Alternative Names

"Ifugao," translated as "hill (or mountain) people" (Barton, 1930/1978) is the term used to denote the ethnolinguistic group of people whose ancestors are from the area that, since 1966, has been designated as the national political unit of Ifugao Province. Ifugao additionally refers to the set of languages spoken by Ifugao people, of which there are three major dialect clusters (Conklin, 1980). Ifugao languages are part of the Austronesian/Malayo-Polynesian language group, and they are not written languages. Prior to and during the Spanish colonization of Ifugao, people living in the area now designated as Ifugao territory did not conceive of themselves as belonging to one cohesive ethnolinguistic group. Instead, district or village names, such as Alimit, Kiangan, Mayoyao, and Banaue, served as the markers of identity and territory, which are still recognized today (Dumia, 1979). The name Ifugao was a term borrowed by the Spanish from lowland Gaddang and Ibanag groups (Conklin, 1980). Pugao is another term that was historically used to refer to "Ifugaoland," and other variations of the word Ifugao currently in use are Ifugaw and Ipugaw (Barton, 1930/1978; Conklin, 1980). Spanish colonizers generically labeled all Cordilleran mountaineers, who were generally uncolonized by the Spanish (including Ifugaos), as Igorots, meaning "mountain people," though Ifugao people have not fully identified with this name (Barton, 1930/1978; Conklin, 1980; Dumia, 1979).

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