Alim (Oral Literature)

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Alim is an Ifugao sacred chant which incorporates numerous narratives about the Ifugao lifestyle, custom laws, religious belief system, indigenous traditions and practices.

The Alim can only be chanted by the Mumbaki. The Tuwali Ifugaos are the originators of this tradition which has been passed on through generations and which has also spread to neighboring tribes through the diffusion of Tuwali culture. Like the Hudhud, the Alim is performed during deaths and exhumations and on special feasts for the members of the elite class, the kadangyan.

The mumbaki is the lead chanter, accompanied by a group of other mumbakis as chorus. However, not all mumbakis can perform the chant; only those who belong to the higher ranks of the office are allowed to chant the Alim, for it requires expertise in the skill of narration.

The Alim is composed of thirty-three narratives. It is chanted on the eve of a particular occasion and lasts up to midmorning the following day.

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