A popular legend tells that the name Buguias was given to the place by Americans who came to Central through the Spanish trail to survey the area. When the Americans arrived at Ampatang they came across a group of women who were pounding rice. The foreigners asked for the name of the place and the women, not comprehending what the Americans were saying, answered “Begas” (rice), referring to the grain. From then on the place was referred to as Buguias.

The northeastern most of the towns of Benguet, Buguias is situated at the foot of Mt. Data and is surrounded by two provinces and five municipalities: to the northeast lies Mt. Province; to the east the province of Ifugao; to the west the municipalities of Kibungan and Bakun; to the northwest the municipality of Mankayan and to the south the municipalities of Kabayan and Atok. Buguias is about 85 kilometers by bus travel from Baguio City or two to three-day hiking distance for average hikers. With a total land area of 164.3 square miles, Buguias has a mountainous terrain covered with pine and oak forests. Two of the highest mountain systems are those of Mt. Pulag and Mt. Data in the northeast. Towards the southwest Buguias shares with Ifugao Mt. Manhuyohoy and Mt. Tabayo, the highest in Buguias, while the southeastern most point is Mt. Apanberang. Towards the west to the northwest one finds Mt. Osdong and Mt. Lucong. From these mountains start the river systems of the municipality, the main body of which is the Agno River which starts from Mt. Data and branches off into the rivers of Kitongan, Data and Palatang on the east and the An-no and Dogen on the west. These rivers form the Agno towards the south. At present the Agno River marks the boundaries of some of the barrios.

Buguias is divided into eleven (11) barrios. With their respective sitios the barrios are:

Abatan Gueday, Nakiangan, Tab-bacan, Lamagan, Bekes Bangao Cot-cot, Amdodon, Cobo, Buas, Patogong Kalamagan Caman-ba-ey, Panapsapan, Alam-am, Macog-cog, Masaypacan, Calagan
Amgalaguey Posel, Saclalan, Sinipsip, Lengaoan, Pilando, Namanbaneng, Mansabatan, Polis, Labay Central Buguias Demang, Ampatang, Balagtey, Kapang-ngan, Naybo, Tangawan, Kayab-yab Natubleng Nabalicong, Nabos-ocan, Pacpacbitan, Pat-kiao, Kabuguiasan, Nan-agto
Bot-oan Cat-lobong, Ambanglo, Somobli, Powa, Lamagan, Bana-ao, Bekes, Ponopon, Sil-ak, Balat, Dontog, Maybo, Budo, Mangkel-let, Ap-apid, Balili, Ambacbac, So-ocan, Lemtang, Mac-macyas Amlimay Paltingan, Gueweng, Bana-ao, Manghew, Lolotab, Tonglo, Taguinday, Paynag, Bangbangay-yen, Abat, King-pet, Tatao-wa, Daclan, Toplac, Demang, Dacot-to, Aponan, Tangwawan Loo Togtogyon, Taba-ao, Posong, Panayawan, Modayan, Tatabing, Lanas, Babañga, Tanobong, Teppas
Buyacaoan Saligao, Sibogan, Magmagaling, Bayoyo, Po-onbato, Peg-geyna, Lusong, Ba-oknet, Paspas-sok Bacolongan Obanga, Badayan, Sebang, Cayapas, Pogo, Bano-oy, Lamagan, Gatiley, Pel-pel-dit, Ligadan, Mot-yok-na, Palatang, Ab-bao, Balili

Of these barrios the coldest area is Bot-oan while Amlimay and Central are the warmest areas where rice is planted on a limited scale. Vegetable farming is the source of income of most of the barrios that are variable planted to potatoes, cabbage, carrots, wombok and lettuce – all of which account for some 11,000 hectares of the total area of 16,432 hectares of the municipality. Natubleng alone, with some 4,614 hectares planted to vegetables, is the largest farming barrio, followed in size by Baculongan with 563.29 hectares and Bangao with 530.33 hectares. Because of the importance of commercialized vegetable farming in the municipality the barrio of Abatan has now become the center of business and services as well as of the government offices. Similarly, Loo, Poblacion and Natubleng are also flourishing with business establishments. While the valleys along the Agno River were formerly planted to rice for domestic consumption, these have now been terraced into vegetable farms. Hence, it can be said that only about one-tenth per cent of the Ibaloi and Kalangoya communities depend on rice, while the rest of the culture groups heavily depend on vegetable farming.

In the remotest barrios, however, swidden-farming of gabi and camote as well as animal domestication serve as the most, eastern and southeastern parts of the municipality, these areas being far from the road. Within the periphery of Awa towards Ifugao hunting as well as swidden-farming continue to be the source of food today as it has been since the olden days.

Aside from farming there are about 5,000-8,000 hectares of forest lands that have remained untouched while smaller are of some 70 hectares are relegated as pasture lands.


The municipality of Buguias has a total population of 17,068 as of 1978, the biggest concentrations of which can be found in Baculongan, Loo and Amgalaguey – the farming and service centers. While generally a Kankana-ey-speaking people, the residents of Buguias come from three major culture groups. The barrios of Catlobong and Amlimay are dominated by the Kalangoya-speaking people. Kabuguiasan, on the other hand, is inhabited by Ibalois. The rest of the barrios are people by the Kankana-eys: Baculongan, Kalamagan, Abatan, Bangao, Loo, Buyacaoan, Amgalaguey, and Natubleng. A fourth culture group, although less significant and pronounced as the major groups, can be found in the heart of the municipality – in Poblacion – where the dialect known as Mandec-ey predominates. This dialect carries the combination of the three major dialects, hence the residents of Poblacion can understand any of the three major dialects, hence the residents of Poblacion can understand any of the population of Buguias is Kankana-ey, 15% Kalangoya and some 10% Ibaloi.

