Kapangan is home to Ibalois and Kakanaeys. And as indigenous people, it is but natural for the inhabitants of this town to possess unique indigenous knowledge and practices. It should be noted that for most of their undertakings, for instance in farming, the Kapangan folks had taboos, unwritten rules, local customs and traditions with explanations mostly related to divine or supernatural beings.

The land area of municipality totals to 17,327.25 hectares. 18.65% of the area is classified as forest. The Indigenous Cultural Community of Kapangan, like any other communities, use their forests as source of wood, food and fresh water and air. As their forefathers had taught them, the locals had used their forest resources with minimum damage to the forests. There existed taboos and traditions which had helped in forest conservation. However, at present, forest resources are no longer conserved due to the loss of the taboos and practices and the escalating needs of the community.

One-third of the area is allocated for agriculture. Until the recent decades, rice was only second to lokto/dokto > (sweet potato) as the main crop and main staple. But as the locals started building rice terraces, rice became the main staple. With regard to v egetable production, the locals either use their backyards or have num-a/uma (kaingins) on hilly areas. Kapangan folks have the great advantage because two-thirds of this is typified as hilly to steep, rough and rugged mountainous. Moderately sloped areas which have fertile soil are the best sites for kaingins. The subsistence-type of farming was then slowly converted to a commercial type as cash economy entered the town. Like in cutting trees, the locals had practices and taboos (some of which are no longer existing) which they observe before or during the preparation of the area to be cultivated, the planting of cuttings and in the other stages of farming. Their belief is that when the customs and taboos are observed, production will be greater and bad luck will be avoided.

Certain mineral resources are also found in certain areas in Kapangan. This was one of the major sources of livelihood of the people. They would either pan gold from a river or create tunnels in order to extract gold. Local miners had to observe taboos and other practices which had been beneficial in the conservation the mineral resources, for the protection of the environment and for the miners’ own safety.

As in their forest resource, watersheds and water resource was also conserved in the past. However, due to increasing demands as well as the loss of taboos and local practices concerning water resource, water resource is now also degrading.

The other areas of the municipality is for human use—residential homes, institutional and commercial buildings and facilities and burial grounds. Different customs with regard to building houses and choosing sites in which to put up these houses also existed. With regard to land ownership, the old traditions which were usually unwritten were altered by more legal requirements. Still, the other areas such as the grasslands are utilized as pastureland for livestock such as cows, horses and goats.

At present, different issues are being faced by the people of Kapangan. Through the years, developments and modernization has influenced the town. It is but unfortunate that these have resulted to the loss of some indigenous practices and knowledge that have been passed on from the older generation. Although some of these customs had seemed useless, others have been beneficial to the community.

A. Land Use/Land Ownership and Management Systems:



Generally, the local produce from the agricultural lands is consumed by the locals themselves. It was only in the latter years when the locals began producing vegetables for commercial purposes.

Like in the other areas in Cordillera, Kapangan ICCs practice the num-a/uma or swidden farming and by building rice terraces. Among the mainly planted are root crops such as camote, gabi, yam, peanuts; vegetables such as beans and squash; fruits such as bananas and others.

Camote was the town’s main staple food. But that was until the locals started building rice terraces, then rice became their main staple. Local folks have also discovered that a certain rice variety, one of which is sticky and reddish or brownish in color can be made into tapey or rice wine. Tapey is usually served during kanyaw/cañaos, a local festivity. In the later years, the town’s population growth rate increased that the locals were no longer able to supply their own rice and camote, thus they had to purchase rice from neighboring towns.

Preparation of the Area for Rice Terraces 

Aside from its mineral resources, Kapangan takes pride in its rice terraces which when viewed gives a spectacular scene.

This “stairway to heaven” has been an effective and efficient in producing rice for the towns’ inhabitants. The first makers of the rice terraces have not been able to build it overnight. They encountered problems such as lack of modern tools, techniques and manpower. However, through perseverance, collaboration, support and sharing of ideas with regard to farming techniques and practices, the locals were able to overcome the challenge. From this, the locals have gathered learning important in building rice terraces. Among these are:

Several factors need to be considered when building rice terraces. For instance, when choosing an area in which to build the terraces, the source of irrigation, type of soil and accessibility must be considered.

