The Ifugao Alim: Chanted Narrated Dramatic Discourse in Ritual

Rosario Bona de Santos


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 focuses on the Piwong alim, which was the topic of my dissertation (Rosario de Santos del Rosario),1 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,2 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 their elaborate rituals; a sociological charter; and a magical myth that brings well-being.

Keywords: Ifugao alim, male-chanted narrated dramatic discourse, ritual for well-being

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ISSN: 2012-0788