The Bontoc Igorot
Albert Ernest Jenks
Part 3 out of 8
the woman's camote stick, the su-wan'. If the plat is new the grass is
burned before the scratching occurs, but if it is cultivated annually
the surface seldom has any care save the shallow work of the su-wan';
in fact, the surface stones are seldom removed.
In the season of 1903, the first rains came April 5, and the first
mountain sementera was scratched over for millet April 10, after five
successive daily rains.
Much care is taken in fertilizing the irrigated sementeras. The hog
of a few pueblos in the Bontoc area, as in Bontoc and Samoki, is kept
confined all its life in a walled, stone-paved sty dug in the earth
(see Pl. LXXVII). Into this inclosure dry grasses and dead vines are
continually placed to absorb and become rotted by the liquids. As the
soil of the sementera is turned for the new rice crop these pigsties
are cleaned out and the rich manure spread on the beds.
The manure is sometimes carried by women though generally by men,
and the carriers in a string pass all day between the sementeras and
the pueblo, each bearing his transportation basket on his shoulder
containing about 100 pounds of as good fertilizer as agricultural
man ever thought to employ.
The manure is gathered from the sties with the two hands and is dumped
in the sementera in 10-pound piles about 5 feet apart after the soil
has been turned and trod soft and even.
It is said that in some sections of Igorot land dry vegetable matter
is burned so that ash may be had for fertilizing purposes.
I have seen women working long, dry grass under the soil in camote
sementeras at the time the crop was being gathered (Pl. LXIV),
but I believe fertilizers are seldom employed, except where rice
is grown. Mountain-side sementeras are frequently abandoned after
a few years' service, as they are supposed to be exhausted, whereas
fertilization would restore them.
Pad-cho-kan' is the name of the sementera used as a rice seed bed. One
or more small groups of sementeras in every pueblo is so protected from
the cold rains and winds of November and December and is so exposed to
the warm sun that it answers well the purposes of a primitive hotbed;
consequently it becomes such, and anyone who asks permission of the
owner may plant his seed there (see Pl. LXV).
The seed is planted in the beds after they have been thoroughly
worked and softened, the soil usually being turned three times. The
planting in Bontoc occurs the first part of November. November 15,
1902, the rice had burst its kernel and was above water in the Bontoc
beds. The seed is not shelled before planting, but the full fruit
heads, sin-lu'-wi, are laid, without covering, on the soft ooze, under
3 or 4 inches of water. They are laid in rows a few inches apart,
and are so close together that by the time the young plants are 3
inches above the surface of the water the bed is a solid mass of green.
Bontoc pueblo has six varieties of rice. Neighboring pueblos have
others; and it is probable that fifty, perhaps a hundred, varieties are
grown by the different irrigating peoples of northern Luzon. In Bontoc,
ti'-pa is a white beardless variety. Ga'-sang is white, and cha-yet'-it
is claimed to be the same grain, except it is dark colored; it is the
rice from which the fermented beverage, tapui, is made. Pu-i-a-pu'-i
and tu'-peng are also white; tu'-peng is sowed in unirrigated mountain
sementeras in the rainy season. Gu-mik'-i is a dark grain.
Camotes, or to-ki', are planted once in a long period in the sementeras
surrounding the buildings in the pueblo. There is nothing to kill them,
the ground has no other use, so they are practically perpetual.
The average size of all the eight varieties of Bontoc camotes is
about 2 by 4 inches in diameter. Six of the varieties are white and
two are red. The white ones are the following: Li-no'-ko, pa-to'-ki,
ki'-nub fa-fay'-i, pi-i-nit', ki-weng', and tang-tang-lab'. The red
ones are si'-sig and pit-ti'-kan.
To illustrate the many varieties which may exist in a small area I
give the names of five other camotes grown in the pueblo of Balili,
which is only about four hours from Bontoc. The Balili white camotes
are bi-tak'-no, a-go-bang'-bang, and la-ung'-an and the red are
gis-gis'-i and ta-mo'-lo.
Millet, called "sa'-fug," is sowed on the surface of the earth. The
sowing is "broadcast," but in a limited way, as the fields are usually
only a few rods square. The seed is generally sowed by women, who
carry a small basket or dish of it in one hand and scatter the seed
from between the thumb, forefinger, and middle finger of the free hand.
There are said to be four varieties of millet in Bontoc. Mo-di' and
poy-ned' are light-colored seeds; pi-ting'-an is a darker seed --
the Igorot says "black;" and si-nang'-a is the fourth. I have never
seen it but I am told it is white.
Maize, or pi'-ki, and beans, practically the only other seeds
planted, are planted annually in "hills." The rows of "hills" are
quite irregular. Maize, as is also millet, is planted immediately
after the first abundant rains, occurring early in April.
The Bontoc man has three varieties of beans. One is called ka'-lap;
the kernel is small, being only one-fifth of an inch long. Usually it
is pale green in color, though a few are black; both have an exterior
white germ. I'-tab is about one-third of an inch long. It is both
gray and black in color, and has a long exterior white germ. The third
variety is black with an exterior white germ. It is called ba-la'-tong,
and is about one-fourth of an inch in length.
Transplanting is always the work of women, since they are recognized
as quicker and more dexterous in most work with the hands than are
The women pull up the young rice plants in the seed beds and tie them
in bunches about 4 inches in diameter. They transport them by basket
to the newly prepared sementera and dump them in the water so they
will remain fresh.
As has been said, the manure fertilizer is placed about the sementera
in piles. The women thoroughly spread this fertilizer with their hands
and feet when they transplant (see Pl. LIX). When the soil is ready
the transplanter grasps a handful of the plants, twists off 3 or 4
inches of the blades, leaving the plant about 6 inches long, and, while
holding the plants in one hand, with the other she rapidly thrusts them
one by one into the soft bed. They are placed in fairly regular rows,
and are about 5 inches apart. The planter leans enthusiastically over
her work, usually resting one elbow on her knee -- the left elbow,
since most of the women are right-handed -- and she sets from forty
to sixty plants per minute.
When the sementeras are planted they present a clean and beautiful
appearance -- even the tips of the rice blades twisted off are
invariably crowded into the muddy bed to assist in fattening the crop.
As many as a dozen women often work together in one sementera to
hasten the planting. There are usually two or three little girls with
their mothers, who while away the hours playing work. They stuff up
the chinks of the stone walls with dirt and vegetable matter; they
carry together the few camotes discovered in this last handling of
the old camote bed; and they quite successfully and industriously
play at transplanting rice, though such small girls are not obliged
to work in the field.
Camotes are also transplanted. The women cut or pick off the "runners"
from the perpetual vines in the sementeras near the dwellings. These
they transplant in the unirrigated mountain sementeras after the
crops of millet and maize have been gathered.
The irrigated sementeras are also planted to camotes by transplanting
from these house beds. This transplanting lasts about six weeks in
Bontoc, beginning near the middle of July.
Some little sugar cane is grown by the Igorot of the Bontoc area. It
is claimed to grow up each year from the roots left at the preceding
harvest. At times new patches of cane are started by transplanting
shoots from the parent plants. It is said that in January the stalks
are cut and set in a rich mud, and that in the season of Baliling,
from about July 15 until early in September, the rooted shoots are
transplanted to the new beds.
The chief cultivation given to Igorot crops is bestowed on rice,
though all cultivated lands are remarkably free from weeds. The rice
sementeras are carefully weeded, "suckers" are pulled out, and the
beds are thinned generally, so that each plant will have all needful
chance to develop fruit. This weeding and thinning is the work of
women and half-grown children. Every day for nearly two months,
or until the fruit heads appear, the cultivators are diligently at
work in the sementeras. No tools or agricultural implements other
than bare hands are used in this work.
The men keep constant watch of the sementera walls and the irrigating
canals, repairing all, thus indirectly assisting the women in their
cultivation by directing water to the growing crop and by conserving
it when it is obtained.
The rice begins to fruit early in April, at which time systematic
effort to protect the new grain from birds, rats, monkeys, and wild
hogs commences. This effort continues until the harvest is completed,
practically for three months. Much of this labor is performed by
water power, much by wind power, and about all the children and old
people in a pueblo are busied from early dawn until twilight in the
sementera as independent guards. Besides, throughout the long night
men and women build fires among the sementeras and guard their crop
from the wild hog. It is a critical time with the Igorot.
The most natural, simplest, and undoubtedly the most successful
protection of the grain is the presence of a person on the terrace
walls of the sementera, whether by day or night. Hundreds of fields
are so guarded each day in Bontoc by old people and children, who
frequently erect small screens of tall grass to shade and protect
themselves from the sun.
The next simplest method is one followed by the boys. They employ
a hollow section of carabao horn, cut off at both ends and about 8
inches in length; it is called "kong-ok'." This the boys beat when
birds are near, producing an open, resonant sound which may readily
be heard a mile.
The wind tosses about over the growing grain various "scarecrows." The
pa-chek' is one of these. It consists of a single large dry leaf,
or a bunch of small dry leaves, suspended by a cord from a heavy,
coarse grass 6 or 8 feet high; the leaf, the sa-gi-kak', hangs 4 feet
above the fruit heads. It swings about slightly in the breeze, and
probably is some protection against the birds. I believe it the least
effective of the various things devised by the Igorot to protect his
rice from the multitudes of ti-lin' -- the small, brown ricebird
found broadly over the Archipelago.
The most picturesque of these wind-tossed bird scarers is the
ki'-lao. The ki'-lao is a basket-work figure swung from a pole and is
usually the shape and size of the distended wings of a large gull,
though it is also made in other shapes, as that of man, the lizard,
etc. The pole is about 20 feet high, and is stuck in the earth at such
an angle that the swinging figure attached by a line at the top of the
pole hangs well over the sementera and about 3 or 4 feet above the
grain (see Pl. LXVII). The bird-like ki'-lao is hung by its middle,
at what would be the neck of the bird, and it soars back and forth,
up and down, in a remarkably lifelike way. There are often a dozen
ki'-lao in a space 4 rods square, and they are certainly effectual,
if they look as bird-like to ti-lin' as they do to man. When seen
a short distance away they appear exactly like a flock of restless
gulls turning and dipping in some harbor.
Fig. 4. -- Bird scarer in rice field.
The water-power bird scarers are ingenious. Across a shallow,
running rapids in the river or canal a line, called "pi-chug'," is
stretched, fastened at one end to a yielding pole, and at the other to
a rigid pole. A bowed piece of wood about 15 inches long and 3 inches
wide, called "pit-ug'," is suspended by a line at each end from the
horizontal cord. This pit-ug' is suspended in the rapids, by which it
is carried quickly downstream as far as the elasticity of the yielding
pole and the pi-chug' will allow, then it snaps suddenly back upstream
and is ready to be carried down and repeat the jerk on the relaxing
pole. A system of cords passes high in the air from the jerking pole at
the stream to other slender, jerked poles among the sementeras. From
these poles a low jerking line runs over the sementeras, over which
are stretched at right angles parallel cords within a few feet of the
fruit heads. These parallel cords are also jerked, and their movement,
together with that of the leaves depending from them, is sufficient
to keep the birds away. One such machine may send its shock a quarter
of a mile and trouble the birds over an area half an acre in extent.
