Wednesday, December 6, 2006

The Kalinga

The Kalinga
John B. Donqui-is

Kalinga as a political domain was non-existent during the 300 years of Spanish colonial rule. Spanish writers towards the 18th century merely noted that there were inhabitants of the mountain region at the central dorsal expanse of what the Spaniards called the Gran Cordillera (mountains) of Luzon. The name "Kalinga" apparently is not indigenous to the present Kalinga constituency since the word is traced to "Gaddang" dialect.

The name referred to the mountaineers on the eastern side of Gran Cordillera who, during those years of Spanish occupation of the Cagayan Valley, pestered lowlanders with their head-hunting raids. Kalinga as name stuck with those mountain dwellers occupying now the territory of Kalinga Province.

Kalinga was first organized as a political realm under the American political rule when Mountain Province was created by the Philippine Commission Act 1876 on August 18, 1912. It was one of the five sub-provinces then of Mountain Province when it was divided into several, sub-provincial units along ethnic lines.

By an act of Congress, Kalinga was lumped with Apayao as one separate province by RA 5695 which divided Mountain Province into four subprovinces on June 18, 1966. Kalinga became a separate province by virtue of RA 7878 which divided the Kalinga-Apayao provinces into two in 1992.

The province is constituted by eight municipalities namely, Balbalan, Pasil Lubugan, Pinukpuk, Rizal, Tabuk, Tanudan and Tinglayan. Tabuk is the capital town.


The Province of Kalinga is located centrally in the Cordillera region, bounded on the north by Apayao province, South by Mountain Province, east by Cagayan and Isabela and west by the Province of Abra.

The topography of the province is mountainous, rugged with its highest mountain peak rising 6,000 ft above sea level-- Mt. Sapocoy which towers over the province of Abra and Kalinga. Its lowland plains called the Laya Valley is a fertile alluvial land covered by the municipality of Tabuk, Pinukpuk and Rizal. Mountain peaks ranging from 1,500 to 2,500 meters. Average temperature ranging from 17 to 22 degrees Celcius and Type III weather patterns. Dry season extends from November to April. The rest of the year is wet and the heaviest rainfall were recorded in the months of July and October.

Soil type of the province is loam.


Growth Rate

Kalinga's growth rate from 1980 to 1990 is among the lowest in the Cordillera Administrative Region with 1.83% as the average growth rate. At present, Kalinga has a population of 137, 074. Among the eight municipalities, Tanudan has the highest average annual growth with 3.95 followed by the capital town of Tabuk with 2.95 percent. Pasil has the lowest growth rate of 0.98 percent.

Age Group

The 1990 provincial population is distributed by age group as: 0-14 years old which comprises 43 percent (58,221); 15-64 years old with 54 percent (74,240); and 65 years old and above accounting for only 3 percent. The 1990 figure further shows that the procvince has dependency ratio of 83.43 percent or there were 83 persons in the dependent ages for every 100 persons in the working or productive ages.

In terms of growth rate, population ages 65 or over posted the fastest with 2.86 percent annually from the 1980 population level, persons age 15-64 years old exhibited an annual growth rate with 1.96 and those ages 0-14 years old increased at the rate of 1.59 percent.

Population Density

As of 1990, Kalinga has one of the lowest population density in the Cordillera Administrative Region with 44 per square kilometer, a total area (sq. km) of 3119.4 and a population of 137,074. Kalinga shares 17 percent of the CAR area; 12 percent of the region's population. Tabuk, the capital town posted the highest population density of 89 per square kilometer while the municipality of Balbalan is sparsely populated with a density of 18 per square kilometer.

Indigenous Groups and their Characteristic and/or Rituals that makes them Unique

There are 31 Subtribes of the Kalinga Ethnolinguistic Group distributed over the eight municipalities of the province. They are the following:


Geographical Location

1. Alingag (Salegseg) Balbalan
2. Ableg Pasil
3. Banao Balbalan (Pantikian, Talalang, Balbalasang)
4. Bangad Tinglayan
5. Biga Tabuk
6. Ballayangon Pinukpuk
7. Balatoc Pasil
8. Balinciagao Pasil
9. Basaso Tinglayan
10. Botbot Tinglayan
11. Buwaya Balbalan
12. Calaccad (Gaddang) Tabuk
13. Dacalam Tanudan
14. Dananao Tinglayan
15. Dao-angan Balbalan
16. Gammonnang Rizal
17. Guinaang Pasil
18. Gobang Balbalan
19. Gilayon Pinukpuk/Tabuk
20. Kagalwan Pasil
21. Limos Pinukpuk
22. Lubuagan Lubuagan
23. Lubo Tanudan
24. Mabaca Balbalan
25. Mabongtot Lubuagan
26. Mangali Tanudan
27. Nanong Tabuk
28. Tanglag Lubuagan
29. Taloctoc Tanudan
30. Tinglayan Tinglayan
31. Sumadel Tinglayan

Each of these subtribes can be identified, principally from their dialect which has dissimilarities in diction, pronounciation and most especially in the phonetic letters and the fricative and voiceless expression of their speech.

