Tribal Vernaculars of Northern Luzon

I belong to the Ayangan tribe of Ifugao. It is a minority group in the Cordillera region in Northern Luzon, the biggest island of the Philippines.

I can speak and understand various dialects in my hometown such as Guhang, Banaue and Mayoyao (variations of the Ayangan dialect), Tuwali or Kiangan, Lagawe, and Happuwan or Huddokna (also called Hingyon). I can also speak and understand the vernacular of the surrounding towns in Nueva Vizcaya and Isabela which is Ilokano or Ilocano.

Unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity to learn Gaddang (dialect of those in Bagabag, Nueva Vizcaya), Kalanguya or Kelley (dialect of those in Tinoc and in Asipulo, Ifugao and Aritao and Sta. Fe in Nueva Vizcaya), Pangasinense (dialect of those in Pangasinan), and Kankanaey and Ibaloi (dialects of those in Benguet and Mountain Province.

I grew up speaking Ilokano as my playmates are Ilokano children from the nearby town of Villaverde. At home, my parents spoke with me in Ilokano. In school, I learned to speak various dialects aside from the usual Tagalog and English languages taught by the teachers. So many dialects and languages to learn as a young pupil but that's where all the fun comes from. I remember very well how I learned Kiangan or Tuwali.

My classmate Franklin Licyayo told me to tell my father if I ever saw him drunk, "Nape ta bimmigo ka ngay Papa?" He said "bimmigo" means "drunk".

As a smart kid, I suspected he may be just making fun of me because it is often naughty phrases and words that are taught when someone is learning a new dialect or language. So I asked a teacher who is married to a Kiangan-speaking fellow and she told me never to say that word again because the real meaning of the word is bad. I later learned it means "erect" and it usually refers to a penis erection. Well, I suspected so :)

It reminds me when I was learning German from the teens of Munich. They taught me "Oachkatzlschwoaf" first before any other words. Oachkatzlschwoaf refers to the erect tail of a squirrel. ^_^

Thanks to Google, I found a site about the Ifugao Language by Newell and Poligon. By the looks of it, it seems to be based on the Batad/Banaue/Guhang/Ayangan dialect with its multiple variations. So if you understand the Batad variation, you can pretty much understand the rest of the Ayangan variations, too.

Another find is a list of Ifugao books by various authors pertaining to numerous topics from Ifugao language, literature, and history. I was quite surprised there are this many Ifugao books. I really didn't know.

Lastly, I also found a list of alll Philippine Languages and Dialects that sums up the various dialects of the whole Philippine islands. And I'd say, I quite agree that there are four (4) major dialects in Ifugao.

58.  IFUGAO, Amganad   Ifugao, Luzon
  59.  IFUGAO, Batad   Ifugao, Luzon
  60.  IFUGAO, Kiangan
         (Gilipanes, Quiangan)
   Ifugao, Luzon
86.   KALLAHAN, Keley-1
          (Antipolo Ifugao)
   Napayo, Kiangan, Ifugao

My question remains though. Is the Kiangan, Lagawe, and Hingyon's dialect considered as one big dialect which is Tuwali?


  1. You said you belong in the Ayangan tribe. I happen to be looking for your tribe for my research paper. Can I ask where you live? Sitio/Baranggay, Municipality. And how to get there. Thank you so much!




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PinasLiving: Tribal Vernaculars of Northern Luzon
Tribal Vernaculars of Northern Luzon
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