Kabayan, long before it was known or named, was a thickly forested and mountainous settlement. The whole place was completely covered with pine trees, higher up with virgin oak, and much higher, by the grassy height of Mount Pulag. Tall grasses such as the talnagba-aykaybuan and duakan covered the lower places and still abound in the area today. Settlements have been named after these grasses. A wild variety of gabi, called badday, also grew in the place. Early settlers called the place “Kaba-ayan” after an abundant root crop with strong vines on which they subsisted.

Kabayan is located along the Agno River, most easternly of Benguet Province and withing the towering presence of Mount Pulag. It is bounded on the east by barrios Tawañgen, Lusod and Awing which adjoin the municipality of Hungduan in Ifugao Province; to the south by barrios Ashaoay and Bashoy which adjoin the municipalities of Bokod; to the southeast by the mountain chain of Nueva Vizcaya; to the west by the barrios Batan and Pacso which adjoin the municipalities of Atok and Kibuñgan; and to the north by barrios Pacso, Gusaran and Sad-day which adjoin the municipality of Buguias.

Registered under the Spanish military district of Benguet with headquarters at La Trinidad in 1846, Kabayan however was known to the Spanish colonizers much earlier and is constantly named in Spanish archives as a large town. The town has the distinction, among others, of being among the first school sites under both the Spanish and American administrators.

As with its family clusters, Kabayab may be divided into the northeast barrios of Bad-day, Tawañgen and Lusod where are found the kalañgoya or kal-kali of its kadasan district; the Central Agno river settlements of Pacso, Gusaran, Anshokey, Kabajan, Dutab and Duacan; the foot-of-Pulag settlements of Bashoy and Eddet; and the upper elevation settlements of Batan and Ashaoay, all of which compose the i-badoy district of kulos ni shanum. Families of the Batan-Ashaoay group have close linkages with those of the northern barrios of Bokod and the early i-runtog settlements of Atok and Tublay.

Vague, if at all, distinctions are made in the not too distant past of the boundaries of Kabayan, The generalkalañgoya area from Ahin and Tinek in present Hungduan, to Amlimay and Loo in Buguias, to Balinit, Sabadak, Debeng and Palansa in Bokod, even to Kayapa and Imogen in Nueva Vizcaya were frequented by Kabayan families. So too were the i-papsaw sites of Shekdan, Ambekdew, Antamok, Shalupirip and the i-runtogsettlements of Tabeyo, Shontog, Shatakan and Shuyo. Family ties extend over the same distances to date. 

Into the central valley, some 285,400 square kilometers in area, came migrants from the south(Badoy), east (Tinek, Tawañgen, Kalaykay), and the north (Loo, Ahin, Sabañgan) to meet, marry and settle and establish the “lead” families of Kabayan. Original to the area within living memory, extensively intermarried, and main participants in the writing  of the town history, these families today bare the names of Daoal, Comising, Merino, Budkey, Fermin, Sinong, Kamora, Cosalan, Aroco, Bejar, Baucas, Tomilas, Suaya. Dalis, Gondales, Dictag, Toctocan, Sabo, Marquez, Boro. There are many others. 

Remembered among the earliest ancestors of the Kabayan people are the so-called ampasit and talao who intermarry with original settlers and whose descendants are only generally identified. 

“The Red-Eyed People of Batan” 

One hot day in an isolated spring near the thick forest of Batan, there appeared seven lady stars known as talao. They were bathing in the cool waters of the spring. After their bath, they proceeded to dress up in order to return to their home. One of these talao realized that her wings were nowhere to be found. The poor lady had to be left by her companions.

Tired and exhausted from trying to locate her wings, the lady sat down and started to cry. Suddenly, a young man with bow and arrow appeared. He offered to help the lady locate her wings and later implored her to come home with him since they could not find her wings. At first she hesitated but was soon persuaded since there was no one else to help her. They were married and after a long wait had a child. 

Her life on earth was a constant struggle against hardship and suffering. Not being of this made it harder for her to overcome difficulties and obstacles she had to face with her husband. Yet she persevered. Often times, she longed for her own home but since she knew no way of returning without her wings, she devoted herself singularly to her duties as a wife and mother. 

One day, while cleaning the chimney of their home, she came across a well-wrapped bundle. She was greatly surprised to find her wings, the same ones she thought she lost near the spring long ago. With great ecstasy, she wore her wings and decided to leave for her home immediately, leaving her little girl behind. She walked through the door, ready to fly into the sky when she saw her husband at a distance. She drew back a few paces, ran a few steps to the window and flew away. In her hurry, the tip of her wing struck the eyes of her child who cried in pain. The child’s eyes turned red from pain and her crying for the love of her mother. Several days passed and still the star lady did not return. From constant longing for her mother, the child’s eyes grew sore and red or nanonang. 

This trait remained with the little girl and her descendants thereafter. To this day, descendants of this family are easily identifiable because of their beautiful facial features and emanangnang eyes.

Batan remains among the most admired villages of Kabayan. Not only is it known for its peacefulness but also for its uniquely clear and cool air and water. Easily noticeable also is the beauty of its talao family descendants. 

Other stories recount more ancestors common to Kabayan, establishing some kind of similar origin. 


“The I-Badoy of Imbose” 

Very long ago, there came from far downstream in Pangasinan, some migrants into a place in Itogon called “Badoy”. There they settled until an epidemic broke up the group, causing death to many and resulting in further migration by the survivors. Among these survivors were seven families who moved north, following the Agno River upstream. Others moved back to south into northeastern Pangasinan. 

The seven families came upon a beautiful river valley where they found an abundance of edible root crops. They settled there, naming the place Imbose. Living a semi-nomadic existence, they depended on wild animals and plants. Hunting, fishing and swidden-farming were their preoccupations. They were happy. 

