The origin of the Ifugaos is derived from the term Ipugo which means “from the hill”. According to Ifugao mythology, however, the name “Ifugao” is derived from Ipugo which refers to the rice grain given to them by their god Matungulan. Until the present day, this kind of rice grain is cultivated by the Ifugaos.
The generic name Ygolote, Igolot, or Igorrote was used by the Spanish conquistadores and missionaries in their writing about all the various mountain people. Later in the 1900’s, the American writers popularized the name Igorot. According to the eminent Filipino scholar Trinidad H Pardo de Tavera, the word Ygolote is derived from the Tagalog term golot meaning “mountain” and the prefix “I,” meaning “people of.”
Religious Beliefs and Practices
Ifugao religious beliefs are expressed in the numerous rites and prayers (baki) that comprise the main body of Ifugao myths. The myths and folktales tell of their gods and goddesses, related supernatural beings, their ancestors and the forces of nature. The Ifugaos, aside from being deity worshipers, are nature worshipers and ancestor worshipers.
A horde of major and minor deities are invoked at every ritual, the major gods being appealed to first. Barton listed as many as 1,500 deities in various ranks from gods, to demons, monsters, imps and spirits dwelling in trees, stones, mountains, and rivers aside from the omnipresent ancestor spirits.
The Ifugaos believe that the cosmos is composed of six regions, four regions being above the earth, one being the earth itself, and the sixth lying under the earth. The people do not consider any of their deities as supreme but generally refer to Mah-nongan as the honorary dead and creator of all things. He is their chief god.
The major gods Liddum, Punholdayan, Hinumbian, Ampual, Wigan and Yogyog are invoked to intercede with Mah-nongan or any of the particular major gods who might have caused... [continues]
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