ENVY, DESIRE, AND ECONOMIC
ENGAGEMENT AMONG THE
BUGKALOT (ILONGOT) OF
NORTHERN LUZON, PHILIPPINES
Purpose – This chapter aims to understand how the Bugkalot, or the
Ilongot, as they are known in the previous anthropological literature,
engage with capitalism in ways that are deeply shaped by their indigenous
idioms of personhood and emotion.
Methodology/approach – Long-term intensive ﬁeldwork including ﬁve
weeks of pilot visits to Bugkalot land in 2004 and 2005, and ﬁfteen months
of residence from 2006 to 2008.
Findings – The development of capitalism in the Bugkalot area is closely
linked with the arrival of extractive industry and the entry of Igorot,
Ilocano, and Ifugao settlers. Settlers claim that they have played a
centrally important role in developing and ‘‘uplifting’’ the Bugkalot, and
that before their arrival the Bugkalot were uncivilized and didn’ t know
how to plant (irrigated) rice and cash crops. However, the Bugkalot deny
that they are at the receiving end of the settlers’ tutelage. Rather, they
Engaging with Capitalism: Cases from Oceania
Research in Economic Anthropology, Volume 33, 199–225
Copyright r 2013 by Emerald Group Publishing Limited
All rights of reproduction in any form reserved
perceive the acquisition of new knowledge and technology as initiated by
themselves. Envy and desire are identiﬁed by the Bugkalot as the driving
force behind their pursuit of a capitalist economy. While the continuing
signiﬁcance of emotional idioms is conducive to the reproduction of a
traditional concept of personhood, in the Bugkalot’s responses to
capitalism a new notion of self also emerges.
Originality/value of chapter – Different notions of personhood are
intertwined with local ideas of kinship and economic rationality. The
Bugkalot’ s attempt to counter the politics of development with their own
interpretation of economic change highlights the importance of indigenous
Keywords: The Bugkalot (Ilongot); development; economic change;
emotional idioms; personhood
In the past two decades, the notion that capitalism is natural or inevitable
has come under sustained criticism in the social sciences (Curry, 1999, 2003;
Emigh, 2004; Gibson-Graham, 2006a, 2006b; Hart & Hann, 2009; Hefner,
1998). These critiques have challenged the discourse of the structural
imperatives of a hegemonic capitalism in which noncapitalist alternatives
are destroyed or subsumed in a dependent relationship with capitalism. In
contrast with theories of growing capitalist homogeneity, economic
development is no longer projected as a linear trajectory toward capitalism,
and the direction of change is perceived to be uncertain, dynamic, and
diverse. Even when transitions to capitalism occur, historical and ethno-
graphic studies have highlighted each case’ s historically and culturally
speciﬁc characteristics (Douw, Huang, & Godley, 1999; Hann & Hart, 2011;
Yang, 2000), or pointed to the structural role of difference in the
mobilization of capital and labor (Tsing, 2009). Therefore, some scholars
(Hefner, 1998; Smart, 1999) propose to speak of ‘‘capitalisms’’ as plural
because of the term’s value in connoting local variations.
The long-standing and seemingly natural tendency for capitalism to
occupy the economy, according to Gibson-Graham (2006a), is partly an
artifact of the discourses and habits of thought fostered by academic
theories of political economy in ﬁelds such as Marxism, development
studies, and globalization studies. In other words, our theories themselves
endow capitalism with so much dominance and ability to ‘‘penetrate’’ that it
becomes impossible for us to see the range of economic difference that
actually inhabits social life. In order to loosen the hold of the naturalized
hegemony of the capitalist economic discourse, advocates of a post-
development approach have called for the rejection of development and the
construction of different economic imaginings (Escobar, 2001, 2007, 2012;
Rahnema & Bawtree, 1997). Development, critical anthropologists like
Ferguson (1994) and Escobar (2012) suggest, is a hypocritical claim to moral
superiority on the part of the rich that obscures the economic realities of our
world; or, as Patterson and Macintyre (2011, p. 10) poignantly put it, is ‘‘yet
another semantic escape to meaningfully colonise the postcolony.’’
Although the reductionism, universalism, and emphasis on Western
concepts of rationality characteristic of modernization theory and market-
dominated assumptions of development have been heavily criticized in the
academy, these tendencies can still be easily found in practice. In my ﬁeldsite
Gingin, a Bugkalot village described by the provincial government as ‘‘one
of the most farﬂung and depressed barangay [smallest administrative unit in
the Filipino government] of Dupax del Norte Municipality’’ (Nueva Vizcaya
Provincial Government, 1996), older forms of modernization theory still
reign supreme and a capitalist market economy is held by government
agencies and the nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) as the model for
The perceived primitiveness and irrationality of Bugkalot
culture is commonly seen by the Igorot, Ifugao, and Ilocano settlers and
government ofﬁcials as a prime explanation for their poverty and as a
hindrance to development. The missionaries of the New Tribes Mission
(NTM), the dominant church in the Bugkalot area, also comment on the
Bugkalot’s ‘‘irrational consumption caused by their ‘ridiculous cultural
The pervasiveness of such a discourse indicates a language of power,
which operates by presenting economic conﬂicts and competition for land
and other natural resources as matters of culture and worldview (cf. Dove,
1999). This chapter will show how these processes unfold in a so-called
‘‘transitional’’ society where a capitalist market economy is emerging. I will
ﬁrst give a description of the Bugkalot’s traditional subsistence economy,
and brieﬂy explain the importance of emotional idioms such as anger and
envy in this egalitarian society. Then I will show how the arrival of
extractive industries and labor migration brought the Bugkalot into the
orbit of capitalism. The arrival of settlers has been followed by more state
attempts at incorporation and development. The encroachment of settlers
and state appropriation are justiﬁed within the discourses of civilization and
development, which attribute negative cultural differences to the Bugkalot
and view them as development deﬁcits. The Bugkalot, however, perceive
Economic Engagement Among the Bugkalot 201
the pursuit of a capitalist economy as a process initiated by themselves, and
understand it as being driven by emotional factors, in continuity with their
pre-capitalist economy. In their attempt to accord themselves capacities to
shape economic change, market imperatives are often subordinated to the
social imperatives. As pointed out by Dilley (1992, p. 2), representations of
exchange are predicated on the recognition of particular forms of
personhood and types of social agency. This chapter attempts to show how
different notions of personhood are intertwined with local ideas of kinship
and economic rationality to form a culturally speciﬁc form of modernity.