Another account of an i-papsaw or downstream migrant to Kabayan remains unattached to any remembered family genealogy. It is however among the more often recounted stories.



A long time ago there died in Pangasinan a hunter who was returned up the Agno River and today remains buried in a cave at the boundary of Kabayan and Buguias. 

At his deathbed, Shogen instructed his kin to return him upstream of the Agno River to a cave in which he lived for a year while on one of his hunting trips to the area. 

Make me a coffin of the ulao tree and carry me upstream to where three waters meet where you are to look up and see the cave I called home for a year, he said. Bring along with you provisions for a week but be in no fear of hunger for you have only to shout my name and game will come to you, he added, when my coffin becomes absolutely heavy, you shall have arrived at the place where you are to leave me, he admonished. 

As shogen’s kin carried his body through the Agno, they met no hardship as the coffin, with the body in it, was light as cotton. Whenever they made a wrong turn, the coffin would become very heavy and they only had to redirect their steps, when they got hungry, they would shout the name of Shogen and wild game would appear which they would then catch and cook. Arriving at a point where three waters met, true to the instructions of Shogen, the coffin became unusually heavy so that the party could not move the same. Looking up, they saw the cave Shogen mentioned and there buried the returning hunter. 

Taking advantage of the ease with which they caught wild game, the party spent three whole days feasting at the burial site until no wild game would respond to their shouting of Shogen’s name. Realizing their predicament, they started back down the Agno where after three more days they almost died of starvation in as much as there were no settlements along the waterway at that time. 

It would be much later that the people of Kabayan would realize that Shogen had left his descendants in the place when at the burial of a rich man, speaking through a living person, inay-aba, the dead man would reveal his being the son of Shogen. As a measure of his wealth, it is said that Shogen’s son and his family slept on chicken feather mattresses. 

Identified as the burial site at Lutac is the meeting place of waters of the Agno, Ba-ay and Nabelicong streams. 

Remembered as twin original settlements of Kabayan are Imbose and Amlimay. To both are traced almost all, if not all, Ibaloy families both in the kulos ni shanum and the iruntog. 

Several stories recount how Imbose is peopled and settled. Some of the stories find direct linkage with genealogical trees of barrios Gusaran-Pacso-Dutab and Kabajan while others remain unattached, remembered ever so fondly by Kabayan folk as part of their common ancestry. 


“Bagdao of Kadasan”

The I-Badoy of Imbose were surprised when one day one of their daughters brought home with her a brave hunter she met while working her camote kaiñgin. He introduced himself as Bagdao of the kadasan district. Subsequently, he married one of the women of Imbose. They settled in Tinek. 

It is Bagdao who is remembered as having introduced rice terrace building into Kabayan and is generally regarded as the ancestor of all Kabayan people. 


“Bagdao and Marogay”

Among the several descendants of Bagdao the terrace builder was a beautiful girl named Marogay who lived with her parents in Imbose. Once, the family was invited to a peshit in nearby Loo. 

During this time, head-hunting was rampant north and east of Imbose. Especially known as fearsome headhunters were the braves of Sabañgan, Bontoc and Ahin-Pallatang.

At the same time as the aforementioned peshit in Loo, a group of Sabañgan braves were camped at the top of the Mount Data, waiting in prey likely travelers from Loo and its adjacent areas. Unfortunately, they encountered a harsh spell of cold that blanketed the whole plateau with snow, covering both the trees and grasses. To save themselves, the men burned their shields, bows and arrows and spear handles. Bagdao, the youngest among them, was instructed to forage for food. He descended Mount Data and was digging for camote from a kaiñgin when he heard the sound of kalsa and solibao. 

Abandoning his task, he approached the feast and mingled with the crowd. Asked to join in the dancing, he accepted and was paired with Marogay, the lady of Imbose. Each time was asked to dance, he was paired with Marogay. Soon each was attracted to the other. 

As guests dispersed after peshit, Marogay and her parents headed for home. Bagdao followed, not wishing to return to his companions in Mount Data. He asked for work in Imbose and was given a piece of land to terrace, it being known that people from Sabañgan were good terrace builders.

While Bagdao was at work on the terraces, Marogay informed her parents of her love for Bagdao. A whole year followed during which Bagdao rendered service to the family of Marogay as was the practice of the time. His character and industry was put to a test and he was not found wanting. Bagdao and Marogay subsequently married and were blessed with a daughter, Shaelja. They lived happily in Imbose. 

Ancestors in these times relied heavily on root crops for staple food. Rice was used mainly on special occasions and for rice wine. Yet even then, Kabayan had rice fields, People raised pigs, chickens and other wild animals that they could tame. These animals were in turn butchered primarily for social gatherings and as sacrificial offerings to appease the spirits of departed ancestors who made known their wishes through sickness among their descendants. The practice and belief in the curative powers of the celebration of certain cañaos still exists among kabayan people today. 

The term cañao is collectively used to denote several native feasts that are primarily for the purposes of appeasing spirits of dead ancestors, curing illnesses, ensuring prosperity, and promoting social status in the community. Undeniably, the same are based on an entire belief system of the Ibaloy and are very imprtant components of his entire world. Briefly discussed in the following paragraphs are several cañaos celebrated by the Kabayan people. None of these are of recent origin and are in fact considering among the legacies of ancestors from earliest times. 

AMDAG – This offering is made to the Supreme Being called In-amdagan. It is believed a cure for stomach ache, headache and other body aches. A chicken or several chickens are butchered for this occasion. 

AMPASIT– Performed with chickens as the only sacrificial animal and behind the house of the afflicted person, this ceremony is intended to cure sore eyes or feet of a person whose infirmity is caused by the “ampasit”/spirits, believed found in woods and water. The person is afflicted when either travelling or swimming in rivers. 

