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The Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Region Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)
Founded June 18, 1966
Capital Lagawe
 • Type Province of the Philippines
 • Governor Denis Habawel (Independent)
 • Vice Governor Pedro Mayam-o (LP)
 • Total 2,628.21 km2 (1,014.76 sq mi)
Area rank 51st out of 81
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 191,078
 • Rank 72nd out of 81
 • Density 73/km2 (190/sq mi)
 • Density rank 74th out of 81
 • Independent cities 0
 • Component cities 0
 • Municipalities 11
 • Barangays 175
 • Districts Lone district of Ifugao
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
ZIP code 3600 to 3610
Spoken languages Ifugao, Ilocano, Tuwali, Ayangan, Kalanguya, Tagalog, English

Ifugao is a landlocked province of the Philippines in the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzon. Its capital is Lagawe and it borders Benguet to the west, Mountain Province to the north, Isabela to the east, and Nueva Vizcaya to the south.

The Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras and Banaue Rice Terraces are the main tourist attractions in the province. These terraces were handcarved into the mountains 2,000 years ago to plant rice. In 1995, they were declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.[3]


  • Etymology 1
  • History 2
    • Precolonial Age 2.1
    • Spanish regime 2.2
    • American occupation 2.3
    • World War II 2.4
    • Post-war era 2.5
    • Post-martial law era 2.6
    • Contemporary history 2.7
  • Geography 3
    • Administrative 3.1
      • Barangays 3.1.1
  • Demographics 4
    • Religion 4.1
  • Rice culture 5
  • References 6


Ifugao is named after the term "i-pugo" ("i" [from/people] and "pugo" [hill]), which translates to people of the hill.[4]


Precolonial Age

Prior to colonization, Ifugao was a massive highland plutocracy, among the most sophisticated and prosperous of its kind in the whole archipelago and one of the two grandest highland plutocracies in Luzon, the other being the Plutocracy of Kalinga. The state existed for over 2,000 years and have built massive rice terraces that would be a symbol of the province in later time. There were no monarchs in the state. The state was ruled by its council of elders which led the state into a peaceful and prosperous plutocracy which developed one of the best agricultural technologies in Asia at its time. The state consisted of various subgroups which had similar yet somewhat distinct culture and traditions. Conflicts among the Ifugao people were resolved in the most peaceful way possible. Unlike most of the highland plutocracies in the Cordilleras at the time, the Plutocracy of Ifugao had the least conflict with lowland settlers or Ilokanos. Kiangan was known as the birthplace of the Ifugao people and Hungduan as the epicenter of its culture.

Spanish regime

The Spanish had great difficulty in taking over Ifugao, like most of the Cordilleras due to the fierce belief of the Cordillera people of their rights since ancient times. The Ifugao battled colonizers for hundreds of years, even after the state was colonized and was transformed into a part of Nueva Viscaya province of the Spanish-administered Philippines.[5][6] In 1891, the Spanish government established Quiangan as a comandancia-politico-militar[7][8] for the Ifugao area.[9] The Spanish occupation in the province ended with the outbreak of the Philippine Revolution.

American occupation

On August 18, 1908, Ifugao was separated from Nueva Vizcaya[10] and, along with Amburayan, Apayao, Benguet, Bontoc, Kalinga and Lepanto, was annexed to the newly created Mountain Province established by the Philippine Commission with the enactment of Act No. 1876.[5][7][11]

World War II

Ifugao became the center of warfare in the last year of World War II when Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita launched his last stand against the American and Philippine Commonwealth forces at Mount Napulawan. He informally surrendered to Captain Grisham of the 6th US Army in the Philippines based in Kiangan,[5] before he was flown to Camp John Hay where he formally surrendered.

Post-war era

On June 18, 1966, Republic Act No. 4695 was enacted, and Ifugao was converted into a regular province when the huge Mountain Province was split into four (the other three being Benguet, Mountain Province, and Kalinga-Apayao).[4][12] Ifugao and Kalinga-Apayao were placed under the jurisdiction of the Cagayan Valley region.[5][13] The capital was moved from Kiangan to Lagawe due to the harsh landscape of Kiangan which made it unsuitable for public transportation and as a capital.

Post-martial law era

On July 15, 1987, the Cordillera Administrative Region was established by then-President Corazon Aquino through Executive Order 220, and Ifugao was made one of its provinces.[5][14][15]

Contemporary history

In 1992, Republic Act No. 07173 was enacted, separating several barangays from Kiangan and constituting them under a new municipality known as Asipulo.[16][17]

Since 1992, the province has observed every September 2 as "Victory Day", commemorating the valor of Philippine war veterans and the surrender of Gen. Yamashita in the municipality of Kiangan on September 2, 1945.[18][19][20]

In 1995, the Batad Rice Terraces, Bangaan Rice Terraces (both in Banaue), Mayoyao Rice Terraces (in Mayoyao), Hungduan Rice Terraces (in Hungduan) and Nagacadan Rice Terraces (in Kiangan, Ifugao) were inscribed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site under the collective name "Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras".[3]

In 2001, the Hudhud Chants of the Ifugao was chosen as one of the 11 Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. It was then formally inscribed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2008.

