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by Christina Sianghio
         The origin of the Ifugaos is derived from the term Ipugo which means “from the hill”. According to Ifugao mythology, however, the name “Ifugao” is derived from Ipugo which refers to the rice grain given to them by their god Matungulan. Until the present day, this kind of rice grain is cultivated by the Ifugaos.

         The generic name Ygolote, Igolot, or Igorrote was used by the Spanish conquistadores and missionaries in their writing about all the various mountain people. Later in the 1900’s, the American writers popularized the name Igorot. According to the eminent Filipino scholar Trinidad H Pardo de Tavera, the word Ygolote is derived from the Tagalog term golot meaning “mountain” and the prefix “I,” meaning “people of.”

         The Ifugao inhabit the most rugged and mountainous part of the country, high in the Central Cordillera in northern Luzon, with peaks rising from 1,000-1,500 m., and drained by the waters of the Magat River, a tributary of Cagayan River. The area covers about 1942.5 sq. km. of the territory. Their neighbors to the north are the Bontoc; to the west Kankanay and Ibaloy; to the east the Gaddang; and to the south the Ikalahan and Iwak. There are 10 municipalities in the province: Banaue, Hungduan, Kiangan, Lagawe, Lamut, Mayoyao, Potia, Hingyan and Tinoc. There are 154 barangay, with Lagawe as the town center of the province.
        Geographical Location of Ifugao
    Religious Beliefs and Practices

         Ifugao religious beliefs are expressed in the numerous rites and prayers (baki) that comprise the main body of Ifugao myths. The myths and folktales tell of their gods and goddesses, related supernatural beings, their ancestors and the forces of nature. The Ifugaos, aside from being deity worshipers, are nature worshipers and ancestor worshipers.

         A horde of major and minor deities are invoked at every ritual, the major gods being appealed to first. Barton listed as many as 1,500 deities in various ranks from gods, to demons, monsters, imps and spirits dwelling in trees, stones, mountains, and rivers aside from the omnipresent ancestor spirits.

         The Ifugaos believe that the cosmos is composed of six regions, four regions being above the earth, one being the earth itself, and the sixth lying under the earth. The people do not consider any of their deities as supreme but generally refer to Mah-nongan as the honorary dead and creator of all things. He is their chief god.

         The major gods Liddum, Punholdayan, Hinumbian, Ampual, Wigan and Yogyog are invoked to intercede with Mah-nongan or any of the particular major gods who might have caused sickness or other suffering.

         These invocations, which are always accompanied by animal offering and drinking of wine, are meant to “bribe” the gods and win their favor. The people believe that since certain gods cause sickness, the malady can only be cured by having other deities intercede for the invalid, thus making it necessary to offer sacrifices to the several gods concerned. Liddum is regarded as the chief mediator between the people and the other gods.

         The exact prayers to be recited by the mombaki and the number of chickens or pigs to be sacrificed (and later eaten, of course, by those present) are clearly specified in Ifugao tradition. If the first series of rituals brings no improvement in the patient’s condition, another more elaborate series is resorted to, provided the family can afford the expense. The alim is chanted by a chief mombaki (mombagol) and eight to twelve other priests. The bagol ceremony lasts from early evening till late morning.
  RITUAL. After butchering a sacrificial pig, the Ifugao study the carcass for omens. (Cole 1929, Lopez Museum Collection).
    Should it be deemed necessary, the ali, another ritual to gain the god’s favor, is performed on an elevation overlooking rice fields or rivers. Mobaki call loudly upon all deities of rivers, mountains, forests, and all places where the sick person has set foot to return to the latter’s soul in exchange with gifts of rice, wine, meat, and any other offering.

         In Ifugao mythology, there are many principal gods in the First, Second and Third Skyworld regions. Twenty-three different deities preside over the art of weaving, such as Monlolot, the winder of thread on the spindle, and the Mamiyo, stretcher of skeins. Eleven beings are importuned to stamp out rice pests; e.g. Bumigi, in charge of worms; and Lumadab, who has the power to dry up the rice leaves.

