The Ifugao is not only world-renowned for the 2000-year old rice terraces that are carved into the mountains, which in 1995, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They are also famous for their weaving, metal and wood work, numerous rites and prayers (called Baki), and their epics–Hudhud and Alim.
“Hudhud” features the characters Aliguyan (Aliguyon), Bugan and their families, and the elements of the early civilization which rose in the mountain province.
Consisting of more than 200 episodes and chanted in Ifugao dialect, the Hudhod narrates the creation of the world and the journey of Aliguyan, a man from the village of Gonhandan, who is endowed with supernatural and limitless powers. One episode recounts his duel with Pumbakhayon, a warrior, who is of equal strength and agility, from a village called Daligdigan .
Until today, parts of Hudhud are chanted and sung in special occasions such as weddings, nightly vigils for the dead family member, harvest season, and local celebrations. The hud-hud include several titles, namely: “Hud-hud Bugan Nak Pangaiwan” during the rice harvest, “Bugan Nak Pangaiwan ad Gonhadan”, “Aliguyon ad Dayyagen”, “Alighuyon ad Hildungan”, “Hi Aliguyon ad Habiyan”, “Bugan nak Dulnuan nak Pangaiwan”, “Aliguyon Nak Amtalao”, “Kulbabang Bugan” and “Aliguyon an “Hi Duwog” chanted during death or “Binogwa”.
The United Nations Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) declared the Ifugao “Hudhud” as a “masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.”
Alim explores the character of their god-bathala called Makanungan, the lives of their several gods, and deities, and their idea of “heaven.” Alim is sung as part of their ritual religious songs.
One famous episode tells about a great flood. It is said that after the flood, the heroine Bugan, started a fire which Wigan from Amuyaw sees. Wigan and Bugan, thinking that there are only the two of them left on earth, traveled far and wide in search of people. Bugan later discovers that she is with a child. In fear of disgrace, she decides to commit suicide by jumping into the river. However, an old man with white beard appears and stops her from killing herself. This old man is actually their bathala, Makanungan, in disguise.