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sablan ban


1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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 afternoon when sunshine and wind are not strong. Ashes are mixed later with soil before planting.

When the area is cleared, the head of the family with the help of able household members start to break the ground (pu’tal) using sharpened steel bars with edges that are flattened and pointed (shalapshap). A person holds one pair and thrust them alternately into the ground to break it. Other tools used are shovels, hoes and wheelbarrows. Breaking the ground is a laborious task which may take for weeks depending on the area of the land to be improved. Construction of stonewalls (kavite) are done later but could be done simultaneously. After it is terraced, irrigation is directed toward it through the construction of earth canal. Along portions where canal could not be constructed, bamboo trough (taroy) is placed as water channel. This is by removing the nodes inside the bamboo pole. Planting is finally done when the land is fully prepared. When it is observed that crops planted in the area are no longer robust, the land is left idle for some years to be rejuvenated.

As modern experts could attest, this indigenous system of land development is much effective than the use of machineries that indiscriminately destroy wildlife.


 1. Type of Ownership

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 2. Modes of Acquisition or Transfer

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 3. Land Distribution

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 1. Indigenous Systems

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 2. Forest

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 1. Water

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 2. Fishing

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It is a common observation worldwide that health is a global issue nowadays due to emerging and increasing types of illnesses as compared in the past where staple foods were not altered or applied heavily with chemicals.

Without realizing, farmers of Sablan who still cultivate eat the native rice variety (kintoman), sweet potato (dukto) and taro (pising) enjoy great health benefits since these crops are not laden with chemical inputs and therefore could qualify as organic food.

Certain indigenous plants are used to cure common illnesses and diseases such as cough, headache, fever, flu, stomach pain s, tooth aches and skin diseases. Some plants are also use to clean wounds and stop bleeding.

Massage (ilot) is also common remedy especially for individuals experiencing back pains, muscle pains and dislocated bone joints. Pregnant women also go to the person with such skill (Mengidot) purposely to position the fetus so that there would be easy child delivery.


The protection of natural resources was already discussed in some parts of this plan but with regards to genetic resources; bio-prospecting may be allowed subject to prior informed consent of the community as provided under EO 247, RA 8371 and RA 9147.

Data Source - NCIP, Benguet