2.Cultural and Religious Development

The ancient Indigenous People of Buguias believed in God Almighty - Kabunian. Mr. Martin Lewis in his book, “Religion in Modern Buguias,” stated: “the pivot of Pagan thought and practice in Buguias is the capturing of luck through ritual. Fate is believed to be in the hands of the ancestors, who bestow it differentially upon the living in accordance with the rectitude of the latter’s propitiations. This tenet has, if anything, been strengthened by the transition to commercial agriculture, entailing as it does a continuous gamble.” However, some elders and leaders of Buguias claimed that the indigenous peoples’ belief in Kabunian and ancestor worship is not paganism, but more appropriately, animism, which carried a deep respect for nature and the spirit of the dead.

Christianity was introduced in Buguias through the Spanish missionaries. However, little progress was made in Benguet, in part because “Nuevo Christianos” were obliged to pay higher tributes. Catholic priests did mission work in several large villages, but they ignored Buguias because the dispersed settlement pattern made missionary work difficult (M. Lewis). According to local Christians, American proselytizers also bypassed Buguias, because the new colonists rushed to convert the headhunting peoples of the north.

Only after the war did Christian missionaries arrive in the village. In the early postwar years, the Catholic Church greatly increased its missionary activity in Benguet. Following a pattern established in the American period, Flemish priests staffed most new missions. In thoroughly non-Christian areas, such as Buguias, newly arrived priests sought to understand indigenous beliefs, attending local rituals for a time. Such activities were suspended in the 1950s, following the establishment of a Catholic Church and a high school in Abatan (San Isidro High School). A satellite church soon followed in Buguias, where the Abatan-based priest would visit for monthly masses.

Shortly after the war, Protestant missionaries also arrived. The Jehovah’s Witnesses had early successes along the Mountain Trail after American missionaries reach Natubleng in 1948. When converted laborers returned from the Natubleng farms to their home village, the religion spread. The mainstream Protestant churches began to proselytize in greater Buguias a few years later. They spread in a geographically discontinuous pattern, each church assigning missionaries to a few specific villages. The Assembly of God, locally known as the Pentecost, established a firm base in Buguias. The Wesleyans set up outposts to the north and south, and the Anglicans attracted a strong following in Loo. The Lutherans built a hospital in Abatan but made few converts in the region. Conversion often followed family lines through the usual congregation of kins, to form a distinctive geography of religious affiliation in present day Buguias

The ancient Indigenous People of Buguias believed in God Almighty - Kabunian. Mr. Martin Lewis in his book, “Religion in Modern Buguias,” stated: “the pivot of Pagan thought and practice in Buguias is the capturing of luck through ritual. Fate is believed to be in the hands of the ancestors, who bestow it differentially upon the living in accordance with the rectitude of the latter’s propitiations. This tenet has, if anything, been strengthened by the transition to commercial agriculture, entailing as it does a continuous gamble.” However, some elders and leaders of Buguias claimed that the indigenous peoples’ belief in Kabunian and ancestor worship is not paganism, but more appropriately, animism, which carried a deep respect for nature and the spirit of the dead.

Christianity was introduced in Buguias through the Spanish missionaries. However, little progress was made in Benguet, in part because “Nuevo Christianos” were obliged to pay higher tributes. Catholic priests did mission work in several large villages, but they ignored Buguias because the dispersed settlement pattern made missionary work difficult (M. Lewis). According to local Christians, American proselytizers also bypassed Buguias, because the new colonists rushed to convert the headhunting peoples of the north.

Only after the war did Christian missionaries arrive in the village. In the early postwar years, the Catholic Church greatly increased its missionary activity in Benguet. Following a pattern established in the American period, Flemish priests staffed most new missions. In thoroughly non-Christian areas, such as Buguias, newly arrived priests sought to understand indigenous beliefs, attending local rituals for a time. Such activities were suspended in the 1950s, following the establishment of a Catholic Church and a high school in Abatan (San Isidro High School). A satellite church soon followed in Buguias, where the Abatan-based priest would visit for monthly masses.

Shortly after the war, Protestant missionaries also arrived. The Jehovah’s Witnesses had early successes along the Mountain Trail after American missionaries reach Natubleng in 1948. When converted laborers returned from the Natubleng farms to their home village, the religion spread. The mainstream Protestant churches began to proselytize in greater Buguias a few years later. They spread in a geographically discontinuous pattern, each church assigning missionaries to a few specific villages. The Assembly of God, locally known as the Pentecost, established a firm base in Buguias. The Wesleyans set up outposts to the north and south, and the Anglicans attracted a strong following in Loo. The Lutherans built a hospital in Abatan but made few converts in the region. Conversion often followed family lines through the usual congregation of kins, to form a distinctive geography of religious affiliation in present day Buguias.