Pinikpikan: The Cordillera Way

Ever heard of the famous brutal and bloody story in Cordillera? The pinikpikan, coming from the Ilocano word “pikpik” means to literally hit repeatedly. As per studies and some history tales, it was first done in cooking to calm down spirits worshipped by the tribes living in the mountain province. Additionally, it was also believed that this is a ritual for the tribes every time they are put into situations where decision – makings are hard. As said by an Igorot elder from Baguio, more often than not, the ritual is done and is considered to be “daoes” or “dao-es”, which means “cleansing”.


During the ritual, the spirits of the deceased ancestors are summoned to help grant what is being asked for. The foretelling is a loose term, which refers to the act of reading the gallbladder of the chicken after it is being dismembered.


For safe travels and sickness, a full gallbladder with thick bile means a good thing. But if what is asked is the conquering of enemies during a battle, the said full bladder brings a bad message. While the objective of this activity is to break and destroy the bones of the chicken while it is intact in the body to make it more tender, rituals order that the bones should be broken and the chicken should be cut in a specific manner.


Now it has been a part of the local menus in Cordillera. Market stalls in Baguio include uncooked pinikpikan to take home upon request. In the English language, this was crowned to be the “Killing me softly Chicken” that started out to be just a joke.


Now, this is known to many as “The Cordillera Way”. Few people in Baguio City would be willing to demonstrate to anyone on how the pinikpikan is prepared just to clear up any misunderstanding about the said dish.


As uniqueness is demonstrated in each place, the Pinikpikan happens to be the distinguishing feature of the Cordillera. Whether or not this way of cooking and preparation is criticized, it is nevertheless something that made the place remarkable.