The Bontoc Igorot
Albert Ernest Jenks

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The Bontoc Igorot

by Albert Ernest Jenks

Letter of Transmittal

Department of the Interior, The Ethnological Survey,


Sir: I have the honor to submit a study of the Bontoc Igorot made
for this Survey during the year 1903. It is transmitted with the
recommendation that it be published as Volume I of a series of
scientific studies to be issued by The Ethnological Survey for the
Philippine Islands.


Albert Ernst Jenks,


Hon. Dean C. Worcester,


After an expedition of two months in September, October, and November,
1902, among the people of northern Luzon it was decided that the Igorot
of Bontoc pueblo, in the Province of Lepanto-Bontoc, are as typical of
the primitive mountain agriculturist of Luzon as any group visited, and
that ethnologic investigations directed from Bontoc pueblo would enable
the investigator to show the culture of the primitive mountaineer of
Luzon as well as or better than investigations centered elsewhere.

Accompanied by Mrs. Jenks, the writer took up residence in Bontoc
pueblo the 1st of January, 1903, and remained five months. The
following data were gathered during that Bontoc residence, the previous
expedition of two months, and a residence of about six weeks among
the Benguet Igorot.

The accompanying illustrations are mainly from photographs. Some of
them were taken in April, 1903, by Hon. Dean C. Worcester, Secretary
of the Interior; others are the work of Mr. Charles Martin, Government
photographer, and were taken in January, 1903; the others were made
by the writer to supplement those taken by Mr. Martin, whose time
was limited in the area. Credit for each photograph is given with
the halftone as it appears.

I wish to express my gratitude for the many favors of the only other
Americans living in Bontoc Province during my stay there, namely,
Lieutenant-Governor Truman K. Hunt, M.D.; Constabulary Lieutenant (now
Captain) Elmer A. Eckman; and Mr. William F. Smith, American teacher.

In the following pages native words have their syllabic divisions
shown by hyphens and their accented syllables and vowels marked in the
various sections wherein the words are considered technically for the
first time, and also in the vocabulary in the last chapter. In all
other places they are unmarked. A later study of the language may
show that errors have been made in writing sentences, since it was
not always possible to get a consistent answer to the question as to
what part of a sentence constitutes a single word, and time was too
limited for any extensive language study. The following alphabet has
been used in writing native words.

A as in FAR; Spanish RAMO
A as in LAW; as O in French OR
AY as AI in AISLE; Spanish HAY
AO as OU in OUT; as AU in Spanish AUTO
B as in BAD; Spanish BAJAR
CH as in CHECK; Spanish CHICO
D as in DOG; Spanish DAR
E as in THEY; Spanish HALLE
E as in THEN; Spanish COMEN
F as in FIGHT; Spanish FIRMAR
G as in GO; Spanish GOZAR
H as in HE; Tagalog BAHAY
I as in PIQUE; Spanish HIJO
I as in PICK
K as in KEEN
L as in LAMB; Spanish LENTE
M as in MAN; Spanish MENOS
N as in NOW; Spanish JABON
NG as in FINGER; Spanish LENGUA
O as in NOTE; Spanish NOSOTROS
OI as in BOIL
P as in POOR; Spanish PERO
Q as CH in German ICH
S as in SAUCE; Spanish SORDO
SH as in SHALL; as CH in French CHARMER
T as in TOUCH; Spanish TOMAR
U as in RULE; Spanish UNO
U as in BUT
U as in German KUHL
V as in VALVE; Spanish VOLVER
W as in WILL; nearly as OU in French OUI
Y as in YOU; Spanish YA

It seems not improper to say a word here regarding some of my commonest
impressions of the Bontoc Igorot.

Physically he is a clean-limbed, well-built, dark-brown man of medium
stature, with no evidence of degeneracy. He belongs to that extensive
stock of primitive people of which the Malay is the most commonly
named. I do not believe he has received any of his characteristics,
as a group, from either the Chinese or Japanese, though this theory
has frequently been presented. The Bontoc man would be a savage if
it were not that his geographic location compelled him to become an
agriculturist; necessity drove him to this art of peace. In everyday
life his actions are deliberate, but he is not lazy. He is remarkably
industrious for a primitive man. In his agricultural labors he has
strength, determination, and endurance. On the trail, as a cargador
or burden bearer for Americans, he is patient and uncomplaining, and
earns his wage in the sweat of his brow. His social life is lowly,
and before marriage is most primitive; but a man has only one wife, to
whom he is usually faithful. The social group is decidedly democratic;
there are no slaves. The people are neither drunkards, gamblers,
nor "sportsmen." There is little "color" in the life of the Igorot;
he is not very inventive and seems to have little imagination. His
chief recreation -- certainly his most-enjoyed and highly prized
recreation -- is head-hunting. But head-hunting is not the passion
with him that it is with many Malay peoples.

His religion is at base the most primitive religion known -- animism,
or spirit belief -- but he has somewhere grasped the idea of one god,
and has made this belief in a crude way a part of his life.

He is a very likable man, and there is little about his primitiveness
that is repulsive. He is of a kindly disposition, is not servile,
and is generally trustworthy. He has a strong sense of humor. He is
decidedly friendly to the American, whose superiority he recognizes
and whose methods he desires to learn. The boys in school are quick
and bright, and their teacher pronounces them superior to Indian and
Mexican children he has taught in Mexico, Texas, and New Mexico.[1]

Briefly, I believe in the future development of the Bontoc Igorot
for the following reasons: He has an exceptionally fine physique for
his stature and has no vices to destroy his body. He has courage
which no one who knows him seems ever to think of questioning; he
is industrious, has a bright mind, and is willing to learn. His
institutions -- governmental, religious, and social -- are not
radically opposed to those of modern civilization -- as, for instance,
are many institutions of the Mohammedanized people of Mindanao and
the Sulu Archipelago -- but are such, it seems to me, as will quite
readily yield to or associate themselves with modern institutions.

I recall with great pleasure the months spent in Bontoc pueblo, and
I have a most sincere interest in and respect for the Bontoc Igorot
as a man.


The readers of this monograph are familiar with the geographic location
of the Philippine Archipelago. However, to have the facts clearly in
mind, it will be stated that the group lies entirely within the north
torrid zone, extending from 4[degree] 40' northward to 21[degree]
3' and from 116[degree] 40' to 126[degree] 34' east longitude. It is
thus about 1,000 miles from north to south and 550 miles from east to
west. The Pacific Ocean washes its eastern shores, the Sea of Celebes
its southern, and the China Sea its western and northern shores. It
is about 630 kilometers, or 400 miles, from the China coast, and
lies due east from French Indo-China. The Batanes group of islands,
stretching north of Luzon, has members nearer Formosa than Luzon. On
the southwest Borneo is sighted from Philippine territory.

Briefly, it may be said the Archipelago belongs to Asia --
geologically, zoologically, and botanically -- rather than to Oceania,
and that, apparently, the entire Archipelago has shared a common
origin and existence. There is evidence that it was connected with
the mainland by solid earth in the early or Middle Tertiary. For a
long geologic time the land was low and swampy. At the end of the
Eocene a great upheaval occurred; there were foldings and crumplings,
igneous rock was thrust into the distorted mass, and the islands
were considerably elevated above the sea. During the latter part of
the Tertiary period the lands seem to have subsided and to have been
separated from the mainland.

About the close of the subsidence eruptions began which are continued
to the present by such volcanoes as Taal and Mayon in Luzon and Apo
in Mindanao. No further subsidence appears to have occurred after
the close of the Tertiary, though the gradual elevation beginning
then had many lapses, as is evidenced by the numerous sea beaches
often seen one above the other in horizontal tiers. The elevation
continues to-day in an almost invisible way. The Islands have been
greatly enlarged during the elevation by the constant building of
coral around the submerged shores.

It is believed that man had appeared in the great Malay Archipelago
before this elevation began. It is thought by some that he was in
the Philippines in the later Tertiary, but there are no data as yet
throwing light on this question.

To-day the Archipelago lies like a large net in the natural pathway
of people fleeing themselves from the supposed birthplace of the
primitive Malayan stock, namely, from Java, Sumatra, and the adjacent
Malay Peninsula, or, more likely, the larger mainland. It spreads
over a large area, and is well fitted by its numerous islands --
some 3,100 -- and its innumerable bays and coastal pockets to catch
up and hold a primitive, seafaring people.

There are and long have been daring Malayan pirates, and there is
to-day among the southern islands a numerous class -- the Samal --
living most of the time on the sea, yet they all keep close to land,
except in time of calm, and when a storm is brewing they strike out
straight for the nearest shore like scared children. The ocean currents
and the monsoons have been greatly instrumental in driving different
people through the seas into the Philippine net.[2] The Tagakola
on the west coast of the Gulf of Davao, Mindanao, have a tradition
that they are descendants of men cast on their present shores from
a distant land and of the Manobo women of the territory. The Bagobo,
also in the Gulf of Davao, claim they came to their present home in
a few boats generations ago. They purposely left their former land
to flee from head-hunting, a practice in their earlier home, but one
they do not follow in Mindanao. What per cent of the people coming
originally to the Archipelago was castaway, nomadic, or immigrant
it is impossible to judge, but there have doubtless also been many
systematic and prolonged migrations from nearby lands, as from Borneo,
Celebes, Sangir, etc.

Primitive man is represented in the Philippines to-day not alone by
one of the lowest natural types of savage man the historic world has
looked upon -- the small, dark-brown, bearded, "crisp-woolly"-haired
Negritos -- but by some thirty distinct primitive Malayan tribes or
dialect groups, among which are believed to be some of the lowest of
the stock in existence.

In northern Luzon is the Igorot, a typical primitive Malayan. He is
a muscular, smooth-faced, brown man of a type between the delicate
and the coarse. In Mindoro the Mangiyan is found, an especially lowly
Malayan, who may prove to be a true savage in culture. In Mindanao is
the slender, delicate, smooth-faced brown man of which the Subano, in
the western part, is typical. There are the Bagobo and the extensive
Manobo of eastern Mindanao in the neighborhood of the Gulf of Davao,
the latter people following the Agusan River practically to the
north coast of Mindanao. In southeastern Mindanao, in the vicinity
of Mount Apo and also north of the Gulf of Davao, are the Ata. They
are a scattered people and evidently a Negrito and primitive Malayan
mixture. In Nueva Vizcaya, Nueva Ecija, Isabela, and perhaps Principe,
of Luzon, are the Ibilao. They are a slender, delicate, bearded people,
with an artistic nature quite different from any other now known
in the island, but somewhat like that of the Ata of Mindanao. Their
artistic wood productions suggest the incised work of distant dwellers
of the Pacific, as that of the people of New Guinea, Fiji Islands,
or Hervey Islands. The seven so-called Christian tribes,[3] occupying
considerable areas in the coastwise lands and low plains of most of
the larger islands of the Archipelago, represent migrations to the
Archipelago subsequent to those of the Igorot and comparable tribes.