Also, due to lack of modern equipment, they came up with several techniques in clearing the plots. Large rocks may be remedied by heating its base until it reaches a very high temperature. To finally cause a crack, ginger (agat) or pepper (sili) would then be poured over a depressed portion of the rock. In the past, folks were resourceful enough to utilize sharpened wood as clearing tools.

They also learned that the topsoil should first be removed for distribution in the field later after the soil in the plots has been leveled.

In order to hold the soil in a plot, the technique they would employ is the ripraping (batog/tuping/atol). This method would require the fitting rocks together. Sometimes, these rocks would have to shape first in order to fit with the other rocks. 
In leveling the plots, the old technique involves pulling of logs called suyod or tanapo over the plot surface by a man or a carabao. During the old times, the locals made use of tools out of wood—sanggap (pointed farm tool), galuwad (shovel), silbara/silbara (wheelbarrow), guyudan (basin) and bamboos—bangkol/sahujang (basket used to collect soil) for leveling plots.

For the irrigation, the old folks drew water from rivers as ada-an/ala-an (source) by making use of uyangan/payaspasan (canals) and talakan/talak (bamboo pipes). An effective irrigation system is vital in rice terraces. Locals then and until now use canal from the terraces found in the highest portion of the rice terraces which is then distributed to the other plots below.

After irrigation, the ancestors have also used crude tools such as sangayab and sanggap to till the field. The field would then be flooded with water after which the locals employed the sinadsad/ginatin to smoothen the soil.

The water supply is only enough during the wet season, thus the locals would shift to cultivating peanuts, legumes and such other crops. 

Grain Propagation and Seedling Transplantation

Sowing or grain propagation is done by scattering the seeds for growing. Local farmers would propagate their grains from June until the second week of July for the first planting season. For the second season, during which kintoman (red rice) and other varieties are cultivated from December to January. The location and the climate in the area are always important considerations in sowing.

Sowing (panbonobon) is done in two manners namely the bangkag (dry sowing) and dinanom/shinanom (broadcast sowing). Dry sowing would involve laying down the grains on soil fertilized with sunflower leaves, the purpose of which is to prevent ants from pestering the grains. When the grains mature into seedlings, these are then transplanted into the plots. On the other hand, broadcast sowing is employed in wet fields where there are lesser chances for ants or rats to lift the grains away. Despite this advantage, seedlings dry sowed are more easily pulled up for transplantation.

Sowing is tiresome and laborious especially during the dry seasons that farmers usually assist each other (badang/atang) but usually, the women are tasked to do the sowing.

Certain things such as drinking any intoxicating liquor (i.e. tapeybasilinbeng/dinbeng) are also prohibited when sowing. Doing otherwise, according to locals, will turn the seedlings into red or brown instead of green.

Transplanting would then proceed after the seedlings are sowed for a month. As in the other farming activities, taboos and rituals are observed in transplanting seedlings. The suwek/sudang is one in which someone, usually a woman, would plant thee bunches of seedlings at one end of the field and then knot a red grass. When this is completed, transplanting may now begin on the opposite side of the field. Moreover, sneezing (man-bakes) and farting is not allowed if the transplanting is about to begin. While transplanting, one may not turn his/her back. Although not observed nowadays, observing the taboos and practicing the rituals was believed to result in healthy plant growth and rice protection.

Maintenance and Protection of Rice Plants

Most plants such as the rice need care and maintenance for good results.

One activity under care and maintenance is clearing up (dangdang/dupli) the weeds (i.e. water hyacinth) and the surrounding areas of the field in order to drive pests such as field rats away especially before the flowering of rice plants. Also, the locals make use of the ateb or rat trap which has a mechanism similar to modern rat traps used in homes. In preparing the ateb, the farmers make use of a heavy flat stone elevated from the ground through a wooden support. A string is then attached to this wooden brace. A rat will be trapped once it touches the bait which is a small piece of camote.

Farmers also have to keep other animals such as the maya or boding/beshing away from the rice plants which are about to bear grains. It is in this time of the rice planting when the children come in handy as man-adog/man-ushog or the guardians of the rice fields.

The locals have adopted different methods in scaring or catching birds:

·         tata-kot/eg-egyat/sasalyang - to keep the beshing away from the fields, the locals make use of the or the scarecrows.

