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Title: The Negrito and Allied Types in the Philippines and The Ilongot or Ibilao of Luzon

Author: David P. Barrows

Release date: April 20, 2009 [eBook #28577]
Most recently updated: January 4, 2021

Language: English

Credits: Produced by the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at



The Negrito and Allied Types in the Philippines

[Reprinted from the American Anthropologist, Vol. 12, No. 3, July–Sept., 1910.]

Nine years of residence and travel in the Philippines have produced the conviction that in discussions of the ethnology of Malaysia, and particularly of the Philippines, the Negrito element has been slighted. Much has been made of the “Indonesian” theory and far too much of pre-Spanish Chinese influence, but the result to the physical types found in the Philippines of the constant absorption of the Negrito race into the Malayan and the wide prevalence of Negrito blood in all classes of islanders has been generally overlooked.

The object of this paper is to present some physical measurements of the Negrito and then of several other pagan peoples of the islands whose types, as determined by measurement and observation, reveal the presence of Negrito blood.

The physical measurements here given were taken by me at various times between 1901 and 1909. They were taken according to the methods of Topinard (Éléments d’Anthropologie Générale) and are discussed in accordance with his system of nomenclature.

The first Negritos measured are members of a little community on the south slope of Mount Mariveles in the province of Bataan. They are of a markedly pure type. While it is usual to find Negrito communities considerably affected by Malayan blood, in this case I doubt if there is more than a single individual who is not of pure Negrito race. Nine men and ten women, all adults, practically the entire grown population of this group, were measured. Although this is a small number, the surprising uniformity of characteristics in all practically assures us that in these individuals we have the normal, pure type of Negrito, which may be used as a standard for comparison with other peoples.

The stature of these nine men and ten women arranged serially appears below: [359]

Men Women
1374 1266
1381 1292
1435 1305
1439 1326
1440 = mean 1341
1467 1375
1495 1385
1526 1396
1532 1400

These figures give an extreme variation of 158 mm. for the men and 194 mm. for the women. The mean stature for men is 1440, the average 1454, and for the women 1341–1375 and 1354 respectively. These, it scarcely need be said, are extremely low statures, perhaps as low as have ever been recorded on any group of people. According to Topinard’s nomenclature they are all distinctly “pigmy.”

In every individual the extreme reach of the arms (“grande envergure”) exceeded the stature. In the men the excess varied from 30 mm. to 139 mm. and in the women from 23 mm. to 102 mm. This measurement shows the Negritos to have unusually long arms. In yellow races the arm-reach is about equal to the stature, and in the white race it is usually a little above. I think we may take this excessive reach of arms to be a truly Negrito character.

The cephalic and nasal indices for both men and women are next given:

Cephalic Index

Men Women1
80 78
80 79
80 81
80 81
82 82
82 87
82 93

Nasal Index

Men Women
84 79
90 86
90 90
91 92
95 92
97 92
98 97
98 98
100 98


Topinard’s nomenclature for cephalic index is as follows:

Long heads (dolichocephalic) 74 and below
Medium heads (mesaticephalic) 75 to 79
Broad or round heads (brachycephalic) 80 to 90

Thus with two exceptions our Negritos are decidedly round headed or brachycephalic. The exceptions are two women (indices 78 and 79), who in other respects are typical. The first had the lowest stature recorded (1266 mm.) and her arm-reach exceeded her stature by 57 mm. Her nose was very broad and flat (index 98), hair kinky, color and other characters those of the pure Negrito. The second woman was without obvious indication of mixed blood, but her nasal index was only 79 or mesorhinian, and this even more than her head form would suggest the probability of some Malay blood. I think we must conclude, then, that the head form of the Negrito, while usually decidedly round, has considerable variation and approaches mesaticephaly.

Topinard’s nomenclature for nasal index is, for the living:

Broad and flat noses (platyrhinian) 108 to 87.9
Medium noses (mesorhinian) 81.4 to 69.3
Thin, high noses (leptorhinian) 69.4 to 63

Those familiar with Topinard’s monumental work will recall the particular importance he gives to the nasal index, and how he shows that it is perhaps the most exact character for classifying races; all white races being leptorhinian, the yellow mesorhinian, and the black or negro races platyrhinian. Indeed the presence of a markedly platyrhinian type of nose may almost be taken as clear proof of negro derivation. The nasal index of Negritos, as would be expected in a race whose outward characters are so obviously negroid, is exceptionally high or platyrhinian. Again the figures for men and women are arranged serially so as to show the mean and variation.

Nasal Index

Men Women
84 79
90 86
90 90
91 92[361]
95 92
97 92
97 97
98 98
100 98

All of these nasal indices, with the sole exception of the woman mentioned above, are below mesorhinian or pronouncedly platyrhinian and negroid.

The shape of the Negrito nose is peculiar and after it has once been carefully observed can be easily recognized. The root is deeply depressed from a smooth and rounding forehead, the bridge is short and low, and the end rounding and bulbous. Sometimes, but not usually, the nostrils are horizontally visible. The apertures of the nostrils are very flat and their direction almost parallel with the plane of the face.

It has been repeatedly asserted that the body color of the Negrito is black, but this is a gross exaggeration. It is a dark brown, several shades darker than the Malay, with a yellowish or saffron “undertone” showing on the less exposed parts of the body. As compared with the lighter colored peoples about him his color is pronounced enough to warrant the appellation of negro which is applied to him, but this term must not be considered as other than a popular description.

The hair of the Negrito is typically African. It is kinky and grows in the little clusters or “peppercorn” bunches peculiar to negro races. The Negrito man and woman usually wear the hair short, cutting it more or less closely so that it resembles a thick pad over the head. Sometimes a tonsure on the back is cut away, and among still other Negritos a considerable part of the hair is removed from the head. In persons of mixed Negrito-Malayan blood the hair, if left uncut, grows into a great wavy or frizzly mop standing up well from the head.

The Negrito is seldom prognathous, nor is the lower part of his face excessively developed. His profile and features on the whole are comely and pleasing, especially in the pure type, which is less “scrawny” than in mixed individuals. The body, too, is shapely [362]and the proportions good, except that the head appears a little large, the legs too short, and the arms, as above noted, excessively long.

The muscular development is slender rather than stocky, seldom obese, legs a little thin and deficient in the calf.

The Negrito eye is distinctly pretty. It is dark brown and well opened. It has no suggestion of doubled lid and in all these respects differs from the eye of the Malayan.

The lips are full, the chin slightly retreating, the ear well shaped and “attached.”

Such are, I believe, the normal characters of the Negrito of the Philippines. He is a scattered survivor of the pygmy negro race, at one time undoubtedly far more important and numerous; brachycephalic, platyrhinian, woolly headed, and, when unaffected by the higher culture of the surrounding peoples, a pure forest-dwelling savage.

The only other undisputed members of the Negrito race, besides those found in the Philippines, are the Andaman islanders and the Semang of the Malay peninsula. De Quatrefages’ diligent and hopeful search through the literature of Malaysia for traces of the Negrito led him to the belief in their existence in a good many other places from Sumatra to Formosa, but Meyer in a subsequent essay assailed De Quatrefages’ evidence except for the three areas mentioned above. If by Negrito we mean compact, independent communities of relatively pure type, I think we must agree with Meyer, but if on the other hand we mean by the presence of the Negrito the occurrence of his typical characters in numerous individuals of reputed Malayan race, then we must, I think, admit the presence of the Negrito in a great proportion of the peoples and localities of Malaysia. And in this sense there is much evidence that the Negrito still exists from the Andamans to Formosa and even to Japan, absorbed in the stronger populations that have overrun these regions.

