Thursday, March 1, 2012

Cordilleras: IFUGAO

Brief History of Ifuago and its People
  • Ifugao derived its name from the word “Pugo” which means hills in the native dialect. Except for some distinction, the Ifugaos are similar to their tribal neighbors of Mountain Province, Kalinga and Apayao provinces, who are generally known as “Igorots.”

  • The culture of the Ifugaos dates back some 3,000 years ago. Some historians believed that this tribe first migrated from the highlands of Burma and Indonesia through the vast continents of Asia as evidence by their art forms and rituals, which are similar to those of Borneo, Sumatra and other Indonesian tribes. Wherever they came from, the relatively short, well-built Ifugaos have acquired a reputation as fierce resisters to foreign domination and as headquarters. They conjure an image of warriors G-strings with a spear in one hand and a wooden shield in the other. Despite the influence of Christianity in the Cordilleras, the Ifugaos still maintain their centuries-old traditions. Sacrificial animals are butchered before crop planting although most of the colorful rituals are held during harvest time. The village chief is the first to harvest, then for two days the community celebrates by feasting on chickens, pigs, or even carabaos (water buffaloes) for those who can afford, amidst dancing and the beating of gongs. This celebration is locally known as “Caniao.” The people speak a dialect which is called Ifugao, that is distinct from the other “Igorot” tribes.

  • Ifugao has long dry season from November to May and the wet or rainy season, from June to October. It can be very wet during the rainy season such that roads are often impassible, thus, isolating the province from the Benguet province side.   

Geographic Location
Ø  Ifugao is in the Cordillera Central Mountains of Northern Luzon surrounded by rugged peaks except in the eastern portion. The Polis Mountain shuts off Ifugao from Benguet on the west and Mountain Province on the north. Nueva Vizcaya lies on its southern portion and Isabela on the eastern part. It has a land area of 2,517.8 sq. km., representing only 0.84% of the total land area of the country.

Ø  Ifugao used to be a part of Nueva Vizcaya when it was created in 1839 during the Spanish domination of the Philippines. When the Philippines Commission created the original Mountain Province in 1908, Ifuago became one of its sub-provinces.

Ø  By virtue of Republic Act Nos. 4695 dated June 18, 1966, the original Mountain Province was partitioned into four regular provinces, namely: Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga-Apayao, and Mountain Province Ifugao and Kalinga-Apayao were administratively attached to the Cagayan Vlley Region until 1987 when they became part of the newly created Cordillera Administrative Region together with the provinces of Benguet, Mountain Province and Abra. To date, Ifugao is still part of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).

  • In the 1980 Census of Population and Housing, there were 7 municipalities that compromised the province of Ifugao with Lagawe as its provincial capital. Lagawe used to be known as Burnay prior to June 18, 1961. The other six municipalities were the following: Banaue, Hungduan, Kiangan, Lamut, Mayoyao and Potia, which was renamed to Alfonso Lista on December 15, 1988 under Republic Act Nos. 6687.
Tourist Spots and/or Points of Interest in the Province
Ø  Banaue Trade Center is a 20-minute hike from the Banaue Hotel where souvenir items are sold. Saturday is a big market day.

Ø  Tam-an Village, a typical Ifugao village situated 240 steps down the Banaue Hotel’s swimming pool. Woodcarving and hand-woven products are produced and sold.

Ø  Village of Amsalto is about 500 meters from the new Banaue Trade Center. This village can be reached through trails and rice paddles, passing along the path is the tomb of Banaue’s last chieftain, Ponchillan and a few meters above it is the elevated sealed tomb of the famous Dr. Otley Bayer, an American anthropologist who married an “Igorota” and spent his lifetime in Banaue.

Ø  Bocos village is about 12 kilometers from Banaue Hotel and 2-hour hike uphill through mountain trails; one can see Battad Rice Terraces shaped like an amphitheater. A 20-minute hike fro, the village gives the visitor a glimpse of a cascading waterfall with its enormous pool for swimming.

Ø  Banaue Viewpoint is a 20-minute drive north of Banaue Hotel. It is a perfect spot for taking pictures of the rice terraces at a broader magnitude.

Ø  Village of Bang-an is 14 kilometers east of Banaue Hotel where one can take pictures of a fully terraced mountain with a typical village at the foot or base.

Ø  Guihod Natural Pool is a 4-kilometer drive from the poblacion, hopping and jumping over huge boulders, one reaches the crystal clear waters of Guihod for cool and refreshing swim.

Ø  Ducligan Hot Spring is found at the bank of Banaue-Ducligan River and adjacent to a deep pool.

Ø  Philippine War Memorial Shrine located in the poblacion of Kiangan. It is pyramid-shaped concrete building constructed as a shrine with a vantage view on the poblacion.

Ø  Surrender Site of General Tomoyuki Yamashita is a home-economics building where the General and his staff informally surrendered to captain of the US Army 6th Division in the Philippines, then was brought to Baguio City for the formal surrender to US Army General on September 3, 1945.

Ø  Million Dollar Hill is a hill overlooking the poblacion of Kiangan. It got its name from the last world war when the allied forces spent millions of dollars worth of bombs and ammunitions to annihilate the enemies in the area. 

Ø  Ambuyaya Lake is a lake that according to legend became a lake because of the killing of a leech by children. The lake is deep and ideal for boating and swimming. The shaded surroundings are ideal for picnicking and are now a site of research on fish culture.

Ø  Ahin Salt Spring is located in a distant barangay of Hungduan and is a 12-hour kilometer from Kiangan.

Ø  Tucacan Hot Spring is located also in Hungduan and is about 2-hour hike from Ahin hot spring

Ø   Mt. Napulawan is mountain in Hungduan where the soldiers of the Japanese Army under the command of General Yamashita were buried. A lake lies on top of the mountain where dwarf oak and pine trees abound.

Ø   Bintacan Cave-is located in the rocky slope of Ibulao, Lagawe. It is a 3-room cave with drippings of limewater that formed into stalactites and stalagmites of varied beautiful shapes.
Municipalities of Ifuago

·         Aguinaldo
·         Alfonso Lista (Potia)
·         Asipulo
·         Banaue
·         Hingyon
·         Hungduan
·         Kiangan
·         Lagawe (Capital)
·         Lamut
·         Mayoyao
·         Tinoc

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