Implementation of the Project
Safeguarding and Transmission of the Hudhud Chants of the Ifugao

Funded by the
UNESCO/ Japan Funds-In-Trust for the
Preservation and Promotion of the Intangible Cultural Heritage

Implemented by the
National Commission for Culture and the Arts – Intangible Heritage Committee

in cooperation with the
Ifugao Intangible Heritage Sub-Committee
Provincial Government of Ifugao
Department of Education – Division of Ifugao
community of Ifugao Province

submitted by the

NCCA-Intangible Heritage Committee

Felipe M. de Leon, Jr.


The proclamation of the hudhud chants of the Ifugao as a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity further enhances the value of oral and intangible heritage. The hudhud reflects the creativity of the Ifugao and the wealth of its traditions making it a worthy contribution to the nation’s diverse and rich culture. The proclamation did not only bring honor to the Ifugao but to the entire nation as well.

With this honor comes the obligation to ensure the proper protection and transmission of the hudhud to the future generation. As the principal government agency for culture, the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) was tasked to create a body that would develop and implement a plan of action, with sustainable programs, that would still be in effect after a lapse of three years when funding assistance from the UNESCO/ Japan Funds-In-Trust would have finally ceased.

The body created by the NCCA to address intangible heritage concerns was the Intangible Heritage Committee (IHC), an added Committee function of the Gawad sa Manlilikha ng Bayan Committee (National Living Treasures Award Committee) created by Republic Act 7355. The work plan developed by the IHC for the first year focused on education, research and publication, and promotion.

The creation of the Hudhud Schools for Living Tradition (HSLT) is a prelude to the idea of integrating the teaching of the hudhud in the provincial school curriculum concentrating in the lower school levels. Research and Publication aim to collect and document data and related materials concerning the hudhud; and transcribe, translate, and publish different versions of undocumented and/or unpublished hudhud. Promotion, through information dissemination, and reproduction of materials in multi-media would generate public interest, awareness and appreciation of the hudhud.

The Project Secretariat conducted preparatory consultations, meetings and coordination in Ifugao prior to the actual implementation of the project in June 2004. This facilitated the organization of the Ifugao Intangible Heritage Sub-Committee (IIHSC) including the selection of members and identification of the local coordinator and resource persons.

Activities undertaken from April 2004 to August 2005

All the activities under the approved work plan were implemented and completed in March 2005. Since the Project Secretariat was able to cut expenses, the savings, which was enough to finance related activities following the provision that they should fall under the ones listed in the contract, was utilized for the holding of a seminar/workshop for teachers, production of teaching materials, production of a Hudhud multimedia packet and transcription and translation of selected versions of the hudhud. Also, the IIHSC was able to conduct unprogrammed additional meetings in June and August 2005 to assess the project and recommend activities for the following year.

Highlights per activity

1. Organization of the Project Secretariat

1.1 The Project Secretariat was organized in March 2004 headed by Dr. Jesus T. Peralta as Project Director. He was assisted by the staff of the National Living Treasures program under the office of the NCCA Deputy Executive Director. Mr. Manuel Dulawan, a cultural expert from Kiangan, Ifugao, was hired as Local Coordinator to act as conduit between the NCCA and the IIHSC. A budget officer was also hired to handle the financial aspect of the project.

Resource persons were contracted for the following components, Hudhud Schools for Living Traditions, Local Government Units and Research. Upon the expiration of their contracts, the IIHSC recommended Ms. Jacqueline Lunag, Education Supervisor I of the Department of Education (DepED) – Division of Ifugao, to act as resource person for the HSLT representing the DepED-Division of Ifugao.

1.2 The NCCA-Intangible Heritage Committee (NCCA-IHC) was involved in the implementation of the activities in terms of policy formulation and intervention in matters that needed to be addressed by a higher body. Otherwise, the NCCA-IHC acted on an advisory capacity, allowing the IIHSC to make the appropriate decisions and action as the cultural representatives of the Ifugao.

2. Creation of the Ifugao Intangible Heritage
Sub-Committee (IIHSC)

2.2 The IIHSC was composed of local experts representing the municipalities of Lagawe, Kiangan, Asipulo, Hungduan and Hingyon and designated representatives of the National Museum and the Office of the Governor of Ifugao. The resource persons for the HSLT, Research and LGUs were also identified. The above-mentioned municipalities are those that were initially said to practice the chanting of the hudhud.

2.3 The first formal meeting of the IIHSC was held in June 2004. It was decided that a regular meeting would be conducted every first Saturday of the month thereafter. Request for special/ emergency meetings was also approved.

