HomeIAMURE International Journal of Literature, Philosophy and Religionvol. 7 no. 1 (2015)

The Socio-Political Symbols in the Ifugao Epic “Hudhud of Dinulawan and Bugan at Gonhadan”

Judith J. Batin

Discipline: Literature



In 2001, UNESCO proclaimed the Ifugao epic hudhud as one of the 19 masterpieces of the oral and intangible heritage of humanity. This study is focused on the traditional marriage rite of the wealthy Ifugao people in the ancient times as a reflection of the socio-political culture and tradition. This study aims to answer: What are the socio-political symbols reflected in the narrative structure and characterization of the epic? How does the traditional marriage (uyauy) define the socio-political stratification of the Ifugao people? The analysis is anchored on E. Arsenio Manuel’s theory of the Philippine ethno-epic. A descriptive-qualitative method was used in this study. Immersion, observation and random informal interviews in Kiangan, Ifugao were employed in gathering and validating data. The hudhud variant of study is proven as a historical record of the traditional and unique customary laws of the ancient Ifugao people that have survived and surpassed the modern age. The characters bring us the perspective that defines their traditional culture despite the Christianization and modernization. The traditional marriage rite depicted in the epic does not only recounts the socio-political stratification but also unfolds the beauty and unique tradition of the highlands that needs to be protected and preserved.