Other Igorot, as those of the upper Abra River in Lepanto Province,
employ this same jerking machine to produce a sharp, clicking sound in
the sementera. The jerking cord repeatedly raises a series of hanging,
vertical wooden fingers, which, on being released, fall against a
stationary, horizontal bamboo tube, producing the sharp click. These
clicking machines are set up on two supporting sticks a few feet
above the grain every three or four yards about the sementeras.
There are many rodents, rats and mice, which destroy the growing grain
during the night unless great care is taken to cheek them. The Igorot
makes a small dead fall which he places in the path surrounding the
sementera. I have seen as many as five of these traps on a single
side of a sementera not more than 30 feet square. The trap has a
closely woven, wooden dead fall, about 10 or 15 inches square; one
end is set on the path and the other is supported in the air above
it by a string. One end of this string is fastened to a tall stick
planted in the earth, the lower end is tied to a short stick --
a part of the "spring" held rigid beneath the dead fall until the
trigger is touched. The dead fall drops when the rat, in touching
the trigger, releases the lower end of the cord. The animal springs
the trigger either by nibbling a bait on it or by running against it,
and is immediately killed, since the dead fall is weighted with stones.
Sementeras near some forested mountains in the Bontoc area are pestered
with monkeys. Day and night people remain on guard against them in
lonely, dangerous places -- just the kind of spot the head-hunter
chooses wherein to surprise his enemy.
All border sementeras in every group of fields are subject to the
night visits of wild hogs. In some areas commanding piles of earth
for outlooks are left standing when the sementeras are constructed. In
other places outlooks are erected for the purpose. Permanent shelters,
some of them commodious stone structures, are often erected on these
outlooks where a person remains on guard night and day (Pl. LXVIII),
at night burning a fire to frighten the wild hogs away.
At this season of the year when practically all the people of the
pueblo are in the sementeras. it is most interesting to watch the
homecoming of the laborers at night. At early dusk they may be
seen coming in over the trails leading from the sementeras to the
pueblo in long processions. The boys and girls 5 or 6 years old or
more, most of them entirely naked, come playing or dancing along --
the boys often marking time by beating a tin can or two sticks --
seemingly as full of life as when they started out in the morning. The
younger children are toddling by the side of their father or mother,
a small, dirty hand smothered in a large, labor-cracked one; or else
are carried on their father's back or shoulder, or perhaps astride
their mother's hip. The old men and women, almost always unsightly
and ugly, who go to the sementera only to guard and not to toil, come
slowly and feebly home, often picking their way with a staff. There is
much laughing and coquetting among the young people. A boy dashes by
with several girls in laughing pursuit, and it is not at all likely
that he escapes them with all his belongings. Many of the younger
married women carry babies; some carry on their heads baskets filled
with weeds used as food for the pigs, and all have their small rump
baskets filled with "greens" or snails or fish.
A man may carry on his shoulder a huge short log of wood cut in the
mountains, the wood partially supported on the shoulder by his spear;
or he perhaps carries a large bunch of dry grass to be thrown into the
pigpen as bedding; or he comes swinging along empty handed save for
his spear used as a staff. Most of the returning men and boys carry
the empty topil, the small, square, covered basket in which rice for
the noon meal is carried to the sementera; sometimes a boy carries a
bunch of three or four, and he dangles them open from their strings
as he dances along.
For an hour or more the procession continues -- one almost-naked
figure following another -- all dirty, most of them doubtless tired,
and yet seemingly happy and content with the finish of their day of
toil. It is long after dark before the last straggler is in.
Rice harvesting in Bontoc is a delightful and picturesque sight to
an American, and a most serious religious matter to the Igorot.
Though ceremonials having to do with agriculture have purposely
been omitted from this chapter, yet, since one of the most striking
and important features of the harvesting is the harvest ceremonial,
it is thought best to introduce it here.
Sa-fo'-sab is the name of the ceremony. It is performed in a pathway
adjoining each sementera before a single grain is gathered. In the
path the owner of the field builds a tiny fire beside which he stands
while the harvesters sit in silence. The owner says:
"So-mi-ka-ka' pa-ku' ta-mo i-sa'-mi sik'-a kin-po-num' nan a-lang',"
which, freely rendered, means, "Palay, when we carry you to the
granary, increase greatly so that you will fill it."
As soon as the ceremonial is said the speaker harvests one handful
of the grain, after which the laborers arise and begin the harvest.
In the trails leading past the sementera two tall stalks of runo are
planted, and these, called "pud-i-pud'," warn all Igorot that they
must not pass the sementera during the hours of the harvest. Nor will
they ignore the warning, since if they do they are liable to forfeit
a hog or other valuable possession to the owner of the grain.
I spent half a day trying to get close enough to a harvesting party
to photograph it. All the harvesters were women, and they scolded our
party long and severely while we were yet six or eight rods distant;
my Igorot boys carrying the photographic outfit -- boys who had
lived four months in my house -- laughingly but positively refused
to follow me closer than three or four rods to the sementera. No
photographs were obtained at that time. It was only after the matter
was talked over by some of the men of the pueblo that photographs
could be willingly obtained, and the force of the warning pud-i-pud'
withdrawn for our party. Even during the time my Igorot boys were
in the trail by a harvest party all other Igorot passed around the
warning runo. The Igorot says he believes the harvest will be blasted
even while being gathered should one pass along a pathway skirting
any side of the sementera.
Several harvesters, from four to a dozen, labor together in
each sementera. They begin at one side and pass across the plat,
gathering all grain as they pass. Men and women work together,
but women are recognized the better harvesters, since their hands
are more nimble. Each fruited stalk is grasped shortly below the
fruit head, and the upper section or joint of the stalk, together
with the fruit head and topmost leaf, is pulled off. As most Bontoc
Igorot are right-handed, the plucked grain is laid in the left hand,
the fruit heads projecting beyond between the thumb and forefinger
while the leaf attached to each fruit head lies outside and below the
thumb. When the proper amount of grain is in hand (a bunch of stalks
about an inch in diameter) the useless leaves, all arranged for one
grasp of the right hand, are stripped off and dropped; the bunch
of fruit heads, topping a 6-inch section of clean stalk or straw is
handed to a person who may be called the binder. This person in all
harvests I have seen was a woman. She binds all the grain three,
four, or five persons can pluck; and when there is one binder for
every three gatherers the binder finds some time also to gather.
The binder passes a small, prepared strip of bamboo twice around
the palay stalks, holds one end between her teeth and draws the
binding tight; then she twists the two ends together, and the bunch
is secure. The bunch, the manojo of the Spaniard, the sin fing-e'
of the Igorot, is then piled up on the binder's head until a load
is made. Before each bunch is placed on the pile the fruitheads are
spread out like an open fan. These piles are never completed until
they are higher than the woman's arm can reach -- several of the last
bunches being tossed in place, guided only by the tips of the fingers
touching the butt of the straw. The women with their heads loaded
high with ripened grain are striking figures -- and one wonders at
the security of the loads.
When a load is made it is borne to the transportation baskets in some
part of the harvested section of the sementera, where it is gently slid
to the earth over the front of the head as the woman stoops forward. It
is loaded into the basket at once unless there is a scarcity of binders
in the field, in which case it awaits the completion of the harvest.
In all agricultural labors the Igorot is industrious, yet his humor,
ever present with him, brings relief from continued toil. The harvest
field is no exception, since there is much quiet gossip and jest
during the labors.
In 1903 rice was first harvested May 2. The harvest continued one
month, the crop of a sementera being gathered here and there as it
ripened. The Igorot calls this first harvest month the "moon of the
small harvest." During June the crop is ripened everywhere, and the
harvest is on in earnest; the Igorot speaks of it as the "moon of
the all harvest."
I had no view of the harvest of millet or maize; however, I have seen
in the pueblo much of each grain of some previous harvest. The millet
I am told, is harvested similarly to the rice, and the clean-stalked
bunches are tied up in the same way -- only the bunches are four or
five times larger.
The fruit head, or ears, of the maize is said to be plucked off the
stalks in the fields as the American farmer gathers green corn or
seed corn. It is stored still covered with its husks.
The camote harvest is continued fairly well throughout the
year. Undoubtedly some camotes are dug every day in the year from the
dry mountain-side sementeras, but the regular harvest occurs during
November and December, during which time the camotes are gathered
from the irrigated sementeras preparatory to turning the soil for
the transplanting of new rice.
Women are the camote gatherers. I never saw men, nor even boys,
gathering camotes. At no other time does the Igorot woman look so
animal like as when she toils among the camote vines, standing with
legs straight and feet spread, her body held horizontal, one hand
grasping the middle of her short camote stick and the other in the soil
picking out the unearthed camotes. She looks as though she never had
stood erect and never would stand erect on two feet. Thus she toils day
after day from early morning till dusk that she and her family may eat.
No palay is carried to the a-lang', the separate granary building,
or to the dwelling for the purpose of being stored until the entire
crop of the sementera is harvested. It may be carried part way,
but there it halts until all the grain is ready to be carried home.
It is spread out on the ground or on a roof in the sun two or three
days to dry before storing. When the grain is to be stored away an
old man -- any man -- asks a blessing on it that it may make men,
hogs, and chickens well, strong, and fat when they consume it. This
ceremony is called "ka-fo'-kab," and the man who performs it is known
by the title of "in-ka-fa'."
The Igorot granary, the a-lang', is a "hip-roofed" structure about 8
feet long, 5 wide, 4 feet high at the sides and 6 at the ridgepole. Its
sides are built of heavy pine planks, which are inserted in grooved
horizontal timbers, the planks being set up vertically. The floor
is about a foot from the earth. The roof consists of a heavy, thick
cover of long grass securely tied on a pole frame. It is seldom that
a granary stands alone -- usually there are two or more together, and
Bontoc has several groups of a dozen each, as shown in Pl. LXXII. When
built together they are better protected from the rain storms. The
roofs also are made so they extend close to the earth, thus almost
entirely protecting the sides of the structure from the storms. All
cracks are carefully filled with pieces of wood wedged and driven
in. Even the door, consisting of two or three vertical planks set in
grooved timbers, is laboriously wedged the same way. The building is
rodent proof, and, because of its wide, projecting roof and the fact
that it sets off the earth, it is practically moisture proof.
Most palay is stored in the granaries in the small bunches tied at
harvest. The a-lang' is carefully closed again after each sementera
crop has been put in. There are granaries in Bontoc which have
not been opened, it is said, in eight or more years, except to
receive additional crops of palay, and yet the grain is as perfectly
preserved as when first stored. Some palay, especially that needed
for consumption within a reasonable time, is stored in the upper part
of the family dwelling.
Maize and millet are generally stored in the dwelling, in the second
and third stories, since not enough of either is grown to fill an
a-lang', it is said.
Camotes are sometimes stored in the granary after the harvest of
the irrigated fields. Often they are put away in the kubkub, the two
compartments at either end of the sleeping room on the ground floor
of the dwelling. At other times one sees bushels of camotes put away
on the earth under the broad bench extending the full length of the
dwelling. In the poorer class of dwellings the camotes are frequently
dumped in a corner.
