Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Ifugao Culture

this article was made by mainam member BA TA

How do the Ifugaos endure this kind of life we have now? How do they manage to struggle in spite of the chaos that surround our beloved Philippines? Why do they still exist? Why do they cherish to live the old ways?
Ifugao, a landlocked province of the Philippines in the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzon, covers a total land area of 251,778 hectares. The province of Ifugao, a mountainous region characterized by rugged terrain, river valleys, and massive forests, has its capital in Lagawe. It borders Benguet to the west, Mountain Province to the north, Isabela to the east, and Nueva Vizcaya to the south.
Ifugaos is one the indigenous groups in the Philippines and its name is taken from their province which they lived in. It is named after the term "i-pugo" which means i-from/people and pugo-earth thus people of the earth.

Ifugaos as agrarian people. Rice isn't just a basic need to the Ifugaos, its a medium of exchange and power. Their status is examined through the rice terraces they build and the amount of rice they manage to harvest.

Being familiar with drainage patterns and irrigation systems, our group was able to say that indeed, Ifugaos are smart and very practical. They have a wide source of knowledge when it comes to systems of rice terracing and what amazes us more is that they use simpler tools compared to those of mediocre farmers.

The idea of living near their fields, the Ifugaos only live in small settlements with identical thatched roofed houses.

Similar to the pre-colonial Filipinos, Ifugaos have less wants and needs. They have houses, small yet well constructed, for a place to sleep and rest. Their villages are found perched on top of prominent peaks, carefully wedged into steep mountainsides or clustered in valleys. These houses are bound to be located near their fields for easy access and work as well.

Do Ifugaos find time to enjoy and relax?
* Definitely yes! Their enjoyment comes from pleasing objects they see in agriculture and objects from their ancestors. They are gifted in ART and its more emphasized during ceremonies they conduct for their gods.

Whatever the Ifugao make or use, there is generally added another dimension, as knowing hands see and shape the essence contained in a piece of wood, bone or stone, or shape from a lump of clay a form which is both functional and elegant.

Breechcloth for men and a Short skirt for women. . .
The Ifugaos' way of clothing is simple and again, similar to the pre-colonial Filipinos. They dont wear a lot of colorful jewelries. They have this red-black-white fabricated pattern and displayed alongside these curious ornaments are age-old beliefs, social stature, mores and norms of the Ifugao culture. Their daily dresses may be simple but beyond this simpleness is a complex embroidery of cultural traditions. During festivals and some ceremonies, they are given the chance to wear a copper leg and arm ornaments, gold necklaces, earrings and headpieces, shell chest ornaments and girdles, boar tusk armlets with handsomely carved figures, precious beads, and elegant woven skirts, loincloths and jackets. Occassionally, Ifugaos can be very colorful too :)


The rice culture of the Ifugao people requires tremendous skill and knowledge that has been passed on from generation to generation. According to UNESCO, recent challenges, including a devastating earthquake in 1990 that damaged the terraces, and recent El NiƱos that have spawned droughts and crop-threatening worms, have threatened the continued existence of the Banaue rice terraces. Farming the terraces has become less and less attractive to the new generation of Ifugao people. They had already been suffering from low returns on their labor in light of the slow growth of terrace rice in the cool climate. The Banaue Rice Terraces have been intricately woven in the culture and life of the 20,000 Ifugao people who cultivate them. Their festivals and holy days revolve around the cultivation and harvesting of rice from the terraces. Without the dedication of the Ifugao people, the rice terraces of Banaue would not exist. Without the Banaue Rice Terraces, the Ifugao people would cease to exist. The terraces and the people have a symbiotic relationship.


I want to tell a story of these 2 Ifugao who are now living successfully. This are Mr. Mandy M. Dornagon and DR. Dr. Felixberto B. Ayahao.

Mr. Mandy M. Dornagon, Esq., a former resident of Lagawe, Ifugao, Philippines, has been selected to be included in a biographical directory published by Marquis Who's Who, the leading biographical reference publisher of the highest achievers and contributors from across the country and around the world.

