Sablan is the present name of this municipality. Long time ago, the place was covered with thick forest. This place was said to be the resting place and the passing way of the travelers who traded with the lowlanders in San Fernando. The Poblacion at present bears the resting place of the travelers called “Ap-aponan.” The particular resting place was the residence of Mrs. Moya where there was a big “balite” tree that provided good shade to the resting travelers. It lies along the trail from the lowlands to the town of La Trinidad. All travelers made a stop-over in this sitio to spend the night or to feed their horses which were the means of carriage at that time. “Ap-aponan” was selected as a point of stop-over as it lies almost exactly between the lowlands and the town of La Trinidad, the destination of the highlands. This place was inhabited as early as 1800’s.
The first immigration came from Bantay Dozen, Tuba where one of them was Sohow. Because of prejudices of those who were poor, he thought of moving out to find his luck which happened to be in Sablan. They routed through Gallano River, came up to Bayabas and settled in Tengkay, Pappa. He was known to be the first to introduce swidden farming. He started with a small area which was just enough for one individual to work on. The tools they used were brought from Naguilian like bolos, axes and trowels. It was said that the area farmed before were just a stone throw and this can already support their livelihood. The plants planted were camote, gabi, ube, rice and some kind of bananas such as cantong, decosta, tumoc, dippig, sarayan and balatong (bi-it) are also planted. Swidden farming before was easy to maintain which doesn’t need a continuous weeding. Some of these plants were contributed by the travelers from other municipalities. The travelers ate and rested in the “ap-aponan” where they threw their waste and extra food like camote, tugue, etc. in the surroundings. After a period of time, they discovered that they were sprouting vigorously so they transferred and cultured it in the swidden farm. As they grew well and fruits were produced, the farmers propagated these plants in planted it in their kaingin which were fenced to prevent them from wild animals. The people believed that in the last quarter when you plant fruit, it will be their ‘baon’ when they die, and if they plant during full moon (Pengil), the fruits would be consumed by animals such as rats.
One day, there was a farmer who owned an area of swidden farm. He wondered why his plants were destroyed when he visited it and he was surprised because the fences were not destroyed. One night, he guarded his farm. After a while, he saw a wild bear eating the camote plants. The farmer tossed his spear and aimed at the wild boar. In this sight, the wild boar while moving away, it changed into a man carrying a sack of camote. The farmer was surprised and so he put down his spear and moved near him bravely. He asked him why he was getting the camote without asking permission and the man apologized, and promised not to do it again. After that incident, it never happened again.
It was believed before that in fencing, one must or advised not to eat river food, dog meat and chicken. The reasons were: dog is wise to climb; chicken flies over the fence and river food can’t be fenced because it creeps.
It was a surprise to the farmers, that when they planted rice, fifty (50) bundles (tan-ay) of palay were produced per one hectare of swidden farm, but they don’t even them. They were contented with root crops and tops (leaves) as their viand and the soup of the cooked camote were used for their coffee. They also hunt for wild animals since hunting was a diversified occupation during the early times. It was also a custom for them to make rice wine and sometimes sell them for twenty-five centavos for a medium jar. Rice was only served for their visitors which showed their warm hospitality.
They believed that God was living and can communicate with people, only he appeared in different ways. Old folks said that he came here on earth to judge people and gave luck to those who deserved it.
There was a man named Tomas and a woman named Dugay. Tomas owned a wide area of swidden ricefields and Dugay had a small area. During harvest time, there was an old woman who wanted to work with Tomas but he rejected her because she was weak and besides, he didn’t want to give her an extra share. The old woman went to Dugay, but she said that there’s no need for a helper for it can be done by her alone for it is a small area. But with pity she accepted the old woman. Dugay noticed that the old woman harvested slowly but as she piled the palay, it was plenty. Dugay was surprised and wondered why they harvested more palay than Tomas had gathered.
As the harvest went on, Dugay even hired Tomas and gave him his share more than he did. The old woman took only a hand grasp of palay and left the harvest for them to continue. After the harvest, Dugay became rich and performed a cañao.
The trading center was formerly in San Fernando and later in Naguilian which was nearer to the highlands. The exchange was purely a barter system till there was medium of exchange such as money, rattan, bees wax, dried meat of wild animals which were the ones being brought their products such as dogs, cows, pigs, cloth, etc. which they exchanged with the Igorots.
