Ifugao - The Hudhud Chant is Intangible Philippine Heritage

The Hudhud chant performed by the Ifugao is considered the longest chant in the Philippines.

The Hudhud is a chant and is considered intangible Philippine heritage. It is considered the longest epic in the Philippines and allegedly the second longest chant in the world.

Officials of the Provincial government reveal that the Hudhud was declared by UNESCO as a masterpiece of oral and intangible heritage of humanity in May 2001.

An 18 member international jury headed by Spanish writer Juan Goytisolo recognized the importance of protecting this outstanding heritage consisting of cultural space and forms of popular and traditional expression.

In the same year, the National Museum also declared the Hudhud as a national cultural treasure together with the Rock of Pumbakhayon, a legendary site located at Kiangan, Ifugao.

Pumbakhayon is the mythical hero who taught the Hudhud epic to some women harvesters at Kiangan.

Villagers say that his appearance was evidenced by the etched footprints on the rock including the hole pierced by the tip of his iron spear at the side of the legendary rock.

The Hudhud is indeed an outstanding piece of romantic literature characterized by imaginary heroes and heroines endowed with mysterious and extraordinary powers or skills as they display unmatched wealth and valor.

The Hudhud is usually chanted by women from morning to evening during harvest season and from evening to morning during funeral wakes. And the wonder of it all is that the chanters must have extraordinary memory banks to be able to memorize the epic without the aid of a written document, but merely through oral literature.

Thus, in order to preserve this world class wonder, the National Commission on Culture and the Arts in partnership with the Department of Education in Ifugao and the Provincial and Municipal Governments will be sponsoring a Hudhud competition. *(PIA CAR- Ifugao/ Vency D. Bulayungan )

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