The Kalingas are a famous group of headhunters that live in the Cordillera Central in northern Luzon. Also known as the Calinga, Kalingga, Kinalinga, the were described in 1914 by the American administrator Dean Worcester as “a fine lot of headhunting savages, physically, magnificently developed, mentally acute but naturally very wild.” There are believed to be around 90,000 Kalingas today. [Source: “Encyclopedia of World Cultures, East and Southeast Asia” edited by Paul Hockings (G.K. Hall & Company, 1993)]

The expression "out in the boondocks" is related to the Kalingas. It was said that the Kalingas lived so deep in the North Luzon bundok the word "boondocks" has come to mean extremely remote. The Kalingas do not use the word Kalingas. The word Kalingas simply means “enemy” in the language of people who live around the Kalingas.

The Kalingas have elaborate ceremonies and epic poems. Many of their ceremonies focus of major life events, agriculture, headhunting and animal hunting. A typical ceremony last four to six hours but may go on for several days. Community gatherings often incorporate a large amount of dancing. Musical instruments include bamboo nose flutes and clappers, ancient bronze gongs from China., various stringed instruments and bamboo trumpets.

Cornélis De Witt Willcox wrote in “The Head Hunters of Northern Luzon”: “In some respects these Kalingas differed from the tribes already visited. Their superior height has already been noted. It may be noted further that they are sloe-eyed, and their eyes are wide apart. It is said that they have an infusion of Moro blood, brought in, many years ago, by exiles from Moroland turned loose on the north coast of Luzon by the Spaniards, with the expectation that the local tribes would kill them; instead, they intermarried. Among themselves they call their important men dato, a Moro title, and their Moro dress has already been mentioned. They will not marry outside of their own blood, and their women, so we were told, would not look at a white man.” [Source:“The Head Hunters of Northern Luzon” by Cornélis De Witt Willcox, Lieutenant-Colonel U.S. Army, Professor United States Military Academy, 1912 ]

Kalingas Religion

Christianity has made some in roads into Kalingas culture but for the most part the Kalingas cling to their traditional beliefs. Like the Ifugao, the Kalingas believe in the universe is divided into five levels, with 1) the heavens, presided over by the creator-god Kabunyan; 2) the earth; 3) an underworld; and 4) an upstream world; and 5) a downstream world. Each area has a large number of spirits and deities associated with it.

The Kalingas revere three orders of deities: 1) the high gods “pinain” and “alan”; 2) deities of dead ancestors and relatives; and 3) mythological creatures and heros that were once human. Pinpain are like traditional animist spirits. They inhabit rivers, forests, mountains, large trees and other objects. The alan are generally malevolent. The Kalingas regularly make offerings to “bulol” (rice-goddess statues).

Religious practitioners are generally shaman and they are usually female. They generally use chants and spiritual helpers to manipulate spirits involved with causing illness. Sometimes they preside over ceremonies in which pigs or chickens are sacrificed. Sometimes they sing and dance and act like entertainers.

The Kalingas believe that one’s behavior on earth does not affect one’s fate in the afterlife. Corpses are smoked to preserve them. A funeral may last for several days and often involves the sacrificing of various livestock animals depending on the wealth and status of the dead. In the old days bodies were buried in jars or mausoleums. Now they are buried mostly in the ground.

Kalingas Society

Kalingas society is patriarchal and organized around the household. The Kalingas have a saying, “Nothing happens that does not start from the hearth.” Men do most of heavy work such as clearing the forest, plowing, building fences while women do more time-consuming tasks such as weeding, harvesting and housework. Women however do hold political office and serve as shaman.

Marriage to relatives closer than a third cousin is forbidden. Polygyny is allowed but generally only practiced by a few wealthy men. The Kalingas rarely marry non-Kalingas. Occasionally they marry Bontoc women who have a reputation for being hard workers. Most couples live with the bride’s parents. All married children receive an equal share of inheritance.

Communities are led by respected elderly men. In the past respect was earned by headhunting feats. These days it is generally defined by oratory skill. Individuals and households are largely independent. Even children have a lot of freedom to do what they want. Decisions that effect the whole community are made through discussion and consensus. Disputes are usually resolved through discussions. In egregious cases elders may impose fines.

Kalingas Life

The Kalingas live in villages with five to 50 households. They have traditionally been established in easy-to-defend positions such as lower ridges and often have a grove of coconut trees near it. Large villages have a central plaza where events such as births and deaths are marked.