·         gol-golak - a bamboo attached to a bendable wood staked at the ground. It scares off birds once the string attached to the wood is pulled, creating a loud sound. Instead of the farmer himself, the gol-golak may be operated by a kip-kipaw, which is a water-powered tool attached to the bendable wood.Doklang - a bamboo pole tied to an elevated wooden post positioned somewhere in the field. It would scare off birds once the doklang moves as the farmer (resting at his nipa hut) pulls the string attached to it.

·         Peket/nihet - a bird traps making use of the sticky sap or peket/nihet of trees such as the jackfruit of the alumit or lubting is wrapped around on a small stick with grass flowers. This is then staked near rice plants. Other hunters would set the sticky trap near his hiding place among tall grasses. From there, they would imitate the chirping of the birds, inviting them to the trap.


In harvesting, the locals use the gipan/ta-ed and lakem as cutting tools. With the use of these, a skillful farmer will be able to harvest fifty or more rice pinnacles in only one minute. The rice grains are smoke-dried in the so-o-an/sapatan, above a kitchen stove (fueled by wood) of a one-roomabong (nipa hut)The smoke will dry the grains as well as keep it away from unwanted pests.

Since Kapangan ICCs have imbibed the spirit of mutualism and cooperation, during the harvesting season, the folks help each other. At the end of the day, those who helped would receive a tan-ay or a bundle of rice grains. Also, those who helped during the transplanting will be compensated with one bundle. Other farmers would give more, usually before the harvesting ends. At the end of the day, the farmer will shout out “pengpeng” signaling the harvesters to bring home the grains they are holding.

Again, as part of their spiritual devotion, the locals would first conduct a ritual called the i-u-wangan before beginning the harvest. The ritual, requiring a chicken and some tapey is done in the rice fields. Accordingly, it serves as an offering in exchange for a good harvest. Also, the farmer would knot podong (grass) on a corner of the paddies. This is to prevent people from passing by the harvesting area, otherwise the field the produce would be lesser and the harvest would not last long.

Another old practice is setting aside a tan-ay. Doing so, according to local beliefs, would deter their ancestors (to which the tan-ay is offered) in joining the harvest. This tan-ay, however, may no longer be used as seedlings.

Num-a or kaingin is one type of vegetable farming. It is a method of gardening by which the area of cultivation is first cleared and burned to enrich the soil with the nutrients needed by plants.

Area Preparation

The initial task in swidden farming is locating an area suited for kaingin. As in rice terraces, certain factors must also be considered in choosing the area. The best choice would be an area which is slightly elevated and has fertile soil.

Once a suitable area is identified, the locals would then clear the said area. Grasses and weeds would be pulled off and trees would be trimmed for latter use as frames for climbing vegetables. For a few days, the cleared area would then be left to dry before being burned. The burning of the kaingin area begins at the topmost portion down to the foot of the hill. Burning is usually done in the afternoon, when the temperature is relatively colder.

Finally, before the cultivation, a second round of clearing is done to the burned area where the weeds and trees that were not burned will be removed.

Ever spiritual as they are, the ICCs of Kapangan practice the man-gapo (to start) before the actual clearing of an area. This practice involves initially clearing a small portion of the target area. If in the process, no one gets hurt or wounded, the clearing may proceed. Otherwise, it would have to be stopped as it is believed to cause bad luck.

Camote Cultivation

Sweet potato or camote is the crop most commonly cultivated in kaingins.
In camote cultivation, the camote cuttings are prepared days before the actual planting in order for these cuttings to grow roots (ela-eb/e-da-o). Planting begins once the area for cultivation and the camote cuttings are ready. Harvesting camote may be done three to five times in one cultivation. In the past when only crude tools were available, the old folks made use of pointed wood to harvest camote fruits. At present, the locals use the tobkiw, a pointed tool made of iron which has a wooden handle.

As in the other traditional practices, planting camote cuttings during fool moon are not advised since it is believed to bring bad luck.

Plant Protection and Maintenance

Like in rice terraces, the locals also came up with methods in protecting and maintaining their crops. The farmers manually remove pests by shaking the plant. They also minimize erosion by digging up canals along the outline of the kaingin and by placing weeds in the spaces between plants, a method locally known as gel-ned. Most folks would also surround their kaingin with crops such as corn, gabi or yam which serve as barriers to possible intruders such as animals. Lastly, farmers would also plant the camote cuttings in one direction which is towards the foot of the hill.