Example of this is the letter "l". The Southern Kalinga pronounces the "l" as "r" while the northern Kalinga group has the "l" voiceless. In Balbalan, the Alingag (Salogsog) pronounces the "l" as "y" while in Buwaya, the "l" is voiced as if it is "r" or "l".

In rituals, Kalingas in general have commonalities in certain ceremonial rites but as denominated in culture into northern and southern Kalinga some rituals are practices as common among these two ethnolinguistic groups.

The beauty in the multilingual, ethnolinguistic groups of Kalinga is that while they speak in different tongues, they understand each other.


about the author:
John B. Donqui-is is a native of Balbalan, Kalinga who has settled inter-tribal conflicts. He wrote and coordinated the documentation of the Pagta, Law of the Kalinga Bodong, which was adapted last Sept. 13, 1998.

Kalinga Forge Peace the Bodong Way


Kalingas Forge Peace the Bodong Way

How are the rules of bodong (traditional peace pact) and state laws used to settle conflicts between two tribes? This question elicited a thousand and one responses from Kalinga tribes who, in an assembly here last week, moved for the holding of a bodong congress soon.

By Lyn V. Ramo and Marlon Gomarcho
Northern Dispatch
Posted by Bulatlat

BAGUIO CITY - How are the rules of bodong (traditional peace pact) and state laws used to settle conflicts between two tribes? This question elicited a thousand and one responses from Kalinga tribes who, in an assembly here last week, moved for the holding of a bodong congress soon.

Kalinga officials who were at the conference agreed that the talks be held, said lawyer Elorde Lingayo, chair of the Kalinga Bodong Convenors’ Group (KBCG). KBCG has been spearheading attempts at conflict resolution between Kalinga tribes.

Lingayo bats for popularizing the general Pagta (tribal agreement) held on Oct. 1, 1999 at the Benguet State University (BSU) campus. The agreement has been adopted by some Kalinga city-based binodngan and members of the bodong-practicing villages in Kalinga, northern province of the Cordillera mountain ranges in northern Philippines.

The general pagta, according to Lingayo, covers Baguio and the province of Benguet. Foremost, he said, the general pagta prohibits bales (revenge) to settle conflicts. The bales culture has spilled much blood among tribal groups for centuries.

In the 1999 pagta, if a tribal villager commits a mistake, i.e., has killed or hurt a member of another tribe, a criminal case must be filed against the offender. The bodong holder from the offender’s tribe should testify in court. If the offender flees, the bodong holder brings him back to Baguio or Benguet.

Criminal case

Elders from both tribes may settle the conflict the bodong way, clarifies Lingayo, but the criminal case will take its course. The offended party is prohibited from executing an affidavit of desistance.

Kalinga lawyers are not supposed to assist in the legal proceedings, as agreed upon in the general pagta.

“This is where the modification lies,” says Lingayo. He explained that in the original pagta, if someone commits a crime within the binodngan areas, the offending person does not suffer alone. The tribe usually produces whatever the offended tribe demands.

“If 10 carabaos are asked to settle the offense, only one carabao may come from the perpetrator of the crime,” he says. “It is the responsibility of the whole tribe to solicit (the settlement payment).”

In the old ways, Lingayo said, the “criminal will never reform because he will have no criminal record in courts.” After the tribal settlement, criminals may hold government positions and may even enter the Philippine Military Academy or be a police officer, he said.

There have been other attempts at settling tribal conflicts. For instance last January, the Lubuagan and Guinaang tribes forged a bodong in Baguio covering this city and Benguet.

Mario Gawon, peace pact holder for the Lubuagan tribe, explains that the Lubuagan-Guinaang conflict is not as grave as those in other binodngan areas where revenge is still allowed.

Saan a kaskarina nga innibusan ti tribo. Ngem kasapulan latta ti ag-precaution” (It’s not at all easy to simply kill members of the other tribe. Still, we have to take caution), Gawon clarifies.

The Guinaang triba was represented by Benny Lingbawan.

Gawon said, a criminal case had to be filed in the courts while the tribes settled the case.

Legal problems

The Lubuagan peace pact holder admits however that there are legal intricacies in merging bodong rules with state laws.