Houses are built high off the ground on posts and have a single entrance that is reached by steps of a ladder, Most are single-room dwellings with walls made of split and plaited bamboo, with a pitched roof thatched with strong reeds and thick grass. The floor is made of split bamboo mats resting on beams. Activities revolve around a hearth filled with sand and sh. Above it is a rack used drying wood, fid and clothes.

Many Kalingas suffer from goiter because their foods are grown in iodine-deficient soils. Other common disease include measles, tuberculosis, bronchopneumonia and various skin, eye and intestinal disorders Cholera and malaria use to be a problem but are now rare.

The Kalingas raise rice, vegetables, coffee, maize, tobacco and other goods on rice terraces and slash-and-burn agricultural plots. Most of their protein comes from domesticated pigs and water buffalo and hunted wildlife such as lizards, bats, deer and wild pigs. Cottage industries include metalworking, pottery, basketry and making tools and utensils from wood, trade with lowland groups and other mountain tribes primarily through the market in Tabuk. Valued property includes rice terraces, house sites, livestock and family heirlooms such as ancient Chinese beads, jars, plates and gongs. Most land is communally held.

Kalingas and Dam Projects

Two of the major dams proposed by the Marcos regime on the Chico River were in Kalingas territory. The government said that it had the right to build the dams because the Igorots had no title to the land they lived on for centuries, because of this the government owned the land.

In April 1980, Macl-ing Dulag, an outspoken Kalingas critic of the dams, was gunned down in his home in the middle of the night by thugs hired by the Marcos government. Dulag had earlier protested the building of a dam in his homeland because it would have submerged dozens of villages and left 85,000 people homeless. The soldiers who shot Dulag were found, tried and convicted. Their sentence: a transfer to a different region. Armed resistance and harassment of dam workers has prevented the dam from being built, but the Igorot are worried that once they stop fighting the construction will start again.

Local people have beem afraid to work in their fields. They have hidden with hogs to escape attacks by soldiers. There was no communication to outside world. In June 1984, more than 3,000 government troops launched a major military assault on the Kalingas. There was indiscriminate strafing of villages. People we raped and tortured. The World Bank withdrew from the project, which was “permanently postponed” by the Aquino government after Marcos was ousted in 1986.

Kalingas Country in 1910

Cornélis De Witt Willcox wrote in “The Head Hunters of Northern Luzon”: “We were off early the next morning, the 11th, our destination being Lubuagan, the capital of the Kalinga country. We had a long, hard day before us. As I was about to mount, I noticed that Doyle, Mr. Forbes’s groom, looked seedy, and learned that Bubud had broken loose in the night and gone the rounds of the herd, kicking every animal in it before he could be caught, and so robbing poor Doyle of a good part of his sleep. After riding a bit through the pines, the ground apparently dropped off in front of us out of sight, rising in a counter slope on the other side, in a great green wall from which sprang a hogback; only this time it was a razor-back, so sharp was its edge, up which back and forth ran the trail. It was another of those deep knife-like valleys; this one, however, challenging our passage, and justly, for it was more cañon than valley, and it took us nearly two hours to cross it. But it was worth the trouble and time. For imagine a cañon with forested sides and carpeted in green from the stream in its bed to the [155] highest bounding ridge! Near the top we came upon a bank of pitcher-plants, the pitchers of some of them being fully six inches long. A mile or so farther on, we halted and dismounted near a little ranchería, Butbut by name, in a corner of the hills, the people of which had been assembled for the “Commission.” These were the only physically degraded-looking people we saw on the trip; small of stature, feeble-looking and spiritless. The reason was not far to seek: it is probable that they live hungry, through lack of suitable ground for rice-cultivation, and because their neighbors are hostile. Now, I take it on myself to say that it is just this sort of thing that will come to an end if Mr. Worcester is allowed to carry out his policies. For, with free communication and diminishing hostility, interchange of commodities must needs take place. Indeed, the relations existing between rancherías are nothing but our own system of high protection carried to a logical extreme by imposing a prohibitive tariff on heads! Fundamentally, granted an extremely limited food-supply, every stranger is an enemy, and the shortest way to be rid of the difficulty involved in his presence is to reduce him to the impossibility of eating. [Source:“The Head Hunters of Northern Luzon” by Cornélis De Witt Willcox, Lieutenant-Colonel U.S. Army, Professor United States Military Academy, 1912 ]