         Ampual, of the Fourth Skyworld, is the god who bestowed animals and plants on the people and who controls the transplanting of rice. He is one of those gods who expects gifts in return for his blessings. Wigan is the god of good harvest while Puwok controls the dread typhoons. In the underworld dwell Yogyog and Alyog, who cause the earth to quake.

         Aside from the prayers which are made to the gods, myths are recited as invocations to further one’s good health, cure sickness, insure a successful marriage or headhunting raid, and eve to assist in performing sorcery.

         At times, when intoning the myths and prayers (baki), the mobaki or the priestesses seem to be possessed by the spirits that their voices change. Priestesses (mamah-o) are allowed to recite myths for curing sickness, but this is the only ritual they may perform. The religious significance of myths sets them apart from the folktales or the hudhud and uyya-uy, which can be sung or recited at any time, anywhere and by anybody, for they are meant to entertain, and not to invoke god’s favor.

         We see from the foregoing that the Ifugaos believed that their failure or success depended entirely upon the will of their gods; for these immortal, invincible, omnipresent beings, with power even to change form, controlled man’s life from birth to death. The people’s only hope was to seek these spirits’ favor through sacrificing pigs, chickens. carabaos, and wine.

         As explained earlier, the Ifugaos for centuries were pagans. They offered sacrifices to, and worshipped hundreds of major and minor gods and other spirits including those of their forefathers. At present, only the non-Christian Ifugaos still put themselves in the mercy of these deities. Most Ifugaos, especially the educated, have been freed from this bondage. They have embraced the Christian faith, with large numbers being converted during the early 1960’s as a result of the patient work begun by the Belgian CICM missionaries in 1907. Notable among these missionaries are Fathers Jerome Moerman, Gerard de Boeck, and Francis Lmabrecht. The Spanish Dominican Fathers had been much less successful in their attempts to Christianize the Ifugaos.

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Visual Arts and Crafts

         Weaving is the exclusive task of Ifugao women. Traditionally, weaving is done for the family’s needs, but it is only done for commercial purposes. Girls learn to weave by helping their mother or elder sister, and by actual practice under elder women. Weaving instruments such as the loom sticks, the spindle, the apparatus for fluffing, skeining, and winding are made by the menfolk.

         Weaving entails a long process beginning with the preparation of the raw material to be used; spinning; winding or skeining, known as iwalangan; dyeing; warping the cotton threads; and finally the actual weaving, which involves two women or girls who operate the weaving loom.

         Weavers from Kiangan, Ifugao classify their works into textiles with and without dyed designs. They weave blankets, G-strings, skirts, upper garments, belts, hip and hand bags. Each type of textile reflects particular social functions.

         Blankets have several pieces. The middle pieces are called the body of the blanket or adolna. The side pieces are called balingbing. A narrow band with fringes called talungtung borders the width of the blanket. The right side is the blanket’s back or adogna. The reverse side is referred to as the putuna or its stomach.

         There are several types of blankets: the gamong, which is for the dead and has several designs (mortar, little men, python, lizard, snake, ladder and shuttle); The hape, which is for the wealthy, usually worn by the young, and has three pieces; and the kintog, formerly used to exchange for pigs but now known as oban and used for carrying babies.

         Textiles with dyed designs of blue, red, and black threads are made into blankets, skirts and G-strings.

         The traditional Ifugao wear for men is the wanno or G-string. The part that encircles the body is worn high and tight. The ends hang loose in front and at the back. These are rarely tucked in the G-string when the men work in the fields (Vanoverbergh 1929:201). The G-string is made of dark blue cloth with a red stripe running lengthwise in the middle between two yellow lines which either touch the middle stripe or are woven apart from it.

         The Kiangan Ifugao weave six types of G-strings. The ones without designs, often described as infra, can be further classified into subtypes. A binuhlan G-string has a large red stripe called habak in its middle and literally means “the be-enemy-ed.” The use of the color red (the color of blood) refers to the sun deity, who is the god of war.

         The Ifugao G-string is long enough to be wound around the body thrice or twice, with both its ends hanging loose in front and at the back, reaching the knees. The loose end in front is called the dayude and the one at the back is called the iwitan or tail. Several decorative designs are stitched in the dayude, like the zigzag, frog, little man, shuttle, basket and knot designs.

