Kalinga Bodong Festival Philippines

kalinga bodong festival details

The Bodong Festival in Kalinga was first celebrated in 2017, marking the 22nd founding anniversary of the province and replacing the Ullalim Festival. The inaugural celebration took place from February 6 to 16, featuring events such as a grand civic parade, a Valentine’s Day concert, a secondary drum and lyre competition, and a fireworks display.

The festival originated from the word “bodong,” meaning a peace accord, and it signifies a peace-making system among the Kalinga people. The decision to introduce the Bodong Festival was made through provincial ordinance No. 2016-029, authored by Eduardo Sarol and Frederick Pangsiw of the provincial board. The rebranding aimed to showcase Kalinga’s culture and dispel negative perceptions about the province.

The festival includes various activities, and tourists can also explore Kalinga’s rich culture, such as white water rafting and the famous tribal tattoo art in Buscalan by Apo Whang-od.

Key Takeaways

  1. The Kalinga Bodong Festival is deeply rooted in the cultural heritage of the Kalinga people and plays a significant role in fostering ethnic unity and preserving their traditions.
  2. The Bodong Peace Pact rituals are integral to the festival, highlighting the importance of peacekeeping traditions, ancestral laws, and diplomatic resolutions in maintaining social harmony within the community.
  3. The opening ceremonies of the festival showcase the vibrant cultural expressions of the Kalinga people, including traditional costumes, tribal dances, ethnic music, and cultural exhibitions, providing a rich and immersive experience for participants.
  4. The festival serves as a platform for intercultural exchange, promoting peaceful coexistence, cultural understanding, and diversity appreciation among different ethnic groups, while also contributing to the social development and resilience of the Kalinga community.

Facts About The Kalinga Bodong Festival Philippines

Name of the FestivalKalinga Bodong Festival
Type of FestivalCultural Festival
City of OriginTabuk City, Kalinga, Philippines
Festival Etymology“Kalinga” refers to the indigenous people of the Kalinga province in the Philippines, while “Bodong” means peace pact or agreement in the Kalinga language. The festival celebrates the rich cultural heritage and the enduring tradition of peace in the Kalinga community.
Date of First CelebrationJanuary 24, 1987
Founder of the FestivalLocal government and Kalinga community
Brief History of the FestivalThe Kalinga Bodong Festival was established in 1987 to promote and preserve the cultural identity of the Kalinga people. It showcases various traditional practices, rituals, dances, music, and arts that have been passed down through generations. The festival also highlights the importance of the Bodong, a traditional peace pact that has helped maintain harmony among different tribes in Kalinga for centuries. Through colorful parades, street performances, and cultural exhibitions, the festival aims to foster unity, pride, and understanding among the Kalinga community and its visitors.
Brief History of the CityTabuk City is the capital of the Kalinga province in the Philippines. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and natural beauty. The city has a vibrant history dating back to pre-colonial times when it was a thriving community of indigenous tribes. Today, Tabuk City serves as a center for trade, commerce, and administration in the region. Visitors can explore historical sites, interact with friendly locals, and immerse themselves in the unique traditions and customs of the Kalinga people.
Ethnic InformationThe Kalinga people are an indigenous group inhabiting the Kalinga province in the northern part of the Philippines. They have a distinct culture characterized by intricate tattoo art, traditional farming practices, and social structures centered around peace pacts called “Bodong.” The Kalinga are known for their resilience, craftsmanship, and deep connection to nature.
Location of the City in the CountryTabuk City is located in the province of Kalinga in northern Luzon, Philippines.
How to Reach the CityThe most convenient way to reach Tabuk City is by air. The nearest airport is Tuguegarao Airport, which is about 2-3 hours away by road. From Tuguegarao, visitors can take a bus or hire a private vehicle to reach Tabuk City. Alternatively, there are also bus services available from Manila to Tabuk City, which takes approximately 12-14 hours.
Nearby Cities or Towns1. Tuguegarao City – 115 km
2. Bontoc – 80 km
3. Baguio City – 217 km
4. Vigan – 259 km
5. Banaue – 331 km
6. Sagada – 157 km
7. Banawe Rice Terraces – 344 km
Google Map LinkTabuk City Location
Festival Main Events and Activities– Grand Parade showcasing traditional dances and music
– Cultural exhibitions featuring indigenous crafts and arts
– Street performances by local artists
– Traditional sports competitions
– Food fairs highlighting local cuisine
– Beauty pageants showcasing Kalinga beauty and culture
– Cultural forums and workshops
– Fireworks display
– Traditional rituals and ceremonies
Other Famous Tourist Attractions– Mount Binuluan
– Chico River
– Balbalasang-Balbalan National Park
– Lubuagan Terrace Rice Fields
– Callao Cave
– Tinglayan Rice Terraces
Famous Food Dishes of the City– Pinuneg (Blood Sausage)
– Inandila (Smoked Pork Belly)
– Kinuday (Smoked Meat)
– Pinikpikan (Chicken Dish)
– Chakchakan (Fried Pork Intestines)
Landmarks in the CitySt. William’s Cathedral – A historic church built during Spanish colonial times
Tabuk City Hall – The seat of local government in Tabuk City
Kalinga Capitol Building – The provincial capitol building showcasing unique architectural design
Bulanao Bridge – A picturesque bridge that offers scenic views of the Chico River
Related Festivals1. Panagbenga Festival – Baguio City
2. Pahiyas Festival – Lucban, Quezon
3. Kadayawan Festival – Davao City
4. Ati-Atihan Festival – Kalibo, Aklan
5. Sinulog Festival – Cebu City