“On reaching the top of Tinglayan Hill, which we did shortly after leaving the poor people just mentioned, we saw a man coming towards us accompanied by thirty or forty boys not more than ten or eleven years of age, all gee-stringed, and eight of them carrying head-axes on their hips. When the man got up, he handed Mr. Worcester a bamboo about a yard long. Mr. Worcester drank and then passed it on back to us, the best stuff, it seemed to us that hot morning, we had ever tasted. We were now in the basi country; this being a sort of fermented sugar-cane juice, judiciously diluted with water. The boys now formed a sort of column with the ax-bearers immediately in front of Mr. Worcester as a guard of honor, and we got a good look at them, well-built, erect, of a light brown, with black flowing hair. They were as healthy-looking as possible, and, what is more, intelligent of countenance—by all odds the brightest, most cheerful lot of youngsters we had yet seen. As we moved off they set up a chant, clear and wild, beginning with a high note and concluding with as deep a one as their young voices could compass. The thing was as beautiful as it was wild, and astonishing from the number and range of notes used.”

Marching thus, we came upon a large gathering of men, women, and children, to whom various gifts of cloth, pins, beads, etc., were made. Here Gallman found, to his amazement, that he could understand the speech of these people. Not trusting his own ear in the matter, he sent Comhit about to talk to them, and reported afterward that both not only had understood what was said, but had made their own selves understood. Neither of them could make out a word in the poor village we had just passed through, nor anywhere else on the road in the Bontok country.

“We now began the long descent to Tinglayan, seven miles, most of us walking and leading our ponies. At Tinglayan, instead of the usual cheerful crowd waiting to welcome us, we found only a few extremely sullen men and women, who held themselves persistently aloof. There were no children, neither were chickens nor eggs offered—a bad sign. This reception was due entirely to the refusal of the authorities to give up the Constabulary private that had but recently shot and killed the head man of the ranchería, as already explained. However, in time, Mr. Worcester prevailed on the few present to accept gifts, and we affected not to notice the character of our reception, not only the best, but indeed the only thing to do. Here we had chow.

“Lubuagan itself is extremely well situated on a gigantic terrace-like slope, as though, as at Kiangan, an avalanche of earth had burst through the rim of encompassing mountains. Here live the Governor of the province and the inspector of Constabulary with a detachment; their houses, with the cuartel and public offices, are disposed around a sort of parade, divided into an upper and a lower terrace. The native town lies above and just back of the parade, with its houses running well up on the slopes. These are, everywhere possible, terraced for rice, and so successfully that two crops are made every year, as against only one at Bontok and elsewhere. It follows that the Kalingas have more to eat than their relatives to the south, and that is perhaps one reason of their greater stature.

Kalingas Headhunting

In 1912, Cornélis De Witt Willcox wrote in “The Head Hunters of Northern Luzon”: “Kalinga is neither a race nor a tribe name, but a word meaning “enemy” or “outlaw,” as though the hand of the people that bear it had been against everybody’s else. These people have been great head-hunters, and have not yet entirely abandoned the practice, though it is steadily diminishing. It should be recollected, however, that it is only within the last three or four years that we have had any relations with them, Mr. Worcester’s first visit to Lubuagan having occurred in 1907. On this occasion, immediately on arriving, he was shut up with his party in a house; and all night a lively debate went on outside as to whether the next morning his head should be taken or not, his native interpreter informing him of the progress of opinion as the night wore on. [Source:“The Head Hunters of Northern Luzon” by Cornélis De Witt Willcox, Lieutenant-Colonel U.S. Army, Professor United States Military Academy, 1912 ]

The Spaniard Aguinaldo marched through the place during his flight, and left behind seventeen of his men, sick and wounded. He had no sooner gone than these were all taken out and beheaded. De La Gironière, in his “Aventures d’un Gentilhomme Breton aux Iles Philippines,” describes a feast, at which he had, while on a visit to the Tinguianes, to drink human brains mixed with basi. Whatever De La Gironière says must be received with considerable caution; but Pickering, a prosaic and matter-of-fact Britisher, speaking of the Formosan savages, says that “they mixed the brains of their enemies with wine.”

