I. GEOGRAPHICAL LOCATION
Bokod is entirely within the Central Cordillera Reservation, mandated by proclamation No. 217 since February 16, 1929. It is found along the southern part of Benguet at approximately 120°40” to 120°50” east longitude and 16°20” north latitude. It is bounded on the north along Kabayan, on the south by Itogon, on the west by Atok and on the east by Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya. Bokod is the second largest municipality of Benguet with a land area of48, 830 hectares to the total land area of 275,258 hectares.
The 57-kilometers concreted and winding road leading to Bokod from Baguio City via Barangay Ambuklao is passable by any type of vehicular transport during the dry season with an average of two hours. However, it may take six to eight hours of rough and bumpy ride interspersed with hiking through mud and wading through some water during the rainy season. It may even take one and a half to two days hike. Typhoon and heavy rains often include landslides resulting to the isolation of the municipality. It could also be reached via the historic Halsema highway and via Buguias-Kabayan. From Manila, Bokod is about 320 kilometers northwards.
II. HISTORIC-GENEALOGICAL BACKGROUND
Early people mostly from the northeast, specially the Tinek (Tinok) culture areas, first settled the first scope and bounds of the present Bokod municipality.
Tinek warriors or hunters founded Daclan. Later, some of their comrades intermarried with the people of Batan (Kabayan) who, by oral accounts, were mostly earlier arrivals from Tinek areas.
Ambuklao was settled by the Ibalois of Kalanguya extract or a mixture from the point of origin near what is known today as modern Kabayan. Later, many of them intermarried with the people of Bisal and Poblacion (the Central Bokod).
The Iowaks who were the relatives of the Domolpos (Tiningdan, Itogon) and Sadipang (now upper eastern Binga, Itogon) peopled sitio Bineng of Bokod-Bisal barangay. From Bineng, the Iowaks spread into the other settlements especially to neighboring Bisal, to Central Bokod, and the eastern flank of the Karao-Ekip belt, getting them culturally “absorbed” in the process since they were the most liberal and non-endogamic of the early Ibokot settlers.
Early Bokod Central was occupied by Tinek descendants too but most of them were third or fourth generation Kalanguyas or Kalanguya-Ibalois whose parents and grandparents had some generation roots in the Amlimay (Buguias); then the second homeland of most Kalanguyas who moved away from Tinek, Benaljan.
In later years, more Kalanguyas left their southern Ifugao homes to settle in Nueva Vizcaya until reaching Carangalaan, Nueva Ecija. In these waves of movement, Palanza (Bila) was founded and so with barangay Pito.
The Ingawaan-speaking people occupied early Karao after an agreement with the Bokod and Daclan villages that they will help in preventing the entry of the busols intothe Bokod territories. The Ikaraos are reputed in history as the descendants of the archers Ituy and Panuypuy; the only tribes not subjugated by the Spaniards in the lowland Magat culture areas.
III. MIGRATION AND SETTLEMENT PATTERN
Traced as the common ancestry origin of the early settlers of most of the barangays in the municipality, particularly Daklan, Tikey, Poblacion and Ambuklao, is Tinek (Tinoc) or Kabayan.
The early people of Nawal are said to originate from the river valley settlements along the Agno River. Meanwhile, Bobok-Bisal’s early settlers were traced to have arrived from the old Ambuklao settlement, the present site of Ambuklao Dam.
For Pito, outlying areas of Ekipi, and Palansa in Bila, its early inhabitants are known to originate from Nueva Vizcaya.
The succeeding settlers of the municipalities were the Karaos and the Kankana-eys. The first group inhabited the community of Karao while Kankana-eys from neighboring northwest communities migrated to Nawal and intermarried with Bokod residents such as the case of Pito.
PRE-SPANISH AND SPANISH PERIOD
Bokod was a small village that existed long before the coming of foreign interventionist. It was known to be forested area that was inhabited by the mountain people depending mostly on its small agricultural produce for livelihood.
According to stories of existing old folks, a man from Tinek named “Ekbot” who, during one of his visits or business trips to Kayapa, a nearby town of Nueva Vizcaya, discovered the agricultural potentiality of this place. “Ekbot” is an Ibaloi word, which means, “hunched backed”.