TRADITIONAL SUBSISTENCE ECONOMY
The Bugkalot live at the headwaters of the Cagayan River in Northern
Luzon, the area where the Sierra Madre mountain range meets the
Caraballo Sur. Since the sixteenth century, the name Ilongot has been used
in the colonial and ethnographic literatures to designate this Austronesian-
speaking people. They have also been known by various names given to
them by other peoples: ‘‘Italon’’ by the Gaddang; ‘‘Ibilao’’ by the Isinai; and
‘‘Abaca,’’ derived from the name of the mountain river system where they
were encountered (R. Rosaldo, 2003 ; Worcester, 1906).3
names entered documentary records, and only at the beginning of American
colonial rule was the ofﬁcial classiﬁcation of Ilongot instituted. However,
these people call themselves and their language Bugkalot.4
Traditional Bugkalot subsistence is based on shifting cultivation and
hunting, supplemented by ﬁshing and gathering of forest products. Rice is the
main crop and has important social values. It is regarded as the quintessential
food, as the Bugkalot use the term ‘‘cooked rice’’ (ekanen) to refer to food in
general. Sweet potato, cassava, corn, millet, beans, tobacco, banana, sugar
cane and a variety of vegetables are the major subsidiary crops. Neither
irrigation nor draft animals were traditionally used in cultivation.
The Bugkalot traditionally reside in dispersal local clusters with a
population of some 65 persons divided among about 10 houses. Marriage is
monogamous and post-marital residence is uxorilocal. A household may
include one to three family units, living under a single roof in an
unpartitioned structure, each with its own hearth and sleeping area. The
domestic cycle is simple: sons marry out and daughters stay home, leaving
the parental household when younger daughters marry, hence each
household may be comprised of (a) a single family (the spouse set along
with offspring and/or adopted children), (b) parents with one married
daughter, (c) parents with two married daughters, (d) two married sisters
(R. Rosaldo, 1970; M. Rosaldo, 1972). The household is the dominant unit
of labor in Bugkalot horticulture. In horticultural labor, cooperation
between households is occasional, speciﬁc to a particular task, and must be
sought out through requests of kin and neighbors (R. Rosaldo, 1979, p. 30).
The household is also the unit of food consumption. While co-resident
women often work the same gardens, such cooperation is not obligatory.
More important than joint labor is their more or less equal contribution to
the household economy. Food is served in equal portions to all individuals
present at a meal (M. Rosaldo, 1972, p. 15).
Local communities or settlements are united through close ties of bilateral
kinship among men and women of the senior generation. Socially, the
community functions as the unit of meat production and distribution. While
men may hunt individually, most men join in communal hunts once or twice
a week. The catch is usually butchered in a single household; part of it is
cooked and consumed immediately, and the rest is divided into shares.
These shares are distributed by allotting roughly an equal amount to each of
the married couples in a number of households. Over time, the recruitment
of workers and the pattern of distribution for collective hunts has been a
major constituent of local-level politics (R. Rosaldo, 1979, p. 38).
Traditionally, land was freely available and rights to it were short-term.
The general principle in claiming land rights among the Bugkalot is to be the
ﬁrst person to occupy the land by clearing it through the slash-and-burn
method. Before the intrusion of settlers into the Bugkalot territory, land was
in abundant supply, and the Bugkalot did not recognize among themselves
exclusive ownership right to land (M. Rosaldo, 1980, p. 4). Like many
shifting cultivators in the Philippine uplands, usufruct is more important
than ownership of land (Gibson, 2011; Zialcita, 2001). Because population
density in their territory was low and virgin land was always available, the
Bugkalot did not bequeath land.5
The usual sexual division of labor is that men hunt, ﬁsh, forage, and clear
ﬁrst-year swiddens while women do most of the routine gardening. Men
clear the forest, pollard and chop down trees, and burn the clearing.
Women’s agricultural activities include weeding, scraping the earth (to
control weed growth), planting (dibbling and dropping the seed), shooing
birds, and harvesting. Conceptions of gender are both reﬂected and deﬁned
in subsistence practices. The symmetry and complementarity of male and
female activities, along with a marked symbolic parallelism between the
male and female domains, are elaborated metaphorically in Bugkalot
magical spells (M. Rosaldo, 1975; M. Rosaldo & Atkinson, 1975).
Economic Engagement Among the Bugkalot 203
The availability of land and the relative autonomy of the relations of
production contributed to the maintenance of self-sufﬁciency. However, the
Bugkalot have long traded in the lowlands. They exchanged forest products
such as dried meat, beewax, and wild honey for cloth, salt, cooking pots,
knives, brass wire, beads, and other valuables. It is also recorded that as
early as the eighteenth century they traded tobacco for cloth and metal
objects (Perez, 1904, p. 63, quoted from R. Rosaldo, 1970, p. 3). Trade
relations were tense and uneasy, with the Bugkalot feeling cheated and
resentful. There was a great deal of outspoken dissatisfaction with the
lowland Christian traders (Jones, 1907–1909, book V, pp. 32–33).
Men held a monopoly on ta-g’at (trade, barter, exchange), which involved
dangerous travel across hostile terrains as headhunting violence knew no
bounds, the Bugkalot even targeted each other. The lowlanders killed the
Bugkalot, too. Thus, only very brave Bugkalot men traded in the lowlands.
Trade relations did not become ‘‘trade partnerships’’ or result in any kind of
‘‘peaceful symbiosis’’ (R. Rosaldo, 1970, p. 2). In fact, the Bugkalot stand out
among comparable shifting cultivators of the Philippines in that they never
entered into symbiotic relationships or debt-bondage with wet-rice farmers
in the nearby lowland (R. Rosaldo, 1979; R. Rosaldo & M. Rosaldo, 1972).
The Bugkalot’s determination to avoid debt-bondage and hierarchical
relationship of any kind, including colonial incorporation (Yang, 2011a),
is closely related to their egalitarianism. The Bugkalot uphold strong
egalitarian norms and values. The idea of a hierarchy based on wealth,
spiritual power, headhunting bravery, or knowledge and wisdom, is cultu-
rally alien and suppressed. All humans are said to be the ‘‘same’’ (anog’ot);
none stand out above the others, and no one can command another what to
do. This sense of ‘‘sameness’’ and autonomy of one’s fellow human beings
has led to a social life that is governed by persuasion and negotiation
rather than by coercion and dominance (M. Rosaldo, 1973, 1980, 1991;
R. Rosaldo, 1980). The necessity of equality and cooperation is epitomized
in a distribution system that is indifferent to age, sex, or any other attributes
of status. The notion of debt was nonexistent, and sharing did not entail an
obligation to return.
Maintaining the autonomous and egalitarian world of the Bugkalot is a
constant and competitive process; equality is not ascribed but achieved.
Concern for reputation and equality leads men and women to strive and
desire for things that other people have. In local cultural idioms, the concept
of liget (anger/energy/passion) is of central importance. Liget suggests the
passionate energy that leads young men to labor hard, to kill, marry, and
reproduce (M. Rosaldo, 1980, p. 27). Typically born of envy (apet), liget
grows through the heart’s reﬂections on the successes of an ‘‘equal’’ and
‘‘clutching’’ as it notes that one has less than the other person (ibid., p. 46).