Meeting the Kalingas in 1910

Cornélis De Witt Willcox wrote in “The Head Hunters of Northern Luzon”: “ We were now directly on the left bank of the Chico, and, passing on, found the country more open, and so better cultivated, the paddies being broad, the retaining-walls low, and the countryside generally wearing an air of peace and affluence. This impression deepened as we reached Bangad, extremely well situated on a tongue running out at right angles to the main course of hills. Here was a semblance of a street, following the trail, or, rather, the trail, going through, had followed the street. The houses were larger, cleaner, better built; in short, substantial. One of them, unfinished, gave us some idea of its construction: floor sills on posts to ground; roof frame of planks, 1 × 6 inches, bent over to form the sides of the house when completed, all hard wood, without a single nail, the whole being held together by mortises and tenons and other joints, accurately made and neatly fitted. We remained here an hour or so, while the “Commission” was making gifts to the people. No weapons whatever were visible, and the women and children moved about freely without a trace of shyness or fear. Our way beyond the village now took us by many turns back to the river, the trail finally rising in the side of a vertical cliff, such that by leaning over a little one could look past one’s stirrup straight down to the water many hundreds of feet below. [159] At the highest point the trail turned sharp to the left, almost back on itself. I am proud to say that I rode it all, but was thankful when it was behind us. Heiser’s horse this day got three of his feet over the edge and rolled down eighty or ninety feet, Heiser having jumped off in time to let his mount go alone. It was fortunate for him that this particular cliff was not the scene of this fall. [Source:“The Head Hunters of Northern Luzon” by Cornélis De Witt Willcox, Lieutenant-Colonel U.S. Army, Professor United States Military Academy, 1912 ]

“Some three miles farther, on fording a stream, we passed from Bontok into Kalinga, and were met by Mr. Hale, the Governor, with two warriors, tall and slender, broad of chest and thin of flank, with red and yellow gee-strings, tufts of brilliant feathers in their hair, and highly polished head-axes on their hips. Greetings over, we went on, and soon reached the river again, going down the left bank until we came upon what seemed to me to be a most interesting geological formation. For the bank of the river here rose sharply in a rounded, elongated mass, the end of which toward us was cut off, as it were, just as one cuts off the end of a loaf of bread, and showed alternate thin black and white strata only three or four inches thick tilted at an angle of sixty or seventy degrees and mounting several hundred feet in the air. The trail itself had been cut out in the side of the mass, and was so narrow that not only was everyone ordered to [160] dismount, but the American horses were all unsaddled, the inch or two so gained being important in passing along. The black and white strata showing on the path, there was an opportunity to examine them; the black layers were so soft and friable that they could be gouged out with ease with the hand, and appeared to be vegetable, while the white stripes were most probably limestone. This bit of the trail is regarded as dangerous, because the rock overhead is continually breaking loose and tumbling down; for this reason it was unsafe to try to dislodge pieces for later examination. One of our cargadores, as it was, fell over, his pack getting knocked in, while he himself escaped with a bruise or two. It was a bad place!

“At the end of it a host of Kalingas acclaimed us, as picturesque as the warriors we had met at the stream, and took over the pack. Leaving the river, we began what appeared to be an interminable climb to Lubuagan. Up ran the trail, disappearing far ahead above us, behind the shoulder of the ridge; and we would all be hoping (those of us to whom the country was new) that Lubuagan would be just around the turn, only to find we had the same sort of climb to another shoulder; the fact being that the ridge here thrust itself out in rising echeloned spurs, each one of which had to be turned, so that we began to doubt if there was such a place as the capital of the Kalinga province. In truth, we had been up since 3:30 and were nearly spent from heat and thirst. But at last we made the final turn, and entered upon a narrow green valley, with a bold, clear stream rushing over and between the rocks that filled its bed. Broad-leafed plants nodded a welcome from the waters, as we rode through the grateful shadow of the overarching trees, and shining pools smiled upon us. We crossed a bridge, came down a bit, and, breaking through the fringe of trees and shrubs, saw before us the place-of-arms of Lubuagan.

