Philippines – Imbayah Festival

April 2015

The picture below was taken at the end of a race during the Imbayah Festival, in Banaue (North of the country). I think it summarises quite well the intensity of the race that the men have to go through.

It all started in the early morning with a small hundred of men down the hill of the UNESCO protected rice-terraces.

Part of Ifugaos’ cultural pride, the Imbayah Festival is based on old ritual celebrating the ascendancy of a commoner and hi family to the ranks of Kadangyans or the elite. During the festival, rice wine from antique Chinese jars overflows and a banquet is arranged for the mortals and the gods. The Ifugao elderly say that this celebration has been their way of thanksgiving and is a season of fun after a bountiful harvest.

Locals and tourists alike gathered along the small road crossing the village, waiting for the runners, and cheering at the sight of the first ones. Dressed in their traditional costumes and barefoot, the men arrived, tired, caring rich banches. The village being at the top of the hill, I can assure you runing like they do is a feat! Maybe Killian Jornet could compete with them, but no regular men could.

After the race, and the arrival of the last ones, school children form the villages from the surronding valleys started to dance.

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