Skip to main content »

Paunawa: A Unique Funeral Tradition in Manabo, Abra

Paunawa is a unique funeral tradition in Manabo, Abra that reflects the deep cultural heritage and beliefs of the Tinguian people.

Paunawa is a significant tradition for the Tinguian people. It is a time to honor the deceased, celebrate their life, and mourn their passing. It is also a time to come together as a community and support each other during a difficult time.

In Manabo, a town in the Abra province of the Philippines within the Cordillera region, there's a unique funeral tradition called "Paunawa." This tradition gives us a glimpse into the deep cultural heritage and beliefs of the Manabo people. The roots of the Manabo culture run deep, as it was home to the Tinguians, who were part of the larger Igorot collective. These people lived peacefully in the region long before the Spanish arrived. This cultural backdrop sets the stage for the unique funeral customs of "Paunawa."

Paunawa, A Unique Farewell

The name "Manabo" itself reflects the cultural history of the region. It originated from the thorny plant "Anabo," which once thrived here. It was a place of harmony, where the Tinguians, a significant part of the Igorot collective, coexisted before the Spanish colonization.

The "Paunawa" tradition in Manabo begins with a unique farewell, marking the transition of the deceased into the afterlife. The central aspect of "Paunawa" is the act of dressing the departed in their finest clothes, signifying deep respect and paying homage to those who have passed away. After the deceased has been dressed, they are placed in a special rocking chair called a "Butaka," which signifies their importance in life and death.

During this time, family and friends gather to pay their respects, singing traditional songs, reciting prayers, and offering food and drink to the deceased. This collective expression of grief and remembrance is a crucial aspect of the Paunawa tradition, uniting the community in honoring the departed.

The Significance of the Butaka Chair

Central to the "Paunawa" tradition in Manabo, Abra, is the use of a rocking chair known as "Butaka." This Butaka is no ordinary piece of furniture; it symbolizes the importance of the deceased, both in life and in death. The Manabo people place their loved ones in the Butaka as a mark of honor, showcasing their profound respect for those who have departed.

A Unique Gesture: Lit Tobacco

In some instances during "Paunawa," a lit tobacco is carefully placed between the lips of the deceased. This isn't a random act; it symbolizes a connection between the living and the departed. It serves as a bridge between this world and the afterlife, highlighting the spiritual aspect of the tradition.

Cultural Significance and Preservation

The "Paunawa" tradition is not just a series of actions; it's a reflection of the rich culture and spirituality of the Manabo people. By passing down this custom through generations, they ensure the continuity of their cultural identity.

Preserving the Tradition for the Future

Like many indigenous practices, "Paunawa" faces challenges in the modern world. Changes in lifestyles and the migration of younger generations away from their ancestral homes raise questions about the future of these customs. Nonetheless, local communities and cultural enthusiasts are working diligently to document and promote the "Paunawa" tradition.

The Municipality of Manabo: Comprising 11 Barangays

Manabo is divided into 11 barangays, each with its unique character. These barangays include Ayyeng, Catacdegan Nuevo, Catacdegan Viejo, Luzong, San Jose Norte, San Juan Norte, San Juan Sur, San Ramon East, San Ramon West, and Santo Tomas. Each contributes to the culture of the Manabo Municipality, preserving traditions and looking ahead.

In Conclusion

In a world marked by rapid change, traditions like "Paunawa" remind us of the importance of cultural preservation. The Manabo people, committed to honoring their ancestors through these unique funeral rites, demonstrate the cultural significance of such customs. The "Paunawa" funeral tradition isn't merely a set of actions; it's a way for the Manabo people to connect with their history and plan for the future. Understanding and documenting these customs help us appreciate the diversity and richness of human culture, both in the past and today.

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 platform for people to share their thoughts and ideas. The views expressed on Igorotage are the opinions of the individual users, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Igorotage.


Sign in to share your thoughts. No account yet?

What to learn next?

You might also like to read more related articles filed under Rituals and Ceremonies — or jump to a random article!

Rituals and Ceremonies Surprise me

The Mystery of Mateo Carino's Death

Learn about the truth behind Mateo Carino's mysterious death, one of the most important Ibaloi and Igorot leaders of his time.

Feb 22 · 9 min read

Panagbaniit: A Unique Tingguian Funeral Tradition

Panagbaniit, a unique Tingguian funeral ritual, bridges past and present, celebrating life, death, and the afterlife. Discover its significance.

Nov 1, 2023 · 6 min read

Igorot Funeral Traditions and Burial Customs

Discover the rich and unique funeral traditions and burial customs of the Igorot people of the Cordilleras in this comprehensive guide.

Oct 29, 2023 · 21 min read

Sangadil: A Unique Igorot Funeral Tradition

Sangadil is a unique and deeply respected Igorot funeral practice in which the deceased is seated on a wooden chair.

Oct 26, 2023 · 7 min read

Hillard Puguon: Igorot Actor Joins Filipino and Hollywood Stars in "Take Me to Banaue"

Hillard Puguon, an Igorot actor, joins Filipino and Hollywood stars in "Take Me to Banaue," an international romantic-comedy film.

Feb 24 · 3 min read

26 Fascinating Facts About the Panagbenga Flower Festival in Baguio City

Here are 26 interesting facts about the Panagbenga Flower Festival in Baguio City.

Feb 21 · 6 min read

Jason Baucas: Igorot Wrestler is Among the Philippines' Elite

Explore Jason Baucas' journey, a decorated Igorot wrestler from Benguet, celebrated among the Philippines' top athletes in the sport.

Feb 20 · 3 min read

Mount Pulag: Sea of Clouds or Sea of Crowds? Saving a Paradise.

Mount Pulag's iconic Sea of Clouds is threatened by a sea of crowds. Can responsible travel, permit systems, and community involvement save it?

Feb 11 · 2 min read

8 Reasons Why Jeepney Modernization in the Cordillera WON'T Work (Yet)

Here are 8 reasons why jeepney modernization faces a roadblock in the Cordillera region, along with actionable solutions.

Jan 30 · 20 min read

The 11th Sagada Etag Festival: Celebrating Unity and Tradition

Experience the culture of Sagada at the 11th Etag Festival, with cultural street dancing, culinary traditions, and community spirit on full display.

Jan 28 · 4 min read