1. Indigenous Systems

Forests are sacred to the elders of the community. Stories of enchantment experienced are told of certain forests like Mount Pukgong located along the boundaries of Barangays Balluay and Bagong, Barangay Tuel and Ambongdolan of Tublay and Gaswiling of Kapangan. It is told that there is a big and clear spring atop the mountain that supplies water to the nearby barangays. One time, a man from Barangay Ambongdolan, Tublay attempted to go further at the interior part of the mountain perhaps to check the water source. When he returned, he was not able to speak and became temporarily mute. Another story which is common is persons who walk through the forest without reaching their destination. They just realize that they are walking the on the same path where they previously passed through.

These and other stories are regarded as warning to members of the community when entering their forests. They should be careful not to disturb the abode of the spirits otherwise something unfortunate could happen to them or to any member of their families.

With these cosmic beliefs on the background, the community elders have established watersheds they call “uma” (popularly known as “muyong” to Ifugaos) or communal forest. In these umas, no one is allowed to encroach and introduce any improvement be it a dwelling or uma. Those who go against this prohibition are subjected to the council of elders for the settlement of their offenses (tongtong). The penalty is given usually in not only in terms of number of animals but also in monetary form. Improvements introduced must be dismantled and abandoned by the offender.