Festivals

Sagada's calendar year is divided into five activity periods.
  • March (Lebék) - sugar-milling season
  • May or June (Do-ok) -  harvest season
  • July (Ogas, Lakat, Deam) - rice droppings
  • October (Yabyáb) - early growth of the rice seedlings
  • December (Innaná) - cold days
They are all capped by a feast called bégnas. It is an important public festival which incorporates offerings and prayers to a score of ancestors and anitos(spirits). The ceremony starts early in the morning, with the playing of thegangsa and dancing followed by a prayer and chants from the elders then by a march. The hosting dap-ay (self-governing sitio) brings the pig to be sacrificed. Each group will first perform the cleansing ritual where they go to a river for the ceremonial bathing/ washing. After this, all the participating dap-ay (there are 12 right now) will proceed to the area where the sacred grove (patpatayan) is located to offer the pig they brought with them for the ceremony. They will share the pieces of meat with the men who marched with them. They will hang these pieces on their spears and return to the hosting dap-ay where another round of prayers and pig offering will be done. The Isagada women, not allowed to join the march, all wait in line with their offerings (e.g rice, gin, match, etc). In exchange for their gifts, they are given pieces of meat, too. The community ceremony lasts around 4 hours after which they leave for their respective houses and preparepinikpikan.

Traditionally, the men wear only g-strings, headbands decorated with rooster tail-feathers, dog-teeth necklaces and boar tusk armlets. They also carry shields and spears.

As the ceremony revolves around the rice cultivation calendar of Sagada, the dates for the bégnas are never fixed and are usually announced very close to the time it will be performed. If you are one of the lucky ones who are in Sagada when such an interesting festivity happens, do not miss it. If you must take photos or shoot videos, please practice common courtesy (i.e. ask for permission from the local authorities and from the concerned subject) to avoid offending the community. If you are unsure if what you plan to do is acceptable, please do your research and/or ask for help. Remember that you are a visitor and what they're performing is an age-old, sacred ritual done not for your entertainment but for religious beliefs. 

Sources: 
Daos, B. (?). A Cultural History of Sagada. Leaflet. Troika Press.
Scott, W. H. (2011). A Sagada Reader. Quezon City, Philippines: New Day Publishers. pp. 147-156