The difference between the three culture groups, although primarily linguistic can also be discerned in their observed cultural practices and manifest traits. The Kalangoya are also said to be more superstitious in their beliefs; they are the accepted common users of the “semek” (as in the “tage-ro-rot” and “anting-anting”), and the power of witchery (as in the “ben-ngat”, which can make a person sick). In temperament and disposition the Kankana-eys are described as the proudest and egoistic group – vocal, boastful, yet hospitable and sympathetic. Community bias against them as cattle rustlers, liars, and gamblers has stuck to some extent, probably because of the stigma left by the memory of the Buguias version of Robin Hood – Samiklay who comes from Kankana-ey area of Palatang. The Kalangoyas, mostly hunters up to now are a shy and introverted people, hard-working, conservative, and the most adventurous of the culture groups. The Ibalois, on the other hand, are considered proud.

A further discussion of the cultural practices and beliefs of the three major culture groups is done in this research in the process of reconstructing the history of the earliest remembered families of the municipality. Specifically, the family histories on which will be based the municipal history are those of two general groups: the Odan-Ganangan group of Ambanglo and Loo, whose rich though limited genealogy goes back to the mid-1700s, and the Cadyas group of Amlimay and Central, likewise dating from the mid-1700s. Under the Odan-Ganangan group we can find the following families: Calabson of Bot-oan, Toyaoan of Loo, Tinda-an of Loo, and Pago of Bangao. Under the Cadyas group, the branch families are those of Baoag of Amlimay and Alejandro, Cubangay and Tumpap of Central. Also related to the second group, though in lesser degree, are the present-day families of Bay-an, Almora and Butag. Several other families such as those of Buyagan, Kigangan and Gaiwen are included in this history either because they have  or had become important in the development of the municipality at specific periods of time, or because their histories provide us with data on instances and motivations surrounding events that took place in the area.



The arrival of the Spaniards in Buguias, to most of the older people who were either already born during the period or had heard the stories from their relatives was connected with the construction of the Spanish trails. Its effects were in any case fleeting and superficial as the Spaniards gained entry in Buguias only in the last years of Spanish colonialism in the country.

As the older informants put it, a group of white and tall people came sometime in the 1800s to Amlimay from Kabayan, passing through the Agno River, guided by some Filipinos. These people at first did not stop in Amlimay except to let the night pass, but proceeded to Mankayan and Cervantes. They came on foot, some thirty to fifty of them, who brought along tents for them to sleep in. At first the people of Buguias were not afraid of these passersby, for their leaders Siklongan and Basilio even met with the white men. Later, more and more of the white men came, more frequently as time passed on, and began shooting animals they saw for food. Because of this the people of Buguias would move to other places everytime these white men were around. Much later, these white men started gathering the residents of Buguias for their cargadores, with no exception even to women, and then they were forced to work on the trails.

According to two informants, Luis Panal Olban and William Bawag, the Spaniards gathered the people together and appointed a leader among them by giving him a piece of red cloth, around 2” x 3”, to be pinned on the G-string or tied around his hand, as a sign of authority to gather people for forced labor. This was done when the Spaniards were already able to map out the area. A recruiter who was not able to gather workers for the trails received no salary, and was punished if he was not able to perform his functions.

There was no formal set-up of government established in Buguias at the time that the trails were being constructed. Instead, quartels or rest houses made of cogon were put up in Manatong and Bano-oy for the closer supervision of the polistas.

The Spanish trails followed the Agno River from Kabayan to Buguias to Mankanyan, and passed through several places: Ambose, Dacot-to, Cadel-losan, Tangwa-wan, Kilong, Bangbangayen, Pengorged, Pislong, Ampatang (now Central Buguias), Amgalaguey, Nat-docan, Namanbaneng, Gateley, Pas-adan (now Sacyaban), Tomtomba, Bano-oy, Magmagaleng, Losong, Mabayabas, Abatan, Lepatan, Langbay (now Guinaong), and Mankayan to Cervantes;

From Bano-oy to Manhuyohoy to Ifugao the trail passed through Badayan, Obang-nga, Sebang, Nato-o, Manhuyohoy, Pacawan, and tehn Ahin;

From Natubleng to Manhuyohoy it passed through Nabalicong, Ad-ad-dan, Saclaran, Kayan, Ampatang, Insolong, Talimoy-moy, Tangawan, Agotal, Balili, Bot-oan, and then Manhuyohoy;

From Central Buguias to Tinek to Ifugao the trail passed through Bangbangay-yen, Gueweng, Kingpet, Macalbeng, Cot-cot-aso, Tabayo, Incolas then Tinek.

The changes that came into Buguias during the Spanish period had arrived in trickles at first as Buguias was only marginally under the control of the Spaniards, though the developments outside were to bring the municipality closer and closer into the mainstream of the urbanization process enveloping the Cordilleras especially by the nineteenth century. The first of these changes was the entry of the cow which had become an important trade item form as early as the 1700s. Ownership of cattle spelled, by the 1800s, the difference between the Kadangyan Mayengmeng and all other Kadangyans ever produced by the area during the period. With the construction of Spanish trails in the heartland of Buguias, the once self-contained and free communities of the Kalangoyas, Kankana-eys and Ibalois were drawn towards subjugation under the Spaniards.

