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Cordillera - The Mountain People of Northern Luzon

Cordillera, a name given by the Spanish Conquistadors when they first saw the mountain ranges. Meaning "knotted rope", the Spanish term refers to the jumbled rolls and dips of this long-range traversing the northern part of Luzon Island. Today, if one is to generalize one of the six ethno-linguistic tribes as an "Igorot" is considered degrading.

Mountain Dance: Bumayah
Bumayah Dance.
Living amidst the rice terraces that tower over Northern Luzon are a people whose way of life existed long before any Spaniard or other foreigners stepped foot on the Philippines. The Bontoc, Ifugao, Benguet, Apayo, and the Kalinga tribes reign over Luzon’s mountain terrain. They are people with a complex system of beliefs, living simple lives to appease their gods. Their rituals celebrate their daily lives - a good harvest, health, peace, war, and other symbols of living. Such traditions have survived the changing scope of the Philippines and the tribes continue to maintain their cultures that are a part of the colorful cultural fabric known as Philippine culture

The mountainous Central Cordillera region of Northern Luzon hold common religious beliefs, generally nature-related, and make propitiatory offerings to anitos, or household gods. For the people of the Cordillera, dance continues to be an expression of community life that animates the various rituals and ceremonies. They dance to appease their ancestors and gods to cure ailments, to ensure successful at war, or to ward off bad luck or natural calamities. They also dance to ensure bountiful harvests, favorable weather, and to mark milestones in the cycle of life. 

The following pieces are only a few selections from KP’s repertoire. 


  • Paypayto
    Ifuagao warriors portray birds in flight alternating with the role of trappers.

  • Ragragsakan
    This is an adaptation of a tradition in which Kalinga women gather and prepare for a budong, or peace pact.

  • Salip

    The Salip of the Kalinga tribe depicts a warrior claiming his bride by presenting her with a matrimonial blanket. She follows the man to connote obedience.

  • Tachok
    When the Kalinga gather to celebrate a happy occasion this Festival Dance is performed by the Kalinga maidens. The dance imitates birds flying in the air.

  • Uyaoy / Uyauy

    Uyaoy / Uyauy
    This is an Ifugao wedding festival dance accompanied by gongs and is performed by the affluent to attain the second level of the wealthy class.

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