There are generally three identified “spirits”, the Ampasit who live in woods and water; the tinmungawor dwarfs; and the pasang who live in air. 

AWIL – Sudden and unbearable paing is attributed to the ampasit/tinmungaw for whom this offering is made. Chicken or pigs are butchered for the occasion and wine is served although there is no native dancing. 

BAENG – A pig or two is butchered for this cañao, believed to cure a sickly child as well as to hasten delivery of a child. During prolonged and painful childbirth pains, this offering is made in behalf of the mother. 

BAJOG – Performed to please spirits of ancestors, this is an offering to the ka-apuan who assist the family, together with other native gods, during the feast. No less than two big male pigs are butchered and the cañao lasts for one to two days with dancing and drinking. 

BASIL – To cure diseases associated with sexual organs, including chills and fever, caused by sexual indulgence, a horse or dog is necessary for this ceremony. It was necessary to kill a horse because the Ibadoy believe that non-marital sex is a cardinal offense.

BATBAT – This feast is started in the evening and ended the following day. At least, two big pigs are butchered, one in the evening and the other the next day. There is no dancing during the celebration of this cañao. Batbat is performed to ensure prosperity of the family. It may also be performed to cure lingering illness in the family. 

BUANG – The Mambunong presides over this ceremony at which chicken and tafey are offered to cure deafness. 

DAWIT– Oftentimes, especially during the period of mourning, souls or spirits of the living are frightened and believed to leave the person and wander off. To call back these souls or spirits, themambunong performs the rituals during this celebration to allow the person to become whole and live well. This cañao is performed most often after death occurs in the family circle. The performer offers blankets, chickens and pigs among others to please Kabunian and Kabigat

DIYAW – Several reasons are covered by this offering of one pig during the occupancy of a new house. Among these reasons are to ensure along and progressive life among  the occupants; prevent the occurrences of itches, boils and other skin diseases among the family members; induce good appetite and in turn good health; and ensure well growth of family plants. 

DOSAD – To cure chest pains, the mambunong holds a spear against the chest of a hog and starts the prayers. The hog is later butchered as offering. 

KAPI – If successful, by interpretation of the mambunong, this offering precedes progress in the life of the performer.  A pig may be sufficient to celebrate this cañao unless the mambunong decides otherwise in which case the performer slaughters more. Unlike the other mentioned feasts which have “curative” effects, the kapi is performed whenever a family member or the whole family experience strange phenomena, when lightning strikes near the family home, or when family members have strange dreams. No dancing is performed during this feast.

KECHAO – This feast may be performed by offering a chicken, a pig, a carabao or any other animal as required of the mansihbok or as dreamed of by a family member. The offering is made to native gods who are believed to ask for such a sacrificial animal. This cañao is also believed curative of any kind of illness. 

KIYAD – The kiyad is rendered to satisfy the spirits of dead ancestors. No pig is butchered during this feast, only a carabao, a cow, or a horse. The offering is believed to have curative effects as well as the capacity to prolong the life of a performer. There is no dancing during this cañao but rice wine is served. 

KOLOS – A small pig is offered with tafey or a chicken to kolos, water god, to cure stomach pains or diarrhea. 

KOSDEY - This ceremony is distinct in its being community-based, each household in the barrio holding the ceremony bound to participate. It is a tradition to alleviate suffering brought about by failure of crops and the resulting hunger and famine. 

Presided over by the mambunong, the ceremony is held in each household with the lightning of a fire started by the “KOLIDI”, a piece of bamboo split at one end. Pine tar is placed between the split ends and another bamboo piece is continuously rubbed against the first until fire is started. This is believed the manner in which Kabunian introduced fire to the Ibadoy. The ritual is repeated in each house until the whole barrio is lighted. The fire remains lit from dawn throughout the day and through the night. At every house, a pig is butchered. 

It is necessary for all who participate in the kosdey to observe the ngilin, or taboo, restricting movement for as many as five days. 

NANSA-ANG– To cure a person of headache, a cup of tafey is placed over the cup. The mambunongthen holds a chicken over the cup of tafey and prays over the afflicted person. 

PALIS – Celebrated to cure the victim of man-mantala or wizard. A dog and a jar of tafey is procured. The mambunong proceeds to pray and the assembled kin sing the angba. After the angba, a loud noise is created with the beating together if bamboo sticks or wood pieces. One men then dances with a bolo held and brandished in one hand and later with the skull of a dog’s skull is tied under the house to prevent any further harm from the wizard. 

PASANG – Appeal is made to Kabunian and Kabigat by a childless couple who performs this offering with one or more pigs. In some localities chickens, preferably roosters are butchered. Should the native gods be pleased, the couple is then cured of their barrenness. 

SABOSAB – This feast is similar to that called Bokod and is performed to cure deformity of the human body. One pig is normally required of this offering but the number may increase upon the decision of themambunong or manshibok. 

SIKOP – Principally to cure “coughs”, this ceremony is performed without the necessity of sacrificial animals or tafey. The mambunong rubs ginger and salt solution on the neck of the sick person while praying along. 

TAWAL – Intended to call back the soul of a person, imprisoned in some unknown spirit world, the tawal, or call, is resorted to with one chicken and one jar of tafey for offering. 

TEMMO – Performed to cure or prevent “sleeping sickness”, the temmo is a relatively simple occasion during which one or more dogs are butchered for offering. 

TINGITING – When a house is burned, the Ibadoy believe the souls of the occupants are also burned and fly away with the fire ambers. The tingiting is then celebrated with dried meat or kinoday offered with prayers recited before the meal. 