The last migrations of brown men into the Archipelago are historic. The
Spaniard discovered the inward flow of the large Samal Moro group --
after his arrival in the sixteenth century. The movement of this
nomadic "Sea Gipsy" Samal has not ceased to-day, but continues to
flow in and out among the small southern islands.

Besides the peoples here cited there are a score of others scattered
about the Archipelago, representing many grades of primitive culture,
but those mentioned are sufficient to suggest that the Islands have
been very effective in gathering up and holding divers groups of
primitive men.[4]


The Igorot Culture Group

Igorot land

Northern Luzon, or Igorot land, is by far the largest area in the
Philippine Archipelago having any semblance of regularity. It is
roughly rectangular in form, extending two and one-half degrees north
and south and two degrees east and west.

There are two prominent geographic features in northern Luzon. One is
the beautifully picturesque mountain system, the Caraballos, the most
important range of which is the Caraballos Occidentales, extending
north and south throughout the western part of the territory. This
range is the famous "Cordillera Central" for about three-quarters
of its extent northward, beyond which it is known as "Cordillera del
Norte." The other prominent feature is the extensive drainage system of
the eastern part, the Rio Grande de Cagayan draining northward into the
China Sea about two-thirds of the territory of northern Luzon. It is
the largest drainage system and the largest river in the Archipelago.

The surface of northern Luzon is made up of four distinct types. First
is the coastal plain -- a consistently narrow strip of land, generally
not over 3 or 4 miles wide. The soil is sandy silt with a considerable
admixture of vegetable matter. In some places it is loose, and shifts
readily before the winds; here and there are stretches of alluvial
clay loam. The sandy areas are often covered with coconut trees, and
the alluvial deposits along the rivers frequently become beds of nipa
palm as far back as tide water. The plain areas are generally poorly
watered except during the rainy season, having only the streams of
the steep mountains passing through them. These river beds are broad,
"quicky," impassable torrents in the rainy season, and are shallow
or practically dry during half the year, with only a narrow, lazy
thread flowing among the bowlders.

This plain area on the west coast is the undisputed dwelling place
of the Christian Ilokano, occupying pueblos in Union, Ilokos Sur,
and Ilokos Norte Provinces. Almost nothing is known of the eastern
coastal plain area. It is believed to be extremely narrow, and has
at least one pueblo, of Christianized Tagalog -- the famous Palanan,
the scene of Aguinaldo's capture.

The second type of surface is the coastal hill area. It extends from
the coastal plain irregularly back to the mountains, and is thought
to be much narrower on the eastern coast than on the western -- in
fact, it may be quite absent on the eastern. It is the remains of a
tilted plain sloping seaward from an altitude of about 1,000 feet to
one of, say, 100 feet, and its hilly nature is due to erosion. These
hills are generally covered only with grasses; the sheltered moister
places often produce rank growths of tall, coarse cogon grass.[5]
The soil varies from dark clay loam through the sandy loams to quite
extensive deposits of coarse gravel. The level stretches in the hills
on the west coast are generally in the possession of the Christian
peoples, though here and there are small pueblos of the large Igorot
group. The Igorot in these pueblos are undergoing transformation,
and quite generally wear clothing similar to that of the Ilokano.

The third type of surface is the mountain country -- the "temperate
zone of the Tropics"; it is the habitat of the Igorot. From the western
coastal hill area the mountains rise abruptly in parallel ranges lying
in a general north and south direction, and they subside only in the
foothills west of the great level bottom land bordering the Rio Grande
de Cagayan. The Cordillera Central is as fair and about as varied
a mountain country as the tropic sun shines on. It has mountains up
which one may climb from tropic forest jungles into open, pine-forested
parks, and up again into the dense tropic forest, with its drapery
of vines, its varied hanging orchids, and its graceful, lilting fern
trees. It has mountains forested to the upper rim on one side with
tropic jungle and on the other with sturdy pine trees; at the crest
line the children of the Tropics meet and intermingle with those of
the temperate zone. There are gigantic, rolling, bare backs whose only
covering is the carpet of grass periodically green and brown. There
are long, rambling, skeleton ranges with here and there pine forests
gradually creeping up the sides to the crests. There are solitary
volcanoes, now extinct, standing like things purposely let alone when
nature humbled the surrounding earth. There are sculptured lime rocks,
cities of them, with gray hovels and mansions and cathedrals.

The mountains present one interesting geologic feature. The
"hiker" is repeatedly delighted to find his trail passing quite
easily from one peak or ascent to another over a natural connecting
embankment. On either side of this connecting ridge is the head of a
deep, steep-walled canyon; the ridge is only a few hundred feet broad
at base, and only half a dozen to twenty feet wide at the top. These
ridges invariably have the appearance of being composed of soft earth,
and not of rock. They are appreciated by the primitive man, who takes
advantage of them as of bridges.

The mountains are well watered; the summits of most of the mountains
have perpetual springs of pure, cool waters. On the very tops of some
there are occasional perpetual water holes ranging from 10 to 100 feet
across. These holes have neither surface outlet nor inlet; there are
two such within two hours of Bontoc pueblo. They are the favorite
wallowing places of the carabao, the so-called "water buffalo,"[6]
both the wild and the half-domesticated animals.

The mountain streams are generally in deep gorges winding in and out
between the sharp folds of the mountains. Their beds are strewn with
bowlders, often of immense size, which have withstood the wearing of
waters and storms. During the rainy season the streams racing between
the bases of two mountain ridges are maddened torrents. Some streams,
born and fed on the very peaks, tumble 100, 500, even 1,500 feet
over precipices, landing white as snow in the merciless torrent at
the mountain base. During the dry season the rivers are fordable at
frequent intervals, but during the rainy season, beginning in the
Cordillera Central in June and lasting well through October, even
the natives hesitate often for a week at a time to cross them.

The absence of lakes is noteworthy in the mountain country of
northern Luzon -- in fact, in all of northern Luzon. The two large
lakes frequently shown on maps of Cagayan Province, one east and one
west of the Rio Grande de Cagayan near the eighteenth parallel, are
not known to exist, though it is probable there is some foundation for
the Spaniards' belief in the existence of at least the eastern one. In
the bottom land of the Rio Grande de Cagayan, about six hours west
of Cabagan Nuevo, near the provincial border of Cagayan and Isabela,
there were a hundred acres of land covered with shallow water the last
of October, 1902, just at the end of the dry season of the Cagayan
Valley. The surface was well covered with rank, coarse grasses and
filled with aquatic plants, especially with lilies. Apparently the
waters were slowly receding, since the earth about the margins was
supporting the short, coarse grasses that tell of the gradual drying
out of soils once covered with water. In the mountains near Sagada,
Bontoc Province, there is a very small lake, and one or two others
have been reported at Bontoc; but the mountains must be said to be
practically lakeless.

Another mountain range of northern Luzon, of which practically no
details are known, is the Sierra Madre, extending nearly the full
length of the country close to the eastern coast. It seems to be an
unbroken, continuous range, and, as such, is the longest mountain
range in the Archipelago.

The fourth type of surface is the level areas. These areas lie mainly
along the river courses, and vary from a few rods in width to the
valley of the Rio Grande de Cagayan, which is often 50 miles in width,
and probably more. There are, besides these river valleys, varying
tracts of level plains which may most correctly be termed mountain
table-lands. The limited mountain valleys and table-lands are the
immediate home of the Igorot. The valleys are worn by the streams,
and, in turn, are built up, leveled, and enriched by the sand and
alluvium deposited annually by the floods. They are generally open,
grass-covered areas, though some have become densely forested since
being left above the high water of the streams.

The broad valley of the Rio Grande de Cagayan is not occupied
by the Igorot. It is too poorly watered and forested to meet his
requirements. It is mainly a vast pasture, supporting countless deer;
along the foothills and the forest-grown creek and river bottoms
there are many wild hogs; and in some areas herds of wild carabaos
and horses are found. Near the main river is a numerous population
of Christians. Many are Ilokano imported originally by the tobacco
companies to carry on the large tobacco plantations of the valley,
and the others are the native Cagayan.

The table-lands were once generally forested, but to-day many are
deforested, undulating, beautiful pastures. Some were cleared by
the Igorot for agriculture, and doubtless others by forest fires,
such as one constantly sees during the dry season destroying the
mountain forests of northern Luzon.

General observations have not been made on the temperature and humidity
of much of the mountain country of northern Luzon. However, scientific
observations have been made and recorded for a series of about ten
years at Baguio, Benguet Province, at an altitude of 4,777 feet,
and it is from the published data there gathered that the following
facts are gained.[7] The temperature and rainfall are the average
means deduced from many years' observations:

Mean temperature
Number of rainy days















It is seen that April is the hottest month of the year and February is
the coldest. The absolute lowest temperature recorded is 42.10[degree]
Fahrenheit, noted February 18, 1902. Of course the temperature
varies considerably -- a fact due largely to altitude and prevailing
winds. The height of the rainy season is in August, during which it
rains every day, with an average precipitation of 37.03 inches. Baguio
is known as much rainier than many other places in the Cordillera
Central, yet it must be taken as more or less typical of the entire
mountain area of northern Luzon, throughout which the rainy season
is very uniform. Usually the days of the rainy season are beautiful
and clear during the forenoon, but all-day rains are not rare, and
each season has two or three storms of pelting, driving rain which
continues without a break for four or five days.

Igorot peoples

In several languages of northern Luzon the word "Ig-o-rot'" means
"mountain people." Dr. Pardo de Tavera says the word "Igorrote"
is composed of the root word "golot," meaning, in Tagalog, "mountain
chain," and the prefix "i," meaning "dweller in" or "people of." Morga
in 1609 used the word as "Igolot;" early Spaniards also used the word
frequently as "Ygolotes" -- and to-day some groups of the Igorot,
as the Bontoc group, do not pronounce the "r" sound, which common
usage now puts in the word. The Spaniards applied the term to the wild
peoples of present Benguet and Lepanto Provinces, now a short-haired,
peaceful people. In after years its common application spread eastward
to the natives of the comandancia of Quiangan, in the present Province
of Nueva Vizcaya, and northward to those of Bontoc.

The word "Ig-o-rot'" is now adopted tentatively as the name of the
extensive primitive Malayan people of northern Luzon, because it is
applied to a very large number of the mountain people by themselves and
also has a recognized usage in ethnologic and other writings. Its form
as "Ig-o-rot'" is adopted for both singular and plural, because it is
both natural and phonetic, and, because, so far as it is possible to
do so, it is thought wise to retain the simple native forms of such
words as it seems necessary or best to incorporate in our language,
especially in scientific language.