Mabew-as (Fallow)

Usually, the farmers would utilize an area for swidden gardening for two or three years. After the last harvest, they would leave their nem-a clearings uncultivated (bine-as) for five or more years until its nutrient content is again sufficient for cultivation.


Aside from the kaingin system of vegetable gardening, the locals also cultivate in their own backyards. This used to be their source of food for their families. However, others began selling their produce from their backyards in neighboring towns.

In backyard gardening, different crops are planted in one cropping season so that the space may be maximized and more will be harvested. Among the commonly cultivated vegetables in backyards are beans, legumes and squash or chayote. In the past, chayote was cultivated for the consumption of the family and the family’s domesticated pigs. But as the town’s economy was influenced by outside forces, chayote became a cash crop. Plants such as bananas, coffee or fruit trees are also planted on the sides of the backyard garden near the canals.


The grasses common in Kapangan include cogon, bel-lang (napier grass), carabao grass, peket (amorseco) and African star grass. Grasslands are important to livestock owners since they provide for the food of grazing animals such as cows, horse and goats.

Animal owners usually leave their animals to graze freely on grasslands. They only take charge of the river in which the carabaos bathe and such other animal needs like salt and water. Before the rainy season begins, the animal owners would burn the grazing area so that new grasses may grow from the old ones. During this time, the animals would not be able to graze, thus the farmers would have to acquire grasses for their livestock from somewhere else.

In order to protect their livestock from wandering off too far or falling off a cliff, the local farmers install fences along the grazing area. This is also done in order to prevent animals from entering into garden perimeters. In doing so, the locals would usually use wood as fences or plant bamboos.


Land Ownership

The locals believe that lands, like the water, are gifts from the gods. Therefore, everybody has the equal right to its ownership. However, in order to prevent quarrels over lands, the basic rule on land ownership is that the first ones to occupy a land will be recognized as its rightful owner. Once a land is occupied, the owner decides on what to do with it or how to protect it. Since most transactions held were unwritten, the statements of the nankadakay/nankedahay are the proofs of ownership. They ascertain the improvements or developments made by a person or persons in a piece of land. With regard to the boundaries, large rocks or trees are usually used as markers.

Certain instances would result in the transfer of the land ownership. Among the known manners by which land are through pinanad/inobla, inbalitantan/insukat, lan-ed/dan-ed/gasita, tawid, benben/salda and pugo/lako.

Pinanad or inobla literally means “worked on”. As the terms imply, anyone who has worked on a certain piece of land earns the right to its ownership. For instance, if developments (such as putting up fences, digging up canals or utilizing it for cultivation) on the land have been made. Insukat orinbalitan literally means “exchanged or traded for something”. Others trade their lands for an animal or another piece of land. The lan-ed involves using lands have as collateral for an amount borrowed. Once the money is not returned, the land ownership is then transferred to the person who loaned the amount. Tawid (inheritance) happens when the piece of land is passed on as inheritance. Unlike in the modern times, inheritance back then was unwritten. Lako or pugo (selling) involves selling the land for cash. Lastly, salda or benben is another unwritten agreement (but with the need for a witness) in which the land is loaned, usually to the nearest kin or neighbor.

There are customs being followed with regard to land transfer within a family. For instance, the eldest and the youngest inherit more. The reason being that the eldest has done more labor than anyone of his/her siblings. On the other hand, the youngest will be the one to take care of the parents as they age. The youngest child usually inherits the family house. Furthermore, the educated children will receive lesser since they have incurred expenses during their schooling.

In the past, there were instances when lands were traded for pork fat or namit/lamit. The story being that the old folks believe that mothers who had just given birth may only eat pork fat. But when the family runs out of pork fat, they exchange their lands for namit.

There are also instances when one owns a land not near from his home. In these cases, he/she would ask someone to watch over his land in exchange for something which may be arranged. Also, in cases when the owner is not able to work on his land, for instance plow the field, he can ask someone to do the job for him. The payment will also have to be agreed upon by both parties.

During the Commonwealth Government, under President Manuel L. Quezon, laws on the registration of lands were passed. However, due to lack of education, only a few of the Kapangan folks were able to declare their land ownership.