Meyer’s Distribution of the Negritos in the Philippines and Elsewhere is a very valuable sifting of the evidence, but it is not final, as was quickly apparent eight years ago when we came to locate Negritos on the ground. There are none for instance in Cebu, [363]where Meyer was led to place them, and it is certain that they live in Guimaras and on Palawan. Those of the last island are a very curious people, locally called “Batak.” They were first described in a brief note with photographs by Lieutenant E. Y. Miller published by the Philippine Ethnological Survey in volume II of its Publications. Doubt has been cast on the Negrito character of these people, some supposing them to be predominantly Malayan, but there is no doubt about their being Negrito, although in places they have perhaps received Malayan blood.

In June, 1909, I measured a few Batak who had a small settlement called Laksun near the village of Bintuan, thirty miles up the coast from Puerto Princesa. The individuals of this group were typical Negritos, in color, character of hair, and general appearance. Four men who were measured were 1433, 1475, 1497, and 1590 respectively in stature. Their arm-reach in every case exceeded the height, in one the excess being 152 mm. The head indices were 80 to 81, the nasal indices 85, 98, 102, and 102. These are all true Negrito characters and, while there may be in some communities of Batak a considerable amount of Malayan blood, the predominant type is Negrito.

It appears also that the other pagan element in Palawan, known as “Tagbanwa,” while predominantly Malayan and exhibiting the general appearance and manner of life of the Malayan, is in part Negrito, as is revealed by the following measurements of five “Tagbanwa” men taken at Eraan, thirty miles south of Puerto Princesa. These men include the chief, “Masekampo Kosa” and four of his retainers. Their stature varied from 1521 to 1595, less than the usual stature of a group of Malayan men. The arm-reach was notably greater than the height. All were brachycephalic, the indices being 79, 81, 81, 82, and 83. All were platyrhinian, except one who was mesorhinian, the indices being 79, 88, 95, 100, and 105. In spite of these pronouncedly Negrito results, these men had the appearance of Malays, not Negritos. Their skin color was light brown, hair wavy not curly; their habits, bearing, and speech indicated the temperament of the Malay.

The “Mamanua” of Surigao peninsula, Mindanao, have long been recognized as of Negrito race. They were seen and described [364]by Montano in 1880. At the present time they are very few in number, and are found in the forest about Lake Mainit and in the hill country southward. They are fast being absorbed by the Manobo, who join their communities and intermarry with them. In a little village called Kicharao in the forest near Lake Mainit are Mamanua men married to Manobo women and Manobo men married to Mamanua women, the children of these unions sometimes presenting Negroid and sometimes Malayan characters. The opportunity to observe the immediate results of mixture between two different races is very unusual. Naturally this group is of mixed race, some individuals looking like pure Negritos and from this type varying all the way to primitive Malayan. Three men whom I measured had a stature exceeding the Negrito but in other respects were Negritic. The statures were 1583, 1594, and 1612; the cephalic indices, 80, 85, and 86; the nasal indices, 97, 102, and 111.

What has not been generally noted, however, is the fact that nearly all the peoples of eastern Mindanao, usually described as “Malayan” or “Indonesian,” are to a large degree Negrito. This is especially true of the Manobo of the lower waters of the river Agusan. I have no measurements of these people, but the appearance of nearly every individual in their communities is Negritic rather than Malayan. The stature is very low and frail, hair black and wavy to frizzly, features negroid, and behavior that of the pacified Negrito. Similar characters, though in a less marked degree, display themselves among the tribes southward and about the gulf of Davao. There is no doubt that there is a large amount of absorbed Negrito stock in the pagan peoples of all this great island. Even among the Subanon of the Samboanga peninsula, who are perhaps as purely Malayan as any, I have seen occasional individuals with marked Negrito characters.

I shall not attempt here to estimate the proportion of Negrito blood in the Christian peoples of the Philippines—Bisaya, Bikol, Tagalog, Ilokano, etc.—further than to express my conviction that in certain regions it is very large and has greatly modified the primitive Malayan type. But let us turn to the consideration of possible Negrito blood in two interesting pagan stocks of northern Luzon, the “Igorot” and the “Ilongot” or “Ibilao.” [365]

The term Igorot is used to include all the wild, headhunting, mountain-dwelling peoples of the great cordillera of Luzon, a region some two hundred miles in length by forty across. This mountain area is divisible into regions wherein the culture, physical type, and language of the inhabitants are homogeneous or nearly so. These regions, in reports made some years ago on the wild tribes of the Philippines, I have called “culture areas,” and they may serve, in the absence of the tribal relation, as the basis of classification. Beginning with the southern end of this mountain system we have the area of southern Benguet and Kayapa inhabited by Igorot speaking a dialect called “Nabaloi.” In northern Benguet, Amburayan, and southern Lepanto are the “Kankanay.” In the central mountain region, a great area with several subdivisions, the “Bontok”; and southeast, occupying the former Comandancia of Kiangan, the “Ifugao.” North of Bontok are the “Tinglayan,” the “Tinggian” or “Itnig,” the “Kalinga,” and “Apayao” areas, and perhaps others. Of these most northerly peoples I have no anthropometric data. Their general appearance is somewhat different from that of the Igorot farther south. They appear to the eye to be more slender and handsomely built, with finer features, especially in the case of the Tinggian. I am of opinion, however, that these dissimilarities are apparent rather than real, and that measurements and careful observation will demonstrate unity of physical type throughout the entire cordillera. This unity does not refer of course to manner of dressing the hair, ornamentation, artificial deformations, etc., in which there is wide variation. The ethnological origin of these Igorot peoples is at first very puzzling. They are obviously not typical Malayans. Some physical measurements which I have should, and I believe do, throw some light on the problem.

On September 26, 1902, at Ambuklao, Benguet, I measured ten Igorot men from the villages of Baguio, Trinidad, Tublay, and Ambuklao. All were adults, from 20 to 40 years of age, except one, a boy of 16, who was, however, married and not inferior in stature to the others. These men all belonged to the poor or “kailian” class, except one who had arisen to the “principal” class from poor parentage. By “poor” class in Benguet is meant those who have [366]no cattle, rice terraces, mines, or other productive property and are liable to the forced labor of “polistas.” The stature, arm-reach, and cephalic and nasal indices of these Igorot are arranged below:

Height Arm-reach Cephalic Index Nasal Index
1481 1489 83.0 82.9
1490 1550 75.7 85.8
1496 1532 78.9 104.8
1499 1556 79.7 83.3
1500 1567 76.8 83.5
1512 1588 87.5 75.0
1522 1583 76.0 89.4
1546 1602 81.2 97.7
1596 1564 82.3 79.1
1615 1647 96.3 105.0

Of these statures all but one are “short,” or below 1600. In fact these men are only a little above the average stature of the Negritos of Mariveles (1450). Five are within 50 mm. of a true pygmy stature. The mean stature is 1500 to 1512, and the average is identical, 1505.7. In all but one case the arm reach exceeds the height, the excess varying from 8 to 36 mm. Six are brachycephalic, and four mesaticephalic, the variation extending from 75.7 to 96.3. The nasal index shows wide variation from 75 to 105, the mean being about 85. Four are platyrhinian, two exceeding 100, two are mesorhinian, and four are midway between Topinard’s mesorhinian and platyrhinian types. The muscular development of these men is very strong, robust, or “stocky.” The skin color is coffee brown with saffron undertone, lighter on trunk. Their hair is coarse and in nearly every case straight, in one case only being slightly wavy. The hair is usually scant on the body and about the face, but two men have relatively hairy bodies and legs. The eye in some cases appears to be oblique. The ear in every case is attached and normal. The chin is retreating and in one case the face is somewhat prognathic. The lips are thick and the under lip heavy. In several cases the supraorbital arches are prominent.

