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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The People of Ifugao


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Ifugao is pronounced as i-pugao which means "inhabitants of the known Earth. The name is supposed to have come from ipugo which means "from the hill."

This describes the people who live there which anthropologists have regarded as possibly the oldest residents of the highlands. Their Ifugao people's origin is attributed to Indonesian migration which dates back as early as 800-500 BC.

The Banaue Rice Terraces, which was also known formerly as the Ifugao Rice Terraces, is what naturally comes in mind when you mention Ifugao.

Just as how majestic the rice terraces are, the people of Ifugao have their own epic stories to tell. If you understand their language, and when they get comfortable with you, they'll be able to tell you amazing stories that are mostly unknown to the Filipinos.

"Ifugao culture value kinship, family ties, religious and cultural beliefs. They're unique among all ethnic groups in the mountain province, not only for their interesting customs and traditions but also for their narrative literature such as the hudhud, an epic dealing with hero ancestors sung in a poetic manner." says Manny Bigornia when he wrote about the Ifugao People.



"....their attire remain traditional for male Ifugaos, donning the wanno or g-string; there are six types of wanno which are used depending on the occasion or the man's social status. Ifugao women, on the contrary, wear tapis, a wraparound skirt; there are five kinds of skirts worn, depending on the occasion and/or status of the woman. " - Manny describes the clothing preference of the Ifugaos.





"Agricultural terracing is their principal means of livelihood along with farming. Their social status is measured by the number of rice field granaries, family heirlooms, gold earrings, carabaos (water buffaloes), as well as, prestige conferred through time and tradition. The more affluent, known as kadangyan were usually generous by nature, giving rice to poor neighbors in time of food shortage(s) and/or hardship(s)." adds Manny.

The engineering wonder of their rice terraces coupled with their culture and tradition that is not as influenced as other tribes or races, are interesting to learn about. You'll be in awe when you hear more stories about them.

Known to be creative and good with their imagination, they were also able to come up with ingenious mechanisms that simulate modern technology like the scooter or bike they made out of wood. Now, that somehow got them noticed too. It's either you would laugh at the creation, but deep inside you'll definitely be impressed with their resourcefulness.






What about when some of them can be seen roaming the streets of Metro Manila especially during the Christmas season, or am I mistaken? Honestly, I've seen some people that resembles their appearance and clothing, but I could not be really sure if its the same people.

Have they been influenced by modern society already? Maybe, with all the visitors that come by to mingle with them, and may be leaving gifts, I'm sure there's bound to be some sort of influence.

Regardless, do we really believe we should be keeping our culture at its original form, or should it evolve as how fast-paced developments around the world undoubtedly has been constantly changing the way we live?

I believe in respecting culture and tradition, but it could be remembered as our historical past while we are on our way to a promising future.

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