arts & culture

:: Ibanag Dialect:
Potent Factor
in Cagayan's

:: Ibanag Folk

:: Cagayan Epic:
Biuag and Malana

:: Ibanag Poetry
and Songs

:: Ibanag Proverbs

:: Ibanag Riddles


People, Culture and the Arts
Due to the influx of Ilokano migrants in the last century, majority of the people of Cagayan speak Iloko as their primary tongue. Aside from the Ilokanos, there are several smaller ethnic groups that live in the province. The Ibanags are the dominant ethnic group in the vicinity of the provincial capital of Cagayan-—Tuguegarao, now a city. The closely related Itawits inhabit the Pinacanauan River valley as well as areas of Amulung and Tuao. The Malawegs are found mainly in the municipality of Rizal. In the foothills and the mountains of the Sierra Madre Range, several Negrito groups called the Agtas forage and hunt for food. The established lingua franca of the province is Ibanag.

The Ibanags, Itawits and Malawegs are mainly lowland farmers whose agricultural practices are similar to those of the Ilokanos. The Ibanags used to inhabit the area along the Cagayan coast but migrated further inland. They conducted trade with neighboring areas using distinctive seacrafts, and their commercial interests made their language the medium of commerce throughout the region before the influx of Ilokano migrants. They are also excellent blacksmiths and continue to make good bolos. The Ibanags are reputed to be the tallest of all the ethno-linguistic groups in the Philippines.

The Itawits are almost indistinguishable from the Ibanags. They build their houses with separate kitchens, connected by a narrow walkway that is used as washing area for hands and feet. The Itawits are noted for their pottery and basket-weaving traditions.

The culture of Cagayan is showcased in museums, historical buildings and archeological sites spread across the province. In Solana, the Neolithic archeological sites in Lanna have yielded stone tools used as early as 20,000 years back. The Cabarruan jar burial site, also in the town, features ancient Filipino traditions of taking care of their dead. The Cagayan Museum is a repository of the province´s cultural heritage. Iron Age pottery, Chinese Ming and Sung dynasty porcelain pieces as well as Church paraphernalia are on display together with Paleolithic fossils. The oldest bell in the country, cast in 1592, still peals from the tower of the church in Camalaniugan. The old brick works in Tuguegarao lie inside the city and speak of a time when bricks were extensively used to build the beautiful churches of the Cagayan Valley.

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