1. Mythical Origin

The legendary origin of the indigenous people of Buguias began with a creation folktale. Kabunyan, the Almighty God, brought into existence the first couple, Bangan and Bugan, after the great flood. The couple lived in Mount Kalawitan, the highest mountain north of Benguet. From the mountain, the couple’s descendants came down. Some followed the Chico River downstream and settled in the northwest, at Gonogon and Bontoc. Others made their way south to Ahin, Tococan, Ambanglo, Tinoc, Awa, Palatang, Baugan, Amlimay, Man-atong, Bogey-yas, Tanggawan, Labay, Amgaleyguey, and Togtogyon (Loo) while still others went farther south to Embusey, Batan, Kabayan, and Bokod. The rest went westward to Mankayan, Bakun, and Kibungan, and from thence to Kapangan.

Other folktales are appended as Annex III-A of this chapter. The tales included the legend of Tugtugaka, a Nabalicong warrior, and Cuyapon, a beautiful fairy, who fell in love with each other and had begotten Anno. Anno’s generation flourished and peopled many villages far and wide from Benguet to Ifugao and Vizcaya. The Agno River was named after him. Another tale involved Gatan who came to earth as the representative of Lumawig (God) in order to teach, lead and protect humans. The other folktales related to “Biyew,” the source of all prayers; and the origin of mountains, lowlands, earthquakes and lightning, the story Samiklay, The first Rice in Loo Valley, The antique Jar of Buguias, The Bellian Dance, and The famous Tiking Agindang. The Annex included descriptions of rituals involved in the “Family Life Cycle” and “Death.”

2. Oral Traditions: Origin of Settlers

Oral tradition stated that the first settlers that peopled Buguias were descendants of Talgen who lived in Ambanglo, east of Bot-oan, in the 13th century. Talgen had eight (8) sons who all left in search of greener pastures. Odan, the eldest, went to Hapaw (now in Kiangan, Ifugao). The second son, Baglaw, a hunter and trader, roamed around the place and finally settled in Mangkew, at the southern part of Buguias. Mantac the third son traveled all the way to Lubon (now in Tadian, Mountain Province). Kitongan the fourth son went to Tad-ew and farmed at the mountain now known as Mount Kitongan, above Loo Valley; the fifth son, Malawmaw, settled at Sanil (Tococan). The trader Belka, sixth in the line, migrated to Bauko (now in Mountain Province) while Padyog, the seventh brother settled at Embusey (now Lutak). Capsola, the youngest, went to Benalian (now in Nueva Vizcaya).

Baglaw, Kitongan, Malawmaw and their descendants, thus, were the earliest known ancestors of the natives of the municipality. In the later part of the century, some of them gathered and settled at Patlatang and Baugan at the northern part of Buguias, where they raised vegetables and domesticated animals. They also cooked asin (salt), which they bartered in other places. They worshipped Kabunyan as God and Creator, and performed the sida (or cañao), caon (wedding), pidet/pudan and other festive rituals to invoke his blessings and graces. Among the present descendants of Kitongan are Posnget Dayawen and Pio Toyaoan of Loo.

Another oral account had it that the Buguias forebears were the early pagan Malay settlers in the Philippines who landed in the Lingayen Gulf, Pangasinan, but were driven into the hinterlands by the second wave of Malay settlers with superior arms. The people moved upward from Lingayen, following the Agno River towards the mountains and reached a place good for hunting and raising animals and crops; there, they established their abode. Others moved on to Tinoc, Ahin, Hungduan, Hapao and other parts of Ifugao – only to come back at the start of the 15th century.

There is an “unwritten” genealogy that most settlers in Buguias traced their roots to Ifugao Province. There was once a couple named Lumawig and Bangan who resided in the eastern part of the mountains that is now Ifugao. Their descendants were hunters who came to Buguias. They were Taak, Tuwaok, Agmaliw, Dagol, Balaigan and Mayengmeng, who by intermarriage became the early settlers of Buguias particularly at Gueoeng, Amlimay, Sebang, Poblacion and Loo. (It is noted that the names of these first settlers are still used by the present generation of Buguias). As they grew in number, others migrated to other places of Benguet because of a leprosy epidemic (“bulutong”). Another cause of migration was the “bongkilaw” a strange sound (like a funeral hymn) at night, which caused fear among the settlers.

If there are many Kankana-ey speaking tribes outside Buguias (i.e., in Benguet), they were believed to be blood relations who left Buguias, particularly tracing their roots in Amlimay. On the other hand, though the Kankanaeys originally peopled Buguias, social contact, migration, and trade have transformed the Buguias into a melting pot of ethnicities, languages, and customs.

3. Original Names

The following is a set of proper and common names still used today, which had their origins from ancient times:


– Pan-aabatan, meeting place of different people, this is how they derived the name “Abatan”


– The old men could not ascertain the derivation or meaning of this name.


– the name Say-yatan means a village on top of a high mountain along the trail, for which the barrio was named because it is on top of a high mountain at the most southern end of the town. During the American regime, the name Say-yatan was changed to Amlimay in honor of the most influential headman and original family of the barrio.


– Derived from the kankanaey term “baday” meaning tadpole. Later,”an” was added to make it Badayan.


– Derived from the word “mab-gao” meaning fruitless.


– Derived from the popular name of one of the original families who lived in the domain. Its original term “nakeyawan” meaning not fully cooked.


– Derived from the kandanaey work “ Kalamag ka” meaning climb to the other side.


– Came from the work “kitlabong”. Kalanguya term for small bamboo that grows on a small body of water.


– derived from the name of a person who settled at the heart of the place.

Buguias Central

– Buguias – originally named “balacias”, a corrupted term for malclakias meaning left behind in the host’s house, at that time when cañao was always held in that place.


– Means pathway used by pigs (foraging in the forest).


– Meaning saddle for the contour of the place appears like a saddle.

4. Culture and Dialects

In his book, “History of Buguias” (1979), Pedro Bestre stated that generally, the Indigenous People of Buguias are Kankanaey speaking. Nonetheless, the residents came from three (3) major culture groups. The Kalanguya speaking people dominate the barrios of Catlobong and Amlimay. On the other hand, the Ibalois inhabited Kabuguiasan. The Kankanaeys peopled the rest of the barrios: Baculongan, Calamagan, Abatan, Bangao, Loo, Buyacaoan, Amgaleyguey and Natubleng. A fourth culture group, although less significant and pronounced as the major groups, can be found in the heart of the municipality – Poblacion – where the dialect known as Mandec–ey predominates. This dialect carries the combination of the three major dialects, hence the residents of Poblacion can understand and can even speak any of the three other languages.

In 1978, of the total population of Buguias was 17,068, about 75% are Kankanaey, 15% Kalanguya and some 10% Ibaloi. Geographically, Kalanguya dialect is situated in the eastern part of the municipality, in the south is Ibaloi, while Kankanaey is North West and North east near eastern part of Mt. Province.


1. Socio-Political Development

Prior to the arrival of the Spaniards, political leadership among the Indigenous Peoples of Buguias was bestowed in the hands of elders and “Babaknangs.” There was then no formal government structure like the Local Government Units of today. The elders and Babaknangs have earned the respect and trust of the community through their good deeds and fair decision-making. Conflicts in the community were decided and resolved by the elders with the involvement of family heads.

The breaching of the mountains of Buguias by the Spanish colonizers happened in the 17th century when Colonel Galvez’s expedition penetrated northwards from the colonial base at La Trinidad. During the Spanish regime, the position of a Cabeza de Barangay was introduced. His functions include the recruitment of manpower for forced labor and the collection of taxes for the colonizers. Natives were then forcibly recruited via the polo system to work on the construction of horse trails to the mines of Lepanto. The natives fled from the conscription, moving eastward to the forest of Kiangan and Nueva Vizcaya. The “Spanish Trail” was nonetheless, finished and a tinibunal (military tribunal) was established at Man-atong (now part of Baculungan Sur) and Poblacion for administrative and tax collection purposes.

In 1896, when the Americans took over the colony from Spain, the new colonial power discovered the mining potentials of Lepanto. Subsequent explorations led them to Loo Valley, Bad-ayan, and further to Amlimay. A township was established at Loo in 1900 with the Americans as temporary officials supervised by the sub-province of Lepanto while Buguias is under the sub-province of Benguet. Later on the township of Loo and Buguias were then merged forming the Township of Buguias under the sub-province of Benguet. The electoral system was introduced, taxation implemented, and road construction initiated. The Americans also established a public educational system in the Loo Valley.

When the Americans took over, the new colonial government issued a series of enactments reorganizing the local government. Act. No. 48, dated November 22, 1900 established Buguias and Loo as two (2) of the nineteen towns of Benguet and provided for the appointment of local officials for all towns. Act No. 49 established the civil government of Benguet. The following day, November 23, 1900, the Act also abolished the township of Loo and merged it with Buguias.

The whole provincial government underwent major structural transformation. A year later, further changes were instituted under Act. No. 155 (November 23, 1901). An amendment (in June 29, 1901) provided for the election of a popular representative on July 4 of that year. (Annex B gave the list of appointed and elected officials of Buguias town from 1900 to 2005.) The provincial civil government underwent reorganization in 1905 with the repeal of Act No. 49 and the passage of Act No. 1396, otherwise known as the “Special Government Act.” Act No. 1646 (May 15, 1907) provided for the election of the provincial representative to the Philippine Assembly, convened that same year.

With the passage of Act No. 1976 on August 18, 1908, Benguet became a sub-province of the newly created Mountain Provinces that included the other sub-provinces of Amburayan, Apayao, Bontoc, Ifugao, Kalinga and Lepanto. The establishment of the City of Baguio charter the following year further changed the political-administrative landscape. Six of the nineteen (19) Benguet townships Ambuklao, Adaway, Balabac, Daclan, Galiano, and Palina were abolished and merged with other townships. A new township – Tuba was carved out of the northern territories of Pugo, La Union and the rancherias south of the new city of Baguio.

The relatively steady road of Buguias to prosperity under American rule was rudely interrupted by the advent of the Second World War. Natives were forced to work at the sawmills at Bad-ayan and Sinipsip and children were herded to the schools where the invaders taught them Niponggo and Japanese songs.

The township of Loo, itself was merged with Buguias, which became a regular municipality only during the post war period with the passage of Executive Order No. 42 issued by then President Diosdado Macapagal on June 25, 1963.