By May, 1884 Buguias and Loo were counted with 1,295 and 952 residents respectively who should be paying tributes to the Commandancia-Politico-Militar de Benguet. By 1890 it was recommended that these two Rancherias be transferred to the Distrito de Lepanto ”from where they could be watched more closely and easily” for indeed, the natives evaded the tribute and all other orders of the comandancia. In 1896, however, the Pueblo de Loo was established by the Spanish militia and the natives came more formally under the direct control of the Kastila. From among the natives a teniente del barrio was chosen who was given the responsibility of carrying out the orders of the bengyador who in turn received instruction from the Spanish comandante. These orders were those of administering the forced labor and, later, the diez dias, the collection of taxes, and any other favors as instructed to him by the higher officials. A land tax was collected after the land survey in 1896 upon the establishment of the township of Loo, although very few residents complied with the survey either because they distrusted the Spaniards or did not see the significance of the survey. As cattle-raising was already an important economic activity even before the arrival of the Spaniards in the area, the people were also levied an animal tax. Moreso, cattle-raising was encouraged to cater to the needs of other areas as when Siclongan’s son Velasco, acting as leader of Buguias, was ordered to produce twenty-five heads of cattle to be brought to La Trinidad. Unable to do so, Velasco committed suicide by hanging himself to death for fear of the reprimand from the Spaniards. The cedula was another collection imposed on the natives.

There were other changes in Buguias society during this period. One was the modification of the native architecture, for the Spaniards taught the people a new way of house construction using stones.

As the German visitor Meyer observed in 1882:

The settlements of the Igorots are most villages (rancherias); there are few smaller hamlets (ranchos), and these are always in the vicinity of the rancheries and built by former inhabitants of the same. Individual houses standing by themselves are called barrios or camarines. The Rancherias vary considerably in size. There are some with 40 to 60 houses (La Trinidad, Daklan, Buguias, Banao, Kayan, Angaki) and others with 10 to 20 houses (Tagdian, Adaway, Loo, Suyoc, Lessep, Guinzadan). A rancheria never has more than 250 inhabitants, since their widely separated fields of rice, corn and camotes, which are very hard to build and work, explain the division of the inhabitants of a rancheria and their settlement into barrios or neighboring Rancherias. Wherever it is possible, the houses are built on the banks of a river or a creek.

I never saw a house without its own yard. The fence is generally made of bamboo and rattan where this material is available (Suyoc, and the Abra valley); in the higher regions it is made of pine wood (Takdian, Adaway, Ambuklao) or from stones (Kabayan, Lutab, Buguias, Bauko). In the neighborhood of Mount Data you find stone walls with pine or bamboo fences on top of them (Banao, Pandayan).

The increase in trade brought with it, too, many effects. For one thing, it was because of the lucrativeness of trade in cattle that cattle-raising and, therefore, Rancherias grew in Buguias, hastened all the more by the practice of the solbeg from which several families became kadangyans as those of Dacale down to the generations of his sons Siclongen and Basilio who reached the cañao of fifteen, the highest in the community then. Significantly, therefore, differences between the rich and the poor became more manifest in this period. The babaknang wore the more expensive blankets from the lowlands; one chicken was exchanged for one set of ready-made clothes of the bandala or kinolos which only the rich could buy. At the height of the cattle trade considered kadangyan of the period were those who owned thirty and more heads of cow and about thirty to fifty more pigs like Mayenmeng and Dangol Cubangay, the latter with as much as 200 heads of cow the more ownership of which afforded him to have a cañao of twenty-five. Aside from trade in cattle the Buguias natives were also active in metal mining and manufacture, particularly of copper products such as weapons, kettle, pots, small pipes and chains (simplex, in German Travelers, pp. 29-30 and Meyer, ibid. pp. 62-63). In agriculture, the Spaniards taught the natives how to plant new crops such as potatoes, Spanish cabbage, corn, and coffee. Spanish cabbage, which the natives called “bolong” is described as a plant which bears only leaves and flowers and grows up to three feet, unlike the typical cabbage. It is edible, though, cooked either by boiling or roasting. This plant was usually grown then in the natives’ kaingin. Most of these plants introduced by the Spaniards were geared more for local consumption than for commerce.







The entry of Americans in Buguias is remembered by the people not due to any fights between the two groups of “white men”, but in the course of the Americans’ pursuit of the Katipuneros. One day towards the end of Spanish colonial rule in the country, a group of Filipinos armed with bolos and guns passed by Loo on their way to Cervantes. In Loo, Lakay Pongsila invited these men, whom the old folks called “Katipuneros”, at his own residence for the night. This group did not want to stay longer so they proceeded to Cervantes the next day. A week later, another group, this time composed of tall, black and white people – the Negroes and Americans as the natives would refer to them later – passed by Loo in search of the first group.

In Central Buguias, meanwhile, the coming of Americans caused the initial fear of natives for what they thought were another group of Kastilas whose only difference with the first foreigners to colonize them was that the second group spoke a different language. The Kalangoyas of Amlimay thought that the white people who arrived on horseback with some “Iloco” lowlanders were of the same mind as the cruel “Kastila” group. Hence the natives hid in the mountains upon news of the white men’s arrival. It was only later when they found out that these “Americans” were very kind and friendly that the natives came out to meet the foreigners.

The Americans, on the other hand, did their best in order to gain the confidence of the natives. For instance the offered the different natives with bread and cigarettes. The stayed at the Spanish quartels at first and from there either accepted visits from the natives or themselves went out to visit the local communities. Unlike the Kastilas, the Americans even took the initiative in making friends with the people. They observed and respected the customs and traditions of the community, as when their interest was aroused when they first witnessed a cañao held by a certain Longbas. They also offered to help treat the sick although the natives refused because they had their own cañao. Cargadores and guides whose services the Americans needed were also paid, in contrast to what the Spaniards practiced. In due time, therefore, it became much easier for the Americans to gather the natives together whenever there was a need to talk to the people; from then on, colonization became a swift and smooth process.

