1. TYPE OF OWNERSHIP:
As early settlers in Benget ( what is now referred to as Trinidad) roamed freely and engaged in agricultural production, schemes of land ownership then was characterized as communal and/or private property.
Wooded areas (akat – alas) serving as watersheds and sources of firewood (pengiewan) lumber, roofing materials (dema), hunting grounds (anufan), irrigation lines (ada-an), domestic water source (asolan), were common properties.
Staking of private ownership over home lots (nanbaleyan), pasturelands (pastolan), swidden farms (uma), and rice fields (payew), was originally through open occupation. Ownership (eman ko, eman sha) of these types of land use was based from priority of occupation and duration of use – which may or may not be permanent.
Tradition has it that while the area is occupied, no one is allowed to occupy or till the land other than the current occupant or user. Thus, it was then common to refer to the area as owned by the present occupant/tiller/rancher. When the area becomes non-productive in later years and the present owner finds a more productive area and abandons the previous area for “greener pastures”, the former property he left behind may be left open to occupation by succeeding occupants who are usually kin or close relatives.
Wide tracts of land were maintained and privately owned by the bacnang (wealthy) who were capable of maintaining a number of bagaen or “those ordered around and usually adopted by the head of the family. These bagaen were usually the poorer kin or individuals brought into the household/community by way of barter with valuables such as heads of cattle or blankets. It is said that most bagaen were usually claimed from places close to the sea coast. These bagaen tended the bacnang’s crops and animals.
Though the community was blessed with nature’s bounty, yielding subsistence necessities to villagers, still the people were seldom idle, but were tirelessly engaged in agricultural activities such as raising animals which they traded in the outlaying sea coast communities. They grew rice in the rice paddies on the valley floor or terraced rice fields along mountain sides and along river beds or grew root crops and vegetables in their swidden farms.
2. MODES OF ACQUISITION/TRANSFER
Tawid – The property of husband and wife follows the bloodline. In case the couple are childless, the person who takes care of them or spends for the burial will inherit the property of the deceased. Among the Ibaloys, properties are not inherited until the death of the owners although the children can make use or work the land.
There was no other way a person could own land except through the tawid system. Communal use of uma, alkat, pastolan, pangeiwan and asulan was practiced by the early Ibaloys.
Among the Ibaloys, the first to occupy and work the land was usually the owner and even if he left it to fallow, he could always return to work that piece of land. The pasture land was not claimed by anybody and could be used by all. When it came to the rice field, the last child generally had a wider share but the house became common property.
Accumulated wealth such as vast landholdings and animals were bequeathed to heirs after the death of the owner to children and grandchildren through tawid (inheritance). Sometimes, the hardworking bagaen are also given parcels of land. Written documents regarding inheritance were unthinkable among our unlettered ancestors, yet by tradition, villagers were simply made aware of the transfer of property and they highly respected the property rights of the heirs. Manifestation of gratitude by heirs over the inheritance is usually done when good produce is obtained, thus, obligating the heir to hold a canao where intentions of gratitude in a ritual are done. The affair is offered to the dead benefactor where the spirit of the dead is invoked in a ritual to partake in the affair.