Witnessing the Begnas Ritual in Sagada (Mountain Province)

Saturday, December 07, 2013

We had enough luck credits when we were in Sagada. We were there to witness the Panag-apoy, a unique observance of all saints day. Little did I know, we will also witness an interesting ritual that is still being practiced in the Mountain Province.
led by the elders and followed by the younger men of Sagada
Begnas is a ritual for good harvest and thanksgiving. We found out about it from our tour guide who works for SAGGAS (Sagada Genuine Guides Association). Our cave connection was scheduled in the afternoon so he suggested we watch the ritual in the morning. According to him, there are at least 5 begnas each year and there are no fixed date as to when it will happen. The elders will decide the schedule of Begnas and will declare community holiday, usually 2-4 days before the event.
first time to see so many men dressed in their wanes (most tagalog call it bahag, a traditional loincloth)
After breakfast, we arrived in the rice fields just in time. The elder leading the procession shouts at the top of his voice and the rest will follow. They walk towards the Patpatayan, the community sacred ground. See the photo above, it is the tree on top of that hill.
carrying a piece of sacrificed animal with their spears
At the Patpatayan, pigs, chickens, carabaos among others are slaughtered as offerings. 
the young ones can join too!
the host dap-ay
While they form a single line procession in the rice fields, the old men in the host dap-ay will perform the ritual and recite a prayer. Dap-ay is a sociocultural center which can be found across neighbouring towns in the Mt. Province.
elders from the host dap-ay preparing the sacrifice
While the sacrifice is on going, the elders will start the merry making. The locals play gongs as the elders dance to invoke the Gods for good harvest.
this gasul was used to remove the pig's hair at the dap-ay
sliced meat carried towards Dap-ay
I love this photo! This elder wears the complete traditional clothing :) 
I recently found that the Begnas celebrations are recognized by the local government of Sagada as part of the agricultural schedule. It's great to know that this type of cultural celebrations are still being practiced each year. And I felt lucky to observe this old ritual. In this day and age, I am quite relieved Sagada's old tradition is still ALIVE :)

This is my entry to Pinoy Travel Bloggers' Blog Carnival for May 2014 entitled "Luzon Lovapalooza" as hosted by Pinoy Adventurista.

Super thanks to SAGGAS! 
*Travelled to Sagada from November 1-4, 2013*

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  1. We woke up early to get that perfect spot to take pictures :) We also planned to go there that night, but we finished the cave connection at around 6:30 PM. We were so tired! We decided to go home and rest. How was it? Mas dramatic siguro pag gabi :)

  2. we wanted to be early too, kaso we had a long breakfast from after sunrise watching (albeit failed) at kiltepan. nakaka inggit naman yung pwesto nyo!

    i felt alien when i mingled with the ifugaos, but the younger ones offered me alcohol and sit with them at the campfire, as well as play with the gong and practice some kewl moves. :P

    here's a picture of what it looked like at night: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=428271127274458&set=a.287914314643474.50368.285205484914357&type=3&theater

    and let me just throw in a panagapoy shot hahaha... https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=427823827319188&set=a.287914314643474.50368.285205484914357&type=3&theater

  3. i was there on this same begnas festival, nov 2, 2013! we must have crossed paths!

    it was already crowded and didn't get a close-up picture of the ritual. oh well, i went there that night and mingled with the ifugaos for a bit, and did some dancing too :D

    indeed, we're very lucky to see this old ritual!