The American colonizers stayed at Tangawan, a sitio that natives up to now refer to as “Forbes Park” as this was where most of the babaknang of Buguias lived. Dangol Cubangay’s house was temporarily used as the headquarters or office of the Americans; in the 1930’s a municipal building was constructed for the same purpose. Cubangay himself was appointed by the Americans as “president” for Amlimay and the surrounding sitios. In Loo, on the other hand, Pongsila was given the responsibility over the people of the “pueblo de Loo” which had been previously established by the Kastila.

These native leaders were the right-hand men of the Americans. When leaders of all sitios had been designated the Americans began the task of extending to Buguias the white men’s benevolence. The first thing they did was to improve the Spanish trails and construct new ones where there are none at all. The American trail followed the present Mt. Trail or Halsema Road to Natubleng and to Abatan towards Mankayan and Bontoc. Another trail followed the Agno River to Amlimay on the easter side of the river, while Spanish trails towards Kabayan were mostly on the west side of the Agno. The Spanish horse trails towards Ifugao were however maintained yet were improved and widened.

For the construction of these trails the services of the natives were used. Men and women worked on the road. People who worked on the road were at first paid a daily fee of 0.10 centavos for those without cedula for fixed days and 0.20 centavos for those with cedula were forced to buy their cedula at 1.00 peso. Later, a road tax of 2.00 pesos was levied on the people such that those who could not pay this worked on the road for free for ten days. The wage paid to road laborers was gradually increased later to 0.30, 0.50 and to 0.60 a day. When the Mt. Trail was widened up to Kalasipan the people of Buguias and other nearby communities were also asked to help in the construction work which extended up to Mt. Data. Informants recall that during this time, the Americans were rarely around; instead the paymasters, checkers, capataz and heads of the road laborers, who were mostly from the lowlands, supervised the work. When the road-widening reached Bayoyo a camp was built for the road workers and a rest house or Bureau camp was built for the supervisors.

As road construction was going on under the supervision of lowlanders schools were also being built by the Americans. The first primary school was built in Central Buguias. Another was set up in Loo. As these schools offered instructions only from Grade I to IV students who wished to finish Grades V to t VI took these in Kabayan. By 1921, though, the Buguias Central Elementary School had complete offering of elementary education from Grades I to VII; by 1924, Loo Elementary School followed suit. To popularize the American public education system leaders or the other barrios were advised by the Americans to build additional schools. Moreover, all parents were asked to bring their children to school. Barrio leaders and policemen tracked down children who refuse to attend classes. The attitude of the people towards formal education during the early decades of American colonialism was generally not appreciative. Some parents sent only their sons to school and kept the daughters to help in the kaingin in the belief that it would be useless for girls to study; still others chose to evacuate to the forests in order to avoid sending their children to school. For these reasons most of the children of the native leaders and babaknang. Some of them who later on would serve the government either as municipal officials or teachers are Basilio Tumpap, Sr. and Ben Almora. Tumpap of the Basilio or Cubangay line finished his primary grades in Buguias, went to Kabayan for his intermediate elementary years, and finished high school at the Mt. Provincial High School in Baguio. Right after graduation and being the first Igorot in the municipality to be educated, he was taken in as municipal secretary in 1914-1916 in Buguias.


It is recalled by Pio Toyaoan and Silvino Patawang that sometime in 1941 at the eve of Japanese occupation in the Philippines the Philippine Constabulary and Army issued out an order for all males of twenty-one years and over to see their respective town mayor for enlistment in army training. Sent to the lowlands for a sixth-month training period, the volunteers from Benguet, including those from Buguias, alter come to be known as the “Bolomen”. The “Bolomen” were organized to help the regular civil home defense army in the barrios, in preparation for the Japanese attacks.

The people of Loo noticed by then planes flying over the valley, causing t people to cease from their farming activities. About a week later, On December 8, 1941, John Hay Air Base was bombed by the Japanese Imperial Army.

The outbreak of the war forced Buguias students at La Trinidad to come and be with their families in evacuating from their residents. The natives disperse towards Baogan, Ahin, Tococan, Tinek and Bakun. Roads and bridges were blasted by the Philippine Constabulary and Army to delay the arrival of the Japanese Army to the Mountain Trail. From the sawmills and the mines the Americans also evacuated. Not long after the Japanese military had taken over the Philippine Government and eventually reached the Cordilleras. They rebuilt the roads and bridges, using bulldozers and trucks to reopen the roads. Abatan was reached in January 1942, but the soldiers found no people there.

In Buguias the Japanese soldiers through the captured natives encouraged everyone to return home and go back to their normal activities. A camp and garrison was meanwhile built in Abatan. The mines and sawmills were taken over a week later and operations were resumed. Finding no people from whom they could ask for food, the Japanese soldiers had to shoot down the pigs and cows. Not long afterwards the evacuees began coming out; shortly thereafter they went back to work in the mines, the sawmill, roads and the gardens, this time under Japanese supervision. Former Japanese mechanics who served during the American period turned out to be members of the Japanese Imperial Army. Filipino civilians still in hiding were brought out from hiding by the same Japanese sawmill employees.

The Japanese reorganized the government from 1942 to 1945. Under the Japanese Military Government of the Philippines the municipal government in Buguias was headed by Ben Almora as appointed Mayor from November 1942 to January 1943, with Alejandro Igualdo as municipal secretary. The other natives who served as mayor up to 1946 are the following:

Nov. 1942 – Jan. 1943 Mr. Ben Almora – mayor appointed by the Japanese Military Government of the Philippines – no vice-mayor
Feb. 1943 – April 1943 Mr. Julian Calion – no vice-president – appointed by the people in the community in time of war
May 1943 – 1944 Mr. Paskial Jacinto Olsim – from Namanbaneng – was also appointed during the Japanese Government by the civilian people to lead the community
Jan. 1945 – Aug. 1945 Mr. Legmayo Butag – No vice-mayor – appointed by the  people
Sept. 1945 – Feb. 1946 Mr. Berto Cubangay – no vice-mayor – all mayors on war time had no vice-mayors

The Japanese Military Government swiftly undertook the task of bringing back Buguias life to normalcy. Schools were reopened under Filipino teachers who were supervised and paid by the government. Japanese teachers were also appointed to teach Nippongo. On Christmas the soldiers distributed gifts to all teachers as well as employees of the mines and sawmill to ensure continued support for the government.

