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Igorot people


The word Igorot is an exonym derived from the archaic Tagalog term for mountain people (formed from the prefix i- dweller of and golot mountain range ). During the Spanish colonial era the term was variously recorded as Igolot Ygolot and Igorrote compliant to Spanish orthography.[2]

The endonyms Ifugao or Ipugao (also meaning mountain people ) are used more frequently within the Igorots themselves as igorot is viewed by some as slightly pejorative.[3]
Cordillera ethnic groups

The Igorots may be roughly divided into two general subgroups the larger group lives in the south central and western areas and is very adept at rice-terrace farming the smaller group lives in the east and north. Prior to Spanish colonisation of the islands the peoples now included under the term did not consider themselves as belonging to a single cohesive ethnic group.[3]

They may be further subdivided into five ethnolinguistic groups the Bontoc Ibaloi Isnag (or Isneg/Apayao) Kalinga and the Kankanaey.[4]
The Bontoc
A Bontoc warrior (ca. 1908)

The Bontoc live on the banks of the Chico River in the Central Mountain Province on the island of Luzon. They speak the Bontoc language. They formerly practiced head-hunting and had distinctive body tattoos. The Bontoc describe three types of tattoos The chak-lag 8242 the tattooed chest of the head taker pong 8242 -o the tattooed arms of men and women and fa 8242 -t 277 k for all other tattoos of both sexes. Women were tattooed on the arms only. In the past the Bontoc engaged in none of the usual pastimes or games of chance practiced in other areas of the country but did perform a circular rhythmic dance acting out certain aspects of the hunt always accompanied by the gang 8242 -sa or bronze gong. There was no singing or talking during the dance drama but the women took part usually outside the circumference. It was a serious but pleasurable event for all concerned including the children.[5] Present-day Bontocs are a peaceful agricultural people who have by choice retained most of their traditional culture despite frequent contacts with other groups.

The pre-Christian Bontoc belief system centers on a hierarchy of spirits the highest being a supreme deity called Lumawig. Lumawig personifies the forces of nature and is the legendary creator friend and teacher of the Bontoc. A hereditary class of priests hold various monthly ceremonies for this deity for their crops the weather and for healing. The Bontoc also believe in the anito spirits of the dead who must be consulted before anything important is done. Ancestral anitos are invited to family feasts when a death occurs to ensure the well-being of the deceased s soul.This is by offering some small amount of food to show that they are invited and not forgotten.

The Bontoc social structure used to be centered around village wards ( ato ) containing about 14 to 50 homes. Traditionally young men and women lived in dormitories and ate meals with their families. This gradually changed with the advent of Christianity. In general however it can be said that all Bontocs are very aware of their own way of life and are not overly eager to change.
The Ibaloi
Main article Ibaloi

The Ibaloi (also Ibaloy and Nabaloi) are one of the indigenous peoples of the Philippines who live mostly in the southern part of Benguet located in the Cordillera of northern Luzon. The Ibaloi people were traditionally an agrarian society. Many of the Ibaloi people continue with their agriculture and rice cultivation.

The Ibaloi language belongs to the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian languages family. The Ibaloi language is closely related to the Pangasinan language primarily spoken in the province of Pangasinan located southwest of Benguet.

Baguio City the major city of the Cordillera dubbed the Summer Capital of the Philippines is located in southern Benguet.

The largest feast of the Ibaloi is the Pesshet a public feast mainly sponsored by people of prestige and wealth. Pesshet can last for weeks and involves the killing and sacrifice of dozens of animals. One of the more popular dances of the Ibaloi is the Bendiyan Dance participated in by hundreds of male and female dancers.
The Isnag
Main article Isnag

The Isnag also Isneg or Apayao live at the northwesterly end of northern Luzon in the upper half of the Cordillera province of Apayao. The term Isnag derives from a combination of is meaning recede and unag meaning interior. Thus it means people who live inland. The Municipalities occupied by the Isneg include Pudtol Kabugao Calanasan and Conner (Peralta 1988 1). Two major river systems the Abulog and the Apayao run through Isnag country which until recent times has been described as a region of dark tropical forests and endowed with other natural resources.

In one early account the Isneg were described as of slender and graceful stature with manners that were kindly hospitable and generous possessed with the spirit of self-reliance and courage and clearly artistic in their temperament. The Isnag s ancestors are believed to have been the proto-Austronesians who came from South China thousands of years ago. Later they came in contact with groups practicing jar burial from whom they adopted the custom.

They later also came into contact with Chinese traders plying the seas south of the Asian mainland. From the Chinese they bought the porcelain pieces and glass beads which now form part of the Isnag s priceless heirlooms. The Isnag have been known to be a head-taking society since recorded history.

As a dry rice farmer the male head of a household annually clears a fresh section of tropical forest where his wife will plant and harvest their rice. Itneg women also cook the meals gather wild vegetables and weave bamboo mats and baskets while the men cut timber build houses and take extended hunting and fishing trips. Often when a wild pig or deer is killed its meat is skewered on bamboo and distributed to neighbors and relatives. Nearly all Isneg households also harvest a small grove of coffee trees since the main cash crop of the area is coffee.