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.

3. Education and Acculturation

Formal education through school in Buguias started during the times of the American. In “The History of Buguias” by Mr. Pedro Bestre mentioned: “as the road construction was going on under the supervision of lowlanders, Schools were also being built by the Americans”. The first primary school was built in Central Buguias. Another was set up in Loo. As these schools offered instructions only from Grade I to Grade IV, students who wished to finish Grades V to VI took these in Kabayan.

By 1921, the Buguias Central Elementary School had a complete elementary education from Grades I to VII; by 1924, Loo elementary School followed suit. To popularize the American public education system, leaders of the other barrios were advised by the Americans to build additional schools. Moreover, all parents were asked to bring their children to school. Barrio leaders (barrio lieutenant) and the local police tracked down children who refused to attend classes.

The attitude of the people towards formal education during the American colonialism was generally not appreciative. Some parents sent only their sons to school and kept the daughters to help in the kaingin in the belief that it would be useless for girls to study. Others chose to evacuate to the forests to avoid sending their children to school. On these accounts, most of the children who first attended elementary education were the children of the native leaders and the “Babaknangs” or rich and landed. Some of them later on served the government either as Municipal officials or teachers, like Basilio Tumpap, Sr. and Ben Almora. Other than the American initiative in educating the natives of Buguias, Belgian missionaries also came to the area starting 1922.

Among the non-traditional events and practices introduced in the community are celebration of days of Patron Saint, Fiestas, recreation and sports like card games, gambling, holidays like New Year, Christmas and Labor Day.


1. Customs and Beliefs Regarding the Agricultural Cycle

Rice was introduced to the domain when the forebears, coming from the eastern part of the mountain region, carried along with them the palay (rice grain) to settle at Buguias. As a staple food, rice cultivation was extensively nurtured to reach the next harvest season. Rice cultivation is associated with beliefs and traditions.

The villagers have mutual self-help system called “ugbo” wherein one renders the same service rendered by one person in his field on the same day. Banded together, they do considerable work in one’s field especially during replanting that should take short span of time. There are beliefs that the spirits interfere in the growth of the rice. Thus, after planting, a ritual called “pudong” is performed with a sacrifice of a chicken so as the malevolent spirit residing in the water would not harm the rice instead, help in the robust and bountiful harvest. To show that a “pudong” is done, at both ends of the rice field are staked grasses to ward away the evil spirits. A similar ritual called “kuyab” is also taken but with the offering of two chicken and feathers are instead of grass. When replanting, the food should not be watery or soupy. Meat should be from male piglets to ensure a bountiful abundant.

The foregoing practices are fast diminishing because more rice fields are being converted to commercial gardens and other factors.

2. Vegetable Farming and Trading

Central to the growth of the municipality’s economic status since the post war years has been the vegetable industry. Buguias is literally a municipality of vegetable plantation with gardens covering plateaus, mesas, and strips of leveled plots along creeks and gentle slopes. Buguias has emerged as the highland vegetable capital of the Philippines from where carrots, potatoes, cabbages, pechay, wombok, beans and other vegetables are transported to such as La Trinidad, Baguio City, Dagupan City, Laoag, Metro Manila, and other provinces in the Philippines.

Early in the 1950s, a group of Chinese farmers rented some of the fields of farmers like Almora and Toyaoan for experimental culture of Virginia Tobacco at Modaya, Loo. When the experimental project failed, the Chinese farmers turned to vegetable gardening either on the basis of leasehold or sharing. In due time, the Chinese farmers and financiers were able to dominate the vegetable industry in the community.

From Chinese farmers, the marketing system of vegetable “Supply System” was also passed to the local farmers. This is a system whereby farmers obtain loans from financiers, in cash or in kind (farm inputs like fertilizers, chemicals and seeds). The loan is payable during harvest. The financier may also provide trucking facilities on credit. During harvest, all expenses incurred will be deducted from the net share of the farmer.

Crops are harvested and transported to Baguio or Manila through any of the trucks, which the farmer either rents or owns. All vegetable shipments are sold by consignment, however, such that the farmer gets from the financier whatever else he may need in advance.

Aside from the supply and sharing systems practiced in the Buguias Vegetable Industry, the “Pakyawan” is a system whereby a trader serves as financier to one or several small farmers, from different barrios or sitios, from whom he constantly purchases vegetables. The financier provides to the farmer the farm inputs on condition that the farmer/s sell the harvests to him on cash or consignment basis, either to be delivered by the farmer or picked up by the financier. There are other trading practices, usually a combination of the two practices or with new innovations.

3. Merchandize Trading

Trade appears to be earliest economic base of the municipality. At the turn of the 13th century, inhabitants from neighboring places such as Cervantes to the northwest traded salt, bandala (lowland blankets), jars, and cows for highland wooden pipes, chickens and pigs. The natives in turn brought their bartered goods to the hinterlands of Ahin, Tinok, Hapaw, and Hungduan (now comprising the northwestern territories of Ifugao Province).

Trade resulted in the improvement of living conditions as well as changes in life styles especially in terms of clothing. Relative prosperity brought with its population growth, a trend that steadily continued until the 16th century when an epidemic of chickenpox (bulutong) decimated the population and people moved out of the area to such places as Mankayan, Bakun, Kibungan, Itogon, Ifugao, and other adjoining places.

4. Non-Traditional Events and Trends

Prior to the coming of the Spaniards, the indigenous people of Buguias residence are near water sources like rivers, creeks and springs. The reason was because their sole source of livelihood was agriculture, which is dependent on the supply of water to their farms. In the early 20th century where infrastructure development was introduced, peoples’ settlement shifted to commercial centers of the community like Abatan, Loo and Bangao.

After the war, the Bayoyo and Sinipsip Sawmills were reopened as well as roads, schools and the social service institutions. With the establishment of the Philippine Republic, Buguias was on track to progress and several laws were enacted to preserve its natural endowments. On November 25, 1966, Buguias was declared part of the Ambuklao Watershed Forest reserve under Proclamation No. 120. A portion of the municipality was also made part of the Mt. Data National Park. Buguias, as a whole, was placed under the Central Cordillera Park.

The development of the municipality was also seemingly undeterred by several calamities, the most severe of which would be the typhoon Trining in 1969 and Goring in July 16, 1989 destroying vegetable lands and claiming several lives. A year later on the same month and date on July 16, 1990, a killer quake also took its toll in several people were killed and hundreds of thousands of pesos worth of lost property.

The economic development in Buguias brought by improvements in infrastructure, communication, migration and trade brought along socio-cultural developments.


1. Land Use

In the past, the people used land within the domain for agriculture, hunting and harvesting nutritional forest products. A considerable area is used also for burial. For agriculture, wide track of land is used for grazing animals. Near rivers and strong springs, paddies were made for cultivation of rice. The paddies were irrigated from rivers and springs since rice has to be flooded throughout its growth. These paddies were terraces carved on the mountainside with the use of stone ripraps and mud. Depending on the contours of the mountainside, the plots vary in size and were constructed like giant steps. With their ingenuity, the tribes made the paddies in such a way that all terraces receive enough irrigation water flowing from one terrace to another.

Uphill areas are used for other subsistence farming such as animal grazing and for planting of other crops such as camote (sweet potato), gabi, legumes and other edibles. The tribes employed “uma”, slash and burn method (swidden farming), by clearing a portion, drying the cleared vegetation and burning it. The scattered ashes would help nurture their plant.

The use of the land was not permanent; it depended on the fertility of the soil or its suitability to support agricultural activities. When the lushness of the land is depleted and its fertility can no longer guarantee good harvest, the elders leave for another place.

2. Management Systems

Rice paddies are prevented from erosions through use of stone ripraps. Irrigation canals are likewise handled in such a way as not to spill run-water that cause erosions.

The uma is properly executed in such a way as not to impede the natural course of preservation. The elders were aware that erosions might destroy the crops. A fence is built around the uma as a preventive shield against scavenging animals and destructive wildlife. Further fruit bearing trees (imported from other places), such as avocado, banana, star apple, etc. were planted especially at the edge of the uma, as further protection from erosions and to define boundaries.

The practice of abandoning an uma after its fertility was depleted was programmed. The Buguias ancestors left the land to be vegetated and reforested by natural means, while stopping siltation and further runoff of the soil. In this way, the natural contours of the mountain are preserved.


1. Land Ownership

In earlier times, “land ownership” was not permanent. What the people then considered as property were animals, although they utilize the land for food production, for feeding animals and home use, and for grazing and hunting. But after several generations, the problem related to grazing areas surfaced within the domain. Animals of one village mingle with the animals of another village, resulting in loss and disappearance of the foraging animals, and confusion and animosity among the villages. Thus the domain was subdivided and each village was assigned a mountain/area. This was the advent of communal forest. Each village then had a particular area and made “kulogs” (deep canal) to define the boundaries. Grazing, hunting and cultivation became confined to a particular domain.

Eventually, when the kulogs could no longer confine the animals and other agricultural activities, individuals resorted to backyard pigpen and backyard cultivation. The land becoming an individual property; each started staking areas of land within the domain as his property. Consequently, settlement became permanent.

After an individual staked an area of land, the Buguias people maintained the land through making their own kulogs or by fencing it. The fence may be of seasoned pinewood or planted I-ilog or shrub (a shaft or stem may be planted and take root). The fence protects each individual stake from scavenging animals and serves as an assertion proprietorship. Through time and continued utilization, the community accepted and recognized each other’s stake of land. This parcel of land then is passed on to the children as inheritance. The succeeding generations thus were responsible for taking care of and nurturing the domain and all its wealth. As the family grew, more improvements were made for the eventual use of the children.

2. Inheritance (Tawid)

Generally, the parents assign land to the children as inheritance, with the distribution of areas depending on the sibling order in the family. The better and wider area is assigned to the eldest so that, when any member of the family is faced with crisis, the eldest would provide the needs. The youngest takes the portion where the ancestral house is built with the responsibility of tending the parents when they have grown old.

“Tawid” is a Kankanaey dialect term for an inheritance usually taking the form of land being distributed to the heirs of the deceased land owner through a “Tongtongan,” a family meeting with a respected leader and other community leaders. Once a family member is awarded his/her Tawid, s/he has the full control of the land and is responsible for the cost of transfer, relocation survey and the payment of the Real Estate Tax.