The sixteenth degree of north latitude cuts across Luzon probably as
far south as any people of the Igorot group are now located. It is
believed they occupy all the mountain country northward in the island
except the territory of the Ibilao in the southeastern part of the
area and some of the most inaccessible mountains in eastern Luzon,
which are occupied by Negritos.

There are from 150,000 to 225,000 Igorot in Igorot land. The census
of the Archipelago taken in 1903 will give the number as about
185,000. In the northern part of Pangasinan Province, the southwestern
part of the territory, there are reported about 3,150 pagan people
under various local names, as "Igorrotes," "Infieles" [pagans], and
"Nuevos Christianos." In Benguet Province there are some 23,000,
commonly known as "Benguet Igorrotes." In Union Province there are
about 4,400 primitive people, generally called "Igorrotes." Ilokos Sur
has nearly 8,000, half of whom are known to history as "Tinguianes"
and half as "Igorrotes." The Province of Ilokos Norte has nearly
9,000, which number is divided quite evenly between "Igorrotes,"
"Tinguianes," and "Infieles." Abra Province has in round numbers 13,500
pagan Malayans, most of whom are historically known as "Alzados" and
"Tinguianes." These Tinguian ethnically belong to the great Igorot
group, and in northern Bontoc Province, where they are known as Itneg,
flow into and are not distinguishable from the Igorot; but no effort is
made in this monograph to cut the Tinguian asunder from the position
they have gained in historic and ethnologic writings as a separate
people. The Province of Lepanto-Bontoc has, according to records,
about 70,500 "Igorrotes," "Tinguianes," and "Caylingas," but I believe
a more careful census will show it has nearer 100,000. Nueva Ecija is
reported to have half a hundred "Tinguianes." The Province of Nueva
Vizcaya has some 46,000 people locally and historically known as
"Bunnayans," a large group in the Spanish comandancia of Quiangan;
the "Silapanes," also a large group of people closely associated with
the Bunayan; the Isinay, a small group in the southern part of the
province; the Alamit, a considerable group of Silipan people dwelling
along the Alamit River in the comandancia of Quiangan; and the small
Ayangan group of the Bunayan people of Quiangan. Cagayan Province has
about 11,000 "Caylingas" and "Ipuyaos." Isabela Province is reported
as having about 2,700 primitive Malayans of the Igorot group; they
are historically known as "Igorrotes," "Gaddanes," "Calingas," and

The following forms of the above names of different dialect groups of
Ig-o-rot' have been adopted by The Ethnological Survey: Tin-gui-an',
Ka-lin'-ga, Bun-a-yan', I-sa-nay', A-la'-mit, Sil-i-pan', Ay-an'-gan,
I-pu-kao', and Gad-an'.

It is believed that all the mountain people of the northern half
of Luzon, except the Negritos, came to the island in some of the
earliest of the movements that swept the coasts of the Archipelago
from the south and spread over the inland areas -- succeeding waves
of people, having more culture, driving their cruder blood fellows
farther inland. Though originally of one blood, and though they
are all to-day in a similar broad culture-grade -- that is, all are
mountain agriculturists, and all are, or until recently have been,
head-hunters -- yet it does not follow that the Igorot groups have
to-day identical culture; quite the contrary is true. There are many
and wide differences even in important cultural expressions which are
due to environment, long isolation, and in some cases to ideas and
processes borrowed from different neighboring peoples. Very misleading
statements have sometimes been made in regard to the Igorot -- customs
from different groups have been jumbled together in one description
until a man has been pictured who can not be found anywhere. All
except the most general statements are worse than wasted unless a
particular group is designated.

An illustration of some of the differences between groups of typical
Igorot will make this clearer. I select as examples the people of
Bontoc and the adjoining Quiangan district in northern Nueva Vizcaya
Province, both of whom are commonly known as Igorot. It must be
noted that the people of both areas are practically unmodified by
modern culture and both are constant head-hunters. With scarcely
one exception Bontoc pueblos are single clusters of buildings;
in Banawi pueblo of the Quiangan area there are eleven separate
groups of dwellings, each group situated on a prominence which may
be easily protected by the inhabitants against an enemy below them;
and other Quiangan pueblos are similarly built. As will be brought out
in succeeding chapters, the social and political institutions of the
two peoples differ widely. In Bontoc the head weapon is a battle-ax,
in Quiangan it is a long knife. Most of the head-hunting practices
of the two peoples are different, especially as to the disposition of
the skulls of the victims. Bontoc men wear their hair long, and have
developed a small pocket-hat to confine the hair and contain small
objects carried about; the men of Quiangan wear their hair short, have
nothing whatever of the nature of the pocket-hat, but have developed
a unique hand bag which is used as a pocket. In the Quiangan area a
highly conventionalized wood-carving art has developed -- beautiful
eating spoons with figures of men and women carved on the handles
and food bowls cut in animal figures are everywhere found; while
in Bontoc only the most crude and artless wood carving is made. In
language there is such a difference that Bontoc men who accompanied
me into the northern part of the large Quiangan area, only a long day
from Bontoc pueblo, could not converse with Quiangan men, even about
such common things as travelers in a strange territory need to learn.

It is because of the many differences in cultural expressions between
even small and neighboring communities of the primitive people of the
Philippine Archipelago that I wish to be understood in this paper
as speaking of the one group -- the Bontoc Igorot culture group;
a group however, in every essential typical of the numerous Igorot
peoples of the mountains of northern Luzon.


The Bontoc Culture Group

Bontoc culture area

The Bontoc culture area nearly equals the old Spanish Distrito
Politico-Militar of Bontoc, presented to the American public in a
Government publication in 1900.[8]

The Spanish Bontoc area was estimated about 4,500 square
kilometers. This was probably too large an estimate, and it is
undoubtedly an overestimate for the Bontoc culture area, the northern
border of which is farther south than the border of the Spanish
Bontoc area.

The area is well in the center of northern Luzon and is cut off by
watersheds from other territory, except on the northeast. The most
prominent of these watersheds is Polis Mountain, extending along
the eastern and southern sides of the area; it is supposed to reach a
height of over 7,000 feet. The western watershed is an undifferentiated
range of the Cordillera Central. To the north stretches a large area
of the present Province of Bontoc, though until 1903 most of that
northern territory was embraced in the Province of Abra. The Province
of Isabela lies to the east; Nueva Vizcaya and Lepanto border the
area on the south, and Lepanto and Abra border it on the west.

The Bontoc culture area lies entirely in the mountains, and, with the
exception of two pueblos, it is all drained northeastward into the
Rio Grande de Cagayan by one river, the Rio Chico de Cagayan; but the
Rio Sibbu, coursing more directly eastward, is a considerable stream.

To-day one main trail enters Bontoc Province. It was originally
built by the Spaniards, and enters Bontoc pueblo from the southwest,
leading up from Cervantes in Lepanto Province. From Cervantes there
are two trails to the coast. One passes southward through Baguio in
Benguet Province and then stretches westward, terminating on the
coast at San Fernando, in Union Province. The other, the one most
commonly traveled to Bontoc, passes to the northwest, terminating on
the coast at Candon, in the Province of Ilokos Sur. The main trail,
entering Bontoc from Cervantes, passes through the pueblo and extends
to the northeast, quite closely following the trend of the Chico
River. In Spanish times it was seldom traveled farther than Bassao,
but several parties of Americans have been over it as far as the
Rio Grande de Cagayan since November, 1902. A second trail, also of
Spanish origin, but now practically unused, enters the area from the
south and connects Bontoc pueblo, its northern terminus, with the
valley of the Magat River far south. It passes through the pueblos
of Bayambang, Quiangan, and Banawi, in the Province of Nueva Vizcaya.

The main trail is to-day passable for a horseman from the coast
terminus to Tinglayan, three days beyond Bontoc pueblo. Practically
all other trails in the area are simply wild footpaths of the
Igorot. Candon, the coast terminus of the main trail, lies in the
coastal plain area about 4 1/4 miles from the sea. From the coast to
the small pueblo of Concepcion at the western base of the Cordillera
Central is a half-day's journey. The first half of the trail passes
over flat land, with here and there small pueblos surrounded by rice
sementeras. There are almost no forests. The latter half is through
the coastal hill area, and the trail frequently passes through small
forests; it crosses several rivers, dangerous to ford in the rainy
season, and winds in and out among attractive hills bearing clumps
of graceful, plume-like bamboo.

From Concepcion the trail leads up the mountain to Tilud Pass, historic
since the insurrection because of the brave stand made there by the
young, ill-fated General del Pilar. The climb to Tilud Pass, from
either side of the mountain, is one of the longest and most tedious in
northern Luzon. The trail frequently turns short on itself, so that
the front and rear parts of a pack train are traveling face to face,
and one end is not more than eight or ten rods above the other on the
side of the mountain. The last view of the sea from the Candon-Bontoc
trail is obtained at Tilud Pass. From Concepcion to Angaki, at the
base of the mountain on the eastern side of the pass, the trail is
about half a day long. From the pass it is a ceaseless drop down
the steep mountain, but affords the most charming views of mountain
scenery in northern Luzon. The shifting direction of the turning trail
and the various altitudes of the traveler present constantly changing
scenes -- mountains and mountains ramble on before one. From Angaki
to Cervantes the trail passes over deforested rolling mountain land,
with safe drinking water in only one small spring. Many travelers
who pass that part of the journey in the middle of the day complain
loudly of the heat and thirst experienced there.

Cervantes, said to be 70 miles from Candon, is the capital of the dual
Province of Lepanto-Bontoc. Bontoc pueblo lies inland only about 35
miles farther, but the greater part of two days is usually required to
reach it. Twenty minutes will carry a horseman down the bluff from
Cervantes, across the swift Abra -- if the stream is fordable --
and start him on the eastward mountain climb.

The first pueblo beyond Cervantes is Cayan, the old Spanish capital of
the district. About twenty-five years ago the site was changed from
Cayan to Cervantes because there was not sufficient suitable land
at Cayan. Cayan is about four hours from Cervantes, and every foot
of the trail is up the mountain. A short distance beyond Cayan the
trail divides to rejoin only at the outskirts of Bontoc pueblo; but
the right-hand or "lower" trail is not often traveled by horsemen. Up
and up the mountain one climbs from about 1,800 feet at Cervantes to
about 6,000 feet among the pines, and then slowly descends, having
crossed the boundary line between Lepanto and Bontoc subprovinces to
the pueblo of Bagnen -- the last one before the Bontoc culture area
is entered. It is customary to spend the night on the trail, as one
goes into Bontoc, either at Bagnen or at Sagada, a pueblo about two
hours farther on.

