THE BANANA AND PINEAPPLE GARDEN OF BENGUET
Sablan is a hilly but a fertile municipality of 8,640 hectares. It is located at the northwestern part of Benguet. The municipality is bounded on the north by the Municipality of Kapangan; on the east by the Municipality of La Trinidad; on the south by the Municipality of Tuba and on the west by Aringay, La Union. About half of the area is used mainly on farming and the rest is covered with forest and for other commercial purposes.
The town’s boundary between Tuba is the beautiful Asin Hot Springs, a tourist resort wherein people coming from different places flock in during holidays especially during summer months. We also have the lovely scenery of the Triple “B”, Bagong, Balluay and Banengbeng which looks like a tripod design, surrounded by mountains, for which to set a big pot. Also the beautiful but undeveloped waterfalls in Kidpol which is below the Poblacion on the eastern side, which is often visited by people who loves adventure such as swimming and fishing.
Likewise, Sablan is composed of eight (8) barangays namely: Poblacion, Kamog, Bagong, Banengbeng, Banangan, Bayabas and Pappa.
Majority of the inhabitants of this municipality are the Ibalois. There are also Ilocanos and some Kankana-eys and Ifugaos.
Sablan is the present name of this municipality. Long time ago, the place was covered with thick forest. This place was said to be the resting place and the passing way of the travelers who traded with the lowlanders in San Fernando. The Poblacion at present bears the resting place of the travelers called “Ap-aponan.” The particular resting place was the residence of Mrs. Moya where there was a big “balite” tree that provided good shade to the resting travelers. It lies along the trail from the lowlands to the town of La Trinidad. All travelers made a stop-over in this sitio to spend the night or to feed their horses which were the means of carriage at that time. “Ap-aponan” was selected as a point of stop-over as it lies almost exactly between the lowlands and the town of La Trinidad, the destination of the highlands. This place was inhabited as early as 1800’s.
- LAND USE AND MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Land Use Patterns
Agriculture is the main source of livelihood of the indigenous people of Sablan. While rice and sweet potato were the traditional crops, most of the rice paddies and areas planted with sweet potato were converted into vegetable gardens. This is due to economic demand for cash to defray family expenditures on education, health, taxes and other necessary expenses.
Land Use Plan
Even before the institutionalization of the municipal comprehensive land use plan, the community has already conceptualized how lands within their territory would be utilized hence they have established communal forests where nobody is allowed introduce any improvement. The communal forests serve as watershed for the community.
At the household level, their dwelling has a designated area for uma, orchard (ba-eng), pigpen or animal houses or pasture land (estancia or pastolan) for those who could afford large herds of animals.
Land Management System
Since the beginning, the people of Sablan have established indigenous ways of managing their land. The early settlers consider certain factors before they finally decide to establish the dwelling and kaingin in the area. Foremost consideration is the proximity and abundance of water for household need and irrigation. They also consider the terrain or formation of the land in relation to its potential for introducing agricultural crops. The structure, composition and texture is also evaluated instinctively if the soil is favorable for crops.
If the prospective land is along mountain slope, source of irrigation should be higher and stone boulders should be available for stonewalling. If the prospective land is near the river, improvements should be avoided near rapids or in meanders where strong currents pirouette in order to avoid erosion and accidents.
Once satisfied with the location, the whole household will now clear (pawa) the area using their stone-sharpened bolos after some rituals offered to dead ancestors, deities and spirits that may be present, especially the ampasits. Tree trunks that were fallen are used for posts their hut while cogon and blade grasses and sticks, if available, are gathered and used as roofs and sidewalls of the dwelling hut. Other cleared bush and grasses are spread along the cleared area until ready for burning (pool).
Burning is done with care and diligence in order to prevent wild fires. They have to make sure that surroundings where the materials are piled and burned are cleared. Burning is usually done during