Beans are dried and shelled before storing and are set away in a
covered basket, usually in the upper part of the dwelling. Only one
or two cargoes are grown by each family, so little space is needed
Since rice is the staple food and may be preserved almost
indefinitely. the Igorot has developed a means and place to care for
it. Maize and millet, while probably capable of as long preservation,
are generally not grown in sufficient quantity to require more storage
space than the upper part of the dwelling affords. The Igorot has not
developed a way to preserve his camotes long after harvest; they are
readily perishable, consequently no place has been differentiated as
Expense and profit
An irrigated sementera 60 by 100 feet, having 6,000 square feet of
surface, is valued at two carabaos, or, in money, about 100 pesos. It
produces an average annual crop of ten cargoes of palay, each worth
1 peso. Thus there is an annual gross profit of ten per cent on the
value of the permanent investment.
It requires ten men one day to turn the soil and fertilize the
plat. The wage paid in palay is equivalent to 5 cents per laborer,
or 50 cents. Five women can transplant the rice in one day; cost,
25 cents. Cultivating and protecting the crop falls to the members
of the family which owns the sementera, so the Igorot say; he claims
never to have to pay for such labor. Twenty people can harvest the
crop in a day; cost, 1 peso.
The total annual expense of maintaining the sementera as a productive
property is, therefore, equivalent to 1.75 pesos. This leaves 8.25
pesos net profit when the annual expense is deducted from the annual
gross profit. A net profit of 8.25 per cent is about equivalent to
the profit made on the 10,000-acre Bonanza grain farms in the valley
of the Red River of the North, and the 5,000-acre corn farm of Iowa.
The carabao, hog, chicken, and dog are the only animals domesticated
by the Igorot of the Bontoc culture area.
Cattle are kept by Benguet Igorot throughout the extent of the
province. Some towns, as Kabayan, have 300 or 400 head, but the Bontoc
Igorot has not yet become a cattle raiser.
In Benguet, Lepanto, and Abra there are pueblos with half a hundred
brood mares. Daklan, of Benguet, has such a bunch, and other pueblos
have smaller herds.
In Bontoc Province between Bontoc pueblo and Lepanto Province a few
mares have recently been brought in. Sagada and Titipan each have
half a dozen. Near the east side of the Bontoc area there are a few
bunches of horses reported among the Igorot, and in February, 1903, an
American brought sixteen head from there into Bontoc. These horses are
all descendants of previous domestic animals, and an addition of half
a hundred is said to have been made to the number by horses abandoned
by the insurgents about three years past. Some of the sixteen brought
out in 1903 bore saddle marks and the brands common in the coastwise
lands. These eastern horses are not used by the Igorot except for food,
and no property right is recognized in them, though the Igorot brands
them with a battle-ax brand. He exercises about as much protecting
control over them as the Bontoc man does over the wild carabao.
The people of Bontoc say that when Lumawig came to Bontoc they had
no domestic carabaos -- that those they now have were originally
purchased, before the Spaniards came, from the Tinguian of Abra
There are in the neighborhood of 400 domestic carabaos owned in Bontoc
and Samoki. Most of them run half wild in the mountains encircling
the pueblos. Such as are in the mountains receive neither herding,
attention in breeding, feed, nor salt from their owners. The young
are dropped in February and March, and their owners mark them by
slitting the ear, each person recognizing his own by the mark.
A herd of seventeen, consisting of animals belonging to five
owners, ranges in the river bottom and among the sementeras close
to Bontoc. These animals are more tame than those of the mountains,
but receive little more attention, except that they are taught to
perform a certain unique labor in preparing the sementeras for rice,
as has been noted in the section on agriculture. This is the only
use to which the Bontoc carabao is put as a power in industry. He
is seldom sold outside the pueblo and is raised for consumption,
chiefly on various ceremonial occasions.
Four men in Bontoc own fifty carabaos each. Three others have a
herd of thirty in joint ownership. Others own five and six each,
and again a single carabao may be the joint property of two and even
six individuals. Carabaos are valued at from 40 to 70 pesos.
Bontoc has no record of the time or manner of first acquiring the hog,
chicken, or dog. The people say they had all three when Lumawig came.
Sixty or 70 per cent of the pigs littered in Bontoc are marked
lengthwise with alternate stripes of brick-red or yellowish hair,
the other hair being black or white; the young of the wild hog is
marked the same. All the pigs, both domestic and wild, outgrow this
red or yellow marking at about the age of six months, and when they
are a year old become fine-looking black hogs with white marking not
unlike the Berkshire of the States. There is no chance to doubt that
the Igorot domestic hog was the wild hog in the surrounding mountains
a few generations ago.
The Bontoc hog is bred, born, and raised in a secure pen, yet wild
blood is infused direct, since pigs are frequently purchased by
Bontoc from surrounding pueblos, most of whose hogs run half wild and
intermingle with the wild ones of the mountains. That the domestic
hog in some places in northern Luzon does thus interbreed with the
wild ones is a proved fact. In the Quiangan area I was shown a litter
of half-breeds and was told that it was customary for the pueblo sows
to breed to the wild boar of the mountains.
The Bontoc hog in many ways is a pampered pet. He is at all times kept
in a pen and fed regularly three times each day with camote vines
when in season, with camote parings, and small camotes available,
and with green vegetal matter, including pusleys, gathered by the
girls and women when there are no camote vines. All of his food is
carefully washed and cooked before it is given to him.
The pigsty consists of a pit in the earth about 4 feet deep, 5
or 6 feet wide, and 8 or 12 feet long. It is entirely lined with
bowlders, and the floor space consists of three sections of about
equal size. One end is two or more feet deeper than the other, and it
is into this lower space that the washings of the pen are stored in
the rotted straw and weeds, and from which the manure for fertilizer
is taken. The other end is covered over level with the outside earth
with timbers, stones, and dirt; it is the pig's bed and is entered
by a doorway in the stone wall. Most of these "beds" have a low,
grass roof about 30 inches high over them. Underneath the roof is an
opening in the earth where the people defecate. Connecting the "bed"
section and the opposite lower section of the sty is an incline on
which the stone "feed" troughs are located.
As soon as a pig is weaned he is kept in a separate pen, and one family
may have in its charge three or four pens. The sows are kept mainly
for breeding, and there are many several years old. The richest man in
Bontoc owns about thirty hogs, and these are farmed out for feeding and
breeding -- a common practice. When one is killed it is divided equally
between the owner and the feeder. When a litter of pigs is produced
the bunch is divided equally, the sow remaining the property of the
owner and counting as one in the division. Throughout the Island of
Luzon it is the practice to leave most male animals uncastrated. But
in Bontoc the boar not intended for breeding is castrated.
Hogs are raised for ceremonial consumption. They are commonly bought
and sold within the pueblo, and are not infrequently sold outside. A
pig weighing 10 pounds is worth about 3 pesos, and a hog weighing 60
or 70 pounds is valued at about 12 pesos.
The Bontoc domestic chickens were originally the wild fowl, found in
all places in the Archipelago, although some of them have acquired
varied colorings and markings, largely, probably, from black and
white Spanish fowl, which are still found among them. The markings
of the wild fowl, however, are the most common, and practically all
small chickens are marked as are their wild kin. The wild fowl bears
markings similar to those of the American black-breasted red game,
though the fowls are smaller than the American game fowl. Each of
the twelve wild cocks I have had in my hands had perfect five-pointed
single combs, and the domestic cock of Bontoc also commonly has this
perfect comb. I know of no people within the Bontoc area who now
systematically domesticate the wild fowl, though this was found to be
the custom of the Ibilao southeast of Dupax in the Province of Nueva
Vizcaya. Those people catch the young wild fowl for domestication.
The Bontoc domestic fowl are not confined in a coop except at night,
when they sleep in small cages placed on the ground in the dwelling
houses. In the daytime they range about the pueblo feeding much in
the pigpens, though they are fed a small amount of raw rice each
morning. Their nests are in baskets secured under the eaves of the
dwelling, and in those baskets the brooding hens hatch their chicks,
from eight to twenty eggs being given a hen. The fowl is raised
exclusively for ceremonial consumption, and is frequently sold in
the pueblo for that purpose, being valued at from half a peso to a
peso each. A wild fowl sells for half a peso.
In Banawi of the Quiangan area, south of Bontoc, one may find large
capons, but Bontoc does not understand caponizing.
The dog of the Bontoc Igorot is usually of a solid color, black,
white, or yellow, really "buckskin" color. Where he originated is
not known. He has none of the marks of the Asiatic dog which has left
its impress everywhere in the lowlands of the west coast of Luzon --
called in the Islands the "Chino" dog, and in the States the "Eskimo"
dog. The Igorot dog is short-haired, sharp-eared, gaunt, and sinewy,
with long legs and body. In height and length he ranges from a
fair-sized fox terrier to a collie. I fail to see anything in him
resembling the Australian dingo or the "yellow cur" of the States. The
Ibilao have the same dog in two colors, the black and the "brindle"
-- the brown and black striped. In fact, a dog of the same general
characteristics occurs throughout northern Luzon. No matter what may be
his origin, a dog so widely diffused and so characteristically molded
and marked must have been on the island long enough to have acquired
its typical features here. The dog receives little attention from
his owners. Twice each day he is fed sparingly with cooked rice or
camotes. Except in the case of the few hunting dogs, he does nothing
to justify his existence. He lies about the dwelling most of the time,
and is a surly, more or less evil-tempered cur to strangers, though
when a pueblo flees to the mountains from its attacking enemies the
dog escapes in a spiritless way with the women and children. He is
bred mainly for ceremonial consumption.
In Benguet the Igorot eats his dog only after it has been reduced
to skin and bones. I saw two in a house so poor that they did not
raise their heads when I entered, and the man of the house said
they would be kept twenty days longer before they would be reduced
properly for eating. No such custom exists in Bontoc, but dogs are
seldom fat when eaten. They are not often bought or sold outside the
pueblo. A litter of pups is generally distributed about the town, and
dogs are constantly bought and sold within the pueblo for ceremonial
purposes. They are valued at from 2 to 4 pesos.
Up to the age of 6 or 7 years the Igorot boys are as naked as when
born. At that time they put on the suk'-lang, the basket-work hat
worn on the back of the head, held in place by a cord attached at
both sides and passing across the forehead and usually hidden by
the front hair. The suk'-lang is made in nearly all pueblos in the
Bontoc culture area. It does not extend uninterruptedly to the western
border, however, since it is not worn at all in Agawa, and in some
other pueblos near the Lepanto border, as Fidelisan and Genugan,
it has a rival in the headband. The beaten-bark headband, called
"a-pong'-ot," and the headband of cloth are worn by short-haired men,
while the long-haired man invariably wears the hat. The suk'-lang
varies in shape from the fez-like ti-no-od' of Bontoc and Samoki,
through various hemispherical forms, to the low, flat hats developing
eastward and perfected in the last mountains west of the Rio Grande
de Cagayan. Barlig makes and wears a carved wooden hat, either
hemispherical or slightly oval. It goes in trade to Ambawan.
The men of the Bontoc area also have a basket-work, conical rain
hat. It is waterproof, being covered with beeswax. It is called
"seg-fi'," and is worn only when it rains, at which time the suk'-lang
is often not removed.