On September 29th of the same year, at Wagan, a small town in Kayapa, I measured fifteen Igorot of that town and of Losod. Eight were women and seven were men. The measurements and indices of these follow: [367]

Stature Arm-reach Cephalic Index Nasal Index
1413 1478 78.7 125.0
1493 1539 80.4 86.4
1512 1544 82.7 84.0
1550 1600 78.9 90.7
1589 1650 73.2 90.9
1594 1650 78.8 100.0
1653 1672 74.6 140.0
1351 1376 85.1 92.6
1367 1394 76.7 92.7
1423 1467 79.1 100.0
1433 1466 76.8 105.7
1435 1455 84.8 125.3
1435 1522 82.6 100.0
1442 1446 84.6 100.0
1509 1520 74.4 100.0

The mean stature (1550) and the average (1526) were a little higher than in Benguet. In every case the arm-reach exceeded the height. The shape of head in men and women shows a wide variation. Seven are brachycephalic and seven are mesaticephalic while one is dolichocephalic (73.2). The nasal index varies from 84 to 140—a truly astonishing series of noses! All are platyrhinian except two, and nine of the sixteen have indices of 100 or over. The descriptive characters were much the same as for the Benguet group. There was occasional marked supraorbital development, retreating chin, and prognathism.

Two of the men deserve special remark. One was the very small fellow—a true pigmy (1413 mm.). He was named “Mokyao” and was born in Wagan. He suggested the Negrito in stature, in arm-reach (65 mm. in excess of stature), in nasal index (125), and in the slightly wavy quality of his hair. His head, however, was mesaticephalic (78.7).

The other was the Igorot of unusually tall stature, 1653 mm., and he was the most extraordinary savage I have ever seen. He was about 30 years old, named “Ñgaao,” a native of Wagan. When he first appeared in our camp he almost startled us with the brutality [368]of his appearance. He was promptly dubbed the “Gorilla.” His arm-reach was 1672, his head length 197, breadth 147, and index 74.6; his nose length 35, breadth 48, and index 140; his height and breadth of face were 179 and 139; width of shoulders 396; circumference of chest 880; of belly 810. His ears were greatly developed, his supraorbital arches most pronounced, and his whole appearance like a restoration of primitive man. He wore only a loin string and a deerskin knapsack, and was most extraordinarily blackened with dirt and the pitch from smoky fires. His intelligence seemed very low, but he was said to be married and to have two children.

In May, 1908, I measured two Igorot men at Akop’s place near Tublay, Benguet, four men of Karao at Bokod and six men of Kabayan. These, like the preceding, were all Nabaloi, although the people of Karao speak a somewhat different dialect and are allied to the “Busul”—wild, robbing Igorot of the high mountains between the Agno river valley and Nueva Vizcaya. The statures and cephalic and nasal indices of these twelve men are given below:

Stature Cephalic Index2 Nasal Index2
1467 74.1 79.4
1508 74.2 85.1
1511.5 74.3 86.3
1529 75.2 87.6
1541 75.6 88.3
1550 76.0 92.0
1565 76.0 92.1
1572 76.2 93.7
1591 76.4 100.0
1602 78.1 100.0
1648 78.4 100.0
1681 79.7 100.0

The stature of these men is “short,” about the same mean as that of other Igorot given above. Two, however, belong to Topinard’s “above medium” statures, being 1648 and 1681. These are unusually tall Igorot and it may be worth noting that both belong to the wealthy or “baknang” class. The taller is “Belasco” of [369]Kabayan and the other “Akop” of Tublay. All are mesaticephalic and their indices cover the entire range of this class, 74 to 80. The most brachycephalic is “Belasco” and the next “Akop,” the two of unusual stature. These men are less brachycephalic than the Igorot measured at Ambuklao and Kayapa, but the numbers in each case are too few to permit generalization. The group is platyrhinian for the greater part, four only being mesorhinian. On the whole this is a very homogeneous group of men. With two exceptions all are of about the same low stature, all mesaticephalic, all platyrhinian or nearly so. The hair of all is black, coarse, and straight, the body smooth and face as well, except that the men of Karao had a few mustache and chin hairs and seemed to be more hairy on the legs than the others. The profile of the nose was much alike in all, a straight short bridge, rounding bluntly at the end. The brows were rather prominent, especially in the Karao men.

In the same month I measured two men of Bugias, Benguet, and four of Suyok, Lepanto, all of whom were “Kankanay.” These measurements were as follows:

Stature Arm-reach Cephalic Index Nasal Index
1452 1490 75.3 100.0
1470 1545 78.8 88.6
1518 1577 79.2 95.0
1621 1676 78.8 97.8
1558 1554 72.8 92.6
1571 1591 81.0 83.0

These men are all of low stature, long armed, all platyrhinian, but having a very varying head-shape, one being dolichocephalic (head length 195, breadth 142, and index 72.8), and one brachycephalic, 81.

On the same trip, at Benawi, I measured ten Ifugao men. All were adult, well formed, and of the laboring or “polista” class. Their measures are as follows:

Height Cephalic Index3 Nasal Index3
1465 71.00 85
1501 71.65 93
1530 74.00 95[370]
1534 76.50 97
1556 76.90 100
1567 77.26 100
1579 77.80 106
1581 79.60 106
1600 80.40 118
1606 83.50 119

The mean height and the amount of variation are almost exactly the same as those found in Benguet. All but two are of “short” stature, while one approaches that of a Negrito. The head index is generally mesaticephalic, but three are dolichocephalic and two brachycephalic, the amount of variation being surprising. All are platyrhinian, most of them excessively so. Their color was a dirty brown, with saffron undertone. The hair was black, abundant, and in every case wavy. The nose was flat, “bulbous,” with a very rounding end, and deeply indented at root. The lips were full and prominent, the chin retreating, and eye-arches rather heavy. As these men sat together with their dark faces and abundant heads of wavy hair they had a suggestively Papuan appearance. Another peculiarity was their singularly depressed temples, which gave the face a very narrow diameter across the brow.

In the foregoing series we have altogether 53 Igorot, 8 of them women, whose physical characters may now be summarized. While this may seem a small number upon which to base conclusions, a few general statements may, with propriety, be made.4 [371]

Arranging serially the statures of the forty-five men, it is found that two of them are below 1450 mm., nine are between 1451 and 1500, fourteen between 1501 and 1550, thirteen between 1551 and 1600, five between 1501 and 1650, and two are above 1650 and below 1700. I believe that these figures are representative of all the Igorot stock. From a personal experience extending over a good many years I think it may be asserted that the Igorot in all parts of the cordillera present about the same statures as those which I have here given. Belasco and Akop would be recognized as very tall Igorot in any part of the mountains. Two of the above are pygmy and all but seven are below 1600, and correspond to Topinard’s “below medium” statures. We may say, then, with positiveness that the Igorot is one of the exceptionally short races of mankind. With three or four exceptions the arm-reach is greater than the height, usually by 40 to 50 mm. Thus, the short stature is somewhat compensated for by long arms, heavy, robust bodies, and short, muscular legs.

