The Begnas – Respect for Nature

Posted on

“Begnas” is a Kankanaey word that simply means “thanksgiving.” The Begnas Feast (Feast for the Mountains) is part of Ilocos Sur´s upland communities rich culture. The feast is celebrated every year right after the harvesting of the crops. It is a way of showing respect to all elements of the environment (sun, water, mountains, trees, etc.) and to thank the Supreme God, “Kabunian” for the bountiful harvest.

Every festivity starts with a ritual thanking the gods and to the elements of the environment by butchering a native pig. The tribal elders of the tribe officiates the ritual that usually starts at dawn.


Butchered pig for offering

The blood of the pig is offered to “Kabunian” and to the other good spirits. Those who attend the ritual also drink the blood with the tribal elders.


Drinking of the pig´s blood

Also part of the Begnas celebration is the presentation of cultural dances of the different upland communities of the province. Men, women, and children have their own cultural presentation wearing their colorful costumes. The showing of the abundance of their harvest of crops of every community is also an interesting part of the celebration.


The Kankana­ey and the Bago tribes of Ilocos Sur show their respect to nature not only during Begnas celebration but throughout with their lives. They have their cultural laws which are unique to every community dependings on their location and habitat…

Tree planting is one of many activities during Begnas celebration. Although it is largely ceremonial in nature, the tree planting is a sign of respect for the forest which they will continue to undertkane in their respective villages.


Seedlings of endemic trees use for ceremonial tree planting in
Begnas Celebratrion 2010

The Begnas celebration in Ilocos Sur plays a vital role in the protection and conservation of resources especially in the upland communities. It is their humble way of showing respect to nature and a way of acceptance that nature is always there for their protection, for their living and as a source of life.

Tanim Kalikasan Inc. works closely with these communities towards the conservation and rehabilitation of their watersheds and communal plantations. TNK in partnership with the local communities, local government officials, schools, civil society groups, government agencies and the private sector, facilitated the planting of 1.5 million of trees within the province for the past two (2) years.

For 2012, the planting of 1.3 million tree seedlings in Ilocos Sur will be made possible through the support of its people and the essence of BEGNAS ­the RESPECT for NATURE.

Share this: