The Ibanag people, an indigenous ethnic group in the Philippines, predominantly reside in the Cagayan Valley region of northern Luzon. Their rich cultural heritage, deeply rooted in their beliefs, mythology, and rituals, features an array of deities, heroes, and mythological creatures that reflect their worldview and values. This article provides an overview of the Ibanag belief system, mythology, and rituals, with a focus on the deities, their personalities, and stories, as well as any unique aspects of the culture.


The Ibanag pantheon comprises numerous deities, each with their distinct attributes, roles, and mythological narratives. Some of the most significant deities include:

  • Malyari: The supreme god of the Ibanag pantheon, Malyari governs the heavens and is associated with the sun. As the principal deity, he is revered as the creator of the universe, and his power is believed to extend to all aspects of life.

  • Binayo: The goddess of agriculture and fertility, Binayo is responsible for the growth and abundance of crops. Farmers often invoke her blessings and protection to ensure a bountiful harvest.

  • Pabungan: The god of war and protector of the Ibanag people, Pabungan is characterized by his courage, strength, and martial prowess. Warriors pay homage to Pabungan before going into battle to seek his guidance and support.

  • Lattan: The goddess of the sea, Lattan governs marine life and ensures the safety of fishermen during their expeditions. Her benevolence is essential for the livelihood of coastal communities, who depend on the ocean's resources.

  • Gakal: The god of the underworld, Gakal presides over the realm of the dead, where souls are judged based on their deeds in life. He is associated with the darker aspects of existence, such as death, decay, and suffering.

Heroes and Mythological Creatures

The Ibanag mythology features various heroes and mythological creatures, each with unique characteristics and significance. These include:

  • Biuag: A legendary Ibanag hero, Biuag exemplifies the qualities of bravery, wisdom, and strength. His exploits are recounted in epic narratives, which serve as sources of inspiration and moral guidance for the Ibanag people.

  • Lam-ang: Another prominent Ibanag hero, Lam-ang is celebrated for his extraordinary abilities and adventures. His story is preserved in the "Biag ni Lam-ang," an epic poem that chronicles his life and deeds.

  • Asuang: Shape-shifting creatures, Asuangs are believed to possess supernatural powers and are feared for their malevolent actions. They are often depicted as half-human, half-animal beings that terrorize communities and prey on unsuspecting victims.

  • Sigbin: A mythical creature resembling a horned, kangaroo-like animal, the Sigbin is said to bring good fortune to those who can capture it. However, it is also associated with misfortune and illness, as it is believed to feast on the blood of its victims.

Unique Beliefs and Rituals

The Ibanag culture is characterized by unique beliefs and rituals that emphasize the interconnectedness of the spiritual and natural worlds. Key aspects of these beliefs include:

  • Anito: Ancestor worship is an essential aspect of Ibanag spirituality, where ancestors (anito) are believed to possess supernatural powers and are invoked for guidance, protection, and assistance in various aspects of life. Anito shrines are often erected in Ibanag households, where offerings of food, drinks, and other items are made to appease and honor the spirits.

  • Rituals for Nature Spirits: The Ibanag people also believe in the existence of nature spirits that inhabit the environment, such as forests, rivers, and mountains. These spirits are thought to be responsible for the well-being of the natural world and are invoked through various rituals. For instance, rituals like the "pakar" are performed to ask for permission from the spirits before cutting down trees or clearing lands.

  • Healing Rituals: Traditional Ibanag healers, known as "mangnganito" or "mambunong," conduct healing rituals to cure ailments and restore balance in the body and spirit. These rituals often involve the use of herbs, incantations, and other spiritual practices that are believed to have healing properties.

  • Rites of Passage: Ibanag culture places great importance on rites of passage, which mark significant milestones in an individual's life, such as birth, adolescence, marriage, and death. These ceremonies, such as the "kauggay" (baptism) and "pamalian" (wedding), serve to strengthen community bonds and affirm the individual's social identity.

  • Agricultural Rituals: Given the importance of agriculture in Ibanag society, several rituals are dedicated to ensuring a bountiful harvest and warding off calamities. For example, the "panawagtawag" is a ritual performed at the beginning of the planting season to seek the blessings of the deities and spirits for a prosperous harvest.