Philippines - Ifugao


This field school is a component of the Ifugao Archaeological Project (IAP), a multi-year research project at the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Ifugao.  The Ifugao constructed their Rice Terraces in rugged terrain as high as 2,000 meters above-sea-level for over 400 years. Terrace construction, use, and maintenance suggest complex community management.  However, this aspect of Ifugao subsistence is still poorly understood. Our research is focused on the sustainability of Ifugao irrigated-terrace farming by utilizing the concept of self-organizing systems.  It documents the growth of a self-organizing system by examining the historical development of several terrace systems.  For the 2014 field season, we will deploy landscape archaeology approach to examine historical, ecological, and ethnographic dimensions of Ifugao subsistence.  The field season will be divided into blocks of activities including surface mapping, archaeological excavations, artifact processing, ethnographic interviews and laboratory analyses.

Philippines Ifugao Archaeology Field School - Institute for Field Research Field Schools Philippines - Ifugao18-352014-06-20
Dates: Jun 28 - Jul 31 2014
Enrollment Status: CLOSED 
Total Cost: $ 4,750 
Course Type: Field Archaeology
Instructor: Dr. Stephen Acabado

Course Syllabus 


Stephen Acabado

Dr. Stephen Acabado

Dr. Acabado ( is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at UCLA.  For more information, click here and here.


"The Ifugao Archaeological Project has been a very rewarding experience for me. I have participated in two seasons of field school in the Middle East, and am currently employed in a Cultural Research Management firm that deals with Southern Ontario archaeological and heritage resources, but the it was through the IAP that I became acquainted with various research tools that augmented and enhanced the archaeological finds in the field. These included interviews with elders in order to learn about intergenerational memories, reading literature to compare the pre-modern lifeways of the Ifugao with the rapidly changing present day, and engaging the local community as part of the process of helping protect cultural heritage resources like archaeological sites by raising public awareness and making archaeology accessible to the community. I have met knowledgeable locals and worked alongside colleagues of diverse interests coming from different parts of the world - all helping enrich my experience and reinforcing my love of both the social, and also the physical, aspect of archaeology. The grand mountain vistas and cool breezes aren't half bad either!"

-Jay Allen Villapando, University of Toronto (2013)

"Having the privilege of participating in the first season (summer 2012) of the Ifugao Archaeological Project, I knew I had to go back to Ifugao for the second season (summer 2013). It wasn’t because of the thrill of driving on narrow gravel roads on the side of the mountain, nor was it hiking down the steep rice terraces almost every day. No, field school in Ifugao for me was never about those. It was because of an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of history. The Ifugao Archaeological Project has introduced me to a form of archaeology that has implications not only in Philippine archaeology but to the applied aspect of anthropology as well. “Community archaeology”, as it is called, made me realize the importance of cultural conservation and its role in Ifugao heritage. I learned to appreciate local knowledge to have a deeper understanding of Ifugao history and its people. Lastly, field school has allowed me to experience a different way of living, explore new discoveries, and create friendships that last beyond a field season."

-Charmaine Ledesma, University of Guam (2013)

"It was such a wonderful experience to work in one of the world heritage sites in the Philippines. Through the field school, students were able to go through the whole process of archaeological field study, including excavation, indoor sorting and documentation, artifacts reconstruction and contributing to the final report. We were working with the graduate students of the Archaeological Studies Program at the University of the Philippines, Diliman, who kindly shared their valuable experience with us. In addition to practicing archaeology, I appreciate that the project made us involved in the Ifugao culture. We took part in the traditional ceremony in the beginning of the excavation, helped build a traditional indigenous housing, and participated in a traditional festival. All of these showed us that Ifugao is not only a mountain area with marvelous rice terraces, but also a vivid culture that keeps interacting with its critical past. I highly recommend this project!!"

-Ellen Hsieh, UCLA (2012)

"The Ifugao Archaeological Project (IAP) Field School has been a valuable learning experience for myself. I enjoyed, and learned a lot participating in the IAP. Through IAP, I began to value fieldwork and its contribution to archaeological reconstruction of prehistory. The IAP provided me with great experience in archaeology and cultural anthropology; I participated in ethnographic work to understand local traditions and customs while excavating in the area. In the IAP, I learned to write unit reports, excavate using the arbitrary method, become proficient in artifact management, conduct surveys and maps with ease, and lastly, exercise cultural sensitivity. My perspective on archaeology has been redefined to appreciate hard-laborious fieldwork since this can result to discovering and redefining the past. The overall experience has made me competitive for Archaeology graduate studies applications (accepted by two program) and CRM employment opportunities on Guam."

-Jacy Moore, University of Guam (2013)





Student Fees

Early Enrollment Begins November 15 - Full payment must be received by April 1  
(Full Payment = Deposit + Tuition)
 Payment by Cashier or Personal Check Payment by Credit Card/Debit Card
Deposit:500 USD Deposit: 510 USD 
Tuition: 4,250 USD Tuition: 4,340 USD 

Late Enrollment Begins April 2 - Full payment must be received 10 days prior to course start date
(Full Payment = Deposit + Tuition)
 Payment by Cashier or Personal Check Payment by Credit Card/Debit Card
Deposit:500 USD Deposit: 510 USD 
Tuition: 4,350 USD Tuition: 4,440 USD 


Students will live in comfortable, but modest, field housing in the Village of Hapao (Hungduan Municipality) and will be provided with hotel lodging while in Manila.  The site of Hapao is located at ca. 1,600 meters above sea level so a period of adjustment to the altitude will be necessary and mandatory.  Conditions at the field house are basic and hot water is not always guaranteed.  Students will likely sleep on bank beds or on mattresses on the floor and will share large communal rooms.   

MEALS:  All meals will be communal events and will provide plenty of nutritious but basic food in the tradition of local cousin. The daily diet in Ifugao is heavily based on rice and meat (pork and chicken).  Specialized diets (vegan, kosher, etc.) are difficult to maintain in this remote location. Vegetarian may attend but will find options fairly limited.