3. Transfer of Ownership

Traditionally, if one will sell his/her Tawid, s/he must ask the members of the family before offering it outside the family and clan members for either mortgage or sale. However, old folks always advice members of the family during or outside the Tontongan not to sell such inherited land, but merely to mortgage (“Salda”) so that ownership will not be transferred. This is primarily due to the sentimental value and not the market value of the land. If a land was to be sold, it should be offered to relatives as part of reverence to the ancestors who have nurtured the land as well as for easier reclaim when the vendor has enough money to take back the sold real property.

There are various kinds of arrangement in selling the Tawid. One may either “Sell with Right to Repurchase” or “Mortgage with automatic Deed of Sale” or “Mortgage without automatic Deed of Sale.” What usually happens is that even the Tawid had been sold, the offspring of the one who sold will have the first option to purchase back the land, subject to the mutual agreement of parties, e.g., the price.

Land may be passed to another person outside the family. An example is the practice of exchanging a parcel of land for animals to be butchered as part of the indigenous healing ritual when somebody gets sick or dies. A part of the belief system is that offering animals may appease ancestral spirits. When the ritual has to be performed but the family could not provide, the land was bartered for the needed animals. In the present times, just a mere pig cannot be equivalent and therefore be exchanged for a considerable land area.

Ironically, though the land was staked, fostered and passed from generation to generation, generally, there is no document of ownership of the land. One reason is the Buguias is still a watershed area and in some part, a National Park Reservation. Another is the law that disallows ownership of a land whose slope is more than 18%. This virtually made the people squatters in their own domain. 


1. The Forest in the Domain

The forest used to cover the entire Buguias ancestral domain, providing an extremely rich fauna and flora. The flora within the domain, included timber species such as Benguet pine, palayen (oak), tibanglan (giant stemmed fern), tewe (fiddled fig), annatil, gipas, losong, igem, towel, palasingsingen, lalagem, apisang, beltek, amoweg, lupopon, dael, tabangawen, lam-ayan, oyok, bubuta, pedped, talanak, balete, papat-ek, balante, suagilo, bagtinen, hangan, agobangbang, sepat, labso, among others. The dominant grass species are kawayan, katlubong and bol (all bamboo varieties), pal-ot, gaon, balili, dengao and gadang. Thee varieties of trees and grass all contributed to the forest covers, together with many others, including orchids and other undergrowth plants.

The forest was also enriched by many fauna varieties. There are resident birds such as solac, tiko, santi, tala, acop, oils (parakeet), martines (magpie), pipit, kongkong, gongay (pygmy wood pecker), bil-it, cosili, banog, pipingew (sparrow), lidot, kiskisyang, siok/siet, baog, sikket, lito-lito, tiyak. Migratory birds such as aladas, pukaw, say-ew, babakew, tiway, aladong (blue rack thrush), killing (ruby throated hummingbird), lagadan (golden ground thrush), baog (nutmeg imperial pegion), balisoso (river kind fisher), visit around September to October. The animal wildlife includes bowet (indigenous cloud rat, probably extinct), amkis, tabaw (wild cat), orsa or makawas (deer), and motit.

2. Forest Management

In the past, watershed and forest management for the indigenous people are inseparable. Likewise, forest and watershed management was a practice observed since time immemorial, with the concept of “paniyew” (sacred prohibition) as the foremost guide. The ancient people, being strongly animist, believed that the forest is the home of many spirits who are either benevolent or malevolent. The ancients did not have names for each of the spirits, but they are generally the amamotting or bibbiyew and the temenngaw or tinmengaw, which dwell on trees, caves, springs, and any part of the forest, and who could cause good production or loss of forest resources. These spirits could also manifest in many forms. They should neither be disturbed nor hurt. Else, the ill consequences might be sickness or anything evil to befall upon the reprobate.

The indigenous people regarded the forest as a source of livelihood and a foraging area for their animals. They therefore had to maintain the balance that is associated with the conservation and preservation of the forest. With these views and beliefs, forest management was an indigenous value and practiced in many aspects and processes.

With their belief in paniyew, the ancestors were careful in cutting down a tree and in doing earthwork such as making the kulog (deep canal). They had to ask permission and warn the spirits to move out because a tree is to be fallen down or a stone is to be moved. A ritual is done before doing work in the forest as gesture of asking permission. This clearly indicates that wanton destruction is a taboo for them. Elam (greed) is greatly abhorred by the spirits. Because of the paniyew, they were never greedy; they only took what was needed from the forest and cleared only what was needed for cultivation.

Erosions are their main problem for the grazing and scavenging animals and had to be contained. Trees like I-ilog are planted on eroded areas or places prone to it. On their grazing areas, they had to provide shades for their animals and where there was none, they planted trees. There are trees like the api-it valued most for its usefulness; but the ancients were selective in cutting them. It is clear, that even those days when trees were abundant, reforestation was practiced.

The Kankanaey ancestors knew that the watersheds were associated with the forest. They knew that spring gust out only from forested areas. Trees called tebe, according to them, are the source of water and should never be cut down. They are also abodes of spirits. They were very strict even to the point that the pollution of a spring, rolling a stone and similar acts are paniyew. Waterholes and springs were segregated so that there were for animals and another for human and spirits to use. These are examples of indigenous forest conservation practices.

There is no oral account of any violation of forest conservation practices. However, later annals of Buguias municipality (around three generations ago) maintained that when one is found to have burned the forest or to have caused the destruction of the kulog, he should provide the food and tapey (rice wine) for those who contained the fire and/or fixed the alad or kulog.

3. Communal Forest

In the past, the indigenous people maintained their communal forests, as evidenced by some existing manmade kulogs and stories associated with them. The kulogs were made for the confinement of foraging animals and hunting ground area. The kulog was not merely for utility but for forest management as well. The people have internalized the importance of sustaining the forest resources. They utilized the forest resources carefully according to their needs in the following manner:

Fuel Source and Lighting: The pine tree was the main fuel source. It was abundant then. Seasoned pine (saleng), with a highly combustible resin, serves as torch for general purpose even during nocturnal activities such as hunting, social functions, and domestic illumination.

Source of timber and building materials: Pine timber and tibanglan were used for house building. Palayyen was also be used for tool handles and other applications.

Buguias forest is the sanctuary of wild life, resident and migratory birds. The settlers hunted the birds and wildlife. The ancients harvested and utilized other resources, but all the above indicate that they really regard the forest as life sustenance.

4. Present Condition of the Forest

The Buguias forest is now seriously depreciated. The residents have forgotten the time immemorial value of forest conservation and preservation. The concept of paniyew is now considered as mere superstition. No applicable laws from the indigenous people are ever passed until the forest is at its desperate state. Worst, the residents show no remorse in the destruction of the forest.

Foremost, the growth in population has brought about forest denudation. Before the introduction of LPG, firewood is cut down from the forest for cooking. While the logging concession has closed a decade ago, illegal loggers had sawed great quantities of forest pine lumbers for building houses. As the population grows, so is the demand for pine lumbers for building materials.

Fires have also contributed to the destruction of the forest. Especially in a long dry spell, perennial fires that are started either by accident or by unscrupulous person have burned forest covers. With the burning, tree saplings are destroyed and no new trees have grown to replace those that are cut. Even reforested areas are not spared from fires.

Commercial farming, however, is the principal cause of forest depredation. While the whole forest of Buguias is declared as forest reservation, upland vegetables are fast replacing the trees. Moreover, machines are now used to bulldoze the mountainsides, turned into vegetable farms. While the residents must farm for their needs, there is an urgent need for them to appreciate and realize that the conservation and protection of the forest is of paramount necessity for their and the succeeding generations’ survival.

5. Suggestions for Forest Preservation and Maintenance

With the present condition of the Buguias forest the following were suggested for forest preservation and protection:

Inculcation of values for forest conservation at the family level: The concept of paniyew may be declining but the forest should be looked upon as one important element of ecological balance. Preservation of the forest is foremost in human survival.

Support government programs and private initiative: The DENR is doing its best to reforest and preserve the forest. In some areas, there are partners of the CHARM in implementing agro-forestry and reforestation projects.

Barangays should have sustainable reforestation programs and continue the work started as contained in the BNRMP/BDP.

Fire parapets: These are fortifications done to impede the spread of fire by clearing areas of combustible materials and building walls made of boulder and of creating a wall by clearing the boulder.

Kabite or nilsang: Applied to gullies by the use of stone or soil sods in a riprap manner to contain erosions. Created flat surface can be planted with deep rooting plants intended to vegetate the eroded area.

Kulog: Deep canal used to divert and contain runoff water. The kulog may be used also as animal pathway ant its wall can keep animals at bay.

Planting of maguey: Maguey is a fire resistant plant that can be planted as firewall. It can even act as fence, suited for communal boundary lines.


1. Wells and Irrigation Systems

Houses of settlers were built near springs and creeks/rivers for easy access to water. In the past, an irrigation system was constructed by diverting water from the river or creek to pass through a canal (bagan) towards the rice fields. When the terrain does not allow it, a water duct (taducan) is made with the use of dinted pine trunk or tebanglan (punapu) a native wild fern plant, to connect the irrigation canals.

Members of the community do the construction through the albubu or bayanihan system, in which members of the community were obliged to render free labor in the construction and maintenance of the diversion dam (saep) or the irrigation system (colocol) and canals. Through the albubu, they likewise assist in the land preparation and planting of rice up to their harvest.

Wells and springs are the main source of community domestic water supply. Open wells were dug up in the springs where the settlers fetch water. Since domestic animals, like pigs, chicken, dogs and cattle, roam freely (bolos), the settlers learned to protect their wells with stakes, wood and branches. Some residents also planted dengao a native herb around the well to ward off snakes. When a community well is finished, it is further protected against animals, erosions, falling and decomposing leaves and destruction through a kabite (stone wall) and wood covering. Water exits and made from bamboo or banana stalk.

After the completion of a project or a major repair of an irrigations system, the community performs the rite of guyod. Usually, a mother pig is butchered and offered by the mambunong. The purpose of the ritual is for the water run smoothly in the canal that was constructed, and a continuous flow of water from the spring. However, the butchering of animals is not allowed near a spring well for the belief that the spring would dry up. Likewise, taking a bath at the community spring was strongly prohibited. It was a belief that when water source is fouled, the well or spring dries up. Incidentally, this practice prevents the contamination of the water source, both for irrigation and for domestic consumption.