In 2013, the official Intangibel Heritage Book of the Philippine was published, and 13 of its elements were from Ifugao.

In 2014, the Philippines joined other Asian nations in establishing the support and submission of the Tug of war- a multinational cultural heritage or Tugging rituals and games, an Intangible Cultural Heritage that encompasses tug-of-war games in Vietnam, Cambodia, and the Philippines. The initial move of the Philippines started in 2013. The Philippines' part in the new element is represented by the tug-of-war of the Ifugaos (in Brgy. Hapao, Municipality of Hungduan) called the punnuk. The element is expected to be declared as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2015.

Since the 20th century, the province has been central to the archaeological research of various international institutions, mostly from the United States and the Philippines. A major discovery was the archaeological site of Kiangan, which proved the oral tradition of the Ifugao which states that the fist settlement in the province of in Kiangan.

In 2015, a team of archaeologists studying the Ifugao rice terraces, whicb includes delegates from the National Museum of the Philippines, made a contradicting claim that shows that the Ifugao rice terraces are only 200-300 years old and that the Ifugao people were from Nueva Viscaya province or lower areas in the area and were forced to go to the mountains due to pressure from the Spanish empire which ravaged the lowlands at the time.


Covering a total land area of 2,628.2 km², the province of Ifugao is located in a mountainous region characterized by rugged terrain, river valleys, and massive forests.


Ifugao is divided into 11 municipalities, all of which belong a lone legislative district.[21][22]

Political map of Ifugao
 †  Provincial capital
Seal Municipality Land area
(per km2)
No. of
ZIP code Income

Aguinaldo 538.05 18,610 35 16 3606 2nd
Alfonso Lista
347.46 28,410 82 20 3608 3rd
Asipulo 182.87 14,403 79 9 3610 5th
Banaue 191.20 22,365 120 18 3601 4th
Hingyon 62.02 9,795 160 12 3607 5th
Hungduan 260.30 9,933 38 9 3603 4th
Kiangan 200.00 15,837 79 14 3604 4th
Lagawe 208.91 18,077 87 20 3600 4th
Lamut 159.65 23,088 140 18 3605 4th
Mayoyao 238.05 16,413 69 27 3602 4th
Tinoc 239.70 14,147 59 12 3609 4th
Ifugao Total 2,628.21 191,078 73 175 3600 - 3610 3rd[21]
*Italicized names are former names.


The 11 municipalities of the province comprise a total of 175 barangays, with Santa Maria in Alfonso Lista (Potia) as the most populous in 2010, and Banga in Lagawe as the least.[21][22]


Based on the 2000 census survey, Ifugao comprise the majority of the province population at about 67.9% of the population. Other ethnic groups living in the province include the Ilocanos 13.7%, Kalahan 8.6%, Ayangan 6.2% 0.6%.[24] [25]

The people of Ifugao province are called Ifugaos, but mistakenly called by non-Cordilleran as Igorots. Ifugaos, despite the similarities in some cultural traditions and practices, are considered a separate ethnic group from Igorots.

The total number of Tinguian in the province of Ifugao is 2,609. (source: National Statistics Office)


Less than 40% of the population are animists and continue to preserve their thousands-year old indigenous traditions. Roman Catholicism has a growing influence in the province with approximately 60% of the population being converted by missionaries, which also affects the traditions and customs of the indigenous communities. In most areas, especially at the east and south of the province, indigenous traditions have degraded due to the influx of Christianity. In 2014, The Vicariate Apostolic of Bontok and Lagawe recorded a 61.5% Roman Catholic adherence. The most significant religion other than Roman Catholicism is the Aglipayan Church while the number of people professing indigenous beliefs continue to wane. No law has yet to be established to negate the influx of Christianity in the province, jeopardizing the indigenous culture which possess one of the original 19 Masterpieces of Humanity declared by the United Nations.

Rice culture

A traditional house in Ifugao.