Business was also allowed by the Kempetai or the military government. Permits were given for this purpose so that businessmen will not be mistaken for spies or guerillas of the Filipino-American army. People with permits like Pio Toyaoan, informant on the period, traded within Buguias and in Mankayan and Cervantes for pigs, cows and carabaos which were butchered and sold to the miners, sawmill workers, and the Japanese army. One head of cattle cost 500.00 to 700.00 then, in Japanese paper money commonly referred to as the “Yap-yap” Japanese currency. The movement of traders were strictly checked by the soldiers though so that entry into and exit from Buguias and Lepanto were well-monitored.

In agriculture the Japanese army encouraged all civilians to plant camote, gabi and rice not only for their own consumption but also for limited trade with the Japanese workers and employees in the mines and sawmill. Vegetable gardening was discontinued for some time; staple foods were the only ones encouraged for cultivation, and natives were paid handsomely for the root crops and grains that the period for camote, rice and gabi. Animal-domestication was also encouraged, but the civilian natives were wise enough to secretly bring most of their products to the guerillas that were then on Mt. Utopia in Kapangan.

The natives who joined the “Bolomen” were meanwhile organized under Bado Dangwa and Dennis Molintas, Sr. as the 66th Infantry with four companies: the “M” company commanded by Lt. Baroy Bestre for Buguias, Kabayan and Bokod; the “I” company under the charge of Dalupirip of Itogon and Tuba; the “L” company for Mankayan, Bakun and Kibungan; and the “K” company for Kapangan, La Trinidad and Sablan. Widely supported by the civilians despite the activities of Japanese and a few civilian spies of the native soldiers were only bidding time before they launch their operations against the Japanese. By the latter part of 1944 the 66thinfantry received a letter from Gen. Douglas MacArthur notifying them of planned attack against the Japanese. By this time the native soldiers started receiving ammunitions, while the civilian population was advised to begin evacuation gradually. Hence, by January 1945 when the resident of Buguias had already left the area the guerillas began launching ambushes on Japanese soldiers. It was during this time that the Japanese soldiers also began treating the natives badly for they realized that the civilians were conniving with the guerillas. So recalled by Lestino Bestre and Teodoro Maliones the Japanese began killing civilians and even ate human flesh for food – as what happened to Tanglobi, his sister, Mrs. Becaren of Loo, and Dolimen of Buguias Central. Some of the group leaders earlier organized the Japanese: Daoines Awal, Mariano Almora, Alejandro Monang and Valentin Pago. American soldiers followed the  Japanese from Baguio to Buguias and toward Ifugao where Yamashita’s group was believed to have escaped too, while other USAFE forces passed through Besang Pass towards Lepanto and then to Abatan. One by one the Japanese camps at Sinipsip Bayoyo, Central Buguias, Pilando, Lengaoan, Abatan, Badayan, Bot-oan, Loo, Kitongan and Lepanto were captured. July and August 1945 are today remembered as the most war-torn months in Buguias. By September 23 a ceasefire was issued as the Japanese from Tocucan, Ahin and Tinek began to surrender in Abatan from where the Japanese soldiers were transported towards Baguio. It took a while before Yamashita, who was hiding in the Buguias-Ifugao mountain area, to surrender; American planes had to drop leaflets and printed copies of Hiroshito’s letter of surrender before he finally gave in. It is recalled by informants that Yamashita and his forces marched from Mt. Napalaoan to Kiangan central where he surrendered and passed through Bot-oan, Badayan and Abatan, heavily escorted by Filipino troopers and a helicopter. Life in Buguias in the three heaviest months of fighting was generally hard such that the military government distributed K-rations to civilians. Reconstruction and rehabilitation after the war, however, was to ensue not long after.






Theories on Peopling and Migration Patterns Based on Myths, Legends and Family History.

A very common story of origin in Buguias nowadays tells that in the beginning the world was round. It kept on turning and turning until one of it became so heavy and fell: the heavy portion has been called Earth; the lighter portion became the Sky.

The Earth was flat in the beginning. Kabunyan thought of creating people and animals to live on it. On the first day He created people; on the second, animals of all kinds; trees were made on the third day; fire was created on the fifth; on the sixth the water creatures were made; then Kabunyan rested on the seventh. There was yet no nighttime then, so people kept on roaming around. When Kabunyan saw this he turned the daytime into nighttime, yet people still kept on roaming around. He thought that this would stop if He divided the day equally into daytime and nighttime so this he did, but people still did not know where to stay put. Failing in this Kabunyan then thought of flooding the earth so all people died. At Mt. Kalawitan, however, a brother and sister sought refuge.