The wife of Sohow, Shamoning who was from Ambuclao, Bokod, came to Sablan as poor woman. She had chosen Sablan as a place to work as a laborer for it is near San Fernando and she longed to five centavos a day. For a short period of time, they lived together as husband and wife. She was said to be a “manbunong” since she performed the ceremony during their own “peshit”.
A pregnant woman who was looking for her “sanggap” (trowel) in her farm to clear the farm could not find it. She saw a path of “attoros” and they said: “Oh, see, this is your tool”. The woman gave birth and the “attoros” wanted to eat the baby. The mother begged from them to spare her child and said, “Don’t eat the boy because when he (Pedro) grows big, he will hunt for you.”
Pedro grew older and his mother instructed him not to kill wild boars because one of them was his father. She also told the story of “attoros” and never hunt for them. The “attoros” got tired of waiting so they decided to have Pedro for noon meal and the mother for supper.
Pedro and his mother prepared for them. While the mother stayed at home, Pedro sharpened his bolo and axe for the attack. When the “attoros” chased them, the mother climbed the “balite” tree followed by Pedro. He cut the wild vine before the “attoros” could climb. So the “attoros” called, “if you go home, you’ll have to gather all your tools.” This was why today, there is a cañao where garden tools like trowels, axes, bolos and knives are placed in a “bigao” (wean owner) and offered during the cañao called “Usil or Aspul”. This “Usil of Aspul” is performed by the person who was said to be chased or attacked by an “attoros” and gets sick.
Sohow and his wife were blessed with five children. All of them settled originally in Pappa but some of them moved to other places to seek for a better living. Kulting, the eldest son went to Bayabas and lived there permanently because tax was imposed. He became the leader of the place because he was feared by the Ilocanos and he was brave and knew how to speak Ilocano and can defend himself. However, when he gambled and lost 10.00 (ten pesos), his wife scolded him. He admitted his guilt deeply that he hanged himself.
The disappearance of wild life and the continue making of kaingin resulted in the baldness of mountains and caused the shallow flow of water in the river.
Shadin, also a sister, settled permanently in Bayabas. She was married to Nab-us who originally settled in Loakan. They had swidden farming as usual. All of them (brothers and sisters) performed peshit except Kulting who died early. Shadin and Nab-us were blessed with four children and one of them is Akia who had been a teniente then became a capitan and lastly, a vice-mayor. He was said to be an active politician. He had been acting as a mayor in conferences. He had done things for the benefit of the people. He secured “tulda” as a temporary roof of the destroyed school and made the residence of Mr. James Gamoning, rented for school.
There came also people from Kabayan who settled in Pappa where they met with other tribes. They lived peacefully even though they came from different places.
There was a story that, in the beginning, people were wild. They hid themselves whenever they saw somebody and they never talked to anyone. So God said that people should plant tobacco and use them for smoking. From that time on, people meet and greet each other and ask for light or tobacco to chew or to smoke.
There were four brothers who came from Kabayan and two of them were Kenomes and Semoreng. They settled in Pappa. While they passed by Sablan going to San Fernando, they found Sablan to be a good place to live. One of their brothers, Pohes, settled in Bagulin, La Union.
Kenomes married Kathera who was from Baguio and a sister of Sioco. They hunted for their living and had swidden farm. They stayed in Pappa permanently and they were one of those who were called “namshit”. They had children and their neighbors were Basilio, Pataras and some others. Pappa was then the center of settlement and most of the settlers in this place performed peshit.
One time, a person asked his neighbor to do something like getting firewood and fetch water for him. And the latter would say: “why do you send me, I am also rich.”Nobody like to get stone for the “shakedan” (stone stand), so they used the hoof of animals and instead of firewood, they used fats of animals as fuel. They used blood as water for soup. There’s no need to work hard to obtain such, so God created poor and rich, so there was the “baga-an”, who did the work for the rich.
Cañao was a usual practice and it was here where young and old people met and get acquainted with each other. This occasion was the entertainment among the old folks. The young ones were not allowed to interfere in their conversation. They were just scolded and sent to fetch water.
