The Igorot
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The Igorot

People from the Mountains

People from the Mountains

They are a group of wet-rice agriculturalists occupying the mountains in the area of northern Luzon, Philippines. Igorot are any of various ethnic groups in the mountains of this region, all of whom keep their traditional religion and way of life. Some live in the tropical forests of the foothills, but most live in rugged grassland and pine forest zones higher up. They numbered about 1.5 million in the early 21st century and the main identified groups are Bontoc, Ibaloi, Ifugao, Isneg, Kalinga and Kankanaey.


  • Region is Southern Asia

  • Climate here is Tropical

  • The challenge here is Medium

  • This trip has been rated 5 by other travelers



Agricultural terracing and farming are their principal means of livelihood. Their main cultivation is rice. They cultivate sweet potatoes too. They use to raise pigs and chickens, primarily for the numerous rituals and sacrifices.


The Igorot live in small hamlets scattered among the rice terraces. Traditional houses were composed by wooden floors, windowless walls and pyramidal thatch roofs. They are elevated from the ground by trunks. The inhabitants used removable staircases that were hoisted up at night to protect the family inside.


Social Structure

Igorot Society collect several ethnic groups in the Philippines that come from the Cordillera Administrative Region of Luzon. They inhabit the six provinces of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Kalinga, Ifugao, and Mountain Province, as well as Baguio City. They are a pre-Hispanic mountainous highland society that has survived through Spanish colonization. This Pre-hispanic state is the oldest in the Philippines.


They believe in spirits, including those of ancestors, and have complex rituals to propitiate them


A huge system of irrigated rice terraces is internationally recognized and developed using a very simple technology.

For Igorot, illnesses are caused by deities taking souls with the collaboration of ancestors. Priests treat illnesses using divination and curing rituals. 

Women have traditionally worn short, hand-woven skirts with colorful horizontal stripes, white short blouse and striped jackets. 


Their language is Austronesian (Malayo-Polynesian), similar to one of neighbors, but with a number of particular characteristics that set them apart.


Igorot have one of the world's most extensive oral legal traditions: Hudhud chants of the Ifugao, consisting in narrative chants, were inscribed in 2008 by UNESCO on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. 

Women handcrafts include wooden spoons with human figures, rice-bowls, excellent baskets made of bejuco as to be strong and resistant under ordinary conditions. 

They are known for metalworking in iron and brass.


Religious ceremonies are invoked for agriculture abundance, hunting success or good omens.

They use to perform particular traditional dances during these celebrations.

During a ceremony known as ulpi performed in March, Igorot leave the terraces for a few days and socialize, take care of relationship, smoke and drink a palm liquor called bayah. 
Further knowledge

Further knowledge

The Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras and Banaue Rice Terraces are fantastic landscape and the main tourist attractions in the province. They were declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1995. 

Rice terraces, North Luzon Nunes

Ifugao woman

water buffalo, rice field