Kabunyan observed that the couple was unhappy, so he came down at Mt. Kalawitan to make them happy. He showed and gave them different animals but still both were unhappy. Next, he gave them all kinds of plants and fruit trees, but still, nothing changed. So Kabunyan, being so wise and good, blessed them to marry each other, and he saw that the couple became happy. When the couple bore many children, the children spread around Mt. Kalawitan. Some went to Banao, Namiligan, Kayan, Bauko, Kiangan, Ifugao, Ahin, Tinek, Buguias, Mankayan, Bakun, Kabayan and other surrounding areas. The children who went to Mankayan, Buguias, Bakun, Banao and Namiligan are now known as the Kankana-ey group. Those who went to Ahin, Tinek, Amlimay and Vizcaya are the Kalangoyas. Those who went to Kabayan, Bokod and Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya are the Ibalois. Of these migrations, Tinek, Ahin and Namiligan, the areas nearest to Mt. Kalawitan, were the places settled in by the earliest generations.

From this mythical story on the beginnings of the mountain people it is believed that the descendants who went to Miligan (Namiligan), Banao, Ahin, Tinek and Vizcaya are the people who migrated farther to Buguias, Mankayan, Bakun, Kabayan, Bokod and the other places nearby. It is furthermore recounted that the major cause of the dispersion of the population towards these areas was the occurrence of small pox epidemic (boltong).

According to a folk story about the migration of the Namiligan people, Namiligan was located almost in-between Inoday and the Pengeo waterfalls which flow along the Abit River where the people of Bontoc fetched water before the Spanish period. It is told that there was then an epidemic of which many people died so that there was then an epidemic of which many people died so that the residents in the area moved away. Some supposedly went down to Lesseb; a place just below Namiligan, while others went to Mankayan, Buguias, Kapangan, Kabayan, Atok and elsewhere.

The movement of people from Tinek to Ambanglo westwards an informant traces to have occurred before the 1300s. From there, the people migrated towards Amlimay and Ampatang (now Central Buguias) as one direction and towards Awa, Sebang and Palatang as another by ht elate 1600s up to late 1700s. The inhabitants of Palatang are believed to have later intermarried with settlers from the north – Banao – and slowly moved towards south to live in Kalagan. With the gradual increase of population, the Kalagan and Palatang people moved down the range of the mountain, followed the creek towards the west, and settled at the foot of the mountain near the valley of Bang-gan (now Loo) by the second half of the 1700s up to the latter part of the 1800s.

The mythical flood, the smallpox epidemic, the pressure of population growth – these have been commonly held as the causes or factors that accounted for the peopling of Buguias as well as for the movement of its earliest inhabitants. While the inhabitants of Palatang, according to common belief, intermarried with settlers from the north later in the 1700s, there is another story which attributes to conflict between ethnic groups as the cause of the migration of the inhabitants of Palatang to nearby areas. As the story also gives us an idea as to what families, some of them presently existing, moved from what place to elsewhere, here is the story in full:


One time in Buguias history, the Ebne tribe from Banao used to trade clay pots to the Lakdeo tribe of Buguias. When the Ebenes were benighted on the place they took refuge in one of the house of the Lakdeos. At that time there was a season for frog hunting for the Lakdeo tribe. They had a catch so plentiful that they ran short of containers, so they took the pots being sold by their visitors and filled these wit frogs. When breakfast was ready, they invited their visitors to partake of the meals ahead of their hosts. After meals, the Ebnes traders proceed to take their pots for their journey and were very surprised later to discover that their things were full of live frogs. “Why were these not served on us during our breakfast?” they asked each other. Enraged by such inhospitality, the visitors told their hosts to wait for them in a few days supposedly to call in their fellows from Banao and settle this dispute. But the Lakdeo tribe became very fearful that as soon as the Ebne traders left, each family sought refuge in neighboring towns. Others found themselves to Amlimay, Lut-ac, Batan, Tadeo, Naduklan and other places.

As recounted by Lolong Tinda-an Paksil, five families came to Buguias, specifically to Buyacaoan. These five families were identified as the Kagkagans and the Abags’; and the now Binay-ans’ and the Baliwawas’. The former proceeded to Palina, Kibungan and the latter to Ayosip, Bakun. Meanwhile, the Binay-ans’ and the Baliwawas’ were left behind at Buyacaoan.

Those who went to Bakun begot children in the family of Kilao, a certain wife of Kulop, a certain wife of Sakito, Dogaui, a wife of Odoc but later returned just the same to Kabuguiasan.

The Kagkagan’s son (Palayao is the name of the person) also returned to Buguias. The Binay-ans’ children are now the Paitans descendants, the Ganawads’, Galaps’, Logispis’, Garcias’ and the Yagyagans’, Moises’, Motik and the Towengs’. The Almora, Tilang, Kulap, Damya, Sapa-ay and Kosipas on the other hand, trace their common ancestors to those of the Lakdeo emigrants.

While it is impossible as yet to determine the exact significance of these stories in the early history of the area we can estimate, on the basis of family histories, the remembered beginnings of Buguias from as early as the Oyan family which is assumed to be one of those left after the epidemic which could have occurred in the period between the 1200s to the 1700s.

The Oyan family came in the late 1600s as swidden farmers and hunters from Ahin, Tinek – their origin being Namiligan moved towards the southwest, and settled in Ambanglo where they continued planting camote, gabi and millet. Oyan himself resided in Pacawan, it being near his hunting ground. His son Angdew was also a hunter like his father, and took to swidden-farming and domestication of pigs and chickens. It was he who transferred to Ambanglo where he died of old age. The next generation in the Oyan family is distinguished in the history of the earliest settlement area of Ambanglo precisely because it is the generation of the oldest remaining ancestral coffins and burial caves of the area. Talagen, for instance, who was Angdew’s eldest son, is remembered for having been the most intelligent of the children. He was also the one who brought the carabao and the coli into the area in the course of his trade activities with Cervantes. Another son of Angdew, Tocotoc, slowly moved farther down from Ambanglo towards Amlimay and Ambuse, also as a swidden-farmer and a trader. Tocotoc is more known to the people of Amlimay who, today, are taking care of the big jar which he brought from Suyoc as his burial place. Oyan’s great grandson, Ganagan, brought the family line northwards to Sebang, Palatang, Pago and to Banggan where he is remembered for having been a mambonong. In Bang-gan Ganagan also raised pigs and chickens, took to hunting and was also a swidden-farmer.

