What is the language of an Igorot


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A collective name for a number of old Indonesian hill tribes who live in the interior of the northern part of the Philippine island of Luzon. They are linguistically related to the Filipinos. Their name was once given to them by the Spaniards and has the meaning "Hillbilly". They had once tried in vain to subdue these tribes. The Igorot include such peoples as: Ibaloi, Bontoc,Ilongot,Ifugao, Itneg, Isnag, Gaddang, Kalinga, Kankanay i.a. The Igorot operate intensive soil construction. In the case of the northern tribes, the Gaddang and the northern Kalinga, dry or mountain rice is cultivated using the slash and burn method.

The southern tribes, on the other hand, cultivate rice in irrigated fields on steep, terraced mountain slopes. The Igorot were able to largely preserve their culture, which was deeply rooted in the prehistoric past, despite the accompanying changes in the Philippines over the past thousand years. Their terrace structures are built from heavy walls made of rubble, which can reach heights of up to 15 m and, with fields often only 3 m wide, represent a particularly fascinating phenomenon of their culture.

They enable rice to be grown on irrigated fields on steep mountain slopes up to an altitude of 1,700 meters. The Ifugao terrace system is considered to be the largest in the world. The length of the terrace walls are approx. 19,000 km. In addition to rice, the Ifugao also grow beans, cereals, peas and sweet potatoes. They mostly live in small, scattered hamlets, near the carefully tended fields. The kinship group is the most important social, economic and political unit. In contrast, the Bontok, Kankanai and Nabaloi tribes settle in large, almost town-like villages.

They are in turn in districts (ato), each of which has its own place of worship and its own boys 'and girls' houses. Everyone ato is ruled by a council of elders. The Igorot religious system is distinctly polytheistic. The Ifugao alone know more than 150 different gods who specialize in specific tasks and which are usually grouped together in departmental groups. The religion focuses on ancestor cult and headhunting. The latter was primarily a means of increasing social prestige. The leaders of a settlement community always had to be successful headhunters.

The colonial rule of the Spaniards (1565 to 1898) had no impact on the Igorot culture and way of life on the island of Luzon. Until the end of the 19th century, they had only a few external contacts. It was the Americans (1899-1946) who began with their systematic "pacification", i.e. with the suppression of headhunting. In addition to the Igorot, on the island of Mindanao in the south, there are the peoples of the Bagabo, Bilaan,Manobo,Bukidnon and Sabuanun also to the ancient Indonesian tribes of the Philippines.

Their total number is over 600,000 in Mindanao. Although they live a long way from the Igorot on Luzon, they resemble them in terms of economy, religion and social structure. Also the Mangyanon Mindoro and the Tagbuanan on Palawan are culturally counted among the old Indonesians. In addition to these, there are various old Indonesian ethnic groups in the Philippines, which are among the oldest settler groups in the archipelago. They are small, dark-skinned Negrito groups who were originally purely wild hunters, such as the - ›Aëta on northern Luzon and the -› Batac on Palawan.

Today, however, they have often taken over agriculture and domestic animal husbandry from their neighboring tribes. It was not until 1971 that the wild-hunting - ›Tasaday were discovered on Mindanao. The old Indonesians still live isolated from the mass of Christian Filipinos. They are marginal groups in retreat areas and their habitat are mountain regions in the interior of the large Philippine islands that are difficult to access and have little infrastructure. The young Indonesians, on the other hand, Christians as well as Muslims, settle mainly on the coast, in lowlands and on large plateaus.

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