In the north, the cultural minority groups vary according to their districts. Tribes from the central cordillera are commonly called Igorots. They consist of the Apayao, Bontoc, Ifugao, Ibaloy, Kalinga, Kankanai or Tinguian. Despite of their common roots, it is still not proper to call them Igorots since they have different cultural practices.
They are known to be short, and have rosy complexion (due to the cold weather up in the mountains). Though short in stature, they are taller than Aetas, fairer and have big black eyes. They have stronger cheekbones, wider face, and straight, smooth and shiny hair.
Apayaos are called Isneg, who inhabit the shores of Matalang and Apayao rivers in the Ilocos and Abra provinces. They came from the roots of headhunters in the central Cordillera. They value farming more than anything and still express their spiritual beliefs through ceremonial feasts.
The Bontoc group also came from the roots of headhunters but more from a fixed territory. They are famous for bravery and strength. Wooden coffins and ancient burial caves derived basically from their sorrowful funeral practice, whereas a dead person is laid in a death seat (sungachil) and displayed in one part of the house for passers by to view easily.
The Ifugaos, whose name means "people of the earth", are the carvers of the rice terraces, popularly known as the eight wonder of the world, and an amazing work of bare hands, ancient farming tools and primitive irrigation scheme that works even nowadays. Their life evolves basically from their ethnic beliefs and customs. A form of ritual- shown mostly in their dances and songs that represent every aspect of their life.
The Kalinga group although belongs to the headhunters of the north, lessened this practice due to the peace agreement with other tribes. As a substitute to beheading the captured enemy, an offering of food or animal is accepted as peace offering. These peace pact is followed nowadays by most of the tribes thus, a good reason for travelers to be safe in their area.
The Tinguians who call themselves Itneg reside in the province of Abra in the northwestern Luzon. Other groups inhabiting the Cordillera mountain provinces of Nueva Ecija, Nueva Viscaya and Quirino call themselves Ikalahan. The Gaddangs, on the other hand live in Cagayan mountains in the northeastern corner of Luzon. They have separate ways of calling themselves but they all belong in the same ethnic group.