Most people lived near the creeks where water was abundant. A family may have two houses: the apa and agamang. The apa was a little house made of cogon, sticks, wood and vines. This served as a kitchen, dining room as well as sleeping room for the husband and wife. The agamang is the bigger house of the family where foodstuff was stored. It also served as the sleeping room for the family. It provided better protection in cases of danger like enemy attacks and roaming wild animals from the forest. The materials used in the building the agamang were selected from the hard wood, specially the post and flooring of the house.

The abong is a little house built in the farm, to serve as resting place or to shelter from the sum during summer and from the rain during the rainy season. During harvesting time, the crops were first stored in the abong until all the crops were dried. These were then brought to the owner’s house. The abong is temporary shelter for the family while staying in the farm.


The people of old were the tinuto (bark-cloth) from the bark of latbang and the balacbac tree. These were the sources of their clothing aside from other materials from the forest. The men use g-string which were tied between the legs and around the wrist, while women wore their dresses – a piece of cloth tied around the waist. The upper portion of the women’s body was left bare.

In preparing the tinuto bark of the latbang tree or the balacbac tree, first of all, the tree is cut and the bark removed and soaked in water from four to ten days. After soaking, this was smashed with a piece of wood until the bark is soft and ready to be dried. After drying, it was ready for sewing and use.

Other sources of clothing were the fur of the wild cat called mosang. The people hunt these wild animals and collected the fur. These were dried then sewed together for clothing. This animal skin was mostly worn by the little ones for greater comfort.

Later, the people began to use eten (tapis in Ilocano) woven cloth and the men began to use g-string made of woven cloth.


Both men and women wore tattoes on their forehead and arms. Tattoes indicated bravery. Tattoes also served as protection from diseases. They also served to beautify women and enhance the manliness of the males.


Tools and Utensils

The early tools were the bal-ak or gayang – a spear like instrument used as a weapon for protection against wild animals or even men who intruded into the community. Other tools were the dalapdap, a pointed iron with a handle used to till the soil. This tool was particularly used for planting in the kaingin.

The first jars introduced in the place were called the pocao and the potic. The pocao was a jar with plant and flower motifs against a white background while the potic was brown jar with dragon designs at its sides. These jars served as symbols of wealth for the possessor. There were mostly used for fermenting tapuy (rice wine) used during rituals or cañao of the bacnang. The jars were bartered for honeybee, camote and rice with the Chinese traders in La Union.

The gambang is a kind of pot made of copper which came from Mankayan. This was considered a valuable property of the people.

Musical Instruments

Music was important part in the ordinary day to day activities as well as in big celebrations in the community. Musical instruments were rudimentary yet the melody produced by the skillful manipulation of the natives is a unique quality. Among the musical instruments was the pen-pen which was made of a piece of bamboo about two feet long and one inch in diameter. The bamboo is split at the middle from one end to the other and just before the node. The split parts are sharp leaving a wide base from the point of the node becoming thinner towards the end part. The sound is produced from the vibration made as the instrument is played by holding the handle with one hand with striking the end part at the palm of the other hand. This instrument was usually used by women to while away the boredom along the way to the camote patch in the kaingin on going home from the fields.

The awideng was used by a man when he went out to court a lady or when he went out to hunt in the forest. It is made of a piece of metal like iron or bronze. It is about two to three inches long, about one and a half inches wide. The middle portion is cut as illustrated below:

This was played by blowing at the instrument at the same time touching the edges. This process produced a guitar like vibration.

The galdang is made of bamboo which was always played a home as family instrument. This was made of a piece of bamboo two feet long and four inches in diameter. Strings are made from the skin of the same bamboo held in place by string wound tightly at each end. This was played by strumming the strings like a guitar.

The solibao was made wood about four feet long which was hollowed inside. The middle part was wider growing narrower towards both ends. One end was open and covered with dried animal skin. This is played by striking at the skin covering rhythmically. This instrument was always used in cañaos.

The Tallac

“Tallac” is a kind of musical instrument used during cañaos. It is made of light wood called “Bagaybayen.” This musical instrument is usually used during cañao called “Tomo.” Tomo is a cañao for the dead using “Tanapo” Fern as their idol. Pigs are the most preferred animals in this kind of cañao.

Tallac was first musical instruments used during cañaos before the coming of the Chinese to the Philippines. At present, Tallac is rarely used, instead Solibaos and gongs are most preferred during big and small cañaos.