Department of Education
Cordillera Administrative Region
Schools Division of Ifugao
(Safeguards to Living/Protocols to Living)
The "Honga" is a ritual ceremony performed as a manifestation of one's acknowledgment and thanks for all the material blessings, divine protection, guidance and proper direction in one's life.
It is also a pre-requisite ritual ceremony before performing the specific and appropriate religious cultural protocols in the Ifugao belief, to combat and address epidemic crisis and calamities of great magnitude like the pandemic Covid19. When all that have been done in the "Honga" are favorable, we are then entitled and worthy to do the "Umubaya." / by Herminia Hoggang.
The "Umubaya" is a ritual performed dominantly among the "Tuwali" tribe of Ifugao specifically in the municipalities of Lagawe, Hingyon, Kiangan, and Asipulo. It is usually done in sacred places or secluded areas like under the Alang or rice granary so tht it is free from disturbance in order to ensure its sacredness, sanctity, holiness and more importantly its effectiveness in combating the evil spirits of the different worlds so that the people may be spared from illness, misfortune, calamities and curses from enemies.
In this ritual, sacrificial animals usually pigs are being butchered and offered to the ancestors and Macnongan Hi Kabunian--the Lord and Giver of life of the universe. The spirits of our ancestors together with Macnongan Hi Kabunian are invoked to rise from their abodes and move to the place where the ritual is being performed. There, they shall witness and accept the sacrifices being offered to them and confer the benefit being requested. They are asked to drive out and away from the community all unseen evil spirits, pestilence including man-made discoveries that can inflict harm and destruction to life, to the community, and to the environment like the sars, African Swine Fever and the most recent Corona Virus (Covid19) which is presently a worldwide crisis pandemic.
Acceptance of the sacrificial animals offered is known by the careful examination of the bile sac of the sacrificial animal. a fully exposed bile sac with distinctive greenish color manifest a good sign that is interpreted as acceptance of the offering. on the other hand, a dull and partially covered bile sac signifies their disapproval. an unaccepted offering, however may be followed with a series of animal sacrifices until a favorable sign is obtained.
when there is a sign of acceptance, all the gateways to the community are posted with signs of "no entry" with the variety of marks and symbols: an ark is made whereby a lace of "moma" or betelnut is tied or hang on. the lace symbolizes oneness or unity, the "moma" or betelnut displays acquaintances and friendly relationship. the "dongla," a red-monocot plant stalk at the side of the ark is the "pudong" meaning "no entry" or no coming back of all the driven out evil spirits, pestilence and destructive viruses. the "tucab"--a replica of the Ifugao spear made out of wood or bamboo symbolizes the weapons/health protocols deployed to combat the epidemic in order that the people be safeguarded and protected from the wrath of the pandemic. /by Herminia Hoggang