Irrigation systems and wells belong to the community. Everybody can avail of them as long as s/he and her/his family helped in the construction and maintenance of the structures. The elders and the community would rebuke a person found deliberately destroying community wells or irrigation systems. If the perpetrator is a family man, he is ordered by the elders to bring out a bogsit (jar) of rice wine for the mambunong to obtain a cupful of the wine and say a customary prayer (bayos) so that the perpetrator will not repeat the act or else harm will come to him.

2. Fishing and Marine-Related Practices

Aquatic resources used to be in abundance, augmenting the nutritional needs of the settlers. There were instances of exchanging preserved kadew (frog) and wadingan (trout) for camote. Unfortunately, even the very river and creek where these resources thrive are disappearing.

During the earlier times, the elders usually advice the community to fish only after the fishes had laid their eggs or spawned. Fishing activities were done in the following manner.

“Saep”: Fishing done by temporarily diverting the water flows of the river or creek to dry, exposing aquatic wildlife for easy clutch of the fishers. The people catch the fishes by hand (mansaep). This is usually done in a group and practiced during the dry season (egew) from March to April.

“Obe”: a fishtrap of woven bamboo (anes) used to trap aquatic resources. It was placed against the waterflow and fish may be trapped at nighttime.

“Selag”: Frogs (kadew), mudfishes (kaling) and trouts (wadingan) were caught at nighttime with the use of saleng (pine torch). The selag method was used from August to December. At present, this is practiced but with the use of electrical and chemical torch. 


1. Mineral Resources

Buguias is blessed with mineral resources. Copper, iron and copper could be found along Amlimay, Toking, and at Loo. Minerals were unknown to the original settlers since their preoccupation was on agriculture. With enough animals to barter with needed metal tools and wares, they never exhausted mineral resources. It was only in c. 1940 that one Harry Baron discovered some deposits of copper ore at Toking, Manhoyohoy and Poblacion and started exploring for possible mining. However, the exploration was not productive for mining and Mr. Baron abandoned the exploration after two years. In Amlimay, gold particles were observed on exposed rocks and some miners from Kabayan started mining in 1981, but abandoned it in 1983 due to poor yield. Some carried the fear of being caved in inside the shaft.

2. Mining Practices

There are customary beliefs associated with mining. The settlers believed that the spirits deposited the minerals; they were thus especially sensitive not to harm and do what the spirits dislike. They believed that the spirits might cause the minerals to disappear when some practices are not observed. Thus, for miners, it is paniyew (sacred prohibition) to make contact with the opposite sex at least three days before entering the mines. Before mining, a ritual is performed with the offering of one pig and a night of observation and vigilance (ngilin). Sneezing is prohibited inside the mining shaft.

Pocket miners undertake gold mining by digging and following gold veins. Rocks and soils containing gold nuggets were brought out, hammered and split to smaller parts then further made into fine grains called naba (gold concentrates). In a special pan, the naba is mixed with mercury and placed in fire. With the chemical action of mercury being heated, gold is separated from other particles and other impurities.


Ailment is one great concern of the early Buguias people and they resorted to what the forest could offer and what they could raise. Buguias forest produces many edible and medicinal products such as: Degway, Lusong, ayyosip, bissolak, uyok, betnek, lalateng, Edible fungi, Lumsek, (used to kill flea, adalan, buo, gato, kombab, tablew, tameyyan) Wild animals, honey bees wild fowl, etc.

Some indigenous health care practices were dismissed to be without therapeutic effects, others are scientifically proven to have curative effects. The Table provides a list of herbal plants, used as folk ailment remedies handed from generation to generation.

Existing Herbal Plants

Plants Uses Process
Pandan Leaves For cleaning urinary track cleansing. Chop and boil fresh leaves. Drink
Corn Hair For inflammation of the gall bladder. Chop and boil young hair. Drink
Balanggoy (lemon grass) Feet fungal infection cleansing, for cleaning urinary track cleansing. Chop leaves and extract roots. Apply liberally on foot. For internal ailments, boil leaves and drink.
Gaun or cogon grass Stomach ailment especially diarrhea. Chop fresh roots and boil. Drink
Makahiya (bain-bain) Stomach ailment especially diarrhea Chop fresh leaves. Boil and drink.
Kamoting Kahoy Skin rashes and measles Peel covering and grate the tuber. Extract the juice and may be applied as hot bath.
Balite bark For kidney problems and for skin eruption. Foil chopped bark. For kidney problem, drink. For skin problem, apply on surface.
Gipas Urinary tract infection. Boil leaves and drink as tea
Beltek leaves Urinary tract infection Boil leaves and drink as tea
Sepal (leaves and seeds) Stomachache, diarrhea and fever. Crush, boils leave or seeds and drink.
Pedped leaves Wound antiseptic Crush leaves and apply on wound.
Lusong leaves For skin inflammation Crush leaves and apply on wound
Dengaw For stomach ache, headache, body pain, fever Crush roots and stem. Apply liberally.
Popoted Stomach ache, urinary tract infection, body pain Boil stem
Pangototen Stomach pain Boil leaves, drink
Dael (leaves and seeds) Stomach ache, sore throat Boil seeds or leaves, drink
Appisang Stomach ache, sore throat Boil seeds or leaves, drink
Tagumbaw Bruises and sprain Boil bark and drink
Kalidos Insect repellant and skin disease Crush leaves and apply on skin
Polet leaves Skin disease and leaves Crush leaves and apply on surface
Kakaag Skin disease and leaves Crush leaves and apply on surface
Subusob leaves Kidney trouble Boil leaves and drink
Panawel leaves Disinfectant Boil and crush leaves, apply on wound.
Suyak stem Wound blood clotting Crush stem and apply on wound
Alam-am leaves Open wounds disinfectant Crush leaves and apply on wound
Sasab-eng Fever Boil leaves and drink
Bengbengsit For wounds Crush leaves and apply on wound.


A. The Legend of Apo Anno

A Long time ago, Tugtugaka, a brave chieftain of Nabalicong set out to hunt a white deer, which had eluded many hunting trips and had posed a big challenge to many hunters. Tugtugaka got obsessed with the deer and spent many countless days and nights, which greatly exhausted him. Then one day, his dog sensed the white deer and the hunting ensued. After covering a great distance of running and tracking, the deer was finally trapped against a waterfall. Spear in hand and ready, Tugtugaka poised for a good strike when he heard a soft and powerful woman’s voice “Don’t hurt my pet.” Bewildered, Tugtugaka saw a young woman bathing by the crystalline waterfall. Tugtugaka was so awed with her beauty and nakedness, as he did not understand why he didn’t notice her earlier by the waterfall. She continued: “My name is Cuyapon, and that deer is my pet. Don’t hurt it lest you get the ire of the folks. This place is our home.” Tugtugaka was so puzzled. He saw neither sign of dwelling nor of human activity.

As she was dressing, “I see that you are a brave man, and I suppose, you are a good leader of your village,” she commented. “Come inside, you are hungry and in need of rest. You are exhausted. We can also talk so that you will understand my folks,” she said as she led him to a small cave opening. Tugtugaka was even more surprised when, as they reached the cave opening, it became a spacious entrance, and inside, a room only meant for a princess. All around are serenity and a paradise. Soon, he realized what he entered is no ordinary world and Kuyapon is no ordinary mortal! She is a fairy who becomes visible when she likes. At the end of the meeting, Tugtugaka left for home with a sackful of meat more than what he could have obtained from the white deer. “Keep our encounter a secret,” he was advised.

From then on, Tugtugaka visited the fairy regularly and they fell in love with each other. Realizing that their love is to be blessed with a child, Kuyapon instructed Tugtugaka: “Don’t come back until eight moons and a half from now.” After laboring wait, Tugtugaka returned to find Kuyapon delivering a child. It was a healthy baby boy. He was advised: “Go home and come back only after eight moons and a half from now. You have to take out our child since he cannot live here. His mortal blood destroys the air of peace of our world. But take good care of him as I do in my spirit way. He will grow to be a good hunter and a worthy father of your village. Give him the name Anno, for he will shadow his generation with abundance and good will.”

Anno was then taken by Tugtugaka and raised to be a brave man and a good hunter. As a leader, his saga includes repealing the “buso” (headhunters from another place and other enemies), yet he was a peaceful man and abhorred waging war even against the “buso” which earned him the respect of his villagers and other tribes. He used to hunt along the river now named after him, the Agno River.

As Anno was in his advanced age and sensing death is near, he asked to be buried in a place now called Nabalikong. The people protested about his coffin; a large hollowed log would be too heavy to be carried over a mountain. “Just float it on the river, it will be carried by the river to the site,” he instructed. The people were puzzled because the burial cave is higher than the river and the river does not pass through the burial site. “You will find people to help you there and animals and food to eat,” he further said. Nevertheless they followed his instructions and indeed, the coffin floated all the way to the burial site. They also met people to assist, the food and animals as he said. Since Anno has a high status and is a regarded man in the village, he has to be mummified; mummification is a long process. Right after his last breath, they opened his mouth and forced him with strong brine solution. They even used their mouth to pump the solution into his stomach. After three days, his body was bathed with different kinds of herbs alternately every day. After the bath, the body was sun-dried. The process went for at least three months. Every day, his animals were butchered for food of the people doing the work. After it had dried and hardened, his body was put in the coffin to be interned in a cave. His generation flourished and peopled many villages far and wide from Benguet to Ifugao and Vizcaya.

B. Origin of “Biyew” (Prayer)

Legend has it that in the lake now named Tabayo, somewhere along the boundary of Kabayan and Buguias, there live a couple an immortal man married to a mortal woman.

Five days after they were married, the man has to work and tend the field. Yet one day, before going to work, the man instructed the wife “I give you this instrument for you to play to make sound before reaching my workplace when you bring my baon” (pack lunch). Please follow it.” The woman was puzzled but had not dared to ask her husband for explanations. She followed the instruction yet every time she brings the baon, she noticed that the field gets unusually wider and wider knowing that her husband is just alone in working at the field. One day she could not contain her curiosity so she didn’t sound the instrument instead stealthily approached the field where the husband worked and was so surprised at what she saw and naively, she shouted for she was unable to hold back her astonishment. She saw that her husband is scattered into parts, each doing a part of the work.

