HomeIAMURE International Journal of Social Sciencesvol. 10 no. 1 (2014)

Itawes Indigenous Foods: Their Health and Socio-Cultural Meaning

Hilda A. Manzolim

Discipline: Social Science



The Itawes is one of the indigenous groups of Isabela, Philippines, along with the Ybanags, Yogads, and Gaddangs. In Cagayan Valley, two groups of Itawes are found: one from the Province of Cagayan and the other, from Echague, Isabela. This study was conducted to document the indigenous foods of the Itawes that are gradually vanishing due to the modern way of living or due to acculturation. As the foods slowly disappear, so do the foods’ associated meanings and beliefs attached to them. Being aware of their indigenous foods would help maintain and create a link or bridge the gap between the Itawes’ past generations to the present. The study used the descriptive research method. Triangulation was utilized using direct participatory approach, in depth interview and a focus group discussion. The foods were documented and the health and social meanings and beliefs attached to these foods were noted and explained by the elders. Frequency and percentages were used. The findings showed that Itawes favorite exotic foods were the following: fried “duron”, ‘simmawa”, “utoy” and “talagang”; their dessert, “bahat”, “mang-ga”, “dendelut”, “pinatarak” and “dinuntuan”. The Itawes’ social life and physical health had been closely associated with their foods. Some of their indigenous foods and practices had been consistently confronted with the influence of modernization and development that seriously endanger their traditional cultures or the total obliteration of their culture.