The cephalic index of both men and women ranges from 70 to 96.3, a very surprising range. Ten are dolichocephalic, 71 to 74.6; twenty-nine are mesaticephalic, 75.2 to 79.7; twelve are brachycephalic, 80.4 to 84.8, and two are hyperbrachycephalic, 85 and 96.3. Thus the vast majority of heads are mesaticephalic with more tendency toward brachycephaly than to dolichocephaly.

The nose represents on the other hand surprising uniformity. Only three noses are mesorhinian, 75, 79.1, and 79.4, thirty-nine are full platyrhinian, while twenty-two have an index of 100 or more. The mean index is 95.

From this comparison I think we may assert that in the mountain people of the southern half of the cordillera of Luzon we have [372]a very short, long-armed, muscular race of dark brown color varying to saffron, with coarse black hair that is usually straight but in Bontok is sometimes wavy, and in Kiangan regularly so, full lips, retreating chin, flat, broad noses rounding at the end and deeply depressed at the root, with an extraordinarily high nasal index, and heads that have great variation in shape but are usually mesaticephalic or brachycephalic.

May we then draw a few conclusions? Obviously this is not a typical Malay type. To a possible basis of primitive Malayan stock some other racial element or elements have been added and thoroughly incorporated. The wide range in shape of head may be taken, I think, as probable evidence of such mingling of types. The color, the straight or slightly wavy black hair, and the temperament (the “psyche”) of the Igorot show the Malay or Oceanic Mongol derivation. The short stature and limbs, the long arms, the shape and index of the nose, the occasional heads of hair that are too wavy for the Malay and would be unheard of in the Mongol—these things are Negrito, or at least they are characteristic of the black race of Oceanica. The variability in shape of head would be puzzling were it not for the fact that both the Malayan and the black races of the Indian archipelago show a wide variability in this character of the head. These reflections have already suggested the theory that I have to propose for the origin of the Igorot, that he is an old, thoroughly fused mixture of the aboriginal Negritos, who still survive in a few spots of the cordillera, and an intrusive, Malayan race, who, by preference or by press of foes behind them, scaled the high mountains and on their bleak and cold summits and canyon slopes laboriously built themselves rock-walled fields and homes, in which they have long been acclimated. The culture of the Igorot has been greatly modified and advanced by the rigors of his habitat, but it is Malayan at base, as are the languages which he speaks. Except in one or two localities where there has been recent mixture with the still existing Negrito he does not make use of the bow and arrow, which are Negrito weapons, but uses the shield and spear for close fighting and the jungle knife or an interesting modification, the “headax,” for both fighting and work. [373]

While the above expressed hypothesis of the origin of the Igorot appears to me to have much probability, for a similar theory to explain the Malay type of the Ilongot or Ibilao I feel even stronger confidence. This curious people occupies a very broken mountain area formed by the junction of the Sierra Madre with the Caraballo Sur. This is the headwaters of the Kagayan river and to a less degree of the Pampanga. Besides being wholly mountainous it is covered with thick and well nigh impenetrable jungle, in which the scattered homes of these wild people are hidden and protected. They have long had the worst of reputations as head hunters and marauders, and little information about them has circulated except wild rumors of their strange appearance and treacherous ferocity.

They have been described as “very tall,” “heavily bearded,” “light in color,” “white,” and of a type elsewhere unknown in the Philippines. For most of these reports there is no foundation. My experience with this people is limited to two visits to two different communities, in 1902 to a group in the jurisdiction of Nueva Vizcaya and in 1909 to a community in the mountains back of Pantabangan, Nueva Ecija. On the first visit measurements and notes were made of four men and three women. Their stature was found to be as follows:

Men Women
1480 1386
1518 1440
1553 1510

The average stature of these men was 1535, a little less than the average stature of Igorot, and so a very short human height. The cephalic index for the seven, and the nasal index for six (one missing) are as follows:

Cephalic Index Nasal Index
79.7 77.5
80.7 82.5
80.8 88.6
83.8 88.6
85.1 88.7
87.1 90.9


All are brachycephalic except one (79.7), and all are platyrhinian but one.

In the second community I measured twelve men and five women, with the following results:

Stature Men Stature Women Cephalic Index Nasal Index
1610 1453 89 100
1583 1450 87 98
1582 1441 86 95
1580 1422 85.9 95
1570 1412 85 94
1544 84 93
1532 83.7 90
1503 83.3 89
1486 83 89
1467 81 88
1439 81 87.8
81 87
1240 (a boy) 80 87
80 83
79 82
79 82
76 76

The height of these men presents a wider variation, as would be expected in the larger number (1601 to 1437), but the mean and the general results are the same. The head index is brachycephalic except in the case of three, and all are platyrhinian, or nearly so, except one. Thus in these Ilongot we have a short race, even shorter than the Igorot, brachycephalic and platyrhinian. Their hair is wavy, except when it is curly. It is usually worn long. The face is occasionally hairy; a few individuals have been seen with sparse but quite long, curly beards. Their eyes are larger, finer, and more open than is usual in the Igorot and the Malay. One peculiarity of the face is noticeable: it narrows rapidly from the cheek bones to the chin, giving the face a pentagonal shape. The color may be a little lighter than in the Igorot, who is more exposed to sunlight than the Ilongot of the forest, and it is much lighter than in the Negrito, but by no means light enough to justify any likeness to either white or Mongol races. [375]

In these people we have, I am quite sure, a mixture of primitive Malayan and Negrito, with more Negrito than in the case of the Igorot. Stature, curly hair, short head, and broad, flat nose—these are all negritic characters, as is also the hairiness of the face and body. In fact there can be no doubt of the presence of Negrito blood in the Ilongot, for the process of assimilation can be seen going on. The Negrito of a comparatively pure type is a neighbor of the Ilongot on both the south and the north. Usually they are at enmity, but this does not, and certainly has not in the past, prevented commingling. The culture of the Ilongot is intermediate, or a composite of Malayan and Negrito elements. He uses the bow and arrow of the Negrito and the spear of the Malayan as well. There are few things in the ethnography of the Ilongot that seem unusual and for which the culture of neither Malay nor Negrito does not provide an explanation. One curious peculiarity, however, is an aptitude and taste for decorative carving, applied to the door posts, lintels, and other parts of his house, to the planting sticks of the woman, to the rattan frame of his deer-hide rain-hat, etc. But except for this there seems little that is not an inheritance from the two above strains or a development due to isolation in these mountainous forests that have long been his home.

In concluding this account of the Ilongot I cannot forbear calling attention to what appears to me a striking resemblance between them and the “Sakay” of the Malay peninsula as these latter are photographed and described in Skeat and Blagden’s Pagan Races of the Malay Peninsula. There, as in the Philippines, we have a wavy-haired people (the Sakay) located in between, and obviously mingling with, the Negrito (“Semang”) on the north and the primitive (“Jakun”) Malayan on the south. The type is clearly intermediate between these two races, and every Sakay community seems to contain individuals that exhibit both pronounced Negrito and Malayan characters. There seem to be no culture elements in the ethnography of the Sakay that are not found in the life of Semang, Jakun, or allied peoples. And yet, in the face of what would seem to be the obvious and natural supposition that the Sakay is a half-breed of the Semang and Jakun, our authors, following Professor Rudolf Martin [376](Die Inlandstämme der malayischen Halbinsel), discover in the Sakay a distinct race of wholly different origin from the Semang and Jakun—but allied to the Veddahs of Ceylon! This seems to me to be creating a far-fetched theory where none is necessary. While I have not had an opportunity of studying the Sakay at first hand, I am tolerably familiar with Negrito and primitive Malayan, and the results of their intermarriage, and every fresh examination of the texts and illustrations above referred to increases my belief that the Sakay, like so many of the types of the Philippines, is an exhibit to the widely diffused Negrito element in Malayan peoples.