Kalingas Dances

Cornélis De Witt Willcox wrote in “The Head Hunters of Northern Luzon”: “The sight that greeted us was stirring. There must have been thousands of people, as many women as men, and almost as many children as women, all of whom set up a mighty shout as our little column emerged. But what especially and immediately caught the eye was the brilliancy of the scene. For, whereas the people so far encountered had impressed us by the sobriety of color displayed, these Kalingas blazed out upon us in the most vivid reds and yellows. Many of them, women as well as men, had on tight-fitting Moro jackets of red and yellow stripes; but whatever it was—skirt, jacket, or gee-string—only one pattern showed itself, the alternation of red and yellow, well brought out by the clear brown of the skin. As though this [163] were not enough, some men had adorned their abundant black hair with scarlet hibiscus flowers, and all, or nearly all, wore plumes of feathers, one over each ear. Each ranchería has its distinctive plume; as, red with black tips, black with red, all red, white with black, and so on, some with notched and others with natural edges. Many men had axes on their hips. The whole effect was startling, and all the more that these people, erect, sinewy, of excellent build like their comrades farther south, were perceptibly taller, men five feet ten inches tall not being uncommon. Add to this a stateliness of walk and carriage, combined with a natural, wholly unconscious ease and grace of motion, and it is easy to imagine the fine impression made upon us by our first look upon these assembled people. It is not too much to say that the whole sight was splendid; but, more than this, under the surface of things, it was easy to catch at once the possibility of a real development by these people under any sort of opportunity whatever.”[Source:“The Head Hunters of Northern Luzon” by Cornélis De Witt Willcox, Lieutenant-Colonel U.S. Army, Professor United States Military Academy, 1912 ]

“We had hardly dismounted before the dancing began, in general against the sun, as elsewhere. Each ranchería of the many present had its dancers, and all made a display. One event, if the sporting term be permissible, seemed to be a sort of “follow-my-leader”; the motions, however, being confined [164] to the circle, across which the file would go from time to time, thus differing from any other dance seen. In some cases, the step was bold and lively; in others, slow and stately, with arms outstretched. The gansa music was not nearly so well marked as that of the Ifugaos; it seemed to lack definition (an opinion advanced with some hesitation, and which a professional musician might not agree with). Sometimes women only appeared; in fact, up here the sexes did not mix in the dance. If we had remained longer in this part of the country, perhaps the differences and characteristics of this expression of native genius would have stood out more clearly; but in our short time, with so much dancing going on, impressions necessarily overlapped. And, in any case, shortly after our arrival, night fell, putting an end to the show, and we betook ourselves to our quarters; Captain Harris, of the local Constabulary forces, most kindly receiving some of us in his house.

“The upper terrace was the scene of crowded activity, being packed with people from sunrise to sunset. Dancing went on the whole day; the sound of the gansa never ceased. A particularly interesting dance was that of a number of little girls, eight or ten years of age, who went [167] through their steps with the greatest seriousness and dignity, a very pretty sight. In yet another the performers, nine all told, grown men, attracted attention from the fact that the handles of their gansas were human lower jaws, apparently new, in the teeth of two of which gold fillings glistened. The Ifugaos, who, it will be recollected, had accompanied us from Banawe, also danced, their steps, motions, and music forming a sharp contrast. This dance over, Comhit could not restrain himself, but made a speech, in which he declared that “These people up here, the Kalingas, are very good people indeed, but not so good as the Ifugaos.” Fortunately, only his own people understood him. He had noticed on the way that the people we passed offered nothing to drink to the traveller, and had commented freely to Gallman on this lack of hospitality, so different from his country’s habits. We had nothing to complain of, however, on this score at Lubuagan, for basi circulated freely the whole day, being passed along sometimes in a tin cup, at others in a bamboo; everybody drank out of one and the same vessel. On the whole, this basi was poor stuff, not nearly so good as bubud. Harris told me after the day was over, and we had taken innumerable tastes, at least, of the brew (for one must drink when it is passed), that in preparing [168] basi a dog’s heart,1 cut up into bits, is added to the fermenting liquid to give it body. One man amused us by going around with a bamboo six inches or more in diameter and at least eight feet in length over his shoulder, and obligingly stopping to let his friends bend down the mouth and help themselves—a “long” drink if there ever was one!

Meetings with the Kalingas in 1910

Cornélis De Witt Willcox wrote in “The Head Hunters of Northern Luzon”: ““But it was not all basi and dancing: councils were held, the visiting rancherías profiting by the opportunity of enforced peace to clear up issues. At these councils, which came off in the open, on the parade, the people of the rancherías interested would sit on the ground in a circle, maintaining absolute silence, while their spokesmen, a head man from each, walked around in the circle. The man who had the floor, so to say, would remain behind and address his adversary in the debate, who meantime kept on walking around with his back turned squarely on the speaker. As soon as the argument in hand had been made, both would countermarch, and the listener would now become the speaker. A great part of the debate was taken up on both [169] sides by a recital of the crimes and misdemeanors of which the other party had been guilty. In one of these councils, one debater—wearing civilized dress, by the way—suddenly broke through the circle and disappeared, much to our astonishment, until it was explained that his opponent in the debate had charged him with having recently poisoned six persons; as this was perilously near the truth, the criminal simply ran away. The accuser was a fine-looking man, splendidly dressed, of a haughty countenance, displaying the greatest contempt for all the arguments addressed to him, his impatience being marked by “Hás!” accompanied by stamping on the ground the while and striking it with the butt of his spear. This chief was in confinement at Lubuagan, but, to save his face, Governor Hale had enlarged him during our stay. [Source:“The Head Hunters of Northern Luzon” by Cornélis De Witt Willcox, Lieutenant-Colonel U.S. Army, Professor United States Military Academy, 1912 ]