Only along the top of the high mountain, before Bagnen is reached,
does the trail pass through a forest -- otherwise it is always
climbing up or winding about the mountains deforested probably by
fires. Practically all the immediate territory on the right hand of
the trail between Bagnen and Sagada is occupied by the beautifully
terraced rice sementeras of Balugan; the valley contains more than a
thousand acres so cultivated. At Sagada lime rocks -- some eroded into
gigantic, massive forms, others into fantastic spires and domes --
everywhere crop out from the grassy hills. Up and down the mountains
the trail leads, passing another small pine forest near Ankiling
and Titipan, about four hours from Bontoc, and then creeps on and
at last through the terraced entrance way into the mountain pocket
where Bontoc pueblo lies, about 100 miles from the western coast,
and, by Government aneroid barometer, about 2,800 feet above the sea.

Marks of Bontoc culture

It is difficult and often impossible to state the essential difference
in culture which distinguishes one group of people from another. It
is more difficult to draw lines of distinction, for the culture of
one group almost imperceptibly flows into that of another adjoining it.

However, two fundamental institutions of the people of Bontoc seem to
differ from those of most adjoining people. One of these institutions
has to do with the control of the pueblo. Bontoc has not developed
the headman -- the "principal" of the Spaniard, the "Bak-nan'"
of the Benguet Igorot -- the one rich man who becomes the pueblo,
leader. In Benguet Province the headman is found in every pueblo,
and he is so powerful that he often dominates half a dozen outlying
barrios to the extent that he receives a large share, often one-half,
of the output of all the productive labors of the barrio. Immediately
north of the Bontoc area, in Tinglayan, the headman is again found. He
has no place whatever in Bontoc. The control of the pueblos of the
Bontoc area is in the hands of groups of old men; however, each
group, called "intugtukan," operates only within a single political
and geographic portion of the pueblo, so that no one group has in
charge the control of the pueblo. The pueblo is a loose federation
of smaller political groups.

The other institution is a social development. It is the olag,
an institution of trial marriage. It is not known to exist among
adjoining people, but is found throughout the area in which the
intugtukan exists; they are apparently coextensive. I was repeatedly
informed that the olag is not found in the Banawi area south of Bontoc,
or in the Tinglayan area east, or among the Tinguian to the north,
or in Benguet far southwest, or in Lepanto immediately southwest --
though I have some reason to believe that both the intugtukan and
olag exist in a crumbling way among certain Lepanto Igorot.

Besides these two institutions there are other differing marks of
culture between the Bontoc area and adjoining people. Some of these
were suggested a few pages back, others will appear in following pages.

Without doubt the limits of the spread of the common culture have
been determined mainly by the physiography of the country. One of the
two pueblos in the area not on the common drainage system is Lias,
but Lias was largely built by a migration from Bontoc pueblo -- the
hotbed of Bontoc culture. Barlig, the other pueblo not on the common
drainage system (both Barlig and Lias are on the Sibbu River), lies
between Lias and the other pueblos of the Bontoc culture area, and so
naturally has been drawn in line and held in line with the culture
of the geographic area in which it is located -- its institutions
are those of its environment.

The Bontoc man


The Bontoc Igorot has been in Bontoc longer than the endurance of
tradition, for he says he never lived elsewhere, that he never drove
any people out before him, and that he was never driven; and has
always called himself the "I-pu-kao'" or "I-fu-gao'" -- the "people."

This word for people survives not only throughout the Province
of Bontoc but also far toward the northern end of Luzon, where it
appears as "Apayao" or "Yaos." Bontoc designates the people of the
Quiangan region as "I-fu-gao'," though a part of them at least have
a different name for themselves.

The Bontoc Igorot have their center in the pueblo of Bontoc,
pronounced "Ban-tak'," a Spanish corruption of the Igorot name
"Fun-tak'," a common native word for mountain, the original name
of the pueblo. To the northwest their culture extends to that of
the historic Tinguian, a long-haired folk physiographically cut off
by a watershed. To the east of the Cordillera Central the Tinguian
call themselves "It-neg'." To the northeast the Bontoc culture area
embraces the pueblo of Basao, stopping short of Tinglayan. The eastern
limit of Bontoc culture is fixed by the pueblos of Lias and Barlig,
and is thus about coextensive with the province. Southward the area
includes all to the top of the watershed of Polis Mountain, which
turns southward the numerous streams feeding the Rio Magat. The
pueblos south of this watershed -- Lubong, Gisang, Banawi, etc. --
belong to the short-haired people of Quiangan culture. To the west
Bontoc culture extends to the watershed of the Cordillera Central,
which turns westward the various affluents of the Rio del Abra. On
the southwest this cuts off the short-haired Lepanto Igorot, whose
culture seems to be more allied to that of Benguet than Bontoc.

The men of the Bontoc area know none of the peoples by whom they
are surrounded by the names history gives or the peoples designate
themselves, with the exception of the Lepanto Igorot, the It-neg',
and the Ilokano of the west coast. They do not know the "Tinguian"
of Abra on their north and northwest by that name; they call them
"It-neg'." Farther north are the people called by the Spaniards
"Nabayuganes," "Aripas," and "Ipugaos;" to the northeast and east
are the "Caylingas," "Comunanges," "Bayabonanes," "Dayags," and
"Gaddannes" -- but Bontoc knows none of these names. Bontoc culture
and Kalinga culture lie close together on the east, and the people of
Bontoc pueblo name all their eastern neighbors It-neg' -- the same
term they apply to the Tinguian to the west and northwest, because,
they say, they all wear great quantities of brass on the arms and
legs. To the south of Bontoc are the Quiangan Igorot, the Banawi
division of which, at least, names itself May'-yo-yet, but whom Bontoc
calls "I-fu-gao'." They designate the people of Benguet the "Igorot
of Benguet," but these peoples designate themselves "Ib-a-loi'" in
the northern part, and "Kan-ka-nay'" in the southern part, neither
of which names Bontoc knows.

She has still another set of names for the people surrounding her
-- people whom she vaguely knows are there but of whom or of whose
lands she has no first-hand knowledge. The people to the north are
"Am-yan'-an," and the northern country is "La'-god." The "Day'-ya"
are the eastern people, while "Bar'-lig" is the name of the eastern
and southeastern land. "Ab-a-ga'-tan" are the people of the south, and
"Fi'-lig ab-a-ga'-tan," is the south land. The people of the west are
"Loa'-od," and "Fi'-lig lao'-od," or "Lo'-ko" (the Provinces of Ilokos
Norte and Ilokos Sur) is the country lying to the west and southwest.

Some of the old men of Bontoc say that in the past the Igorot people
once extended to the seacoast in the Provinces of Ilokos Norte
and Ilokos Sur. This, of course, is a tradition of the prehistoric
time before the Ilokano invaded northern Luzon; but, as has been
stated, the Bontoc people claim never to have been driven by that
invasion, neither have they any knowledge of such a movement. It is
not improbable, however, that traditions of the invasion may linger
with the people nearer the coast and farther north.

Historical sketch

It is regretted that the once voluminous historical records and data
which the Spaniards prepared and kept at Bontoc were burned -- tons of
paper, they say -- probably late in 1898 or early in 1899 by Captain
Angels, an insurrecto. However, from scanty printed historical data,
but mostly from information gathered in Bontoc from Igorot and resident
Ilokano, the following brief sketch is presented, with the hope that it
will show the nature of the outside influences which have been about
Bontoc for the past half century prior to American occupation. It is
believed that the data are sufficiently truthful for this purpose,
but no claim is made for historical accuracy.

It seems that in 1665 the Spanish governor of the Philippines,
Governor-General D. Diego de Salcedo, sent an expedition from Manila
into northern Luzon. Some time during the three years the expedition
was out its influence was felt in Fidelisan and Tanolang, two pueblos
in the western part of the Bontoc culture area, for history says they
paid tribute.[9] It is not probable that any considerable party from
the expedition penetrated the Igorot mountain country as far as the
above pueblos.

After the year 1700 expeditions occasionally reached Cayan, which,
until about twenty-five years ago, as has been stated, was a Spanish
capital. In 1852 the entire territory of present Lepanto-Bontoc and a
large part of northern Nueva Vizcaya were organized as an independent
"distrito," under the name of "Valle de Cayan;"[10] and a few years
later, though the author does not give the date, Bontoc was established
as an independent "distrito."

The Spaniards and Ilokano in and about Bontoc Province say that it
was about fifty years ago that the Spaniards first came to Bontoc. The
time agrees very accurately with the time of the establishment of the
district. From then until 1899 there was a Spanish garrison of 200
or 300 men stationed in Bontoc pueblo. Christian Ilokano from the
west coast of northern Luzon and the Christian Tagalog from Manila
and vicinity were the soldiers.

The Spanish comandante of the "distrito," the head of the
political-military government, resided there, and there were also
a few Spanish army officers and an army chaplain. A large garrison
was quartered in Cervantes; there was a church in both Bontoc and
Cervantes. In the district of Bontoc there was a Spanish post at
Sagada, between the two capitals, Bontoc and Cervantes. Farther to the
east was a post at Tukukan and Sakasakan, and farther east, at Basao,
there was a post, a church, and a priest.

Most of the pueblos had Ilokano presidentes. The Igorot say that the
Spaniards did little for them except to shoot them. There is yet a
long, heavy wooden stock in Bontoc pueblo in which the Igorot were
imprisoned. Igorot women were made the mistresses of both officers and
soldiers. Work, food, fuel, and lumber were not always paid for. All
persons 18 or more years old were required to pay an annual tax of 50
cents or an equivalent value in rice. A day's wage was only 5 cents,
so each family was required to pay an equivalent of twenty days' labor
annually. In wild towns the principal men were told to bring in so
many thousand bunches of palay -- the unthreshed rice. If it was not
all brought in, the soldiers frequently went for it, accompanied by
Igorot warriors; they gathered up the rice, and sometimes burned the
entire pueblo. Apad, the principal man of Tinglayan, was confined six
years in Spanish jails at Bontoc and Vigan because he repeatedly failed
to compel his people to bring in the amount of palay assessed them.

They say there were three small guardhouses on the outskirts of Bontoc
pueblo, and armed Igorot from an outside town were not allowed to
enter. They were disarmed, and came and went under guard.