Imbose, earliest remembered settlement in Kabayan, today is rice fields but remains a very important part in the peopling of the town as well as the rest of the Benguet province. It is to this river valley that the most of the “lead” families understandably trace their ancestry for Imbose is the home of the baknang. Lineage in the settlement would be traced by tawid or inheritance of such traditional measures of wealth as rice fields, porcelain of such traditional measures of wealth as rice fields, porcelain jars and copper gongs. 

To Imbose would refer the story of how, during the first remembered pechit thereat there were no poor people to be sent on errands so much so that “sahdin ni animal e shahidan sha tan i-puol shay na-mit” or that the feet of the butchered animals were what were used as stove rests and the fat of the animals the firewood. 

Such an exaggeration is matched by the story of Balong “Pip-Pip”, resident of the adjoining settlement of Kagaw, now an abandoned site, home to the abitag of Kabayan. 


Balong “Pip-Pip”

There was a time in the history of Kabayan when there was no easy road to progress for the poor. People who were respected and honored were those who could host a big, big feast called the pechit. This feast was reserved for the privileged few, stable enough to afford the butchering of many, many pigs. Guests were also restricted to those who could reciprocate the bat-bat or meat share allocated by the celebrant. 

During pechits, it was easy to recognize the baknang or rich and the abiteg or poor. The rich were active participants, lavishly entertained and given select cuts of bat-bat while the poor counted for nothing in ceremonies and received skin, bones and broth for their bat-bat. This prejudice continued unabated until a certain man named Balong happened on the scene. 

Balong was born in Imbose of poor parents. He had a sister who shared his hardships as both their parents died early. They lived in a small hut not far from the homes of the “royal” rich of Imbose who were wont to host a lot of pechit at close intervals.

Being poor, and orphans at that, Balong and his sister were often taunted and mocked publicly. Balong would condescend and gratefully receive his share if skin, bones and broth. At times, the rich played a cruel joke on Balong by rubbing the fat of the meat around his mouth as proof that he had eaten ahead of the rest and thus Deprive him of his share of the feast, already meager. Balong hated attending these pechits but continued to do so only to be able to share his sister with whatever little he could. Since they could not eat the bones, Balong piled them in a pig pen and thereafter decided that he would attend more of these feasts.

One day, a neighbor of theirs invited Balong to a pechit. He turned down the invitation, expressing his hurt feelings and informing his neighbor that he would much rather fish in the river, his catch more satisfying than the meager share he would get from the rich. Knowing he was not worthy of celebrating with the rich, he thanked his visitor nonetheless for the invitation and with his net, a hook, and a piece of bamboo disappeared into the bushes. 

He reached the river in a state of depression. Not able to find peace with himself, he sat down to ponder on the painful treatment he had received from the rich. He then turned around to scan a likely fishing spot in the river when he suddenly noticed a glittering object not far from where he stood. With suspicious exhilaration, he jumped in and swam toward the object. It was a piece of pure gold. This he knew for sure form having to carry the gold of other people to be traded in Pangasinan. He picked up the object, took it home and kept his discovery to himself. From then on, he took to staying home and fishing for their meals. 

While in his small field one day, Balong learned that a neighbor was leaving for Pangasinan with some other to buy salt. He then volunteered to go along as a salt carrier. Balong had decided to take along with him his gold piece to trade in the lowlands. He carefully concealed this in his pasiking. Starting off the next day, the group benighted in Ambekdew. 

The following day, one member of the group noticed that Balong’s pasiking contained something and he tried to snatch the back pack while Balong tried his best not to release it. More curious because of Balong’s reaction, the others grabbed his back pack and were surprised to find a black stone inside. They held the stone before Balong and taunted him with it. For to balong the stone was pure gold but in the eyes of his tormentors the same stone was nothing but a black stone called moging. He agreed among them to throw it into the deep river. As one of them approached the other who was holding stone, as if by itself the same splashed into the water. Balong said not a word but simply stood looking from his companions into the river where the stone disappeared. Deeply hurt, he sat down while his companions continued on their way. 

Balong was mad with frustration but was equally determined to recover his lost fortune. He went down the rocky riverside and stood on a rock from where he could overlook the spot his stone was thrown into. He realized that it was impossible for him to swim the deep and swift river. Feeling low, he consoled himself with the admonition that he was self-reliant fellow and would find a way to retrieve his treasure. Looking around again, he noticed an object moving toward the riverside. Overjoyed, he ran toward the object which was the same stone thrown into the river. He put the gold piece into his pasiking and proceeded to Pangasinan. 

Upon reaching Pangasinan, Balong searched in vain for his companions. He proceeded to the house of the richest man of the town where he was welcomed, being familiar to the rich man as one who frequently came to trade for salt. He then presented his gold piece to an astonished man who realized that he was looking at a very precious metal. Excited, he offered an exchange deal to Balong. First, he proposed that Balong would get all the silver necessary to outshine the stone but even completely covered with silver the brightness of the stone outshone the silver pile. The rich man then added a big bronze pot, pal joc, to no avail. Determined to make the trade, the rich man proposed that in exchange of the stone, Balong would take home with him different kinds of animals. Wide-eyed, Balong made a gesture of acceptance while silently reflecting on the turn of events in his life. 

Before he could say a word, Balong realized the difficulties he would encounter in bringing home these animals. He expressed his fears of a long and dangerous journey home was reluctant to accept the offer of the rich man. The rich man, understanding Balong’s hesitance, handed him a whistle called “pip-pip”. He explained how this was used and when to use it. Remembering the numerous hardships he had for his lot from birth, Balong knew he could rely on his determination and perseverance to get his animals back to Imbose. With great pleasure, he accepted the offer of the rich man, thanked him for his pip-pip and bid him goodbye. Blowing his whistle, he was frightened to come face-to-face with animals the likes of which he had never seen before. Then remembering the rich man’s instructions, he gathered his courage and led the animals on without further incidents. Balong encountered no difficulties with the number of animals he brought from Pangasinan to Imbose. 

