and Reina Mercedes on the Cagayan River for Christianed groups; and western
Isabela, along the edges of Kalinga and Bontoc, in the towns of Antatet,
Dalig, and the barrios of Gamu and Tumauini for the non-Christianed gcommunities.
The 1960 census reports that there were 25,000 Gaddang, and that 10% or
about 2,500 of these were non-Christian. In 1979, the total population
of the Gaddang increased to 43,150 (Philippine Almanac 1986:159).
In ancient times, the Gaddang
may have come from north, entering the Cagayan River at its mouth. Details
from the epic of Biwag and Malana suggest that the Gaddang may have been
the first to occupy the Cagayan Valley after the Aeta. Moving upriver,
the Gaddang encountered the Ilongot, from whom they may have learned how
to build tree houses as security against headhunters. These early Gaddang
were Proto-Philippineasians who already have a knowledge of kaingin (swidden)
system of agriculture. They learned the techniques of terracing mountainsides
and plowless irrigated agriculture from the Ifugao.
The Spaniards first identified
the Gaddang in the early 1600s. Generally occupying the same area where
they are found today though living in dispersed settlements, they were
later persuaded to live in compact communities through the Spanish policy
of reduccion (resettlement). Many Gaddang found settlement advantageous
in view of the head-taking customs of their Illongot neighbors to the east.
Over the centuries, the Gaddang were Christianized in fits and starts,
first by Dominicans, later by Augustinians. The Spaniards relied on a gradual
process of subjugation which was used against riverine, plain, and coastal
tribes. It has been noted that the Spaniards would have done batter to
capitalize on other less confrontational forms to define their relationship
with the Gaddang. Mechanisms such as kolak (trade partnership) and the
pudon (peace compact), which fostered trade and peaceful coexistence, could
have greatly facilitated the pacification and conversion of the Gaddang.
That the Spaniards prohibited the Christianized Gaddang from maintaining
relations, commercial or otherwise, with their non-Christian brethren,
only sustained the hostility of the uncoverted Gaddang.
Eventually, a basic dichotomy
developed between Christian and non-Christian Gaddang. The Christian Gaddang
even disparaged their unconverted brethren, considering "Kalinga." The
behavior of the non-Christian Gaddang did not help the cause of good neighborliness.
Periodically they would launch headhunting forays into Christian territory,
which in many instances degenerated into pitched battles. The most serious
exploit of the non-Christian or upland Gaddang occurred in the 1640s when
they managed to drive off Spanish influence in a considerable area of Christianized
Gaddang territory. It took one year for the Spaniards to reestablish control.
The end result of the dichotomy was that Christian Gaddang were fully assimilated
into the general Christian culture while the upland Gaddang were able to
keep their pre-Spanish traditions relatively intact to the present.
Unlike the Spaniards,
the Americans were more effective in bringing the upland Gaddang within
the pale of their authority. In an effort to justify the "Christianizing"
and "civilizing" component of Manifest Destiny, the Americans systematically
studied the upland tribes of the Philippines, including the Gaddang. The
result was that the Americans were better able to adapt their policies
to the norms of tribal societies, while gaining the tribes' elusive recognition
of American sovereignty. The Americans employed upland tribes to the extent
of even arming them as agents of authority, enrolling them in the Philippine
Constabulary and the police. Mission schools established in the upland
areas introduced American values to the upland communities. Headhunting
declined in the American period. One of the Gaddang mingal (title conferred
on those renowned for their headhunting prowess) Wallace (1970) interviewed
had only two heads to his name, the last head taken twenty years previously.
He had less time for headhunting expeditions as he was imprisoned by the
Americans for over eight years after his first foray. He would not have
been able to take his second head had WWII not intervened and brought about
the breakdown of civil order.
In the postwar years,
the upland Gaddang could no longer avoid gradual assimilation into mainstream
economic and political life. Population and land pressures prompted them
to trade more and more with lowland groups such as the Ilocano, the Cagayano,
and their fellow Gaddang to relieve chronic food shortages brought
about by inadequate farming methods and rising population.