2.4 Highlights:

2.4.1 Conducted a workshop that resulted in the preparation of a detailed work plan for year one which included specific activities, targets, timetable and expected outputs.

2.4.2 Discussed in detail possible areas for collaboration with the Office of the Governor.

2.4.3 Presented the Hudhud Schools for Living Tradition (HSLT) program to the Department of Education – Division of Ifugao.

2.4.4 Lobbied for the drafting of the Tripartite Memorandum of Agreement between the IIHSC, the Provincial Government of Ifugao and the Department of Education – Division of Ifugao which was signed on December 1, 2004. The MOA solidified the IIHSC’s linkage with both institutions — considered key partners in the implementation of the three-year action plan. These three bodies are expected to develop concrete plans that would continue the preservation and promotion efforts on the hudhud after the completion of the three-year action plan.

Included in the MOA is the pledge of the Provincial Government of Ifugao to assist and participate in the formulation of policy directions through its representative in the IIHSC. The Provincial Government also appropriated the amount of P50,000.00 (approximately US$1,000.00) annually to support the operations of the HSLT . Lastly,

2.4.5 The IIHSC, with assistance from the DepEd representative, provided the initial conceptual framework for the establishment of the Hudhud Schools for Living Tradition.

2.4.6 Assisted the Field Specialist in recommending respondents for the research activities, validating the different subgroups, and providing language differentiation among the subgroups.

2.4.7 Funded the “Training Course Design on Traditional Music and Chanting of the Hudhud” workshop organized by DepEd-Division of Ifugao attended by 110 elementary music teachers. The NCCA-IHC raised the needed fund for the training workshop.

2.4.8 Corollary to what the UNESCO, the NCCA-IHC and the IIHSC have been doing for the preservation of the hudhud chants, the Mayor of Kiangan and the Ifugao Heritage Conservation Corp. presented their proposal to develop the village of “Kiyyangan,” said to be the cradle of the Ifugao race, and the “Rock of Pumbakhayon,” the object correlative of the hudhud declared by the National Museum as a National Cultural Treasure. Development and conservation efforts shall commence as soon as the office of the Mayor is able to present a master plan and raise the needed funds for the project. The IIHSC, NCCA-IHC and the National Museum offered their technical services for the project.

2.4.9 Continuation of the annual Hudhud Chanting Competition during the annual “Gotad Ad Kiangan” Festival every May 1, now in a proposed site near “The Rock of Pumbakhayon”, the mythological place of origin of the various versions of the chant.

2.5 Recommendations/ Endorsements

2.5.1 Endorses the assessment and recommendation of the munhaw-e and point teachers regarding the possible expansion of the HSLT in the five municipalities (Lagawe, Kiangan, Hingyon, Asipulo and Hungduan) and to include in the expansion two other municipalities in Ifugao namely Banaue and Lamut.

2.5.3 Drafting of a resolution requesting the Provincial Board to create the Ifugao Historical and Cultural Committee.

2.5.4 Drafting of a Provincial Resolution for the retrieval of notes and other researches of the late Lourdes Dulawan archived at the Saint Louis University in Baguio City.

3. Organization of a Research Base in Ifugao and Field Work

3.1 The School Superintendent of the Department of Education – Division of Ifugao provided the needed office space for the research base, which eventually became the office of the IIHSC. Located inside the DepEd compound in Lagawe, Ifugao, the location of the office proved to be ideal because of its proximity to the provincial capitol, its accessibility to the members of the IIHSC, and more importantly offered free facilities and services (own space, electricity and water supply, security, etc.) which the National Museum Branch in Kiangan, Ifugao, supposedly the original site of the research base, could not due to budgetary constraints.

3.2 Mr. Artemio Barbosa, Head of the Anthropology Division of the National Museum, who was the designated Field Specialist, headed the research team composed of anthropologists from the National Museum and two Ifugao researchers.

3.3 Highlights

3.3.1 Made an inventory of published and unpublished materials on the hudhud and a listing/ survey of culture bearers specifically hudhud chanters and other religious practitioners.

3.3.2 Gathered and reviewed literature, references and other reading materials previously collected by the IHC.

3.3.3 Visited libraries, archival sections of universities and schools, and other possible sources of hudhud materials. The research team was able to locate very old files of undocumented stories. The dated filing system of some of the schools, however, made it difficult for the team to fast track their work. Many materials, particularly those stored in the archival sections of universities may require special resolution from the provincial government for access or retrieval.

3.3.4 Documented, recorded, transcribed and translated a complete hudhud (chanted and narrated Tuwali version of Lagawe).

