Ifugaos have long regarded this conspicuously odd health practice, chewing Nga-nga as a way of life.
This entails chewing of Moma - a melange of scraped portion of oblong nuts called betel nut (pronounced: bee-tel) with lime paste, sometimes with a piece of cured tobacco and wrapped in heart-shaped leaf.
This is then perpetually chewed (oh yeah) at least once a day to fortify tooth strength and keep the oral cavity from bacteria. The odd thing about this practice is that the person is refrained from swallowing nga-nga and therefore spews out this visually unpleasant brick-red colored material almost anywhere possible (Define anywhere possible?: It’s anywhere without people).
Lucky you if they notice that you are there down below....
Consequently, Ifugaos are on the way to painting their town red... :-)
Where in the Philippines can you find a tribe that speaks English? Answer… only in Banaue. Yes, although Ilocano (a Philippine dialect) is widely spoken, it was hilariously unbelievable to find yourself talking to a deceivingly clad native who speaks English in the remotest part of the Cordillera highlands. Not only that, if you say ‘thank you’, be prepared to hear a common response that goes ‘you’re welcome’. Remember, this is one of the remotest part of the mountainous region…
The Ifugaos have a lot of rituals and cultural practices. The rituals would mostly involve invoking of spirits of their ancestors or nature gods. Some of these rituals are done privately but if you are invited to witness one, by all means go and observe. Ask permission before snapping your camera. On more common Christian occasions like weddings, baptism, etc.. anyone is invited. No one will care if you don't know anyone related to the hosts. Just be prepared to be part of everyone's photo albums though.
Locals here in Banaue are very friendly and accomodating.. You'll find them smiling most of the time, youngsters almost always greets hello or hi as you pass by..
(We were in a jeep on our way to Batad and our 4 foreign co-passengers are simply amazed and really enjoys waving back to everybody).
So if you notice them looking at you, just smile and greet!
The skulls and bones of hunted monkeys, buffaloes, deer are hung at the entrance of the Ifugao house. Asked if these are hung to ward away evil spirits, the Ifugao lady said that they are actually hung as decorative items ....
Almost each family along the rice fields will dry their stalks of rice this way - tie them in small bundles and spread them either on any concrete slabs or on a mat placed along the road. It 's rather fun to see pigeons having a great fill from the drying grains.
If you happened to see lots of patches of red stains on the concrete, do not think that it's blood stain. It is actually the spit of those locals who love to chew the betel leaves with some kind of white paste. Old and young love to chew on them and this will cause their teeth to be brick red in colour. When chewing these betel leaves, they salivate a lot and thus spit out on the floor. According to them, it is addictive because chewing these leaves with the paste brings out certain sensation and it was said that it refreshes the teeth...
If you are going to Banaue and staying in Banaue Hotel, makes sure it's weekend, because there's a cultural show.You will learn about different types of dances, tribes and tradition of the Ifugaos.And it's really very interesting and entertaining.
As u see in the picture, women's traditional skirts are not the same.It is because those class lines are marked with appropriate symbols of social deference.
From L-R: A skirt with white band in the middle(Kadangyan)=owns tracts of land and other material possessions
A skirt with just black and white stripes(Nawatwat)=poor families,no land or property
A skirt with colorful stripes(Natumok)=less affluent or middle class
In spite of class divisions,kinship remains to be one of the powerful integrating forces in society
During weekends, the Banaue Hotel showcases the Ifugao customs and traditions by holding a Cultural Show at the hotel's lobby. Very educational, as well as entertaining. Local customs, traditions, rites, dances, songs/musical instruments.
Guests should never miss the join-in dancing with the dance group at the finale. Great photo-op with traditionally-dressed Ifugaos.