Increasing relations with
lowland and kindred groups as well as receding tensions have secured the
place Gaddang settlements within the national political framework. Today
there is little to distinguish the Christianized Gaddang from other Christianized
tribes. Upland Gaddang now belong to barangay and municipalities and are
corollarily serviced by municipal, provincial, regional, and national government
agencies. Cencus figures have shown that there already is a significant
urbanized segment among the Gaddang, approximately some 33% of their total
Beliefs and Practices
Forn non-Christian upland
Gaddang, Nanolay is both creator of all things and a culture hero. In the
latter role, he is a beneficent deity. Other gods in the Gaddang pantheon
include Dasal, to whom the epic warriors Biwag and Malana prayed for strength
and courage before going off to their final battle. The fathers of the
two heroes were Bunag, the god of the earth, and Limat, the god of the
Ilosa, the Gaddang universe,
is composed of dufafa (earth) and kalekay (afterworld). In Gaddang cosmogony,
the term denotes a place where all living things originated, the place
where Nanolay performed his acts of creation. Dufafa is a world where famine,
sickness, death, and uncertainty reign, while the concept of kalekay remains
vague to many Gaddang. Even knowledgeable Gaddang mediums say that kalekay
is simply the place of Nanolay, Ofag, and kararawa (soul). Nanolay is described
in myth as a fully benevolent deity, never inflicting pain or punishment
on the Gaddang. He is responsible for the origin anddevelopment of the
world. Ofag is Nanolay's cousin, but does not have latter's creative powers.
Kararawa are the souls of dead creatures, human or nonhuman. Upon death,
the souls of all creatures go up to the kalekay, except cats, which are
reborn ants, and chickens, which are reincarnated into butterflies. In
kalekay, the kararawa go about living as they lived on earth. The absence
of a "desirable destination" afterdeath for the Gaddang suggests an orientation
toward the world of here and now.
To the Gaddang, the dufafa
is composed of "man, domesticated plants, ghouls, sickness and-amin (all)."
Wallace (1970:87) observes that the Gaddang have a paranoidal fear of danger
brought about by a history of headhunting and a present ridden with disease
The Gaddang believe in
two kinds of illness: the sickness caused by evil spirits, and the hurt
or injury suffered in accidents such as those caused by falling, muscle
sprains, and insect bites. The Gaddang also specifically identify blindness,
insanity, birth defects, skin diseases, goiter, deafness, and malaria as
other illness outside the first two classifications. Most "hurts" are attributed
to natural causes, i.e., it is "natural" for an insect to bite or for a
person to accidentally cut his/her leg with knife.
However, illness could
also be caused by evil spirits, like the bingil, physically distorted humanlike
ghouls with very large eyes that reflect light and glow in the dark, contact
with which causes illness and even death in two days; aran, a mistlike
spirit, floating in the forest, which sneaks into the village at night
and possesses a sleeping person, who will then begin to act insanely and
die sooner or later; angakokang, known only by its distinctive sound like
that of a whining dog, which when heard by a person will result in sickness
or death; aled, transsubstantial spirits normally invisible, but which
have the power to metamorphose themselves into human, animal (pig, bird)
and non human shapes (rocks, trees), and whose touch causes dizziness and
general weakness, and death within a few days; and karangat, ghouls who
like the aled, can change shape at will, are unusually aggressive and tricky,
lurk about villages bringing sickness, insanity, and death, and must occasionally
kill to secure their food, consisting of human corpses.
With evil spirits roaming
around, the Gaddang become cautious about the world in which they live.
The earth world is an uncertain world. Omens, taboos, and malevolent
spirits lead the Gaddang to view the earth world as particularly hostile.
The Gaddang must then seek to establish a harmonious relationship between
humans and the other natural and supernatural beings in the world.