Kalinga Bodong Festival History

The Bodong Festival is a cultural festival and founding anniversary celebrated in the province of Kalinga, Philippines, every February 14th. It is a week-long celebration, although there are years when activities start on the first day of February or even last for a month. The festival’s major activities take place in the city of Tabuk, which is the capital of the province.

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Before the Bodong Festival, Kalinga used to celebrate the Ulalim Festival for many years. The Ulalim Festival marked the commemoration of the founding of the province. It was named after the epic songs called “ulalim,” which are narratives of adventures and triumphs of fictional heroes. These epic songs were chanted by skilled orators during gatherings and events, and retelling the stories could take several days.

The first Ulalim Festival was held in June 1995, coinciding with the conferment of the royal title of Pangat to then-president Fidel V. Ramos in the culture of the Kalinga people. The festival was subsequently held every year on February 14th, starting from the administration of then-governor Dominador Belac.

However, in 2017, the provincial government decided to rebrand the festival and launched the very first Bodong Festival through a provincial ordinance. The term “Bodong” comes from a custom found among the inhabitants of Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province. It refers to a peace accord or pact made between feuding tribes as a means of ending conflicts and forging alliances. The tradition of Bodong has been one of the peace-keeping mechanisms in Kalinga, helping to resolve conflicts and maintain peace and order.

The Bodong Festival activities are organized to showcase the vibrant culture of the Kalinga people. These activities include an agro fair, capitol bazaar, sporting events, fashion shows, gala nights, student competitions (such as drum and lyre), thanksgiving mass, job fairs, photo exhibits, carnival, fireworks display, and other cultural shows.

Some of the festival’s highlights include “Awong Chi Gangsa,” which translates to “A Call for a Thousand Gongs,” where over a thousand dancers in native costumes participate in beating gongs to represent the flourishing province and its peace and order situation. The Bodong Agro-Fair is an open market where local government units display locally made products and compete for prizes based on their products’ display and total sales.

“Diddiga ti Tupayya” is a traditional courtship dance in Kalinga that involves dance contingents representing different localities of the province. The festival also features a grand parade and street dance competition where contingents from different localities compete by performing cultural dances. Finally, there is a beauty pageant called “Miss Kalinga,” where Kalinga women compete in beauty and wit.

To reach Kalinga, visitors can book a flight to Tuguegarao Airport in the province of Cagayan and then take a tricycle for an hour’s drive to Tabuk. Alternatively, land-based trips are available with buses from Manila bound for Tabuk or Tuguegarao.

