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11 Ifugao Symbols You Can Actually Wear

Here's what they mean.
11 Ifugao Symbols You Can Actually Wear
IMAGE Steph Sison
Here's what they mean.

With the resurgence of the use of traditional textiles in modern fashion, our natural interest in learning our rich culture ensues. It's not enough to choose pieces solely based on their aesthetic anymore. It also pays to know the meaning behind each pattern or symbol stitched into the colorful fabrics to have a more meaningful understanding of our heritage. On a recent trip to Ifugao, I was able to ask Marlon Martin, head of the Save the Ifugao Terraces Movement (SITMo), an NGO up in the northern provinces, about the symbols they can share with us. Scroll down to see the common and wearable symbols you can wear as a fashion statement!

IMAGE Gab Gutierrez

Meaning: This helix-like structure refers to the lightning god, who is also known to be the messenger god. This symbol is used to signal man's efforts to reach their superior gods, as one would need the help of the messenger god to talk to the higher gods.

IMAGE Gab Gutierrez

Meaning: The diamond shape pertains to a fern, one of the oldest plants in the planet. That said, it symbolizes the forgotten past or the time of the ancestors.

IMAGE Gab Gutierrez

Meaning: This is the symbol of the traditional weavers.

IMAGE Gab Gutierrez

Meaning: This is one of the many star pattern iterations the Ifugaos have. The star is believed to be the child of the sun and the moon, therefore also revered as a god.

IMAGE Gab Gutierrez

Meaning: The S-like symbol used to be a pattern only worn by daughters and wives of warriors and headhunters, or if she herself was one.

IMAGE Gab Gutierrez

Meaning: A symbol of good virtue.

IMAGE Gab Gutierrez

Meaning: This is a symbol of their carry-all bag called the ambayung, where they keep their small knives, talismans, charms, amulets, and betel nuts. Having this pattern woven into their skirt meant to transfer the power of all the trinkets their ambayung holds.

IMAGE Gab Gutierrez

Meaning: Symbol for man.

IMAGE Gab Gutierrez

Meaning: Symbol for women. It's a pattern that was only recently made and incorporated into most of their designs. 

IMAGE Gab Gutierrez

Meaning: This pertains to fish. They are also sometimes represented by Xs.

IMAGE Gab Gutierrez

Meaning: The lizard is a symbol of wealth and good fortune. They believed a monitor lizard was sent by the higher gods to teach the Ifugaos how to water the rice terraces, the source of their food and livelihood.

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