But few Gaddang have the ability to successfully interact with supernatural
forces, requiring mediums to broker between the natural and supernatural.
Male and female mediums-mengal, mabayan, and makamong-perform anitu rites
and other rituals related to planting, harvesting, death, warfare, sickness,
Anitu to the Gaddang does
not refer to an ancestral spirit, as it commonly does in northern Luzon,
but a "belief in a supernatural power." It is also understood by
the Gaddang, according to Wallace, as that which is followed by all.
Wallace suggests that anitu has two basic usages in Gaddang. First,
it is a power, force, or concept through which Nanolay," but rather, "I
beg to anitu." Anitu can only be viewed as benevolent. It is
incorrect to say narakat a anitu (bad anitu). Second, anitu also
refers to seven rites of passage which all Gaddang undergo (Wallace 1970:94).
Gaddang anitu rites are
rendered to cure the sick and ensure their longevity and to avoid misfortune
or illness due to breach of a taboo. Presided by the medium and usually
involving the sacrifice of a pig, these rituals could also serve to indicate
status and/ or the occasions for kindred socialization.
basically adhere to Christian norms of worship and ritual and no longer
practise the rites of anitu. Pre-Christian undercurrents, however,
continue to run in Christian devotions. The belief in God, for example,
closely parallels the concept of Nanolay as the all-benevolent creator.
The intercession of gods and spirits have been replaced by the veneration
and appeal to saints. Particularly potent beings among the Gaddang
are the Blessed Virgin Mary (as illustrated by her role in subduing the
serpent of La Torre) and San Luis Beltran, patron saint of Solano, Nueva
One significant divergence
between the Christian and the non-Christian with respect the religious
beliefs is found in the concept of heaven or the afterlife. While
the non-Christian view of the afterlife is simply a place where all souls
go, the afterlife to the Christian Gaddang is the result of a person's
earthly life. Thus, rather than see death as a misfortune, the Christian
Gaddang see death as inevitable and what makes it fortunate or unfortunate
is whether or not the deceased lived a good or bad life on earth.
ARTS AND CRAFTS
attire for Gaddang women includes the tapis, a lengthly piece of cotton
cloth wound around the waistline down to he knees, and a long sleeved,
round-necked collarless and waist-length blouse. The cloth used for these
costumes are woven by the women themselves from homegrown cotton, and dyed
in bright natural colors. In olden days, Gaddang women did not have upper
garments except during feast days. The traditional costume for the Gaddang
male is the G-string. The G-string is held by a girdle, whose flap is weighted
on the hem by beaded tassles. An upper collarless, short garment may also
be worn, together with headkerchiefs. Today, most Gaddang use skirts, trousers,
and dress for everyday wear and reserve the traditional attire for ceremonies
and other formal occasions.
The Gaddang are distinguished
for having elevated beadwork to an art form. Unique among northern Luzon
communities, the Gaddang are lavish with their use of beadwork. Gaddang
women are fond of wearing seed beads around their heads, necklaces, and
wrists, but glass beads and precious stones are especially priced. Their
arms are never without ginadding or ginalmaddan, bracelets made of beads
and copper respectively. Their headbands are called atifulan and their
combs lagod, which are also lavishly tasseled and beaded. Exquisite beadwork
are also trademarks of the Gaddang textiles. Most ceremonial garments have
beaded seams and the front flaps of male G-strings as well as male kerchiefs
and shirts may display intricate beadwork.
Tattooing is common to
both men and women, with designs imprinted on their arms, legs, and fingers.
The men have theirs on the breast. Being tattooed assures them passage
The literary material collected
by Lumicao-Lora (1984) from Christian Gaddang enclaves such as Solano,
Bagabag, and Bayombong and the non-Christian communities of western Isabela
includes riddles, proverbs, poems, legends, and the epic of Biwag and Malana.
