HomeThe Journal of Historyvol. 63 no. 1 (2017)

Kopyan Da Iyawe: Revisiting Traditional Ritual Practices among the Kalingas in the Cordillera Region

Michael G. Layugan



It is not an easy task to enter into the realm of the supernatural world of the Kalingas, or even speak of their religious experience of the Divine. The Kalingas normally do not talk about a personal relationship with God, the way Christians do. Their silence concerning their religious beliefs, however, does not make an argument for a complete absence of divine revelation. Non-corporeal experiences relating to the supernatural, which the senses cannot adequately concretize, cannot be denied. This experience of the supernatural is then expressed in various ways such as sacred symbols, rituals, sacred places and incantations, with ethical norms to see to it that they are observed. The mysterious is so fascinating that there are mediums as instruments to commune with the supernatural. Incantations and elaborate rituals are channels through which a person is able to communicate with the unseen realities. These spirits may be benevolent or malevolent. Incurable illnesses are attributed to the machination of evil spirits; hence, the Kalingas have to appease them through the performance of certain healing rituals. A ritual healer who serves as intermediary between the cosmic world and the spirit world performs the appropriate ritual to alleviate suffering which is attributed to the supernatural. This study looks into the spirit-world of the Kalingas, their concept of well-being and sickness, their healing practices, and their means of communicating with unseen realities.