Have you ever heard of the headhunter tribes living in Northern Luzon? I grew up in Nueva Vizcaya, the concept of headhunting is not new to me. It has been an account that passes from one generation to another in my province. Last May, I had the opportunity to take part in my province’s 1st Ammungan Festival, where one of the highlights was the cultural presentation of the Bugkalot Tribes – once notoriously known as the headhunting tribe.
Regarded as Indigenous people, Ilongots also known as Bugkalots are settled within the bounderies of Nueva Vizacaya, Quirino and Aurora. In Nueva Vizcaya, they are mostly found in the municipalities of Dupax and Kasibu. They built their community in the mountains of Cordillera and Sierra Madre ranges. Physically they are small, brown in complexion, and they are notable for their colorful costumes, artifacts, and musical instruments.
To date, they no longer practice headhunting. There are roughly 2,500 families living in the province. They engage themselves into farming and wood carvings. They are also active in trading their vegetable products and livestocks in the lowland markets. They stive to send their children to school. Yes! ready to embrace the modern society but they are also struggle to preserve their customs and beliefs.