Blood! Lots of blood!
The constant tapping of the stick to the chicken’s neck. Torture?
As if the universe conspired that I was able to witness this rare ritual called “senga” which is being practiced by the Igorots in the Mt. Province.
I don’t want to be technical about it so I will be recounting my experience and observations of what happened during this sacred tradition.
For starters, SENGA is a family ritual to drive away or appease spirits causing illness. In the case of what I witnessed, an old family member is about to die. So they are doing a SENGA as a prayer to God for the well-being of their lola or to ask God to what is His will upon the her life.
Here’s what I observed:
– Preparation of the pigs and the chicken
– Waiting for the elders decision when to kill the pig.
– Pigs are killed while the chicken’s neck is constantly tapped (like that of pinikpikan)
– Taking away of pig’s hair and chicken’s feathers thru fire.
– The pig is brought inside the house to be butchered.
– The pigs are butchered while the elder sing/chant a song/prayer. Other elders join in chorus (this is the main part). I was having goosebumps while hearing them chant something.
– Examination of the liver. Someone examines the liver. I really don’t know what he looks at?
– Giving meat portions to those who joined the SENGA. They call this “bingit.” The elders get the choice cuts and larger portions. Everyone will have his/her share. I think I brought about 750grams of pork meat.
– The pork and chicken is boiled with salt as the only seasoning and commences with eating. Some are drinking too!
“I pray that this intagible heritage will be passed on to the following generations.”
I was talking to the relatives of the sick elder while I was there and was amazed at their culture and tradition. I told them this doesn’t happen in my homeplace. And I pray that this intagible heritage will be passed on to the following generations.
I will post a video of this bloody ritual after my 100 Days Journey.
It was a right decision to forgo visiting the hanging coffins and witness this truly Filipino heritage. Igorot, be proud!
Added info: According to anthropologist, Dr. Jesus Peralta, a consultant for NCCA IN SENGA “Chickens or pigs are used. Performed during reunions, weddings, death anniversaries, acquisition of property, house warming, etc festive events. Prayers depend on purpose. A man who has committed immorality cannot say the prayers during weddings.”
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I witnessed this kind of ceremony during Day 17 of my ISANG DAAN Journey in Sagada, Mt. Province. Thank you to my new found friend, Kirky Awingan who let me capture this rare ritual. Kirky is a very good guide when you are in Sagada.
#ISANGDAAN is a personal journey and challenge to backpack around the Philippines the cheapest way possible for 100 days. “Isang Daan” is a Filipino term that can mean either “one way” or “one hundred.”
If you want to follow my steps, I have an interactive map- ISANGDAAN Journey map.