The Info List - Igorot

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IGOROT, or CORDILLERANS, is the collective name of several Austronesian ethnic groups in the Philippines
, who inhabit the mountains of Luzon
. These highland peoples inhabit all the six provinces of the Cordillera Administrative Region : Abra , Apayao
, Benguet
, Kalinga , Ifugao , and Mountain Province , as well as the adjacent provinces.


* 1 Etymology

* 2 Cordillera ethnic groups

* 2.1 Bontoc * 2.2 Ibaloi * 2.3 Ifugao * 2.4 Isneg * 2.5 Kalinga

* 2.6 Kankanaey

* 2.6.1 "Hard" and "Soft" Kankanaey

* 3 Ethnic groups by linguistic classification * 4 History * 5 See also * 6 References * 7 Further reading * 8 External links


The word "Igorot" is an exonym , derived from the Austronesian 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 .

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.


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.

They may be further subdivided into five ethnolinguistic groups: the Bontoc, Ibaloi, Isnag (or Isneg/Apayao), Kalinga, and the Kankanaey .


A Bontoc warrior (c. 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 and Ilocano . They formerly practiced head-hunting and had distinctive body tattoos. The Bontoc describe three types of tattoos: The _chak-lag′_, the tattooed chest of the head taker; _pong′-o_, the tattooed arms of men and women; and _fa′-tĕk_, 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′-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. 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.


Main article: Ibaloi

The Ibaloi (also Ibaloy and Nabaloi) and Kalanguya (also Kallahan and Ikalahan) 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
, and Nueva Vizcaya
Nueva Vizcaya
in the Cagayan Valley region. They were traditionally an agrarian society. Many of the Ibaloi and Kalanguya people continue with their agriculture and rice cultivation.

Their native language belongs to the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian languages family and 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.


An Ifugao man from Banaue

The Ifugao (also known as Amganad, Ayangan, Kiangan, Gilipanes, Quiangan, Tuwali Ifugao, Mayoyao, Mayoyao, Mayaoyaw) are the people inhabiting Ifugao Province . The term "Ifugao" is derived from "_ipugo_" which means "earth people", "mortals" or "humans", as distinguished from spirits and deities. It also means "from the hill", as _pugo_ means hill.

The country of the Ifugao in the southeastern part of the Cordillera region is best known for its famous Banaue Rice
Terraces , which in modern times have become one of the major tourist attractions of the Philippines. The Ifugaos build their typical houses called fales, which consists of a kitchen, bedroom and a worship room altogether. It is a triangular house elevated with 4 wooden posts. There is a ladder but it is hanged or removed so people or animals cannot enter the fale.

Aside from their rice terraces, the Ifugaos, who speak four distinct dialects, are known for their rich oral literary traditions of _hudhud_ and the _alim_. The Ifugaos’ highest prestige feasts are the _hagabi_, for the elite; and the _uyauy_, a feast for those immediately below the wealthiest.

ALIM AND HUDHUD ORAL TRADITIONS OF IFUGAO of Ifugao people of the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzon
island of Philippines
. In 2001, the HUDHUD CHANTS of the Ifugao was chosen as one of the 11 Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity . It was then formally inscribed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2008.


Main article: Isneg

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 in the Isneg domain 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. Isneg 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 and Ilocano .

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, also known as _Limos_ or _Limos-Liwan Kalinga_, inhabit the drainage basin of the middle Chico River in Kalinga Province . The Kalinga are sub-divided into Southern and Northern groups; the latter is considered the most heavily ornamented people of the northern Philippines.

The Kalinga practice both wet and dry rice farming. They also developed an institution of peace pacts called _ Bodong _ which has minimised traditional warfare and headhunting and serves as a mechanism for the initiation, maintenance, renewal and reinforcement of kinship and social ties.

They also speak the Kalinga , Ilocano , and Limos languages. 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.


Main article: Kankanaey people

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.

Kankanaey houses are built like the other Igorot
houses, which reflect their social status. Two famous institutions of the Kankanaey of Mountain Province are the _dap-ay_, or the men's dormitory and civic center, and the _ebgan_, or the girls' dormitory where courtship between young men and women took place.

Kankanaey's major dances include _tayaw_, _patting_, _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, while _Balangbang_ is the dance's modern term. There are also some other dances like the _sakkuting_, _pinanyuan_ (another wedding dance) and _bogi-bogi_ (courtship dance).

"Hard" And "Soft" Kankanaey

The name Kankanaey came from the language which they speak. The only difference amongst the Kankanaey are the way they speak such as intonation and word usage.

In intonation, there is distinction between those who speak Hard Kankanaey (_Applai_) and Soft Kankanaey. Speakers of Hard Kankanaey are from the towns of Sagada and Besao in the western Mountain Province as well as their environs. They speak Kankanaey with a hard 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_ while the Kankanaey of Benguet
may call their fellow Kankanaey from Mountain Province _iBontok_.

The Hard and Soft Kankanaey also differ in the way they dress. Women's dress of the Soft dialect generally has a colour 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 in mainly red and black with less white, with the skirt or _tapis_ which is mostly called _bakget_ and _gateng_. The men formerly 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.