The Spanish comandantes in charge of the province seem to have remained
only about two years each. Saldero was the last one. Early in the
eighties of the nineteenth century the comandante took his command
to Barlig, a day east of Bontoc, to punish that town because it had
killed people in Tulubin and Samoki; Barlig all but exterminated
the command -- only three men escaped to tell the tale. Mandicota, a
Spanish officer, went from Manila with a battalion of 1,000 soldiers
to erase Barlig from the map; he was also accompanied from Bontoc
by 800 warriors from that vicinity. The Barlig people fled to the
mountains, losing only seven men, whose heads the Bontoc Igorot cut
off and brought home.

Comandante Villameres is reported to have taken twenty soldiers and
about 520 warriors of Bontoc and Samoki to punish Tukukan for killing
a Samoki woman; the warriors returned with three heads.

They say that in 1891 Comandante Alfaro took 40 soldiers and 1,000
warriors from the vicinity of Bontoc to Ankiling; sixty heads adorned
the triumphant return of the warriors.

In 1893 Nevas is said to have taken 100 soldiers and 500 warriors to
Sadanga; they brought back one head.

A few years later Saldero went to "clear up" rebellious Sagada with
soldiers and Igorot warriors; Bontoc reports that the warriors returned
with 100 heads.

The insurrectos appeared before Cervantes two or three months after
Saldero's bloody work in Sagada. The Spanish garrison fled before
the insurrectos; the Spanish civilians went with them, taking their
flocks and herds to Bontoc. A thousand pesos was the price offered
by the Igorot of Sagada to the insurrectos for Saldero's head when
the Philippine soldiers passed through the pueblo; but Saldero made
good his escape from Bontoc, and left the country by boat from Vigan.

The Bontoc Igorot assisted the insurrectos in many ways when they
first came. About 2 miles west of Bontoc is a Spanish rifle pit,
and there the Spanish soldiers, now swelled to about 600 men, lay
in wait for the insurrectos. There on two hilltops an historic sham
battle occurred. The two forces were nearly a mile apart, and at that
distance they exchanged rifle bullets three days. The Spaniards finally
surrendered, on condition of safe escort to the coast. For fifty years
they had conquered their enemy who were armed only with spear and ax;
but the insurrectos were armed with guns. However, the really hard
pressing came from the rear -- there were still the ax and spear --
and few soldiers from cuartel or trench who tried to bring food or
water for the fighting men ever reported why they were delayed.

The feeling of friendship between the Igorot and insurrectos was so
strong that when the insurrectos asked the Igorot to go to Manila
to fight the new enemy (the Americans), 400 warriors, armed only
with spear, battle-ax, and shield, went a three weeks' journey to
get American heads. At Caloocan, just outside Manila, they met the
American Army early in February, 1899. They threw their spears, the
Americans fired their guns -- "which must be brothers to the thunder,"
the Igorot said -- and they let fall their remaining weapons, and,
panic stricken, started home. All but thirteen arrived in safety. They
are not ashamed of their defeat and retreat; they made a mistake when
they went to fight the Americans, and they were quick to see it. They
are largely blessed with the saving sense of humor, and some of the
warriors who were at Caloocan have been known to say that they never
stopped running until they arrived home.

When these men told their people in Bontoc what part they and
the insurrectos played in the fight against the Americans, the
tension between the Igorot and insurrectos was at its greatest. The
insurrectos were evidently worse than the Spaniards. They did all
the things the Spaniards had done, and more -- they robbed through
falsehood. Consequently, insurrectos frequently lost their heads.

Major Marsh went through Bontoc close after Aguinaldo in December,
1899. The Igorot befriended the Americans; they brought them food
and guided them faithfully along the bewildering mountain trails
when the insurrectos split and scattered -- anywhere, everywhere,
fleeing eastward, northward, southward, in the mountains.

When Major Marsh returned through Bontoc, after following Aguinaldo
into the heart of the Quiangan area, he left in the pueblo some sixty
shoeless men under a volunteer lieutenant. The lieutenant promptly
appointed an Ilokano presidente, vice-presidente, secretary, and
police force in Bontoc and also in Sagada, and when the soldiers left
in a few weeks he gave seven guns to the "officials" in Bontoc and
two to those in Sagada. A short time proved that those "officials"
were untrustworthy men; many were insurrectos who had dropped
behind Aguinaldo. They persecuted the Igorot even worse than had the
insurrectos. They seemed to have the American Army behind them --
and the Igorot stood in awe of American arms.

The crisis came. An Igorot obtained possession of one of the guns,
and the Ilokano chief of police was killed and his corporal wounded.

This shooting, at the time apparently unpremeditated, but, in reality,
carefully planned and successfully executed, was the cause of the
arrival in Bontoc pueblo of the first American civilians. At that time
a party of twenty Americans was at Fidelisan, a long day northwest
of Bontoc; they were prospecting and sightseeing. The Ilokano sent
these men a letter, and the Igorot sent a messenger, begging them to
come to the help of the pueblo. Three men went on August 27, 1900;
they were Truman K. Hunt, M.D., Mr. Frank Finley, and Mr. Riley. The
disagreement was settled, and several Ilokano families left Bontoc
under the protection of Mr. Riley.

August 9, 1901, when the Board of Health for the Philippine Islands
was organized, Dr. Hunt, who had remained in Bontoc most of the
preceding year, was appointed "superintendent of public vaccination
and inspection of infectious diseases for the Provinces of Bontoc
and Lepanto." He was stationed at Bontoc. About that time another
American civilian came to the province -- Mr. Reuben H. Morley, now
secretary-treasurer of the Province of Nueva Vizcaya, who lived nearly
a year in Tulubin, two hours from Bontoc. December 14 Mr. William
F. Smith, an American teacher, was sent to Bontoc to open a school.

Early in 1902 Constabulary inspectors, Lieutenants Louis A. Powless and
Ernest A. Eckman, also came. May 28, 1902, the Philippine Commission
organized the Province of Lepanto-Bontoc; on June 9 Dr. Hunt was
appointed lieutenant-governor of the province. May 1, 1903, Dr. Hunt
resigned and E. A. Wagar, M.D., became his successor.

The Spaniard was in Bontoc about fifty years. To summarize the Spanish
influence on the Igorot -- and this includes any influence which the
Ilokano or Tagalog may have had since they came among the people under
Spanish protection -- it is believed that no essential institution of
the Igorot has been weakened or vitiated to any appreciable degree. No
Igorot attended the school which the Spaniards had in Bontoc;
to-day not ten Igorot of the pueblo can make themselves understood
in Spanish about the commonest things around them. I fail to detect
any occupation, method, or device of the Igorot which the Spaniards'
influence improved; and the Igorot flatly deny any such influence.

The Spaniard put the institution of pueblo presidente pretty well
throughout the area now in province, but the presidente in no way
interferes with the routine life of the people -- he is the mouthpiece
of the Government asking for labor and the daily necessities of a
nonproductive, resident foreign population.

The "tax" levied was scarcely in the nature of a modern tax; it was
more the means taken by the Spaniard to secure his necessary food. In
no other way was the political life and organization of the pueblo
affected. In the realm of religion and spirit belief the surface
has scarcely been scratched. The only Igorot who became Christians
were the wives of some of the Christian natives who came in with the
Spaniard, mainly as soldiers. There are now eight or ten such women,
wives of the resident Ilokanos of Bontoc pueblo, but those whose
husbands left the pueblo have reverted to Igorot faith.

In the matter of war and head-hunting the effect of the Spaniard was
to intensify the natural instinct of the Igorot in and about Bontoc
pueblo. Nineteen men in twenty of Bontoc and Samoki have taken a human
head, and it has been seen under what conditions and influences some of
those heads were taken. An Igorot, whose confidence I believe I have,
an old man who represents the knowledge and wisdom of the people, told
me recently that if the Americans wanted the people of Bontoc to go out
against a pueblo they would gladly go; and he added, suggestively, that
when the Spaniards were there the old men had much better food than
now, for many hogs were killed in the celebration of war expeditions
-- and the old men got the greater part of the meat. The Igorot is a
natural head-hunter, and his training for the last sixty years seems
to have done little more for him than whet this appetite.



The Bontoc men average about 5 feet 4 1/8 inches in height, and have
the appearance of being taller than they are. Again and again one
is deceived by their height, and he repeatedly backs a 5-foot-7-inch
Igorot up against a 6-foot American, vainly expecting the stature of
the brown man to equal that of the white. Almost never does the Bontoc
man appear heavy or thickset, as does his brother, the Benguet Igorot
-- the human pack horse seen so constantly on the San Fernando-Baguio
trail -- muscularly one of the most highly developed primitive people
in the world to-day

Of thirty-two men measured from Bontoc and vicinity the shortest was
4 feet 9 1/8 inches and the tallest was slightly more than 5 feet 9
inches. The following table presents the average measurements of the
thirty-two men:

Average measurements of Bontoc men




Spread of arms

Head length

Head breadth

Cephalic index (per cent)

Nasal length

Nasal breadth

Nasal index (per cent)

From these measurements it appears that the composite man --
the average of the combined measurements of thirty-two men -- is
mesaticephalic. Among the thirty-two men the extremes of cephalic index
are 91.48 and 67.48. This first measurement is of a young man between
20 and 25 years of age. It stands far removed from other measurements,
the one nearest it being 86.78, that of a man about 60 years old. The
other extreme is 67.48, the measure of a young man between 25 and 30
years of age. Among the thirty-two men, nine are brachycephalic -- that
is, their cephalic index is greater than 80; twenty of the thirty-two
are mesaticephalic, with cephalic index between 75 and 80; and only
three are dolichocephalic -- that is, the cephalic index is below 75.

The nasal indexes of the thirty-two men show that the Bontoc man
has the "medium" or mesorhine nose. They also show that one is
very extremely platyrhine, the index being 104.54, and one is very
leptorhine, being 58.18. Of the total, five are leptorhine -- that
is, have the "narrow" nose with nasal index below 70. Seventeen men
are mesorhine, with the "medium" nose with nasal index between 70
and 85; and ten are platyrhine -- that is, the noses are "broad,"
with an index greater than 85.

The Bontoc men are never corpulent, and, with the exception of the
very old, they are seldom poor. During the period of a man's prime he
is usually muscled to an excellent symmetry. His neck, never long, is
well formed and strong and supports the head in erect position. His
shoulders are broad, even, and full muscled, and with seeming ease
carry transportation baskets laden with 75 to 100 pounds. His arms
are smoothly developed and are about the same relative length as the
American's. The hands are strong and short. The waist line is firm
and smaller than the shoulders or hips. The buttocks usually appear
heavy. His legs are generally straight; the thighs and calves are those
of a prime pedestrian accustomed to long and frequent walks. The ankles
are seldom thick; and the feet are broad and relatively short, and,
almost without exception, are placed on the ground straight ahead. He
has the feet of a pedestrian -- not the inturned feet of the constant
bearer of heavy burdens on the back or the outturned feet of the
man who sits or stands. The perfection of muscular development of
two-thirds of the men of Bontoc between the ages of 25 and 30 would
be the envy of the average college athlete in the States.