Ifugao culture revolves around 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 wine (bayah), rice cakes, and 'moma' (mixture of several herbs, powdered snail shell and betel nut/arecoline which is used as a chewing gum to the Ifugaos) is an indelible practice during the festivities and ritual activities. Agricultural terracing and farming are the principal means of livelihood. Their social status is measured by the number of rice field granaries, family heirlooms, gold earrings, and carabaos (water buffaloes). Prestige is also conferred through time and tradition. The more affluent, known as kadangyan, were usually generous by nature, giving rice to poor neighbors in time of food shortage(s) and/or hardship(s). Furthermore, their culture was known for their legal system, using one of the world's most extensive oral legal traditions specifying the offense depending on the use of custom law; trial by elders (influenced in part by public opinion); or trial by ordeal. The wealthy were subjected to greater fines than the poor.

A village in the Batad rice terraces

Untouched by the influences of Spanish colonialism, Ifugao culture values kinship, family ties, religious and cultural beliefs. Ifugao are unique among all ethnic groups in the mountain province, not only for their interesting customs and traditions but also for their narrative literature such as the hudhud, an epic dealing with hero ancestors sung in a poetic manner. Another feature unique to the Ifugao is their woodcarving art, most notably the carved granary guardians bului and the prestige bench of the upper class, the hagabi. Their textiles are renowned for their sheer beauty, colorful blankets and clothing woven on looms. Houses were well-built, characterized as square with wooden floors, windowless walls, and pyramidal thatch roofs. Elevated from the ground by four sturdy tree trunks, they feature removable staircases that were hoisted up at night to prevent entry by enemies or wild animals. Lastly, their attire remain traditional for male Ifugaos, donning the wanno or g-string; there are six types of wanno which are used depending on the occasion or the man's social status. Ifugao women, on the contrary, wear tapis, a wraparound skirt; there are five kinds of skirts worn, depending on the occasion and/or status of the woman/girl.


  1. ^ "List of Provinces". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010" (PDF). 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 20 December 2013. 
  3. ^ a b "Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras". UNESCO World Heritage Centre. Retrieved 2 January 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "Facts & Figures: Ifugao Province".  
  5. ^ a b c d e Lancion, Jr., Conrado M.; de Guzman, Rey (cartography) (1995). "The Provinces". Fast Facts about Philippine Provinces (The 2000 Millenium ed.). Makati, Metro Manila: Tahanan Books. pp. 76–77.  
  6. ^ "Natural Attractions found in Atok". Province of Benguet. Retrieved 13 August 2013. 
  7. ^ a b Worcester, Dean C.;  
  8. ^ Keesing, Felix Maxwell; Keesing, Marie Margaret; Keesing, Marie Martin; Institute of Pacific Relations (contributor); International Research Committee (contributor) (1934). Taming Philippine Headhunters: A Study of Government and of Cultural Change in Northern Luzon. Stanford University Press. p. 69.  
  9. ^ Felix M., Keesing (1962). "The Upper Cagayan Area". The Ethnohistory of Northern Luzon. Stanford University Press. p. 297.  
  10. ^ National Historical Institute (Philippines) [contributor] (1978). Kasaysayan, Volume 3, Issues 1-4 (Digitized by  
  11. ^ Ingles, Raul Rafael (2008). 1908 :The Way it Really was : Historical Journal for the UP Centennial, 1908-2008. Diliman, Quezon City:  
  12. ^ "Republic Act No. 4695: An Act Creating the Provinces of Benguet, Mountain Province, Ifugao and Kalinga-Apayao". Chan Robles Virtual Law Library. Retrieved 18 September 2014. 
  13. ^ "Historical Background". Provincial Government of Apayao. 15 April 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  14. ^ "Regional Profile: Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)". CountrySTAT Philippines. Retrieved 18 September 2014. 
  15. ^ "The Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)". Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 18 September 2014. 
  16. ^ "Republic Act No. 07173: An Act Creating the Municipality of Asipulo in the Province of Ifugao" (PDF).  
  17. ^ "Municipality of Asipulo, Ifugao". Department of the Interior and Local Government - Cordillera Administrative Region. 29 April 2013. Retrieved 2 January 2015. 
  18. ^ "PVAO recognizes Ifugao town for promoting valor and heroism of veterans". Philippine Information Agency.  
  19. ^ "Re-enactment of WWII episodes steal show during Victory Day Celebration in Ifugao". Philippine Information Agency. 3 September 2012. Retrieved 2 January 2015. 
  20. ^ Bitog, Rubyloida (18 August 2012). "Ifugaos to mark liberation".  
  21. ^ a b c d e "Province: Ifugao".  
  22. ^ a b c "2010 Census of Population and Housing: Population Counts - Cordillera Administrative Region" ( 
  23. ^ "Population and Annual Growth Rates for The Philippines and Its Regions, Provinces, and Highly Urbanized Cities" (PDF). 2010 Census and Housing Population. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 26 August 2013. 
  24. ^ "Ifugao: Five Economically Active Persons Support Four Dependents". National Statistics Office.  
  25. ^
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