Sighting his village, Balong was reminded that he was a poor man and could not just appear in town with a herd of animals. He then decided to group his animals on a hill not very far from Imbose and inform his neighbors of his good fortune first. Bringing along his pip-pip, he happily arrived and proceeded to recount his adventure to his neighbors. Not believing, they taunted Balong and called him a liar. To prove his word, a slave of Kagaw proudly offered to climb the hill. He had not even reached the top when he came running back to inform the residents of Imbose of the frightful noise and varying sized of different animals he saw a-debeng or gathered together. From that time on, Balong earned the respect and difference of his former tormentors. 

To this day, Kabayan remembers during times when “era ka mambibinaga”, Balong Pip-Pip as a shining example of the triumph of self-reliance and perseverance, even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. His life marks the beginning of the gradual awakening of the rich people to their abusive and tyrannical rule over the people of Kabayan. To this day, the name “Balong Pip-Pip” remains with the people of Kabayan and the hill on which he gathered his animals, above tinongcol, is called A-debang. Singularly touching, the foregoing tale best illustrates the evolving social life in Kabayan. 

Subsequent similar attempts to improve their lot resulted in celebration of the pechit also by the poor people of Kabayan. It is to Kagew that the story of how the baknang observed the difference of how the same feast is celebrated is attributed. It is said that the first pechit at Kagew was a much livelier one since everyone took part in both the preparations and feasting. Observed by the baknang, they realized their folly in excluding the abiteg and thereafter allowed intermarriages between both classes. 

And still, remembered original ancestors of “lead” families in Kabayan today continued to settle the area and inter-marry with earlier residents to extend settlements to as far as Dutab. Among these were Gadati and Sañgao. 



Gadati, husband to Shael-ja, is not remembered as to where he came from or how and when he got to Imbose. What is remembered however is the following account: 

One day while on his way to his camote kaingin, Gadati had to cross a brook where he likes to catch frogs for food. While doing so, he saw an enormous snake and was very frightened and so ran back home. Upon reaching his house, he fell unconscious and dreamt conversing with the hideous reptile which he saw in the brook. He was then told to perform a native feast and to give a piece of liver and rice wine to the long and terrible monster. “If you heed this request, you shall live long and be prosperous”, someone said to Gadati in his dream. 

Waking up, Gadati realized that he had been dreaming. He then prepared for and performed the kapi, a native feast intended to insure prosperity in life. He then did as he was told in his dream, placing a piece of liver and rice wine in a coconut shell and personally delivering the same to the snake in the brook. 

Gadati lived to a ripe old age and in his last remaining years was braced around his neck, waist and knees by rattan rings as he could no longer sit or stand straight, unassisted. His skeletal remains, with the decaying rattan rings, is still in a spacious and dry section of Timbac cave today.  

The practice of sangbo is widespread throughout Benguet. It is the belief that anything unusual happening in the life of a person should be met with acknowledgement of the good fortune it brings. Such an acknowledgement usually entails the celebration of a cañao, or as in case of Gadati, the fulfillment of the “request” that is either relayed in a dream or through a medium, the mambunong

Even this early in the history of Kabayan is the account of mummification, extend proof of which is found in the present day mummies which, except for Gadati, find no direct linkages with any Kabayan “lead” family. The mummies are however believed the ancestors of the Kabayan people without reservation. 

Of the more numerous extent mummies, those of Timbac are the best preserved and are generally regarded as the Imbose residents of old. The tradition of mummification and burial in caves is carried y descendants of Imbose residents in other parts of the province, such claims remembered only nowadays in the familiar Ibadoy bah-diw. The man-made caves for burial in wooden coffins should follow much later at Tinongchol.


“Sañgao of Kalaykay”

C 1681-1720 

Sañgao was a great hunter from kalaykay. Once, he pursued a wild boar through the cordillera mountain range toward Kabayan. The wild boar was following the course of the Alanod River until it reached Imbose. Sañgao was pursuing the boar with the aid of his hunting dog. 

Upon reaching Imbose, Sañgao came upon a woman digging camote. He inquired as to whether or not she had seen a wild boar pass by and she answered that she had not. The hunter’s dog had however caught the scent of pig blood among the camote vines. Coming closer to his dog, Sañgao saw the wild boar hidden among the camote vines and caught the same. Sañgao then advised the woman to cook a camote while he would butcher the animal for their meal. Both retired to a nearby cave to cook their supper. Afterwards. They slept together, sharing the woman’s aten for cover. 

The next day, Sañgao asked the woman whether or not she had any family. She replied that her parents’ home was close by. Sañgao divided the meat of the hunt into two equal parts, keeping a half for him and giving the woman the other half. Before departing for his home, he promised the woman he would be back with some of his kin from Kalaykay. 

Several days later, Sañgao and some of his kin returned to Imbose. They were met by the parents of Topayna, Imiñgan her father and Abokay, her mother. Katuran, a sister of Topayna, was also with her family. 

Sañgao and Topayna settled in Imbose and had three children – To-to who married and settled in Asokong, Babat who married and settled in Pacso, and Chiao who married and settled in Dutab with Balog. 

Sañgao brings to Kabayan the first remembered hunting dogs. Dogs hereon would be trained to help Kabayan folk hunt wild animals.  

Stories of original or founding ancestors include those of persons closely identified with celebrations of the traditional pechit. Further inquiries into preoccupations of these early generations give a uniform account of hunting, fishing, swidden-farming, pig raising and constant feasting.


