Vibal Foundation, Inc. (VFI) will be launching Narciso C. Tan’s Púgot: Head Taking, Ritual Cannibalism, and Human Sacrifice in the Philippines at VFI’s monthly virtual tertulia this October. Encyclopedic and analytical in its approach, this scholarly book dissects the ritualized forms of violence such as human sacrifice, ritual cannibalism, and head taking in the prehistoric Philippines. 

Human Sacrifice

Púgot: Head Taking, Ritual Cannibalism, and Human Sacrifice in the Philippines

Púgot weaves together historical data and archaeological studies with traditional myths, legends, and songs to create a seamless narrative of some of the most misunderstood aspects of Philippine culture and to shed light on deeply rooted cultures of violence.

Preceding the emergence of Islam and Christianity, deeply held religious beliefs led various Philippine communities to sanction ritualized forms of violence: human sacrifice, cannibalism, and head taking. Today, many Filipinos see these practices as “primitive,” “barbaric,” or pertaining only to so-called “tribes” and therefore not related to the national dynamic. Púgot forces Filipino readers to contemplate and confront the not-so-ancient past, when their ancestors sported loincloths, battle gear, and talismans, and participated in violent community-wide celebrations and rituals. 

The book also reveals these practices not in isolation, but as part of the wider Southeast Asian and Austronesian milieu. The multilingual primary and secondary texts used for this work are sourced from across centuries and disciplines, including thirteenth to eighteenth-century Chinese records, Spanish-period missionary chronicles, and European and American ethnographies from the late nineteenth to the early twentieth century, as well as folkloric accounts and epics. 

This book is the latest addition to VFI’s Academica Filipina+, which is an interdisciplinary series that pushes the boundaries of scholarly publishing with smart, literate, and thought-provoking works exploring the Philippine past, present, and future.

For interested readers, copies of Púgot: Head Taking, Ritual Cannibalism, and Human Sacrifice in the Philippines will be available for online purchase at the Vibal Online Shop at, Lazada, and Shopee For bulk orders or if you have queries, you may reach us through [email protected] and [email protected] or call us at +63 (2) 8580.7400 or 1-800-1000-VIBAL (84225).

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