Colourful Ceremonies Of Kalinga Bodong Festival

The Bodong Festival in Kalinga, Philippines offers a variety of activities that showcase the vibrant culture of the people in the province. Here are some of the highlights:

  1. Awong Chi Gangsa: This activity, introduced in 2014, is called “A Call for a Thousand Gongs.” It involves over a thousand dancers in native costumes and the beating of more than a thousand gongs. It represents the flourishing province and its peace and order situation.
  2. Bodong Agro-Fair: The Bodong Agro-Fair is an open market where each local government unit displays locally made products. There is competition and prizes based on the products displayed and total sales throughout the festival.
  3. Diddiga ti Tupayya: Also known as Digdiga ti Tupayya, this is a traditional dance in Kalinga. It is a courtship dance between a man and a woman and is a community-centred activity. In 2019, there was hope that it would be recognized as one of the intangible cultures by UNESCO.
  4. Grand Parade and Street Dance Competition: One of the festival’s highlights is the grand parade and street dance competition. Contingents from different localities compete in the street, showcasing cultural dances.
  5. Miss Kalinga: Miss Kalinga is a beauty pageant for females, considered a prestigious event. Kalinga women compete in beauty and wit to become Miss Kalinga.
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These are just a few of the activities that take place during the Bodong Festival. Other activities include an agro fair, capitol bazaar, sporting events, fashion shows, gala nights, student competitions (such as drum and lyre), thanksgiving mass, job fairs, photo exhibits, carnival, fireworks display, and cultural shows.

For more information about specific dates and schedules of events, it is recommended to refer to official sources such as the Provincial Government of Kalinga or their official Facebook page.

Opening ParadeThe festival kicks off with a vibrant parade featuring traditional music, dances, and colorful costumes. Participants showcase the rich cultural heritage of the Kalinga people.
Ritual OfferingsVarious rituals and offerings are made to appease the spirits and seek blessings for a bountiful harvest and overall well-being. This includes the sacrifice of animals and the offering of traditional food and drinks.
Traditional GamesExciting traditional games are organized during the festival, such as spear throwing, archery, and horse racing. These games not only provide entertainment but also highlight the skills and strength of the Kalinga warriors.
Street Dancing CompetitionDifferent groups from various Kalinga communities participate in a street dancing competition. Dancers wear intricate costumes adorned with colorful feathers and beads and perform synchronized movements to the beat of traditional music.
Cultural ExhibitsThere are cultural exhibits that showcase various aspects of Kalinga culture, including traditional crafts, clothing, and musical instruments. Visitors can learn about the rich artistic heritage of the Kalinga people through these exhibits.
Beauty PageantA beauty pageant is held during the festival to choose a representative who will serve as an ambassador of Kalinga culture. Contestants display their talents, grace, and knowledge of Kalinga traditions.
Closing CeremonyThe festival concludes with a grand closing ceremony that includes a thanksgiving ritual, a fireworks display, and a final parade. This marks the end of the festivities and serves as a farewell to the spirits who have blessed the festival.

Peace Pact Rituals

In the Kalinga Bodong Festival, there is a profound significance of the Peace Pact Rituals. It is an integral part of the community’s heritage and unity.

These ritualistic ceremonies hold deep roots in ancestral traditions, symbolizing the commitment to peace and resolving conflicts within the Kalinga community. The Bodong Peace Pact Rituals are steeped in the wisdom of elders and tribal leaders, encompassing symbolic gestures that embody the spirit of harmony and diplomatic resolutions.

The inter-tribal agreements and ancestral laws form the backbone of these customary practices, fostering strong community bonds and social cohesion. The elders’ council plays a pivotal role in upholding these traditions, ensuring that the Bodong institution continues to promote social harmony and cultural preservation.

The Peace Pact Rituals also include traditional dances, songs, and prayers that express the desire for peaceful coexistence and the resolution of conflicts. It is a time for communities to come together, set aside their differences, and celebrate their shared heritage.

Through these rituals, the Kalinga people not only honor their ancestors’ wisdom in forging peace agreements but also uphold their cultural identity and promote cultural understanding among different tribes. The Peace Pact Rituals serve as a reminder of the importance of peace and cooperation in building stronger communities.

How to Understand Bodong Peace Pact Rituals

To truly comprehend the Bodong Peace Pact rituals, it is essential to immerse oneself in these traditions’ cultural context and historical significance. The peacekeeping practices of the Kalinga community are steeped in age-old customs and carry profound symbolic meanings. Understanding the intricacies of these rituals requires a deep respect for the cultural heritage and the wisdom of the elders.

