Ibaloi


Ibaloi

The Ibaloi or Nabaloi is an indigenous ethnic group found in the northern Philippines. The Ibaloi are one of the indigenous peoples collectively known as Igorot, who live in the mountains of the Cordillera Central on the island of Luzon. There are approximately 55,000 Ibaloi; most of them can be found in the southern part of the province of Benguet.

The Ibaloi are a mostly agricultural people cultivating rice in terraced fields. Many contemporary Ibaloi have integrated into the mainstream Filipino culture and some are employed as miners in the gold and silver mines of Benguet.

The Ibaloi traditionally practiced mummification. The process they used involved smoking the corpse for months to completely dehydrate the dead body, which preserved every part of the body including tattoos and internal organs. They would then encase the preserved body within a hollowed out log and placed in caves that are thought to be spiritual by the Ibaloi.

Language

The Ibaloi language belongs to the Malayo-Polynesian branch of the Austronesian languages family. The Ibaloi language is closely related to the Pangasinan language, spoken primarily in the province of Pangasinan, located southwest of Benguet.

The phonemes are similar to those found in other Philippine languages with a few exceptions. Many variants of the Ibaloi tongue have naturally occurring /F/, /J/ and /V/, as in sifa (interrogative who), ibjag (to lose one's grip on something or someone, to let go) and divit (a traditional wrap-around skirt). /SH/ is also commonly heard in the La Trinidad valley and nearby areas, as in shima (a particle usually equivalent to the prepositions in, on, or to depending on the sentence construction), but may be occasionally heard as /CH/ in some communities.

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