3.4 Recommendations/ Endorsements

3.4.1 Intervention by the provincial government of Ifugao, or the appropriate authority, may be necessary to gain access in restricted archival sections of some universities that have hudhud collection.

3.4.2 There is a need to continue the research, documentation and field work and expand the research areas to include the municipalities of Mayoyao and Aguinaldo to validate reports that the hudhud is also being recited in those areas and make further studies of the Ayangan and Kalanguya versions of the hudhud which are not widely known unlike the traditional Tuwali version found in the municipalities of Lagawe, Kiangan, Asipulo, Hingyon and Hungduan.

4. Creation of the Hudhud Schools for Living Tradition

4.1 The DepEd-Division of Ifugao assisted the IIHSC in selecting the five sites of the HSLT namely, Central Schools of Lagawe, Kiangan, Asipulo, Hungduan and Hingyon. The IIHSC recognized Cudog Elementary School, also in Lagawe, as part of the HSLT component because it has, for the past six years, been regularly presenting the hudhud through its school-based Cudog Ethnic Ensemble although the school did not receive any financial assistance from the project.

4.2 The engagement and commitment of provincial and municipal authorities and provincial school officials in the transmission efforts also proved to be indispensable.

4.3 For five months, the munhaw-es were tasked to conduct the teaching/ training assisted by point teachers designated by DepEd-Division of Ifugao. The HSLT in Hungduan was fortunate that its munhaw-e was also a teacher in that school so she was able to be both. Ideally, the munhaw-e should be handling the classes, but they were not trained to be teachers thus were not familiar with the conventions of a regular classroom set-up. They did not know how to properly discipline the students, employ devices that could enhance teaching methods and sustain the interest of the students. The presence of the point
teachers was crucial on those aspects.

Ms. Lunag shared that based on her experience, the teacher in the locality is a strong authority figure who has influence on parents and pupils. Therefore the teacher is in a better position to recruit students and gather them for classes. The teacher point person could even provide insights on teaching techniques. The matter was resolved with the IIHSC approving the proposal of Ms. Lunag to let the teachers handle the HSLT classes. On the other hand, the munhaw-e will guide the students as they learn the different versions of the hudhud and demonstrate the proper way of chanting, and act as critics during class exercises.

4.4 Highlights

4.4.1 Issuance of Executive Order No. 003 S. 2004 signed by the Provincial Governor directing all concerned local government units, the Department of Education, the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP), Provincial Office, Ifugao State College of Agriculture and Forestry (ISCAF), private and public schools concerned, national government organizations, and other organizations in the Province of Ifugao, to support the establishment and implementation of the HSLT.

4.4.2 Finalized the Guidelines for the Establishment and Operation of the Hudhud Schools for Living Tradition, and the Course Outline.

4.4.3 Conducted a workshop to prepare the teaching guides for teachers and students leading to the publication of the (1) Teaching Guide for Teachers and (2) Teaching Guide for Students which will be used by the teachers and students of the HSLT.

4.4.4 A value enhancement and incentives program was added to the action plan to create changes in the intra-Ifugao perception with regard to the hudhud. First was to give focus to the practitioners by giving selected culture bearers recognition awards annually. This is also to encourage others to become munhaw-es, and to give them further recognition and prestige in their respective communities the munhaw-e or lead chanters were set-up as role models and prestigious culture bearers by official recognition of their expertise by the IIHSC in Ifugao province. Coinciding with the annual celebration of Gotad Ad Kiyangan, five outstanding munhaw-e received special plaques of recognition during a simple awarding ceremony on May 1, 2005. The objective of the award was to recognize the invaluable contribution of practitioners/ culture bearers in the preservation of the hudhud. Screened and selected by the IIHSC, the selection was based on expertise and proficiency in delivering the chants.

4.4.5 On that same occasion, the DepEd point teachers who volunteered to assist in the HSLT were given plaques of recognition for having voluntarily taught hudhud chanting during their classes and outside of class hours, even to adults. This is also to encourage others to do likewise.

4.4.6 A workshop focusing on the hudhud was conducted among 110 music teachers of Ifugao province. This development gave the greatest impetus to the programme, accelerating the process of transmission. It was in preparation for the provincial ordinance that would make the teaching of the hudhud in the lower levels compulsory and its integration in the provincial school system.

