The Bontoc/Ifuago inhabit the southern Cordillera Central region in the rugged highlands of Northern Luzon, this region comprises some of the highest mountains in the Philippines. The area is historically home to many headhunting tribes.
There are approximately 60 ethnic groups and 70 languages in this region.
The Bontoc create bracelets called Baningal or Abkil from a combination of wild boar/pig tusks, rattan and carved wooden figures. These bracelets were worn on the forearm by warriors, and were associated with conquests made over neighbouring villages and also with headhunting.
Traditionally ceremonial figurative carved spoons are ritually used in Bontoc homes. These spoons are prized heirlooms which were believed to have talismanic properties and would be stored in an open basket above the hearth in the family home.
The handles of these spoons were often the source of the of the figures we see used in the Baningal bracelets. Taken as trophies during raids in neighbouring villages, often with the addition of human hair from the victims of the raid by the victors. these figurative spoon handles were also repurposed as pendants.
A collection of the spoons can be seen at the Oriental museum in Valladolid in Spain