In horticulture, it is envy that stimulates industry and spurs people on to
labor. Some Bugkalot say that when two women of the same household
work separately they clear a larger area for planting and reap a greater yield
of rice than if they were to work together (R. Rosaldo, 1979, p. 31). As a
motivational force in work, envy plays an important role in the processes of
economic change, which will be discussed in what follows.
LOGGING, MIGRATION AND THE ORBIT
The transition from traditional subsistence economy to a market economy
and emergent rural capitalism in Gingin started to take place in the 1970s.
The earliest manifestations of incorporation into capitalism were the arrival
of extractive industry and labor migration. A large-scale migration of
settlers to the Bugkalot area began in the late 1950s. The original impetus
for migration was state-supported relocation projects for Ibaloi, Kankanai,
Kallahan, and Ifugao peoples directly impacted by the construction of the
Ambuklao Dam (1956) and the Binga Dam (1960) in the Province of
The well-known bounty of the Sierra Madre and the availability
of patches of land in the mountain range were attractive to the people of the
Cordillera. Although ofﬁcially only a few were entitled to be resettled with
government support, many of the disenfranchised migrated with the others
on their own (Aquino, 2004, p. 177). Because of the encroachment of
settlers, the Bugkalot started to lay claims to previously cleared areas and to
parcel their common land into individual shares as an attempt to resist these
settlers more efﬁciently (M. Rosaldo, 1980, p. 4, 1991, p. 157; R. Rosaldo,
1980, p. 277). However, this incipient notion of private land ownership did
not provide an efﬁcient defense mechanism. In fact, it might even have
facilitated the loss of their land to the subsequent settlers. Because the
Bugkalot did not perceive land as scarce or think of it as something
permanently ‘‘owned,’’ they easily exchanged tracts of land for radios, guns,
dogs, blankets, salt, sugar, cloth, cooking utensils, etc.
At my ﬁeldsite Gingin, a settlement located at the center of the Bugkalot
area, the Igorot, Ifugao, Ilocano, Bicol, and Visayan settlers started to arrive
in the 1970s with the logging boom. By this time, most people of Gingin had
already converted to Christianity after more than one decade of evangelism,
Economic Engagement Among the Bugkalot 205
and headhunting was in decline.7
The extraction of timber came from the
Nueva Vizcaya side. The logging route originated in the highway town of
Bambang, going through Malasin, Dupax, Belance´ , Binnuangan, Giayan,
before reaching Gingin. Skilled loggers from as far away as the Bicol region
and the Visayas were brought in by the logging companies. Some loggers,
road builders, and drivers stayed in Gingin after their jobs at the logging
companies were ﬁnished. Several of them courted Bugkalot women,
married, and acquired land from their afﬁnes. However, a majority of
them, like settlers in other frontier societies in the Philippines (Li, 2002;
Lopez, 1987), tended to regard indigenous land as state land, and treated it
as open access.
The arrival of settlers, the ‘‘territorial spearhead of the state’’ (de Koninck,
1996), was soon followed by state attempts at incorporation of the Bugkalot.
In 1976, the ﬁrst elementary school was established in Gingin. But in the ﬁrst
year, no lowland teacher dared to come because of the notorious reputation of
the Bugkalot as headhunters. From 1978 to the mid-1980s, the Department of
Agrarian Reform (DAR) launched several development projects in Gingin,
including (re)settlement projects, irrigation, and wet-rice cultivation aimed at
increasing agricultural productivity in the uplands. These development
projects were related to the green revolution in the lowlands, and they were
also driven by the government’s persistent desire to involve the Bugkalot in
sedentary agriculture in order to make them more controllable. Shifting
cultivation is regarded by the government as not merely inferior to the system
of irrigated rice cultivation, but explicitly as something bad – irrational,
destructive, unenvironmental, and uncontrollable (cf. Dove, 1985). These
ideas persist among government ofﬁcials despite much evidence to the
contrary (Conklin, 1957; Thrup, Hecht, & Browder, 1997).
The settlement project was originally intended for the Igorot and the
Ifugao displaced by the construction of the Ambuklao and the Binga Dam
in the Cordillera. Gingin was chosen as a settlement site because the
government regarded it as state land, basically treating the Bugkalot as
squatters. The indigenous residents of Gingin found the DAR’s project,
which aimed at bringing in more settlers, troubling. As one DAR ofﬁcial
who had lived in Gingin for eight months at the beginning of the project told
me, the Bugkalot were highly suspicious of the settlers, and they were afraid
that the settlers would poison the water to kill them all and get their land.
Thus, they asked their relatives, who had migrated to Lipuga, Pelaway, and
Cawayan during World War II in order to ﬂee from the Japanese soldiers
invading the area, to move back to Gingin as a strategy of defending their
territory against the settlers. As an elderly woman Apun Maria succinctly
answered when I inquired about the reason for their return: deg’in (land).8
Free housing provided by the DAR for all Gingin residents was not the
most important incentive. They decided to move back to Gingin because the
lands here were ‘‘fat’’ (oabe, fertile) and beautiful (okedeng).
Extractive industry brought the ﬁrst opportunities for wage labor employ-
ment in Gingin. Some Bugkalot men began to work as day laborers in road
construction or sawmills, but the wage was low and the employment was too
unstable to provide a dependable livelihood. Shifting cultivation was still the
base of the household economy, but sedentarization and population growth
have shortened the fallowing period considerably. Although some Bugkalot
spoke with nostalgia for the aesthetic beauty of work exempliﬁed in pollarding,
chainsaws, a time-saver and one of the emblems of modernity, were favored
over axes and machetes in cutting down the trees.
The impact of development and economic change was gendered. Men were
more associated with wage-earning, the acquisition of commodities, and the
introduction of wet-rice cultivation. The construction of irrigation system
and rice paddies was men’s aspiration and responsibility. Men diverted some
of their time and energy to agricultural development from hunting, which
had diminished due to the depletion of game as a result of logging. However,
the scale of wet-rice cultivation among the Bugkalot was much smaller
compared to that of the Igorot, Ifugao, and Ilocano settlers because
Bugkalot men traditionally had little to do with the production of rice.
In the mid-1980s, the DAR left Gingin in fear of the New People’s Army
(NPA), the armed wing of the Communist Party of the Philippines, who
burnt the DAR’s ofﬁce in Belance´ in 1986 and terrorized the region.
