Wedding Rituals

The Wedding Dress

IFUGAO COUPLE. The elaborate headdress and G-string of the man  and the heavy necklace of heirloom beads of the woman typify the traditional Ifugao costume of the early 20 th. century. (Field Museum of National History, Ayala Musuem Collection)

Wedding dance

The Bontoc Igorot dances in a circle, and he follows the circle counterclockwise. There is no dancing without gang-sa music, and it is seldom that a man dances unless he plays a gang-sa. The dance step is slower than the beats on the gang-sa; there is one complete “step” to every full 4/4 count. At times the “step” is simply a high stepping slow run, really a springing prance.

Igorot Wedding Dance

Bontoc or Igorot Wedding Rituals 

  • The Bontoc or Igorot wedding rituals usually spans several days. It starts with the delivery of the faratong (black beans) from the girl to the bachelor signifying the bride’s intentions to marry.

  • Afterwards, the bride’s family sends out what is known as the khakhu (salted pork) to the groom’s family. This is countered by the sending of sapa (glutinous rice). These food items are distributed to their respective family members, including their relatives.

  • An important rite called insukatan nan makan (exchange of food) follows. Here, one of the groom’s parents, after receiving an invitation, must go to the bride’s house and have breakfast with them. Later, the groom’s parents also invite a bride’s parent for a similar meal.

  • The next step is the farey. The bride and a kaulog (girlfriend) will visit the house of the groom. This is when they ‘start entering each other’s houses’. They will have to leave immediately also, but they will be invited again on the following morning for breakfast. This is the start of the tongor (to align). 

  • The next day, the bride’s parents, bearing rice and salted meat, will go to the groom’s house for the kamat (to sew tight). A kaulug of the bride and the groom’s best friend is likewise invited. The evening will be the start of the karang or the main marriage ritual. This is when the bride and groom are finally declared as a couple to the whole community.

  • The following morning is the putut (to half). Here, only the immediate relatives are invited for breakfast, signifying the end of the ritual. Two days after the putut, the couple can finally live as husband and wife, but may not sleep together for the next five days, known as the atufang period.

  • The atufang serves to validate the marriage. The groom is instructed to bathe in a spring, taking note of every detail that comes his way, such as the characters he meets, weather changes, among others. Should anything peculiar occur, he must make his way to the mountain to cut some wood. The bride, on the other hand, is sent off to weed in the fields.

  • Any untoward incidents serve as warnings that the new couple must postpone their living together or mangmang. The final stage of the atufang involves covering smoldering charcoals with rice husks overnight. The marriage is considered null and void if the fire goes out the morning after. 

  • The final step is the manmanok where the bride’s parents invite the groom and his parents and declare that the groom could officially sleep with the bride. This signifies the end of the marriage ritual for most Igorots. An optional lopis (a bigger marriage feast) could be done should the couple’s finances allow. 

Here are some photos of Bontoc Igorots.

Credits to

Sagada Igorot Wedding Rituals
  • The Igorot tribes of the Mountain Province have a wedding practice called the "trial marriage." The Sagada Igorot, for instance, have a ward or "Dap-ay" where boys at an early age live and sleep with their agemates. This ward is connected to one or more girls’ dormitories called "Ebgan" used for courtship.

  • In this dormitory, the girls gather at night to sleep and to be visited by their suitors. When a boy develops a real attachment to a girl, they live together in a trial marriage until the girl becomes pregnant.

  • The young man then sends gifts to the girl’s family. Chickens are sacrificed and omens are read. When all the signs are favorable, the wedding ceremonies take place. In these ceremonies, the couple drink from the same cup, eating rice together, and make rice offerings.

Olog - The Betrothal House

  • There is a practice among the Ifugaos of northern Luzon of segregating "marriage-able" girls in a communal abode called "Olog" or "Agamang". (The marriageable boys are accommodated in another communal house called the "Ato".) The boys from the "Ato" regularly visit the "Olog" and performed the first stage of courtship known as the "Ca-i-sing." They unburden their feelings in native songs rich in meanings and insinuation.

  • The girls respond likewise in native verse. All these are done under the watchful eye of the "Olog" head -- an elderly and married woman or a childless widow who keeps the parents of her wards informed of the developments of the courtship.

  • The practice, unique to our Northern Mountain Tribes is also known as "Ebgan" (Kalinga) or "Pangis" (Tingguian).