Atty. Dornagon will be profiled in the 59th Edition of Who's Who in America, which will be available in October 2004.

Atty. Dornagon, who now lives in Hollis Hills, New York, practices U.S Immigration and Nationality Law, and Federal Taxation. He is admitted and licensed to practice law by the Appellate Division of the New York Supreme Court, the Philippine Supreme Court, the U.S. District Court (Southern District) and the U.S. Tax Court. He received his B.A. and LlB from the University of the East in Manila, Philippines. He attended Brooklyn Law School and Touro Law School. He finished a course in Journalism at New York University.

In the field of U.S. immigration law, Atty. Dornagon has been representing U.S. employers, before the Immigration Service, in the sponsorship of Filipino professionals to work in the United States. He has also been helping many individuals obtain their legal immigration status. In federal taxation, Atty. Dornagon has been assisting taxpayers resolve their tax problems before the IRS and the U.S. Tax Court.

Since 1899, when A.N. Marquis printed the First Edition of Who's Who in America, Marquis Who's Who has chronicled the lives of the most accomplished individuals and innovators from every significant field of endeavor- including politics, business, medicine, law, education, art, religion and entertainment. Today, Who's Who in America remains an essential biographical source for thousands of researchers, journalists, librarians and executive search firms around the world.

A young Ifugao physician, who forsook a lucrative practice in the metropolis and went back to the mountains to serve his own people, was picked to receive the grand plum of the 13th Dr. Jose P. Rizal Memorial Award last weekend at the EDSA Shangri-La Plaza in Mandaluyong City.

Dr. Felixberto B. Ayahao, a graduate of the University of the Philippines College of Medicine, could have easily stayed in the city and make a name for himself, but he instead volunteered as a rural health worker in Legawe without remuneration.

After graduating in 1987 as a Nellie Keelog Van Schaik scholar, he went to work right away, addressing health concerns, particularly malnutrition, in the far-flung villages, and helped set up livelihood programs.

He organized the Ifugao Field Health Workers Association and a Botika sa Barangay (Drug Store in the Barangay) before partly leaving Lagawe in 1991 to teach at Saint Louis University in Baguio and serve as coordinator of the UP Regionalization Program for the Cordilleras.

Ayahao took up postgraduate courses in tropical medicine and hygiene at the Mahidol University in Bangkok, Thailand, and otolarymology-head and neck surgery at the UP-Philippine General Hospital.

" The Ifugao is, and believes himself, an absolute king, avenging with his ever-ready lance the smallest offense not only against his person, but also against his house and his estate. They hate like death the least domination on the part of strangers." - Fr. Juan Villaverde(a 19th-century Spanish priest)

The Ifugaos will continue to cherish the old ways and live with their emotional and spiritual independence. More than three centuries have passed since the Spanish first attempted to subdue the Ifugao. The Spanish have long since departed, as has the colonial American administration, but the Ifugao still endure. The Ifugao will continually prosper and grow on their own, they will remain a society of determined and prideful individuals who in the words of Fr. Juan Villaverde, "Have no king, nor ruler, and pay tribute to no one."


Remy said...

I like the designs and layout of your group's blog because I get a certain feel about pre-colonial society. Moreover, the Ifugao's have a close place in my heart because I happen to visit them in one of my frequent trips. In terms, of editing, please have it done in your entry "The Ifugaos' way of cloting is simple and again, similar to the pre-colonial Filipinos", it should have been "clothing". Moreover, I was looking in your entry for stories about an Ifugao who is considered to be successful or has done well in a particular profession and the challenges faced by this indigenous community in the modern day. I couldn't find it in your featured story. I appreciate the pictures and the colorful graphics which you placed. I also give it a thumbs-up as to how you were able to focus on their remarkable qualities and traits.

However, I have basic question which you may want to answer:
A. What's with the name "Ifugao" or what does this name means?
B. Where can we find them?
C. What is their achievements and greatest cultural heritage?

Please feel free to respond on this comment or make modifications on your entry.

Given the criteria set as to creativity, originality, layout and graphics, content and appeal, I'd give a 1.75 grade for this particular entry or 17 out of 20.