University of California, Berkeley. [521]

1 Obtained for seven women only.

2 The numbers are arranged serially.

3 The numbers are arranged serially.

4 Other anthropometric data on the Igorot besides that here presented are as follows: In 1905, at San Francisco, Dr A. L. Kroeber measured 18 men and 7 women of Bontok and published the results in the American Anthropologist for Jan.–Mar., 1906, p. 194. The stature of these men varied from 1460 to 1630, the average being 1550. The average arm-reach was 1572, the average nose length 41 and breadth 40, the index varying from 85.7 to 135.5, while the average nasal index was 99.8. The average head length was 186 and breadth 148. The cephalic index varied from 73.40 (dolichocephalic) to 85.47 (brachycephalic), with an average index of 78.43 (mesaticephalic). The data for the women were: stature 1486, arm-reach 1491, nasal index 85.7 to 108.8, average 99.7, cephalic index 78.59. These measurements conform closely to my own taken upon Igorot of surrounding localities.

More recently Dr Robert B. Bean of the Bureau of Science, Manila, has published the results of a study of the Igorots of Benguet. (The Benguet Igorots: A Somatological Study of the Live Folk of Benguet and Lepanto, Bontoc. Manila, 1908.) Dr [371]Bean measured 104 adult males, 10 adult females, and 30 boys. The average stature of the men was 1540, which is about my own average; but he seems to have found a maximum stature in Benguet of 1700, a very tall stature indeed and unprecedented in my experience with this race. He also considers the Igorot to be “essentially short armed.” He found a very variable type of head (hyperdolichocephaly to hyperbrachycephaly). The nose was platyrhinian. Thus, in a general way, Dr Bean’s results agree with my own, although his measurements were carried out with many more details than it appeared to me advisable to attempt. Our conclusions, also, as to the origin and affiliations of the Igorot are far apart.


The Ilongot or Ibilao of Luzon

University of California

Reprinted from the Popular Science Monthly, December, 1910.

The grewsome practise of taking human heads is particularly associated with the Igorot peoples of the Cordillera of Luzon. These all engage in it or have done so until recently. But to-day the most persistent and dreaded headhunters are neither Igorot nor inhabitants of the Cordillera; they are a wild, forest-dwelling people in the broken and almost impenetrable mountain region formed by the junction of the Sierra Madre range with the Caraballo Sur. They have been called by different names by the peoples contiguous to them on the north, west and south, “Italon,” “Ibilao,” “Ilongot” or “Ilūngūt.” The last designation would for some reasons be the preferred, but “Ibilao,” or as it is quite commonly pronounced locally through northern Nueva Ecija, “Abilao,” has perhaps the widest use.1

An Ilongot at Oyao, Nueva Vizcaya.

An Ilongot at Oyao, Nueva Vizcaya.

Photograph taken in 1904. Tobacco is drying underneath the house. Behind the house stand the bare trees of the forest clearing.

There are no early records of these people and until late in his rule the Spaniard knew almost nothing of them. In the latter half of the eighteenth century, the valley of the Magat was occupied and the mission of Ituy founded, out of which came the province of Nueva Vizcaya, with its converted population of Gaddang and Isinay. To reach Ituy from the south the trail followed up the valley of the Rio Pampanga almost to its sources and then climbed over the Caraballo Sur to the headwaters of the Magat. On this trail along the upper waters of the Pampanga grew up several small mission stations, Pantabangan and Karanglan, with a population of Pampanga and Tagalog people drawn from the provinces to the south. After more than a hundred years these small towns are still almost the only Christian settlements in [523]northern Nueva Ecija. From the time of their establishment we find references to the “Ilongotes” who inhabited the mountains to the east and were spoken of as “savages,” “treacherous murderers,” “cannibals,” and wholly untamable. Much as described a hundred years ago they have continued to the present day. Their homes are in thick mountain jungle where it is difficult to follow them, but, from time to time they steal out of the forests to fall upon the wayfarer or resident of the valley and leave him a beheaded and dismembered corpse.

Here are a few instances occurring in recent years which came under my own notice or investigation. In 1902, the presidente of Bambang, Nueva Vizcaya, informed me that four women had been killed while fishing a short distance from the town. In March of the same year, a party of Ilongot crossed the upper part of Nueva Ecija and in a barrio of San Quentin, Pangasinan, killed five people and took the heads of four. In November, 1901, near the barrio of Kita Kita, Nueva Ecija, an old man and two boys were killed, while a little earlier two men were attacked on the road above Karanglan, one killed and his head taken. In January, 1902, Mr. Thomson, the superintendent of schools, saw the bodies of two men and a woman on the road, six miles south of Karanglan, who had been killed only a few moments before. The heads of these victims had been taken and their breasts completely opened by a triangular excision, the apex at the collar bone and the lower points at the nipples, through which the heart and lungs had been removed and carried away. As late as a year ago (1909), on the trail to San José and Punkan, I saw the spot where shortly before four men were murdered by Ilongot from the “Biruk district.” These men were carrying two large cans of “bino” or native distilled liquor, from which the Ilongot imbibed, with the result that three of their party were found drunk on the trail and were captured. These are only a few out of numerous instances, but they explain why the great fertile plains of northern Nueva Ecija are undeveloped and why the few inhabitants dwell uneasy and apprehensive.

Ilongot Hunting Party.

Ilongot Hunting Party.

Photograph taken near Delapin in Nueva Vizcaya in August. The large nets carried are stretched in the jungle across the game trails and the game are driven into them. The spears and bows and arrows represent their typical weapons. The curly headed man represents the mixed Malayan and Negrito type common in these people.

There have been no successful attempts to subdue or civilize these people. Between 1883 and 1893, the missionary friar, Francisco Eloriaga, founded the Mission of Binatangan in the forested hills east of Bayombong, and the Spanish government had the project of erecting it into a “politico-military commandancia,” but so far as I know did not reach the point of sending there an officer and detachment. Something was learned about the most accessible Ibilao, but no permanent results followed.2 Since the American occupation, however, progress has been made in our knowledge and control of this people. In October, 1902, the writer, at that time chief of the Bureau of Non-Christian [525]Tribes, and engaged in a preliminary reconnaissance of the pagan peoples of northern Luzon, made a trip with a small party to one of their communities in the mountains east of Bambang. Photographs, measurements and notes on their language and social institutions were made. In January, 1906, Mr. Dean C. Worcester, secretary of the interior, approached these people from the north, by ascending the Kagayan river. His party started from a station of the Tabacalera Company, south of Echague, and from there rode through fine forest to a “sitio” called Masaysayasaya. From here they “started at dawn and about noon passed the ’dead line’ set by the Ilongotes. A little before sundown reached Dumabato, an Ilongote and Negrito settlement, which had been the headquarters of Sibley,3 the deserter. Here were found a few filthy Ilongotes and some fine Negritos.”

Ilongot Men and Woman of Oyao, Nueva Vizcaya.

Ilongot Men and Woman of Oyao, Nueva Vizcaya.

The man on the right wears a characteristic head cover of rattan, which confines his long hair.

