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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.
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 pagan people, 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.
In Banga (dance of the pots). Kalingas of the Mountain Province in the Philippines illustrate the languid grace of a tribe otherwise known as fierce warriors. Heavy earthen pots, as many as seven or eight at a time, are balanced on the heads of maidens as they trudge to the beat of the gangsa displaying their stamina and strength as they go about their daily task of fetching water and balancing the banga.
Origin: Benguet Province, Northern Luzon
Also popularly called Bendian, this circle dance of the Benguet of Mountain Province is restaged, keeping true to the dance's context and meaning. Long known as a dance to celebrate the arrival of successful headhunters, the Bendayan has taken a new face. It is part of every Benguet festivity with the circles slowly giving way to other formations and interpretations.
Lumagen / Tachok
When the Kalinga gather to celebrate a happy occasion like the birth of a first-born baby boy, a wedding, or a budong (peace pact), the Kalinga Festival Dance (Tachok) is performed. This is danced by the Kalinga maiden. The dance imitates birds flying in the air. Music is provided by gangsa, or gongs, which are usually in a group of six or more.
Three Bago Tribe roosters compete against each other for the attention of Lady Lien. They use blankets depicting colorful plumes to attract her.
This dance portrays the walk of the industrious Kalingga women, carrying water pots on their heads and wearing the colorful hand-woven "blankets of life" around their necks. Their walk imitates the climb up the Rice Terraces in the Mountain Provinces of the Philippines.
Tribes in the mountain provinces of Luzon preserve their identity, customs and lore. Their dances celebrate important events in life such as birth, wedding, victory in war and thanksgiving. A Kalinga wedding dance is an important celebration. The bridegroom offers the bride the protection and comfort of his blanket. He simulates the movements of a rooster at love play, aspiring to attract and seize his love. The bride's friends are ready to help prepare the bride by offering "bangas" (earthen pots) filled with fresh water from the mountain spring.
The Salidsid is the Kalinga courtship dance, performed by a male and female (and thus is sometimes called the "cayoo" dance). The dance starts when each of the dancers are given a pice of cloth called ayob or allap. Usually the most important people in the village are the second to dance after the host has signified that the occasion is formally open. The background and meaning in this dance is evident. The male simulates a rooster trying to attract the attention of a hen while the female imitates the movements of a hen being circled by a rooster.
Origin: Cagayan Valley
Gaddang comes from the word ga, meaning "heat" and dang, meaning burned". The Gaddang live in the middle of Cagayan Valley and speak a language similar to Ilokano. Most of them converted to Christianity, and those who live alongside Christianized Ilokano groups have more or less adjusted to settled agriculture of mixed crops. Small and scattered groups in southeastern Kalinga, eastern Bontoc, and Isabela regions retain their indigenous religion and practice swidden agriculture (the cutting back and burning of existing vegetation to produce temporary farming plots) with supplementary hunting and fishing. In this dance, the Gaddang imitate birds attracted to tobacco trees.
Two tareketek woodpeckers vie for the attention of three females. One Male woodpecker rhythmically bang on a brass gong to represent a good voice, while the other swish about a colorful blanket representing beautiful plumage.
Uyaoy / Uyauy
The Ifugao people are said to be the "children of the earth." The term Ifugao is derived from the word ipugao which literally means "coming from the earth." The Spaniards, however, changed it to Ifugaw, a term presently used in referring not only to these people but also to their province. This Ifugao wedding festival dance is accompanied by gongs and is performed by the affluent to attain the second level of the wealthy class. Wealthy people (Kadangyan) who have performed this dance are entitled to the use of gongs at their death