         The tinannong is the poor man’s G-string. It is called such because it is completely white; it is usually about 2 m. long and around 15 cm. Wide. The piniwaan nilihha G-string is the richer version of the binuhlan G-string. Its dayude and iwitan have designs similar to those of the balingbing of the bayaong blanket. The piniwa G-strings are similar to those called piniwaan nilihha, except that the design in the former is made through dyeing.

         Ifugao boys begin wearing the G-string at the age of five or six. Native upper garments are not used. Blankets are seldom used and are worn short, and cover the neck and the waistline. The more common blankets called bayaong are dark blue with narrow red stripes and broad white bands covered with designs. These may represent linuhhong (mortars), tinatagu (men), inulog (snakes), bittuon (stars), bannia (iguanas), and hinolgot (spears).
IFUGAO COUPLE. The elaborate headdress and G-string of the man  and the heavy necklace of heirloom beads of the woman typify the traditional Ifugao costume of the early 20 th. century. (Field Museum of National History, Ayala Musuem Collection)
  TROPHIES. Head trophies are displayed to assert one's bravery and prowess. (National Geographic Magazine 1912, Lopez Museum Collection).
             Men wear their hair short all around the head but the middle part is allowed to grow long, thus giving impression that they wear a cap of hair. Some wear a turban (Vanoverbergh 1929:202).

         Ifugao men carry butong (hip bags), the larger kind is called the pinuhha; the smaller kind the ambayong. The pinuhha bags are made of white threads, the ambayong of double block thread. The men usually put their betel nut leaves and lime container, kottiwong (small crescent-shaped knife), wooden spoon, amulets, and other things here.

         Batok or tattooing is practiced by Ifugao men in some districts. In other districts the tradition has disappeared, but in general, men tattoo almost all the parts of their body except the back and the feet. Tattooing of the chest, shoulders, arms is common; less common are tattoos on the face, buttocks and legs. Younger men tattoo only their necks and upper chest. The more common tattoo designs used by the Ifugao men are: tinagu (man); kinahu (dog); ginawang (eagle); ginayaman (centipede); kinilat (lightning); pongo (bracelet).

         Many men also wear the hingat (earring). The simpler ones consist of a large copper ring or string of small beads; others use a large copper ring from which a ring dangles.

         Necklaces worn by Ifugao males are usually a string of 2 to 8 pieces of gold, silver, or copper in a C-shape and worn tight at the base of the neck. Pang-o of amber beads, which hang much lower than the other necklaces, are sometimes added. In some places, men wear a tight necklace or trapezoidal shells.

         Many Ifugao men also wear leglets made of Copper wire wound spirally in 20 to 40 coils, gradually increasing in width from above downward. Some wear armlets made of tusks of wild boar. A belt called ginuttu, made of round white shells kept together by a string of rattan dyed red, is worn at the waist from the right side of the upper part of the left thigh, and then allowed to hang loose at the left side.

         Ifugao women, on the other hand, wear the tapis, a wraparound skirt called the ampuyou or tolge. The ordinary tapis consists of a blue cloth with narrow white horizontal stripes and two broken line of red triangles, and is worn just above the knee (Vanoverbergh 1929:209). Ifugao girls begin to wear the tapis by the time they are five or six years old. There are five kinds of Ifugao skirts. The inggalgalletget is worn just above the knee. It is full of narrow stripes and is made of two pieces of cloth joined together. This skirt is working in the rice paddies, but is not in fashion at present.

         The intinlu is a typical Ifugao skirt made of three pieces of cloth. The pieces are joined together with a takdog and other stitches, a black thread alternating with white. The indinwa skirt is also typically Ifugao although less frequently woven. It is shorter than the intinlu but longer than the working skirt. The gamit skirt is made of two equal pieces of cloth joined together by takdang stitch. Red and white threads alternate with white and yellow (takdog stitch); its edges that fray are hemmed and have a bambulud. Gamit skirts are characterized by elaborate border designs which vary according to the type and the color of alternating threads woven into the textile.