Lallagunut (riddles) appear
to be a major pastime among Gaddang children and adults, who trade riddles
formally or informally, at home, in school, on the street, on the form,
in the market. Riddles which reflect the flora and fauna of the Gaddang
areas serve to sharpen a child's sensitivity to his/her environment. These
samples show the consistent use of an image parallel to the object being
referred to (Lumicao-Lora 1984:72-78):
Ana tata bafay, iwarac
na ino anacna. (Kalabasa)
A woman scatters her children.
Appat a mauauahi sinumallung
Naddadaruna color na sinnun
Allawan da, tata lamang
a libaga. (Mamman)
Four sisters went to church
Wearing clothes of varied
When they came home, they
all wore red. (Betel chew)
Ana tata tolay,
Accananna bagguina. (Candela)
There's a person eating
His own body. (Candle)
The lalenut (proverbs)
teach values that the Gaddang should develop in life, so that they may
achieve peace and prosperity both for themselves and the community. For
the individual, stress is often laid on a person's substance which leads
to humility (Lumicao-Lora 1984:58-65):
Ino pakay a naddawa naddumug.
The rice stalk full of
grain is bent.
The Gaddang also put emhasis
on industry and hardwork:
Mapia quepay a mattangit
ca sito aggaw abao
Eh maccataua ca si uddi
Mah so maccataua ca toya
It is better to cry now
Than to laugh now and
mourn the day after.
With respect to family
realations, the Gaddang remain conservative, prizing parents above all
Metappol nu you atawan
Baccan si guinatan
You can throw your wife
or husband out,
But never your own parents.
Lallao (poetry), which
are often transformed into songs, often start out as compositions for special
occasions. Most poems have as themes love, goodwill, service, and obedience.
As in the songs mentioned above, one recurrent metaphor is that of flowers
to symbolize love. The poem "Berso NaAna-anap" (Verse of Frustrated Love)
is typical (lumicao-Lora 1984:82-83):
Tata a lappao yo pangirang-ngirang
So bahu a sinag, banna-banny
Metalugaring nu mepadandan
Yo neduma a aggam, neduna
Daddaramat anna fuab
Yo mamanoc era naccayaccac
Na cancion mapparaparappag
Y canta-cantanda a iyayag
yo anggam cu
Yo anggam cu a madammat
Cuppat a bucal
Cuppat a inanaman
Cuppat a bucal yo innac
Yo mangiada si allac nga
ira yo pattolayan
Udde menangque nabbunga.
I compare thee to a flower,
A ray of light that gives
More so if you give me
Love comes in many forms
from the young'
Which I am expecting every
morning and afternoon
In my native town.
Songs that convey what
I feel -
A love that caused such
a burden and pain;
The four seeds I have
Which are my only hope.
Dried seed that I may
That perchance your charm
may let grow.
It grew, it climbed, it
branched, it bloomed
But never did it bear
Most of the legends culled
by Lumicao-Lora from Gaddang elders appear to have gained currency during
the Spanish period, like the legend of Battalan, an old diviner from Bayombong,
and the legend of the huge snake, which alludes to the Immaculate Concepcion
which has sole power over this snake. However, there are legends that may
date back to pre-Spanish times like the tale about the origin of the Magat
Magat was a handsome and
strong-willed youth who saved a lovely maiden bathing in a stream from
the clutches of a python. He proposed marriage to the woman, who
consented on condition that Magat would swear not to see her at noon.
One day, Magat could no longer contain his curiosity and broke into his
wife's seclusion. In place of his wife, he saw a crocodile, who turned
into his wife. "You broke your promise," lamented the woman. "
I can no longer be happy. Thus, I must now die." Having said
this, she slowly turned once more into a crocodile and died. After
burying his crocodile-wife in his frontyard, Magat drowned himself in the
same stream where he first espied her. Over time, the stream grew
into the mighty Magat River. It widens and grows, it is said, because
Magat wants to claims the remains of the wife he buried in the heart of
A hero in the mold of
Biwag and Malana is Bayun, who chases the marauding Ifugao back to the
mountains and rids the people of Isabela of a malefactor. In another
tale, Mambag, a giant, is the antagonist who is defeated by a superb display
of community cooperation, which forces him to retreat to his cave where
he eventually meets his end. Another tale about the Magat River tells
of a kingdom of mermaids.
