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THE ISNEG PEOPLE
Transcript of THE ISNEG PEOPLE
Where do they live?
The Isneg People live in the Province of Apayao, the northwesterly region of Luzon.
Their houses are built close together. They are usually very colorful and built on four large posts.
Say-ma is a feast hosted by someone of importance, usually the richest person in the village. It involves eating, dancing, and drinking.
Pildap is hosted by the poorest person in the tribe when someone needs healing or is leaving the tribe.
Ancestors are the proto-Austronesians from South China. They traded with the chinese for porcelain pieces and glass beads which they used in their priceless heirlooms.
Farming and Economy
They grow hillside rice, yams, taro, sweet potatoes, maize, sugar cane, bananas, tobacco, and have fruit orchards.
The Isneg People
The Isneg people are one of the olderst tribes in Philippines. They earliest documentation is from the 1500's.
They used to live mostly along large rivers and on hillsides.
Now they also live in many cities, mainly in Kalanasan.
There was never a record of their population, however it is believed there are about 55,000 still living in the Philippines.
Houses and Villages
The Isneg people have been called many other names. The Spanish called them Los Apayaos or Los Mandayas. They are also known as the Isnag, Isned, Kalina' and Payao.
The name Isneg means people who have gone into the interior.
Another house they have is called a Binuron. It is a large rectangular multi family house built on 15 large pillers.
They are slender, have a graceful stature, are kind, hospitable, generous, and courageous. Brave men were called Mengal, and the bravest of them were called Kamenglan. The Mengal wore red scarves around their heads. They were tattooed on their arms and shoulders for every head they took in battle.
Anlabban - spirit of welfare and protector of hunters
Bago - spirit of the forest
Sirinan - river spirit
Laudusan - spirit of extreme poverty
These spirits can take the form of either humans or animals, and live among the Isneg people
In 1610 Spain introduced Christianity with missionary work; however, it was a long battle.
There are more than 300 spirits that they pray too. There are no gods, just good and bad spirits.
Many rituals are performed to the good spirits for prosperity, health, etc. They also have rituals to keep the bad spirits away.
The language of the Isneg people is Isnag.
Approximately 300,000 people speak Isnag. They also speak Ilocano.
They are known as a head taking tribe.
In 1639 a Spanish commander abused an Isneg woman, the Isneg rose up against the commander in a massacare against him and his soldiers.
The Ilocos Revolt of 1660-1661 was to eradicate Christianity in Luzon. It began with the killing of friars in Bacarra and Pata. They drank wine from father Jose Arias' skullcap, then they destroyed Christian objects.
The Isnag people didn't really have a government because the villages were not big enough to establish one. The warriors participated in small scale battles, taking heads during the raids as a retaliation for a wrong doing. The Mengal also acted as judges, settling problems among the Isneg people. Jars, beads, rice, and animals were used to settle arguments.
They have an oral tradition of riddles and stories, which explain events, relationships between people, their surroundings, and the origin of things. They have people who perform magpayaw (shouting), singers of oggayam and debating with oral poetry or anenas. Musicians are important in the community, especially those who play the gorabil (bamboo violin). Music is used for courting, funerals, and many other festivities.
Dancing is also important, there are special dances performed during courting, weddings, and to tell stories and victories. The Balengente is a festive dance performed by a victorious warrior, he shouts and moves around re-enacting the battle all while dancing with the "head" of his enemy.