Ilongot Tribe

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.


7 thoughts on “Ilongot Tribe

  1. A very interesting article! My name is Ben Gacad. I was born and raised in Manila but according to my late father(born and raised in La Union)my grandfather originated from Nueva Vizcaya. Recently, I ran across an article regarding a Dr. William Jones who was killed by Ilongot men in 1909. What aroused my curiosity was the fact that one of the alleged assasin of Dr. Jones was named Gacad. Could it be that I am one of the descendants of that individual? I hope so. My father was born in 1913 so at that time (1909) my grandfather must have been in his early 20s. What’s the probability? High? Low? Thanks for the space.

    Ben Gacad – Los Angeles, CA

  2. I belong to the Bugkalot tribe;although my mother is an Ibaloi from Benguet I grew up in Nueva Vizcaya on my father side;during my elementary days other children always teased me about my being an Ilongot…because of what they say we are headhunters,my grandfathers used only g-strings(Baag),and so on…but anyway i still say, I’m so proud to be an Ilongot

  3. Hello everyone! I also belong to the Ilongot tribe and I’m proud to be one. I used to wear our traditional attire for some occasion. I actually got many photo collections of mine wearing g-string. I enjoy and love it..

  4. As early as 1963 I when i was 12 and from a long stay in Baguio City came home my family who just migrated to a to a town very close to the mountain ranges of Sierra Madre in Aurora, Quezon 1 at that time. Our temporary house, a shanty was buiult in the town. As a young boy I was assigned to pasture my family’s carabaos to a barrio closer on the foot of the mountains. I saw Ilongot houses in that place designed differently from normal, they were built with special feature not similar to the houses in thew town. during that time headhunting was still pacticed. Two of the victims were brothers and sister at my age. The heads were never found. Ironically, my father was befriended by the Ilongot men for his 22 caliber rifle. They use to borrow this gun for deer and boar hunting. They even had some overnights in our shanty. In return they bring back ‘tapa’ meat for the gun. Not long enough, the Ilongots move farther to the mountains because of their victims family became furious.How could I forget….

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