The epic of Biwag and
Malana presents two of the Gaddang's greatest culture heroes, who after
crossing the seas from Sumarta (probably Sumatra) with their mothers, landed
in Faru (Aparri, Cagayan). In this tale, Biwag and Malana are sons
of the earth god Bunag and the sea god Limat by Beling and Casta, daughters
of the Queen of Sumatra. The queen discovers the alliance and banishes
her daughters and their sons. In Faru they are welcomed by the Gaddang,
who adopt Biwag and Malana as their own and assure the mothers of the new
home. The two demigods grow up into courageous young men, who subdue
a crocodile before it is able to devour a woman. One day they watch
the chieftain's daughter Reling, bathing in the stream. Malana threatens
the maiden's virtue. To defend her from Malana, Biwag fights his
cousin. They hurl trees and rocks at each other. Later, they
prove themselves as assets to the tribe when they trounce the traditional
Gaddang enemy, the Ilongot, with their bare hands. They also kill
a bothersome giant. The time comes when their fathers warn them that
they must prepare for a battle that would be bigger than anything they
had previously fought. After concealing the women and children, the
cousins lead the Gaddang to victorious combat against thousands of enemies.
The epic provides many
clues to the Gaddang psyche. Gaddang hospitality is well portrayed
by the people's acceptance of the disgraced princesses and their sons.
Other virtues conveyed by the epic are reverence for elders and leaders,
a deep sense of justice, a respect for and adherence to law, a well-developed
sense of goodwill and brotherhood, a sense of humor, responsibility, courage
and bravery, honor and integrity, atonement and retribution, utang-na-loob
or debt of gratitude, a high regard for women, and a respect
for the dignity of human beings.
musical instruments of the Gaddang include the gangsa, a series of flat
gongs like those of the Cordillera groups, which, when resting on the laps
of the instrumentalists, are beaten with the hands, or, played with sticks
while dancing. Another instrument is the bamboo guitar called dulating
or gulating. Scott (1969) credits the Gaddang for having introduce
the nose flute to the Mountain Province in the early 1900s.
The world of the Gaddang
is encapsulated in songs, most of which originated from poetry of uncertain
authorship. The melodies for these poems were composed over the years
by various musicians, notably Francisco Panganiban, Jose Daguingan, Francisco
Bulan, Orlando Maddela, Severo Labog, Tranquilino Basat, and Jack Labog.
Occupational songs cover
a range of activities, from noble toil to virtual sloth. The mark
of Gaddang machismo distinguishes "Don Don Simon" (Mr Simon), which
speaks of the challenges and rewards of hunting. "Aggani" (Harvesting)
pays similar tribute to manual work besides evoking the Filipino bayanihan
spirit. Conversely, the fisherfolk's song "Sasarabet" (Hear Ye) condems
theft while "Bambal Sosao" (Careless Washing) chastises the
inept housewife. Favorite pastimes take some time away from the daily
grind. For instance, there are songs that reflect a devotion to cockfighting.
Note one example. "Na Manucca Bordon" (My Bearded Rooster)
Ana manuccu bordon
Siniggutancu si liston
Nangaffut si tatalapit.
I have a bearded rooster;
I tied it with a ribbon;
I brought it to a derby
It won fifty centavos.
