Apo Lakay-lakay

Satellite image of Apo Lakay-Lakay and Apo Baket-Baket in Claveria, Cagayan.

What we’ll be featuring now is one of the more intriguing places I’ve come across since I started Vista Pinas. Apo Lakay-Lakay is a large rock jutting out of the sea at the western edge of the beach that defines the town of Claveria in the province of Cagayan (that’s at the northern end of Luzon). There is a smaller rock just to the south of Apo Lakay-lakay and it’s called Apo Baket-baket. In the Ilocano language, “lakay” means old man (or husband) and “baket” means old woman (or wife).

Why are these rocks intriguing? Well, they play a large part in the folklore of the town’s residents. According to local legend, a fisherman angered a sea god and was turned into stone. His wife, who went looking for him, was also turned into rock. They then became the town’s guardians. When Apo Lakay-lakay gets angry (usually when skeptics poke fun at it), the waves supposedly grow violent. Moreover, if local fishermen want to go around Apo Lakay-lakay, they must make an offering—either in the form of food floated on wood or coins tossed at the sea near these rocks—lest their boat capsizes. Old folk in Claveria are said to have lots of tales about Apo Lakay-lakay and Apo Baket-baket and they celebrate their town festival in March in honor of these two rocks.

A beautiful sunset photo of Apo Lakay-lakay and Apo Baket-baket framed by the dying sunlight on the horizon. © Kath. (CC)

But that’s not the only story about these two enchanted sea outcroppings. The couple actually have a child called Apo Ubing-ubing (“ubing” means child in Ilocano). Guess what? The child’s a stone too, and it’s located at the eastern end of Claveria Beach. According to local folklore, Apo Ubing-ubing is their abandoned child and he stands patiently waiting for his parent’s return.

If you want to learn more, you can read the legend at the official Claveria website. (Here’s a content mirror if that doesn’t work.) Unfortunately, it’s all in Ilocano, which I don’t grok. I’d appreciate it if there’s any Ilocano reader who can translate the gist of the legend for me.

One other thing I’d really like to know is: what the heck is the name of the promontory behind Apo Lakay-lakay and Apo Baket-baket? It’s a really large hill and I wonder if it has anything to do with the legend.

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Posted on
October 30, 2007
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Cagayan ValleyLandmarks / Monuments
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  1. kaser bee wrote on April 7, 2010 @ 12:16AM

    can you send me the copy of legend..
    i cant access their website..

    i might help you..

  2. Liezel wrote on August 17, 2011 @ 04:21PM

    I am from Taggat, the Barangay where Lakay-lakay is.. and I am saying that there really are a lot of stories (true and fictions)about the Lakay-lakay, Baket-baket and Ubing-ubing…

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