         Ifugao upper lamma or garments are seldom woven today because upper garments can be easily bought from outsiders. The lamma used to be a working woman’s garment, protecting her back from the sun and the weeds during wedding and harvesting. The lamma is a short sleeveless jacket of plain white cloth which barely reaches the waist.

         The belts or supplementary girdles of Ifugao women are worn to keep the skirt in place. Ifugao skirts are wide, covering the thighs whether the women were walking, squatting or sitting. However, the upper portion of the skirt usually reveals the navel and the stomach, so that the belt helps keep the skirt in place while covering the stomach. Any woven band may be used as a balko as long as it is wide and long enough to be wound twice around the waist.

         Some Ifugao women allow their hair to hang loose at the back, but some fold their hair up and use a string of beads called atake or inipul; these they wind several times around the head to keep the hair in place. The atake is made of small white beads while the inipul is of large beads of light colored agate. Sometimes these beads are worn around the neck.

         The women put their belongings in the folds of their tapis in front or in a pouch made of cloth similar to that used by men, except that it has no rings and is thus carried in the hands or pace din the folds of the tapis. Women also tattoo their arms up to the shoulder blade, with designs similar to men. Earring and pendants used by men are also worn by the women. The necklaces hang lower than those of the men, sometimes reaching the navel. Copper bracelets are also used by the women.

         The Ifugao produce baskets to serve the needs of the household, and many other purposes. They have baskets for winnowing, storing, catching pests and domesticating animals, storing grains and cooked food, keeping household utensils, clothes, and personal belongings, and for rituals and religious ceremonies. Carrying baskets have been so designed as to leave a person’s hands free to carry other loads.

         Rattan is commonly used as material for household baskets. Their appearance is somewhat corrugated due to the half-round characteristic of the split-rattan. All baskets have a natural resilience due to the nature of rattan.

         Another commonly used material is the kokolongkoy vine. The natural lust and resilience of the vine produce baskets with great expansiveness, using the twilled technique called roping. Sometimes the kokolongkoy is split and used a s the butit or locust jar. The kokolongkoy and rattan materials are used for twining and decorative twill construction.

         Bamboo is also one of the favorite materials for use in Ifugao baskets. In Kiangan and Lagawe villages, the split-rattan tradition is commonly used for household baskets such as the labba or farm bowl. Ligao or winnowing tray, and plaited storage jars.

         Rice is cooked only once a day in the Ifugao household, and is then stored in baskets. The huop, a square-covered bamboo basket with a tight-fitting cover used to store cooked rice, is placed over the fire to help preserve the freshness of the rice, Meat is also stored in these baskets. In central Ifugao, the ulbong or rice storage baskets are in the coiled tradition, and the form seems to have been influenced by Oriental ceramics.

         A very popular form of Ifugao art is sculpture. Most of Ifugao sculptures are carved in the wood, although a few are in metal.

         The Ifugao mark life crises with rituals and ceremonies which invoke the gods and the deities. In these rituals, the bulul is the most common and traditional sculpture. This is used in rituals seeking a bountiful harvest, revenge or the healing of a sick person.

         The bulul is commonly known as the “Igorot rice god” (Monpaot 1991:10-11). Bulul are usually made in pairs but there seems to be no rule with regard to sex and posture. Breasts are rarely indicated, although nipples are visible to both sexes. The bulu are carved as seated or standing human beings, although in some areas figures of pigs are also carved. Bulul height usually ranges from 30 to 60 cm.

         The Chignon “dancing” bulul separately carved and pegged arms. Stylistic variations range from the cubist to the realistic (Ellis 1981: 196-197).

         Bulu wood is usually of narra, a symbol of wealth, happiness and well-being. When bathed in pig’s blood, it is believed to assume new powers and will the grant the owner wealth and prosperity. The cravings, together with the offerings of wine and ritual boxes are placed near the priests. The bulul is again bathed in the blood of a sacrificial pig. Later, it is placed next to the first bundles of rice harvest.