After the first set of migration form Namiligan came those from Banao in the period between the 1700s and 1800s. A certain Keddagan from Bang-gan who traded with the Banao people got married there but came back to Bang-gan with his family. He brought with him the culture of rice which he learned in Banao, and thus came about the first rice fields in Bang-gan. Later, trade relations of Buguias extended to as far as Mankayan, Bakun, Cervantes, Ilocos, Ahin and Kabayan hence was hastened the movements of people into and out of the area. Buguias, for instance, bartered animals, honey, ginger, tobacco, chicken, pigs, clay pipes and copper pots for those items from the Ilocos such as salt, sugar and blankets which are brought to Buguias via Mankayan and Bakun. Honey and ginger came mainly from Ahin, while Suyoc was the source for gold ornaments. From all these developments, therefore, it was much faster now for people to look for better places to live in, and more settlement areas arose in Buguias.

Towards the end of the 1700s a third factor hastened the process of migration when the “busol” form the northeast – from Palatang – became active and caused the evacuation of the people to as far as Kapangan, Bakun, Palina, Kibungan and even Vizcaya. The prevalence of the activities of the “busol” has always been identified with the period of Gimboan who married into the line of Oyan’s descendants in Kalagan and who settled in Palatang. Gimboan is assumed to be the ancestor of Samiklay who is nowadays more remembered than the former because his generation is more recent. While the story about Gimboan is commonly accepted nowadays as a credible factor for the dispersal of nearby communities towards other areas, no accounts from the family histories, however, could establish the exact significance of the “busol” menace from Palatang. There is an old story, however, that is known to the Buguias people to explain a possible origin of the busol “menace” which runs like this:


There was a man from Banao whose name was Cabisang who married in Lub-ong (Lubon, Tadian). He settled there with his wife and they were blessed with three or five children (informant was not sure of the number of children). When the wife died, he went back to Banao with his children. There was famine (betel) all over the land and the brothers-in-law of Cabisang asked him to go to Lubon to take some palay so that he can feed him to go to Lubon to take come palay so that he can feed his children. Upon learning about it, he waited for the day he would be told to go, when it came, he immediately took his “gimata” (two big baskets suspended on both ends of a wood) and proceeded to Lubon. When he reached Lubon, his brothers-in-law met him, inform him that they were having their “pakde” (a thanksgiving ritual for harvest) and so they could not give him any palay since it is against their customs and traditions, so they sent him back and asked him to return on the day they told him to. When Cabisang started for home, his brothers-in-law ordered some men ahead to wait Cabisang on the way so as to kill him. When Cabisang rested while he was cleaning the clothe lices in his garment it so happened that he returned his back and he saw somebody holding a sharp thing ready to attack him. Because of fear that they will kill him, he ran until he reached Tadian. He entered the house of Balucan, a rich man of the place but when Balucan noticed him, he took the two steel bars to prevent Cabisang from entering.

Since he knew that the attackers could find him and he would be killed, he pulled his two gold earrings (dinampulay) and put these into his mouth. There were many men who came with their sharp arms and murdered him. The people of Banao heard about the incident and they knew that it was Cabisang, their town mate. Most of his relatives came top claim his body and concluded that it was a conspiracy among the people to kill Cabisang. When the oldest man touched the head of Cabisang saying that he might be destined to that kind of death while touching the head the mouth of dead Cabisang opened his mouth and there came out the two gold earrings (dinampulay). The people watching were so surprised as to why he thought of putting his gold earring into his mouth when he knew he would be killed. While on their way home, they passed by Lubon where they took Atingbayongan, a rich old man, and killed him as their revenge.

Early Society and Culture


Remembered accounts about settled areas in Buguias in the pre-historic period indicate that these were basically agricultural and trading communities. While the generation of Oyan in the late 1600s already consisted of swidden-farming, hunting and animal-raising members especially in Pacawan and Ambanglo, the raising of gabi, millet and camote was the main source of food, with hunting of birds, pigs, chicken and dogs providing for the protein requirements. Hunting of bird particularly near the general area of Awa was an important activity in the olden times for which reason Buguias, unlike the Kankana-ey areas of Bakun and Mankayan, devoted the period approximating September to December as a time for trapping birds in the evening with the use of fire.

Land was initially free for any interested camote, gabi, or millet planter. Rice culture was not yet developed by the 1600s as evidence in the use of corn for making wine that was necessary in the performance of ceremonies in Ambanlong and Awa. It is furthermore recounted that the use of corn wine extended even to Tinek and Ahin until rice wine was introduced in Amlimay whose rice culture is believed to have been acquired form Kabayan through trade. In the process the Buguias natives developed its rice agriculture especially in the area of Amlimay. Rice was planted from the time of the “tigweg” or the sowing of seeds up to the “luya” and “lebteng”.

Meanwhile, the domestication of pigs, chicken and dogs in this early period was already being done, although in a limited scale as yet. The general area of Awa remained a rich hunting ground for deer and birds, while the more adventurous game-seekers reached as far as the forests of present-day Mankayan where, it is believed, copper was discovered one day by two hunters from who pursued a deer. By the 1750s, contemporaneous with the period of the brothers Talagan, Tocatoc and Gatawa, the domestication of animals, especially now of carabao became more intensive particularly among these descendants of Oyan who became cañao holders. Moreso, trade had gradually become an important economic activity in itself, the extent of which reached as far as Cervantes from where had come the first carabao and “oli” jar of Ambanglo. A century later, trade and the domestication of not only carabaos but even cows significantly drew Buguias closer to the surrounding communities, extending to those along the Agno up to Kabayan and Kapangan and, eastwards, up to as far as Tinek, Ahin, and Hungduan.