“We have to live in the present,” Gawon says. “Saan a kasla idi a bassit pay ti tattao ken awan pay ti cell phones” (Unlike before when people were few and there were no cellular phones).

It is not always easy to forge a bodong, Gawon admits, as it requires a lot of preparations and involves many people who have a say in the holding of a celebration of the bodong.

There are, for instance, the allasiw (tokens). If a member of the tribe disagrees with the terms of the bodong, the allasiw is returned which is a signal of the collapse of the agreement. Tribes, however, try to convince all members on the rules or terms of the bodong.

A bodong is based on consensus. “Masapol ket amin ag-wen” (Everyone has to approve), Gawon clarifies. Consensus makes the peace pact solid, he adds. If one member of a tribe offends a member of the other tribe with whom his tribe has an agreement, the bodong could not just collapse. Tribal elders and leaders find ways to talk it out and save the bodong.

In case the bodong collapses, however, an emissary from a neutral party, usually a member of a third tribe, or a mestizo from the warring tribes, is sent to the other tribe to inform them that the bodong has collapsed.

Gawon emphasized that tribal communities and binodngan areas are generally peaceful. It has been like this since I was young, he says, correcting fears that going to Kalinga or any tribal area involves risks.

“One has to really understand how the bodong works to appreciate it. Only then can one compare state laws as combined with the bodong way to settle differences among tribal peoples,” Gawon says. Nordis / Bulatlat

Is the Bodong still relevant for today among the e kalingas?

Bodong is still relevant for today.people misunderstood what really bodong means..It was already planted in the mind of the young generation that bodong is simply "an eye to an eye, a tooth for a tooth." while in fact this principle is against the bodong by laws which is the "pagta". Pagta is the laws of the bodong, and it was never stated in it that revenge is acceptable.
The failure of the bodong lies on the poor discipline of the people who made such truce or peace pact. We didn't respect or follow such rules according to the pagta, many of us prefer to put the law on our own hand rather than following the pagta or the existing modern laws. To break the Pagta nowadays is just as easy as ABC and 123..It was also never stated in the pagta that the whole tribe is involved when A of tribe x kills B of tribe Y..The involvement of the whole tribe is a bad practice passed on from generation to generation and yet we call this culture? Culture was derived from the root name KULTURA (am not sure if it is a Greek word, or hebrew but not tagalog) and KULTURA means civilization.To abolished this bad practices is to simply educate our own self. Then we simply realised the true essence of the bodong, not the bad impression attached with it..and I pitty those who don't know what bodong really means cause their is no cure for ignorance.
i will try to post the "pagta" or the by laws of the bodong which is ammended during the Bodong Congress at the website.hope to find the book..

Kalinga Cultures and Traditions

The Kalingas.

The name "Kalingga" is believed to have been derived from the Ibanag word "kalinga" and the Gaddang word "kalinga", both meaning headhunters. The Spaniards picked up the term because of their headhunting tradition, and the Americans followed suit. The Kalingas have numerous songs, such as the salidummay, the dong-dong-ay, the oggayam, the ading, the wasani, the paliwat, the owawi, and the dandanag. But its enduring and distinct rite is the "Bodong" that has become an institution for peace up to this day. Kalinga is classified according to bodong-holding groups or ili, or sub-tribes, namely the Tinglayans, the Lubuagans, the Tanudans, the Pasils, the Balbalans, the Pinukpuks, and the Tabuks. (Source: Igorot, the Cordillera Schools Group.)

Inhabitants of the Cordillera

The Tingguians. The Tingguians are the indigenous inhabitantsof Abra. They occupy the eastern part of Abra, in the rugged Gran Cordillera Central mountain range. Although they may be referred to as Igorots in the sense of being from the Cordillera Mountains, the Tingguians refer to themselves as "Itnegs".

The Ikalahans (also called Kalangoya) inhabit the eastern side of the Cordillera in the Siera Madre mountains of Nueva Ecija, Nueva Viscaya, and Quirino. They are included in the term Igorot (Mountain People), but they call themselves Ikalahan.

The Bagos. The Bagos are immigrants from Western Bontoc to the boundary part of Ilocos and Benguet. They have called themselves Bagos, meaning "bagong Kristiano" or new Christians. They have a language that is a cross between Iloko and Aplai.

The Gaddangs inhabit the Cordillera portion of Cagayan, and are therefore a people from the Cordillera mountains and may have also been included in the collective name "Igorot" for inhabitants of the Gran Cordillera Mountain Ranges of Northern Philippines.