         Another ritual sculpture is the komis or fern tree figures which have a protective function. These usually have shields, spears, and jewelry of whitewood, and are often placed at the entrances and boundaries of villages. Fern tree figures were used in ceremonies before headhunting and in construction of arches along trails as protection from evil spirits. The pili carving represents a class of deities responsible for guarding property. They are often represented as small human figures with spirit dogs carved from a fern tree or soapstone, and are placed in small grass-rooted shrines.

         The hipag are minor war deities. They are represented as humans, cocks, boar or ducks which serve as the medium of the deities. These hipag are ritually smeared with the blood of a sacrificial animal, and are stored in baskets with other granary figures. They differ from the bulul in size, shape and detail of the side (Ellis 1981:196-197). Containers are placed alongside the figures during ceremonies. Food and ceremonial offerings to the gods are placed inside, and the animal’s blood poured over these boxes. On one or both sides of the containers, animal heads protrude. Surfaces are often decorated with repetitive concave waves. (Monpaot 1991:16-17).

         The hagabi is a huge long bench carved out of one single piece of wood, whose seat rises in the middle from either end. The ends of the hagabi usually has animal forms. The hagabi’s creation and delivery from carver to owner’s house entails many people and rituals. It is thus a sign of wealth and prestige, and is found only under the rich Ifugao’s house.

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Literary Arts

         While the Ifugaos have no knowledge in writing, they developed a literature which can compare favorably with the country’s finest in the field of epics and folk tales. The Ifugao do not have a systematic form of writing, but their oral literature - recorded traditions, beliefs and rituals - attest to the vast wealth of literary arts in the region.

        Ifugao riddles serve to entertain and at the same time educate the young. These include (Lodriguito:39-43):

                Waday ohan makaphodan babai an kanona di adolna
                A beautiful lady eats her body. (Candle)

                Patayom nih-an di inana ahim ta alan nan imbabalena
                Kill first the mother, before you get the child. (Banana)

                Dapa-om ke nan balena ya mubuttikan nan kumbale.
                Touch the house and the owner runs about. (Spider)

        When in groups, the Ifugao use proverbs to give advice to the young. Proverbs are also used to stress a point even in ordinary conversations. Those who have gone to formal school use proverbs in their lectures before large gatherings or meetings. Here are some Ifugao proverbs:

                Hay mahlu ya adi maagangan.
                The industrious will never go hungry.

                Hay "uya-uy" di puntupong
                    hi kinadangyan di ohan tago.
                The feast is the yardstick
                    of a person's wealth.

                Hay itanum mo, ya hidiyeh aniyom.
                What you have planted is what you will reap.

                Hin pinhod takun munhida itlog, munpaptok hi manok.
                If you want to eat eggs, raise chickens.

        Ifugao myths concern hero ancestors, gods and other supernatural beings who managed to solve problems similar to those faced by the modern Ifugao. When recited, usually in barked-out, terse phrases, myths are often followed by the tulud, which literally means "pushing", and which aims to bring the magical powers which stand behind the myth. At the end of the myth, the clincher kalidi is chanted, and the narrator enumerates the benefits which should be obtained from the recitation. The recitation usually ends with the phrase, "because thou art being mythed".

        There is an origin myth about the earth's first inhabitants. Kabigat went on a hunting expedition with his dogs. He saw how beautiful the trees and spring were, and he told his father, Wigan that he would like to descend to the earth and live there. Wigan allowed Kabigat to build his house on earth and later on requested his daughter Bugan to descend to earth and look after his brother's meals. Kabigat meanwhile felt alone and , upon seeing how the roosters reproduced, resolved to the same with his sister. Soon after, Bugan was pregnant and became so unhappy that she wept and resolved to kill herself. She told Kabigat that she would go hunting for isda but instead follow the river's course until she reached the sea. While waiting for someone to take her life, Kabigat came and Bugan cast herself into the sea. Instead of going down, she stopped at the rice granary of Ngilin Mangongol. Having witnessed the tragedy, he asked why Bugan was weeping and Bugan proceeded to narrate her fate. Ngilin comforted Bugan. She, however, refused to be comforted, so Ngilin brought her to Ambummabbakal. After having been informed of the circumstances, he burst into laughter. For greater assurance, they went to Muntalog, their father having heard the story, he applauded the conduct of the solitary brother and sister and told them to calm themselves. (Beyer 1913: 98-102).