We found the town unusually clean. Public latrines exist, and public drinking-tanks, both put in by Governor Hale, and highly approved of the people. The houses themselves were the best we had seen, some of them hexagonal in ground plan, and built of hard woods. The pigs stay underneath, to be sure, but their place is kept clean. Rich men have rows of plates, the dinner-plates of civilization, all around their houses, and take-up floors of split bamboo are common, being rolled up and washed in the neighboring stream with commendable frequency. All together, Lubuagan made the impression of an affluent, not to say opulent, center, inhabitated by a brave, proud, and self-respecting people.

Kalingas Clothes and Weapons in 1910

Cornélis De Witt Willcox wrote in “The Head Hunters of Northern Luzon”: ““Naturally there was an opportunity during the day of observing many things in some detail. Who shall say, for example, that the Kalingas are not civilized? The women and girls all wear bustles, a continuous affair made of bejuco, an endless roll, in short, of varying radius, that over the small of the back being considerably the greatest. The top of the skirt is tucked in all round, instead of being directly on the skin, as farther south. In further proof of the local civilization, the women wear false [170] hair. One matron was obliging enough to undo her coiffure for our benefit, and held out by its end, for our admiring inspection, a mighty wisp nearly three feet long. She put it back on for us after the manner, as I have since been informed, of a coronet braid. The men gave fewer evidences of civilization, unless smoking cigars in holders will serve. However, one man brought up his wife and children and regularly introduced them to us, the woman doing her part with great coolness, while the children gave every sign of terror. This incident struck me as being very unusual. [Source:“The Head Hunters of Northern Luzon” by Cornélis De Witt Willcox, Lieutenant-Colonel U.S. Army, Professor United States Military Academy, 1912 ]

“Everyone had on at least one necklace, and some three or four necklaces, of dog-teeth, of agate beads (these being immensely prized, agate not being native to the Philippines), or of anything else the form, color, and hardness of which could make it answer for purposes of ornament. One young woman had on sleigh-bells, the tinkle of which we heard before we saw its source, an incongruous sound in those parts. These bells must have been brought down by Chinese trading from the plains of Manchuria. Two or three young men displayed what looked like lapis lazuli around their necks, but what turned out at closer quarters to be pieces of a blue china dinner-plate. They had cut out the white interior and then divided the rim radially, the jewels thus formed being all of the same size and shape, with perfectly smooth edges. Here, too, were the same pill-box hats as those seen at Bontok, some elaborately beaded and costing from one to five carabaos apiece; in one case the lid of a tomato tin had been pressed into service as a hat.

“But the finest thing of all was the head-ax, a beautiful and cruel-looking weapon, the head having on one side an edge curving back toward the shaft, and on the other a point. To keep the weapon from slipping out of the hand, a stud is left in the hard wood shaft, about two-thirds of the way from the head, the shaft itself being protected by a steel sheathing half way down; the remainder being ornamented with decorative brass plates and strips, and the end shod in a ferrule of silver. The top of the ax is not straight, but curved, both edge and point taking, as it were, their origin in this curve; the edge is formed by a double chamfer, the ax-blade being of uniform thickness. All together, this weapon is perhaps more original and characteristic than any other native to the Philippine Archipelago. With it goes the Kalinga shield of soft wood, made in one piece, with the usual three horns or projections at the top and two at the bottom. These projections, however, are cylindrical, and the outside ones are continued down the edge of the shield and so form ribs. In the ordinary Igorot shield the horns are flat, merely prolonging the surface of the shield, or else presenting only a very small relief. As usual, a lacing of bejuco across top and bottom protects the shield against a separation in the event of an unlucky stroke splitting it in two.

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Text Sources: New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Philippines Department of Tourism, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Monthly, The Economist, Foreign Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books, websites and other publications.

Last updated June 2015

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