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An Isnag woman wearing traditional attire, having just performed a traditional dance.

The Isneg (also known as the Isnag and Apayao) are tribes living in Luzon,Philippines. The term "Isneg" was derived from a combination of "is" meaning "recede" and "uneg" meaning "interior" which refers to the people who have gone into the interior. The Isneg and other ethnic groups of the Cordillera Administrative Region are collectively known as Cordillerans. They speak the Isnag language.

The Isnegs have been known to be a headhunting society even before the colonizers arrived. They Spaniards sought to curb this practice that they put up three missions in 1610. They fulfilled their mission for a lengthy 150 years.


Early accounts of the Isneg

According to Jean Mallat, a French adventurer in the Philippines during the 1800s, the Isneg are distinguished from the other Cordillerans by the fine construction of their houses, resembling that of the lowland Filipinos, and they are particularly conspicuous about cleanliness. Their houses are set on four large and strong straight posts of incorruptible wood resistant to humidity, driven into the earth; instead of being made of bamboo cut in long narrow strips joined by rattan, as the lowland Filipinos do. Their houses are airy and bigger, and they do everything to decorate it the best way they can. They barter for products from their mountains, such as beeswax, cacao, and tobacco.

Another early accounts on the tribe describes them as people of slender and graceful stature, kind, hospitable and generous, courageous, self -reliant and artistic in their temperament.

Isnegs today

An estimate of 45,000 Isnegs lives in the Apayao Province in 1988. They are considered a Christianization|Christianized people group wherein approximately nine percent of the Isneg population are Christians. As of 2006, the entire New Testament, along with the books of Genesis and Exodus, had been translated into Isnag by SIL International|SIL.

See Also


Original Source

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