In the spring of 1908, Dr. William Jones, of the Field Columbian Museum, began a residence among the Ilongot of the upper Kagayan and lived with them continuously until nearly a year had passed, when he was killed by them. His notes and specimens were fortunately preserved and, when published, should constitute the most original and important contribution ever made to Philippine ethnology. Dr. Jones was part American Indian, a member of the Sac and Fox tribe. He was not only a brilliant scientist, but one of the most engaging and interesting men I have ever known—a man to cleave to. Here are brief extracts from two letters written by him from the Ibilao country, valuable, I think, not only for the information they contain about this people, but for the light they throw upon him and his manner of work.

May 26, 1908. I am at present among the Ilongotes of the Cagayan, where I am having the most enjoyable time since my arrival in the islands. These people are wilder than the Igorrotes. We made friends at the beginning and the friendship has grown wider and stronger every succeeding day. I have a shack high up on poles where I dwell with great comfort. And plenty of food is to be had always; wild hog and venison in the jungle on either side of the river; lurong and liesas in the river; wild honey back on the mountain side; bananas, beans, camote and other things from the cultivated patches, and rice which has been saved from last season. For the last fortnight the people have been clearing in the jungle for sementeras.4 I wish you might hear the sweet melody of the songs of boys and women at work in the clearings, songs sung to the spirits of the trees and for good crops. Ilongot society is much simpler than that of the Igorote; there is little if any of what may be called village life. There is a house here, another yonder and so on here and there along the river. Places near the river are reached by going on balsas5 and away from the river the trails are dim and indistinct. I do not know where I shall end up. I am heading up-stream. It may be that I shall find myself going west and southwest into the country of the Ilongotes, who are enemies of the ones I am now [527]with. I have to go much lighter than what I am now to keep up with the little black Negrito. He is like a flea; here to-day, there to-morrow, and ever on the move when food is gone, and at rest, when he has a supply, long enough to consume it. He is at outs with the particular people I am with at present.

Kagadyangan, on the Cagayan, Isabela. July, about the 12, 1908. I am compelled by force of circumstances to continue in this field for three or four months more; at least that much time must pass before I can observe a full cycle of the various activities of these people. Furthermore, the rainy season sets in about September and it is difficult ascending in this region where the rapids are numerous and swift.... I have come upon Ilongote habitations in cliff and rock shelters. Why might their ancestors or those of others not have lived in such in ages past and left evidences of an earlier culture? Many Ifugao burials are in sepulchres on mountain sides and the practise is no doubt very old. Places like these and those of rock shelters in other lands have given fruitful results and might they not in these islands?6 I am having a pleasant time with these people. They are the wildest of any people that I have yet come across in Luzon. But like all wild people, they are cordial and hospitable. I live in their houses and so have their presence day and night. I hunt, fish and hike with them, see them on and off their guard, observe them in all their varying moods—in short, I’m very close to them all the time. Some time I will tell you a thing or two about them.

Alas, for his intimacy and confidence in them! Alas, that so gifted and lovable a man should have been lost by their treachery to science and to his friends!

From the Nueva Vizcaya side considerable progress has been made in the acquaintance and control of these people. For several years, Mr. Conner, the superintendent of schools, cultivated their friendship and gained information that led to his successor, Mr. R. J. Murphy, organizing a school in the community of Makebengat. The method followed was to hire a very trustworthy and capable Filipino of the town of Bambang who speaks their language and has had friendly relations with them, to go out and dwell with them, persuading and hiring them to build a good dwelling house for the teacher, a school house and shop, and to bring their own dwellings into the locality fixed upon for the school. Then there were sent out two native teachers (one a woman, capable of teaching spinning and loom weaving), to begin the instruction of the children in language, figuring and in industrial arts not known to the Ilongot. This school experiment promises to succeed and has already led to starting one or two other schools in communities still more distant in the forest.

Governor Bryant, of the province, has felt much interest in these people, and two years ago performed the very difficult feat of traversing the forests from these first communities northward to the province of Isabela. This hazardous exploration occupied about two weeks before [528]the party emerged from the forest into the open country. The greatest difficulty and peril was lack of food, which can not be carried in sufficient quantities to sustain the entire journey.

In January, 1909, a very important exploration was made by Governor Bryant, escorted by Captain Hunt with a detachment of soldiers, and accompanied by Mr. Murphy and Dr. M. L. Miller, chief of the ethnological survey. The party left Dupah, January 7, and traversed the wholly unknown country lying to the southwest. The course of the wild gorge of the “Kaseknan” river, the head of the Kagayan, was developed, several important communities of Ilongot were discovered and visited without hostilities and the first knowledge obtained of much of this region. After struggling for ten days with the difficulties of jungle, ravine and densely covered mountains, the party reached Baler on the Pacific coast.

In May, 1909, the writer, accompanied by Lieutenant Coon and six native soldiers, reached a small community of Ilongot east of Pantabangan, called “Patakgao.” This community seemed to be composed of renegades and outlaws from several other communities. Certainly their hand was against every man. They were charged by a small group of Ilongot living near Pantabangan with the murder of two of their number a few weeks earlier and they themselves professed to be harried and persecuted by unfriendly Ilongot to the north and east of them. They had wounds to exhibit received in a chance fray a few days before with a hunting party from near Baler. Altogether, their wayward and hazardous life was a most interesting exhibit of the anarchy and retaliation that reign in primitive Malayan communities which are totally “in want of a common judge with authority.” A series of measurements was obtained by me at Patakgao and vocabulary and notes extended.

With the above remarks as to what has been accomplished in throwing light upon these people some description of them will be given. For information of their location and condition I am indebted to several others, and particularly to Mr. Murphy, otherwise the facts are the results of my own investigation.

Ilongot can not be said to live in villages, for their houses are not closely grouped, but are scattered about within hallooing distance on the slopes of cañons where clearings have been made. Each little locality has its name and is usually occupied by families with blood or social ties between them, and several such localities within a few hours’ travel of one another form a friendly group. Outside of this group all other Ilongot as well as all other peoples are blood enemies, to be hunted, murdered and decapitated as occasion permits.

An Ilongot Man at Work in Clearing.

An Ilongot Man at Work in Clearing.

He wears the peculiarly shaped Ilongot knife, the usual head covering and a shell ear-ring. The wavy hair on head, face and limbs strongly suggests the Negrito.

The most considerable body of Ilongot appears to be those living east of the towns of Nueva Vizcaya from Mount Palali south, along a high-wooded range to the district of “Biruk,” nearly east of Karanglan. [529]Here are some important occupied sites that go by the names of Kampote, Kanatwan, Kanadem, Makebengat, Oyao and Biruk, as well as others. Homes are shifted from time to time as new clearings have to be made, and the name of a community’s home will vary and can not always be relied on. All of these communities seem to be in fairly friendly relations with one another, though they are not bound together by tribal or political ties. Southeast on the rough hillsides of the Kaseknan River, the country first traversed by Mr. Bryant’s party in January, 1909, are several communities of very wild Ilongot, Sugak, Kumian and Dakgang. Those places were greatly alarmed by the approach of the party and used every effort to persuade it to pass without visiting at their houses. Conversations had to be held by shouting back and forth across deep gorges, and approach was very difficult. These people have scattered rancherias toward Baler and sustain trading relations with the Tagalog of that town, but are hostile with the Ilongot of the Nueva Vizcaya jurisdiction. Appurtenant to the towns of Karanglan and Pantabangan are a few minor communities, among them Patakgao. Finally, further north on the Rio Kagayan, [530]toward the province of Isabela, we have the Ilongot communities in which Dr. Jones worked, and lost his life, Dumabato, Kagadyangan and others. It may be that these Ilongot communicate with the Tagalog town of Kasiguran. In all of these communities together there are probably only a couple of thousand souls at most. Few communities have as many as twenty houses or 200 souls; the most are isolated groups of four or five married couples and their immediate relations. The harsh nature of their country, unsanitary life, occasional epidemics and most of all their perpetual warfare contribute toward their diminution rather than their increase.

