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Philippines: Indigenous Peoples of Luzon/The Cordilleras

Welcome to The Indigenous Peoples of Luzon Page

This page contains materials on the different indigenous groups in Northern Luzon, especially from the Cordilleras, their cultures and the region itself.  These sources are available at the University of Hawai'i.  Please note, that this guide lists the basic resources and does not contain all of the materials for research.  For additional resources, return to the Philippines LibGuide Homepage for further suggestions.  

Igorot is the mainstream, collective name of several of the tribes in the Cordilleras (the political name of the area is the Cordilleras Administrative Region or CAR).  The provinces that make up CAR are Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Kalinga, Ifugao, and Mountain Province.  Baguio City is also included as part of CAR.
The various indigenous groups are spreadout through the Cordillera.  The following lists indigenous groups based on their provincial location and on demographic concentration:
Abra Province                                             Apayao Province                                     Benguet Province            
Tinggian (Itneg, Binongan)                         Isneg (Isnag, Apayao)                                Kankanaey
                                                                                                                                      Ibaloi (Ibaloy, Nabaloi)
                                                                                                                                        Karao (Karaw)
Ifugao Province                                          Kalinga Province                                        Mountain Province
Ifugao (Ifugaw, Ipugao, Yfugao)                Kalinga (Limos, Limos-Liwan Kalinga)       Kankanaey
Kalanguya (Ikalahan)                                 Isneg (Isnag, Apayao)                                Iyaplay

Other indigenous groups living in Northern Luzon are:
  • Gaddang (Ga-dang; in Nueva Vizcaya and Isabela provinces)
  • Bago (communities in Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Abra, La Union, Pangasinan, the Cordilleras and the Cagayan Valley)
  • Illongot (Ibilao, Bugkalot; in Nueva Vizcaya and Nueva Ecija provinces)
  • Isinay (Isinai, Inmeas; primarily in Nueva Vizcaya)
  • Aeta (Agta, Ayta; found in Zambales, Tarlac, Pampanga,  Bataan, Nueva Ecija and Panay)
  • Ivatan (Batanes Islands)
*Note: although these names are used  in books and other (scholarly) materials, they do not accurately define the indigenous groups in Northern Luzon. There is actually a wide breadth of languages and cultural variations as well as historical continuities among the different groups.  "Mapping North Luzon's Indigenous People" by Pio Verzola, Jr. (October 17, 2007) describes this concern in detail.

Useful Keywords and Subject Terms

In the Voyager catalog, use advanced search using the following terms under "keyword search":
Luzon AND indigenous people
Rice terraces AND Philippines
[name of province] AND Philippines

**A search on any of the indigenous groups will most often yield results.  See the above "Welcome to The Indigenous Peoples of Luzon Page" box for a list of names.

Under "subject search," try the following:
Igorot (Philippine people)
Indigenous peoples--Philippines--Luzon

General Information on The Cordillera and its Indigenous Peoples

Cordillera: Diversity in Culture Change: Social Anthropology of Hill People in Northern Luzon, Philippines by Toh Goda (2001).

Cordillera Suite: [Dances from the Mountainous Regions of Northern Philippines] by the Bayanihan Philippine Dance Company (2002), videorecording.

The Ethnohistory of Northern Luzon by Felix Keesing (1962).

Form and Splendor: Personal Adornment of Northern Luzon Ethnic Groups, Philippines by Roberto Maramba; photographs by Masato Yokoyama (1998).

The Head Hunters of Northern Luzon: From Ifugao to Kalinga, a Ride Through the Mountains of Northern Luzon, With an Appendix on the Independence of the Philippines by Cornelis De Witt Willcox (1912).

The Ilocos and Cordillera Provinces: A General Physical and Socio-economic Profile by Romeo B. Cleto, with Christoph J. Dehn, Hilario J. Padilla

Journal of Northern Luzon. [periodical]

The Making of the Igorot: Ramut ti Panagkaykaysa Dagiti Taga Cordillera: Contours of Cordillera Consciousness by Gerard A. Finin (2005).

Northern Philippine Linguistic Geography by Curtis D. McFarland (1977).

Resistance and Revolution in the Cordillera edited by Delfin Tolentino, Jr. (1994).

