Skip to main content »

Dawat di Bagol: A lost Ifugao Mumbaki Ritual

Dawat di Bagol is an elaborate ritual in elevating a mumbaki to a higher order called a mumbagol, a performer of the high prestige rituals in Ifugao.

 |  4 min read


In the photo: ‘Mumbaki’ (native shaman), elders and villagers in the community of Bayninan in Kiangan town, Ifugao province, gather under the ‘alang’ (rice granary) for a ritual elevating a local mumbaki to a higher order.

Forty-eight years ago in the village of Bayninan in Kiangan town in Ifugao province, the last "Dawat di Bagol" (receiving the deity) ritual was performed. This was an elaborate ritual in elevating a "mumbaki" (native shaman) to a higher order called the "mumbagol," a performer of the high prestige rituals in Ifugao society and culture.

The dawat di bagol was performed during the harvest season where the supreme gods and deities were invoked to bestow authority on the mumbaki to preside over the rituals. These included the rice ceremonies performed throughout the cycle of the "tinawon", the traditional rice of the Ifugao. The rituals are done to honor the covenant between the "I-Pugaw" (people of the earth) and the givers of the tinawon, the "I-Kabunyan" (deities of the Skyworld).

During the recent rice harvest in Bayninan, Simon Tuguinay, 66, a mumbaki, was elevated to a mumbagol through a rarely performed ritual. In dawat di bagol, the presence of three senior mumbaki from neighboring villages was needed to celebrate the ritual, whose main role was to recite the elaborate and simultaneous prayer-chants and to transmit the sacred rituals involved in elevating a mumbaki to a higher level.

Along with newly harvested rice, native black pigs and chickens were offered to the gods and rice deities. The reading of the bile and liver of the butchered pigs by the mumbaki showed a good omen, allowing the community to proceed with the ritual.


The presence of ritual paraphernalia such as the "moma" (betel nut and leaves), the "palipal" (bamboo clapper), the "pama-ahan" (wooden bowl), "tingab" (ritual box), "bayah" (rice wine), and the "bulol" (rice god) completed the performance of this daylong ritual under the "alang" (rice granary).

The bulul is an anthropomorphic representation of a rice god carved from wood
The bulul is an anthropomorphic representation of a rice god carved from wood

During the ritual, Tuguinay was flanked by two elders representing his lineage, and a "binuhlan" (loincloth) was spread across his legs, where it was believed that the "bagol" (gods) would pass on to his body and mind as a sign of bestowal.

Tuguinay was seated with his hands on his head, imitating a seated bulol (rice god), while the other mumbaki, seated near the posts of the granary, were simultaneously chanting the prayers.

Village women chanted the "hudhud" (epic chant) as part of the harvest ritual and the other members of the community beat drums to help invoke the gods.

The rhythmic beating of the drums and the cacophony of voices were believed to call the supreme deities and ancestral spirits to accept the offerings and bestow the blessings and authority on Tuguinay.

The completion of the elevation ritual would allow Tuguinay to perform important prestige rituals such as the "uya-uy" (marriage feast) and the "hagabi" (ritual featuring a wooden bench and in rare cases, a bale or a traditional Ifugao house), including healing rituals.

"It is important to become a mumbagol in this village because nobody can perform the rice rituals anymore. It is important to protect my community from malevolent spirits, natural calamities and man-made disasters. Most of all, this is to ensure a continuous and bountiful rice harvest in the village," Tuguinay said.


The number of mumbaki, who could perform sacred rituals, is dwindling in Ifugao.

"Many have been Christianized and educated, some have abandoned our traditional practices to look for better jobs, other than farming our rice terraces," said Luis Bingwag, a mumbaki from Hungduan town.

"The younger generation of Ifugao are disinterested with the old ways, many have refused to become a mumbaki in favor of a college diploma nowadays," Bingwag said.

A major reason for this decline is that the practice of being a mumbaki requires deep respect, patience and lifelong commitment in learning prayers and chants from memory transmitted by an older mumbaki who already passed away.

"It would be better to document our chants and practices, so that the next generation could read about us when we are gone," said Bingwag.

The "baki," a core belief system and the soul of the Ifugao culture, gives credence to whatever remains of this rich tradition.

The Save the Ifugao Terraces Movement, a non-government organization composed of volunteers, helps the rice terraces communities in the conservation and continuity of their cultural heritage, including the revival of this important Ifugao ritual.

See also: Mambunong of the Kankana-ey tribe


  • Analyn Salvador-Amores
  • Marlon Martin
  • Eliza Consul

Full blooded Igorot

Sharing is caring, kailian!

We do hope you find something great in this story. If you find this helpful, please do share it with the people you care about.

Igorotage is a social networking site — all contents are user-generated. The author's views are entirely his or her own and may not reflect the views of Igorotage.

Except as otherwise noted, the content of this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.


Sign in to share your thoughts. No account yet?

What to learn next?

You might also like to read these related articles or browse more stories filed under Culture — or jump to a random article.

Culture Surprise me

Ifugao PNP Donates Financial Aid to Victims of Typhoon Ulysses

Ifugao Provincial Police Office donates a total of P135,000.00 financial aid to victims of typhoon Ulysses in the province.

Nov 19, 2020 · 2 min read
Celestine Halen Paddapad, Model Student from Ifugao given Laptop

Celestine Halen Paddapad, a 4PS monitored child and a model student from Hungduan, Ifugao receives a laptop computer.

Oct 9, 2020 · 1 min read
Binnadang: Banaue People Builds New House for Poor Ifugao Family

Through Binnadang, Banaue people led by the Banaue PNP builds a new two-bedroom house for a poor family of nine in Ifugao.

Sep 28, 2020 · 5 min read
Franie Buyayo Bumilao Ranks 7th in Criminology Licensure Exams

Franie Buyayo Bumilao, a graduate from the Ifugao State University was among the topnotchers in the November 2019 Criminology Licensure Examinations.

Jan 9, 2020 · 1 min read
The Ifugao Baki and Mumbaki

ONE thing that can be considered patently Cordilleran, particularly of the Ifugaos, is the baki.

May 23, 2019 · 4 min read
Bulul: The Ifugao's Rice God or Guardian Spirit

The Bulul is an Ifugao anthropomorphic carving that symbolizes an Ifugao rice god or guardian spirits.

Apr 22, 2019 · 2 min read
PLT John Smith Binwag Tops Philippine Scout Rangers Class 211-2020

Police Lieutenant John Smith Binwag, an Igorot from Ifugao, tops elite Philippine Scout Rangers Class 211-2020.

Mar 1 · 4 min read
Rear Admiral Toribio D Adaci Jr: Igorot Commander of Naval Forces Western Mindanao

Rear Admiral Toribio Dulinayan Adaci Jr, Igorot from Ifugao, is Commander of the Naval Forces Western Mindanao.

Oct 31, 2020 · 3 min read
Dedicated Ifugao Teacher Follows her Pupils to the Farm to Help with their Modules

A dedicated grade-school teacher in Ifugao follows her pupils to the farm to help with their modules.

Rob in People
Oct 26, 2020 · 2 min read
106-year-old Igorot from Ifugao is Oldest COVID-19 Survivor

106-year-old Igorot centenarian from Ifugao and a resident of Baguio City is the oldest COVID-19 survivor in the country.

Oct 20, 2020 · 2 min read