A Young Woman of Oyao, Nueva Vizcaya.

A Young Woman of Oyao, Nueva Vizcaya.

Photograph taken in 1904.

Like other primitive Malayan people who live in the forest, the Ilongot support life by cultivating a forest clearing or “kaingin.” The great trees are girdled, men ascend their smooth clean trunks a hundred feet or more and daringly lop away their branches and stems that the life of the tree may be destroyed and the sunlight be admitted to the earth below. At Patakgao I was shown some beautiful long [531]pieces of the rattan an inch and a half in diameter with elaborately woven loops at the ends. These are swung from one tree top to another and serve as passage-ways for the men at work. To cross they stand on the slack cable, one hand grasping it on each side, and so, crouching, pass along it at a height above the ground of 80 to 100 feet. With this in mind, I could understand their replying to my inquiry as to when they prayed, by saying that they “prayed and sang to the spirits when they went to climb the trees.” Their crops are mountain rice, camotes or sweet potatoes, gabi or taro, maize, squash, bananas, tapioca and, in some places, sugar cane and tobacco. They are good gardeners, although all their cultivation is by hand, their tools being a short hoe or trowel and a wooden planting stick, which is ornamented with very tasteful carving.

An Ilongot Man of Bayyait, Nueva Vizcaya.

An Ilongot Man of Bayyait, Nueva Vizcaya.

The photograph shows the curious deer skin cape and hat worn by the men when hunting or traveling in the rain.

The houses of the Ilongot are of two sorts. Sometimes they are low wretched hovels, built two or three feet above the ground, with roofs of grass and sides of bark. But frequently the Ilongot build really well-constructed and creditable homes. These are set high above the ground, fully twelve feet, on a large number of posts or piles; the floor is made of carefully set strips of palma brava, the door-posts, lintels and exposed pieces of framework are curiously and tastefully carved. Such a dwelling is built large and spacious for the occupancy of several families and there is usually a hearth in each of the four corners of the big, single room. Such a house set on a conspicuous ridge and lifted by its piles high among the foliage of the surrounding jungle is a striking and almost an imposing sight.

The arms of the Ilongot are the spear, the jungle knife which they forge into a peculiar form, wide and curving at the point, a slender, bent shield of light wood and the bow and arrow. The use of the latter weapons is significant and here, as always in Malaysia, it indicates Negrito influence and mixture. They use a bow of palma brava and the ingenious jointed arrow of the Negrito with point attached by a long cord of rattan to the shaft, which separates and dragging behind the transfixed animal impedes his escape.

Both men and women wear the long rattan waist belt wound many times about the loins with clouts and skirts of beaten bark cloth. The men also use a curious rain hat not unlike a fireman’s helmet, made of rattan and deerskin, the light frame neatly decorated with carving, and a deerskin rain coat to cover their backs in the dripping forest.

The physical type of the Ilongot is peculiar and rather unlike that of any other Philippine people. The men are small, with long bodies and very short legs, weak, effeminate faces, occasionally bearded. The hair is worn long, but usually coiled upon the head and held by a rattan net. The color of the Ilongot is brown and a little lighter than that of Malayans exposed to the sun by life on the water or in the plain. Their head hair is sometimes nearly straight, usually wavy and occasionally [533]quite curly. These rather unusual characteristics of the Ilongot have led to some absurdly exaggerated reports of their appearance.

Ilongot Men and Women Clearing the Ground for Rice Planting.

Ilongot Men and Women Clearing the Ground for Rice Planting.

The men have a characteristic trowel. The women have planting sticks of hard wood elaborately carved. The man with the curly head indicates the Negrito blood in these people.

My measurements include 15 men, 8 women and a young boy whose stature is disregarded. The height of the men varied from 1,439 mm. to 1,610 mm., the mean being about 1,540, a very small stature though considerably above the Negrito. The stature of the women was from 1,386 mm. to 1,510 mm., the mean being about 1,440. The cephalic index of all but four of the 24 individuals was between 89 and 80 (brachycephalic), one was 79.9, two were 79, and one 76 (mesaticephalic). The nasal index of all but six varied from 100 to 87 (markedly platyrhinian), while the remaining six had indices from 83 to 76. The mean index of all was 88.6. The arm reach, as is usual in Negritic peoples, exceeded the height.

A peculiarity of the Ilongot face is that, while it is relatively wide at the cheek bones, it narrows rapidly below, giving the effect of a pentagonal shaped face with sharp chin. The eyes are relatively well opened and clear, like the eye of the Negrito, without slant or folding lid.

In the Ilongot then we have a small, shortlegged, wavy or curly-haired man, round headed generally, flat and broad nosed, with occasionally bearded face and restless nervous physiognomy. Most of these are not characteristics of the ordinary forest Malayan; on the contrary, they suggest the Negrito, and occasion the belief, in my own mind, that the Ilongot is, like many other peoples of the Philippines and Malaysia, a mixed race resulting from the union of Negrito and Malayan.

From what has already been said it is apparent that in Ilongot society we have a most rudimentary stage of political development. There is no tribe. There is no chieftainship. There are no social classes, for the Ilongot have neither aristocracy nor slaves nor what is very common in most Malayan communities, a class of bonded debtors. They have words to designate such classes, a slave being “sina lima” and a debtor “makiotang,” but this information was imparted with the repeated statement, “There are none here.” I was unable to get any word whatever for a chieftain, although the Ilongot of Neuva Vizcaya spoke of the “nalahaian” or head of the body of kin, but this person seemed to be only the oldest influential relation in the family group. The Ilongot of Patakgao said it was customary to hold a council called “pogon” but it was evident that this gathering was without definite constitution. The feebleness of the political life of the Ilongot can be appreciated by comparing it to the Igorot, the sturdy mountain headhunters in the Cordillera to the west. The Igorot likewise have no conception of the tribe but they do have thoroughly organized towns and town life. They have a detailed social system, based primarily on the possession of wealth; there are slaves, servant and indebted classes, and a carefully developed and adequate body of law covering property, [534]inheritance, conveyance and contract. Thus the political life of the Igorot, although exceedingly weak on the side of federation or agreement between the independent towns, is centuries of development ahead of the almost institutionless communities of the Ilongot.

The Ilongot appears to be usually a monogamist and the wife is purchased, or at least a dowry called “piyat” is paid in weapons, utensils, liquor, wire, etc. Her position is not at all that of a bought piece of property, but, like the woman in Malayan society generally, she is the companion and almost the equal in influence and independence of the man.

While the machinery for righting injuries or settling grievances is almost non-existent, the Ilongot has a strong sense of injury and of wrongful acts. He will say with the strongest feeling and disgust that certain actions are “forbidden” (ma kŭl).