Although it was not uncommon to see the NPA interacting and forming
reciprocal relationships with local people in the remote mountainous areas
of the Philippines (Kwiatkowski, 2008; Shimizu, 2011, p. 6), the Bugkalot
had violent encounters with the NPA and even perceived them to be
assisting the land grabbers (Yang, 2011b). After peace and order were
restored in the area, the DAR returned in the early 1990s to surveying and
titling the land, all part of the ongoing resettlement project. The legal
foundation of land titling was provided by the Comprehensive Agrarian
Reform Law of 1988 (Republic Act No. 6657). The DAR did not have
enough staff or resources to survey the whole area of Gingin, so those who
wanted land titles had to take the initiative themselves and apply. Land titles
acquired under the Comprehensive Agrarian Reform Law of 1988 are
different from those under other schemes based on communal tenures
(Brown, 1994); they are private properties, which are alienable. Settlers were
very keen on obtaining land titles, which they considered a guarantee of
Economic Engagement Among the Bugkalot 207
their land security. Some Bugkalot applied for land titles, but many did not
see the usefulness of a piece of paper that carried an obligation to pay taxes
to the government and, as a result, did not apply for land titles.9
In the 1980s, the nearest lowland town, Bambang, became the main trading
center of commercial vegetable gardening in the Cagayan Valley (Sajor, 1999,
p. 107). However, the cultivation of cash crops did not spread to Gingin until
the turn of this century due to transportation barriers and the lack of capital.
The ﬁrst person to plant cash crops was an Igorot from Baguio, whose sister
married a local Bugkalot man. From 1997 to 2002, he borrowed his brother-in-
law’s land in Ganipa, about one hour’s hike from Gingin proper, to grow
string beans, pepper, and tomatoes. At that time, jeepneys did not come to
Gingin but to Ganipa only. Also, the schedule was not regular. Frequently, he
had to use carabao (water buffalo) to haul his products to Giayan for
transportation to the market. In 1999, a man of mixed Ilocano and Igorot
descent, newly married to a Bugkalot girl, moved to Gingin and started to
plant sweet beans in Manog’atog’, a sitio (local cluster, settlement) of Gingin
about one hour’s hike from the main settlement. In 2003, Ilocano and Igorot
settlers started to plant cash crops in gardens near Gingin proper. In 2005 and
2006, more Bugkalot joined them to produce cash crops.
The cultivation of cash crops is labor and capital intensive. Labor is not a
problem, but getting the capital to obtain seeds, fertilizers, pesticides, and
agricultural tools to start commercial vegetable gardening is a highly
challenging task for the people of Gingin. Few of them, mostly barangay
ofﬁcials, were able to get development funds from the DAR or the
Department of Agriculture (DA) in the form of interest-free loans. The
purpose of providing interest-free loans to the Bugkalot, as a DAR ofﬁcial
explained to me, is ‘‘to bring them closer to the government.’’10
the majority of aspiring commercial gardeners were not beneﬁciaries of these
interest-free loans, and they had to improvise and use kinship and other
social ties. Some settlers had relatives in the Cordillera or the lowland
working abroad and acquired remittance as their capital.11
however, had to sell their carabaos or pawn (sangla) their lands or guns to
the settlers to get start-up funds. The scale of cash crop cultivation has
therefore typically been small.
In their attempts to obtain capital to start commercial vegetable
gardening, the people of Gingin began to use their land titles as collateral
to apply for bank loans. In 2004, Rofoldo, an Ilocano settler who married a
local Bugkalot woman, used one of their land titles to apply successfully for
a loan of 30,000 pesos (around USD530) from the Cooperative Bank of
Nueva Vizcaya located in Solano. The loan came from the government’s
National Livelihood Support Fund, which was later renamed National
Livelihood Development Corporation. Rofoldo’s success in getting a bank
loan caused quite a stir in Gingin. Despite the fact that the interest charged
by the bank was unreasonably high, at the annual rate of 16%, soon many
people made inquiries to him about the process of applying for bank
Later in 2004, a young Bugkalot woman who married an Ilocano
used her carabao as collateral to get a loan of 10,000 pesos, and with this
capital, she was able to open a small grocery store. In 2005, at least 11
Bugkalot were successful in getting bank loans. In concurrence with this
sudden and sharp increase of cash in their daily lives, land grabbing among
the Bugkalot themselves began to happen and caused an increase in social
tensions in Gingin (Yang, 2012).
The apparent embrace of the market economy is reﬂected in the Bugkalot’s
enthusiasm for cash cropping. Because of their desire to obtain pecuniary
beneﬁts from capitalist ventures, however, they are exposed to the risks and
opportunities of market participation. Some people failed to repay their bank
loans and as a result lost their land. At ﬁrst, those Bugkalot who failed to repay
their bank loans sold their lands to fellow Gingin residents, either settlers or
Bugkalot who had owned land in Pelaway or Lipuga and had received large
sums of compensation after the building of the Casecnan Dam, and then used
the money to repay their bank loans. However, more and more people chose to
ignore the repayment of their bank loans simply because they couldn’t ﬁnd the
money. The bank decided not to grant new loans to Gingin residents in 2008,
but at this time, the number of loans had grown to 38 and the total amount
reached 1 million pesos (about USD19,000).
Today, residents of the Bugkalot area earn their livelihood by various
means. These include shifting cultivation on newly clearly forest land;
production of cash crops; gathering and selling of forest products, such as
rattan; tree crop holdings, usually small in scale; and wage labor in
extractive industries. As in other parts of the Southeast Asian uplands
(Li 1999a, p. xviii), these systems of production and the livelihoods they
provide are more often found in combination than as separate pure forms.
DISCOURSES OF CIVILIZATION AND
On the Bugkalot’s road to incorporation within the global economy, the
arrival of extractive industries and settlers played a key role. The settlers
justify their encroachment into the ancestral domain of the Bugkalot by
Economic Engagement Among the Bugkalot 209
presenting themselves as bearers of civilization and progress. While the
Bugkalot think Igorot and Ifugao settlers have more in common with them
than the lowlanders, and point to shared cultural practices such as chewing
betel nut, wearing a g-string, and dancing with outstretched arms, the
settlers consider the Bugkalot to be more ‘‘primitive’’ and ‘‘less industrious’’
than themselves (cf. R. Rosaldo, 1970, p. 14). It is very common to hear
sentiments such as the following: ‘‘Before the Igorot came here, the
Bugkalot were not civilized. The Igorot are the ones who teach them how to
plant rice, how to garden.’’ ‘‘The Bugkalot are lazy. They only like hunting.
They have no rice ﬁeld, no garden.’’