In color the men are brown, though there is a wide range of tone from
a light brown with a strong saffron undertone to a very dark brown
-- as near a bronze as can well be imagined. The sun has more to do
with the different color tones than has anything else, after which
habits of personal cleanliness play a very large role. There are men
in the Bontoc Igorot Constabulary of an extremely light-brown color,
more saffron than brown, who have been wearing clothing for only one
year. During the year the diet of the men in the Constabulary has
been practically the same as that of their darker brothers among whom
they were enlisted only twelve months ago. All the members of the
Constabulary differ much more in color from the unclothed men than
the unclothed differ among themselves. Man after man of these latter
may pass under the eye without revealing a tint of saffron, yet there
are many who show it faintly. The natural Igorot never washes himself
clean. He washes frequently, but lacks the means of cleansing the skin,
and the dirtier he is the more bronze-like he appears. At all times his
face looks lighter and more saffron-tinted than the remainder of his
body. There are two reasons for this -- because the face is more often
washed and because of its contrast with the black hair of the head.

The hair of the head is black, straight, coarse, and relatively
abundant. It is worn long, frequently more than half way to the hips
from the shoulders. The front is "banged" low and square across the
forehead, cut with the battle-ax; this line of cut runs to above and
somewhat back of the ear, the hair of the scalp below it being cut
close to the head. When the men age, a few gray hairs appear, and
some old men have heads of uniform iron-gray color. I have never seen
a white-haired Igorot. A few of the old men have their hair thinning
on the crown, but a tendency to baldness is by no means the rule.

Bontoc pueblo is no exception to the rule that every pueblo in the
Philippines has a few people with curly or wavy hair. I doubt whether
to-day an entire tribe of perfectly straight-haired primitive Malayan
people exists in the Archipelago. Fu-nit is a curly-haired Bontoc
man of about 45 years of age. Many people told me that his father
and also his grandfather were members of the pueblo and had curly
hair. I have never been able to find any hint at foreign or Negrito
blood in any of the several curly haired people in the Bontoc culture
area whose ancestors I have tried to discover.

The scanty growth of hair on the face of the Bontoc man is pulled
out. A small pebble and the thumb nail or the blade of the battle-ax
and the bulb of the thumb are frequently used as forceps; they never
cut the hair of the face. It is common to see men of all ages with
a very sparse growth of hair on the upper lip or chin, and one of
50 years in Bontoc has a fairly heavy 4-inch growth of gray hair on
his chin and throat; he is shown in Pl. XIII. Their bodies are quite
free from hair. There is none on the breast, and seldom any on the
legs. The pelvic growth is always pulled out by the unmarried. The
growth in the armpits is scant, but is not removed.

The iris of the eye is brown -- often rimmed with a lighter or darker
ring. The brown of the iris ranges from nearly black to a soft hazel
brown. The cornea is frequently blotched with red or yellow. The
Malayan fold of the upper eyelid is seen in a large majority of the
men, the fold being so low that it hangs over and hides the roots of
the lashes. The lashes appear to grow from behind the lid rather than
from its rim.

The teeth are large and strong, and, whereas in old age they frequently
become few and discolored, during prime they are often white and
clean. The people never artificially stain the teeth, and, though
surrounded by betel-nut chewers with dark teeth or red-stained lips,
they do not use the betel.

Since the Igorot keeps no record of years, it is impossible to know
his age, but it is believed that sufficient comparative data have
been collected in Bontoc to make the following estimates reliable:

At the age of 20 a man seems hardly to have reached his physical best;
this he attains, however, before he is 25. By 35 he begins to show the
marks of age. By 45 most of the men are fast getting "old"; their faces
are seamed, their muscles losing form, their carriage less erect, and
the step slower. By 55 all are old -- most are bent and thin. Probably
not over one or two in a hundred mature men live to be 70 years old.

The following census taken from a Spanish manuscript found in Quiangan,
and written in 1894, may be taken as representative of an average
Igorot pueblo:

Census of Magulang, district of Quiangan


0 to 1

1 to 5

5 to 10

10 to 15

15 to 20

20 to 30

30 to 40

40 to 50

50 and over


From this census it seems that the Magulang Igorot man is at his
prime between the ages of 30 and 40 years, and that the death rate
for men between the ages of 40 and 50 is nearly as great as the
death rate among children between 5 to 10 years of age, being 52.7
per cent. Beyond the age of 50 collapse is sudden, since all the men
more than 50 years old are less than half the number of those between
the ages of 40 and 50 years.


The women average 4 feet 9 3/8 inches in height. In appearance they
are short and stocky. Twenty-nine women from Bontoc and vicinity were
measured; the tallest was 5 feet 4 3/4 inches, and the shortest 4 feet
4 3/4 inches. The following table presents the average measurements
of twenty-nine women:

Average measurements of Bontoc women




Spread of arms

Head length

Head breadth

Cephalic index (per cent)

Nasal length

Nasal breadth

Nasal index (per cent)

These measurements show that the composite woman -- the average
of the measurements of twenty-nine women -- is mesaticephalic. The
extremes of cephalic index are 87.64 and 64.89; both are measurements
of women about 35 years of age. Of the twenty-nine women twelve
are brachycephalic; twelve are mesaticephalic; and five are

The Bontoc woman has a "medium," or mesorhine, nose, as is shown by
the above figures. Four of the twenty-nine women have the "narrow"
leptorhine nose with nasal index below 70; seven have platyrhine or
the "broad" nose with index greater than 85; while seventeen have the
"medium" or mesorhine nose with nasal index between 70 and 85. The
broadest nose has an index of 97.56, and the narrowest an index
of 58.53.

The women reach the age of maturity well prepared for its
responsibilities. They have more adipose tissue than the men, yet are
never fat. The head is carried erect, but with a certain stiffness
-- often due, in part, no doubt, to shyness, and in part to the fact
that they carry all their burdens on their heads. I believe the neck
more often appears short than does the neck of the man. The shoulders
are broad, and flat across the back. The breasts are large, full,
and well supported. The hips are broad and well set, and the waist
(there is no natural waist line) is frequently no smaller than the
hips, though smaller than the shoulders. Their arms are smooth and
strong, and they throw stones as men do, with the full-arm throw from
the shoulder. Their hands are short and strong. Their legs are almost
invariably straight, but are probably more frequently bowed at the
knees than are the men's. The thighs are sturdy and strong, and the
calves not infrequently over-large. This enlargement runs low down,
so the ankles, never slender, very often appear coarse and large. In
consequence of this heavy lower leg, the feet, short at best, usually
look much too short. They are placed on the ground straight ahead,
though the tendency to inturned feet is slightly more noticeable than
it is among the men.

Their carriage is a healthful one, though it is not always graceful,
since their long strides commonly give the prominent buttocks a jerky
movement. They prove the naturalness of that style of walking which, in
profile, shows the chest thrust forward and the buttocks backward; the
abdomen is in, and the shoulders do not swing as the strides are made.

It can not be said that at base the color of the women's skin differs
from that of the men, but the saffron undertone is more commonly
seen than it is in the unclothed men. It shows on the shaded parts
of the body, and where the skin is distended, as on the breast and
about certain features of the face.

The hair of the head is like that of the man's; it is worn long, and
is twisted and wound about the head. It has a tendency to fall out
as age comes on, but does not seem thin on the head. The tendency to
gray hairs is apparently somewhat less than it is with the men. The
remainder of the body is exceptionally free from hair. The growth in
the armpits and the pelvic hair are always pulled out by the unmarried,
and a large per cent of the women do not allow it to grow even in
old age.

Their eyes are brown, varied as are those of the men, and with the
Malayan fold of the upper eyelid.

Their teeth are generally whiter and cleaner than are those of their
male companions, a condition due largely, probably, to the fact that
few of the women smoke.

They seem to reach maturity at about 17 or 18 years of age. The
first child is commonly born between the ages of 16 and 22. At 23 the
woman has certainly reached her prime. By 30 she is getting "old";
before 45 the women are old, with flat, pendent folds of skin where
the breasts were. The entire front of the body -- in prime full,
rounded, and smooth -- has become flabby, wrinkled, and folded. It is
only a short time before collapse of the tissue takes place in all
parts of the body. An old woman, say, at 50, is a mass of wrinkles
from foot to forehead; the arms and legs lose their plumpness,
the skin is "bagged" at the knees into half a dozen large folds;
and the disappearance of adipose tissue from the trunk-front, sides,
and back -- has left the skin not only wrinkled but loose and flabby,
folding over the girdle at the waist.

The census of Magulang, page 42, should be again referred to, from
which it appears that the death rate among women is greater between
the ages of 40 and 50 years than it is with men, being 55.66 per
cent. The census shows also that there are relatively a larger number
of old women -- that is, over 50 years old -- than there are old men.


The death rate among children is large. Of fifteen families in Bontoc,
each having had three or more children, the death rate up to the age
of puberty was over 60 per cent. According to the Magulang census
the death rate of children from 5 to 10 years of age is 63.73 per cent.

The new-born babe is as light in color as the average American babe,
and is much less red, instead of which color there is the slightest
tint of saffron. As the babe lies naked on its mother's naked breast
the light color is most strikingly apparent by contrast. The darker
color, the brown, gradually comes, however, as the babe is exposed
to the sun and wind, until the child of a year or two carried on its
mother's back is practically one with the mother in color.

Some of the babes, perhaps all, are born with an abundance of dark hair
on the head. A child's hair is never cut, except that from about the
age of 3 years the boy's hair is "banged" across the forehead. Fully
30 per cent of children up to 5 or 6 years of age have brown hair --
due largely to fading, as the outer is much lighter than the under
hair. In rare cases the lighter brown hair assumes a distinctly red
cast, though a faded lifeless red. Before puberty is reached, however,
all children have glossy black hair.

The iris of a new-born babe is sometimes a blue brown; it is decidedly
a different brown from that of the adult or of the child of five
years. Most children have the Malayan fold of the eyelid; the lower
lid is often much straighter than it is on the average American. When,
in addition to these conditions, the outer corner of the eye is higher
than the inner, the eye is somewhat Mongolian in appearance. About
one-fifth of the children in Bontoc have this Mongolian-like eye,
though it is rarer among adults -- a fact due, in part, apparently,
to the down curving and sagging of the lower lid as one's prime is
reached and passed.

Children's teeth are clean and white, and very generally remain so
until maturity.