Tips for Observing Peacekeeping Traditions Respectfully

When observing the Bodong Peace Pact rituals, it is important to approach the experience with reverence and sensitivity. The following tips can guide visitors in respectfully engaging with these significant traditions:

  • Listen attentively to the explanations provided by the local community members about the significance of the peace pact rituals.
  • Observe the ceremonies with a quiet and reflective demeanour, acknowledging the solemnity of the occasion.
  • Show gratitude for the opportunity to witness these sacred traditions by offering a gesture of appreciation, such as a simple thank you.

Any participation in the rituals should be done only if invited and with the utmost respect for the customs and beliefs of the Kalinga people.

Factors that Strengthen Inter-Tribal Agreements

Inter-tribal agreements are upheld by various factors that contribute to their strength and endurance. These include:

  • Recognizing the role of tribal leaders and elders in mediating conflicts and preserving the peace through traditional methods.
  • Adhering to the ancestral laws and customary practices that form the foundation of the Bodong Peace Pact, ensures the continuity of these time-honored traditions.

Recognizing and respecting these factors is crucial in understanding the resilience and significance of inter-tribal agreements in Kalinga society. Strengthening these agreements is vital for the preservation of cultural heritage and the perpetuation of peace among diverse tribal communities.

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Kalinga Dance & Music

Kalinga Dance & Music is a rich cultural tradition of the Kalinga people, who are indigenous to the province of Kalinga in the Philippines. It encompasses various forms of dance and music that reflect the history, beliefs, and way of life of the Kalinga community.

The Kalinga people have a strong connection to nature, and their dance and music often revolve around agricultural activities, hunting, and tribal rituals. The movements in Kalinga dance are characterized by grace, strength, and precision, often depicting scenes from everyday life or mythical stories.

Kalinga music is typically accompanied by indigenous instruments such as the gangsa (brass gongs), kulitong (bamboo mouth harp), and tongatong (bamboo percussion instrument). The rhythms and melodies of Kalinga music are vibrant and energetic, with a distinct sound that sets it apart from other traditional music styles in the Philippines.

Over the years, Kalinga Dance & Music has gained recognition not only within the Philippines but also internationally. It has become a source of pride for the Kalinga people, preserving their cultural heritage and promoting their unique artistic expressions.

Surprising Facts About The Kalinga Bodong Festival Philippines

  1. 🎭 Kalinga Bodong Festival, celebrated in the Kalinga province of the Philippines, is not just a mere festivity but serves as a symbol of unity and peace among the indigenous people.
  2. 🌄 The festival’s name, “Bodong,” originates from the local term for peace pact, emphasizing the significance of fostering harmony and resolving conflicts within the community.
  3. 🛡️ The festival showcases the traditional “banga” dance, where women gracefully balance pots on their heads, symbolizing the strength and resilience of Kalinga women.
  4. 🎶 Unique to Kalinga, the “gangsa” ensemble takes center stage during the festivities, featuring indigenous gongs and drums that produce a mesmerizing and distinctive musical experience.
  5. 🏹 To pay homage to their cultural roots, the festival includes a ritualistic performance known as “pamag-apir,” where the indigenous people express gratitude to ancestral spirits for a bountiful harvest.
  6. 🎨 Kalinga Bodong Festival serves as a canvas for local artisans to showcase their skills in tattoo artistry, emphasizing the rich cultural heritage of the Kalinga people, known for their intricate traditional tattoos.
  7. 🚣‍♂️ A unique highlight is the “kayunggay” race, where participants navigate traditional Kalinga canoes on the Chico River, adding an element of adventure and athleticism to the celebration.
  8. 🌿 The festival features a vibrant display of indigenous textiles, such as the “ulom,” a woven skirt adorned with colorful patterns that represent the weaver’s social status, age, and marital status.
  9. 🌌 The “Lingling-o,” a distinctive Kalinga jewelry piece, is prominently featured during the festival, showcasing intricate metalwork and symbolizing spirituality and protection.
  10. 🍲 Culinary surprises await visitors, as the festival introduces them to traditional Kalinga dishes like “patupat,” a sweet rice delicacy, and “etag,” a smoked and cured meat preparation, providing a uniquegastronomic experience.

