A. Indigenous socio-political institution

The tongtong is made up of male elders in the community who are considered knowledgeable on aspects such as genealogies, community boundaries and have experience regarding the adjudication of community disputes. These elders are referred to as impanama and they usually come from the baknang class(Bagamaspad and Pawid 1985 and Prill-Brett 1987).

Disputes between individuals and families within a community are adjudicated by the impanama in that community. In cases involving two communities , the elders of these communities meet. In adjudicating cases, the tongtong can impose penalties usually in the form of fines and with the approval of the community.

In a dispute, one way of establishing who is at fault is through trial. In Camp 4 two persons are made to stand back to back holding a gabi or kamote of the same size. At a given signal, the two-without turning around- must throw the gabi.kamote at each other. The person who gets hit on the head is judged by the Lupon ng Tagapamayapa as guilty or lying and a fair penalty is declared.

The participatory nature of this institution facilitates the enforcement of penalties imposed. In addition, the manner in which disputes are resolved is non-confrontational, with the purpose of reestablishing good relations. Today, some of the elders are also formal leaders as they are members of the Lupon ng Tagapamayapa and barangay and municipal councils.

     B. Leadership

Leadership in the community was in the hands of the baknang. The latter, because of his position, used his influence on matters such as who should be whose kaising or who should plant root crops in his estancia. His ability to perform the elaborate peshit further enhanced his prestige and his capacity to command. The Ibaloy baknang are described by Hamada-Pawid (1981) as petty plutocrats.

3. Religion

     A. Worldview

Like other indigenous peoples, the Ibaloy are traditionally animists and perform rituals for nature spirits to propitiate these in order that the latter will not harm them. They also continue to relate to their ancestors through the performance of rituals. In these activities, animals like pigs are butchered and the mambunong or religious practitioner is called upon to inspect the bile to discern whether or not more animals should be butchered.

Although most of the people have been converted to Christianity, they continue to perform traditional rituals, some of which are offered to the Christian God who is sometimes addressed as Kabunyan. Other rituals continue to be offered to nature spirits and to the ancestors.

     B. Rituals

Indigenous peoples’ rituals are social, political and religious in nature. A peshit is performed by a rich person to enhance his social prestige and maintain his position as leader. This feast involves the ritual butchering of a number of animals which are prepared for the community and other communities invited. Neighbors donate tapey in jars and root crops brought in kayabang or bamboo basket. Each community brings a pig, and the animals are let loose for the people to catch.