Residential Homes and Residential Lands

As a clannish people, Kapangan ICCS prefer to build their homes not far from their relatives’ houses. There are also other factors such as the availability of water near the area and enough space in which they could release their domestic animals such as dogs and chicken.

In the past, only indigenous materials are being used in building houses. Among the materials posts are woods such as pinewood, pallay-endamoko,uttinansalngedtamadeng and tanapo (fern tree). For binding or tying (e.g. posts, window frames), rattan, vines such as daynenetled and mabagadan,anes (wild bamboos) and bantalaan (a species of fern) are used. For the flooring and windows, pao, which is a species of grass is usually used.

The needed materials are usually collected by the head of the family. Once the necessary wood, ferns and grasses are available, the neighbors would be called to help in building the house

As always, certain rituals accompany the construction of houses. One which was practiced in the past was done in order for a family to determine if gods and the spirits approve their area of choice to which they would construct their house. This involves putting stones (the number depending on the number of the family members) in the area where the family is interested to construct the house. Before leaving, someone will have to pray for the gods to decide on the acceptance or rejection of the area of choice. If in the next morning the stones which serve as buton (signs) remains the same, meaning it was not moved nor lessened, the construction may proceed. Also, for some reason, no houses may be built in the month of February.

As according to local beliefs, certain species of trees may not be used altogether in building houses. It is believed that certain trees are quarrelsome that putting them together would repel harmony, which is unwanted by any family. Examples of such trees are sawilikalading and tikem. However, if there is no choice but to use these trees together, they must be taken from different places.

Once the house is built, the family would have to prepare food for themselves and their neighbors, which is a custom locally known as segpen. However, there must be leftovers; else the family will experience the lack of food in the future. A prayer called the waknis is also said in order to protect the family from bad luck and danger. Lastly, the family would also have to butcher one or more pigs (depending on the capacity of the family) as part of the house blessing.

Institutions and Institutional Lands

Institutions include the state-owned—schools, clinics, day care centers, barangay/ municipal halls, public markets and the privately owned such as churches, private schools etc. Some of the state-owned institutions are built on lands donated by concerned private citizens.

B. Forest Resource Management and Conservation

It is a common knowledge that forests (kakaiwan/kaheykeyuwan) are one of the vital resources of a community as source of lumber, food, fresh water and air and such other human needs. However, not all communities have well-conserved forests. In the Cordillera alone, although some communities have indigenous natural resource management systems, certain tribes travel from one place to another as they practice the kaingin, one of the less environmentally friendly methods of farming

Kapangan is home to certain wildlife species. It is however one of the concerns of the locals since these animals are in danger of disappearing. Among these are cloud rats, bowet (Philippine fox), sapoki or motit (a species of squirrel) and various species of lizards (some are edible such as thebaniyas). There are also fowls such as sabag (wild chicken), martinis, owl, woodpecker, ospug, serpent eagle, hornbill, herons, Philippine turtledove, kingfisher, and golden ground thrush.

Local Forest Conservation

Experience has taught the older generation of the IICs of Kapangan the need for conserving forests. This wisdom was passed on to the next generations. Local taboos and beliefs have played important roles in the preservation of the forests. These served as measures in minimizing damage done in forest area since the people are discouraged from doing certain activities detrimental to the environment for fear of some sort of punishment. Thus, only what is needed should be obtained from the forest. Only the matured trees are cut down in building houses. The old practices also include the use of crude tools such as axes or bolos to cut trees.

However, certain beliefs which are not directly related to supernatural ideas have also contributed to forest conservation. For instance, the old folks believed that “mother trees” should be taken care of and preserved for them to bear seeds that would turn into full-grown trees.

Logging practices

Kapangan have a number of practices and laws regarding logging which are results of their long years of experience and observations in logging. While some of these practices have scientific rationalization, others have spiritual explanations.

The old folks have learned that time is an essential factor in harvesting trees. The best time is during the dry months, which is from November to April when the logs harvested are less prone to having wood pests (i.e. bokbok, woodborers, and fungi) which destroy wood. On the more mystical side, they also believe that logs for constructing houses are more durable if harvested when the moon is on its last quarter phase.

There are also certain beliefs in connection with cutting down trees. For instance, once a person is on his way to the forest to cut a tree, he must keenly observe his path for unusual signs. Cutters would then interpret these unusual things as warnings that the tree must not be cut; else something unwanted might happen to the cutter. One sign that the cutter should watch out for is a bird called lapit or talestes crossing his path or a bird chirping strange sounds.