Due to Ekbot’s commendable achievement, he and the place became popular. His popularity was made known to everyone; hence, they called the small village “the place of Ekbot”.
During the Spanish regime, all towns were required to register as pueblos. Ekbot or Bokot was refined as Bokod in the registration. It was one of the early recognizable pueblos.
Nowadays, “Ekbot” is a term used to portray the inhabitants of the place, which is Bokod. This marked the introduction of new farming methods in the locality.
AMERICAN OCCUPATION (1898 - 1941)
The Creation of the Thirteen Municipalities
The Philippine Commission Act No. 48 dated November 22, 1900 included the local Civil Government in the nineteen township of Benguet. Governance was vested to a president and to a council composed of one representative from each barrio.
As provisions of the executive orders of the American government, land “reserves” were set up in the different municipalities of Benguet. One of which was the setting up of school reserve in Bokod between the years 1911-1912. Afterwards in 1915, township reservation of Bokod was proclaimed.
The creation of the barangays of Bokod was importantly affected by the creation of the present-day municipalities of Benguet in 1920. Abolished townships of Daklan and Ambuklao resulted to its integration as barangays of Bokod.
JAPANESE OCCUPATION/WORLD WAR II (1941-1945)
Breaking of World War II
Bokod was celebrating its town fiesta in December 8, 1941 when Camp John Hay, Baguio City was bombed by the Japanese troops that entered the city. The people perceived this as signal of the breaking of World War. Not long after hearing the news, vehicles loaded with evacuees from Baguio City arrived in the municipality.
Accounts relate that there were about six young Japanese soldiers who stayed in Bokod. They were said to be nonviolent and diplomatic to the people.
Bokod was reached by the Japanese colonizers in 1942. Trainees of the rising guerilla movement like Moses, Seredo Dontogan, Menson, Toso, George Co-ot Diede, and Montano came back.
In 1943, Noble and Moses with their trainees settled in Sahod, Karao. American soldiers arrived through the recommendation of Donato Ignacio, the Chief of police that time.
The United States Armed Forces in the Philippine Northern Luzon (USAFIP-NL) was organized by Colonels martin Moises and Arthur K. Noble, Majors Parker Culvert, Swick, Russel Volkmann, lapham, Lt. Spencer, Sgt. Tonie Diego, Captain Bisala, Catalino Gomes, Pedro Gardingan and Simeon Comila who all escaped the Death March in Bataan. They stayed in the mountainous areas of Bokod to hide. They assisted recruits in their trainings. They recruited Dennis Molintas together with Bado Dangwa. Later on, Molintas came and recruited the people of Bokod to join them in the USAFIP-NL. All guerilla recruits were meticulously listed and organized. They were trained and inducted at Camp Utopia, Kapangan, Benguet.
The recruits who voluntarily joined were then grouped into two- the combat and the medical team. Those who finished primary (Grades I, II, III, and IV) were assigned to the medical team. The combat teams were trained to use firearms and grenade. Meanwhile, the medical teams were Tight to tend to the wounded and the sick. It was also their part to do the chores- gather firewood, cook for the team and wash eating utensils.
It was a protocol that the volunteers must work in pairs. The messengers however were assigned to perform their tasks individually and were instructed to never disclose any information when caught.
The people of Bokod experienced a strong earthquake in 1985 but the 1990 earthquake was the worst yet. The damage done by the earthquake to the lives and the properties was further aggravated by the heavy rains that immediately followed. The soil that the earthquake loosed was carried down by the waters creating bid landslides, mudslides; lives, properties and infrastructure projects were destructed and lost. In effect, the roads were closed. Bangao, a sitio of Ambuklao and one of the widest rice granaries was washed out.
Due to inaccessibility, Mayor Felipe transferred the municipal office from Poblacion to Sombrero, Ambuklao for about three years. The municipal operated on a building lent by the National Power Corporation. This is the reason why many of the people in the vicinity call the present Ambuklao Barangay Hall the Sub-municipal hall building.
When there were important businesses that they had to attend in Baguio, people must walk to Ambuklao then cross the dam through boat and then walk again.
Immediately, relief from the United Nations arrived. Goods were lifted from Loakan Airport to Bokod. Other private and public institutions also lend a hand and finances.