The child from 1 to 3 years of age is plump and chubby; his front
is full and rounded, but lacks the extra abdominal development so
common with the children of the lowlands, and which has received from
the American the popular name of "banana belly." By the age of 7 the
child has lost its plump, rounded form, which is never again had by
the boys but is attained by the girls again early in puberty. During
these last half dozen years of childhood all children are slender and
agile and wonderfully attractive in their naturalness. Both girls and
boys reach puberty at a later time than would be expected, though data
can not be gathered to determine accurately the age at puberty. All the
Ilokano in Bontoc pueblo consistently maintain that girls do not reach
puberty until at least 16 and 17 years of age. Perhaps it is arrived
at by 14 or 15, but I feel certain it is not as early as 12 or 13 --
a condition one might expect to find among people in the tropics.


The most serious permanent physical affliction the Bontoc Igorot
suffers is blindness. Fully 2 per cent of the people both of Bontoc
and her sister pueblo, Samoki, are blind; probably 2 per cent more
are partially so. Bontoc has one blind boy only 3 years old, but
I know of no other blind children; and it is claimed that no babes
are born blind. There is one woman in Bontoc approaching 20 years
of age who is nearly blind, and whose mother and older sister are
blind. Blindness is very common among the old people, and seems to
come on with the general breaking down of the body.

A few of the people say their blindness is due to the smoke in their
dwellings. This doubtless has much to do with the infirmity, as their
private and public buildings are very smoky much of the time, and
when the nights are at all chilly a fire is built in their closed,
low, and chimneyless sleeping rooms. There are many persons with
inflamed and granulated eyelids whose vision is little or not at all
impaired -- a forerunner of blindness probably often caused by smoke.

Twenty per cent of the adults have abnormal feet. The most common
and most striking abnormality is that known as "fa'-wing"; it is an
inturning of the great toe. Fa'-wing occurs in all stages from the
slightest spreading to that approximating forty-five degrees. It is
found widely scattered among the barefoot mountain tribes of northern
Luzon. The people say it is due to mountain climbing, and their
explanation is probably correct, as the great toe is used much as is
a claw in securing a footing on the slippery, steep trails during the
rainy reason. Fa'-wing occurs quite as commonly with women as with men,
and in Ambuklao, Benguet Province, I saw a boy of 8 or 9 years whose
great toes were spread half as much as those shown in Pl. XXV. This
deformity occurs on one or both feet, but generally on both if at all.

An enlargement of the basal joint of the great toe, probably a bunion,
is also comparatively common. It is not improbable that it is often
caused by stone bruises, as such are of frequent occurrence; they
are sometimes very serious, laying a person up ten days at a time.

The feet of adults who work in the water-filled rice paddies are dry,
seamed, and cracked on the bottoms. These "rice-paddy feet," called
"fung-as'," are often so sore that the person can not go on the trails
for any considerable distance.

I believe not 5 per cent of the people are without eruptions of
the skin. It is practically impossible to find an adult whose body
is not marked with shiny patches showing where large eruptions have
been. Babes of one or two months do not appear to have skin diseases,
but those of three and four are sometimes half covered with itching,
discharging eruptions. Babes under a year old, such as are most
carried on their mother's backs, are especially subject to a mass of
sores about the ankles; the skin disease is itch, called ku'-lid. I
have seen babes of this age with sores an inch across and nearly an
inch deep in their backs.

Relatively there are few large sores on the people such as boils
and ulcers, but a person may have a dozen or half a hundred itching
eruptions the size of a half pea scattered over his arms, legs,
and trunk. From these he habitually squeezes the pus onto his thumb
nail, and at once ignorantly cleans the nail on some other part of
the body. The general prevalence of this itch is largely due to the
gregarious life of the people -- to the fact that the males lounge in
public quarters, and all, except married men and women, sleep in these
same quarters where the naked skin readily takes up virus left on the
stone seats and sleeping boards by an infected companion. In Banawi,
in the Quiangan culture area, a district having no public buildings,
one can scarcely find a trace of skin eruption.

There are two adult people in Samoki pueblo who are insane; one of
them at least is supposed to be affected by Lumawig, the Igorot god,
and is said, when he hallooes, as he does at times, to be calling to
Lumawig. Bontoc pueblo has a young woman and a girl of five or six
years of age who are imbecile. Those four people are practically
incapacitated from earning a living, and are cared for by their
immediate relatives. There are two adult deaf and dumb men in Bontoc
pueblo, but both are industrious and self-supporting.

Igorot badly injured in war or elsewhere are usually killed at
their own request. In May, 1903, a man from Maligkong was thrown to
the earth and rendered unconscious by a heavy timber he and several
companions brought to Bontoc for the school building. His companions
immediately told Captain Eckman to shoot him as he was "no good." I
can not say whether it is customary for the Igorot to weed out those
who faint temporarily -- as the fact just cited suggests; however,
they do not kill the feeble aged, and the presence of the insane
and the imbecile shows that weak members of the group are not always
destroyed voluntarily.


General Social Life

The pueblo

Bontoc and Samoki pueblos, in all essentials typical of pueblos in
the Bontoc area, lie in the mountains in a roughly circular pocket
called Pa-pas'-kan. A perfect circle about a mile in diameter might
be described within the pocket. It is bisected fairly accurately by
the Chico River, coursing from the southwest to the northeast. Its
altitude ranges from about 2,750 feet at the river to 2,900 at
the upper edge of Bontoc pueblo, which is close to the base of the
mountain ridge at the west, while Samoki is backed up against the
opposite ridge to the southeast. The river flows between the pueblos,
though considerably closer to Samoki than to Bontoc.

The horizon circumscribing this pocket is cut at the northeast,
where the river makes its exit, and lifting above this gap are two
ranges of mountains beyond. At the south-southeast there is another
cut, through which a small affluent pours into the main stream. At
the southwest the river enters the pocket, although no cut shows in
the horizon, as the stream bends abruptly and the farther range of
mountains folds close upon the near one.

Bontoc lies compactly built on a sloping piece of ground, roughly
about half a mile square. Through the pueblo are two water-cut ravines,
down which pour the waters of the mountain ridge in the rainy season,
and in which, during much of the remainder of the year, sufficient
water trickles to supply several near-by dwellings.

Adjoining the pueblo on the north and west are two small groves where
a religious ceremonial is observed each month. Granaries for rice are
scattered all about the outer fringe of dwellings, and in places they
follow the ravines in among the buildings of the pueblo. The old,
broad Spanish trail runs close to the pueblo on the south and east,
as it passes in and out of the pocket through the gaps cut by the
river. About the pueblo at the east and northeast are some fifteen
houses built in Spanish time, most of them now occupied by Ilokano
men with Igorot or half-breed wives. There also were the Spanish
Government buildings, reduced to a church, a convent, and another
building used now as headquarters for the Government Constabulary.

The pueblo, now 2,000 or 2,500 people, was probably at one time
larger. There is a tradition common in both Bontoc and Samoki that
in former years the ancestors of this latter pueblo lived northeast
of Bontoc toward the northern corner of the pocket. They say they
moved to the opposite side of the river because there they would
have more room. There they have grown to 1,200 or 1,500 souls. Still
later, but yet before the Spanish came, a large section of people
from northeastern Bontoc moved bodily to Lias, about two days to the
east. They tell that a Bontoc woman named Fank'-a was the wife of a
Lias man, and when a drought and famine visited Bontoc the section
of the pueblo from which she came moved as a whole to Lias, then a
small collection of people. Still later, La'-nao, a detached section
of Bontoc on the lowland near the river, was suddenly wiped out by
a disease.

The Igorot is given to naming even small areas of the earth within
his well-known habitat, and there are four areas in Bontoc pueblo
having distinct names. These names in no way refer to political or
social divisions -- they are not the "barrio" of the coast pueblos of
the Islands, neither are they in any way like a "ward" in an American
city, nor are they "additions" to an original part of the pueblo --
they are names of geographic areas over which the pueblo was built
or has spread. From south to north these areas are A-fu', Mag-e'-o,
Dao'-wi, and Um-feg'.


Bontoc is composed of seventeen political divisions, called
"a'-to." The geographic area of A-fu' contains four a'-to, namely,
Fa-tay'-yan, Po-lup-o', Am-ka'-wa, and Bu-yay'-yeng; Mag-e'-o contains
three, namely, Fi'-lig, Mag-e'-o, and Cha-kong'; Dao'-wi has six,
namely, Lo-wing'-an, Pud-pud-chog', Si-pa'-at, Si-gi-chan', So-mo-wan',
and Long-foy'; Um-feg' has four, Po-ki'-san, Lu-wa'-kan, Ung-kan',
and Cho'-ko. Each a'-to is a separate political division. It has
its public buildings; has a separate governing council which makes
peace, challenges to war, and accepts or rejects war challenges,
and it formally releases and adopts men who change residence from
one a'-to to another.

Border a'-to Fa-tay'-yan seems to be developing an offspring -- a
new a'-to; a part of it, the southwestern border part, is now known
as "Tang-e-ao'." It is disclaimed as a separate a'-to, yet it has a
distinctive name, and possesses some of the marks of an independent
a'-to. In due time it will doubtless become such.

In Sagada, Agawa, Takong, and near-by pueblos the a'-to is said to
be known as dap'-ay; and in Balili and Alap both names are known.

The pueblo must be studied entirely through the a'-to. It is only
an aggregate of which the various a'-to are the units, and all the
pueblo life there is is due to the similarity of interests of the
several a'-to.

Bontoc does not know when her pueblo was built -- she was always
where she now is -- but they say that some of the a'-to are newer than
others. In fact, they divide them into the old and new. The newer ones
are Bu-yay'-yeng, Am-ka'-wa, Po-lup-o', Cha-kong', and Po-ki'-san;
all these are border a'-to of the pueblo.

The generations of descendants of men who did distinct things are
kept carefully in memory; and from the list of descendants of the
builders of some of the newer a'-to it seems probable that Cha-kong'
was the last one built. One of the builders was Sal-lu-yud'; he had
a son named Tam-bul', and Tam-bul' was the father of a man in Bontoc
now some twenty-five years old. It is probable that Cha-kong' was
built about 1830 -- in the neighborhood of seventy-five years ago. The
plat of the pueblo seems to strengthen the impression that Cha-kong'
is the newest a'-to, since it appears to have been built in territory
previously used for rice granaries; it is all but surrounded by such
ground now.

One of the builders of Bu-yay'-yeng, an a'-to adjoining Cha-kong',
and also one of the newer ones, was Ba-la-ge'. Ba-la-ge' was the
great-great-great-grandfather of Mud-do', who is a middle-aged man
now in Bontoc. The generations of fathers descending from Ba-la-ge' to
Mud-do' are the following: Bang-eg', Cag-i'-yu, Bit-e', and Ag-kus'. It
seems from this evidence that the a'-to Bu-yay'-yeng was built about
one hundred and fifty years ago. These facts suggest a much greater
age for the older a'-to of the pueblo.