About the age of 10 the boys frequently affect a girdle. These girdles
are of four varieties. The one most common in Bontoc and Samoki is the
song-kit-an', made of braided bark-fiber strings, some six to twelve
in number and about 12 feet long. They are doubled, and so make the
girdle about 6 feet in length. The strings are the twisted inner bark
of the same plants that play a large role in the manufacture of the
woman's skirt. This girdle is usually worn twice around the body,
though it is also employed as an apron, passing only once around the
body and hanging down over the genitals (see Pl. XXI). Another girdle
worn much in Tukukan, Kanyu, and Tulubin is called the "i-kit'." It
is made of six to twelve braided strings of bejuco (see Pl. LXXX). It
is constructed to fit the waist, has loops at both ends, passes once
around the body, and fastens by a cord passing from one loop to the
other. Both the sang-ki-tan' and the i-kit' are made by the women. A
third class of girdles is made by the men. It is called ka'-kot,
and is worn and attached quite as is the i-kit'. It is a twisted rope
of bejuco, often an inch in diameter, and is much worn in Mayinit. A
fourth girdle, called "ka'-ching," is a chain, frequently a dog chain
of iron purchased on the coast, oftener a chain manufactured by the
men, and consisting of large, open links of commercial brass wire
about one-sixth of an inch in diameter.
At about the age of puberty, say at 15, it is usual for the boy to
possess a breechcloth, or wa'-nis. However, the cloth is worn by a
large per cent of men in Bontoc and Samoki, not as a breechcloth but
tucked under the girdle and hanging in front simply as an apron. Within
the Bontoc area fully 50 per cent of the men wear the breechcloth
simply as an apron.
There are several varieties of breechcloths in the area. The simplest
of these is of flayed tree bark. It is made by women in Barlig,
Tulubin, Titipan, Agawa, and other pueblos. It is made of white
and reddish-brown bark, and sometimes the white ones are colored
with red ocher. The white one is called "so'-put" and the red one
"ti-nan'-ag." Some of the other breechcloths are woven of cotton
thread by the women. Much of this cotton is claimed by the Igorot
to be tree cotton which they gather, spin and weave, but much also
comes in trade from the Ilokano at the coast. Some is purchased in the
boll and some is purchased after it has been spun and colored. Many
breechcloths are now bought ready made from the Ilokano.
Men generally carry a bag tucked under the girdle, and very often
indeed these bags are worn in lieu of the breechcloth aprons -- the
girdle and the bag apron being the only clothing (see Pl. CXXV and
also Frontispiece, where, from left to right, figs. 1, 2, 3, 5, and 7
wear simply a bag). One of the bags commonly worn is the fi-chong',
the bladder of the hog; the other, cho'-kao, is a cloth bag some 8
inches wide and 15 inches long. These cloth bags are woven in most
of the pueblos where the cotton breechcloth is made.
Old men now and then wear a blanket, pi'-tay, but the younger men
never do. They say a blanket is for the women.
Some few of the principal men in many of the pueblos throughout the
area have in late years acquired either the Army blue-woollen shirt,
a cotton shirt, or a thin coat, and these they wear during the cold
storms of January and February, and on special social occasions.
During the period of preparing the soil for transplanting palay
the men frequently wear nothing at the middle except the girdle. In
and out of the pueblo they work, carrying loads of manure from the
hogpens to the fields, apparently as little concerned or noticed as
though they wore their breechcloths.
All Igorot -- men, women, and children -- sleep without breechcloth,
skirt, or jacket. If a woman owns a blanket she uses it as a covering
when the nights are cold. All wear basket-work nightcaps, called
"kut'-lao." They are made to fit closely on the head, and have a small
opening at the top. They may be worn to keep the hair from snarling,
though I was unable to get any reason from the Igorot for their use,
save that they were worn by their ancestors.
From infancy to the age of 8 and very often 10 years the little girls
are naked; not unfrequently one sees about the pueblo a girl of a dozen
years entirely nude. However, practically all girls from about 5 years,
and also all women, have blankets which are worn when it is cold, as
almost invariably after sundown, though no pretense is made to cover
their nakedness with them. During the day this pi'-tay, or blanket, is
seldom worn except in the dance. I have never seen women or girls dance
without it. The blankets of the girls are usually small and white with
a blue stripe down each side and through the middle; they are called
"kud-pas'." Those of the women are of four kinds -- the ti-na'-pi,
the fa-yi-ong', the fan-che'-la, and the pi-nag-pa'-gan. In Barlig,
Agawa, and Tulubin the flayed tree-bark blanket is worn; and in
Kambulo, east of Barlig, woven bark-fiber blankets are made which
sometimes come to Bontoc.
Before a girl puts on her lu-fid', or woven bark-fiber skirt, at
about 8 or 10 years of age, she at times wears simply the narrow
girdle, later worn to hold up the skirt. The skirt is both short and
narrow. It usually extends from below the navel to near the knees. It
opens on the side, and is frequently so scant and narrow that one leg
is exposed as the person walks, the only part of the body covered on
that side being under the girdle, or wa'-kis -- a woven band about 4
inches wide passing twice around the body (see Pl. XXIII). The women
sometimes wear the braided-string bejuco belt, i-kit', worn by the men.
The lu-fid' and the wa'-kis are the extent of woman's ordinary
clothing. For some months after the mother gives birth to a child
she wears an extra wa'-kis wrapped tightly about her, over which the
skirt is worn as usual. During the last few weeks of pregnancy the
woman may leave off her skirt entirely, wearing simply her blanket
over one shoulder and about her body. Women wear breechcloths during
the three or four days of menstruation.
During the period when the water-soaked soil of the sementera is turned
for transplanting palay the women engaged in such labor generally lay
aside their skirts. Sometimes they retain a girdle and tuck an apron of
camote leaves or of weeds under it before and behind. I have frequently
come upon women entirely naked climbing up and down the steep, stone
dikes of their sementeras while weeding them, and also at the clay
pits where Samoki women get their earth for making pottery. In May,
1903, it rained hard every afternoon for two or three hours in Bontoc
pueblo, and at such times the women out of doors uniformly removed
their clothing. They worked in the fields and went from the fields
to their dwellings nude, wearing on their heads while in the trail
either their long, basket rain protector or a head covering of camote
vines, under which reposed their skirts in an effort to keep them
dry. Sometimes while passing our house en route from the field to the
pueblo the women wore the girdle with the camote-vine apron, called
pay-pay. Often no girdle was worn, but the women held a small bunch
of leaves against the body in lieu of an attached apron. Sometimes,
however, their hands were occupied with their burdens, and their
nudity seemed not to trouble them in the least. The women remove their
skirts, they say, because they usually possess only one at a time,
and they prefer to go naked in the rain and while working in the wet
sementeras rather than sit in a wet skirt when they reach home.
Few women in the Bontoc area wear jackets or waists. Those to the
west, toward the Province of Lepanto, frequently wear short ones,
open in front without fastening, and having quarter sleeves. Those
women also wear somewhat longer skirts than do the Bontoc women.
In Agawa, and near-by pueblos to the west, and in Barlig and
vicinity to the east, the women make and wear flayed-bark jackets
and skirts. From Barlig bark jackets for women come in trade
to Tulubin. They are not simply sheets of bark, but the bark is
strengthened by a coarse reinforcement of a warp sewed or quilted.
Many of the women's skirts and girdles woven west of Bontoc pueblo
are made also of the Ilokano cotton. The skirts and girdles of Bontoc
pueblo and those found commonly eastward are entirely of Igorot
production. Four varieties of plants yield the threads; the inner
bark is gathered and then spun or twisted on the naked thigh under
the palm of the hand (see Pl. LXXXIII).
All weaving in Igorot land is done by the woman with the simplest
kind of loom, such as is scattered the world over among primitive
people. It is well shown in Pl. LXXXIV, which is a photograph of a
Lepanto Igorot loom.
Implement and utensil production
It is only after one has brought together all the implements and
utensils of an Igorot pueblo that he realizes the large part played
in it by basket work. Were basketry and pottery cut from the list of
his productions the Igorot's everyday labors would be performed with
bare hands and crude sticks.
Where is the Igorot's "stone age"? There are stone hammers and
stones used as anvils in the ironsmith's shop. There are stone
troughs or bowls in most pigpens in which the animal's food is
placed. Very rarely, as in the Quiangan area, one sees a large, flat
stone supported a foot or two from the earth by other stones. It
is used as a bench or table, but has no special purpose. There are
whetstones for sharpening the steel spear and battle-ax; there is the
stone of the "flint-and-steel" fire machine; and of course stones are
employed as seats, in constructing terrace walls, in dams, and in the
building of various inhabited structures, but that is all. There is no
"stone age" -- no memory of it -- and, if the people were swept away
to-day, to-morrow would reveal no trace of it. It is believed that
the Igorot is to-day as much in the "stone age" as he ever has been
in his present land. He had little use for stone weapons, implements,
or utensils before he manufactured in iron.
Before he had iron he was essentially a user and maker of weapons,
implements, utensils, and tools of wood. There are many vestiges of
the wood age to-day; several show the use of wood for purposes usually
thought of as solely within the sphere of stone and metal. Among
these vestiges may be noted the bamboo knife used in circumcision;
the sharp stick employed in the ceremonial killing of domestic hogs
in Benguet; the bamboo instrument of ten or a dozen cutting blades
used to shape and dress the hard, wooden spear shafts and battle-ax
handles; the use of bamboo spearheads attached to hard-wood shafts;
and the bamboo spikes stuck in trails to impale the enemy.
In addition to the above uses of wood for cutting flesh and working
wood there follow, in this and subsequent chapters, enough data
regarding the uses of wood to demonstrate that the wood age plays a
large part in the life of a primitive people prior to the common use
of metals. Without metals there was practically no occasion for the
development of stone weapons and tools in a country with such woods
as the bamboo; so in the Philippines we find an order of development
different from that widespread in the temperate zones -- the "stone
age" appears to be omitted.
Wooden implements and utensils
The kay-kay (Pl. LXI) is one of the most indispensable wooden tools
in Igorot land. It is a hard-wood implement from 5 to 7 feet long,
sharpened to a dull, flat edge at one end; this end is fire tempered
to harden and bind the fibers, thus preventing splitting and excessive
wear. The kay-kay is obtained in the mountains in the vicinity of most
pueblos, so it is seldom bought or sold. It is the soil-turning stick,
used by both men and women in turning the earth in all irrigated
sementeras for rice and camotes. It is also employed in digging
around and prying out rocks to be removed from sementeras or needed
for walls. It is spade, plow, pickax, and crowbar. A small per cent of
the kay-kay is shod with an iron point, rendering them more efficient,
especially in breaking up new or sod ground.
The su-wan', the woman's camote stick, is about 2 feet long and an
inch in diameter (Pl. LXXV). It is a heavy, compact wood, and is
used by the woman until worn down 6 or 8 inches, when it usually
becomes the property of a small girl for gathering wild plants for
the family pigs. The su-wan' of the woman of Bontoc and Samoki comes,
mostly in trade, from the mountains near Tulubin. It is employed in
picking the earth loose in all unirrigated sementeras, as those for
camotes, millet, beans, and maize. It is also used to pick over the
earth in camote sementeras when the crop is gathered. Perhaps 1 per
cent of these sticks is shod with an iron point. Such an instrument
is of genuine service in the rough, stony mountain lands, but is
not so serviceable as the unshod stick in the irrigated sementeras,
because it cuts and bruises the vegetables.