The notion that wet-rice cultivation is more ‘‘advanced’’ and shifting
cultivation more ‘‘primitive’’ has a long history in the Philippines. It is one
of the criteria for the colonial classiﬁcation of ethnic groups. These
classiﬁcatory systems lent themselves to policy regimes based on a perceived
hierarchy of civilization. Dean Worcester, the Secretary of the Interior
(1901–1913) who set up the Bureau of Non-Christian Tribes, praised the
Ifugao and the Igorot for being very skillful in raising rice, which they grow
on ‘‘wonderful’’ terraces with strong retaining walls, while the Ilongot
‘‘cultivate forest clearings in a haphazard sort of way’’ (Worcester, 1909,
p. 1209). The Igorot and the Ifugao were incorporated into the colonial state
much earlier than the Bugkalot, as they became Christians and gave up
headhunting during the American colonial period. Although they were also
subjected to the discourse of evolutionary civilization under colonial rule,
they now see themselves as more progressive than and superior to the
Even after the adoption of irrigated rice and cash crop cultivation by the
Bugkalot, the perception that the Bugkalot are ‘‘lagging behind’’ remains
strong among the settlers. The alleged laziness and the irrationality the
settlers consider inherent in Bugkalot culture are commonly seen as the
reasons for Bugkalot underdevelopment. For example, when Topdek
needed to ﬁnd some money for his son who was studying in the lowland,
he tried to borrow from an Igorot woman who lived in Manog’atog’. She said
that she had no money to lend him, but offered to harvest Topdek’s ginger
and galiang (a kind of taro) for sale to Bambang. She paid 800 pesos for the
whole lot of ginger and 8 or 10 pesos per piece for galiang, depending on the
size. Topdek received nearly 1,500 pesos in total. However, after gathering
two sacks of galiang and three sacks of ginger and selling them to her cousin,
who owned a vegetable buying station in Bambang, she made a proﬁt of
roughly the same amount. She told me that she was able to use the
opportunity and make a proﬁt because: ‘‘The Bugkalot are lazy. They don’t
know how to secure money. Why didn’t Topdek harvest his ginger and
galiang himself and sell them in Bambang? He would have gotten much
more money that way.’’ I protested against the Bugkalot’s alleged laziness,
since I knew the reason why Topdek’s family were not able to harvest ginger
and galiang themselves was because they were busy harvesting upland rice.
She laughed and added: ‘‘That’s because they are irrational. Why do they
harvest rice one by one (one stalk at a time)? It’s so inefﬁcient.’’ Working in
swiddens is devalued by the settlers. In their opinions, it lacks intensity and
does not constitute industry or diligence. The Bugkalot’s culturally speciﬁc
way of harvesting rice one stalk at a time (denseyet) with a ﬁnger knife
(lasab) is often mocked by the settlers and said to typify their inefﬁciency
The settlers criticize the Bugkalot for their irrationality not only in
production but also in consumption. Both the ways in which the Bugkalot
divide food in equal portions to everyone present at a meal, from toddlers to
the elderly, and their tolerance of frequent uninvited visitors who turn up
expected to be fed is regarded as evidence of Bugkalot’s irrationality. Igorot,
Ifugao, and Ilocano women who married Bugkalot men lament how difﬁcult
it was for them to persuade their mother-in-laws not to give the same
amount of food to small children, and how annoyed they were by the
Bugkalot’s habit of turning up uninvited for a meal and making
importunate demands to share what they have. ‘‘In this way nobody can
become rich,’’ they complained, ‘‘if the relatives keep coming and asking for
Mundane commensality in everyday life is a culturally deep expression of
egalitarianism among the Bugkalot (Yang, 2011c). However, for the settlers
sharing is an onerous cultural habit that needs to be remedied because it
constitutes a hindrance to wealth accumulation and economic development.
The settlers admit that they also share, but they emphasize ‘‘not to such an
extent.’’ According to the settlers, the extremeness of sharing among the
Bugkalot is an economic drag that impedes rational planning for the future.
This is also the perspective of the NGOs that come to teach the Bugkalot
‘‘how to plan for the future’’ and ‘‘how to help themselves so they don’t
become a burden to others.’’13
The Cordillera-Caraballo Mission is an NGO with Christian background
and support. It operates mainly in the Cordillera and is run by the Igorot. In
2007, it started to expand to the Sierra Madre region and sent four people to
Gingin to explore the possibility of promoting coffee cultivation here. Some
settlers and Bugkalot already planted a small amount of coffee trees in
the area, but mainly for self-consumption. This NGO intends to promote
Economic Engagement Among the Bugkalot 211
large-scale coffee plantation, to be ‘‘the bridge between farmers and
capitalists,’’ and ﬁnd a market for locally produced coffee beans.
‘‘The Bugkalot have a lot of catching up to do,’’ according to Gary
Tindaan, the leader of the Cordillera-Caraballo Mission, ‘‘so they are in
need of our help in adapting to the modern world.’’14
In his view, the source
of the Bugkalot’s poverty and underdevelopment is their deﬁciency in self-
interested calculation and making optimal economic decisions. Parts of their
cultural ethos such as demand sharing are detrimental to accumulation and
result in apparent difﬁculties regarding the funding of cash crop production.
They also need to improve in areas of time management and planning for
the future. Gary said that he thought the Bugkalot were ‘‘existentialists’’
because ‘‘they live for the present only; they don’t think about tomorrow.’’
He observed that Bugkalot women pounded rice before lunch and they
usually only pounded for one meal, indicating that they ‘‘live for the
present’’ and don’t store for the future or plan ahead. Another clear example
of their ‘‘living for the present,’’ he added, was the Bugkalot’s conspicuous
consumption. The Bugkalot frequently sold their land to the settlers in order
to acquire modern things like televisions or generators, he said, and when
some Bugkalot made a proﬁt from cash crops, they did not think about how
to invest wisely in future production, but spent their hard-earned money on
televisions, cell phones, and even motorbikes. Gary asked me, in a village
without electricity and cellular service, ‘‘don’t you think the Bugkalot are
crazy to waste their money on these things? They need to learn how to
secure money and save for the future. They must change their attitude in
order to join the mainstream.’’
The myth of the lazy native (Alatas, 1977) and the myth of the proﬂigate
native (Drayton, 2000) have been used to justify dispossession in the
colonial period. These ideologies of colonial capitalism are hard to dispel
among government agencies and the NGOs promoting agricultural
development because they now feed into Filipino middle class assumptions
about the working class. Class discourse continues to constitute a kind of
racial ‘‘othering’’ when negative cultural differences are attributed to the
Bugkalot and identiﬁed as hindrances to development.
Development programs often do not achieve their intended goals. The
Cordillera-Caraballo Mission’s coffee cultivation project was short-lived; it
was abandoned (‘‘suspended’’) in less than six months. In 2008, however, the
NGO began another project. They attempted to lobby Smart and Globe, the
two largest cellular service providers in the Philippines, to build a
communication tower in Gingin. Gary persuaded a local Bugkalot to offer
a piece of his titled land as the construction site and acquired the approval
of all barangay ofﬁcials. He refused to admit that their coffee project was ill-
conceived in the ﬁrst place, and held on to his paternalistic claims that their
intervention will improve the Bugkalot’s economic sense and help them to
join the mainstream.