The scattered parts of the body of the husband were surprised and immediately assembled to make a whole. In haste, the body parts were improperly assembled and mixed with soil and muddied that angered the husband. “You disobeyed.” He said, “And because of that, I must leave you and return to where I came from.” Right there and then, the husband disappeared and the field transformed into lake.

To this day, every time a “mambunong” (prayer man) leads a prayer during feasts, marriage, or death, a “biyew” is prayed, calling the spirit of the unnamed immortal man who manifested himself as a good husband long ago.

C. The Legend of Gatan

It was believe that Gatan came down to earth as the representative of Lumawig, (God), with the mission to teach, lead and protect man. He was wise, strong and had supernatural powers. At times he went up to heaven to confirm with Lumawig on matters of administering justice securing food for man and how man may worship. He understood and spoke of the language of the plants and animals.

One day Gatan and his brother went out to hunt. Their hound jumped upon a wild boar. They caught the boar and built camp. The next day Gatan instructed his brother to salt and dry meat. Gatan set out with the dog again.

Instead of doing as instructed, the brother slept and did not notice the “beclat” that came to devour the meat when Gatan arrived, he saw that the meat was all gone. He accused his brother of having eaten all the meat. The brother resented the accusation very much that he offered his stomach and intestines to be cut open to prove his innocence. Gatan open the stomach and intestines of his brother but found no trace of the meat. He went around the camp to find out for himself who eat the meat.

Behind the camp, he found the tracts of a big snake. He traced the tract until he found the “beclat”. Infuriated, Gatan drew his hunting knife to kill. But the “beclat” implored to be spared and as reward he would teach Gatan the prayer for healing wounds. Gatan dared the “beclat” to heal his brother’s wounds. The “beclat” healed the wounds. This made Gatan happy and was glad to learn the prayer. From that time on, Gatan could heal wounds.

D. The Origin of Lowlands, Mountains, Earthquakes and Lightning

Lowlands and Mountains. When the world was young and very level, people could hardly find their homes. Oftentimes they get lost. God thought to change the surface of the land. He made it rain for many days and nights. The earth became soft; those portions settled and formed the plains and valleys. The hard part remained elevated and formed the hills and mountains.

Earthquakes: There was a giant, the servant of Lumawig, who was ordered to drive away the devil spreading sickness, but he disobeyed. As punishment, Lumawig set the earth upon the giant’s shoulders to support as long as he lives. Whenever he scratches, the earth trembles. If he has itches and scratches often, the earthquakes are frequent. If the giant would die and drop the earth, that would be the end of the world.

Lightning: If the lightning strikes near a house or barrio, it is believed that Lumawig wants an offering. Each family in the barrio, at the same time makes sacrifice in the form of food and drink offerings. Those who would not do so are punished by being afflicted with itches.


Padaco and Tokotok were husband and wife, who lived many years ago in a little sitio of Sebang at the foot of Mt. Nato-o, bordering the province of Benguet and Ifugao. Near it also is the place where the passage of the tiger of Malaya, General Yamashita, during the World War II with his famous treasures, now the object of many treasure hunters far and wide.

The couple was blessed with many children, some of them migrated to other towns in the province and in the nearby provinces. Others were left behind to continue and propagate the honor and wisdom of the Padacos and to tell and retell the roots of their families.

Padaco and his wife have two big jars, so big that it can accommodate one cavan of half cooked and fermented rice of twenty five gantas each, and even more. The rice wine juice that comes from these jars was so blended and aged that it can equal the best wine in the world. These jars were said to have been brought by the semi-illiterate Malayan immigrants to the country through the Lingayen Gulf and came up to the mountains through the Agno River, because they were driven up by more literate Malays who were the forefathers of our lowland brothers now. The semi-illiterate Malayan immigrants were likewise the forefathers of the kankana-eys and Ibaloys. Present day researchers have toyed with the idea that the early Malayan immigrants, who happened to be the kankana-eys have reached as far as Mt. Data now , and after exhausting all edible foods thereat, have to go furthermore , following the rivers now known as the Agno, Amburayan and Chico rivers. The people along these rivers and adjoining towns speak the kankana-ey dialect with only some differences in pronunciation and intonation which naturally were the influence of the environment.

Being rich, Padaco used to render big cañaos called "pedit". They have been inviting relatives, friends and neighbors not only from the town but other neighboring towns and provinces. Cañaos is a way of binding and instilling close relationship among relatives and friends and also a way of promoting social prestige- a status symbol.

Because of his two big jars which were always being filled with rice wine called "tapey" and of his cañaos, Padaco became famous and well known and worked upon as the "baknang" (rich) in his community. After many years of successful living, Padaco and his wife died of old age. Padacos remains were put in the bigger jar and his wife, who died later was likewise put in the other jar. These big jars served as their coffin and were placed in a cave which was not accessible to destruction. After some years ,a relative by the name Butag Ligmayo went to retrieve the jars, removed whatever remains there were, washed and cleaned it and filled them with fermented rice wine again. Butag Ligmayo was elected / appointed as President / Mayor of Buguias for three terms and he attributed his successful political career and as a mankutom, for the jars he inherited from Padaco and his wife, Tokotok.

Today, the bigger jar is called Padaco and the other jar Tokotok in honor of its owners. The fermented rice wine and its juice that comes from these jars tasted very much better than before so much that when Governor Ben Palispis tasted it, he usually gave some money to the PTA and Barangay officials of Amilimay, who are presently in custody of the jar Tokotok, to buy some red rice or kintoman to prepare wine on the jar, every December during his incumbency as governor of the province. Accordingly, if the governor drinks his share of the Tokotok wine he becomes vigorously strong and rejuvenated.


Long, long time ago. Loo valley is a swampy place filled with sawali plants called tanobong. In its level portion most especially along the river, inhabitants subsisted on hunting for their viand and purely sweet potatoes (camote) for their staple food, there were no rice or any other grains then.

As the years passed by, when more and more people inhabited the valley, the wild animals became scarce or have moved away to the mountain forest. The people then must have to engage in other means of livelihood in order to survive. They began to widen their camote plantation and to engage in back yard hog and poultry raising for their subsistence. In later years, the people began raising cattle and other animals. The valley is beginning to clear of, for planting of other root crops. The portion of the valley is utilized for grazing lands. It is to be borne in mind that Buguias as a whole was known for cattle raising in the 18th and early 19th century.

One sunny morning, a rabid hunter from the valley woke up very early with his hunting dog and proceeded to the mountains to hunt for wild animals. Dismayed because there were no wild animals to hunt, he went with his dog further and further and reached a mountain with a lake and its interior top, later on called the Mt. Data now. While the hunter was nearing the lake, his dog went directly to the edge of the lake and began barking. This lake is the source of the Agno, Amburayan and Chico River. The dog kept on barking and barking making the hunter wonder as to what the dog was barking at. There was only a bunch of grass growing near the edge of the lake, which seemingly was the object of the dogs barking. The hunter tried to direct his dog's attention to another place, but the dog insisted on barking.

In his anger, the hunter pulled out the bunch of grass and put it in his backpack (pasiking). All of a sudden, the dog stopped barking and wagged its tail with happiness and contentment. Instead of looking for any sign of wild animals the dog led his master home. The hunter was upset and mad at his dog that upon arrival, he got the bunch of grass from his pasiking and put it at the "so-olan" (a place for storing and drying firewood or meat just above a cooking fireplace). The hunters’ wife and children were not happy because there was nothing for viand except a meal of pure camote and "sabeng" (a native vinegar made out of cooked camote sauce called "si-it") it is mixed with proportionate amount of water and boiled for soup.

While at the house, the dog went again on barking at the bunch of green grass at the "so-olan" in his anger the hunter got it and threw it out the yard. The dog followed the grass and got it by his mouth and went to put it at the watery patch where some gabi plants were growing, then began barking, the hunters wife out of curiosity, followed the dog and began to plant the grass one by one and amazingly, the dog stopped barking, making the couple to wonder more, as to what was the green grass about.

After some months, the grass grew vigorously and later bore grains. The couple harvested the grains, dried it and for the sake of experience they threshed the grains by the use of wooden bowl (toway) and wooden spoon (saklong). The uses of mortar pestle were discovered later. After threshing a little of the grains, they cooked it and discovered to be a delicious food. Through the years the couple propagated the plants and neighbors were shared with it. This was the first rice in Loo, Buguias Benguet. This is kintoman (red rice) which was especially good for rice wine. In the early Buguias, rice is planted in Loo valley, along the riverbanks and mountain sides of the town. With the advent of vegetables raising now a days, almost all the rice fields and terraces were turned to vegetables and root crops gardens, because the later generate more income than rice growing.


Samiklay was popularly known as a robber 'BUSO' not only in Buguias but also in the other neighboring towns of Benguet. That was one reason why there were migrations of families, especially in the later part of the 18th and early decades of 19th centuries to the other Cordillera towns and in the lowlands due to the rampant robbery activities of Samiklay and his followers. Coupled with that, was the advent of the epidemic called measles (boltong) just after the World War I, in the early 1900.

However, Samiklay is said to be misunderstood by his constituents. Many considered him a buso, which is different from the very principle he stood for. His philosophy in life was similar to that of Robinhood of England's knighthood days.

Samiklay was born a bastard from a Spanish soldier (guardia civil) with that of kankana-ey lass of Asin, Hungduan and Palatang, Baculongan, Buguias, Benguet. Contrary to the belief of many, that Samiklay was from the north, a "buso", from Bontoc, he was genuinely from Palatang, Buguias, through and through. He is of course a half- blooded European, hence his muscular body - make up and high ridge pointed nose. He was tall and handsome, really a Spanish mestizo. Being a mestizo, he was gregarious and very adventurous, daring, and hot tempered. Seeing the sufferings of his people, he began his robbery activities. He robs the animals of the rich people, butchers it and distributes the meat to his people. Not contented of robbing the wealthy people of their animals, he indulged in getting valuable property, like jars, gongs, copper pots, gold and coins. The coins available during those days were that of the Mexican and Spanish coins brought by the Spaniards during Galleon trade between Manila and Acapulco, Mexico. The poor people who used to go with Samiklay and his robbery activities shared these valuables. When he goes outside of Buguias, many of the people along his way joined him in his band, and when they returned home, they shared whatever loots they got. Samiklay continued his activities beyond the province. He was known to have gone to the lowlands with his band and carries with them whatever the robbed.