Pursued to its conclusion, the pechit is the most lavish and expensive native feast among the Ibadoys. It is a cañao that “grows” with the assurance that the prosperity of the performer also increases accordingly. While sharing his wealth with his neighbors, the celebrant is also accorded social status in the community. 

The chain of feasts starts with the abeng or ted-do during which at least three big pigs are slaughtered. Only pigs are used as sacrificial animals although cows, carabaos and horses are also slaughtered to feed the crowd.  Ted-do is followed by dima, five pigs; then pito, seven pigs; then walo, eight pigs; then siyam, nine pigs; then numbers of pigs are slaughtered for offering. There are remembrances of as many as twenty-five sacrificial pigs butchered at one pechit and even of persons who in their lifetimes repeat their own performance from start to finish. 

Of equal importance to the early history of Kabayan are stories of rampant head-hunting east of Imbose. As mentioned in the earlier account of the couple Bagdao and Marogay, this inter-settlement disturbance would result in the migration into the Agno valleys of several families. Often identified as the original home of these migrants was thickly populated Ahin in Kadasan district. Among these migrants was the family of Abokay who becomes the wife of Imiñgan and mother of Topayna. Her family is remembered as having come from Balañgabang. 

The response of Kabayan to these inter-tribal warfares is a sense of community mirrored in its large and compact villages, family clusters, and an evolving tradition from the ngayo or head-taking to the bendian nichilos

Commemorative of a sacrificial rite, the bendian tradition follows an elaborate and definitive offering for relief from prolonged and serious illness or community calamities such as drought or famine. 

The bendian or sho-ngas originates from the belief of Kabayan folk that their crops, particularly rice, would not grow abundantly unless a human head is offered as ngayo and for which the bendian dance is performed. While performed by the family privileged to be chosen through omens, kin-malat, the ceremony is intended for the entire community and participated in by everyone.  


As soon as a decision is reached to perform the bendian, the family to lead the shilos prepares at least three pigs, keshel, and three jars of tafey. Their closest kin, first degree cousins, and neighbors are under obligation to prepare at least a jar of tafey per household. As soon as the rice wine is fermented, the rest of the necessities for the feast is prepared – rice is pounded, animals to be slaughtered are brought to the house of the family, the mambunong and four head takers,olol, gathered. 

The necessary ceremonies are performed to ensure a successful return of the olol, after which they start on their journey. Remembered situs of head-taking is the general lowlands associated with San Fernando. 

Upon the return from a successful head-taking expedition, the olol do not proceed directly home but spend a night outside the ba-ang or home lot. With them are their spears, shields, two or three jars of tafey, a pot of uncooked rice, a few pieces of bamboo, and a rooster with beautiful feathers. The fowl is offered in sacrifice by the mambunong who holds the same in his hands, sitting beside the tafey, and reciting the proper prayers. While the rooster is being cooked for theolol, they weave headgear from the bamboo and stick feathers of the cock into them. 

Throughout the night, over the cups of tafey, the olol and mambunong chant the angba at which the names of all the ancestors of the celebrant family are mentioned. The chant is repeated fifteen times, names of fearless head-taking ancestors recounted. 

At about six o’clock in the early morning, the victim’s head is placed in a kopiya and carried on the back of one of the olol to the house of the celebrant. The angba is chanted all along. Upon reaching the celebrant’s house, the olol lead the sho-nga or sed-sed, dancing around the house.  The old folks of the town then ask the olol whose head they took and from what place was the sacrifice taken. The head-hunters answer by mentioning the place of head-taking or the traditional busol refer in more recent times for the Ahon and Pallatang people. 

Men and young boys join in the dance which encircles the house four times, some participants carrying their soears, kayang, and shields, kalasay. The war cry of “o-oway” is shouted two times after which the circle is completed. The olol lead the dance. The head is then placed at the top of a pole in the center of a circle by the olol who carried the same in the kopiya, the shields and spears are then stacked around the pole. Dancing continues in circle formation the whole day with every member of the community participating. The old man form the outermost circle, dancing in clockwise formation; the women the inner circle, dancing in counterclockwise motion; young boys  in the next inner circle, dancing in clockwise formation; and young girls in the innermost circle, dancing in counterclockwise motion. Hand motions are uniformly executed upon call by the olol such as salawasaw, niniyakan, ines-shongan, kinitangan and others. 

The bendian dance is performed only in the northern barrios of Kabayan – Dutab, Kabajan, Gusaran and Pacso. Residents of these places trace their ancestors commonly to Imbose. Other Kabayan barrios have not performed any bendian or sho-ngas. 

Of the Ibadoy dances, the bendian is the most colorful. Not only the feet but the hands and body motions as well synchronize with the gong beats. The olols utter gluttural sounds, cursing the head around which the circle weaves for the wrongs the people to whom it belongs have inflicted on the tribe and offering the same as sacrifice for a bountiful harvest. The dancers wave their spears and hands high up in the air as if rejoicing over a fallen foe. Old men continue to chant the angba with war cries of “O-oway”, “hoy”, punctuating the air. Young girls stand outside the outermost circle with the cups of tafey from where male dancers drink until some of them fall down completely intoxicated.

A big cauldron of rice cooked and another prepared for the pig which is first tied to a pole and over which the mambunong says the ceremonial prayers. After cooking, the people eat supper at about six o’clock in the evening. The tayao and searong are substituted for the bendian and goes on the whole night. 