Isnag people are also known as the Isneg which is composed of the sub-groups known as the Ymandaya and Imallod. Their places of abode are found in the different municipalities in Apayao as follows

Ymandaya (Isnag)- Calanasan(Bayag)
Imallod (Isnag)- Kabugao Conner Pudtol and some part of Luna(Macatel)

The Isnag speak the Isneg language.

Isnags are also found in the Eastern part of the Province of Ilocos Norte specifically the municipalities of Adams Carasi Dumaneg Solsona and Piddig and Northwestern part of the Province of Cagayan specifically the municipalities of Sta. Praxedes Claveria and Sanchez Mira.
The Kalinga

Inhabiting the drainage areas of the middle Chico River in the Kalinga Province the Kalingas are noted for their strong sense of tribal awareness and the peace pacts they have made among themselves. The speak the Kalinga and Limos languages. They practice both wet and dry rice farming. They also developed an institution of peace pacts called Bodong which has minimized traditional warfare and headhunting and serves as a mechanism for the initiation maintenance renewal and reinforcement of kinship and social ties. The Kalinga are divided into Southern and Northern groups the latter is considered the most heavily-ornamented people of the northern Philippines.

Kalinga society is very kinship-oriented and relatives are held responsible for avenging any injury done to a member. Disputes are usually settled by the regional leaders who listen to all sides and then impose fines on the guilty party. These are not formal council meetings but carry a good deal of authority.

Kalingas are also known as Limos or Limos-Liwan Kalinga.
The Kankanaey
Main article Kankanaey people
Hard and Soft Kankanaey

The name Kankanaey came from the language which they speak. The only difference among the Kankanaey are the way they speak like intonation and the usage of some words. In intonation there is distinction between those who speak hard Kankanaey or Applai and soft Kankanaey. Speakers of hard Kankanaey are from Sagada Besao and the surrounding parts or barrios of the said two municipalities. They speak Kankanaey hard in intonation where they differ in some words from the soft-speaking Kankanaey. Soft-speaking Kankanaey come from Northern and other parts of Benguet and from the municipalities of Sabangan Tadian and Bauko in Mountain Province. In words for example an Applai might say otik or beteg (pig) and the soft-speaking Kankanaey use busaang or beteg as well. The Kankanaey may also differ in some words like egay or aga maid or maga. They also differ in their ways of life and sometimes in culture.

The Kankanaey are also internally identified by the language they speak and the province from whence they came. Kankanaey people from Mountain Province may call the Kankanaey from Benguet as Ibenget because they come from Benguet. Likewise the Kankanaey of Benguet may call their fellow Kankanaey from Mountain Province Ibontok.

The Kankanaey domain includes Western Mountain Province northern Benguet and southeastern Ilocos Sur. Like most Igorot ethnic groups the Kankanaey built sloping terraces to maximize farm space in the rugged terrain of the Cordilleras. The Kankaney of Western Mountain Province from the municipalities of Sagada and Besao identify themselves as part of a tribe called Applai or Aplai. Two famous institutions of the Kankanaey of Mountain Province are the dap-ay the men s dormitory and civic center and the ebgan the girls dormitory where courtship between young men and women took place.

The Kankanaey differ in the way they dress. Women s dress of the Soft dialect has a color combination of black white and red. The design of the upper attire is a criss-crossed style of black white and red colors. The skirt or tapis is a combination of stripes of black white and red. Hard dialect women dress is composed of mainly red and black with a little white styles as for the skirt or tapis which is mostly called bakget and gateng. The men wore a g-string known as a wanes for the Kanakaney s of Besao and Sagada. The design of the wanes may vary according to social status or municipality.

Kankanaey s major dances include tayaw pattong takik a wedding dance and balangbang. The tayaw is a community dance that is usually done in weddings it maybe also danced by the Ibaloi but has a different style. Pattong also a community dance from Mountain Province which every municipality has its own style. Balangbang is the modernized word for the word Pattong. There are also some other dances like the sakkuting pinanyuan (wedding dance) and bogi-bogi (courtship dance). Kankanaey houses are built like the other Igorot houses which reflect their social status.
Ethnic groups by linguistic classification
Political map of the Cordillera Administrative Region.

Below is a list of northern Luzon ethnic groups organized by linguistic classification.

Northern Luzon languages
Ilocano (Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur)
Northern Cordilleran
Isneg (northern Apayao Province)
Gaddang (Nueva Vizcaya and Isabela)
Ibanag (Cagayan and Isabela)
Itawis (Southern Cagayan)
Yogad (Isabela)
Central Cordilleran
Kalinga Itneg
Kalinga (Kalinga Province)
Itneg (Abra Province)
Balangao (eastern Mountain Province)
Bontok (central Mountain Province)
Kankanaey (western Mountain Province northern Benguet)
Southern Cordilleran
Ilongot (eastern Nueva Vizcaya western Quirino)
Pangasinan (Pangasinan)
Ibaloi (southern Benguet Province)

Notable Events

In 1904 Igorot people were brought to St. Louis Missouri United States of America. They constructed the Igorot Village in the Philippine Exposition section of the World s Fair of St. Louis which became one of the most popular exhibits. The poet T. S. Eliot who was born and raised in St. Louis visited and explored the Village. Inspired by their tribal dance and others he wrote the short story The Man Who Was King in 1905.[6]