The Ifugaos - The Ifugaos, contrary to the stereotypes Nov...

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The Ifugaos, contrary to the stereotypes Nov 15, 2003 - © Eva Goyena Much has been written about the Ifugaos -their culture, their society, their literature. But who really are they now? Are they still the g-stringed uncivilized Cordillerans we usually see portrayed on television's travel programs and on travel magazines? Though the Ifugaos are whom we call the liberty-loving Filipinos who resisted colonization of the Spaniards in the early 19th century, they did not remain isolated with the rest of the people. Despite the rugged and steep terrains, gradual improvements in the society did not leave them untouched. And when these changes occur, how are their traditional values and practices affected? However, before we touch deeper on this . ..let us first have a short overview of their culture, history and literature so we can have a full grasp of how much changes they embraced for three centuries now. The Ifugao province is at the heart of the Cordillera, and is composed of several enthnolinguistic groups which are commonly grouped into three --Western, Eastern and Central. Tuwali, Ayangan and Kalanguya are the official spoken languages in each respective group. According to Lourdes Dulawan, a full-blooded Ifugao, in her book "Ifugao Culture and History," the early Ifugaos called themselves Ipugo , which literally means "from the hills." When the Spanish colonizers came, they changed it to Ifugaw , and it was the Americans who changed the spelling to Ifugao . The structure of the early Ifugao society was based on the kindship system, and their ancestors play the most important role in the system. Their ancestors are involved in all types of rituals because for them rites are family affairs. One of these rites is the baki or rites for man and for rice culture. The baki rites are the core of Ifugao's tribal religion. These rites, performed by the native priest called mumbaki , are done at the start of every man's life and every stage of rice agriculture. The mumbaki invokes the ancestors to act as mediators to the gods. The Ifugaos have a lengthy hierarchy of gods which includes bagol (the superior gods), maknongan (gods to whom sacrifice are due), kabunyan (god of the skyworld), dalom (god of the underworld), lagud (god of the east), and daya (god of the west). For every rite performed, a god or set of concerned gods are invoked and offered sacrifices with, depending on the purpose of the rite or the type of favor being sought. The kindship system is also very important in solving conflicts. Whenever there's a disagreement between members of a clan, a member not concerned with the dispute will settle the rift amicably. However, if it concerns two different clans the general rule is clan against clan. It is where "vendetta" enters -when a member of a clan is murdered, the victim's family or clan shall avenge the death to preserve the clan's social prestige. If vendetta is not sought, the family and the whole clan will be scorned by the community. The copyright of the article
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The Ifugaos - The Ifugaos, contrary to the stereotypes Nov...

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