I once asked an Ilongot what he would do if a man of a neighboring community, with which relations were peaceful, should come and steal his pig. He thereupon detailed the steps open to him. He might take his weapons and go within hallooing distance of the aggressor’s home and demand a double fine or restitution (“baiyad”). If the demand did not avail he would make a solemn warning (“tongtongan”) and then, if satisfaction did not follow, there was no recourse but retaliation. I believe, however, that compensation, even for such offenses as murder, is frequently arranged through the anxiety of all members of the family to escape retaliation. Feud, that inevitably arises under such social conditions as these, pursues generation after generation and the obligation that descends to posterity and relations to take vengeance is spoken of as the “debt of life” (utang nu biay).

Apart from the taking of heads as an act of vengeance, murder with the winning of the gruesome trophy is obligatory on the other occasions as well. An Ilongot once said to me “A man may during his life take three, four or even five heads, but he must take one, and that before he marries. This head he carries to the relations of his intended wife to prove that his heart and body are strong to defend her.” Furthermore, after the palay harvest each year the bundles of unthreshed rice or palay are neatly piled into a stack about a tall stake which is set up in the “kaingin.” Then, for some ungodly reason, a human head is very desirable to place on top of this pole. So raids are made, usually on the Christian settlements below. Several questions may be asked regarding these practises, but I can offer nothing by way of answer. To whom is the “debt of life” owed? To the spirit of the dead person? To the customary Malayan spirits of the forest? Only a long acquaintance would enable one to get to the bottom of the motive of such customs as these.

Ilongot Men of Puludpud in the Former Spanish Commandery of Principe.

Ilongot Men of Puludpud in the Former Spanish Commandery of Principe.

One carries a bow and arrow, the other a spear with a point which detaches itself from the shaft to which it is attached by a long cord. The dragging shaft impedes the escape of the animal that has been speared until the hunters can come up and dispatch it.

The primitive Malayan is full of beliefs and dreads of the malignant spirits which throng his environment. These are the spirits of forest, [536]trees, cañons, streams and sea; horribly conceived monsters and ghouls, and furthermore, and omnipresent in the affairs of the living, are the spirits of the dead—the ghosts. The Negrito, on the contrary, seems to be very little disturbed by such beliefs. His elementary religious notions leave him free for the most part from terror by night or by day. Where troubled with conceptions of “anito” or “diwata” it is almost certain that he has been learning at the feet of some demon-worshipping Malayan. Now, the Ilongot appear to have religious ideas that have come from various sources. Those of Nueva Vizcaya, with whom I talked, professed belief in spirits and called them “bĕ tung”; the spirits of the dead were “gi na vá.” The Ilongot of Patakgao, curiously, have been affected by Christian nomenclature. The ruling spirit or spirits is “apo sen diot” (“apo” meaning lord or sir and “diot” being a corruption of Dios). They had no word for heaven, but mentioned “Impiĕdno” (Infierno). They said that when people die “they go to the mountains.” They bury the dead near their houses in a coffin of bark (ko ko). They said that there were no “aswang” (malignant monsters believed in by the Christian Filipinos) in their mountains. They stated that prayer is a frequent observance; that they prayed when some one is sick or injured. “When an animal is killed we pray before cutting up the animal,” and as stated above prayer is offered before the dangerous ascent of trees. In one house I saw a little bundle of grasses which was put there, following prayer made “at the first time when we are eating the new rice.” Prayer is then made that rats may not destroy the harvest or other ill occur to crops.

These notes are too fragmentary to give any definite idea of what the religion of the Ilongot may be, but two other things observed had religious significance. When our party reached the vicinity of the community at Patakgao, we encountered in the bed of the cañon we were following a curious contrivance placed over the running water. Two stakes had been set up, and attached horizontally was a branch twelve feet long, five or six feet from the ground. A chicken had been sacrificed here and its blood had been daubed along this pole in at least eighteen different stains. Feathers had been tied to the ends of the upright poles and midway between them a curiously whittled stick of shavings was tied perpendicularly and the giblets and head of the fowl stuck upon it. Our guide, who was a Christian native from a small barrio which has some relations with this community, pronounced this contrivance to be a warning against further approach, in fact a “dead line.” But later, Bŭliŭd, one of the important men of Patakgao, insisted that it was an offering made for the cure of their wounds received a few days before in a fight with hostile Ilongot.

In the houses of the Ilongot at Bayyait were many curiously whittled sticks suspended from the rafters. Some of these were of irregular [537]shape like a ray of lightning; many were bunches of shavings, singularly suggestive of the prayer sticks of the Ainu.

The language of the Ilongot is predominantly Malayan. It contains a large bulk of words identical or related to the surrounding Malayan tongues. There are a few Sanskrit or Indian words, “pagi” (palay, “paddy,” the unhulled rice) and “pana” for arrow, both words widely diffused in Malaysia. But besides, there is a doubtful element which does not seem to be Malayan; at least no similar words or roots occur in any of the other vocabularies of primitive peoples of northern Luzon collected by me. The Ilongot continually makes use of a short ŭ, which sometimes becomes the German sound ü as in “buh dük,” a flower. These sounds can not be imitated by the Christian people in contact with them. This is a condition similar to what we find in Negrito speech, where, with a preponderance of terms occurring in Malayan languages, are often a number of totally distinct and usually eccentric words and sounds.

Finally, it is manifest that the Ilongot are a problem to the government of the islands. What is to be done with such people as these? They can not be allowed to continue, as they have done, to harass and murder the peaceful population of Nueva Ecija, northern Pangasinan and Nueva Vizcaya. Some means must be found to restrain them. Humanity does not permit their extermination. Steps are now being taken to do something to get them in hand. The exploring parties above referred to have opened the way. The communities organized under teachers of the Bureau of Education seem to promise something as well. Last fall when I left the islands search was being made for the right sort of an American teacher to put in charge of school interests at Baler, with jurisdiction over the Ilongot villages appurtenant thereto. The people of Patakgao since my visit have accepted an invitation, then made, to send their young men and boys to the barrio of San Juan, a village in the mountains back of Pantabangan, where a school is conducted and where several of these youth are now living in charge of a native man in whom the Ilongot have confidence. The Bureau of Education meets the slight expenses of this educational experiment. This work of social development, here as in a thousand similar places in the Philippines, will be best done by the American teacher, but the task is inviting only to the man in whom the spirit of youth and adventure and fascination with human problems runs strong.

Mr. Murphy’s last report concluded, “I believe the schools can do these people a great amount of good and solve the government’s worst problems. The work, however, is dangerous, as the man who undertakes it has no protection but his own diplomacy in handling the people. If trouble comes it will be from the young bucks, desirous of gaining a reputation.”

1 The report of these people under different names has been the cause of the belief that they were so many separate peoples. Professor F. Blumentritt makes this mistake. “Versuch einer Ethnographie der Philippinen,” p. 33; “List of Native Tribes of the Philippines,” translated in Smithsonian Report for 1899.

2 A brief account of the people about Binatangan was published by a missionary in 1891 in “El Correo Sino-Annamita,” Vol. XXV. “Una Visita á los Rancherias de Ilongotes” by Father Buenaventura Campa.

3 Sibley was an American soldier from the 16th Infantry who deserted in 1900, and lived for over four years, a renegade among these people. He finally surrendered to Governor Curry, of Isabela province.

4 Fields for seeding.

5 Cane rafts.

6 The Ifugao are an Igorot people inhabiting the Kiangan region. All the Igorot people practise, wherever possible, the burial of their rich and important personages in caves and artificial grottos. Burial caves occur in many places in the Philippines and have yielded a large store of jars, skulls and ornaments.

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The following corrections have been applied to the text:

Page Source Correction
371 mesaured measured
523 , .
528 Patagkao Patakgao
533 chieftanship chieftainship