The Indigenous Culture Of The Kalinga/Ifugao Ceremonies and Rituals

I chose the indigenous religion of the Philippines because it fascinates me that certain rituals are still performed to this day. The books that I am getting my information from dates back twenty to thirty years, and they do not give indication that these tribes are changing to the modernization of the times. The dominant religion of the Philippines is Catholicism. These tribes live in the rural hills of the Philippines and this is probably why they have not been touched by the missionaries or technology. Whatever the reason I am glad because what I found out is something totally different from my western culture.

The indigenous groups I will be focusing on are called the Kalinga, Gaddang, and the Ifugao. These tribes are fairly close to one another so their rituals and ceremonies tend to overlap in certain areas. I will mention some rituals that pertain only to that certain culture, and others that all the tribes participate in for example head hunting; although the tribes might differ in performing rituals for this common activity.

The Kalinga, Gaddang, and the Ifugao's are very superstitious people and strongly believe in spirits. Spirits are the main reason behind disease, crop failure, death, and all misfortunes according to these tribes. All their ceremonies involving the supernatural requires the service of a medium.

The Ifugao mediums are always men, but amongst the Gaddang and Kalinga, women are preferred to conduct the ceremonies. Mediums are commonly needed at births, child naming ceremonies, marriage ceremonies, funerals, and generally to help individuals or families cure illnesses and prevent misfortune. Typically mediums are summoned to their profession through dreams or during illness. Recently the Gaddang mediums have not been following these summoning and instead have established new mediums through apprenticeships.

A medium will sacrifice a chicken for most rites. If there is a serious rite to be performed, examples would be a serious illness or funeral rite then the medium will sacrifice a pig or pigs pending. An example of the latter is the Purification rites of the Gaddang tribe involving a pig.

A purification rite is the cleansing a family member who broke a taboo. In this ceremony two female mediums are called to the families house. The family has cooked a lot of rice and provided a pig for the ceremony. The mediums distribute beads to the family members; beads are common in ritual paraphernalia and they serve as the communication bond between the supernatural world. The female mediums then begin to chant and pray to begin the ceremony. Female mediums never kill the pig, this is done by the male of the household or a male medium.

Instead one of the female mediums pours water over the pig and then jabs a stick in its ear. The other women medium will then interpret what the spirits are saying through the squealing pig. The ceremony is over by serving small portions of rice and the cooked pig to the family and mediums. Then to ensure that the spirits will be happy with the rite and family, the mediums take the left over food and sprinkle it around the house.

The marriage ceremony is very important to a tribe. It is an initiation rite signifying that the couple is not seen as adolescents anymore and they are accepted into the culture with full responsibilities. The Ifugao marriage ceremony involves many rites to find out if the spirits will allow the couple to marry.

When a Ifugao boy purposes to a girl he will send a messenger to her family. If her family accepts his proposal, then he will send them an engagement gift called a mommon usually a chicken, duck, or pig. To advance in the marriage procedure further, the timing has to be just right for the mediums of the Ifugao. The omens have to be good because this is how the couple will find out if they are meant for one another.

The boy again supplies the mediums with three chickens, for sacrifice. The mediums sacrifice them and read their bile-sac's and if they are bad then they go back to the agamang and can try to marry later if they want. If they bile-sacs are good then a couple lives in a house as spouses. This is called malahin meaning going separate referring to the individuals leaving the agamang. There are still two other marriage ceremonies that they have to go through, one has to due with the omens of the rice rites of the succeeding year. If this is bad then the two must separate and find new mates.

The Kalinga have a special rite called the kontad this is a rite that protects a child from evil spirits. The Kalinga believe that there is a time in a child's life when they are very vulnerable to spirits. The child is unable to protect itself at this time so parents and close relatives must observe the taboos closely. This is taken very seriously for if the taboos get broken, then harm could come to the child. The family will bribe the spirits with sacrificial offerings to insure the child's welfare.

The last ritual that I would like to mention is head hunting or head taking. It seems that it was performed by most of the tribes in the Philippines. It is debatable if it is considered a ritual or an act of violence. Although traditionally for the Gaddang head hunting began as a means for insuring a bountiful rice harvest in times of a famine. The reasons behind head taking might have started out as a ceremonious ritual, but the concept has changed from religious ritual to warfare. The reasons for taking heads was usually the result of feuds, avenging a relative, territory, and more commonly to attain status.

Even though it is questionable that the actual act of head taking was a religious ritual, there were many rituals performed before, during , and after the hunt. The one I found the most interesting is the taboos the Ifugao women had to observe while their husbands were on a hunt. In Barton's book he interviews a Ifugao woman whose husband went on head expeditions and this is what she said about the taboos she regarded while he husband was away.

