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Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cordillera Music (1): Kalinga Songs

We who value our native roots know that our indigenous songs have helped nourish our culture across the centuries.  It is therefore our duty to learn these songs by heart and know how these relate to the other aspects of our culture. Meanwhile, non-Igorots who wish to have a deeper understanding of our culture should consider exploring not only our flora, fauna and artifacts but also our music. ¹

With this in mind, I have begun reproducing,with minor editing, sections of the studies made in the late '80s and early '90s by Anatalia Magkachi Sabóy² of Bontoc, Mt. Province.  In two earlier posts, I published some Banao songs notated by Mrs. Saboy.

In 1993,  she completed a comparative study on some indigenous songs of the Cordillera.³ Included in her research were five ethnic songs of Kalinga -- Ay, Ay Salidummay, Dakami a Tingguian, Oggayam,   Owwawi, and Sowi-i.  Below are the musical and social descriptions of each song:

1. Ay'Ay Salidummay

Musical Characteristics: Seven-tone scale, key of Fb major, wide range, statis-stepwise-skipwise motion, 2/4 time signature, moderate tempo, monophonic, strophic, ternary, round song and neumatic-syllabic setting.

Social Characteristics: Salidummay tunes have been harmonized and popularly sung in Kalinga.  Ay'Ay Salidummay is an entertainment song presented during social gatherings as a chorus in three parts and as a round song.  It expresses a positive attitude of the Kalingas toward adversities in life.

Ay'Ay Salidummay


Ay ay salidummay, salidummay diway (no meaning)

Dong-dong-ay si dong-i-lay (no meaning; “dong-i-lay,” is a name of a weed that happens to fit the rhyming)

Insinali dum-ma-ay

Ay, ay, salidummay, salidummay diway

Itako manlaglagsak (let’s be merry)

Uray adu un ligat (despite our many hardships)

Elallay, elallay (no literal meaning)

Kaykayngan mabaybay-an (it’s a pity to neglect)

Ugali kapintasan (a traditional so beautiful)

No ay,ay, no ay, ay (no meaning)

Lagsak intay ipap-papas (let’s enjoy life to the fullest)

Kasta koma ti panagbiag (that’s how we should live)

Lilallay, lilalilallay (no meaning)

Dong-dong-ay si dong-i-lay

Insinali dumma-ay

LIlallay, lilallay, lilalilay

Dummay diway

2. Dakami a Tingguian [4]

Musical Characteristics: Pentatonic, key of C, average range, stepwise-skipwise motion, 4/4 time signature, moderate tempo, monophonic, strophic and syllabic-neumatic setting.

Social Characteristics: This entertainment song, which may be presented either as a solo or a group performance, reflects the Tingguians' pride in and contentment with their cultural practices . Cultural values shown: industry, social cooperation, peace and contentment, pride of one's cultural heritage


Luglugar mi a Tinggian (our abodes, we Tinggians)

Lugar kabanbantayan (are mountainous places)

Ken kabakbakiran (and forestlands)

Napalalo ti rigat mi (we greatly suffer)

Pudot, sang-at lak-amen mi (heat, uphill climbs we endure)

Kaasi kami (we are pitiful)

Sidsida mi nga Tinggian (our foods, we Tinggians)

Alingo, ugsa kada ikan (are wild pigs, deer and fish)

Ay, ay, nam-ay mi pay (Ah, how blessed we are!)

[last five stanzas omitted]

3. Oggayam

Musical Characteristics: Seven-tone scale, modal, wide range, stepwise-skipwise and few static motino, non-metric, fast tempo, monophonic, strophic, syllabic-neumatic setting.

Social Characteristics: Friendship, cooperation, and unity are the major virtues that most Kalingas  exhibit, as implied in this song which is used by a solo performer in counseling, story-telling, and entertaining the community on any occasion.


Ay e e e gayamen-n-n-n-n

Dey gayamen-n-n-n-n-n-n

Ay oggayam ke-e-e-e-e-e-t

Di gayamen!