The most common wooden vessel in the Bontoc area is the kak-wan',
a vessel, or "pail" holding about six or eight quarts. In it the
cooked food of the pigs is mixed and carried to the animals. Every
household has two or more of them.
A few small, poorly made wooden dishes, called "chu'-yu," are found
in each dwelling, from which the people eat broth of fish or other
meats. All are of inferior workmanship and, in common with all things
of wood made by the Igorot, are the product of the man's art. Both
the knife and fire are used to hollow out these bowls.
A long-handled wooden dipper, called "ka-od'," is found in every
dwelling. It belongs with the kak-wan', the pig-food pail.
Tug-on' is a large, long-handled spoon used exclusively as a drinking
dipper for the fermented liquor called "sa-fu-eng'."
Fa'-nu is a wooden ladle employed in cooking foods.
A few very crude eating spoons, about the size of the dessert spoon
of America, are found in most dwellings. They are usually without
ornament, and are called "i-chus'."
Metal implements and utensils
The wa'-say is the only metal implement employed at all commonly in the
area; it is found in each family. It consists of an iron, steel-bitted
blade from an inch to an inch and a half in width and about 6 inches
in length. It is attached to the short, wooden handle by a square haft
inserted into the handle. Since the haft is square the implement may
be instantly converted into either an "ax" with blade parallel to
the handle or an "adz" with blade at right angle to the handle.
This is the tool used in felling and cutting up all trees, and in
getting out and dressing all timbers and boards. It is the sole
carpenter tool, unless the man by chance possess a bolo.
There are no metal agricultural implements in common use. As was noted
earlier in the chapter, the soil-turning stick and the woman's camote
stick are now and then shod with iron, but they are rare.
There are a few large, shallow Chinese iron boilers in the area,
used especially for boiling sugar, evaporating salt in Mayinit,
and for cooking carabao or large quantities of hog on ceremonial
occasions. There are probably not more than two or three dozen such
boilers in Bontoc pueblo, though they are becoming much more plentiful
during the past three years -- since the Igorot has more money and
goes more often to Candon on the coast, where he buys them.
Most of the pottery consumed in the Bontoc area is the product
of Samoki, the sister pueblo of Bontoc. Samoki pottery meets no
competition down the river to the north until in the vicinity of
Bitwagan, which makes and vends similar ware both up and down the
river. To the south there is also competition, since Data makes and
sells an excellent pot to Antedao, Fidelisan, Sagada, Titipan, and
other near-by pueblos. It is probable, also, that Lias and Barlig, to
the east, are supplied with pottery, and, if so, that their source is
Bitwagan. But Bitwagan and Data pots are really not competitors with
those of Samoki; they rather supply areas which the Samoki potters
can not reach because of distance and the hostility of the people.
There are no traditions clustering around pottery making in Samoki. The
potters say they taught themselves, and have always made earthenware.
To-day Samoki pottery is made of two clays -- one a reddish-brown
mineral dug from pits several feet deep on the hillside, shown in
Pl. LXXXII, and the other a bluish mineral gathered from a shallow
basin situated on the hillside nearer the river than the pits, and
in which a little water stands much of the year.
Formerly Samoki made pottery of only the brown clay, and she used
cut grass intermixed for a temper, but she claims those earlier pots
were too porous to glaze well. Consequently the experiment was made
of adding the blue surface clay, in which there is a considerable
amount of fresh and decaying vegetable matter -- probably sufficient
to give temper, although the potters do not recognize it as such.
Samoki consists of eight ato, one of which is I-kang'-a. occupying
the outer fringe of dwellings on the northwest side of the pueblo. It
is claimed that all of the women of I-kang'-a, whether married or
single, are potters. Even women who marry men of the I-kang'-a ato,
and who come to that section of the pueblo to live, learn and follow
the potter's art. A few married women in other ato also manufacture
pottery. They seem to be married daughters of I-kang'-a ato.
A fine illustration of community industry is presented by the ato
potters of Samoki. It could not be learned that there are any definite
regulations, other than custom, demanding that all women of I-kang'-a
manufacture pots, or any regulation which forces daughters of that
ato to discontinue the art when they marry outside. But custom has
fixed quite rigidly such a regulation, and though, as just stated,
a few I-kang'-a women married into other ato of Samoki do manufacture
pottery, yet no I-kang'-a women married into other pueblos carry on
the art. It may be argued that a lack of suitable clay has thwarted
manufacture in other pueblos, but clay is common in the mountains of
the area, and the sources of the materials used in Samoki are readily
accessible to at least the pueblo of Bontoc, where also there are
many Samoki women living.
The clay pits lie north of Samoki, between a quarter and a half
of a mile distant, and the potters go to them in the early morning
while the earth is moist, and dig and bring home the clays. The woman
gathers half a transportation basket of each of the clays, and while
at the pits crudely works both together into balls 4 or 5 inches in
diameter. In this form the clay is carried to the pueblo.
All the pottery is manufactured in the shade of the potter's dwelling,
and the first process is a thorough mixing of the two clays. The balls
of the crudely mixed material are put into a small, wooden trough, are
slightly moistened, and then thoroughly worked with a wooden pestle,
the potter crouching on her haunches or resting on her knees during
the labors. She is shown in Pl. LXXXIX A. After the clay is mixed
it is manipulated in small handfuls, between the thumb and fingers,
in order that all stones and coarse pieces of vegetable matter may
be removed. When the mortarful has thus been handled it is ready for
A mass of this clay, thoroughly mixed and plastic, is placed on a
board on the earth before the kneeling or crouched potter. She pokes
a hole in the top of this mass with thumbs and fingers, and quickly
enlarges it. As soon as the opening is large enough to admit one hand
it is dug out and enlarged by scraping with the ends of the fingers,
and the clay so gathered is immediately built onto the upper rim of the
mass. The inside is next further scraped and smoothed with the side
of the forefinger. At this juncture a small mass of clay is rolled
into a strip between the hands and placed on the upper edge of the
shaping mass, completely encircling it. This roll is at once shaped by
the hands into a crude, flaring rim. A few swift touches on the outer
face of the crude pot removes protruding masses and roughly shapes the
surface. The rim is moistened with water and smoothed inside and out by
the hand and a short, round stick. This process is well illustrated in
Pl. XC. The first stage of manufacture is completed and the vessel is
set in the sun with the rim of an old broken pot for a supporting base.
In the course of a few hours the shaped and nearly completed rim
of the pot becomes strong and set by the heat of the sun. However,
the rough and irregular bowl has apparently retained relatively a
larger amount of moisture and is in prime condition to be thinned,
expanded, and given final form. The pot is now handled by the rim,
which is sufficiently rigid for the purpose, and is turned about on
its supporting base as is needed, or the base is turned about on the
earth like a crude "potter's wheel." A smooth discoidal stone, some 4
or 5 inches in diameter, and a wooden paddle are the instruments used
to shape the bowl. The paddle is first dipped in water and rubbed over
one of the flattish surfaces of the stone slightly to moisten it, and
is then beaten against the outer surface of the bowl, while the stone,
tapped against the inner surface, prevents indenting or cracking,
and, by offering a more or less nonresisting surface, assists in
thinning and expanding the clay. After the upper part of the bowl
has been thus completed the potter sits on her feet and haunches,
with her knees thrust forward from her. Again and again she moistens
her paddle and discoidal stone, and continues the spanking process
until the entire bowl of the pot is shaped. It is then set in the
sun to dry -- this time usually bottom side up.
After it has thoroughly dried, both the inner and outer surfaces are
carefully and patiently smoothed and polished with a small stone,
commonly a ribbon agate. During this process all pebbles found
protruding from the surface are removed and the pits are filled with
new clay thoroughly smoothed in place, and the thickness of the pot
is made more uniform. The vessel is again placed on its supporting
base in the sun, and kept turned and tilted until it has become well
dried and set. Two and sometimes three days are required to bring
a pot thus far toward completion, though during the same time there
are several equally completed by each potter.
There remains yet the burning and glazing. Samoki burns her pots
in the morning before sunrise. Immediately on the outskirts of the
pueblo there is a large, gravelly place strewn with thin, black ash
where for generations the potters coming and going have completed
their primitive ware. Usually two or more firings occur each week,
and several women combine and burn their pots together. On the earth
small stones are laid upon which one tier of vessels is placed, each
lying upon its side. Tier upon tier of pots is then placed above the
first layer, each on its side and each supported by and supporting
other pots. The heat is supplied by pine bark placed beneath and
around the lower layer. The pile is entirely blanketed with dead
grass tied in small bunches which has been gathered, prepared, and
kept in the houses of the potters for the purpose. The grass retains
its form long after the blaze and glow have ceased, and clings about
the pile as a blanket, checking the wasteful radiation of heat and
cutting out the drafts of air that would be disastrous to the heated
clay. As this blanket of grass finally gives way here and there the
attending potters replenish it with more bunches. The pile is fired
about one hour; when sufficiently baked the pots are lifted from
the fire by inserting in each a long pole. Each potter then takes
a vessel at a time, places it red hot on its supporting base on the
earth before her, and immediately proceeds, with much care and labor,
to glaze the rim and inside of the bowl. The glaze is a resin obtained
in trade from Barlig. It is applied to the vessel from the end of
a glazing stick -- sometimes a pole 6 or 7 feet long, but usually
about a yard in length. After the rim and inner surface of the bowl
have been thoroughly glazed the potter begins on another vessel --
turning the last one over to one or two little girls, from 4 to 6
years of age, who find great happiness in smearing the outer surface
of the now cooling and dull-brown pot with resin held in bunches in
the hands. This outer glaze, applied by the young apprentices, who,
in play, are learning an art of their future womanhood, is neither
so thick nor so carefully laid as is the glaze of the rim and inner
surface of the vessel. When the glazing is completed the pot is still
too hot to be borne in the hands; however, the glaze has become rigid
Analyses made at the Bureau of Government Laboratories, Manila, show
that the clays used in the Samoki pots contain the following mineral:
Analyses of Samoki pottery clays
Brown pit clay
Blue surface clay
Oxide of aluminum
Ferric oxide of iron
Oxide of calcium
Loss by ignition
Oxide of magnesium
Oxide of potassium
Oxide of sodium
The botanist of the Bureau of Government Laboratories says in
the report of his analysis of the resin used to glaze these pots:
This gum is known as Almaciga (Sp.). It is produced by some
species of the dipterocarpus or shorea -- which it is impossible
to determine. ... It should not be confounded with the other common
almaciga from the trees of the genus Agathis.
The Government analyst who analyzed the clays and examined the
finished and glazed pots says of the Samoki pot that about two-thirds
of the organic matter in the clay is consumed in the baking or burning
of the pot. The organic matter in the middle one-third of the wall
of the pot is not consumed. The clay is a remarkably hard one and
is difficult of ignition; this is the reason it makes good cooking
vessels. He further says that the glaze is not a true glaze. It seems
that the resin does nothing except lose its oils when applied to the
red-hot pots, and there is left on the surface the unconsumed carbon.
