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.