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The Origin of Ifugao Tinawon Rice

A Documentation by Ana D. Habbiling

Ifugao Rice Rituals

The Ifugao people express their religious beliefs in several rites that make up the Ifugao myth. The myth tells of their gods and goddesses, as well as their ancestors. Thus, at every ritual performed, the mumbaki (native priest) always invokes the power of the major and minor deities, most especially the mun-ontad (mediator between man and the god). As legend has it, it was Liddum, a major god of Kabunyan (Skyworld), who traded his aromatic large grain rice variety tinawon to Wigan for fire. Wigan was the son of Pudol, who was one of the ancestors of the Ifugao people.

The history of the Ifugao rice is the story of the tinawon rice. "Tinawon" is a local term meaning "yearly or annually". According to stories handed down from our ancestors, there are more or less three different versions of how the tinawon rice came to be. I have chosen this particular version because it is the closest to my belief. The story goes like this.


According to the Ifugao myth of creation, the Ifugao are the direct descendents of Wigan, the god of the Skyworld, whose son and daughter became the first parents of the Ifugao. Legend has it that the god from Skyworld gave the first sacred rice to the Ifugaos. One of their traditional rice varieties is called ipugo, "rice of the god", a variety that still flourishes in the harsh climatic conditions of the mountain range.

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