All basket work is done by the men. Much of the time when they are in
the fawi or pabafunan, gossiping and smoking, they are busied making
the ordinary and necessary utensils of the field and dwelling. The
basket work is all crude, with the possible exception of some of the
hats worn by the men.
As is brought forth later under the head of "Commerce," much basket
work is done by only one or two communities, and from them passes
in trade over a large area. Most of the basket work of the area is
of bejuco or bamboo. There are two varieties of bamboo used in the
area -- a'-nis and fi'-ka. A'-nis is found in the area and fi'-ka is
brought in in trade from the southwest.
The most important piece of basket work is the ki-ma'-ta, the
man's transportation basket, made of a'-nis bamboo; it is shown in
Pl. CXX. It is made by many pueblos, and is found throughout the
area. It consists of two baskets joined firmly to a light, wooden
crossbar called "pa'-tang." The entire ki-ma'-ta weighs about 5 pounds,
and with it the Igorot carries loads weighing as much as 100 pounds.
The man has another basket called "ko-chuk-kod'," which is used
frequently by him, also sometimes by women, for carrying earth when
building the sementeras. The ko-chuk-kod' is made in Bontoc and
Samoki. It is not shown in any of the illustrations, but is quite
similar to the tay-ya-an', or large transportation basket of the woman,
yet is slimmer. It is also similar in shape and size to the woman's
transportation basket in Benguet which is worn on the back supported
by a headband.
The woman has two important a'-nis bamboo transportation baskets,
which are constantly employed. One called "lu'-wa," the shallow lower
basket shown in Pl. LXXV, is made only in Samoki; the other tay-ya-an',
shown in Pl. XCIII, holds about three pecks. It is made only in Bontoc
Ag-ka-win' is the small rump basket almost invariably worn by women
when working in the irrigated sementera. It is of fi'-ka bamboo, is
made commonly in Bontoc and Samoki, and occasionally in Tulubin. The
field toiler often carries her lunch to the field in the ag-ka-win',
and when she returns the basket is usually filled with crustaceans
and mollusks picked up in the wet sementera or gathered in the river,
or with weeds or grasses to be cooked as "greens."
The woman's rain protector, a scoop-shaped affair about 4 feet long,
called "tug-wi'," is said to be made only in Ambawan and Barlig. It
consists of a double weave of coarse splints, between which is a
waterproof layer of a large palm leaf. It is worn over the head,
and is an excellent protection from the rain. It may well have been
suggested to primitive man by the banana leaf, which I have repeatedly
seen carried over the head and back by the Igorot in many sections
of northern Luzon during the rains. I have also seen it used many
times in Manila by Tagalog who were caught out in a storm without an
umbrella. The rain protector is shown lying in front of the house in
Tak-o-chug' is the man's dirt scoop made of a'-nis bamboo. It resembles
the tug-wi' in shape, but is only about 1 1/2 feet long. It is employed
in handling earth, and conveying the dirt to the ko-chuk-kod', or
dirt transportation basket.
A basket very similar to tak-o-chug', but called "sug-fi'," is employed
by the woman in her housework in handling vegetables. It is shown in
Pl. XCIV, containing camote parings.
The to'-pil is the man's "dinner pail." It is made of a'-nis bamboo,
is a covered basket, and is constructed to contain from one and a
half to three quarts of solid food. In it men and boys carry their
lunch to the fields. All the pueblos make the to'-pil.
Another basket, called "sang'-i," is generally employed in carrying the
man's food. It is used for long trips from home, although I have seen
it used simply for carrying the field lunch. It is made of bejuco in
Ambawan, Barlig, and Tulubin, and passes widely in the area through
commerce. It is worn on the back, secured by bejuco straps passing
in front of the shoulders.
Fang'-ao is the sang'-i with a waterproof bejuco covering. As it
is worn on the back, the man appears to be wearing a cape made of
hanging vegetable threads. This is the basket commonly known as the
"head basket," but it is used for carrying food, blankets, anything,
on the trail. It is made in Ambawan, Barlig, and Kanyu, and is found
pretty well scattered throughout the area. It is shown, front and
back view, in Pl. XCV.
Fa'-i si gang'-sa is an open-work bejuco basket, in shape very similar
to the sang'-i, used to carry the gang'-sa, or metal drum. It is worn
slung on the back as is the sang'-i.
A house basket holding about a peck, called "fa-lo'-ko," is made
of a'-nis bamboo. It is used in various capacities, for vegetables
and cereals, in and about the house. It is made in all the pueblos
and is shown in Pl. XCIV. A few other household baskets are often
found. Among these are the large, bottle-shaped locust basket, i-wus',
a smaller basket, ko'-lug, of the same shape used to hold threshed
rice, and the open-work spoon basket, so'-long, which usually hangs
over the fireplace in each dwelling.
The large winnowing tray, lig-o', shown bottom up in Pl. XCIII, is
made in Samoki and Kanyu of a'-nis bamboo. There are two sizes of
winnowing trays, both of which are employed everywhere in the area.
Several small a'-nis bamboo eating trays, called "ki'-ug," are shown
in Pl. XCIV. These food dishes are used on ceremonial occasions,
and some of them can not be purchased. They are made in all pueblos.
Samoki alone is said to make the rice sieve, called "a-ka'-ug. It
passes widely in the pueblo.
Aside from these various basket utensils and implements there are
the three kinds of fish traps described in the section on fishing.
There are also three varieties of basket-work hats. The rain hat called
"seg-fi'," is made in Bontoc, and may be in imitation of those worn
nearer the western coast. This with the suk-lang, the pocket hat
always worn by the men and boys, and the kut'-lao. or sleeping hat,
worn by children and adults of both sexes, are described under the
head of "Clothing."
Igorot weapons are few and relatively simple. The bow and arrow,
used wherever the Negrito is in Luzon, is not known to the Igorot
warrior of the Bontoc culture area. Small boys in Bontoc pueblo
make for themselves tiny bows 1 1/2 or 2 feet long with which they
snap light arrows a few feet. But the instrument is of the crudest,
merely a toy, and is a thing of the day, being acquired from the
culture of the Ilokano who live in the pueblo. The Igorot claim they
never employed the bow and arrow, and, to-day at least, consider the
question as to their ever using it as very foolish, since, they say,
pointing to the child's toy, "It is nothing."
In 1665 -- 1668 Friar Casimiro Diaz wrote of the Igorot that they
used arrows, but it is believed his statement did not apply to
the Bontoc man. Igorot-like people throughout northern Luzon commonly
do not have this weapon, yet the large Tinguian group of Abra, west
and north of Bontoc, and the Ibilao of southeastern Nueva Vizcaya,
Nueva Ecija, and adjacent Isabela employ the bow constantly.
The natural projectile weapon of the Negrito is the bow and arrow;
that of the Malayan seems to be the blowgun -- at present, however,
largely replaced by the spear, though in some southern islands,
especially in Paragua, it has held its own.
Shields are universally made and used by the Igorot. They are made
by the men of each pueblo, and are seldom bought or sold. They are
cut from single pieces of wood, and are generally constructed of very
light wood, though some are heavy. The hand grip is cut in the solid
timber. is almost invariably made for the left hand, and will usually
accommodate only three fingers -- the thumb and little finger remaining
outside the grip and free to press forward the upper and lower ends
of the shield, respectively, slanting it to glance a blow of a spear.
Within the present boundary of Bontoc Province there are three
distinct patterns of wooden shields in use in three quite distinct
culture areas. There is still another shield immediately beyond the
western border of the province but which is believed to be produced
also in the Bontoc area.
First, is the shield of the Bontoc culture area. It is usually about
3 feet long and 1 foot wide, is blackened with a greasy soot, though
now and again one in original wood is seen. The upper part or "chief"
of the shield is cut, leaving three points projecting several inches
above the solid field; the lower end or "base" is cut, leaving two
points. Across both ends of the shield is a strengthening lace of
bejuco, passing through perforations from front to back. The front
surface of the shield is most prominent over the deep-cut hand grip
at the boss or "fess point," toward which a wing approaches on both
the dexter and sinister sides of the front of the shield, being carved
slightly on the field. This is the usual Bontoc shield, but some few
have meaningless straight-line decorations cut in the field.
In the Tinglayan culture area, immediately north of Bontoc, the usual
shield is very similar to the above, except that various sections
of both the face and back of the shield are of natural wood or are
colored dull red. The strengthening of bejuco lacings and the raised
wings are also found.
Still farther north is the Kalinga shield -- a slim, gracefully formed
shield, differing from the typical Bontoc weapon chiefly in its more
graceful outline. It is of a uniform black color and has the bejuco
lacings the same as the others.
The fourth variety, made at Bagnen, immediately across the Bontoc
border, in Lepanto, and probably also made and certainly used near at
hand in Bontoc, is quite similar to the Bontoc type but is smaller
and cruder. It is uncolored, and on its front has crude drawings of
snakes and frogs (or perhaps men) drawn with soot paint.
Banawi area, south of the Bontoc area. has a shield differing
markedly from the others. It is longer, usually somewhat wider,
and not cut at either end. The lower end is straight across at right
angles to the sides; the upper end rises to a very obtuse angle at
the middle. The front is usually much plainer than is that of the
other shields mentioned.
Throughout the Bontoc area there is a spear with a bamboo blade,
entirely a wooden weapon. The spear is employed in warfare, and is
losing its place only as iron becomes plentiful enough and cheap
enough to substitute for the bamboo blades or heads. Even in sections
in which iron spears are relatively common the wooden spear is used
much in warfare, since spears thrown at an enemy are frequently lost.
Sharp-pointed bamboo spikes are often stuck in the trails of war
parties when they are returning from some foray in which they have
been successful. These spikes are from about 6 inches in length,
as among the people of the Bontoc area, to 3 or more feet, as among
the Ibilao of southeastern Nueva Vizcaya. The latter people nightly
place these long spikes, called "luk'-dun," in the trails leading to
their dwellings. They are placed at a considerable angle, and would
impale an intruder in the groin or upper thigh, inflicting a cruel
and disabling wound. The shorter spikes either cut through the bottom
of the foot or stab the instep or leg near the ankle. They are much
dreaded, and, though crude, are very effective weapons.
The metal spear blade or head is a product of Igorot
workmanship. Baliwang, situated about six hours north of Bontoc,
makes most of the metal spear blades used in the Bontoc area. Sapao,
located about a day and a half to the south, makes excellent metal
blades, but they seldom reach the Bontoc culture area, although
blades of inferior production from Sapao are found in Ambawan, the
southernmost pueblo of the area.
Baliwang has four smithies, in each of which two or three men labor,
each man in a smithy performing a separate part of the work. One
operates the bellows, another feeds the fire and does the heavy
striking during the initial part of the work, and the other -- the
real blade maker, the artist -- directs all the labor, and performs
the finer and finishing parts of the blade production.
