The Ifugao Woodcarvers Village, also known as the Itogon Woodcarvers Village, is a tourist spot located in Baguio City where the workshops of native Ifugao wood carvers can be found. The site is famous for excellent quality carvings of wood in different sizes and types. These items are often sold along the village at considerably lower prices compared to elsewhere in the city.
The entire village stretches 3 kilometers long along the Asin Road. Is it also the road visitors pass by when headed to the famous Asin Hot Springs, which is another popular tourist site. It is located 5 kilometers outside downtown Baguio City within the Naguilian area. It is accessible by use of public jeepneys, taxis or by private car.
The long tradition of wood carving in Baguio was said to have started in the town of Hungduan in the Ifugao barrio of Hapao. Ifugaos would stay in the forest for days, just carving wood. The Ifugao wood carvers are known to be the best in the Cordillera region. After World War II in the country, there was an increase in demand for local crafts to be taken home as souvenirs by the tourists. Thus, a mass exodus of wood carvers and their families moved from Hapao to Baguio.
While there are dozens of wood carvers’ shops found all throughout Baguio, the largest concentration of carvers’ workshops can be found along the Asin Road. The village was built exclusively for the wood carvers during the time of a tribal elder named Reynaldo Lopez Nanyac who was the captain of the Asin Road Baranggay and a Hapao wood carver himself.
Premium quality wood such as the sangilo or ironwood is needed for carving intricate crafts. These are not only sourced from the lush forest of the Cordillera region but from neighboring provinces such as Pangasinan, Aurora, La Union and Quezon as well. Another type of wood used for carving is kamagong. A major obstacle that the wood carvers had to face was when a total log ban in the Quezon and Aurora provinces was imposed in year 2005 during the devastation of the Typhoon Yoyong. The carvers were then forced to use various types of other wood rather than the favored sangilo and kamagong.
From small key chains to life-sized states, visitors will be stunned by the great variety of crafts found at the Ifugao Woodcarvers Village. Subjects of the carved items vary extensively but most of the items are closely associated with the Cordillera, the indigenous people and animals. Products that are common are religious icons, household items, furniture, signs and key chains. The carvers can also cater to items made to order. Carved items are very popular with foreigners such as the Americans, Taiwanese and Japanese. Many of the carvings are made for export, which also greatly contributes to the economic stability of the region.
Although early wood carvings used sharp stones and tools to scrape the wood, wood carving has substantially not changed since the old times. Today, this tradition is kept alive by the talented carvers of the Ifugao Woodcarvers Village.