The University of the Philippines–Diliman Center for International Studies (CIS) hosted a couple of events to celebrate the completion of its project entitled “Native House Restorations and Rituals Toward Community-Based Tourism in the UNESCO World Heritage Batad Rice Terrace Cultural Landscape” on 17-19 June 2017.
The Pahang, a traditional housewarming ceremony, was held together with the annual harvest of tinawon heirloom rice in Barangay Batad, Banaue, Ifugao.
On 17 June, Saturday, the first harvest of rice was done at the terraces of Penneng Ambojnon in Sitio Balihong. Twenty-five local women were joined by several tourists in gathering the rice panicles one-by-one. This joyful event was celebrated with a pig slaughter (sponsored by honorary Batad villagers Rene and Maki Bajit) and a meal shared with everyone in the community.
The Pahang ritual, done the following day in Sitio Gabgab, was officiated by the last two mumba’ih (ritualists) of this village. The two septuagenarian mumba’ih, Appo Nappog of Sitio Nabnong and Appo B’fuy-a of Sitio Higib, were joined by a few other elders who still knew the old prayers.
The ritual started at around four in the morning and ended in the afternoon of the following day. It began with an exhortation and invitation for the ancestors and other natural spirits to join the feast. Over the course of the day, the mumba’ih performed small chicken sacrifices, epic chanting, ritual dancing, then culminating in the slaughter and sharing of three pigs.
This Pahang was done mainly to honor the couple Tu’paw and Rita Ugay. Mr. Ugay is a b’faluy (native house) builder and craftsman who worked with the project to restore its first b’faluy, the Osmogan-Ugay Lodge. He also joined in the restoration of the two other native houses of the project.
This project is funded by the University of the Philippines System through an Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs Enhanced Creative Work and Research Grant.
The project proponent, Assistant Professor Raymond Aquino Macapagal, worked with local craftsmen to adaptively restore three b’faluys and develop community-based tourism for the development of the UNESCO World Heritage village of Batad.
Once restored, these native houses will serve as lodges for tourists as part of an eco-cultural experience of the rice terraces. Visitors will be given a chance to participate in typical village life, and also get to see the natural beauty of this mountain hamlet.