Additionally, for every tree that cut down, “permission” must be asked from the spirit guardians. For instance, before finally cutting it down, the tree cutter would first call out for the spirit/s residing in the tree to please move out so it won’t be hurt. Secondly, the base of the tree that was cut would be covered with soil so that its inhabitant that left would not be able to identify it as its former home. It is believed that when these are not practiced, the cutter would get bald or worse, acquire an illness.

Certain unwritten laws on logging are also observed by the locals. First, unless permitted by the owner, cutters may not cut trees from private forest. Second, only locals are allowed to acquire logs from the forest for house construction purposes.

After the trees are harvested, they are turned into logs which are then cut into lumber. The logs harvested are first sun-dried before they are cut into lumber. Sun-drying is vital in reducing the weight, minimizing shrinkage and swelling, preventing decay and destruction by fungi and borers and in making the lumbers more durable. In the past, they made use of a saw which is manually operated by two persons in cutting logs into lumbers. The lumbers or timbers are then arranged in a position leaning to either side of a wooden support which is raised a few meters above the ground.

After sun-drying, the lumbers are piled beside or under a house. For proper air conditioning (which has the same purpose as sun-drying), small pieces of wood or sticks are inserted between the lumbers.

Forest Products

Forests are sources of lumber as well as food. In the past, the local hunters would devise traps for wild animals such as wild chicken, birds, squirrel, foxes, cloud rats and wild cats. Others would also train dogs for hunting (anop) to assist them especially when they do night hunting.

Likewise, wood had also been used as fuel for cooking. Conscious of the importance of preserving the forest, the locals had made it a practice to collect only the defective and dried branches of dead trees.

Forest Fires

Burning forests are prohibited. However, in cases of forest fire, the people of the community would help each other in putting out the fire. If available, water is used. But with the absence of water, they would apply the depdep or shebsheb in which they utilize fresh branches to put out the fire.

Local Beliefs

As a people wealthy of indigenous practices, the locals believe in spirits who guard the forests, which they call as the Bayani or Tumongaw and enchanted trees. In connection, taboos or prohibiting laws and beliefs associated with supernatural beings had been the locals’ guide in protecting themselves against bad luck caused by spirits. Moreover, these laws have been helpful in the conservation of the forest as the people would first think twice before planning to engage in activity detrimental to the forest because of their fear of a divine punishment for wrongdoings (inayan).

Developments in Forest Management

In the 1950’s and 1960’s, only a few of the families have engaged into reforestation. But as decades passed, more have become concerned with the need to replant trees on deforested areas. Thus, barangays have started nurseries for tree seedlings needed for reforestation.

Due to the government’s project on land surveying, owners have divided, marked out and declared their land properties including forest areas. Thus, at present, most forest conservation and protection activities are privatized since most of the forests are privately owned. Agencies promoting forest rehabilitation activities would now have to seek permission from forest owners.

C. Water Resource and Watershed Management and Protection

Several rivers and streams may are found in Kapangan. Among the largest rivers are Amburayan, Baguionas-Catiao-an, Naguilian and Sali-o-Aso. The Amburayan River flows to the north and exits into the China Sea. Among the river’s tributaries are the rivers of Sacburoy, Salacop and Topdac-Cabilisan.

Fishing Activities

As in the forests in which the locals hunt animals for food, Kapangan rivers are also good sources of meat. Kiwet (eels), odang (shrimps) and different fish species such wadiganbunogtibek and karpa may be found in their waters. Others such as the gakki/gadding and gingabisukol and agudonggodakwhich may be used for human consumption are also present in the rivers.

One of the old methods which the locals use in fishing in rivers is the kudsong or saep, in which the fisherfolks would divert the flow of the water such that they may be able to catch fish more easily once the water is drained.

The locals also use other equipment made out of bamboos in fishing. Some of these are the pana, bani-it, gobo and apayaw. Other folks use the barks, leaves or fruits of the kalomeylopey and damedngaw in making tuba, another fishing tool. There are also those who prefer to fish at night, which is locally called silag.