Adto ta-y-y-y-e-e-e-e (we’re all gathered here because of us)


O mi-pang-ge-e-e-e-ep


Kadat an-ank-a-a-a-a-a (our children)

Nag-gasawa-a-a-a-a-a (who got married)

O sapay koma ken-n-n-n-n (may they)

Di-yos ama ta—enda-a-a-a-a (by God’s will)

Ay gumanak! (beget many children)

Ay e-e-e gayamenn-n-n-n (Hey, brothers)

Dey e-e-e-ey gayamen n-n-n

O kakabsa---at—a-a dumateng! (who came)

Nga immay me-e-e-e-et agatendar (to attend)

Kanto kasa-a-a-a-a-a di dad an-nak! (the wedding of this hour)

O o abal-la-yan mi-i-ye (O aballayan – parents of either party)

Nga----day-dayawen (whom we honor)

O kakabsat man-n-n-n-n nga dum-mateng! (O brothers who came)

O sap-sapay koma –a-a- ken Diyos Ama (May it be to God the Father)

Tadenda-e-e-e-e-ey gumanak ta (that they bear many children)

Addat gon-gona ta at-e-e (so that we’ll be rewarded)

Nga nagdat-dating kanto (we who came)

Nanumo---o nga para-angan! (to humble yard/abode)

A-e-e-e- ket gaya—menn-n-n-

Dey e-e-e-ey gayamen-n-n-n

Ket inkam pay pagyam-yamanan (we thank you)

Nga immay met a nag-atendar kanto (you who came)

4. Owwawi

Musical Characteristics: Octave, modal, wide range, stepwise-skipwise motion, 4/4 time signature, slow tempo, monophonic, strophic and syllabic-neumatic setting.

Social Characteristics: Kalinga families are closely knit; members take care of each other.  Parents who work in their famrs leave their small children at home.  Older brothers and sisters take care of theyr baby siblings.  At these times, singing lullaby songs becomes indispensable. Owwawi is sung to put a baby to sleep.

Slow & Smooth
Owwa owwawi owwawi (no meaning)

Owwa owwa owwa owwa

Owwa owwawi

Ommoy ama’d tattalon owwawi (father went to the fields)

Ommoy ina nallamon, owwawi (mother went weeding in the rice fields)

Ot ina taynan man-ib-ibvil anak na (and left her baby crying)

Ay naligat payyan djin ina-udji (ay, it’s hard to be the youngest)

Ta no lomabvi (for when night comes)

Sakon ton mantagibvi (I have to care for the baby)

No masoyop (when baby sleeps)

Iggak payyan mambvayo (i pound rice again)

Ta piya-ona’n ma-yog-ga-yog-ga-yog (because baby wants)

5. Sowi-i
Musical Characteristics: Three-tone scale, key of G# major, narrow range, static, stepwise-skipwise motion, 2/4 time signature, moderate, monophonic, strophic, syllabic-neumatic setting.

Social Characteristics: This is popularly known as a rice-pounding festival song meant ot honor someone.



Tot-toowa kam pay dja dji (Oh yes, it’s true; it’s true)

Sowi-i 6

[1] Anatalia and Augustus Saboy jointly expressed in an unpublished essay on indigenous music:

Ethnic music is one of the richest sources of cultural values.  Unlike Western music in which the beauty of the song is better gauged from its melody and lyrics, the Cordillera ethnic song's beauty lies in its cultural values and message.  Collecting, recording and notating the ethnic songs of the different ethnic songs of the Cordillera will help not only to preserve this rich oral literature of the Cordillerans but will give opportunity for a deeper contextual analysis of the songs in order to gain insights into the aspirations, ideals, motivations, and hopes of the people in the mountain region.  In this way, the Cordillera group of Filipinos will be better understood, especially in their attempt to find a place among their brother Filipinos.

[2] Mrs. Sabóy served as  Cordillera's regional music supervisor (Education Supervisor II)  under the Department of Education, Culture and Sports (DECS), now DepEd, from 1992-1997.  Through the support of the Philippine Board of Scholarship for Southeast Asia Foundation (PBSSAF) and the Commission of National Integration (CNI),  she underwent rigorous music training at the  Conservatory of Music, University of the Philippines (UP), from 1961-1965. She continued her studies at Saint Louis University (SLU)  where she obtained her Bachelor of Science in Education (Major in Music Education) from 1965-1967.  She did graduate  and post-graduate studies at St. Paul's University and Cagayan Teachers College (1977-1981), Baguio Colleges Foundation (BCF) -- now University of the Cordilleras (UC) --  (1989-1990), and Baguio Central University (BSU, 1990-1993).

[3] Sabóy, Anatalia Magkachi. "Ethnic Songs of the Major Ethnolinguistic Groups in the Cordillera."Unpublished Dissertation, BCU, Baguio City.

[4] The "Tingguians" comprise an ethnic group found in the highlands of Abra.  They were called so by the Spaniards for want or ignorance of the indigenous name for the natives they discovered in the hinterlands of this province.  The appellation is derived from the Spanish word "Tinggi" or mountains or hills.  The Banaos of Western Kalinga were also grouped by the Spaniards as "Tingians" since they believe, based on this hilltribe's orature, that this indigenous group actually migrated from their Kalinga homeland, particularly the geopolitical unit occupied by the Banaos of today.