One time, there was a boy and a girl who are orphans named Kabigat and Baglaw. When there was a cañao and it’s time to eat, the people just place animal fats to the mouth of the two children and say they finished eating. This was done many times. For the third time, the two orphans refused to go to the cañao because they will just get hungry again. Instead, they went to catch fish in the river. When they reached the river, they met an old woman. She asked them where they are going in spite of the cañao. The two orphans told the whole story and the woman said, “let us fight, if you win, I believe that you are telling the truth but if you lost, you are lying.” The two orphans won.
So the old woman said, “Go home and make coop for chickens, second, a pig pen and third, make fence for cows carabaos and horses.” They did what they were told. Then she said, “Get a blanket and cover yourselves. Call first the pigs and say “Yong”. They shouted “Yong” and pigs went inside the pig pens. When they opened the blanket, those that were not able to enter went to the jungle and become wild boars. Next was the carabao, they did the same thing and called “Asin”. The carabaos came and because they were surprised, they looked out of their blanket. Those that were not able to enter, went to the jungle and became wild called the tamaraw. This is done also with the cows using the same procedure. Those that went to the jungle became the “Mahagvas” or the wild deer and so with the horses.
Then the old woman said, “Now that you are rich, butcher a pig and celebrate to satisfy the hunger of your neighbors in order to have your wealth remain.
Kenomes and Simoreng when they died were seated on a chair. Sitting them on a chair after death was believed that their succeeding children will live longer and sit until they become old. This showed that now that it is not done, people die early. The successor of Kenomes and Simoreng grew also in Pappa. One of them was Tomino who was married to his cousin. They were swidden farmers and raised pigs. They also performed peshit.
Their children moved to other places and one of them was Sito who went to Kidpol then to Poblacion. Sito was married to Vicenta from Bineng, La Trinidad. He worked in Baguio where they pulled lumber with the use of carabao. Later, they had swidden farm and raised cattles and carabaos as share system until they were able to raise their own animals which produced as much as 500 cattles.
In the Triple “B” side, it was foretold that Cadmili who was from Kibungan came to Balluay in an incident where one time, her “baro” or clothes was taken by an eagle. She followed it until the eagle landed on top so she gathered the people and told them to cut the tree. Wherever the tree points, when it fell down, she will follow the direction. When the tree was cut, the tree pointed toward the west and she followed it until she reached Balluay.
According to the informants, the Ibalois of Triple “B” – Bagong, Balluay and Banengbeng, came from Palaypay and Darow. Also from Betwag, Tuel, Tublay. Balluay was named first and then Banengbeng. It was just in the modern period of the 1960’s that Balluay was divided adding a barrio of Bagong which was formerly a sitio. Triple “B” was once a part of La Union including Kamog and some part of Pappa. When La Union started the paying of taxes, people transferred to Benguet because taxation was cheap. The immigrants came here as hunters which was their way of living.
One day, there was a hunter who shot a big wild boar with a spear which was pricked inside. The boar still managed to run and the hunter followed it to deep well. The hunter asked favor from his companion to tie him and dip him down. To his surprise, there was no deep water but saw an old woman and said, “It’s too bad, and this is my son you speared.” The boar turned into a man. Then the old woman said, “Better go out and if my son dies, you will also die.” The hunter was pulled out by his companions and he told the story. After he related the story, he died.
It was told by the informants that the first inhabitant of Balluay was Kelwagan, who had plenty of cattles and didn’t know the number of cattles he had. This old was not taking a bath. He just went out under the sun and call for his cattles in the morning. He removed his clothes and let the cattles lick his body. What he did was to call for children and gave them call or whatever.
The travelers who passed by the place notice that “Balat” or banana was grown abundantly and fed their horses with “Pauay” (forage) that grew wild along the place. This combining the syllabus of Balat and Pauay makes Balluay.
Alatang was the former name of Banengbeng. There were passers-by who came from distant places going to Naguilian. On their way they always heard the “manbanbanengbeng” because the people from this place usually had cañao so they called the place Banengbeng. Formerly, Banengbeng was a part of La Trinidad which had been pulled by Binay-an, Luis and Nab-us of Bineng.
As a sitio, Bagong was originally settled by Dupog, who was buried in a cave called “Koros” in Bagong.
This was a story of an informant, that long time ago, the whole place was plain which leveled with Mount Pukgong who settled here were confused that whenever they went out of their house, they didn’t know the place they are going because it was almost the same and there were no distinguishing marks. So God decided to change the form of the land. The other half sank and a mountain was created so it was easy for the people to locate the place they are going.