"Women must not eat any kind of shell fish or crabs, nor any kind of climbing things such as beans or climbing yams. We might not weave, because that would tie the men's legs. We might not spin, for that would make the men dizzy...We might not carry a baby because that would make the men heavy-footed: we gave the babies to children to carry. We had to keep walking about all the time so that the men would be active: I was afraid even to sit down. It is permitted to lie down and sleep at night, but I couldn't sleep much"(Barton, 168).

It seems that all the effort of head hunting was not exactly left up to the men. From this narrative we can see that women also participated in their own way. In fact whole villages would participate because if a trip was successful, then there would be a huge celebration.

The celebration of a successful head hunt in the Kalinga tribe is quite elaborate. If the hunt is successful the village will hear the celebrating screams of the warriors a mile away from the village. The women of the village responds to the hunting party with a high pitch scream. This way the news was spread throughout out the village. The head and other booty was placed in a sakolang, which was a bamboo stalk six to eight feet in length stripped on the sides to form a basket. It was then lined with hibiscus flowers and placed near the sacred shrine.

Food was prepared by the warrior's relatives and then mediums would begin to perform the sagang ceremony. This consisted of chants bestowing a long life to the warriors, removal of the head from the sakolang and more chanting in the sacred shrine. After this was done the medium would put back the head, and it would remain there until the festivities were over. The ceremony lasted for two days.

Sometimes when energy was running high in the celebration the skullcap of the severed head would be removed and some of the brains would be mixed with wine. The warriors then would drink this mixture to make them courageous and successful warriors. Later the head would be boiled and broken into pieces that became trophies to the warriors. The best trophy to receive is the jaw bone because in the Kalinga tribe it is used as a musical instrument.

These expeditions were popular in the past; most of the tribes don't practice this head hunting anymore. In fact, both the Ifugao and the Kalinga people could not recall the chants that are used in the celebration of a head taking ceremony. It has been a long time a ceremony like that has taken place. The last occurring head raids was on Japanese in World War II. The Gaddang are participants of the peace act system (pudon), and trading partnerships (kolak) to guard against head hunting raids. It seems most of the other tribes obey by these pacts too, for the practice of head hunting is almost extinct.

I started this project for a class assignment, not knowing anything about the Philippines. I was surprised, once I started the project, how interested I became about this culture. From starting out with nothing, I feel a little wiser in an area of the Philippines and I hope that the information I have gathered will help to enlighten someone else in this field. (from

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Does the opposition helps in building our country?

I don't think the opposition have seen anything good from the present Arroyo administration, all they see is bad administration! While in fact they too have done nothing for the country. Of course they have done something; To destabilized the Government, trying hard to impeach the president and organizing rallies on the street, making propagandas and blind accusations. They (the opposition) always say that they are representing the voices of the sambayanan. how sure are they that the majority voice is the one that they are saying? Why is it that they didn't win in the filing of the impeachement? As simple as ABC and 123 they didn't have the majority..Then when you ask them why? they simply say that "controlado ni arroyo ang congress!. Then they start organizing paid rallies, free fare for those from the province, free meal and snacks and of course free allowance.hehe
I can't say anything about the present administration but progressive! ang karamihan kasi sa mga mis guided citizens pag mahirap sila kasalanan ni arroyo, mga squaters na pinalayas kasalanan ni madam..squatter nga..etc etc..puro kasalanan ni madam..kung tamad sila at indi naging maganda ang buhay kasalanan ulit ni madam..Why not try to reflect within our own self and ask what simple contributions we have done for the country. One bad rotten apple can destroy the whole we should stop blaming our own chaos to anybody rather than ourselves..

Does Macli-ing Dulag Deserves to be a hero?

for me I don't think Macli-ing dulag deserves to be called a kalinga hero, in the first place kalinga will not become the rice granary of the cordillera if the dam didn't exist..Note that the dam does not only function as turbine generator but it also includes irrigation projects.
may i ask you? do we have rice farms in tabuk and other municipalities with out the chico river dam? even if the dam is not fully finish it is still useful in irrigating our rice farms.They are selfish when they fought against it, they didn't even scale the benefits and disadvantages. They didn't think of the future of Kalinga..
In the next 20 yrs to come Kalinga will be needing a lot of electricity and our sources from other region in the country can no longer support our own supply..It is the Dam that will saves us although its already too late.residential areas near the chico river has dramatically increased..
So why do we call him a hero? if he did the worst decisions and fight during their time..after all we are the ones who is suffering now from brown outs, black outs etc..cause our supply of electricity comes from other regions,the move by some UPean declaring him as a hero is merely promote their own invested interest to call their movement don't be fool enough to call him a hero..
see link to the forum