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This article refers to the province. For other uses, see Ifugao .

Ifugao is a landlocked province of the Philippinesmarker in the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzonmarker. Covering a total land area of 262,820 hectares, the province of Ifugao is located in a mountainous region characterized by rugged terrain, river valleys, and massive forests. Its capital is Lagawemarker and borders Benguetmarker to the west, Mountain Provincemarker to the north, Isabela to the east, and Nueva Vizcaya to the south.

It is named after the term "i-pugo" which means "i" (from/people) and "pugo" (earth), thus people of the earth.

The Banaue Rice Terracesmarker are the main tourist attraction in the province. These 2000-year-old terraces were carved into the mountains, without the aid of machinery, to provide level steps where the natives can plant rice. In 1995, they were declared a UNESCOmarker World Heritage Site.


Fabrics woven by an Ifugao native.

Ifugao was formerly a part of the old Mountain Province. It was created as an independent province on June 18, 1966 by virtue of Republic Act No. 4695. The name is derived from the word "IPUGO". Pugo means "hill" while the prefix "I-" means "from". The Spaniards changed "Ipugo" to "Ipugaw", and it was finally changed by the Americans to "Ifugao".

For the Ifugaos, custom is the basis of all laws. But these customs would mean nothing if not supported by ancestry knowledge. Among the Ifugaos, extensive pedigrees exist. They are the graphic representation that puts in evidence one of the most basic principles of the Ifugao culture: "We can not but do what our ancestors told us" (Lambretch CICM 1964).

Ifugao became the center of warfare during the last stages of World War II. It was in Ifugao, particularly in Mt. Napulawan, where General Yamashita, the known "Tiger of Malaya", decided to put his last stand against the Filipino and American forces. Captured by Ifugao warriors, he informally surrendered to Captain Grisham of the 6th US Army in the Philippines, based in Kianganmarker, before he was flown to Camp John Hay, where he formally surrendered.

Ifugao finally gained provincial status on June 18, 1966, with the municipality of Lagawe as the capital town, following the division of the Mountain Provincemarker into four provinces, pursuant to Republic Act 4695.

People and culture

The country of the Ifugao in the southern part of the Cordillera region is best known for its famous rice terraces, which in modern times have become one of the big tourist attractions of the Philippines. They made these terraces with the use of only their hands and simple tools. The Ifugaos typically build their houses at the edge of their fields. A distinctive aspect of these houses is the post just below the floor beams to keep rats from climbing into the house.

Aside from their rice terraces, the Ifugaos are known for their literary traditions of the 'hudhud' and the 'alim.' The term "Ifugao" is derived from "ipugo" which means earth people or mortals or humans, as distinguished from spirits and deities. It also means "from the hill," as "pugo" means hill. The Ifugaos' highest prestige feasts are the "hagabi," for the most wealthy; and the "uyauy," a feast for those immediately below the wealthiest.

The term "Ifugao" refers to the people, their languages, and the province where they live, in the mountainous northern part of the Philippines. They are known as an independent, agricultural society. They speak various Ifugao languages, such as Tuwali and Ayangan.

The people prefer to be called Ifugaos ("people of the earth"), as opposed to the more generic and less accurate term "Igorot" that includes all the peoples of the Cordillera Region, which specifically refers to some of the inhabitants of Benguet.

Rice culture

Ifugao culture revolves around the rice, which is considered a prestige crop. There is an elaborate and complex array of rice culture feasts inextricably linked with taboos and intricate agricultural rites, from rice cultivation to rice consumption. Harvest season calls for grandiose thanksgiving feasts, while the concluding harvest rites "tungo" or "tungul" (the day of rest) entail a strict taboo of any agricultural work. Partaking of the rice beer (bayah), rice cakes, and betel nut is an indelible practice during the festivities and ritual activities.

Banaue Rice Terraces in Ifugao Province.

First Yu-yu Congress

Ifugao on June 13, 2008 hosted, at the BAHAWIT NURSERY of Lagawe, the "First Yu-yu Congress" to improve food production. "Yu-yu" is the freshwater fish raised in their rice terraces (a good source of protein and calcium). Also known as "jojo" or "juju" in Ifugao, it is a vermiform (worm-like) fish which feeds on insects and organic detritus, introduced by the Japanese decades ago (called "panispis" or short for Japanese fish).



Ifugao is subdivided into 11 municipalities.


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