My Bugkalot friend who worked for the National Commission on
Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) commented that ‘‘almost every development
project has failed.’’15
However, ‘‘development’’ involves a self-conﬁrming
logic: to the extent that livelihoods are not improved, projects fail to
produce, services are poor, and people recalcitrant, these only prove that
more ‘‘development’’ is needed (Ferguson, 1994; Li, 1999b, 2007). The
Bugkalot of Gingin are not unaware of the reductionism and paternalism
inherent in these discourses of development, and they counter the claim to
expertise in optimizing the lives of others contained in these discourses with
their own view of how they acquire new knowledge and technology in the
processes of economic change.
THE ACQUISITION OF NEW TECHNOLOGY AS AN
EMOTIONAL PROCESS: A COUNTER-DISCOURSE
The Igorot, Ifugao, and Ilocano settlers claim that they have played a
centrally important role in developing and ‘‘uplifting’’ the Bugkalot, and
that before their arrival the Bugkalot were uncivilized and didn’t know how
to plant (irrigated) rice and cash crops. Local government ofﬁcials and
NGOs workers, who are predominantly Igorot, Ifugao, and Ilocano, share
this view. However, the Bugkalot characterize the settlers’ attitude toward
them as one of enbebengen or en-aamit (devaluing, belittling, discriminating),
an attitude that intends to make the recipient enbetang (ashamed). There are
a lot of outspoken dissatisfactions about this. The Bugkalot do not see the
settlers as the agents of civilization and modernity, and deny that they are at
the receiving end of the settlers’ tutelage. Rather, they perceive the acqui-
sition of new knowledge and technology as a process initiated by themselves
for emotional reasons. Envy (apet, apig’) and desire (g’amak) are identiﬁed by
the Bugkalot as the driving forces behind their pursuit of a capitalist
I have described above how, among the Bugkalot, it is envy that
stimulates industry and spurs people on to labor. They also use the emo-
tional idiom of envy to explain how they have obtained new technologies of
irrigated rice and cash crop cultivation. The ﬁrst person to open rice paddies
Economic Engagement Among the Bugkalot 213
in Gingin was Apun Tino, a Tagalog missionary for the New Tribes Mission
who moved here in 1959. In the late 1970s, when the DAR brought
development programs in Gingin and supplied agricultural tools, seeds, and
fertilizers to promote irrigated rice cultivation in order to increase
agricultural productivity in the uplands, Apun Tino was the ﬁrst person
to respond to the opportunity and opened his rice paddies. He described
how the Bugkalot treated his endeavor with suspicion and even mockery at
the beginning, but became envious after they saw his ﬁrst harvest and
followed his example, building their own rice paddies:
When I opened my rice paddies, I had no carabao to plough the land and haul the stones
for constructing the walls of the rice terraces. I had to build them with my bare hands.
The Bugkalot did not believe that I could build rice terraces in this way, and they often
laughed at me when they passed by my land. I was determined to prove to them that it
could be done. I worked terribly hard and often until late at night. When the moonlight
was good, I went home after 10 o’clock. It took me several months to ﬁnish the job. The
Bugkalot’s attitude changed when they saw my ﬁrst harvest from rice paddies. Sangpol
and Siklab’s father Tobeng were so impressed by the bounty of my harvest; they became
envious (meaapet) and built their own rice paddies.
I wondered how could technological acquisition be so straightforward
and seemingly effortless? And Apun Tino answered that the Bugkalot were
horticulturalists, so it was not difﬁcult for them to learn new agricultural
The same applied to cash crop cultivation. When I enquired
about how the Bugkalot began to plant cash crops, envy was given as the
motivating reason. The ﬁrst person to plant sweet beans in Gingin was Joe,
a man of mixed Ilocano and Igorot descent who married a Bugkalot
woman. He acquired capital from his Igorot mother, who was working
abroad and sent back remittances. In 1999, he planted sweet beans in
Manog’atog’, and kept his ﬁrst harvest as seeds for planting future crops. In
2006, the market price for sweet beans was high and he made very good
proﬁts. His Bugkalot wife Linda explained to me that other Bugkalot then
followed her husband’s example to plant sweet beans in this way: ‘‘When
other people saw Joe’s sweet beans, they became envious (meaapet). They
wanted to have their own sweet beans, so they followed Joe’s example to
plant sweet beans.’’17
The Bugkalot have long recognized angry envy as a motivating force in
work (M. Rosaldo, 1980, p. 44). Anger is the product of envy, and envy is
created when the ideals of sameness and equality are breached (M. Rosaldo,
1991, p. 154). Envy and the striving to eliminate difference or inequality lead
to the formulation of a certain kind of agency and personhood: what the
Bugkalot call equal humans (anog’otsin too), each with the same worth and
autonomy. When the Bugkalot interpret the acquisition of new technology
and their engagement with capitalism as a process initiated by themselves
for emotional reasons, rather than by the settlers who encroach into their
territory, they accord themselves capacities to shape social formations and
assert themselves as agents contributing to the making of change.
In the Bugkalot’s engagement with capitalism, motivation is more
important than the technical process. The impulse to re-establish equality
is more important than gaining more money or learning to be modern per
se. Their culturally formed desires and wants are reﬂected in their patterns
of production and consumption, as well as in land disputes. I have discussed
elsewhere (Yang, 2012) in detail the issue of land conﬂict in Gingin, and
suggested that land grabbing among the Bugkalot themselves must be
understood in the context of the expansion of capitalism and the
commoditization of land. However, this does not mean that utilitarian
reasons or economic needs should be prioritized in explaining land disputes.
The Bugkalot consider envy (apet, apig’) the most important motivation for
land grabbing. It is said that when the Pasigians of Yamu, ‘‘the number one
land grabber in Gingin’’ (ibid., p. 92), saw others with things they did not
have, such as chainsaws, televisions, and generators, they become envious
(meaapet, en-apig’), so they grabbed other peoples’ lands in order to sell them
to the unknowing settlers, satisfying their desires for these things. Again,
when the Pasigians saw other people able to get big loans from the bank
with their land titles, while they themselves had no land title, they were
envious, so they grabbed other peoples’ land. We can also see the continuing
signiﬁcance of emotional idioms in the land dispute between Lisa and
Dengpag. After Gading-an died, Lisa started to till one of his parcels of land
in Yamu. The land was steep and stony and was not considered good land,
but Lisa liked it because of its close location to Gingin that would save her a
lot of time hiking to oma (swidden) every morning. She hoped to acquire the
land by clearing and cultivating it, as the Bugkalot had done before.