But there is always an end to any activity. Samiklay's robbery activities, Robinhood style, must have to end. God, perhaps, does not like to tolerate it, because while the intent of Samiklay was good, the abuses of his followers were destroying the original purpose of his robbery activities. So, one, day, Samiklay had planned to rob the treasury office of Atok. Before reaching the Municipal hall, in an adjacent outlying, mountain nearby, Samiklay instructed his "manbunong" (prayerman) to sacrifice a chicken, to find out as it may be shown in the vile of the chicken, if the raid will be successful. It was always customary for Samiklay to sacrifice a chicken, the ritual is called "boton", before a raid is undertaken, and so when the chicken was sacrificed, the vile of the chicken was not quite good and the manbunong suggested for another chicken to be sacrificed. Samiklay did not like the idea and instead ordered the chicken to be cooked. When it was cooked, the manbunong discovered that a part of the chicken, the head, was missing and so he predicted danger. Samiklay, being, a hot-tempered fellow did not mind the warning and insisted on his plan, of raiding the treasury office. During that time, the old Palasi was the president of Atok and Carbonell was the Municipal district treasurer. As Samiklay insisted on his plan, many of his followers returned home and only the loyalists followed him.

As he began to raid Palasi's house, he burned some houses nearby, perhaps to serve as light so he can see the house of the President, who, according to his informants was holding the money of the town. While he was climbing the stairs, Mr. Carbonell, the treasurer shot him and at a click of the moment, he fell to the ground agonizing with pain. His companion got him immediately and in the mountain of Atok, he was buried. As his followers left the place, they kept on shouting, "omali kami kasin, ay mange ba-es en Samiklay" meaning, we will come again to avenge the life of Samiklay.

Today, Samiklay is being talked about, as the famous “buso” and his philosophy of life, like that of Robinhood of England was never understood. History will always regard him as an enemy, a “buso”, but researchers will salute him otherwise. So if you are a descendant of Samiklay do not be afraid to tell the truth and instead be proud of him.


There is a ritual dance called “bellian” by the kalanguyas or “bindian” by the Ibalois. This is performed in connection with a ritual for prosperity. It is a community dance performed by following a leader holding a spear and a head of snake made from fern and accompanied by the gongs. It is performed dancing in series of circles with one center. The outermost circle is the older men, and the women at one circle dancing in the opposite direction. Boys at the innermost circle dance moving in the opposite the women. Aside from uniform steps, there are hand gestures that are being followed. The center is the gong players. The origin of this dance is a legend of the people of Gueoeng and the people of Kapangan.

Legend has it that there was once a pair of snakes called “Balbalatnek” or “Balatnek” that lived in a cave along the stretch of Amburayan River particularly at Coba, Legleg in Balakbak near Paykek. These snakes were very friendly and helped people cross the river by riding at their back. Unfortunately, a lady who happened to be at her monthly period rode and her menstruation stained the snake. The stains and foul odor could not be washed and made the snakes angry. From then on, they wantonly kill people at sight and hunt them for food. They had terrorized people causing them to migrate to safer places. Yet they were never safe. Thus, a community meeting was held and had a consensus to reward anybody who could kill the snakes with “lima ay dagi ay tali” (five packs of rope around 250 rolls literally, but use the ropes to tie all animals that could be taken from the people).

One time, a woman from Amlimay happened to visit some relatives in Legleg and happened to hear the plight of the people. Upon returning home she consulted an elder, a “mambunong” named Baglaw and his brother. Immediately the mambunong set up a plan and called some people from Buguias to proceed to Legleg with three “payok”, large cooking pots that each could accommodate a big carabao.

On their journey to Legleg, they had a stopover at Sagpat overlooking the cave where pair of snakes lives. A ritual was performed with an offering of one chicken to interpret the appearance of the vile for omen. Mambunong Baglaw announced that the snakes were asleep and the people stealthily approached the cave and found the snake in a state announced by Baglaw. Immediately they covered the snake with the pots and covered with firewoods and set it on fire. With wriggling and struggling, two “payoks” were broken but the last held although partially broken. Upon investigation, only one snake burned to death. The other could not be found.

Thence, the people of Legleg rewarded them but only half the promise since only one snake was killed. The group then proceeded to tie all animals they could see to take them home. Part of the reward was the head of the snake.

On their return home, they were hindered by a storm along the way and had to camp at Madaymen. Huts were made to house the people and the animals until the storm abated. Until now, the place is called Apa’n Baglaw (Huts of Baglaw).

When the people reached home, they moved to Paynag, part of Gueoeng. There, they hung the head of Balatnek on one of the trees and had feast using their reward animals. With much joy, all the community danced, thus, the origin of “Billian”.

There was an area for doing some work during the celebration and they named it Laga-an. Until now, the name applies. Because of envy, somebody stole the snake head and hid in a farmhouse. Unfortunately the farmhouse was burned. From then on, the Billian was never performed.

In Coba, the cave was eroded by a strong typhoon and Laga-an is now leveled and made a vegetable garden. Meantime, the Billian also called Bindian is performed by other ethnic groups.

I. THE FAMOUS TIKING AGINDANG (A retold Story Compiled by Johnny M. Carlos)

During the time of our forefather's forefather, Buguias was a thick forest were wild life are abundant for hunting such as Makawas (wild deer), Bango (wild pig), Sabag (wild chicken) and many more kind of birds. Rivers and creeks were also filled with aguatic fishes and plants such as the Dalit (fresh water eel), Bakbak & Kadew (frogs), wadingan, Gaki (fresh water crabs), dayap, kotobbey, Tomlid, and more kinds of edible algaes.

In one of the settlement of people called Baugan, there live a hunter named Agindang. The people live through hunting, fishing and making uma (kaingin system) for planting Togi (sweet potatoes) and legumes such as batong and etab. In hunting, they use spears, bow and arrows, bolos, sling, tagdey, bawoe etc.  In fishing, they uses the following to catch fishes; obe, bakgeng, aldew, sallong, apayaw, pana, and bana-it.

One day, Agindang was walking home carrying his hunted wild pig on his back using the "Dagi" was grab by the big bird/eagle named "Toldo". Since the Dagi is attached to his shoulder, Agindang was also carried up to the nest of the Toldo. The nest was located along a deep ravine were people cannot climb nor go down. Agindang then live with the young and eat whatever hunt of the Toldo.

From that time, his family and neighbors were worried of his where about. Months, weeks and days have passed without a word from Agindang. This length of time enable the youngs of the Toldo to fully develop and able to fly. This gave Agindang the chance to ride with the young Toldo and bring him down on that deep ravine. He then went home and told his story to his family and neighbors.

Today, the Toldo vanished due to hunting and uma where people get their existence and no more food for the Toldo.

In memory of Agindang’s hardship in that cave, when he died, his relatives buried him in that cave. They built a ladder from waka, vine and called the cave "Tiking Agindang".

E. Customs and Beliefs Associated with the Family Life Cycle

The young man, who has prospected a lady for marriage, does not court nor propose to her. Instead he contacts two or three elder men as his emissaries to the home of the lady to propose for marriage in his behalf. This process is called Tumok. The lady may plainly say no or argue with the emissaries. But if the lady says yes or is silent which means yes, a date is set for the families of both sides to discuss a date for the wedding. The parents discuss the wedding, with the guidance of the Elders, based on customs and traditions, e.g., as to the position of the moon and other observations.

Animals for the celebration are usually provided by the side of the bridegroom, while rice, camote, rice wine and other spirits are provided by the bride. In both instances, the expenses are taken care of by the parents. As a sign of prestige, carabaos and cows are among those butchered during the wedding. Tradition dictates that the celebration is done at the bride’s ancestral home.

On the eve of the wedding one pig is butchered and shared among all those present, except for the couple who would not partake of the meat because it is sacred (paneyew). Doing so or violating it spells doom for the newlyweds, especially if they had previous sexual contacts.

The following day is the wedding feast wherein all the animals are butchered and shared by everybody. Visitors are fed first followed by the members of the community. Uncooked meat are sliced and distributed to the relatives, especially those unable to attend.

The following day is an observance called the “teteg” or “sabang” with an offering of a pig and a three-day of “ngilin” wherein the couple would not have sexual contact until the face of the moon has changed. Together with this observance is the keeping of fire burning for the duration of the ngilin. This process if properly followed by the couple will spell success, progress and long married life.

During conception, the couple is required to perform the ritual called “toltolo” which means the butchering of three pigs with the accompaniment of the (gangsa) gongs where those in attendance will dance in merriment. This is the first stage of the (canao) feast.

During pregnancy and conception, the couples must observe some rituals in waiting. First, the woman must not eat a twin banana; in doing so, the baby might become twins or tied to each other. Second, she is restraint from laughing and or uttering bad words towards ugly creatures; doing so will make the baby acquire the traits. Third, both husband and wife are not allowed to attend a funeral wake because the baby to be born will be a blue baby or lifeless.

In the delivery of a baby are these practices and its rituals. If a mother will have hard labor in delivering a baby which is called pasekall, a small pig is offered and butchered (daw-dawak) to free the woman from pain delivery.

When the child is born, upon the removal of umbilical cord (abusing), it is securely placed between two cogon sticks and placed at the water source. This ritual is done to stop the continuous bleeding of the mother who had just given birth and so that the vagina from where the baby came from would not swell.

In naming the baby goes with the events of the time of birth, say for example when a baby is born in October, he is named killing after the name of the bird that goes with the last typhoon in the month of October. In such other cases when there is no big event at the time of birth the baby is named after his grandparents or great-great grandparents.

After weeks or months after delivery the couple is advised to part ways with the parents to dwell in a smaller house built for the purpose by the whole neighborhood. The stage of moving away from their parents’ house is called “lomokso.” Just like the chicks when they are separated from the mother hen. The structure of the new house, its parts are called “tukod” (post), “kalusod” (rafters), “kawa” (purloins), “pao-kibat” (second purloins), “becka” (native bamboo), and “atep” (roofing of cogon grass).

The construction of the house is by tradition a community work wherein all will share in the work force with the leadership of a skilled house maker. No one will receive pay, but will have free meals with either a pig or dog is butchered as viand. All materials will be the responsibility of the house owner.

