Humanities Diliman (2013-06-01)

The Ifugao Alim: Chanted Narrated Dramatic Discourse in Ritual

  • Rosario Bona de Santos

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 10, no. 1
pp. 1 – 43


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This paper, by way of introducing the little-known Ifugao alim, gives the readers an idea of what has been written about it by Ifugao and non-Ifugao writers and scholars, and recounts my own discovery and study of it. It will focus on the Piwong alim, which was the topic of my dissertation (Rosario de Santos del Rosario 2003), and which I recorded during a live performance in 1975 in Piwong, Hingyon, during the ritual called hongan di tagu—a prestige ritual of the kadangyan, for the welfare of a sick woman. In particular, the paper discusses the Piwong alim’s significance, structure, content and voice, and presents illustrations, through excerpts, which give the reader an insight into its ideological direction and unique aesthetics. The Piwong alim uses a mix of ritual genres, external and internal narration and dramatic character dialogues and monologues.The alim has been considered, by varied Ifugaos, as the crown jewel of its elaborate ritual; a sociological charter; and a magical myth that brings wellbeing.