Nobody objected when she opened her oma there. However, after Lisa
reaped a bumper harvest, Dengpag told her that Gading-an had given the
land to him before his death, and he demanded its return. He did not
cultivate it or sell it but left it fallow, and he was said to be ‘‘just envious of
Lisa’s good harvest.’’
Most economic work on the emotions focuses on the role of the emotions
in sustaining or preventing cooperative interactions (Elster, 1996). Although
economists occasionally use emotional terms such as envy, shame, or guilt,
their interests usually lie in the interconnection between emotions and
material self-interest, and in formulating a cost–beneﬁt model of emotions.
Economic Engagement Among the Bugkalot 215
The emotion of envy is usually modeled as costs in the context of the
Ultimate Game (Elster, 1998), since the standard view of the relations
between rationality and emotion is that emotions interfere with rationality
(Elster, 1996, p. 1394, 2004). However, the role of emotions cannot be
reduced to that of shaping the reward parameters for rational choice (Elster,
1998, p. 73). In the Bugkalot’s case, envy motivates and shapes choices,
including choices that may be considered ‘‘rational’’ because they lead to the
generation of wealth. It is closely linked to the culturally grounded notion of
personhood, and acquires meanings through its association with social
interaction and activity in daily life. While the continuing signiﬁcance of
emotional idioms is conducive to the reproduction of traditional concept of
personhood, in the Bugkalot’s engagement with capitalism a new notion
of self also emerges.
RELATIONAL PERSONHOOD AND THE
The Philippine government and local NGOs see development as ‘‘joining the
mainstream,’’ as progress along the linear trajectory of modern forms of
economic rationality and self-interested calculation. Most development
practices are powered by market forces and models (Gudeman, 2001, p. 158),
and the notion of the modern individual – the rational, self-interested
maximizer – is implied in these models. The idea that Bugkalot culture,
especially the habit of demand sharing and a distribution system that is
indifferent to age, sex, or any other attributes of status, constitutes an
obstacle to development and rational planning for the future, is derived
from such models. The settlers or better-off Bugkalot often complain about
their Bugkalot relatives who make a demand to share what they have,
saying: ‘‘they just want to be given, rather than to earn themselves.’’
Demand sharing is criticized as dependency and considered by the
‘‘progressive’’ individuals to be a Bugkalot cultural custom that needs to be
changed, like headhunting. In order to circumvent the demands of kin, a
new notion of ‘‘abusive relatives’’ was created by church leaders. Kinship
obligations of mutual assistance and reciprocity are still recognized as
positive values; however, if demand sharing occurs too frequently, it is
labeled as abusive (abuso, adopted from Tagalog). The missionaries and
church elders often advise the congregation to be economically in-
dependent and, through the Christian moral ethos of self-discipline and
self-examination, not to be a burden to their kin. Christianity is deployed
‘‘to foster an individual locus of agency and responsibility’’ (Tomlinson,
2011, p. 155).
So far, however, this doesn’t seem to have been very effective. Grocery
stores owned by the Bugkalot often become insolvent because relatives do
not pay their debts. It is also quite common to see people demand to share
food or resources when they could feasibly provide these for themselves. For
example, Elsa was wealthy enough to own a TV, but she went to her uncle’s
house twice a week to do her family’s laundry and stayed for lunch because
her house was not equipped with water hose. Again, on the evening Edward
bought a motorbike and caused quite a stir in the village, his mother went to
her neighbor’s house to ask for salt.
It is difﬁcult to circumvent the demands of kin. Those who refuse to share
are easily labeled as selﬁsh and stingy (besi, demut). The Bugkalot have an
expression, ‘‘money is not your relative’’ (awana katan-agimo ma pilak),
which means that money is for spending and not holding on to. This saying
is not anti-commoditization or condemning of proﬁt-oriented motives, but it
does express a feeling that market imperatives should be subordinated to
social norms. In the past, patterns of food distribution deﬁned and altered
social units, and refusal to share was considered a denial of social
relationships, which operated in terms of shame and insult. The consequence
of not sharing was anger and revenge (M. Rosaldo, 1980, pp. 77–78). Anger
and indignation spring from a relational model of personhood in which
people are understood to have a range of legitimate claims on others for
support (cf. Wardlow, 2005). These emotional idioms still ﬁnd resonance in
the contemporary context of social change, and the Bugkalot are careful not
to arouse anger in others. There have been cases of sabotage caused by
anger at material disparity and the desire to re-establish equality.
In Bugkalot traditional concept of the person, individuality is recognized.
Of central importance to their notion of personhood is g’inawa (heart). Heart
is at once a physical organ, a source of action and awareness, and a locus of
vitality and will. It provides a ground that links thought, feeling, and
physical well-being, and ties natural and social processes to the development
of the self (M. Rosaldo, 1980, p. 36, her spelling: rinawa). The Bugkalot
acknowledge continuities between the person and its experienced milieu,
which means that all peoples are potentially the same, differing primarily
according to differences in their social situations (ibid., p. 225). People’s
hearts differ according to age, sex, character, experience, and knowledge; as
a result, no two hearts are the same. However, Bugkalot talk of hearts is less
concerned with the ‘‘inner self’’ than with the affective quality of the social
Economic Engagement Among the Bugkalot 217
world, and emotional idioms always acquire meaning with reference to their
social use and situation. Thus, the individuality recognized by the Bugkalot
can be described as ‘‘socially embedded individuality’’ (Errington & Gewertz,
1995, p. 117), which should be understood as very different from that
characteristic of the recent West wherein individuality was marked, at least
ideologically, by the sense of self-sufﬁciency that allowed a person to remove
himself or herself from social contexts (ibid.).
Modernity emphasizes progress and renewal through identiﬁcation with
the triumphs of Western-style economics, politics, material culture, science,
and aesthetics (Berman, 1992, p. 33). In the capitalist-centered development
discourse, each person should be independent, self-sufﬁcient, and autono-
mous, take responsibility for himself or herself, and accumulate wealth for
the future. This is a concept of essentially atomized individuals who pursue
self-interest with calculation and means-to-ends reasoning, which differs
from the Bugkalot’s concept of relational personhood. While we still cannot
ﬁnd among the Bugkalot Macpherson’s image of the individual who is
‘‘essentially the proprietor of his own person and capacities, owing nothing
to society’’ (Macpherson, 1962, p. 3), in the process of their engagement
with capitalism, something like possessive individualism is emerging. The
Bugkalot are now familiar with the notion of the rational maximizer who
aims at accumulation assumed in the development discourse, and their
attempt to constrain sharing and relationality is reﬂected in the newly
created concept of ‘‘abusive relatives.’’ The negotiation of these notions is
indicative of the emergence of the possessive individual. It is highly
contested and has been slow to take strong hold among the Bugkalot. As
Sykes (2007, p. 213) points out, ‘‘possessive individualism advances by
outlining the terms of its own critique.’’ However, the recognition that there
is more than one way to constitute a person in a contemporary context
shows that ‘‘possessive individualism can root itself in relational soil without
draining it of the nutrients by which it feeds ‘‘traditional’’ social forms’’
(Robbins, 2007, p. 304).