The stages and rituals in the construction of a house are the following, first stage is the site to construct the house, this is done by performing “button”, the act to foretell if the place is fitted for human dwelling by the sacrifice of a “keyap” (chick) to see if the bile, “pedis” of the chick is “dilway” long which signifies the good and prosperous future of the couple who live in the house and compound. The next ritual is the observance of the cycle of the moon “beskaan”, that is the new moon or first quarter, the sign to start the house construction. “Boyag”, a ritual will again be performed, the act of sacrificing of two chickens, to clean the house materials of evil spirits. After all this rituals the community people, “man-ili” will now start the free service called “dang-as” a group work without pay but free meals with take home slices of meat, called “watwat”.

The next stage after the house construction the couple who are the house owners will now occupy the new house and then perform the ritual and feast “kape or segep,” wherein all the neighbors are invited, two pigs are butchered, male and female in offering to the spirits or souls of dead ancestors of the house owner, at the same time requesting the spirits to intercede to “Kabunian” God for the good health and wealth of the family.

When all have left the couple in the first night of their residence will have to undergo the ritual of “ngilin” wherein the live charcoal is to be kept alive never off and that they will sleep in separate blankets no sexual intercourse.

In the morning when all is well meaning no untoward incidents happened during the night, the feast of thanksgiving is performed with the butchering of a male and female pig, again the neighborhood are in attendance without any invitation, in fact all of them will do the chores of fetching water, cooking, slicking the meat so that all will be served, most especially the visitors, this is one characteristics or values of our ancestors which we still carry today and which had been our trademark as people.

In butchering the pigs, it takes some stages, first the male pig is butchered by a sharpened wood called “ewik”. It is pierced right in the pig's heart thru its forearm, the blood soaked wood “ewik” is placed in a winnower together with old Spanish/Mexican coins/”palata”, bolo, trowel and a part of roasted meat (dinawis). The prayer man (manbunong) utters a prayer to the soul of the ancestors after which and with the blooded wood “ewik” it is wiped on the checks of the celebrant as a symbol of their acceptance to society. The dead pig will now be slaughtered and sliced to pieces. Some parts to be roasted and other parts be boiled leaving some pieces uncooked in case of latecomers. When the roasted meat is ready, it is placed in a winnower made of bamboo together with old Spanish, Mexican, or American coins “palata”, the bolo of the head of the house and the trowel of the wife, this is to be offered and the prayer man utters an hour long prayers to the souls of the ancestors. This being finished the roasted meat is sliced to small pieces and distributed only to the elders.

When the boiled meat is already cooked, it is sliced into small pieces and stored in a bamboo basket together with the cooked rice on plates and again the prayer man utter his hour long prayer in the offering to the soul of the ancestors, likewise the good and bad spirits as well because it is their belief that when you offer only to the good ones, the bad spirits will be angered and that as a consequence will cause bad luck or sickness to the family of the celebrant. In this case which is our culture, those who will eat first are ancestors spirits, the good and evil spirits of the mountains, the elders, men and women then children.

As there were left uncooked meat, they will slice and take three pieces of fat, “taba” and two sliced of tenderloin placed it on a bamboo stick and placed atop the fireplace to dry, this is what they call “kiniing” in the native tongue. This process of placing the dried meat atop the fireplace is for the souls of the ancestors who by some circumstances have been absent during the festivity.

In the early afternoon of the day, the yard is cleaned of the “apay”, cogon grass from which the pig was butchered and sliced. A new fire is lighted taken from inside the house placed in the yard to be kept burning, then the female pig is butchered called “soposop” which is the last rituals to be done. Again the bile of the female is presented to the prayer man for his interpretation that is if the host will live happily and good fortune or there is something wrong and that another pig has to be offered and sacrificed which is termed “sepnakan”, when cooked, same ritual is done, the prayers to the ancestors, good and evil spirits of the mountains, eating time by all those in attendance. If there are left uncooked meat these are again sliced for distribution to those in attendance and also those nearest relatives of the host who were not able to attend the occasion.

During the night of the festivity, the couple will again observe the “ngilin” taboo not to sleep together and avoid physical contact. They have to keep the fireplace alive by means of live charcoal, which they have to now and then during the night so that it will not be put off. In the morning when they are awake, the elders or prayer man would ask them what had they dream during the night. If the dream foretells good fortune, which usually is seed or paper given to them, the seed signifies successful farming and that paper signifies monies and good business. This being their dream another pig is offered for sacrifices in thanksgiving to those who brought good fortune. On the other hand if a dreams spells misfortune, it could be remedied through a prayer of the “manbunong” to coat away those demons.

If the couple have no dreams at all the last ritual cooking of the pigs head be offered, to be done by the prayer man or priest, at this instance the couple are asked to wash their blooded checks over a basin of water that is prayed by the native priest. When all have eaten the native priest takes home his shares “lapa”, but before going home he must was his hands inside the house near the fireplace, the woman will take a cup of water then slowly pour it over the hands of the “manbunong” in order to left the good fortune in the couple’s house. The couple are left by themselves, but still they are not allowed to have physical contact until the third morning they are directed to take a bath in the nearest body of water. In here they will not bath together, after this they are now allowed to go out and work or to roam around.

Nowadays, there is a great influence of education and religion to this customs and traditions. On the educational field many among us have been liberated, in fact some of our parents have already become professionals.

F. Customs and Traditions Associated with Death.

The wake of the rich and the influential man or woman of the community undergoes so many stages of rituals as differentiated with the common man which takes from three to five days vigil. But for the rich in the early 1900’s the wake is one year decreasing with the passage of time to one month, and more recently, its days because they have all the wealth especially animals to be butchered and eaten during the wake.

The first ritual starts with the “delos”. A pig is butchered and offered to the spirits who have cause the death. After this ceremony, immediately the “bugso-on” follows. The dead is bathed and is seated strapped on a high chair called “sangadil” which is placed beside the door of the dead man’s house facing the yard where a bonfire is lighted below fronting the dead. The singing chanting of the “eyaey” dirge to be started by an elder followed by the relatives of the dead and anyone from those in attendance. This chanting singing of the dirge goes on few days and nights until burial.

The next ritual on the second day is the “sipitan”, wherein a portion of the dead man’s cloth is torn to pieces and inserted on a piece of stick to be placed on all real properties of the dead to show that the owner of these lots is dead.

On the third day is the ritual of the “gadingan” wherein all members of the bereaved family is to be laced with thread on the right wrist administered by a prayer man. This same day is the ritual of the “sapla-an” wherein the dead is dressed with his high status symbol blanket called “aladdang” and a headgear called “salibobo”, also high status symbol. Because all the neighborhood are gathered on this same day, they are sent to gather firewood at the same time select and cut a tree for making the dead man’s coffin. Likewise, the women folks are sent to the kaingin to gather camote. When the firewood and the coffin (hollowed whole single trunk) is brought home, a ritual “petad” is performed wherein a pair of dogs are butchered at the very forest and offered to the spirits residing at the forest.

As dictated by customs and traditions, it became the culture of our forebears to suspend all their daily activities and attend the wake and help in all the tasks of fetching water, butchering, cooking, and preparing firewood and other errands. This practice is still followed today.

Still on the wake, the fourth, fifth and subsequent day until burial, either a cow or a carabao or a pig is butchered every day to feed the people depending on the wealth of the deceased man. In most cases, ricefields or real property of the dead is sold to pay for the animals butchered. On the last day of the wake, also the day of the burial, a ritual called “tagilian” is performed with to five male pigs are slaughtered at the yard for those people who cannot eat the “dangles”.

A ritual called “leksa-an” is performed wherein the corpse is un-strapped from the high chair (sangadil), wrapped with his blanket, carried by his sons and passed on to the nearest relatives going to the gravesite. While burying the dead, the bereaved family is sent home and not allowed to witness the burial. It is “paniyew” (sacred prohibition) because their cries would mean their souls or spirit would follow the dead man’s.

With the belief that the soul of the dead leaves with the sunset going to the otherworld and no more turning back, the head is positioned towards the sunset. After the burial, all the people return to the house and all converge at the yard to receive a blessing from the prayer man by swirling a bundled dipped in a bucket of water. The prayer goes along with the butchering all his animals and belongings as offering for his soul with the belief that there is nothing for him to return for. All leftovers including wines and other beverages are distributed to all present. When all foods and beverages are consumed, the yard is cleaned of all used during the wake. All breakables, especially bottles and glasses are kept for it is an omen when glasses are broken. Else, the corpse would be taken out from the grave for another day of wake.

The day after the burial, the ritual “gen-gen” is performed by slaughtering one chicken accompanied by prayers of the mambunong for the blessing of the bereaved family. Then the “lawit” is performed with the slaughter of a big male pig as offering to the family’s ancestors with a prayer for a bountiful harvest and good fortune.

The third day after the “lawit”, the family goes to take a bath at the river. Sign of finished responsibilities. When the ritual of the lawit is done, the community also takes the “lallah-oh”, an offering at the house of the dead before they continue on their daily activities. After a month or so, the “lobon” is performed to finalize “ngilin”, days of observance especially for the widowed. Finally, the “lub-on” is performed with one pig slaughtered. After everybody partook of the meal, the family goes to the river or creek for a bath, goes home and relaxes or may travel elsewhere.

Few now practice these otherwise elaborate and expensive rituals. Factors such as the entry of Christianity, education, practicality, etc. have contributed in its disappearance. Others, who still cling to their animistic traditions have adopted Christian burial but perform rituals selected from the above-mentioned rituals. 