History of Kalinga

Kalinga is a province located in the Gran Cordillera or Cordillera Administrative Region in the central northern part of the island of Luzon, Philippines. The province was named after the Kalinga people, who were one of the few indigenous groups that managed to escape colonization during the Spanish era. In the past, they were known for their attacks on settlements located in the flat plains.

During the American conquest, political organization was implemented in the Cordillera region. Kalinga was initially part of Mountain Province, which was an administrative entity comprising neighbouring lands. However, on June 18, 1966, the area was partitioned, and Kalinga became a separate province along with Apayao through Republic Act No. 7878 on February 24, 1995.

Bodong Festival and its predecessor, Ulalim Festival, are both scheduled on the date that the province was established. Bodong Festival is a cultural festival and founding anniversary celebrated in Kalinga every February 14th. It is a week-long celebration, although there are years when activities start on the first day of February or even last for a month.

Facts About Kalinga Philippines

  1. 🏞️ Kalinga is a landlocked province nestled in the Cordillera region of the Philippines, known for its stunning landscapes featuring rice terraces, rivers, and mountains.
  2. 🌐 The province derives its name from the Ibanag and Gaddang word “Kalinga,” which means “enemy” or “headhunter,” reflecting its tribal and warrior history.
  3. 🏹 Kalinga is famous for its rich tradition of tattooing, with skilled artisans creating intricate patterns that not only serve as aesthetic expressions but also symbolize the wearer’s achievements and social status.
  4. 🌲 The renowned Chico River runs through Kalinga, offering thrilling white-water rafting experiences for adventure enthusiasts, surrounded by lush greenery and scenic landscapes.
  5. 🍚 The province is a major rice producer, and its rice terraces, although not as well-known as the Banaue Rice Terraces, are a testament to the agricultural ingenuity of the indigenous people.
  6. 🛶 The indigenous people of Kalinga, collectively known as the Kalinga tribe, have a unique system of governance called the “Bodong,” a traditional peace pact that has been instrumental in maintaining harmony within the community.
  7. 🎨 Kalinga’s indigenous artistry extends beyond tattoos to intricate weaving, with locals creating vibrant textiles using traditional backstrap looms, showcasing their craftsmanship and cultural identity.
  8. ⛰️ Mountaineers and nature enthusiasts are drawn to Mount Balbalasang, a protected area in Kalinga that boasts diverse flora and fauna, offering a challenging yet rewarding trek for those seeking adventure.
  9. 🏛️ The Tabuk Cathedral, officially known as the Cathedral of the Holy Rosary, is a notable landmark in Kalinga, featuring a unique blend of modern and indigenous architectural elements.
  10. 🌺 Kalinga hosts various festivals, including the Kalinga Foundation Day and the Kalinga-Apayao Province Athletic Meet, providing locals and visitors alike with opportunities to celebrate their culture, sportsmanship, and unity.

Landmarks In Kalinga The Philippines

Below are some of the notable landmarks in Kalinga that capture the essence of its heritage and scenic beauty:

  1. Tinglayan Rice Terraces: These rice terraces are a stunning example of the agricultural ingenuity of the indigenous people of Kalinga. They are not only a source of sustenance but also a breathtaking sight that reflects the harmony between humans and nature.
  2. Tuga Catholic Church: This church stands as a historical edifice in the province, signifying the spread of Christianity in the region and serving as a place of worship for the local community.
  3. Aguinaldo Hill: Named after the Philippines’ first president, Emilio Aguinaldo, this hill offers panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and serves as a historical landmark.
  4. Aciga Tree: Known as a significant tree in Kalinga, the Aciga Tree is often associated with stories and legends among locals, making it an essential part of the province’s cultural tapestry.
  5. Sungang ViewPoint: Offering sweeping vistas of the Kalinga mountains and valleys, Sungang ViewPoint is an ideal spot for travelers looking to soak in the natural beauty of the region.
  6. Chico River: This river is not just an important waterway for the communities in Kalinga but also popular for white-water rafting and other river-based activities.
  7. Buscalan Village: Famous for being the home of Whang-Od, the legendary tattoo artist, Buscalan Village draws visitors interested in traditional Kalinga tattooing and experiencing local culture.
  8. Balbalasang–Balbalan National Park: A haven for nature lovers, this national park boasts diverse flora and fauna, along with hiking trails that showcase the ecological wealth of the Cordilleras.
  9. Kalinga Capitol Tourism Complex: This complex serves as a hub for cultural events and is a landmark that represents the administrative heart of the province.
  10. Mount Binuluan: Also known as Ambalatungan, Mount Binuluan is one of Kalinga’s active volcanoes and is revered by mountain trekkers and adventure seekers.
  11. Pasil River: Another river that runs through Kalinga, providing not only vital resources for local communities but also picturesque scenery.
  12. Ag-agama Water Park: A man-made attraction where visitors can enjoy water-based recreation amidst the backdrop of Kalinga’s rugged terrain.