[5] Mr. Taclawan is a retired elementary school teacher (Easter School/College) who hails from Saltan, Balabalasang, Balbalan, Kalinga but who now resides in Pinget, Baguio City.  His version is one of the generally accepted original core melody of the Oggayam. Other bards in Kalinga and the Abra Banao area have their own versions of this song.  An oggayam balladeer may sing in his own free style and meter by adding, subtracting or twisting words or tune to the delight of the audience.  The words are extemporaneous to suit the occasion.  There is thus no fixed melody nor lyric for this song; it is dependent on the skill of the improvisator.

[6] It is called Chua-ay by some researchers or Chowe-e among the Central Bontoks and Sowi-e by Western Bontoks.  The melody as notated here is closely similar to that of Julia Bingham's "Pounding Rice" and "Rice Pounding" in the Music Horizons for Intermediate Grades and Philippine Progressive Music Series complied by Norberto Romualdez and Petrona Ramos in 1924 and 1953, respectively.  Bingham attributes the melod yto Balbalasang. With the passing of time, the sowi-i has assumed its place in the Banao (Balbalsang) repertory as a pataytay, more htan as an exclusive melody for work as in rice pounding.  It is chanted as an approbation song, parallel to that of "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow" which is chorused after a speech or song rendered in present-day social gatherings.


johnray said...

how can i download that all songs

patricia galang said...! galing, it really helps me for my assignment in music,,great..please continue helping us students especially for our research,continue posting educational essay...thank ü

ramil said...

..... thank you for my research my assingment .... bec.i'm happy this assingment....

scott saboy said...

welcome handsomegwapoh hehe

mary jay jallorina said...

this song is really amazed by me. even i'm here in pangasinan i dont want to forget my province whom i belong.

fayebugawit said...

ya how can we downlod those

scott saboy said...

hi faye, waday inuplood Nats Dalanao iska Youtube. You can start with this one: . Visit his site as well (

Found this Tagalog adaptation, karaoke style, of "Ay, Ay Salidummay" hehe

eeeeeeeeeee said...

yaksss gwapo daw hahahaha jokkk!!! lng

eeeeeeeeeee said...

i like this song it's funny

cez-banaue said...


cheer up!!!!
You've been great for us...
Thanks and Godbless.

richard sacayanan olidan said...

been reading your blog/works.... kumusta ngay ni auntie(AMS)? She's my music teacher for 4 years at TNHS- 1981-1985, and brought the TNHS choir for NAMCYA regional competition for those same years.

i called up papa (Ricardo olidan) @ Tabuk yesterday and he told m that he's now with you in Baguio. Nag-auditionak ngamin ket Napiliak met nga ag-choir member iti Southern Tagalog Assoc. of Water Districts (STAWD) choir and i suddenly remember auntie Saboy.

kukusta laengen kniana...

Paul said...

How can I sing the songs? the 5 except for salidomay... please give me an mp3 or any site which i can hear it.

scott saboy said...

i tried sending you an AMR file of Monroe Taclawan's oggayam, but your email seems not valid. as for the other types of songs, perhaps our friends at KALINGA TAMBAYAN could help. good day!

sophia said...

thanks sa mga information

sophia said...

sana nilagyan nyo ng lyrics

scott saboy said...

salamat din sa pagbisita, Sophia. sorry ading, ala me time e sensya na. baka after this sem pwede kong gawin yan. g'day :)

jigoy said...

kaling war nah

dyego said...

mga putang ina nyong mga kalinga pumunta kau d2 ballesteros pagttagain ko kau

nickel carungi said...

umay kau d2y piat ta agsusulong tau

emman agullana said...

umay kau d2y cagayan ta agsusulong tau

daniel baroga said...

kinnayu amin nga tga kalinga tga apayao nak

daniel baroga said...

kinnayu kalinga tga tabuk nak

ryan galat said...

taga lasam nak umay kau d2y ta tagtagbaten kau amin nga tga kalinga ktak nu nya t pangasen u

shap said...

ang galing po ninyo!!! It helps me a lot.... especially on my assignment... thanks and more power!!!

gRaCEpAuL said...


keoniks said...

Hi, kung sino man mayro'ng mp3/video ng kahit ano man diyan sa 5 pa-email naman o. Salamat! Salamat talaga.

Bien said...

I have a very high regards with Cordilleran Indigenous songs and I am so sad and dissapointed with this version. I think, people who are authority should pursue a law protecting our indigenous properties particularly our indigenous songs. This song is an insult to the authenticy of Cordilleran culture. Its a clear mockery!!!

Bien said...

