandered into the forest because he was depressed over the fact that his father stole Aladin’s significant other, Flerida. (Sounds like the movie Damage starring Jeremy Irons)
18. To have the young lass for himself, the sultan looked for reasons to punish Aladin. He castigated Aladin for leaving the Persian army, and blamed him for the victory Florante achieved over the Persian army at Albania (see #11 above).
19. For the “crimes” of Aladin, the sultan orders his own son beheaded. The sentence was not carried out, though, because that evening Aladin was suddenly ordered banished instead. Aladin was also warned not to ever return to Persia if he valued his life.
20. Aladin has been aimlessly wandering around for 6 years now.
21. While Florante and Aladin were exchanging stories, they overhear two women.
Woman #1: “When I heard that my jailed boyfriend was going to be beheaded, I agreed to marry his father the Sultan just to spare his life. Fortunately, my boyfriend was freed. But that same night, I disguised myself as a soldier and escaped. I’ve been wandering for so many years before finding you here in the forest.”
(You probably can guess why Florante and Aladin were so happy, right?)
22. Laura relates to Flerida what happened in Albania while Florante was away: Adolfo usurping the throne, the beheading of the King and his allies. She also said that she tried to send a letter to Florante to let him know about the events in Albania.
(Note: The letter Florante received was from the “King” and it urged him to return to Albania. This was Adolfo’s way of capturing Florante. Anyway, let’s continue with Laura’s story…)
23. Adolfo professes his love to Laura. Laura asks for 5 months to think it over. Since Adolfo could not win the heart of Laura, he decides to rape Laura… in the forest. Just two days after ordering Florante tied to a tree. Just 20 days after capturing Florante. Nope, he won’t give Laura 5 months. Not even one month.
24. Conveniently, Flerida was in the forest. She sees Adolfo about to do his evil deed and shoots him with arrows until he dies.
25. Anyway, the four lovers all meet and try to catch up on old times. They were still, uhm, chatting when they are found by Menandro and his army who was out searching for Adolfo.
26. The army rejoices when they find out that Florante and Laura are still alive. Yes, they were really just chatting in the forest.
27. Not long after, Florante and Laura marry and rule Albania as King and Queen. Aladin and Flerida get baptized (huh? possible hole in the plot), marry, and then return to Persia to rule their land. The end. Florante at Laura. Bow.
DISCLAIMER: Accuracy of the above study notes is NOT guaranteed. Study at your own risk.
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Sometimes, the connections on the web can be quite serendipitous, don’t you think?
(Florante at Laura, some say, is like Romeo and Juliet. Only with a happy ending. Hmmm… sounds like a Disney movie.)
Nov 12, 2002 Update: If you landed on this page because you were searching for “Florante at Laura”, please send me feedback on what kind of info about F&L you are particularly interested in. Is it the summary? An analysis? Please be specific so that I’ll know what to work on (assuming enough people are interested).
Lots of people have been asking for a SCRIPT of Florante at Laura. Sorry, but I don’t have any script.
[For those who emailed wondering why the summary is in English, and who also commented that it would be better if it is in Tagalog, then here's the buod ng Florante at Laura]
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