The Ibalois and Igorots in general traditionally didn't believe that sickness was caused by disease or injury. They believed that sickness was caused by spirits.
The mambunong was a male or female who knew the ancients rituals that were passed down from generational priest to priest. When figuring out what ceremony to perform, the mambunong performed one of three divination rituals. They are called bakno, sabat and buyon.
When the bakno is performed, the mambunong holds up a cup of tapuy in his hand while praying the following:
"Kabigat of the underworld, Kabigat of the place where the water rises, Kabigat of the place where the water empties, Kabigat of the East, Kabigat of the West, sun and moon, show us by the bakno what caused the sickness of (insert name here)."
The mambunong then looks at the tapuy and determines the cause of the sickness and the ceremony which must be given to cure it. For example, if the mambunong sees in the tapuy many people dancing in a circle , spears, shields or anything else which indicates bindiyan, then the bindiyan ceremony must be performed.
If one of the costly ceremonies must be given, the tapuy is covered and allowed to stand for about an hour. The cover is then removed and the mambunong can see what animals must be sacrificed by looking at the tapuy.
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* Information of Divination from "Nabaloi Law & Ritual" by CR Moss
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