4.5 Recommendations

4.5.1 Expansion of the HSLT in the five municipalities and new HSLT in the municipalities of Banaue and Lamut. Currently there are five HSLT in operation. With the possible inclusion of Banaue and Lamut, there will be seven municipalities in all. After consulting students, teachers, community elders, and local officials, the IIHSC received requests for additional HSLT. Due to budget constraints, each municipality will be entitled with two to three additional schools, in addition to the present HSLT, in the following barangays (community):

Hingyon : Umalbong and O-ong
Kiangan : Duit and Nagacadan
Lagawe : Cudog, Tungngod and Burnay
Hungduan : Abatan and Bangbang
Asipulo : Pula and Nungawa
Banaue : Amganad and Balawis
Lamut : Panopdopan

4.5.2 The IIHSC proposes that the recognition of outstanding practitioners/ culture bearers and teachers be an annual event.

5. Promotion of the Hudhud

5.1 Highlight

5.1.2 Production of a Hudhud Multimedia Packet which includes an excerpt (reprinting with permission) of Fr. Francis Lambrecht’s 1957 article “Ifugao Epic Story: Hudhud of Aliguyun at Hananga” published in the Journal of East Asiatic Studies of the University of Manila; re-edited video documentary on the hudhud highlighting the cultural significance of the hudhud and the scope of preservation efforts being done on the international, local and national levels. The packet also contains more than 20 minutes of hudhud chanting (Bugan Ke Aliguyon: Tuwali version of Dait) recorded in live sound.

The multimedia packet will be distributed in libraries, schools, cultural organizations, local government units, and other concerned groups and institutions.

5.1.3 The Annual Hudhud Chanting Competition (provincial level), organized in 2002, will continue to be held during the “Gotad Ad Kiangan” Festival every May 1. Two months before the provincial competition, a municipal level competition is organized and only the groups that won first place competes in the provincial level. The competition has two categories: the adult division for chanters and practitioners, and the youth division for the young members of the community.

6. Strengths and Weaknesses

6.1 In general, Phase I of the Hudhud Action Plan more than exceeded our expectations. First, the Sub-Committee was able to establish a credible reputation in the community primarily because its members are in touch with the culture and the people. Second, the partnership with the Office of the Governor, the concerned LGUs and the Department of Education-Division of Ifugao, was firmly established; they were often consulted on matters that directly concern them like policies and the integration of the hudhud in the school curriculum. More importantly, the culture bearers and the practitioners actively participated in the program not only as teachers but as role models for the young Ifugao as well. The number of barangays and schools requesting for the expansion of the HSLT attests to the importance of preserving the hudhud although the method could be improved.

6.2 One of the limitations of the program was the unpredictability of some situations. The most affected were the research and field work components of the program. When the work plan was first conceptualized, going through libraries and personal collections was not the main concern of the project but documentation of unrecorded and unpublished episodes of the hudhud. However, researches done by missionaries from the 1920s to the 1960s as well as documentations done by local researchers were abundant but unfortunately widely dispersed. More unfortunately is the lack of a centralized clearing house for all of these materials. Thus, the research team had to first establish the availability of the materials (both published and unpublished), where it could be sourced, and the possibility of acquiring copies of these materials.

7. Plans for Year 2

7.1 Re-organization of the Ifugao Intangible Heritage SubCommittee (IIHSC) following the recommendation to expand its membership.

7.2 Expansion of the Hudhud Schools for Living Tradition (HSLT) depending on the availability of funds and reprinting of the teaching guides for teachers and students.

7.3 Continuation of research and field work, including transcription, translation and publication of the different versions of the hudhud.

7.4 Publication of a series of children’s book on selected stories of the hudhud.

7.5 Request financial assistance for the Annual Hudhud Chanting Competition in lieu of the initial plan of staging a production of the hudhud.

7.6 Continue giving recognition to outstanding munhaw-e during the “Gotad Ad Kiyangan” festival.

7.7 Intensify information dissemination campaign by producing information materials on the hudhud in all forms (publications, recordings, photo and video documentations, etc.)

7.8 Introduction of a “perpetual award” to the municipality that will have the most number of hudhud chants conducted in proper cultural context. The award will be a large trophy to be designed by a well-known Philippine sculptor. The trophy will go the rounds in the manner of the “Americas Cup.” The trophy winner for the year will be announced annually during the Ifugao “Foundation Day” of the province of Ifugao in June.

8. Concerns

8.1 Our main concern is the timetable for the three-year action plan, in particular for the next two years. The approved period for the three-year action plan ends in December 2006 and the accounts will have to be closed at the latest in January 2007. Since we cannot discount the possibility of delays, in all probability we would have to request for an extension in the implementation period. Aside from unforeseen delays, we must also consider the gap between the implementation periods for each year. Ideally, year 3 should begin right after the conclusion of year 2 so that implementation of plans and activities would not be unnecessarily delayed.