Taoid: A Museum on Cordilleran Culture

Taoid Museum

The Taoid Museum in Laoag City

Ilocos Region is maybe known for the beautiful surfing beaches of La Union and the majestic historic city of Vigan. However, Laoag City still ranks pretty high on the list of places to visit when in the northern region of Ilocos. From dunes to national parks, Laoag is a force to be reckoned with for any traveler who has the soul for adventure.

Taoid - A Museum of the Cordilleras in Ilocos Norte
Taoid – A Museum of the Cordilleras in Ilocos Norte

During our recent Grand North Luzon Fun Caravan, a tour of Northern Philippines organized by PHILTOA, we visited TAOID – one of the newest museums in Ilocos.

Cordillera Museum in Laoag City
Cordillera Museum in Laoag City
Bulul, also known as bul-ul or tinagtaggu
Bulul, also known as bul-ul or tinagtaggu

“TAOID” is an Iluko word meaning shared heritage. The museum is divided into seven sections, which feature various vital aspects in the culture and lifestyle of the Cordillerans.

Taoid Museum in Laoag City Ilocos Norte
Taoid Museum in Laoag City Ilocos Norte

Make sure to spend an hour or two at Taoid Museum located at La Tabacalera Lifestyle Center. This two-story museum showcases the pre-colonial side of Ilocandia and the province’s Cordilleran roots. Being geographical neighbors, Ilocos Norte, and the Cordilleras have established a great connection that exists up to this day. Some of the most notable items in the collection are human skulls, coffins for storing the bones of ancestors and replicas of the indigenous people of the region. Other artefacts to be seen here are traditional clothing, wooden utensils, and carved figures that are usually displayed in Cordilleran homes.

Collection of skulls from Cordillera Headhunters
Collection of skulls from Cordillera Headhunters

Here are 6 exciting finds inside Taoid Museum:

Iduh

Bowls and Containers for Food from Cordillera Philippines
Bowls and Containers for Food from Cordillera Philippines
Indigenous bags and containers of Cordillera People
Indigenous bags and containers of Cordillera People

The Ifugao and Bontoc are the only indigenous people who traditionally used spoons during meals. All Ifugao had personalized spoons, which were carried in their utility cases or stored in openwork baskets. Though many of the spoons are understandable, there are many adorned with figures depicting Bukul figures, pregnant females, and other subjects. Some even have knives attached for cutting meat.

Bolo from The Ilongot Tribe
Bolo from The Ilongot Tribe
Carabao Skulls
Carabao Skulls

Gangsa

I’m sure you’ve seen this in your history books so many times, but these old gongs were treasured family heirlooms and valuable signifiers of wealth. Gongs were not only musical instruments but homes for spirits who watched over the family’s welfare. The most precious ones had human jawbone handles, handed down from headhunting days. It was believed that a human jawbone from a successful headhunt gave the gong greater resonance.

Padao

Padao
Padao

The Padao serves as a territorial marker among villages in Bontoc and Kankanai. The crossed arms of this example are associated with ancestor figures and traditional poses of mummified bodies.

Cordillera Textiles

Cordillera Textiles
Cordillera Textiles

At Taoid museum, you can experience it by getting to try the woven cloaks made by the Cordillera locals. All these cloaks have woven symbols about their faith and daily lives. Guess who am I imitating in this picture?

Headdresses of Cordilleran tribal leaders
Headdresses of ancient Cordilleran tribal leaders

Death Blankets

Cordillera death blankets
Cordillera death blankets
Antique wooden casket from Cordillera
Antique wooden casket from Cordillera

Each tribe in Cordillera has distinctive blankets that are used to wrap around the remains of their loved ones before being placed inside the wooden coffin. Depending on the social class and tribe in which the dead belong to, these burial shrouds come in various designs and patterns.

Oklop

These ancient helmets served two purposes when hunting. These Oklops served as a protective head covering, as well as for handy bowls for water and meals.

Cordilleran Sculpture inside Taoid Museum
Cordilleran Sculpture inside Taoid Museum

This museum allows you to touch and inspect some artefacts, making their experience inside the museum more interactive. “We are giving our guest an endnote that the tradition never stops.” – Marie Stella Gaspar, Museum Manager.

So if you want to know the ancient culture of the Cordillera people, make sure to visit this museum and include it in your itinerary.

Taoid Museum
Address: Tabacalera Lifestyle Center, Gen. Luna cor. Llanes Sts., 2900 Laoag City, Ilocos Norte
Operating Hours: Tues – Sun: 9:30am – 5:30pm
Admission: PhP40 for adults and PhP30 for children aged 7-12 years old.

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