An a'-to has three classes of buildings occupied by the people --
the fawi and pabafunan, public structures for boys and men, and the
olag for girls and young women before their permanent marriage; and
the dwellings occupied by families and by widows, which are called
afong. Each of these three classes of buildings plays a distinct role
in the life of the people.

Pabafunan and fawi

The pa-ba-fu'-nan is the home of the various a'-to ceremonials. It
is sacred to the men of the a'-to, and on no occasion do the women
or girls enter it.

All boys from 3 or 4 years of age and all men who have no wives sleep
nightly in the pa-ba-fu'-nan or in the fa'-wi.

The pa-ba-fu'-nan building consists of a low, squat, stone-sided
structure partly covered with a grass roof laid on a crude frame of
poles; the stone walls extend beyond the roof at one end and form an
open court. The roofed part is about 8 by 10 feet, and usually is
not over 5 feet high in any part, inside measure; the size of the
court is approximately the same as that of the roofed section. In
some pa-ba-fu'-nan a part of the court is roofed over for shelter in
case of rain, but is not walled in. Under this roof skulls of dogs
and hogs are generally found tucked away. Carabao horns and chicken
feathers are also commonly seen in such places.

In many cases the open court is shaded by a tree. Posts are found
reared above most of the courts. Some are old and blackened; others
are all but gone -- a short stump being all that projects above the
earth. The tops of some posts are rudely carved to represent a human
head; on the tops of others, as in a'-to Lowingan and Sipaat, there
are stones which strikingly resemble human skulls. It is to the tops
of these posts that the enemy's head is attached when a victorious
warrior returns to his a'-to. Both the roofed and court sections
are paved with stone, and large stones are also arranged around the
sides of the court, some more or less elevated as seats; they are
worn smooth and shiny by generations of use. In the center of the
court is the smoldering remains of a fire. The only opening into the
covered part is a small doorway connecting it with the court. This
door is barely large enough to permit a man to squeeze in sidewise;
it is often not over 2 1/2 feet high and 10 inches wide. The occupants
of the pa-ba-fu'-nan usually sleep curled up naked on the smooth,
flat stones. A few people have runo slat mats, some of which roll up,
while others are inflexible, and they lie on these over the stone
pavement. Fires are built in all sleeping rooms when it is cold,
and the rooms all close tightly with a door.

In the court of the building the men lounge when not at work in
the fields; they sleep, or smoke and chat, tend babies, or make
utensils and weapons. The pa-ba-fu'-nan is the man's club by day,
and the unmarried man's dormitory by night, and, as such, it is the
social center for all men of the a'-to, and it harbors at night all
men visiting from other pueblos.

Each a'-to, except Chakong, has a pa-ba-fu'-nan. When the men of
Chakong were building theirs they met the pueblo of Sadanga in combat,
and one of the builders lost his head to Sadanga. Then the old men of
Chakong counciled together; they came to the conclusion that it was
bad for the a'-to to have a pa-ba-fu'-nan, and none has ever been
built. This absence of the pa-ba-fu'-nan in some way detracts from
the importance of the a'-to in the minds of the people. For instance,
in the early stages of this study I was told several times that there
are sixteen (and not seventeen) a'-to in Bontoc. The first list of
a'-to written did not include Chakong; it was discovered only when
the pueblo was platted, and at that time my informants sought to pass
it over by saying "It is Chakong, but it has no pa-ba-fu'-nan." The
explanation of the obscurity of Chakong in the minds of the Igorot
seems to be that the a'-to ceremonial is more important than the a'-to
council -- that the emotional and not the mental is held uppermost,
that the people of Bontoc flow together through feeling better than
they drive together through cold force or control.

The a'-to ceremonials of Chakong are held in the pa-ba-fu'-nan of
neighboring a'-to, as in Sigichan, Pudpudchog, or Filig, and this seems
partially to destroy the ESPRIT DE CORPS of the unfortunate a'-to.

Each a'-to has a fa'-wi building -- a structure greatly resembling to
the pa-ba-fu'-nan, and impossible to be distinguished from it by one
looking at the structure from the outside. The fa'-wi and pa-ba-fu'-nan
are shown in Pls. XXX, XXXI, and XXXII. Pl. XXIX shows a section of
Sipaat a'-to with its fa'-wi and pa-ba-fu'-nan. The fa'-wi is the
a'-to council house; as such it is more frequented by the old men
than by the younger. The fa'-wi also shelters the skulls of human
heads taken by the a'-to. Outside the pueblo, along certain trails,
there are simple structures also called "fa'-wi," shelters where
parties halt for feasts, etc., while on various ceremonial journeys.

The fa'-wi and pa-ba-fu'-nan of each a'-to are near together, and in
five they are under the same roof, though there is no doorway for
intercommunication. What was said of the pa-ba-fu'-nan as a social
center is equally true of the fa'-wi; each is the lounging place of
men and boys, and the dormitory of unmarried males.

In Samoki each of the eight a'-to has only one public building,
and that is known simply as "a'-to."

One is further convinced of an extensive early movement of the
primitive Malayan from its pristine nest by the presence of
institutions similar to the pa-ba-fu'-nan and fa'-wi over a vast
territory of the Asiatic mainland as well as the Asiatic Islands
and Oceania. That these widespread institutions sprang from the
same source will be seen clearly in the quotations appearing in the
footnote below.[11] The visible exponent of the institutions is a
building forbidden to women, the functions of which are several; it
is a dormitory for men -- generally unmarried men -- a council house,
a guardhouse, a guest house for men, a center for ceremonials of the
group, and a resting place for the trophies of the chase and war --
a "head house."


The o'-lag is the dormitory of the girls in an a'-to from the age of
about 2 years until they marry. It is a small stone and mud-walled
structure, roofed with grass, in which a grown person can seldom
stand erect. It has but a single opening -- a door some 30 inches
high and 10 inches wide. Occupying nearly all the floor space are
boards about 4 feet long and from 8 to 14 inches wide; each board is
a girl's bed. They are placed close together, side by side, laid on
a frame about a foot above the earth. One end, where the head rests,
is slightly higher that the other, while in most o'-lag a pole for a
foot rest runs along the foot of the beds a few inches from them. The
building as shown in Pl. XXXIII is typical of the nineteen found in
Bontoc pueblo -- though it does not show, what is almost invariably
true, that it is built over one or more pigsties. This condition is
illustrated in Pl. XXIX, where a widow's house is shown literally
resting above the stone walls of several sties. Unlike the fawi
and pabafunan, the o'-lag has no adjoining court, and no shady
surroundings. It is built to house the occupants only at night.

The o'-lag is not so distinctly an ato institution as the pabafunan and
fawi. Ato Ungkan never had an o'-lag. The demand is not so urgent as
that of some ato, since there are only thirteen families in Ungkan. The
girls occupy o'-lag of neighboring ato.

The o'-lag of Luwakan, of Lowingan, and of Sipaat (the last situated
in Lowingan) are broken down and unused at present. There are no
marriageable girls in any of these three ato now, and the small girls
occupy near-by o'-lag. These three o'-lag will be rebuilt when the
girls are large enough to cook food for the men who build. The o'-lag
of Amkawa is in Buyayyeng near the o'-lag of the latter; it is there
by choice of the occupants.

Mageo, with her twenty families, also has two o'-lag, but both are
situated in Pudpudchog.

The o'-lag is the only Igorot building which has received a specific
name, all others bear simply the class name.[12]

In Sagada and some nearby pueblos, as Takong and Agawa, the o'-lag
is said to he called If-gan'.

Mr. S. H. Damant is quoted from the Calcutta Review (vol. 61, p. 93)
as saying that among the Nagas, frontier tribes of northeast India --

Only very young children live entirely with their parents; ... the
women have also a house of their own called the "dekhi chang," where
the unmarried girls are supposed to live.

Again Mr. Damant wrote:

I saw Dekhi chang here for the first time. All the unmarried girls
sleep there at night, but it is deserted in the day. It is not much
different from any ordinary house.[13]

Separate sleeping houses for girls similar to the o'-lag, I judge,
are also found occasionally in Assam.[14]

Whereas, so far as known, the o'-lag occurs with the Igorot only among
the Bontoc culture group, yet the above quotations and references point
to a similar institution among distant people -- among some of the same
people who have an institution very similar to the pabafunan and fawi.


A'-fong is the general name for Bontoc dwellings, of which there are
two kinds. The first is the fay'-u (Pls. XXXIV and XXXVI), the large,
open, board dwelling, some 12 by 15 feet square, with side walls only
3 1/2 feet high, and having a tall, top-heavy grass roof. It is the
home of the prosperous. The other is the kat-yu'-fong (Pl. XXXVII),
the smaller, closed, frequently mud-walled dwelling of poor families,
and commonly of the widows.

The family dwelling primarily serves two purposes -- it is the place
where the man, his wife, and small child sleep, and where the entire
family takes its food.

The fay'-u is built at considerable expense. Three or four men are
required for a period of about two months to get out the pine boards
and timbers in the forest. Each piece of timber for any permanent
building is completed at the time it is cut from the tree, and is left
to season in the mountains; sometimes it remains several years. (See
Pl. XXXV.) When all is ready to construct the dwelling the owner
announces his intention. Some 200 men of the pueblo gather to erect
the building, and two or three dozen women come to prepare and cook
the necessary food, for, whereas no wage is paid the laborers, all
are feasted at the cost of much rice and several hogs and a carabao
or two. The toiling and feasting continue about ten days.

The following description of a fay'-u is of an ordinary dwelling
in Bontoc pueblo: The fay'-u are all constructed on the same plan,
though a few are larger than the one here described, and some few are
smaller. The front and back walls of the house are 3 feet 6 inches
high and 12 feet 6 inches long. The two side walls are the same height
as the ends, but are 15 feet 6 inches long. The rear wall is built of
stones carefully chinked with mud. The side walls consist each of two
boards extending the full length of the structure. The front wall is
cut near the middle from top to bottom with a doorway 1 foot 4 inches
wide; otherwise the front wall is like the two side walls, except
that it has a roughly triangular timber grooved along the lower side
and fitted over the top board as a cap. The doorposts are two timbers
sunk in the ground; their tops fit into the two "caps," and each has
a groove from top to bottom into which the ends of the boards of the
front wall are inserted. A few dwellings have a door consisting of a
single board set on end and swinging on a projection sunk in a hole in
a doorsill buried in the earth; the upper part of the door swings on a
string secured to the doorpost and passing through a hole in the door.

At each of the four corners of the building, immediately inside


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