The Bontoc Igorot (population 157,876) are found in the Mountain Province of the Cordillera Ranges. Their life, culture and personalities are profoundly motivated by the religious practices and rituals which have a historical depth of religious legends and supernatural traditions. Kinship among them serves both as a unifying and satisfying factor as illustrated in the performance of rituals.
The costume of the people is simple, the men wearing long strips of hand-woven loin cloth called wanes. The women wear a kind of a wrap-around skirt called lufid.
Men have more authority in matters of the beliefs and practices of the community than do women. From birth to death the Bontoc is sustained, guided and molded by a tightly knit kinship structure, a community discipline exerted by the oldest men of high social status.
For the Bontoc family, children are the important link. Barren marriages are generally dissolved. A marriage is considered barren if no child results from the union after five years of marriage.
Among the Bontocs the cycle of their existence revolves around the Ato. It is the place where the Coucil Elders hold various ceremonies, meetings, and events. The Ato is also public structure used as dormitory
by the bachelors, young boys, widowers and the visitors to the village. It serves also as a gathering place where all the men of the village spend the rest day called Tengao. It is here where their unwritten code of ethnic was formulated. The code urges Bontoc:
1. Never to lie, for good men do not live liars.
2. To respect the properties of others for people must lead good honest lives.
3. To be brothers to all men.
In past generations, the Bontocs were known fierce headhunters. This common practice was a duty and honor. Although they no longer practice held-hunting they still do today to avenge the death of a fellow tribesmen.
Source: The Culture of the Bontoc Igorot, Carmencita Cawed Bontoc Life Ways, Kate C. Botengan