List of Buguias Executive Officers, 1900 – 2005

From To        
Nov. 22 1900 1902 Alingbas (Loo) Appointed    
1902 1904 Velasco (Buguias) Appointed    
1905 1908 Punasen Longbas Appointed    
1908 1910 Baldaen Lobyado Elected Alingbas Elected
1911 1912 Danggol Cubangay Elected Palbusa Elected
1912 1914 L. Senachey Elected Bab-ngo-o Elected
1915 1916 Docayso Montes Elected L. Albon Elected
1917 1918 Butag Ligmayo Elected S. Tayab Ateniao Elected
1919 1920 Ta-ao Mayol Elected B. Palbusa Elected
1920 1921 Anong Baldasan Elected Asipan Bigo Elected
1922 1923 Docayso Montes Elected Dayaoen Leces Elected
1924 1926 Anong Baldasan Elected Kini Balaoen Elected
1927 1929 Paetan Bay-an Elected Abol Domalos Elected
1930 1932 Butag Ligmayo Elected Picod Patian Elected
1933 1935 Berto Cubangay Elected Ludaes Piscao Elected
1936 1937 Calayon Igualdo Elected    
1938 1940 Galap Almora Elected Juan Wakit Elected
1941 Nov. 1942 Berto Cubangay Appointed    
Dec. 1942 Jan. 1943 Ben Almora Appointed    
Feb 1943 April 1943 Julian Calion Appointed    
May 1943 Dec. 1944 Jacinto Olsim Appointed    
Jan. 1945 Aug. 1945 Butag Ligmayo Appointed    
Sept. 1945 Dec. 1945 Gavino Bay-an (Military Mayor) Appointed    
E. POST WAR        
1946 1949 Butag Ligmayo Elected Avelino Olsim Elected
1950 1951 Pingay Pulsingay Elected Lobesto Alawas Elected
1951 1952 Lobesto Alawas Appointed Pio Toyaoan Appointed
1953 1956 Pio Toyaoan Elected Mariano Cobcobo Elected
1956 1959 Mariano Cobcobo Elected Pacalso Payagen Elected
1960 1963 Julian Calion Elected Johnson Montes Elected
1964 1967 Gavino Bay-an Elected Hilary Camas Elected
1968 1971 Juanito Bacquian Elected Camilo Atas Elected
1972 1976 Tomas Yap Elected Robert Tinda-an Elected
1977 1980 Robert Tindaan Appointed    
1981 1986 Robert Tindaan Elected Pedro Agayao Elected
1986 1987 Antonio Abyado OIC Camilo Atas OIC
1987 March 1988 Camilo Atas Appointed Apolinario T. Camsol Appointed
April 1988 June 1992 Stafin Olsim Elected Daoines Awal Elected
July 1992 June 1995 Apolinario T Camsol Elected Paul Gabriel Elected
July 1995 June 1998 Apolinario T. Camsol Elected Jacinto Maliones Elected
July 1998 June 2001 Domingo B. Bay-an Elected Manuel Og-oget Elected
July 2001 June 2004 Apolinario T. Camsol Elected Thomas Palileng Elected
July 2004 Nov. 2004 Nardo B. Cayat Elected Felecio Bayacsan Elected
Nov. 2004 Present Thomas R. Palileng Elected Felecio Bayacsan Elected

Source: Souveneir programs of Buguias town fiesta compiled by Former Mayor Pio Toyaoan and Interviews with Mr. Emilio Palbusa, active researcher for Family Trees of Buguias; Former Mayor Pio Toyaoan, Former Councilor and IP leader Ramon Igualdo, COMELEC – CAR Regional Director – Atty. Armando Velasco.

C – Summary Socio-Political Histories of the Barangays

1. Abatan

Abatan was created by virtue of Republic Act No. 4695 dated June 18, 1966. Today, Abatan is considered as the urban center of the municipality. Abatan started out as a stopover in on the crossroads of the Halsema Road (Baguio-Bontoc Road) and the Abatan-Mankayan-Cervantes-Tagudin Road and Abatan-Buguias-Kabayan-Gurel Road. The area surrounding the stopover was a rich hunting ground for folks of Loo and Guinaoang village. It became an important adjunct with the physical integration of the Cordillera Province into the American Colonial Government. Traders would pass through Abatan to reach the gold mines of Suyoc and Lepanto or to the vegetable bowl of Loo. Local history has it that Abatna’s first inhabitant was Galap Almora who in 1930, had a store where travelers stayed, ate and rested before continuing on their journeys.

2. Amgaleyguey

Amgaleyguey was created under Republic Act No. 4695 on June 18, 1966. Amgaleyguey got its name from the word “Nagaleygaleygey”. This is justified by too many creeks bisected the area in a parallel formation flowing to the Agno River. The place was one of the six settlements comprising the barrio of Lut-ac. It became a separate barangay appended to the municipality of Buguias when Lut-ac was annexed into Pacso of the Municipality of Kabayan. It also covered the settlement of Natubleng before Natubleng became a separate barangay in 1971.

3. Amlimay

According to historical accounts of Buguias elders, the place Amlimay was originally called Sayyatan. This is a village on top of a high mountain along the trail at the most southern end of the town. Later during the American Regime, the name Say-yatan was changed to Amlimay in honor of the most influential headman and original family of the barrio. Amlimay is located at the southernmost barangay of Buguias, adjacent to the Municipality of Kabayan, Benguet. It is said to be the first settlement of the ancestors of Benguet people, hence, its moniker as “Home of the Forefathers” of Benguet. The alleged proof of this claim consists of the barangay’s ownership of a jar named “Tokotok”, a rare and antique artifact that was reputed to accommodate around one cavan of rice meant for fermentation into wine.

4. Baculongan Norte

Baculongan is one of the oldest barangays of Buguias created on June 18, 1966 under RA 4695 during the incumbency of Hon. Mayor Gavino Bay-an. In 1983, Baculongan was divided into Baculongan Norte and Baculongan Sur by virtue of Sangguniang Panlalawigan Resolution No. 711. Baculongan came from the word “Colongan”, meaning pigpen, a fence place where domesticated pigs were kept to protect from pest and from roaming around. It became “Baculongan” when the American survey team headed by Benzon referred to the place as such in 1907. Baculongan at that time had the highest number of registered voters and functioned as a courting ground of politicians aspiring for public office.

5. Bangao

Bangao was created under Republic Act. No. 4695 dated June 18, 1966. It is located at the Northern part of the municipality where the legendary well “Cotcot Aso” is located. In the early days, Bangao was called “Elengan”, which means resting place. It was in 1950’s when a primary school was established in the area that the name “Bangao” was adopted. The new name was derived from the word “nabngao”, which means empty rice hall since the place was once known for its rice crop.

6. Buyacaoan

Buyacaoan was created under RA 4695 dated June 18, 1966. It is located at the western part of Buguias. Buyacaoan formerly a part of Loo District Municipality during the American Regime. Buyacaoan derived its name from the original family settlers who live in the domain, its original term “nakeyawan” meaning not fully cooked.

7. Calamagan

Calamagan derived its name from the local word “Kalamag Ka”, means walk to the other side. Dubbed as a “barangay within a barangay”, calamagan is created before the creation of Barangay Lengaoan and Barangay Sebang. It was carved out from barangay Bangao. It shares boundaries with Bangao and is accessible thru Bangao from the Halsema Road. It is the smallest barangay in terms of land area and population resources. Calamagan is home to mainly Kankanaeys engaged in vegetable farming as their primary occupation.

8. Catlubong

Barangay Catlubong was a consolidated part of Baculongan and Poblacion which was created as a barangay in 1969 by virtue of RA 3590. The first settlers speak Kalanguya and Kankanaey who originated from Lusod, Kabayan and Tinoc, Ifugao. Catlubong derived its name from the vernacular “Ketlabong”, a bamboo-like species of grass that once thrive in a small lake that once existed in sitio Lebeng.

The community is known for its promising vegetable industry. Potatoes, cabbages, and carrots are the major crops grown and produced. Moreover, locally grown medicinal plants such as “gipas” are found under the thick oak trees. Residents also practice “ikik” (bird catching) particularly at Mt. Natoo to supplement their protein requirements.

9. Lengaoan

Barangay Lengaoan was formerly a part of Barangay Amgaleyguey. Lengaoan was created into a barangay under Sangguniang Panlalawigan Resolution No. 919 and Ordinance No. 14 approved on October 21, 1991 and ratified by the residents on January 26, 1992. Barangay Lengaoan got its name from the vernacular “Lengaw” which mean evaporation from the earth’s surface particularly in the morning when sun rises. In this particular place too much “lengaw” is being seen every morning when the sun rises and so from that time on, the people called the place Lengawan, but spelled as Lengaoan.

10. Loo

Loo was formerly one (1) of the original nineteen (19) township of Benguet. It was, however, later merged with Buguias, which became a regular municipality only during the post war period with the passage of RA 4695 on June 18, 1966, Loo became a barangay. Loo derived its name from a person named “Lo-o” who lived in the heart of the place. Loo is well known as “LOO VALLEY”. The place now is becoming the educational center of the North of Benguet. This is justified by the presence of the Benguet State University – Buguias Campus, Buguias National High School – Loo Extension and the Loo Elementary School.

11. Natubleng

Natubleng was once a part of Barangay Amgaleyguey and it owes its legal existence as a separate barangay to Republic Act. No. 4695, an act creating the barangay through a barangay resolution sponsored by the former Congressman Andres Cosalan in the House of Representative. The residents ratified the act in a plebiscite called for the purpose on June 16, 1971. Natubleng was derived from the word “Natutubleng” which mean “Waste of Time” or “People in Captivity” which described just how residents passed the time narrating stories and other nonsense topics at the stores and sawmill lumberyards that the Americans established in 1938.

12. Poblacion

Poblacion was created under RA 4695 on June 18, 1966 as one of the Oldest Barangay in the Municipality. Poblacion was formerly known as Man-atong and was the erstwhile center of the municipality during the Spanish and American Occupations up to the late 1960’s. The earliest “Tinibunal” (Tribunal) was established here for tax collection and administrative purpose. The Americans opened a school in 1909, an event that solidified the barrio’s stature as Buguias “Central”. The arrival of the Japanese in 1942, however, resulted in severe setbacks, including the burning of the municipal buildings including the presidencia in 1943 by the Japanese Imperial Army. The school was finally reopened with English as the medium of instruction after the liberation. Houses and public buildings were rehabilitated through the U.S War Damage Commission. The rise of the vegetable trade in the areas along the Halsema Road, however, and the increasing importance of the Abatan junction as an Centerport reduced the focus on Buguias Central or Poblacion as the administrative and economic hub of commerce for the municipality and soon after Buguias earned the moniker as the “Vegetable bowl” of the Cordilleras, the municipal hall was rebuilt therein and administrative as well as economic activities relocated.

13. Sebang

After ten years of the subdivision of Baculongan into Baculongan Norte and Baculongan Sur, Baculongan Sur was then subdivided into two where Barangay Sebang was created by virtue of Sangguniang Panlalawigan Resolution No. 112 and Provincial Ordinance No. 01 approved in February 10, 1992 and ratified on December 27, 1992.

The name of the barangay came from the word “Sebang” means a pathway of animals foraging in the forest.

Data Source - NCIP, Benguet