On the morning of the second day, the bendian dance is resumed at the place where dancing was held the first day with the war cru uttered at the completion of each round. Male dancers hold their spears and shields, dancing around the head four times. Afterwards, the head is transferred to a pole in front of the house of the celebrant within its ba-ang. A pig is tied to the pole which each dancer touches with his or her foot before participating in the ensuing dance. The ceremonies of the preceding day are duplicated until about six o’clock in the evening when the olol take off their headgear and the male dancers pick up their spears and shields and lay them in the house of the celebrant to remain there for at least five days. Majority of the participants then go home. 

The olol and a few other people remain and continue dancing the tayao throughout the night. The following morning, another pig is butchered. Blood of the animal is wrapped in a betel nut leaf which is subsequently pierced to allow drops to fall on the face of the person celebrating the bendian as well as on the faces of his nearest kin, up to first-degree cousins. After partaking in the morning meal, the remaining visitors are given their share whatever remaining cuts of meat there are to take home. 

Under taboo or pijaw, the olol remain the same house for three more days during which there and the celebrant may either visit or receive visitors. Everything they do must be done as a group, including answering the call of nature. Neither are they allowed to bathe. 

Every child of five years and older is obliged to participate in the bendian and a person is given the assignment to see it that everyone participates. 

There is a slight difference in the observance of the bendian tradition between Dutab and the other barrios of  Kabajan-Gusaran_pacso, the celebration lasting only one day at Dutab and two days in the three other barrios. 

Remembered with fierce pride and nostalgia, imbose was not to remain a settlement forever. Subjected to the sane factors for migration with accounts of an epidemic threat. Imbose is today a place mentioned only in the bah-diw. Among its last known residents was Kapot, ancestor to Itogon “lead” families.


“Kapot ni Imbose” 

Kapot came from Sabañgan in the southern part of Bontoc. He settled in Imbose and feathered Kameng who married Bongsa. Kameng and Bonga were blessed with three children, Kayapon, Coedno and Agnes. Kayapon married Komagon and they were blessed with one child, Pay-an. Coedno married Komagon and they were blessed with one child, Pay-an. Coedno married Teresa, the Sister of Sinong. 

At Imbose, Kapot and his family were celebrating a cañao. While the affair was in progress, the floor of the house of the host gave way, causing the whole structure to collapse. The guests fall with the house but no one was hurt. Even the salao from which was served the ceremonial rice wine remained intact. 

The old men at the feast interpreted the incedent as an omen of good fortune. However, they advised Kapot and his family to leave Imbose, each to seek and settle elsewhere. The old man further admonished Kapot and his family to pass through the floor, not the door, when leaving and to follow the mountain trail rather than the Agno river course. Observance of his family and its descendants. 

Kapot and his family heeded the advice of the men and abandoned Imbose. He and his wife moved to Tublay while the rest of his family scattered all over Benguet. Kapot and his family are among the last remembered residents of Imbose. 

Related yet unlinked to the migrant descendants of Imbose are the ancestors of the Kabayan people who move from Imbose to Pacso, to Gusaran, to Kabajan, to Dutab, to Batan, to Eddet, to Duacan, to further downstream of the Agno as far as Chalupirip, and west to Abiang, Shomolpot and Chuyo. 

This early, c.a. 16th century, Kabayan would be primarily engaged in swidden-farming with more and more terraces constructed to plant to rice. Camote would however remain the staple food and hunting the source of meat in addition to ceremonial butchering of already domesticated pigs. Rice would be reserved for special occasions and for rice wine. Movements from the general kadasan area would continue to be frequent and friendly with no apparent distinction between the Kabayan residents and the kadasan dweller.


“Chiao and Balog” 

It was a sunny day when Chiao and Babat, her elder sister, went to weed their camote patch at Pecha-ag, not far from their home. While about their task, they noticed a young man sitting under their house in Asokong. Realizing that the young man was not one of their known neighbors, they were reluctant to go home. 

Babat, being the older one, remarked to Chiao, “You had best go home and entertain him in as much as you are younger and more beautiful than I”. Being the younger one, Chiao obeyed her sister’s advice and went home ahead to entertain the young man. 

Chiao came to know the young man was Balog of Dutab and realizing that he had come from some distance away, she cooked camote and pi-sing. As soon as lunch was ready, Chiao and Balog were joined by Babat who had come home for the meal. Balog proudly introduced himself as a young man from Dutab who had come to conduct certain matters at Asokong. Whereupon he requested the sisters to prepare five jars of rice wine, informing them that he would be back in a few days to settle his debts with some of his kin at Embose in Asokong. Both innocently obliged their guest. 

Shortly after, Balog and some of his skin returned to Asokong. He had not really come back to pay any debt as he had claimed but to wed the winsome Chiao. The five jars of rice wine he had ordered were used for this wedding ceremonies. Animals were also butchered. Although caught unaware of the intentions of Balog, Chiao consented to be his bride. 

The couple settled in Pegdeyto. They had four children – Makichong, Padaoag, Mensi and Obanan. 

By this time, c.a. 1700, the common ancestors of the lead families of Kabayan have made their residences fairly identifiable. At Dutab, Chiao and Balog would be the same persons from whom the Bejar, Kamora, Fianza of Kapañgan, Sinong, Fermin, Budikey and Gondales families descend with settlements from Pacso to Dutab, downstream. 

To-to, married to Ba-ay, would lay the foundation, literally, of the Gondales family at Pacso with their construction the rest of the first remembered wooden house at Baay, Pacso. 

Further downstream at Bolok, Achaoay, Kambobo would wed Bugan of Tinek and the couple would settle at Bakong, Dutab. From them would begin the Chaoal clan of Kabayan. 

A flourishing trends between Kabayan and Tinek of clay pots, banga, and clay pipes, binanga would continue to people the kulos ni chanum or i-paway with migrants from the kalangoya district. Identified sources of these clay items would be Tinek and Sabañgan. Barter items from Kabayan would consist of gold, blankets and animals. 