The Gaddang celebrate life
with music. Simple and enduring melodies are among their earliest
memories of childhood, since the education of the child partly begins with
nursery rimes. Ignorance is ridiculed and the value of learning emphasized
in "Ang Tan Y Bangan" (There is Bagan). The lullaby "Angngiduduc"
articulates maternal love and commitment. To inculcate identity is
the object of the songs "Matatagat A Urena" (Hardheaded), which describes
the proverbial Gaddang will power, and "Atta Cami" (We Are Aeta), which
gives due recognition to Gaddang ancestry. "Inte Pagadwe" (Counting
Song) teaches basic arithmetic and "Saquiting" (Small Children) helps the
child develop speech. For enjoyment children sing tunes like "Ite
Ite Gangarite" (One, Two, Get Set). However, for those to whom childhood
is an overprized season, songs often express self-pity as in "Una Ulila"
(An Orphan) and "Lalay Na Itatanac" (Song of an Only Child).
Love seems to descend
on the Gaddang youth more as pain than pleasure. Self-pity is a persistent
thme in the love songs. "Abumbu Ca Appatanca O Tutuc" (You Are Too Much
of My Heart) and "Me Patay Lamang Gumafu Sicuam" (To Die Just Because of
You) are among the many songs that bemoan the fate of tormented lovers.
Moreover, songs like "Bersu Na Angga-Anggam" (Verses of Love) and "Mabeling
(Enchanting) tend to be self-depreciating. The Gaddang abhor infidelity,
and "Na Siggarafung" (The Moth) uses the moth-to-the-flame analogy to warn
against the great romantic tragedy. This is only confirmed when love-inflicted
bitterness is immortalized in "Ope Manggue Nahi" (Where is it, Sister?)
and "Quelona Immanque A Quirraquiragan" (How Painful It is To Ponder),
which is quoted below (Luminao-Lora 1984:29):
Quelona a quiraquiragan
Yo radam mepintac to taggang
Se mapia quepay ino tappiay
Amma so raddam na cassittolay.
Gannot na wara gumammuang
Si parac onnu pacandama
Se datangna no aruedana
Ipamannum na se awanna
How painful it is to realize
The grief that fills my
Poison is preferable
To ill will from another.
If this is caused
By the accidents of wealth
The wheel will somehow
And fortunes will change.
Gaddang theater with Spanish
influence is represented by komedya which has been performed in Nabuan,
Santiago, Isabela since the turn of the century, where it was believed
to have been introduced by the Ibanaag. Four komedya have been performed
in Isabela since decades ago, and two of them are Prinsepe Leodevico
and Prinsepe Rodrigo. Hermitanio Botol was one in the four generations
of directors who have handled the komedya. Today, the komedya features
red breeches, shirts, bands, and capes for the Moors, and green or blue
attire for the Christians. The marches are accompanied by a band consisting
of clarinet, saxophone, drums, trombone, mandolin, and banjo. Performances
are held in front of houses or on the street during the town fiesta.
D.V. Javier, M.P. Consing, C. Hila, W.R. Torralba, R. P. Santos. With notes
from E. A. Manuel.
Casal, gabriel, Regalado
Trota Jose Jr, Eric S. Casino, George R. Ellis, and Wilhelm G. Solheim
II. The People and Art of the Philippines. Los Angeles: Museum of Cultural
Krieger, Herbert W. The
Peoples of the Philippines. Washington: Smithsonian Institution, 1942.
Lambrecht, Godfrey, "The
Gaddang of Isabela and Nueva Viscaya: Survivals of Primitive and Animistic
Religion." Philippine Studies, Vol VII, No 2 (Apr 1958).
Rites Among the Gaddang." Philippine Studies, Vol III, No 3 (Jul 1960).
of Ancient Gaddang Animistic Religion." Journal of Northern Luzon, Vol
I No 1, (Jul 1970).
Lumicao-Lora, Ma. Luisa.
Gaddang Literature. Quezon City: New Day Publishers, 1984.
Regional Map of the Philippines
II. Manila: Edmundo R. Abigan Jr, 1988.
RR's Philippine Almanac
1986. Aurora Publications, 1986.
Scott, William Henry. On
the Cordillera. Manila: MCS Enterprises, 1969.
Wallace, Ben J. Shifting
Cultivation and Plow Agriculture in Two Pagan Gaddang Settlements. National
Institute of Science and Technology, 1970.