I don't really like it!!!

anica said...

i love it!!!

justme said...

this is great....but then could you please post about the characteristics of the instrumental music of cordillera? please......

justme said...

characteristics of the instrumental music of cordillera and not the characteristics of each song.... : D thank you!

scott saboy said...

hi, this article might be of help --



dain said...

itatanong ko lng po ano po song kahit 3 lng sa isneg, northern kankana-eys, southern kankana-eys at ikalanes?

scott saboy said...

I can only give you two ISNEG songs – (1) Disodis, (2) Dewas; NORTHERN KANKANAEY – (1) Bawikan, (2) Chekechek, (3) Alolong, (4) Geygey, (5) Pip–ingew, (6) Tek,Tek, Tek, Tabiya'y O, (7) San Madmadkit, (8) Sokod Ko's Tawwa–tawwa, (9) Cho–we–e, (10 Ili Mi'd Kaigorotan; SOUTHENR KANKANAEY – (1) Si Engnga, (2) Bagbagto, (3)Ay Apaw Et Kayman, (4) Bilin Ama, (5) Dakami ay Anan–ak, (6) Mansegseg–ang ay Adin Nan–Iskwila, (7) Mandegges Ka, (8) Entako et Mantoned, (9) Kansion di Manguma, (10) Ulila ay Kiyap. I have none for IKALANES (Ikalahan?)

scott saboy said...

I can only give you two ISNEG songs – (1) Disodis, (2) Dewas; NORTHERN KANKANAEY – (1) Bawikan, (2) Chekechek, (3) Alolong, (4) Geygey, (5) Pip–ingew, (6) Tek,Tek, Tek, Tabiya'y O, (7) San Madmadkit, (8) Sokod Ko's Tawwa–tawwa, (9) Cho–we–e, (10 Ili Mi'd Kaigorotan; SOUTHERN KANKANAEY – (1) Si Engnga, (2) Bagbagto, (3)Ay Apaw Et Kayman, (4) Bilin Ama, (5) Dakami ay Anan–ak, (6) Mansegseg–ang ay Adin Nan–Iskwila, (7) Mandegges Ka, (8) Entako et Mantoned, (9) Kansion di Manguma, (10) Ulila ay Kiyap. I have none for IKALANES (Ikalahan?)

holden said...

aus yung video ah parang loko loko lng

scott saboy said...

yup kapatid. sa iba, maaaring ito'y isang paglapastangan sa isang aspeto ng kulturang Igorot, pero maaaring tingnan din natin ito na isang "appropriation" ng isang katutubong musika ng mga tagapagtaguyod ng kulturang popular na siyang lalong nakapagpapayaman sa kulturang Pinoy :) (Popoy)

scott saboy said...

here's another article:

maxine said...

ask lang if you know th song pipipiyogo.,? a trditional song of cordilleras? what is the tone of it? and lyrics? needed lang po kc in music proj namin. . ty=)

marylyn said...

ang galing natulungan nya koh sa assignment koh .....thaks plss...continue posting those others folk song...thanks.....god blesss.....:)

scott saboy said...

welcome marylyn :)

Workmanship...^^ said...

Thank you po tlaga.... It really helped a lot sa homework ko sa music... God bless and more power!!!!! :)

popoy said...

@ Workmanship: my pleasure. sorry nawala ung images nung lumipat ako from Wordpress.will try to include the notations later. cheers :)

johnlevimasuli said...

Hello sir, very informative article, tnx for sharing these.
I've been scouring the libraries for quite some time looking for studies on Cordilleran music. I was just disappointed that the most of the academic efforts regarding indigenous music (or perhaps everything we call 'indigenous') are expended on the 'preservation' of culture because of the dominance of more popular musical discourses, and not on the 'exploration' of indigenous music which can prove that, indeed, indigenous music is not merely a musuem artifact, but a growing form of cultural expression, alive, organic. It is by no means an easy task, but the challenges are worth taking.

Anyway, do you know groups which actively espouse the development of Cordilleran music which interested individuals can approach to know more about music and Cordilleran culture in general? I've been having some difficulties looking for experts on this subject and I really wanted to know more. Hoping you could help.

Thank you again sir and more power!

popoy said...

hi John, thanks for dropping by. indigenous music is still vibrant among many Igorot sub-ethnic groups. While we are for the nurturance of these so-called "traditional musics," we are also excited about the hybrid forms of music created by our own ethnopop artists (which are actually the focus of my research and several other fellow scholars from UP Baguio). As for groups that promote indigenous music, why don't you seek out manang Lucia Ruiz (, head/founder of the Lin-awa Center for Culture and the Arts? She has a considerable network of fellow Igorots whom you will surely wish to meet as well. Also, try to get in touch with manang Jo Banasan-Kapuno of the Kanana Kanu (KnK) productions ( cheers!