Whether you are interested in immersing yourself in indigenous culture, exploring natural wonders, or seeking spiritual solace, Kalinga’s landmarks offer diverse experiences that cater to various interests. Each landmark tells a story of Kalinga’s past and present, making them must-visit destinations for anyone traveling to this part of the Philippines.

How To Reach Kalinga

To reach Kalinga in the Philippines, you can use different modes of transportation depending on your starting location. Here are a few options:

  1. By Air: The nearest airport to Kalinga is Tuguegarao Airport (TUG). From there, you can take a bus or hire a private vehicle to reach Kalinga. The airport is served by domestic flights from Manila and other major cities.
  2. By Land: If you prefer travelling by land, you can take a bus or drive to Kalinga from various cities in Luzon. The most common route is through Banaue in Ifugao province. From Banaue, you can take a jeepney or hire a private vehicle to reach Kalinga.
  3. By Public Transportation: Kalinga is well-connected by buses and jeepneys from nearby towns and provinces. You can take a bus or jeepney from Tuguegarao, Bontoc, or Banaue to reach Kalinga. It’s best to check the schedules and routes beforehand.
  4. By Private Vehicle: If you have your vehicle, you can drive to Kalinga via the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) and the Subic-Clark-Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX). From there, you can follow the national highways that lead to Kalinga.

Remember to plan your trip in advance and consider the weather conditions and road conditions, especially during the rainy season.

Location Of Kalinga In The Philippines

Frequently Asked Questions

What Are the Specific Dates and Locations of the Upcoming Kalinga Bodong Festival?

The festival dates and locations are yet to be announced. When attending, embrace cultural immersion and wear traditional attire. Respectful engagement and interactive experiences are essential for a meaningful festival experience.

Are There Any Specific Rules or Guidelines for Visitors to Follow During the Festival?

During the festival, it’s important to follow visitor etiquette and show cultural sensitivity. Respectful engagement, responsible tourism, and participation guidelines are key. Embrace interactive experiences and immerse yourself in the local customs with sustainable tourism.

How Can Individuals From Other Cultures Respectfully Participate in the Traditional Dances and Music of the Kalinga Community?

To respectfully participate in the Kalinga community’s traditional dances and music, show genuine interest, seek permission, and follow their lead. Embrace cultural exchange by learning about the significance behind each movement and rhythm.

Are There Any Specific Ways for Outsiders to Learn About the History and Significance of the Bodong Peace Pacts?

To learn about the history and significance of the Bodong peace pacts, immerse yourself in cultural events, engage with elders, and participate in traditional rituals. These learning opportunities foster understanding and respect through cultural immersion.

Is There a Way for Visitors to Actively Contribute to the Community During the Festival, Such as Through Volunteering or Supporting Local Artisans?

If you’re interested in supporting artisans and contributing to the community during the festival, you can inquire about volunteering opportunities or purchase local crafts. Your involvement can make a meaningful impact on the Kalinga community.


As you leave the Kalinga Bodong Festival, you carry with you the vibrant colors of traditional costumes, the rhythmic beats of the gong ensembles, and the rich flavors of Kalinga cuisine. The festival’s significance in fostering unity and peace through cultural exchange is evident in the intercultural dialogue and harmonious coexistence. The enduring legacy of the festival continues to preserve the cultural heritage and traditions of the Kalinga community, leaving a lasting impression on all who participate.

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