Head Hunting in Kalinga, Is this True?

When I was 5 years old, I had been a witness to a dead corpse who was a victim of head-hunting.  His head was sewn to his neck as it was totally severed from his body, apparently with a razor-sharp bolo.

There was no “bodong” (peace pact) between my village and another village so a full blown tribal war had erupted. The death toll was rising and more and more grieving families wanted revenge for their loved ones.

Headhunting was then the method of revenge of one village against another. It does not matter whether you were a relative or not of the deceased, as long as you belonged  to that particular village then you were a potential target.

There were times when we took cover in the forests when the avenging tribal warriors from the other village came to extract vengeance. Children were the most affected, in my young mind, it was a traumatic experience. I could still hear the cries of people around me as everyone scrambled for safety. Women and children were brought to safety, while the men geared up for war. A lookout/crier would be assigned every night who would warn the village folk  when danger is near,  so all  could all ran to the forest refuge.

My grandfather once told me that there were vicious tribes who even brought the head with them to their villages and would dance around it all night long. But, I thank God; I had never witnessed such event.

My native folks were really gentle people but they were extremely protective of family and territory. No villager would venture into another, without proper information and permission and I grew up amidst these dangers.

Great efforts were made to reconcile the tribal differences with what we call the “bodong” (peace pact). It was an agreement performed with native rituals from both villages.

Little by little,  as education was brought to the young villagers, and some had been able to pursue higher education, a semblance of peace started to be established.  The native folks began to realize that there is nothing to gain by these continuous slaughter, of even, innocent people.

As I grew up to become a teen, there were some villages that still went on with their tribal wars, but by then, they were using guns. These were the villages that just wanted domination and not peace.

Slowly though, through the efforts of well meaning elders and socially responsible villagers, the “bodong” began to be established between each of the villages. It was a long drawn out process though with lots of impediments along the way.

Up to this time, the “bodong” is still the key that is keeping most of the villages in peace. Although, this agreement is not usually executed in the presence of an attorney, it is a lasting and well respected pact that every villager observed.

I  have not been to my village for  the past years,  but I know I still have to go back to my roots eventually in the future.  I know the Kalinga people are a peace-loving community  having strong convictions to work for  peace and unity.

I would like to invite you to my village –Taloctoc, the paradise I had known as a child.

Intakkon od Taloctoc, Kalinga! (Let’s visit Taloctoc, Kalinga!)

I just described Taloctoc to this talented artist and he was able to capture the essence of the small village in the heart of the far-flung  Kalinga mountains.

This was done by Eugene Andrade – a.k.a. suexox05 – an upcoming young artist; he’s just 19, and a 4th year Medical Technology college student.

I know he’ll go a long way in his passion. To view more of his work, visit his page at DeviantART

A contest:

Name the man in the native costume and win  $10 thru paypal. You can do some research to find the answer in one of my blogs.

12 thoughts on “Head Hunting in Kalinga, Is this True?”

  1. Hi Jena. Learned something new from you today in this post. Glad that bodong has helped kept the peace. I guess there are still a lot of things that Filipinos don’t know about each other.

  2. ehehhe! nalaman ko lang ang head-hunting mula sa film na Mumbaki, pero I think wala naman na ngayun un di ba, (fingers crossed) eheheh!

    Grabe naman, di ko makita ang pic mula dito sa pc ko ehehhe!

  3. He was called by his fellow people as Benny which is his nickname. But
    Benedict is his real name ,which is named after St. Benedict meaning hope and courage!^

  4. I was curious ma'am my link po kasi ung picture.
    Then try to click it. Tinignan ko po yung address bar baka my name. I saw first Benny .
    Then I tried to search in google entering the keyword "Benny Kalinga". After viewing some sites, I found your site, where it cites that his real name is Benedict.^
    ahahah!^ sa blog nyu po ma'am ahaha WEEEE!! =)


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