Economic change, as Hefner (1990, p. 2) observes, is never just a matter of
technological diffusion, market rationalization, or ‘‘capitalist penetration.’’
Deep down, it is also a matter of community, morality, and power. I have
shown how development continues to play a role in strategies of cultural and
social domination because development still ultimately embodies a global
imaginary of modernization (Rojas & Kindornay, forthcoming, p. 13,
quoted from Escobar, 2012, p. xvi). The Bugkalot are aware that the claim
to expertise in optimizing the lives of others inherent to development
regimes is a claim to power (Li, 2007, p. 5), and they counter the politics of
development with their own interpretation of how they acquired new
knowledge and technologies in the processes of economic change. They deny
that they are passive recipients or beneﬁciaries of development programs,
and assert themselves as the agents contributing to the making of change.
Envy and desire, emotional idioms central to Bugkalot traditional concept
of personhood, are identiﬁed by the Bugkalot as the driving force behind
their pursuit of capitalist economy.
The primacy of emotional idioms as interpretative frameworks of
economic change has contributed to the reproduction of traditional forms
of personhood and sociality. The Bugkalot’s apparent embrace of capitalist
economy has not led to a ‘‘break in embeddedness’’ (Granovetter, 1985,
p. 482). The economy is still very much entangled with the social and the
cultural; it has not become a separate, differentiated sphere. The Bugkalot
saying ‘‘money is not your relatives’’ (awana katan-agimo ma pilak)
expresses the subordination of market imperatives to kinship and social
norms, and the inseparability of the moral and the material. Building on the
foundation of a relational concept of the economy (Curry & Koczberski,
2009), the Bugkalot have created a localized capitalism with vestiges and
transferences of tradition. Their engagement with capitalism has followed a
path of what Sahlins (2005) calls ‘‘develop-man’’: capitalism has been
indigenized to enrich the local culture.
Among the Bugkalot, the relationship between capitalist and noncapital-
ist systems and practices cannot be seen as a sharp divide, replacement, or a
seamless integration. It is a more of a relationship of co-existence, with
variable interplay or articulation. For most of the time the former is
subordinated to the latter. However, the juggle between capitalist and
noncapitalist practices and values also creates new predicaments. Land
grabbing among the Bugkalot themselves is an obvious violation of kinship
norms. Sharing is also increasingly regarded as a burden by some Bugkalot,
especially those aspire to expand their capitalist ventures (Yang, 2011c).
More alarming is their exposure to what Li (2010, p. 388) calls ‘‘mechanisms
of dispossession’’: they have debt, the interest the bank charges is too high,
the price fetched by their commodities is too low, the cost of inputs exceeds
outputs, they cannot make ends meet. These dispossessory effects of the
capitalist processes emerging ‘‘from below’’ (ibid., p. 396) are entrenching
the Bugkalot at a disadvantaged position within the global economy.
Economic Engagement Among the Bugkalot 219
1. The original meaning of barangay in Tagalog is boat. It is the smallest
administrative unit in the Philippines.
2. Interview with Pastor Tino took place in Gingin on November 3, 2007.
However, other missionaries such as Pastor Romy also made similar comments.
3. Keesing (1962, p. 70) considered ‘‘Italon’’ and ‘‘Ibilao’’ also local names
derived from the mountain river system in which the Ilongot were encountered.
4. Because Bugkalot is an endonym, I will use Bugkalot. But when I quote
previous studies or what people have said, I will keep the name Ilongot.
5. The population density in the Bugkalot area, according to R. Rosaldo’s
estimate (1979, p. 29), is less than 1.6 persons per square kilometer.
6. The Bugkalot do not distinguish between Ibaloi, Kankanai, and Kallahan, and
refer to them as Igorot (‘‘golot’’).
7. The ﬁrst non-Bugkalot to settle in Gingin was Florentino Santos, a Tagalog
missionary for the New Tribes Mission. He was one of the earliest missionaries to
evangelize the Bugkalot. In 1954, he arrived at Taang (now Pelaway) to spread the
gospel. In 1959, he married a Bugkalot woman and they moved to Gingin at the end
of the year. Because of his special status as a missionary and the fact that he gained
permission to move there from one of Gingin’s beg’angat (big one, elder), Dangsal
Gumiad, he was perceived differently from other settlers. The missionaries brought
airstrips and mission stations which became ‘‘trading centers’’ for the Bugkalot.
8. In order to protect the Bugkalot’s privacy, most names mentioned in this article
9. In fact, those who obtained land titles did not bother to pay taxes either, that is,
until they wanted to use land titles as collateral to apply for bank loans.
10. Like the Lihirians (Bainton & Macintyre, 2013), the Bugkalot also have a
tendency to see interest-free loans as gifts.
11. McKay (2003, 2005) discussed how remittance changed land-use patterns and
local landscape among the Ifugao of Cordillera.
12. Such a high interest rate, according to the bank manager, is justiﬁed because the
bank has to pay 9.5% interest to the National Livelihood Development Corporation.
13. Gary Tindaan, the leader of the Cordillera-Caraballo Mission, and his fellow
NGO workers explained their purpose of coming to Gingin to me on May 8, 2007.
14. Interview with Gary was conducted in Gingin on May 8, 2007.
15. Interview with Lasin took place in Belance´ on April 2, 2008.
16. This reminded me of Worcester’s remarks that contrary to his expectation,
Ilongot children have proved to be bright, learning to speak English and to do
industrial work quickly in two American schools established for them (1909, p. 1209).
17. I often worked with Linda’s family in their swiddens during my ﬁeldwork, and
she made such a comment to me several times.
The ﬁeldwork among the Bugkalot on which this chapter is based was
generously funded by the National Science Council of Taiwan and the
Institute of Ethnology, Academia Sinica. I thank the Institute of Philippine
Culture, Ateneo de Manila University, for assistance during my research.
Previous versions of this chapter have been presented at the Association for
Social Anthropology in Oceania (ASAO) 2011 and 2012 Annual Meetings
and the 12th European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA)
Biennial Conference. I thank the participants, especially Frederick
Errington, Deborah Gewertz, Holly High, Henrietta Moore and Mark
Mosko, for their helpful comments. I am very grateful to the editors of this
book, Kate Barclay and Fiona McCormack, for their insightful suggestions.
I would also like to thank Kyonosuke Hirai, who read the manuscript and
gave me critical feedbacks. My biggest debt is to the people of Gingin who
opened their lives to me.
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