In the olden days, Mankayan was a thickly forested area wherein hunters from neighboring places frequented in search for wild animals.
According to stories of the old folks passed from generation to generation, there were hunters from “Awa”, Buguias who pursued and harassed a deer in the thick forest of Nangkayang. The deer fell into a deep ravine where the hunters found it. They spent the night roasting and feasting on the deer meat leaving their fire burning through the night. The following morning, the hunters were surprised to find out that the rocks they used to elevate their fire were malleable. They brought home samples of these rocks and fashioned tools and artifacts out of it and bartered them with commodities coming from the lowlands.
Rich Spanish businessmen from the lowlands took notice of these products and asked the native traders where they got their copper. The native traders simply replied “Nangkayang” which means way up to the eastern mountains. “Nankayang” eventually became “Mankayan”.
LEGAL BASIS OF ITS CREATION
The origin of Mankayan shows a close link to the development of mines in the area. Resident natives referred to the area as “Magambang” which means the area is rich of “Gambang”, the local term for copper.
Mankayan was then a barrio (Rancheria) of the Province of Lepanto, with Cervantes as the provincial capital. A.J. Cleveland’s translation of the Spanish records revealed the names of the governadorcillos of the different Rancherias in the area. Some of them were Tibaldo of Mankayan, Mendoza of Tubo, Lancungan of Balili, Bauaqui of Data, Tambana of Bulalacao, Paduan of Tabbac and Bagnagan of Patpat (Eveland 1905).
During the early years of the American regime, Mankayan became part of Lepanto-Bontoc Province in 1903.
In 1913, Mankayan was established as a municipal district in the sub-province of Benguet and as such came the official recognition of its first local government executives.
FOREST AND WATERSHED MANAGEMENT
For the indigenous people of Mankayan, we make no distinction between a forest and a watershed. All forests function as watersheds, as we know it. Our use of the forest also did not substantially alter the environment, or irrevocably damage it. Our people have maintained and managed the forests within the domain since time immemorial, through systems that have persisted through time.
Belief Systems Associated With Forests
Forests are inhabited by spirits called “pinad–ing and tumongaw” which are both good and benevolent unless provoked or displeased. These spirits guard the forest, and wanton destruction of their forest home, or disturbance of their peace, results to various negative happenings to those responsible or the community. Generally unseen, and therefore indescribable, these spirits may take on various forms when they do manifest themselves. There are certain persons in the villages who might be able to see and speak with these spirits, or to divine their messages and also to provide solutions to complications arising from their displacement. (See Belief Systems, p. 18)
Our people believed that springs have spirits guarding them, and we took care not to dirty or pollute the water. We associate water with life itself, and the balance necessary for life, and our relationship with nature, would be disturbed if the springs are destroyed or dirtied.
Generally, areas in the forests or otherwise which are considered homes of spirits are places where the people feel some sort of energy or power. The phenomenon is not unique to the Mankayan indigenous people, as all indigenous people do believe that certain areas, plants or even animals are spirits themselves or are the homes of spirits.
Uncalled for noise and pollutants being introduced within forests is prohibited because that would be displeasing the spirits and would result to death or calamity in the nearby villages.
While our people generally do not think of managing a thing that is ultimately bigger and more powerful