        Another popular tale from the Kiangan region, "The Great Flood", continues the story of Kabigat and Bugan. Wigan of the skyworld created earth. He puts his son Kabigat and his daughter Bugan on earth so that they would be ancestors of all human beings. Kabigat and Bugan knew they were brother and sister, so they ran away to the downstream region and married there. Bugan gave birth to three deities: Ampuwal, the ancestor of all evil spirits; Ngilin, the ancestor of jealous spirits; and Ambummabakal, ancestor of all Matungalan gods. Kabigat and Bugan then returned to earth, where they had many children. Their descendants intermarried and soon the earth was populated. So Wigan of the skworld caused the great flood to drown all living beings except for Balitok and Bugan. The two, who were brother and sister, were saved by the raft they made. Ten days later, their raft landed near the top of Mount Napulawan, some 20-30 km. north of Kiangan. When the earth was dry again, they went down to Otoban Valley and settled on the hill of Kiangan, where they lived with their many children for the rest of their lives.

        The Mayaoyao region has another version which speaks of the lubu or Great Flood but explains that Wigan of the skyworld caused the lubu so that it would erode the flat surface of the earth, enabling him to hunt stag more successfully with his dogs.

        Other Ifugao legends that have been recorded include, "The Legend of the Ambuwaya Lake"; "The Origin of the Pitpit or The Bird of Omen"; "Why the Dead Come Back no More"; and "How Lagawe Got Its Name".

        Important too are the magical tales called abuwab. Among the Mayaoyao Ifugao, these tales are believed to possess mystical powers similar to requests granted through prayers. Examples are the poho-phod and chiloh tales, usually recited in death and sickness rituals among the Mayaoyao Ifugao. These tales are immediately preceded by an invocation to ancestors who were also priests and who are always called upon during rituals. The abuwab is usually about the legendary husband and wife, Bugan and Wigan, said to live in Chuligan (Dukligan) or Bayukan. Antalaw represents the father of either husband or wife for whom the rites are being held. Sometimes the tales deal with another Wigan, a brother of Bugan who represents the relative of either husband or wife.

        Ifugao epics are chanted romances recounting the origins of the people, the life and adventure of the Ifugao heroes, the valor of men and the beauty of women, as well as ancient customs and traditions. The hudhud are chanted  while working in the field or during funeral wakes. A soloist does the narration while a group of choristers support on the comment or the narrative.
The famous hudhud is one of the longest literary pieces in the country. The myths present the Ifugao’s concept of the universe and the creation of the first man and woman. As we have seen, they include the procedures for involving favor from the gods.
The hudhud relates the romantic adventures of Aliguyon and the Ifugao beauties led by the heroine Bugan. Not included in religious rites, the hudhud is a lively band chanted by women during the harvest season or during death vigils for aged members of rich families. When chanting the hudhud, the singers (monhudhud) occasionally express different moods, the hudhud being very emotional. Sometimes the members of the group burst into laughter during the portion of the hudhud depicting the naivete or pretentiousness of the characters. Often they would stop and analyze why a character in the story did or did not do a thing, thereby causing anguish for other characters.

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Performing Arts

         The Ifugao have various types of musical instruments and songs for different occasions, particularly during village rituals and social gatherings. In general, Ifugao music can be classified into instrumental and with vocal music often performed without musical accompaniment.

         Among the percussion instruments, the gongs commonly called the gangsa or gangha are the most popular. The gangsa is an ensemble of 3 to 4 flat gongs played in special rhythms, while the gangha is usually made of brass or bronze. The individual gongs are called tobob, hibat, or ahhot. The manner of playing the tobob, the low-pitched gong, with clenched fist, is unique to the Ifugao.

