Sunday, January 10, 2016

Igorots Observe "OTOP" to Forestall Similar Disaster Occurences

by: Felisa Daskeo

Igorots have their own practices, beliefs and traditions that they perform. The early Igorots have religiously followed these practices but today with the change in lifestyle, only a few are following the practices and traditions.

One of the ceremonies that Igorots celebrate is called the “Otop”. This involves only a small part of a town such as the “Purok” or cluster houses or just a neighborhood affected by the disaster.

The “Otop” is observed when there are untoward incidents that happened such as death by accident or fire in the neighborhood. The Igorots believe that this ceremony will help forestall similar cases happening in the future.
In the ceremony, the old men or a pagan priest offers chicken to the spirits or “anitos” so that no similar misfortunes will occur in the future. It is also very important that the affected people or families will refrain from going to work. This is called “ngilin”. Non-observance will produce a negative result that means there will be another disaster or similar cases may occur. That is why; the “ngilin” is strictly followed by those concerned.
The sacrificing of chicken is the most crucial part of this ceremony for it is in the kind of bile of the sacrificed chicken that future occurrences are based. If the bile is in good quality according to the old men, there is clear evidence that things will go fine. If the bile does not present a good quality, then another chicken should be sacrificed until such time that the bile is good.
Only the old men who are the authority in ceremonies like this can tell what type of bile will seal the ceremony. There are different types of bile positions and these types are the determiners of how good the situations will be. Once the quality of the bile is good, the old men will declare that everything is fine and that the ceremony will continue.
The ceremony is very important and more importantly the way the ceremony is performed has a great bearing in the future occurrences in the “purok”. This is why the old men are very careful in planning and performing the ceremony.

Read more about Igorot Practices:

The Pakde

Copyright Felisa Daskeo 2016


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