February 11, 2012

Hari Ragat: Mount Bato-Balani

Mount Bato-Balani is the sacred mountain of Zabag island, rising from the sea to a height of 2,200 feet on the island’s southern tip; it is famous for the the entire massif’s being one huge lodestone. This unusual property of the mountain was used to good effect by Lakan Pandara Malang Laksamana during the Laksamana-Baginda Wars, when, outnumbered by a pursuing force of pirates, he led them past the mountain.

The pirates were astounded when their spears and arrows curved toward the mountain, followed by their swords and daggers leaping out of their sheaths and flying into the water; Lakan Pandara then turned around and assailed them with wooden javelins, and so routed them. It is also said that during the Red Sail War, a squadron of Red Sail pirate junks came to grief at the same spot, when the iron nails of their ships were torn right out of their planks, causing them to sink, along with all the men and treasure on board.

The lakans of Kota Bahari sacrifice a specially made kris to the diwata of Mount Bato-Balani once every year, as well as making more frequent offerings of wine and food. Thrice, the diwata has summoned a warrior of Kota Bahari to receive the gift of one of these kris, and each time the warrior saved the kingdom using the weapon.

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