In the olden days the people of Ahin, Tinek, Tococan and Ambanglo traded with those of Awa, Sebang, Amlimay, Buguias, Tangawan, Loo, Banao, Suyoc and Mankayan and vice versa. Item in the barter trade consisted mainly of animals such as pigs, chicken, carabao, cows and horses, blankets such as the tinoto for the men and the petican for the women, salt, sugar, honey, ginger, clay pipes, copper pots, gold and gold ornaments.

It has been noted that there was no common market then wherein people from all directions could conduct their exchanges. Instead, anybody who wished to barter his goods, especially blankets, for something else went around the settled areas to show samples of his goods among the people. Potential buyers signified their interest with a pronouncement of “Bot-o-an tako” (let’s have a business transaction), and they may make arrangements with the trader as to when and where the actual transaction would take place. In making the arrangements for the actual exchange a system of reckoning days was devised: each of the two parties made on any part on their G-string as many square knots as the days of waiting. For example, if they were to meet three days after initial parting, each of the two parties made three square knots in the G-string. When they both go home to prepare for the meeting then both will just count the knots with the passing of each day, the first knot for the first day, the second for the second day, and the third for the meeting day. On the other hand, those who wished to forego with this arrangement, because of immediate need as in wedding celebrations or death rituals just go around the community where people raised animals as in Buguias, or rice as in Kabayan, or cows as in Cervantes and got the goods right then and there. Nonetheless two areas in Buguias stood out as market centers because they were points of convergence: Abatan for the trade in jars, blankets, gold, carabaos, cows and horses from Cervantes, Mankayan, Banao and Lagod (now Bakun) and Bot-oan for the smaller animals like the pigs and chicken, vinegar, ginger, salt and honey from the Ifugao side.

In the development of trade as an important economic activity blanket, jars and the bigger animals were sold only among the wealthier families for use in the performance of ceremonies. Initially as it is remembered, the men, rich and poor alike commonly used the tinoto from the bark of a tree for their G-string, while the woman wore the petican-anadong, also from’ the bark of a tree, to cover just the most important parts of the body. Blankets were not used for clothing purposes except during the observance of rituals. Later, when the surrounding places like Mankayan, Bakun, Banao, Ifugao and Kabayan traded more intensively with Buguias, the bandala (Ilocano woven blanket) was gradually used for clothing purposes, yet this was still limited to the babacnang who had the animals to exchange with the blanket. Meanwhile, the poor continued to wear the tinoto and the petican.

  1. At a time when animals became the most important trade item around the early 1800s the exchange value of goods could be shown in the following examples: one big-sized male pig (one otic) and one big-sized female pig (one ca-ong) plus the worth of 5.00 pesos could buy one regular-sized cow or one horse, while one working carabao could be purchased with one otic, one ca-ong, and a third regular-sized pig, either male or female.
  2. From the cows, carabaos and horses traded by the lowlanders with the highlanders began the large-scale domestication of these animals in Buguias and, related to it, the practice of solbeg in animal-raising. In the first decades of the 1800s Dacale (Oyan’s descendant) and Bayangan are said to have owned most of the animals that could be found in the cattle ranch at Mangkew. The period of Dacale is well-remembered by the people of Buguias not only because it was the time when most of the villagers, especially Dacale’s neighbors, came to acquire animals of their own through the solbeg, or animal-sharing which Dacale resorted to so as to share his good fortune with others.
  3. The solbeg is the sharing system in animal-raising. It had been a common practice among Kankana-eys, Kalangoyas and Ibalois alike since traditional times in Buguias. Through it the poor people are allowed the chance of improving their economic life. Through it, too, the animal-lenders could further their wealth. On other occasions the poor people were forced by circumstance to borrow animals for use during wedding and death ceremonies. There were several ways by which the solbeg was done:

While Dacale’s sons Siclongen and Basilio as well as his grandson Dangol Cubangay, inherited the cattle in the Mangkew ranch it was Meyengmeng, Dacale’s grandson-in-law, who stood out among this baknang clan as the most kadangyan, as he was regarded by the people from Amlimay, Gueweng and Central Buguias. It has been noted that the line of his cows, when being driven home from Saclaran to Gueweng, measured approximately four kilometers long. Mayengmeng’s highest cañao, as remembered by the people of Amlimay and Buguias, was twenty-five pigs and cows. Meyengmeng it was, too, whose burial ceremonies together with his wife Koyat’s lasted for some eight months in Gueweng, or starting from the time when the same were as big as the mother – as the old folks say it. While cows are believed to have arrived in Buguias much earlier than this period, it was during Mayengmeng’s time, however, when ownership of great number of cattle became the measure of one’s baknang status is society.

It would seem like becoming a baknang was not all together a hard process for the parents themselves shared their animals with their children for propagation and even provided for the animals needed in their initial cañaos. With the solbeg, becoming a baknang could begin from having three to four beg, becoming a baknang could begin from having three to four pigs. After two to three years of conscientious work a baknang could even become a kadangyan, as was the case with Talagen and Tocotoc, Cadyas, Pal-lay, Dacsoy, Dacale and Siclongen.

Buguias by mid-1800s had definitely developed clear class distinctions between the poor and the rich, with animal ownership as the primarily distinguishing economic factor, decisive as it is in assuring for the rich and respected family the community distinction of being able to affirm leadership through cañao celebrations. When further encouraged, by increased trade and the practice of solbeg, animal ownership became a gauge for prestige and respect in the community.