A Tinguian ceremony, held when a person is ill. It seems have been limited to the San Juan region, Abra province.

The room is decorated as usual, and a bound pig is laid in the center. This is known as "the exchange," since it is given in place of the patient's life. Two mediums place betel-nut on the animal, then stroke it with oil, saying, "You make the liver favorable," i.e., give a good omen. After a time they begin summoning the spirits, and from then until late evening the guests divide their time between the mediums and the liquor jars. Soon all are in a jovial mood, and before long are singing the praises of their hosts, or are greeting visiting spirits as old time friends.

The pig is killed early next morning, and its liver is eagerly examined to learn whether or no the patient is destined to recover. A part of the flesh is placed on the house rafters, for the use of the spirits, while the balance is cooked and served. Following the meal, the gongs and drums are brought up into the house, and the people dance or sing until the mediums appear, ready to summon the spirits. The first to come is Sabī́an, the guardian of the dogs. He demands that eight plates and a coconut shell be filled with blood and rice; another shell is to be filled with uncooked rice, in which a silver coin is hidden; and finally a bamboo dog-trough must be provided. When his demands are met, he begins to call, “Come, my dogs, come and eat.” Later the blood and rice are placed in the trough, and are carried to the edge of the town, where they are left. This done, the spirit pierces the pig's liver with a spear and, placing it on a shield, dances about the room. Finally, stopping beside the mat, he lays them on the patient's stomach. The next and final act is to scrape up a little of the liver with a small head-axe, and to place this, mixed with oil, on the sick person.

On the third and last day, the medium leads a big dog to the edge of the village, and then kills it with a club. A piece of the animal's ear is cut off, is wrapped in a cloth, and is hung around the patient's neck as a protection against evil, and as a sign to all spirits that this ceremony has been held.



  • Cole, Fay-Cooper. (1922). "The Tinguian." FMNH-AS, Vol. 14, no. 2, p. 358.

This article incorporates text from The Tinguian Mythology (1922) by Fay-Cooper Cole, which is in the public domain.