Native Black Pig of the Cordilleras

Cordillera Native Black PigThe Cordillera Native Black pig is black in color and usually weighs an average of 85 kg. It has small ears and lean meat with a thin layer of fat. The pigs are raised in a semi-wild system. Instead of keeping it in pigpen, the native pig is free roam around within a fenced area. The pigs are fed twice a day with chopped camote and gabi leaves mixed with rice bran. The breed is said to be resistant to foot and mouth disease, or at least to suffer lesser effects than other breeds.  The Native Black pig is usually slaughtered during the caňao, a celebration in which animals are offered in thanksgiving, usually for success economically. Locals say that this breed is taster than commercially imported breeds. Meat from the pig is usually preserved in one of three ways: by smoking, by sun drying or by salting and being stored for months in an earthen jar. Elderly residents note the breed as being raised by their ancestors, and it was said to be present at the first celebration of Adivay, a part of the Panagbenga (Flower Festival) that displays cultural heritage and products. Adivay is an Ilaloi term meaning “coming together” and during the festival the pigs are offered to the spirits of the ancestors and native gods.

The breed holds a special place in the towns of Kibungan, Bakun, Mankayan, Kabayan and Kapangan in the province of Benguet in Northern Luzon in the Philippines. The black pig cannot be depicted in local art because it is considered sacred. The Ifugao people give individual pigs names based on gender, age, and number of times they have given birth. In Mountain Province the native pig is called alingo while the Kankanaeys call it besaang. It is called buttog in Ibaloi.

Native Black pigs are considered more difficult to raise and take longer to reach slaughter weight than imported, commercial breeds that also have a higher percentage of fat. In 2001 it was believed that only 4% of the pigs raised in the area were the Native Black breed. Furthermore, the traditional practice of the caňaos laughter is also fading, meaning there is less demand for this breed.

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