The smithies are about 12 feet square without side walls. They have
a grass roof sloping to within 3 feet of the earth, enlarging the
shaded area to near 20 feet square. Near one side of the room is
the bellows, called "op-op'," consisting of two vertical, parallel
wooden tubes about 5 feet long and 10 inches in diameter, standing
side by side. Each tube has a piston or plunger, called "dot-dot';"
the packing ring of the piston is of wood covered with chicken
feathers, making it slightly flexible at the rim, so it fits snugly
in the tube. The lower end of the bellows tubes rests in the earth,
4 inches above which a small bamboo tube leads the compressed air
to the fireplace from each bellows tube. These small tubes, called
"to-bong'," end near an opening through a brick at the back of the
fire, and the air forced through them passes on through the brick
to the burning charcoal. The outer end of the to-bong' is cut at
an angle, and as the tubes end outside the opening in the brick,
the air inbreathed by the bellows, as the plungers are raised, is
drawn from back of the fireplace -- thus the fire is not disturbed.
The fuel is an inferior charcoal prepared by the Igorot from pine. This
bellows is found throughout the Archipelago and is evidently a Malayan
product. It is believed that it came to Bontoc with the Igorot from
their earlier home and is not, as some say, a Chinese invention.
The Igorot manufacturer of metal pipes uses exactly the same kind of
bellows, except that it is very much smaller, and so appears like a
toy. It is poorly shown in Pl. CIX.
Much of the iron now employed in the manufacture of Igorot weapons is
Chinese bar iron coming from China to the Islands at Candon, in Ilokos
Sur. However, the people readily make weapons from any iron they may
acquire, greatly preferring the scraps of broken Chinese cast-iron
pots, vessels purchased primarily for making sugar. In his choice of
cast iron the Igorot exhibits a practical knowledge of metallurgy,
since cast iron makes better steel than wrought iron -- that is,
as he has to work.
Ironsmith's stone hammer.
The anvils of the smithy, numbering four or five, are large rocks set
solidly in the earth. The hammers are nearly all stone, though some
of the workmen have a small iron hammer used in finishing the weapons.
There are several varieties of stone hammers. One weighing about
30 pounds is 16 inches long, 10 inches wide, and from 4 to 6 inches
thick. An inch-deep groove is cut in both edges of the hammer, and
into these grooves the short, double wooden handle is attached by a
withe. Another hammer, similar to the above in shape and attachment,
is about one-third its size and weight. There is a still smaller
hammer lashed with leather bands to a single, straight wooden handle;
and there is also a round hammer stone about 3 inches in diameter
without handle or attachment, which hammer, together with the larger
one last mentioned, is largely superseded in some of the smithies by
the metal hammer.
The bellows operator sits squatting on a slight platform the height
of the bellows, and constantly works the plungers up and down with
Two men at first handle the hot iron -- one, the real blade maker,
holds the white-hot metal with long-handled iron pinchers (purchased
in Candon) and his helper wields the 30-pound hammer. He stands with
legs well apart, grasps the heavy hammer with both hands, and swings
it back and forth between his legs. The blow is struck at the downward,
These smiths weld iron, and also temper it to make steel. The following
detailed picture of a welding observed in a Baliwang smithy may be
duplicated there any day. The two pieces of iron to be welded were
separately heated a dull red. One was then laid on the other and both
were cooled with water. Wet earth, gathered for the occasion at the
side of the smithy, was then put over them; while still covered they
were inserted again in the fire. When red-hot they were withdrawn,
the little mound of earth covering the two pieces of iron being still
in place but having been brought also to a red heat. A few light blows
fell on the red mass, and it was again returned to the fire. Four times
the iron was withdrawn and received a few blows with a light hammer
wielded by the master smith. On being withdrawn the fifth time half a
dozen blows were struck by the helper with the 30-pound hammer. Again
the iron was heated, but when removed the sixth time the welding was
evidently considered finished, as the shaping of the weapon was then
begun. Weldings made by these smiths seem to be complete.
The tempering done by the Igorot is crude, and is such as may be seen
in any country blacksmith shop in the States. The iron is heated and
is tempered by cooling in a small wooden trough of water. There is
great difference in the quality of the steel turned out by the Igorot,
even by the same man, though some men are recognized as more skillful
There are four styles of spear blades made by Baliwang. The one most
common is called "fal-feg'." It is a simple, single-barbed blade,
and ranges from 2 inches to 6 inches in length. This style of blade
is the most used in warfare, and the smaller, lighter blades are
considered better for this purpose than the heavier ones.
The fang'-kao, or barbless lance blade, is next common in use. It is
not a war blade, but is used almost entirely in killing carabaos and
hogs. There is one notable exception to this statement -- Ambawan
has almost no other class of spear. These blades range from 4 to 12
or 14 inches in length.
The other two blades, si-na-la-wi'-tan and kay-yan', are relatively
rare. The former is quite similar to the fal-feg', except that instead
of the single pair of barbs there are other barbs -- say, from one
to ten pairs. This spear is not considered at all serviceable as a
hunting spear, and is not used in war as much as is the fal-feg'. It
is prized highly as an anito scarer. When a man passes alone in
the mountains anito are very prone to walk with him; however, if
the traveler carries a si-na-la-wi'-tan, anito will not molest him,
since they are afraid when they see the formidable array of barbs.
Kay-yan' is a gracefully formed blade not used in hunting, and
employed less in war than is si-na-la-wi'-tan. Though the Igorot
has almost nothing in his culture for purely aesthetic purposes, yet
he ascribes no purpose for the kay-yan' -- he says it looks pretty;
but I have seen it carried to war by war parties.
The pueblo of Sapao makes superior-looking steel weapons, though many
Igorot claim the steel of the Baliwang spear is better than that from
Sapao. In Quiangan I saw a fang'-kao, or lance-shaped blade made
in Sapao, having six faces on each side. The five lines separating
the faces ran from the tang to the point of the blade, and were as
regular and perfect as though machine made. The best class of Sapao
blades is readily distinguishable by its regular lines and the smooth
and perfect surface finish.
All spearheads are fastened to the wooden shaft by a short haft or tang
inserted in the wood. An iron ferrule or a braided bejuco ferrule is
employed to strengthen the shaft where the tang is inserted. A conical
iron ferrule or cap is also placed on the butt of the shaft. This
ferrule is often used, as the spear is always stuck in the earth
close at hand when the warrior works any distance from home; and as
he passes along the steep mountain trails or carries heavy burdens
he commonly uses the spear shaft as a staff.
The spear shafts are made by the owner of the weapon, it not being
customary for anyone to produce them for sale. Some of them are rather
attractively decorated with brass and copper studs, and a few have
red and yellow bejuco ferrules near the blade. In some pueblos of the
Bontoc area, as at Mayinit, spear shafts are worked down and eventually
smoothed and finished by a flexible, bamboo knife-blade machine. It
consists of about a dozen blades 8 or 10 inches in length, fastened
together side by side with string. The blades lie one overlapping the
other like the slats of an American window shutter. Each projecting
blade is sharpened to a chisel edge. The machine is grasped in the
hand, as shown in fig. 6, and is slid up and down the shaft with a
slight twisting movement obtained by bending the wrist. The machine
becomes a flexible, many-bladed plane.
Baliwang alone makes the genuine Bontoc battle-ax. It is a strong,
serviceable blade of good temper, and is hafted to a short, strong,
straight wooden handle which is strengthened by a ferrule of iron
or braided bejuco. The ax has a slender point opposed to the bit or
cutting edge of the blade. This point is often thrust in the earth
and the upturned blade used as a stationary knife, on which the Igorot
cuts meats and other substances by drawing them lengthwise along the
sharp edge. The bit of the ax is at a small angle with the front and
back edges of the blade, and is nearly a straight line. The axes are
kept keen and sharp by whetstones collected and preserved solely for
the purpose. Besao, near Sagada, quarries and barters a good grade
Bamboo spear-shaft dresser.
A slender, long-handled battle-ax now and then comes into the area
in trade from the north. Balbelasan, of old Abra Province, but now in
the northern part of extended Bontoc Province, is one of the pueblos
which produce this beautiful ax. The blade is longer and very much
slimmer than the Bontoc blade, but its marked distinguishing feature
is the shape of the cutting edge. The blade is ground on two straight
lines joined together by a short curved line, giving the edge the
striking form of the beak of a rapacious bird. The slender, graceful
handle, always fitted with a long iron ferrule, has a process on the
under side near the middle. The handle is also usually fitted with
a decorated metal ferrule at the tip and frequently is decorated for
its full length with bands of brass or tin, or with sheets of either
metal artistically incised.
The Balbelasan ax is not used by the pueblos making it, or at least
by many of them, but finds its field of usefulness east and northeast
of Bontoc pueblo as far as the foothills of the mountains west of
the Rio Grande de Cagayan. I was told by the Kalinga of this latter
region that the people in the mountain close to the Cagayan in the
vicinity of Cabagan Nuevo, Isabela Province, also use this ax.
In the southern and western part of the Bontoc area the battle-ax
shares place with the bolo, the sole hand weapon of the Igorot of
adjoining Lepanto, Benguet, and Nueva Vizcaya Provinces.
The bolo within the Bontoc area comes from Sapao and from the Ilokano
people of the west coast. The southern pueblo in the Bontoc area,
Ambawan, uses the bolo of Sapao to the entire exclusion of the
battle-ax. Tulubin, the next pueblo to Ambawan, and only an hour
from it, uses almost solely the Baliwang battle-ax. Such pueblos as
Titipan and Antedao, about three hours west of Bontoc, use both the
ax and bolo, while the pueblos further west, as Agawa, Sagada, Balili,
Alap, etc., use the bolo exclusively -- frequently an Ilokano weapon.
The Sapao bolo is, in appearance, superior to that of Ilokano
manufacture. It is a broad blade swelling markedly toward the center,
and is somewhat similar in shape to the barong of the Sulu Moro of
the Sulu Archipelago. This weapon finds its chief field of use in the
Quiangan and Banawi areas. In these districts the bolo is fitted with
an open scabbard, and the bright blade presents a novel appearance
lying exposed against the red scabbard. The Igorot manufacturer of the
bolo does not make the scabbard, and most of the bolos used within
the Bontoc area are sheathed in the closed wooden scabbard commonly
found in Lepanto and Benguet.
Pipe production, and smoking
The Igorot of Bontoc area make pipes of wood, clay, and metal. All
their pipes have small bores and bowls. In Benguet a wooden pipe is
commonly made with a bowl an inch and a half in diameter; it has
a large bore also. In Banawi I obtained a wooden pipe with a bowl
8 1/4 inches in circumference and 4 inches in height, but having a
bore averaging only half an inch in diameter.
Nearly all pueblos make the pipes they use, but pipes of clay and metal
are manufactured by the Igorot for Igorot trade. I never learned that
wooden pipes are made by them for commercial purposes.
The wooden pipe of the area varies from simple tubular forms, exactly
like a modern cigar holder, to those having bowls set at right angle
to the stem. All wooden pipes are whittled by the men, and some of
them are very graceful in form and have an excellent polish. They are
made of at least three kinds of wood -- ga-sa'-tan, la-no'-ti, and
gi-gat'. Most pipes -- wooden, clay, or metal -- have separable stems.