Political map of the Cordillera Administrative Region .

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


* Ilokano ( Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur )

* Northern Cordilleran

* Isneg (northern Apayao
Province ) * Gaddang ( Nueva Vizcaya
Nueva Vizcaya
Province and Isabela Province )

* Ibanagic

* Ibanag ( Cagayan Province and Isabela Province ) * Itawis (southern Cagayan Province ) * Yogad ( Isabela Province )

* Central Cordilleran

* Kalinga–Itneg

* Kalinga ( Kalinga Province ) * Itneg ( Abra Province )

* Nuclear

* Ifugao ( Ifugao Province ) * Balangao (eastern Mountain Province ) * Bontok (central Mountain Province ) * Kankanaey (western Mountain Province , northern Benguet
Province )

* Southern Cordilleran

* Ibaloi (southern Benguet
Province )

* Kalanguya/Kallahan (eastern Benguet
Province , Ifugao Province , northwestern Nueva Vizcaya
Nueva Vizcaya
Province )

* Kalanguya Keley-i * Kalanguya Kayapa * Kalanguya Tinoc

* Karao (Karao, Bokod, Benguet) * Ilongot (eastern Nueva Vizcaya
Nueva Vizcaya
Province , western Quirino Province ) * Pangasinan ( Pangasinan Province )


Main article: Igorot Revolt

The gold found in the land of the Igorot
were a draw for the Spanish. Originally gold was exchanged at Pangasinan by the Igorot. The gold was used to buy consumable products by the Igorot. Both gold and desire to Christianize the Igorot
were given as reasons for Spanish conquest. In 1572 the Spanish started hunting for the gold. Benguet Province was entered by the Spanish with the intention for obtaining gold. The fact that the Igorots managed to stay out of Spanish dominion vexed the Spaniards. The gold evaded the hands of the Spaniards due to Igorot

Samuel E. Kane wrote about his life amongst the Bontoc, Ifugao, and Kalinga after the Philippine–American War , in his book _Thirty Years with the Philippine Head-Hunters_ (1933). The first American school for Igorot
girls was opened in Baguio in 1901 by Alice McKay Kelly. :317 Kane noted that Dean C. Worcester "did more than any one man to stop head-hunting and to bring the traditional enemy tribes together in friendship." :329 Kane wrote of the Igorot
people, "there is a peace, a rhythm and an elemental strength in the life...which all the comforts and refinements of civilization can not replace...fifty years hence...there will be little left to remind the young Igorots of the days when the drums and _ganzas_ of the head-hunting _canyaos_ resounded throughout the land. :330–331

In 1904, a group of Igorot
people were brought to St. Louis, Missouri , United States for the St. Louis World\'s Fair . They constructed the Igorot
Village in the Philippine Exposition section of the fair, 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" (1905). In 1905, 50 tribespeople were on display at a Brooklyn, New York amusement park for the summer, ending in the custody of the unscrupulous Truman K. Hunt, a showman "on the run across America with the tribe in tow."

During the Japanese occupation of the Philippines
Igorots fought against Japan . Donald Blackburn 's World War II guerrilla force had a strong core of Igorots. :148–165

In 2014, Victoria Tauli-Corpuz , a veteran indigenous rights of Igorot
ethnicity was appointed UN Special
Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


* Demographics of the Philippines
* Ethnic groups of the Philippines
* Indigenous peoples
Indigenous peoples
of the Philippines


* ^ Editors, The (2015-03-26). " Igorot
people". Britannica.com. Retrieved 2015-09-03. * ^ Albert Ernest Jenks (2004). _The Bontoc Igorot_. Kessinger Publishing. p. 12. ISBN 978-1-4191-5449-2 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Carol R. Ember; Melvin Ember (2003). _Encyclopedia of sex and gender: men and women in the world\'s cultures, Volume 1_. Springer. p. 498. ISBN 978-0-306-47770-6 . * ^ "IGOROT Ethnic Groups - sagada-igorot.com". * ^ "The Bontoc Igorot". * ^ "Kalanguya Archives - Intercontinental Cry". * ^ "Kallahan, Keley-i". * ^ "Kalanguya". * ^ Project, Joshua. "Kalanguya, Tinoc in Philippines". * ^ Barbara A. West (19 May 2010). _Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Asia and Oceania_. Infobase Publishing. pp. 300–. ISBN 978-1-4381-1913-7 . * ^ " Ifugao - Worldmark Encyclopedia of Cultures and Daily Life - Encyclopedia.com". * ^ Linda A. Newson (2009). _Conquest and Pestilence in the Early Spanish Philippines_. University of Hawaii Press. pp. 232–. ISBN 978-0-8248-3272-8 . * ^ " Benguet
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struggle for independence: William Henry Scott.". * ^ Habana, Olivia M. (1 January 2000). "Gold Mining in Benguet
to 1898". _Philippine Studies_. 48 (4): 455–487. JSTOR 42634423 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Kane, S.E., 1933, _Life and Death in Luzon