With regard to fishing, one practice observed by the locals is getting only what is needed or what can be consumed by the family. With the emergence of laws protecting the environment, dangerous methods of fishing (by using cyanide or dynamite) are illegal. Furthermore, projects which may cause harm to the natural environment are not entertained by the community.

Water Resource and Watershed Management

At present, most residents have access to public water facilities. However, other families, especially those in far-flung areas, still depend on the old source, the springs. In the past, containers lawas/dawas and the patiw/paktiw (made of bamboosand the calamba and salaw (a pot made from clay) were used in fetching water.
The ICCs of Kapangan believe that water is gift that must be shared equally. The locals observe different taboos that when neglected, which are all believed to cause the drying of the water source. First, there should be no disputes regarding water. Secondly, it is a taboo to catch eels or crabs in springs. It is believed that these are charmed or sacred. Thirdly, one who has just given birth may not bathe nor wash near the water source. Fourthly, it is a taboo to wash the things used by someone who has just died on the source. Lastly, it is a taboo to cut trees near the springs. However, this has a quite different explanation. According to the beliefs of the people, spirits inhabit “enchanted trees” within water sources. Therefore, cutting these trees down would anger the spirits that would eventually result to the drying of the source. Among these “enchanted trees” are the tuai or tewe/tewel (Bischofia javanica), baletealumit, pakawan, ballay/baday, liwliw/diwdiw, and lupting/dupting.

There is also a practice observed in order to prevent the spring from drying up. This is done by a local priest or an elder. He does it by bringing a sex organ of a female pig and then saying a prayer.

D. Mineral Resources Management Protection

Benguet is known for having mineral deposits. Kapangan is one of such towns having minerals like gold. Locals have engaged into small-scale mining even before the arrival of mining companies. They either panned gold from the river or dug tunnels usually along riverbanks.

Similar to logging, the locals also observe certain taboos and beliefs when extracting gold. Some of these are:

A miner on his way to the mining site must be conscious of strange signs, which to them, serve as warning to postpone their activity until no such strange sign is observed. In the same way, a bad dream (olat ni dabi) also serves as a warning.

While panning from a river or creating a tunnel, miners are not allowed to consume fish and beef, dangles/shangdis, to scatter garbage on the panning or mining area, to gamble and to have sex. Married miners may not also bring their wives inside the mining tunnel. Also, anyone bleeding, such as a man with wounds or a woman having menstruation would not be allowed entry into the mining site.

Additionally, mining or panning is prohibited once someone from the community just died or people are still mourning for his/her death because, else it is believed to cause bad luck.

One benefit that can be derived from these mining practices, taboos and beliefs of Kapangan ICC is that these have also helped minimize environmental degradation, which is common in modern mining practices. Also, sharing and fairness is exercised among the miners when it comes to profits. After the necessary deductions, the earnings would then be divided equally among all those who helped in mining the gold. Also, a thanksgiving ritual (i-ak-nan) would be held after giving each one’s bingay (share).

E. Natural Health Practices:

The old folks of Kapangan used traditional health practices in healing their sick members of the family either customary practices with the aid of “mansip-ok/mansi-bok or manbunong” or with the use of herbal plants. With the introduction of modern medicines and availability of medical profession, the use of these traditional health practices are slowly diminishing. Also, herbal plants are depleting due to deforestation. Although some of these plants are still available, it is limited only to those who appreciate its value and have courage to plant and sustained in their backyard garden.    


Herbal Medicines

Common Uses

1. Kipas/gipas

For diuretic/kidney trouble

2. Balanoy/Lemon grass

For flu

3. Banaba

For kidney trouble

4. Guava leaves

For LBM/ poultice for wounds

5. Lantana

For cough

6. Kigis

Serve as poultice for wounds or boils

7. Pot-poted

For Urinary tract infection

8. Tagumbaw

For Wounds, bruises

9. Alam-am leaves

For disinfectant/open wounds

10. Shael/Dael

For stomach ache/sore throat

11. Shengaw/Dengaw

For stomach ache

12. Sapal

For dysentery

13. Baba-ing/bain-bain


14. Avocado leaves

For rheumatism

15. Oregano

For asthma/cough

16. Mint

For dysmenorrheal

17. Passion fruit leaves

Increase red blood cells

18. sunflower leaves

For open wounds

**It is noteworthy that the DOH is encouraging the use of these traditional herbal plants.

Data Source - NCIP, Benguet