"Similarities and Differences in Life Styles in the Central Cordillera of Northern Luzon (Philippines)" by Jules De Raedt  [1987]Paper presented at the Conference on Ecology and Human Evolution in the Tropics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 22-24 August 1986.

[Various titles written by William Henry Scott]

University of Baguio Journal. [periodical]

Selected Printed Materials on Other Indigenous Peoples in Northern Luzon




Illongot (Ibilao, Bugkalot)

"From the Philippines to The Field Museum: A Study of Ilongot (Bugkalot) Personal Adornment" by Sarah E. Calrson (2013), Honors Project. Paper 45. Illinois Wesleyan University.

Ilongot Headhunting, 1883-1974: A Study in Society and History by Renato Rosaldo (1980).

Ilongot Life and Legends by Laurence L. Wilson (1967).

Knowledge and Passion: Ilongot Notions of Self and Social Life by Michelle Z. Rosaldo (1980).

The Remnants of the Great Ilonggo Nation by Sebastian Sta. Cruz Serag (1997).



Isinay Texts and Translations by Ernesto Constantino (1982).



The Ecology of Social Boundaries: Agta Foragers of the Philippines by Jean Treloggen Peterson (1978).

Into the contra Costa by Danilo B. Galang with Victor J. Paz (2011).

Leaves on the Water: the Struggle for Survival of Pinatubo Aetas by Rufino G. Tima (2005).

Manoro: The Teacher produced & directed by Brillante Mendoza (2010), videorecording.

Population Dynamics of a Philippine Rain Forest People: the San Ildefonso Agta by John D. Early and Thomas N. Headland (1998).



The Glitter of Gold in Batanes Cultural Heritage by Florentino H. Hornedo (2000).

The Ibatan: A Genealogy of the People of Babuyan Claro Island  compiled by Judith Y.M. Maree (2005).

Ivatan Medical Practices by Dolores Mendoza Recio (1973).

Taming the Wind: Ethno-cultural History on the Ivatan of the Batanes Isles by Florentino H. Hornedo (2000).

Selected Links on Indigenous Peoples in Northern Luzon

Cariana Collection of the Benguet State University (BSU) Digital Library.  
This collection is an open access digital database on indigenous knowledge in the Cordillera.  It is a digital collaboration between BSU Library and Information Services and the Baguio-Benguet Librarians Association.  Participating institutions are: BSU, University of the Cordilleras, University of Baguio, Ifugao State University, Tebtebba Foundation and Researchmate Incorporation.


Cordillera Peoples Alliance (CPA) is an independent federation of progressive  peoples organizations, most of them grassroots-based organizations among indigenous communities in the Cordillera. CPA is committed to the promotion and defense of indigenous peoples’ rights, human rights, social justice, and national freedom and democracy.

Ivatan Laji is a project to preserve the indigenous oral poetry of the Ivatan in Batanes.  Spearheaded by journalist and poet Dorian Merina, this website contains lyrics and audio and video recordings of this art. is created by the Kalanguya Scripture Translation Team to promote the culture and language of the Kalanguya people.  The website can be viewed in English and in the indigenous language.

KATRIBU "is the progressive party of the indigenous peoples of the Philippines. Besides fighting for the rights of indigenous peoples, KATRIBU upholds the rights of the Moro peoples, and all impoverished and oppressed people in Philippine society."

Lars Krutak is a tattoo anthropologist who goes around the world documenting and studying various groups who continue their tattooing and scarification traditions.  Peruse through the articles and full episodes for his documentation on Kalinga tribal tattooing and the famed Kalinga tattoo artist Apo Whang Od. is the online version of the weekly newspaper Northern Dispatch Weekly (Nordis).  It covers the news in the Ilocos, Cordillera and Cagayan Valley.

Tumayaw Village is being constructed by the Provincial Government of Ilocos Sur in Banayoyo to preserve the cultural heritage of the Bogo indigenous people and providing more job opportunities and skills training.  This village will be part of the eco-tourism industry growing in the Philippines. 

 Here is a list of Cordillera bloggers found on the blogsite of From the Boondocks, a news and information blog on the Igorots and the Coridllera.