Ritual spirituality in the Philippine Cordilleras

The Cordilleran Collection of the Linden-Museum Stuttgart

The people of the Cordillera reckon their descent to territorial units composed of rice terraces, villages and forests that form an integral cultural landscape.
They cannot be sold outside the lineage and are related to – even by people living in the worldwide diaspora – as their ancestral homeland. Rituals performed in the Cordilleras continue to permeate the lives of people who trace their ancestry to this region. Ritual life is observed in various forms in the villages and beyond.
Diaspora communities often find ways to connect to their kin groups in the villages. Ritual performances revolved around the three different domains of the territory - rice terraces, the village, and the forests

illustrating a heritage of living in the mountains. These rituals epitomize peoples’ view of their territories and their relational existence with their ancestors. The terraces, forests and villages were built gradually by generations of ancestors.
Although rituals vary among different groups, the principle of maintaining good relations with the ancestors and deities of the territory is common. Several rituals related to rice cultivation were developed to confer with the deities and immortalize the ancestors. You can learn more about the cordilleran cultural landscape by exploring the ancestral domains and related practices and objects.
Text: Prof. Dr. Leah Abayao