Copag of Naguey in Atok and Kangi of Magangan in Bokod are among the first settlers of Batan, Copag is remembered as a trader in animals (cows, pigs and dogs) who meets Kangi who comes to help Saloshan plant her palay. In this generation, majority of the ricefields in Gusaran, Kabajan and Dutab are owned by gusaran residents. 

For the more stabilized and settled families if the Bagdao-Marogay marriage however, this generation, c.a. 1736-66, is a cattle-ranching generation with the identification of the earliest baknang. 

Mensi, married ti Kansita, establishes residence at Gusaran and overseas his pasture lands at Insadong. This early, a sharing system exists between owner and cowhand. The couple is likewise engaged in ever-increasing rice terrace culture. They have two children, Kikdod and Dadjon. 

A separation occurs between Mensi and Kansita and the former takes Babaya as his second wife, moving to Kabajan for residence, Mensi nevertheless maintains his first family. From the second marriage is born Copa-it. 

Remembered as one of the wealthiest man of Kabajan is Padaoag who marries Saloshan and fathers Talen and Dongja It is said that he had more cows than there were people in Kabajan in his time. Extensive terrace building was also undertaken by Padaoag who paid for labor of terrace builders from Sabañgan. Other remembered terrace builders would come from the general Ahin-Kiangan area. 


Cattle ranching in olden days was that of free pastures under which practice the animals were left free to graxe over extensive land. Ownership would stem form extent of animal occupancy of the area. 

Cattle owners would have pooper kin or neighbors assist in the care of the animals. Sharing would be full ownership by the cowhand of every third animal. 

Definitely establishing social stratification in Kabayan, cattle ranching would carry with it stories of slave trade in the pasdong. 

Owing to an extensive gold trade with the lowlands in this generation, approximately seventy percent of the existing Kabayan ricefields would by this time be constructed. 


Construction of rice terraces in Kabayan is a labor intensive activity. It is both a male and female activity. 

Atol or retaining stonewalls of about ten to twelve feet high are first constructed by the men. Almost simultaneously, women carry away the soil which is loosened from the mountainside by means of wooden spades and carried away in a basket called saloshan. The terrace is then leveled and filled with soil. 

Extensive irrigation ditches, kolokol, are constructed to feed water to the terraces. All ricefields owners benefitted by the irrigation participate in cooperative labor, ub-bo, the men digging ditches and constructing retaining stonewalls while the woman weed and clean the ditch. 

Seed beds for the kintoman crop are planted between November and December. Work, sichen, in the ricefields start in January with the men digging up the soil with their wooden spades, sokday. A few days later, water from the irrigation ditches is turned on and the rice field is flooded. The men then harrow, saloysoy, the soil with the aid of a wooden harrow, pulled at times by the carabaos. By the first week of February, the women transplant, tunod, the rice seedlings, the fields at least twice before the harvest months of June and July. A harvest knife, dakem, is used during harvest. 

In settlements of Pacso, Gusaran, Kabajen and Dutab, two rice crops are planted in a year, the kintoman from December to June and the talon from July to November. Work on the second crop, talon, is lighter. 

Kabayan is well-known for its aromatic and glutinous kintoman rice. It is recalled that the original kintoman single grain was given to kabayan residents by a goddess. Its unusually superior eating quality is attributed to the fact that other Benguet settlements were believed given by the same goddess cooked kintoman grains. 

Marriage in this generation between Gomgom and Magona would link the Chaoal clan to that of the descendants of Bagdao and Marogay and consistent intermarriages between both would heavily interlock all families of Kabayan. 

In the next generation, c.a. 1767-1797, Kabayan history would be written equally by the descendants of Bagdao and Chaoal.

Pil jan, son of Magona and Tonged, marries Salbare, a lady from Wangal in La Trinidad and they settle in Gusaran. They were cattle, rice field and slave owners. 

Kikdod, son of Mensi by his first wife, he parentally contracted into marriage to Kasoney of Pacso. Owners of extensive ricefields and cattle, they are among the few who in this time can afford to eat rice for staple. 

Chalmia marries Dangbas, among the later migrants from Tinak who comes to Gusaran in search of work as a terrace builder. 

Talin marries Buwaken, son of Mayengmeng of Magangan in Bokod. All the foregoing related persons show the extent of intermarriages among close kin. 

A number of other kadasan migrants’ move into Kabayan including Sakonat and Kumangan of the Chaoal tree. Yet, a differentiation at the point of time is noticed between the ibadoy and the kalangoya. 


Foremost among the marriage customs and traditions of Kabayan are the kaising and kalon. 

There are generally two kinds of kaising, that which results from the attempt of parents to marry off children of the same social strata, baknang, and that which attempts to erase ill feeling that fellow settlement of disputes. 

The kaising is a long term engagement that can begin even before a child is born. It is enforced with the butchering of an animal or animals by the parent of the male child. Animals could be carabaos, cows or horses. Both children are early told their responsibilities toward this arrangement. Pigs are the animals butchered during the ngilin or marriage ceremonies. 

Kalon may likewise be without the consent of the parties to be married but is generally done immediately preceding the ngilin or when both partners are of marriageable age. A carabaos is normally butchered during the occasion. Cows and horses are likewise made available. The ngilin in this instance normally follows the following evening of the kalon. 

Taboos during the ngilin are strictly observed to ensure a long and prosperous marriage. Bile of all pigs butchered is “read” by the mambunong and only after a propitious omen is “read” does the slaughter of pigs end. Care is taken to avoid any dropping of objects and the stones converted into cooking stoves are well chosen to avoid any bursting. 

Failure to fulfill kaising arrangements entails the return by the non-contracting party of the animals butchered during the kaising.