Tuesday, 7 August 2012

The Legend of the Hidden Pride in the Kankanaeñan Tribe

People: Kankanaey

Location: upland areas of the Benguet province on the northern island of Luzon

Language: Kankanaey

Introduction / History of Kankanaey

The Kankanaey live in the upland areas of Benguet province and belong to the tribal group called "Igorots". They are one of the largest tribes in the region. They are a hardworking people in the field of agriculture who are already reached by modern technologies. The Kankanaey build rice terraces which have become sufficient sources of food. The foods of the Kankanaey are camote, rice, potatoes, and other root crops like tugi and gabi.

The marriage customs of the Kankanaey are similar to the Ibalois. They practice parental marriage. A wedding is celebrated with big feasts and many rituals done before and during the wedding ceremony. Butchering of animals is a very important part of the wedding. In the past there have been cases of intermarriages with lowland people. But due to unfavorable experiences, this practice is already declining. The Kankanaey families believe that husbands are the heads of the family and elders should be well-respected in the community.

The Kankanaey are some of the best vegetable growers in the Philippines. They are innovative in the fields and they practice proven technology like irrigation and the construction of rice terraces. Most of their income comes from tilling the fields. They are also into mining since the Kankanaey territory yields lots of minerals, particularly gold.

Hunting is also practiced by the people with the use of spears and dogs, while fishing is done with the use of bamboo traps. The Kankanaey women are said to be the best weavers in Benguet province. They produce sweaters, shirts and blankets. They also produce baskets, potteries and furniture which are marketed in the city of Baguio and other nearby towns.

The Kankanaey, having been reached by modern amenities, live in big communities and are aware of the importance of education. Because of a high literacy rate among the group, they desire socio-economic developments such as improvement of the road from towns to villages, protection of remaining forest, and the improvement of the water system and electrification of the Kankanaey territory.

Because they have a big population, they have a strong influence both in the local and national government. There are many socio-economic development programs being done in the area. Many members of the Kankanaey tribe are educated and professional, so they are the ones who are leading their people towards improvement and better living.
What are their beliefs?
Because of the long years of missionary presence in the Kankanaey areas, the people have been Christianized. Many are now Roman Catholics and Protestants. Some have joined the Iglesia ni Cristo and other religious groups established within the Kankanaey areas. Although many have professed faith in Christ, most of them still engage in pagan practices as shown in many of their rituals during weddings, rites of passage, planting and harvest, medicine and others.

Text source: Asia Missions (AMNET)

Kankanaey's Treasure 


                                                           Stand together
                                                           Hand in hand
                                                           Integrate as one
                                                           Experience peace and harmony in our land
                                                           Let us move ahead, bridging all the

                                                         Joining together
                                                         And being one in building the nation
                                                         Reach its proper destination

                                           Ancestors died, but their works are still alive
                                           Xylography is their art in engraving wood, which on
                                           Earth is still alive.   
                                              Being a Filipino is good, but being part
                                              Of Kankanaey tribe is better
                                              Living in Philippines is great, but
                                              Once you've tried to live in Cordillera, you'll experience the best.
                                               Hoping for peace,
                                               Aiming for a better world, this is all we 
                                               Need, so 
                                               Decrease the injustice,
                                               Wish for our better future, Spread the word:
                                               One for all, all for one, because this is 
                                               Very important to
                                               Each of us and for the progress of our 

                                               Before Quirino's presidency
                                               Americans, Spaniards, and Japanese
                                               Came and tried to conquer our country.
                                               Keeping the hope that they can rule over us
                                               People in Philippines serves as protagonist
                                               And foreign conqueror are the antagonist, but being
                                               Courageous and being one is the way that 
                                               Keeps them away.


Wedding Song

Edwani enkami inmali
Isnan na-ay kasar yo edwani
Ta umali mi iyali nan gabay yo nan gabay yo ay sin ag-i
Menkasi layad kayo et baw
Ta adi kayo man ib-ibaw
Nu wada'y esa ay iskumsaw
Epepey yo, epepey yo di ang-angaw.

We have come here today
In this, your wedding day
To bring good luck for all of you, brothers and sisters
Love each other 
and do not fight
Be understanding to each other
Be happy and enjoy your life.

(Building a House)

          What they do before to build a house is that, when it has a roof already they're going to butch a hog. If the house is already finished, they will have a short ceremony, they're going again to butch three hogs. That's what they're doing before but now, if they build a house, they will wait for it to be finished and then that's the time they're going to have a house blessing, they're going to call a priest to grace the blessing. 


          "Menpabey", it is the term used in Cordillera which means "marry'. If their is a boy and a girl who wants to get married, the parents of both sides will talk to each other to settle the wedding. If it's already settled, some  of their relatives will be going to get a wood, some will go to get "ube" because ube is the food before. If the things needed are complete already, they're going to put it inside the house, if they don't have a house they're going to find another house wherein no one lives there or if not, they're going to the house/s of their relative/s. And then they're going to start the first part of the ceremony which is the "kalang". The elders will be starting to gather dried meats which is the "etag" or "langeb". If they're not going to have the opening of that occasion, then they will start to butch. They will be butchering the hogs or the cattle or the buffalo. That's what the elders do before. The others aren't going to go to the church, but now because of Christianism, they tend to go to church to get married if not, the priest will go to their house to blessed them. That's what they do in the province even here in Baguio and Benguet, even in Bontoc. The newlyweds must follow the traditions of the elders because it will bring bad luck if they don't follow it. If they do follow it, they will be successful in everything.

We would like to thank the following for the success of our project:
Mr. Daniel Tawagen
Mrs. Bugan Tongatong
Mrs. Martina Colbongan

(-: Group Pictures!!! :-)