Begnas: A Ritual for Good Harvest

Happy and contented with finally being able to see up close the Panag-apoy, witnessing another festival is, what I would like to think of as, a bonus.

a-few-days-ago-2Walking to town from Ex-Mayor Killip’s house, which we rented for our stay, we saw these men in traditional Igorot clothes.

Former Sagada Mayor Tom Killip invited us to watch their ritual for a good harvest if we have time before heading down. Of course, we have time, we will make time.


Deeply rooted in culture and tradition, the Kankanaey community of Sagada celebrate a Rice Thanksgiving ritual that follows the cultural calendar of the Igorot. The dates of the Begnas are usually decided by the tribal leaders via age-old omen and signs and, therefore, have no fixed dates.elder

It is generally held to mark the different agricultural cycle—pre- planting or land preparation, planting and harvest—and apparently happens three times a year, loosely in March, June and November.

We were advised to be there early so not to disturb their celebration. Being early has its advantages.vantage-point

From our vantage point, we were able to watch the celebration up close without being in the way.gathering-in-the-dapay

Arriving in traditional clothes, men and women from different barangays gather in the hosting

It starts with a group of men in a single file going off to the rice fields to sacrifice a pig on sacred ground the community calls patpatayan.practicing

Meanwhile, the men left in the dap-ay started to perform their traditional dances, not to entertain us (but perhaps themselves) but that we were.   After a half an hour perhaps, they came back, still in single file, to the dap-ay with the pig divided into pieces. The ceremony ends with everyone participating in the dance and the pieces distributed to each community.



I am honored to have seen this tradition and was well worth setting our trip back for a few hours.

I leave you with more photos of the celebration:





5 thoughts on “Begnas: A Ritual for Good Harvest

  1. There was an old movie of Piolo and Juday where they had a traditional Igorot festival done at night too, right? Was that and this the same? Happy Easter


    1. Happy Easter! I am not familiar with that movie of Piolo and Juday. Begnas though happens in daytime. 😃


  2. Dear Ms. Jenn,

    Greetings from the Cultural Center of the Philippines! I apologize for this informal way of contacting you.

    CCP was established to develop, preserve, and promote arts and culture in the Philippines. One of its noteworthy projects was the CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art (CCP EPA) in 1994, the first and only one of its kind in the country that has served as the main reference for Philippine arts and artists for more than two decades now.

    Considering the profound changes and developments in Philippine arts in the past 20 years, the CCP embarked on the CCP EPA 2nd edition project with new data from all fields. The second edition also includes a new volume on Broadcast Arts and a continuously updated digital edition.

    Like the first, the second edition will definitely benefit many sectors of society, of the present and future generations, within and outside the country. The project is now in its final stages. In this connection, we would like to request your permission to allow us to reproduce/reprint the photo, as described below, for the 2nd edition of the CCP EPA print and digital versions:

    Photo of the Kankanaey begnas in “Begnas: A Ritual for Good Harvest” published on March 26, 2016. Retrieved from

    The photo would be used in the Kankanaey essay of the Peoples volume. Rest assured that you will be given proper acknowledgment in the caption beside the photo.

    The CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art will be available for purchase in both print and digital editions. As part of our strong efforts to provide a comprehensive and accessible source of information on Philippine arts and culture, the Encyclopedia will be distributed free to public schools, state colleges and universities, libraries, and other government institutions nationwide.

    For any queries or concern, please contact the Visual Research Director for the encyclopedia, Samantha Louise R. Bigcas at 0927 787 4633 or at

    We thank you very much for your continuous support in the promotion of Philippine arts and culture.


    Malou D. Bayona
    Visual Researcher
    CCP Encyclopedia of Philippine Art


  3. Hello Ms. Jen,


    Do you have photos taken at the residence of Former Mayor Killip and his exact address please…? We are planning to have a Sagada Tour by this year 2018 and stay at FM Killip’s residence… If you may please send them through my email address,… Would highly appreciate it…

    Thank you and warm regards…

    God bless,



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