         The other gongs are played with sticks that strike the inner surface of the gong- the hibat producing resonant tones and the ahhot producing the damped sounds. During the harvest rituals the libbit, a small conical drum, is added to the ensemble (Prudente, 1991). Another percussion instrument is the bangibang or pattong. It is a pair made of straight or boomerang-shaped wood. Sound is produced by striking or banging the instrument. The langitang is generally used during burial rituals, to drive away spirits, and revenge rituals for a slain Ifugao.

         The bikkung is a mouth instrument made of brass or bamboo. It is commonly played by men and women during courtship or at night. The brass bikkung is slightly thinner than the bamboo bikkung but serves the same purpose.

         The ayyuding and babbong are string instruments made of bamboo and rattan. The ayyuding is made of a whole bamboo node with the strings carved out of the bamboo’s skin. It is played by striking the strings with a stick. The babbong is a rattan strip instrument usually played by children before harvest time. It is believed to hasten the ripening of the rice grains. The tadcheng is a similar instrument with four strings strummed with the fingers. The guitar has recently become popular for accompanying songs.

         Wind instruments cover a variety of forms. Men and women, young and old alike, sing. There are trained chanters for rituals and other social gatherings, with the people exchanging comments on the chanting.

         Chanting or singing is done individually, e.g., when putting a child to sleep, or, more often, as a group. The latter have a lead chanter or singer. Songs learned from other tribes or lands are usually sung individually.

         Generally Ifugao songs can be classified into ritual songs and non-ritual songs. Ritual songs are sung in religious occasions; some songs require responses while others are extemporaneous. A ritual song is the alim. Non-ritual songs include the hudhud, the liwliwa, and the salidumnay. The liwliwa, used to express love, protest and other personal emotions, is sung in debate form by groups of men and women and their leaders. The salidumnay, which can express ideas or emotions, is usually sung antiphonally by groups of men and women.

         Songs are also known according to the historical period they represent. One song which narrates the introduction of land transportation in 1930 is about a husband and a wife who traveled by automobile. Songs about WWII can be easily recognized because of their themes and characters. Songs about love became popular during the American Occupation, and some have adopted tunes like the popular “Leron, leron Sinta.”

         Dancing has always been part of the Ifugao life, taking center stage during rituals, religious activities, and special occasions.
Wilcox (1912:109-112) has given us a vivid description of Ifugao feast dances. The dancing lasts for nights, with the sound of gongs serving as a signal to the villagers. Men and women participate in the celebration. When they dance, there are eyes are focused on one point on the ground, about 90 cm. From where they are standing, their knees bent down a little, their left foot in front, their hands outstretched with their fingers joined, right hand akimbo behind their right hip.

         The dance steps follow a slow shuffle with slow turns and twists of the left hand and a fast up-and-down movement of the right hand. While kneeling in front of the dancers, the gong players hold the gangsa on top of their thighs with the convex side held up. They beat the gongs with their hands, the right hand giving the downward stroke, the left hand serving to dampen the sound. Speeches are made in between these dances, with the resounding “whoooo-o-eee” serving to silence those present so that the speech may be delivered.

        Dances are also performed as part of rituals. The Ifugao dance batad is performed during village feasts and religious rituals involving sacrificial animals (Obusan 1989). During the wedding feasts, the iteneg is performed to announce to the whole village the union of the man and woman. There are incantations, prayers and animal sacrifices. As soon as the pig’s bile shows signs favorable to the couple being married, the native rice wine tapoy is passed around and the imbajah dance begins. More incantations and bile examination are conducted before the couple is asked to dance. The groom sports a hornbill headdress while the wife wears a headdress with a brass female figure. The couple then performs the tadek, depicting a rooster and hen courting. They carry a half-dead chicken with their left hands and offer these to the gods.

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Barton, Roy F. The Half-way Sun; Life among the Headhunters of the Philippines. New York: Brower and Warren, 1930.

Beyer, Henrey Otley. "Origin Myths Among the Mountain Peoples of the Philippines." Philippine Journal of Science. Vol. VIII, No. 2, (1913), 85-116.

Billiet, Francisco. Studies on Kalinga Ullalim and Ifugao Orthography. Baguio City: The Catholic School Press, 1970.

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