Ifugao Culture

While I was researching Ifugao arts and culture for Stairway of the Gods, Sunny Thomas, a close friend and world traveler, gave me a little handmade book she had found in Baguio. It’s nothing more than a collection of actual photos glued and taped together with typewritten captions, and it’s amazing. I’m sharing the photos here, along with the text and my interpretation.

Honorary Ifugao  ritual sponsorsAlthough I haven’t been able to find the exact meaning of Begnas, Bomegnas or Caveo, the book seems to be a photographic record of the ritual wake of an important individual.

Village eldersThe pinten is the departed soul who has not yet found the home of his ancestors on the mountain’s peak. In Ifugao belief, this sometimes takes two or three days.

In this particular ceremony, many of the village men travel up to the mountain peak to help the pinten find his way home. Once they are convinced he has found his way, they return to the village for partying and feasting in his honor.

Look for Sunny’s guest blog, where she describes what she saw in Banaue and explains where she found this book.


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