Ethnic Groups of the Philippines


Kalinga manThe Kalinga people have a reputation for being “the strong people of the Cordilleras.” At the same time, Kalingas greatly value family and kinship; thus, the household, extended household of the kinship circle, and territorial region are significant units of Kalinga society. In the past, they gained leadership and respect through headhunting, along with other skills at which an individual excelled. Their neighbors and even invaders feared them due to their as headhunters. In fact, the name Kalinga, which originated from the Gaddang and Ibanag languages, means “headhunter.”

The Kalingas are a proud people and well known for their intricate hand-woven textiles and beautiful and colorful beaded jewelry. In every celebration, they incorporate dance and traditional music as a form of thanksgiving and cultural preservation.

The Kalingas are divided geographically into the following:

Butbut Kalinga
The Butbut Kalinga reside in Tinglayan, Kalinga. Farming is their main source of livelihood, as the province has a rugged and mountainous topography.

Limos Kalinga
Also known as the Northern Kalinga and Limos-Liwan Kalinga, the Limos Kalinga live in Kalinga Province.

Lower Tanudan Kalinga
The Lower Tanudan Kalinga are found in the southern part of Kalinga. Their language, which is most intelligible with that of the Limos Kalinga, has three dialects: Minangali, Tinaloctoc, and Pinangol.

Lubuagan Kalinga
Kalinga, a landlocked province in the northernmost area of the Cordillera Region, is bounded by the provinces of Cagayan and Apayao in the north; Mount Province in the south; and Abra in the west. The larger elements of Cagayan and Isabela are found on its eastern part. The Kalinga Lubuagan inhabit the Kalinga and Apayao provinces; their language widespread and used in almost all the municipalities of Kalinga, and has five dialects. Kalinga originated from the Gaddang and Ibanag languages meaning, “headhunter”. In the days gone by, headhunting was once regarded a noble “pursuit” and symbolized bravery. Theirs was a warrior society that accorded tatoos as status symbols awarded to warriors which men respected and women admired. Thus, warriors, mingol, enjoyed a higher status in Kalinga society. The bodong, a peace-pact in Kalinga culture was an indigenous socio-political system that defined inter-tribal relationships. It was developed to minimize traditional warfare and headhunting, as well as, served as an institutional ‘renewal’; maintenance, and reinforcement of social ties. Later, bodong was expanded into a multi-lateral peace-pact intended to strengthen unity in the Cordilleras.

Dance was an integral element of Kalinga Lubuagan culture. In keeping with its warrior heritage, Takiling, represented a homecoming of successful kayaw or head-taking, done to avenge the death or evil done to a family member or relative. Mingols were honored by their female relatives with gift of lawi feather, bongon (beads), and colorful ba-ag (g-strings). Victory songs were sung by villagers and the mingols danced with closed fists while the unsuccessful mingols were demoted to playing the gangsas, gongs. Ngilin was a marriage dance performed during rituals and celebrations, such as the budong; the choreography simulated the courting interactions between a rooster and hen. The most popular was the Tadjok which was performed by the tribe to commemorate grand feats, rituals, and social gatherings. The men showcased strength and virility, whereas the the women conveyed grace and sensuality, as they mimicked high-flying birds.

Mabaka Valley Kalinga
The Mabaka Valley Kalingas, who inhabit the southeastern part of Kalinga, are also known as the Kal-Uwan, Mabaka, and Mabaka Itneg.

Madukayang Kalinga
The Madukayang Kalinga are concentrated in southern Mountain Province. Their language is mutually intelligible with Limos Kalinga and Balangao (83%.)

Southern Kalinga
There are about 13 villages in Kalinga province where Southern Kalinga live. Their dialects include Sumadel-Tinglayan Kalinga, Malango, and Bangad.

Upper Tanudan Kalinga
The Upper Tanudan Kalingas reside in the southern part of Tanudan Valley in Kalinga Province, not too far from Mountain Province.


Learn more about the beautiful culture of The Kalinga People