Inside the Imbayah Festival

Festivals bring a country’s culture alive. They unleash a vivid history and reestablish historic customs. To learn more about the The Imbayah Festival read more below from, Banaue, Philippines: The Imbayah Festival Celebrates Ifugao Culture.

“The Imbayah festival which celebrates Ifugao culture, rice planting and the harvest and rice wine was scheduled for the next day.

I took it easy the next day as my legs were aching from the Batad trip. The festival started at 5:30 pm with a low-key opening ceremony with just a few spectators.

A huge, black, boar, tied to bamboo poles in front of a traditional hut in Banaue Plaza, lay on the ground. The tribesmen made mock attacks with a spear as they danced around it before sacrificing the animal by cutting around its middle.

Within 10-20 seconds it was dead and the tribal folk chanted, tapped the boar with sticks before singeing its hair off on a fire. It was then butchered on the spot and distributed. Although this seemed cruel and gruesome to me, it was apparently quite normal and acceptable in Banaue.

This was followed by the first dance, which was very casual. Children, adults and elders took part in their national dance in tribal gear while members of the public, in shorts and tee shirts, mingled too.

The dance involved everyone moving like chickens as they danced around in a circle and had great fun; the crowd grew quickly as the music and laughter got louder.”

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