A few men in Agawa, a pueblo near the western border of the area, make
beautiful clay pipes, called "ki-na-lo'-sab." The clay is carefully
macerated between the fingers until it is soft and fine. It is then
roughly shaped by the fingers, and afterwards, when partially hardened,
is finished with a set of five light, wooden tools.
The finished bowls are in three different colors. When baked about
nine hours the pipes come forth gray. Those coming out red have been
burned about twelve hours, usually all night. The black ones are made
by reburning the red bowls about half an hour in palay straw.
Two men in Sabangan and one each in Genugan and Takong -- all western
pueblos -- manufacture metal "anito" pipes. To-day brass wire and
the metal of cartridge shells are most commonly employed in making
The process of manufacture is elaborate and very interesting. First a
beeswax model is made the exact size and shape of the finished metal
pipe. All beeswax, called "a-tid'," used in pipe making comes from
Barlig through Kanu, and the illustration (Pl. CVIII) shows the form
in which it passes in commerce in the area. A small amount of wax
is softened by a fire until it can be flattened in the palm of the
hand. It is then rolled around a stick the size of the bore in the
bowl. The outside of the wax bowl is next designed as is shown in the
illustration (Pl. CVIII). A careful examination of the illustration
will show that the design represents the sitting figure of a man. He
is resting his elbows on his knees and holding his lower jaw in his
hands -- eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and fingers are all represented. This
design is made in the wax with a small knife. The wax for the short
stem piece is flattened and folded around a stick the size of the
bore of the stem. The stem piece is then set into the bowl and the
design which was started on the bowl is continued over the stem.
When the wax pipe is completed a projecting point of wax is attached
to the base of the pipe, and the whole is imbedded in a clay jacket,
the point of wax, however, projecting from the jacket. The clay used
by the pipe maker is obtained in a pit at Pingad in the vicinity of
Genugan. Around the wax point a clay funnel is built. The clay mold,
called "bang-bang'-a," is thoroughly baked by a fire. In less than
an hour the mold is hardened and brown, and the wax pipe within it
has melted and the wax been poured out of the mold through the gate
or opening left by the melting point of wax, leaving the mold empty.
A small Malayan bellows, called "op-op'," the exact duplicate in
miniature of the double tubular bellows described in the preceding
section on "metal weapons," furnishes the draught for a small charcoal
fire. The funnel of the clay mold is filled with pieces of metal, and
the entire thing is buried in the fired charcoal. In fifteen minutes
the metal melts and runs down through the gate at the bottom of the
funnel into the hollow, wax-lined mold. Since the entire mold is hot,
the metal does not cool or harden promptly, and the pipe maker taps and
jars the mold in order to make the metal penetrate and fill every part.
The mold is set aside to cool and is then broken away from the metal
core. To-day the pipe maker possesses a file with which to smooth and
clean the crude pipe. Formerly all that labor, and it is extensive,
was performed with stones.
It requires two men to make the "anito" pipes -- tin-ak-ta'-go. One
superintends all the work and performs the finest of it, and the
second pumps the bellows and smooths and cleans the pipe after it is
cast. The two men make four pipes per day, but the purchaser of an
"anito" pipe puts days of toil on the metal, smoothing and perfecting
it by cleaning and digging out the design until it becomes really a
beautiful bit of primitive art.
When a pueblo wants a few tin-ak-ta'-go it sends for the manufacturer,
and he comes to the pueblo with his helper and remains as long as
necessary. Ay-o'-na, of Genugan, annually visits Titipan, Ankiling,
Sagada, Bontoc, and Samoki. He usually furnishes all material,
and receives a peseta for each pipe, but the pueblo furnishes the
food. In this way a pipe maker is a journeyman about half the year.
Tukukan makes a smooth, cast-metal pipe, called "pin-e-po-yong'," and
Baliwang makes tubular iron pipes at her smithies. They are hammered
out and pounded and welded over a core. I have seen several of such
excellent workmanship that the welded seam could not be detected on
In the western part of the area both men and women smoke, and some
smoke almost constantly. Throughout the areas occupied by Christians
children of 6 or 7 years smoke a great deal. I have repeatedly seen
girls not over 6 years of age smoking rolls of tobacco, "cigars,"
a foot long and more than an inch in diameter, but in Bontoc area
small children do not smoke. In most of the area women do not smoke
at all, and boys seldom smoke until they reach maturity.
In Bontoc the tobacco leaf for smoking is rolled up and pinched off
in small sections an inch or so in length. These pieces are then
wrapped in a larger section of leaf. When finished for the pipe the
tobacco resembles a short stub of a cigar. Only half a dozen whiffs
are generally taken at a smoke, and the pipe with its tobacco is
then tucked under the edge of the pocket hat. Four pipes in five as
they are seen sticking from a man's hat show that the owners stopped
smoking long before they exhausted their pipes.
The oldest instrument for fire making used by the Bontoc Igorot is
now seldom found. However, practically all boys of a dozen years know
how to make and use it.
It is called "co-li'-li," and is a friction machine made of two
pieces of dry bamboo. A 2-foot section of dead and dry bamboo is split
lengthwise and in one piece a small area of the stringy tissue lining
the tube is splintered and picked quite loose. Immediately over this,
on the outside of the tube, a narrow groove is cut at right angles
to it. This piece of bamboo becomes the stationary lower part of
the fire machine. One edge of the other half of the original tube is
sharpened like a chisel blade. This section is grasped in both hands,
one at each end, and is at first slowly and heavily, afterwards more
rapidly, drawn back and forth through the groove of the stationary
bamboo, making a small conical pile of dry dust beneath the opening.
After a dozen strokes the sides of the groove and the edge of the
friction piece burn brown, presently a smell of smoke is plain, and
before three dozen strokes have been made smoke may be seen. Usually
before one hundred strokes a larger volume of smoke tells that the
dry dust constantly falling on the pile has grown more and more
charred until finally a tiny friction-fired particle falls, carrying
combustion to the already heated dust cone.
The machine is carefully raised, and, if the fire is permanently
kindled, the pinch of smoldering dust is inserted in a wisp of dry
grass or other easily inflammable material; in a minute or two flames
burst forth, and the fire may be transferred where desired.
The pal-ting', the world-wide flint and steel-percussion fire machine,
is found with all Bontoc men.
At Sagada there is a ledge of exposed and crumbling rock from which
most of the men of the western part of the Bontoc culture area obtain
their "flint." The "steel" is any piece of iron which may be had --
probably a part of the ferrule from the butt of a spear shaft is used
more than is any other one kind of iron.
The pal-ting' is secured either in a very small basket or a leather
roll which is fastened closed by a string. In this receptacle a small
amount of dry tree cotton is also carried. The pal-ting' receptacle
is carried about in the large bag hanging at the girdle.
Fire is made by a tiny percussion-heated particle of the stone as it
flies away under the sharp, glancing blow of the "steel" and catches
in the dry cotton held by the thumb nail on the upper surface of
If the fire maker wishes to light his pipe, he tucks the smoldering
cotton lightly into his roll of tobacco; a few draws are sufficient to
ignite the pipeful. If an out-of-door fire is desired the cotton is
first used to ignite a dry bunch of grass. Should the fire be needed
in the dwelling, the cotton is placed on charcoal. Blowing and care
will produce a good, blazing wood fire in a few minutes.
To-day friction matches are known throughout the area, although
probably not one person in one hundred has ever owned a box of matches.
The fire syringe, common west of Bontoc Province among the Tinguian,
is not known in the Bontoc culture area.
Division of labor
Under this title must be grouped all forms of occupations which are
considered necessary to the life of the pueblo.
Up to the age of 5 or 6 years Bontoc children do not work. As has been
said in a previous chapter, during the months of April and May many
little girls from 5 to 10 work and play together for long hours daily
gathering a few varieties of wild plants close about the pueblo for
food for the pigs. This labor is unnecessary as soon as the camote
vines become large enough for gathering. During June and July these
same girls gather the camote vines for pig food. About August this
labor falls to the women.
Mention has also been made of the fact that during the latter half
of April and May the boys and girls of all ages from 6 or 7 years to
13 or 14 guard the palay sementeras against the birds from earliest
dawn till heavy twilight.
Little girls often help about the dwelling by paring camotes for the
At all times the elder children, both boys and girls, are baby tenders
while their parents work.
Man is the sole hunter and warrior, and he alone fishes when traps
or snares are employed.
Only men go to the mountains to cut and bring home firewood and lumber
for building purposes; widowed women sometimes bring home dead fallen
wood found along the trails. Only men construct the various private and
public buildings. They alone build the stone dikes of the sementeras
and construct the irrigating ditches and dams; they transport to
the pueblo most of the harvested palay. They manufacture and vend
basi, and prepare the salted meats. They make all weapons, and all
implements and utensils for field and household labors. Contrary
to a widespread custom among primitive people, as has been noted,
the Igorot man constructs all basket work, whether hats, baskets,
trays, or ornaments, and bindings of weapons and implements. Men
are the workers of all metal and stone. They are the only cargadors,
though in the Kiapa area of Benguet Province women sometimes go on
the trails as paid burden bearers for Americans.
Only men are said to tattoo and circumcise. They determine the days
of rest and of ceremony for the pueblo, and all pueblo ceremonies are
in their hands; so also are the ceremonies of the ato -- only men are
"priests," except for private household ceremonials.
Men constitute the "control element" of the pueblo. They are the
legislative, executive, and judicial power for the pueblo and each
ato; they are considered the wisdom of their people, and they alone,
it is said, give public advice on important matters.
The woman is the only weaver of fabrics and the only spinner of
the materials of which the fabrics are made. On the west coast the
Ilokano men do a great deal of the spinning, but the Igorot man has not
imitated them in the industry, though he has often seen them. Women
are the sole potters of Samoki, and they alone transport and vend
their wares to other pueblos. In the Mayinit salt industry only the
woman tends the salt house, gathering the crude salt solution.
Only the women plant the rice seed, and they alone transplant the
palay; they also care for the growing plants and harvest most of the
crops. In the transplanting and harvesting of palay the woman is given
credit for greater dexterity than the man; men harvest palay only when
sufficient women can not be found. Women plant, care for, harvest,
and transport to the pueblo all camotes, millet, maize, and beans.
The men and women together construct and repair irrigated sementeras,
men usually digging the earth while the women transport it. Together
they prepare the soil of irrigated sementeras, and carry manure
to them from the pigpens. Men at times do the women's work in
harvesting, and women sometimes assist the men to carry the harvest
to the pueblo. Either threshes out and hulls the rice, though the
woman does more than half this work. Both prepare foods for cooking,
cook the meals, and serve them. Both bring water from the river
for household uses, though the woman brings the greater part. Each
tends the babe while the other works in the field. Both care for the
chickens and pigs, even to cooking the food for the latter. Men and
women catch fish by hand in the river, manufacture tapui, and in the
salt industry both evaporate the salt solution and vend the salt.
In the treatment of the sick and the driving out of afflicting anito,
men and women alike serve.
Little work is demanded of the old people, though the labors they
perform are of great value to the pueblo, as the strong are thus
given more time for a vigorous industrial life.
Great service is rendered the pueblo by the councils of the old men,
and they are the "priests" of all ceremonials, except those of the
The old men do practically nothing at manual labor in the
field. However, numbers of old men and women guard the palay sementeras
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