Posted on May 21, 2012 - ValreD
The legendary origin of the indigenous people of Buguias began with a creation folktale. Kabunyan, the Almighty God, brought into existence the first couple, Bangan and Bugan, after the great flood. The couple lived in Mount Kalawitan, the highest mountain north of Benguet. From the mountain, the couple’s descendants came down. Some followed the Chico River downstream and settled in the northwest, at Gonogon and Bontoc. Others made their way south to Ahin, Tococan, Ambanglo, Tinoc, Awa, Palatang, Baugan, Amlimay, Man-atong, Bogey-yas, Tanggawan, Labay, Amgaleyguey, and Togtogyon (Loo) while still others went farther south to Embusey, Batan, Kabayan, and Bokod. The rest went westward to Mankayan, Bakun, and Kibungan, and from thence to Kapangan.
Tales included the legend of Tugtugaka, a Nabalicong warrior, and Cuyapon, a beautiful fairy, who fell in love with each other and had begotten Anno. Anno’s generation flourished and peopled many villages far and wide from Benguet to Ifugao and Vizcaya. The Agno River was named after him. Another tale involved Gatan who came to earth as the representative of Lumawig (God) in order to teach, lead and protect humans. The other folktales related to “Biyew,” the source of all prayers; and the origin of mountains, lowlands, earthquakes and lightning, the story Samiklay, The first Rice in Loo Valley, The antique Jar of Buguias, The Bellian Dance, The famous Tiking Agindang . The Annex included descriptions of rituals involved in the “Family Life Cycle” and “Death.”
Oral Traditions: Origin of Settlers
Oral tradition stated that the first settlers that peopled Buguias were descendants of Talgen who lived in Ambanglo, east of Bot-oan, in the 13th century. Talgen had eight (8) sons who all left in search of greener pastures. Odan, the eldest, went to Hapaw (now in Kiangan, Ifugao). The second son, Baglaw, a hunter and trader, roamed around the place and finally settled in Mangkew, at the southern part of Buguias. Mantac the third son traveled all the way to Lubon (now in Tadian, Mountain Province). Kitongan the fourth son went to Tad-ew and farmed at the mountain now known as Mount Kitongan, above Loo Valley; the fifth son, Malawmaw, settled at Sanil (Tococan). The trader Belka, sixth in the line, migrated to Bauko (now in Mountain Province) while Padyog, the seventh brother settled at Embusey (now Lutak). Capsola, the youngest, went to Benalian (now in Nueva Vizcaya).
Baglaw, Kitongan, Malawmaw and their descendants, thus, were the earliest known ancestors of the natives of the municipality. In the later part of the century, some of them gathered and settled at Patlatang and Baugan at the northern part of Buguias, where they raised vegetables and domesticated animals. They also cooked asin (salt), which they bartered in other places. They worshipped Kabunyan as God and Creator, and performed the sida (or cañao), caon (wedding), pidet/pudan and other festive rituals to invoke his blessings and graces. Among the present descendants of Kitongan are Posnget Dayawen and Pio Toyaoan of Loo.
Another oral account had it that the Buguias forebears were the early pagan Malay settlers in the Philippines who landed in the Lingayen Gulf, Pangasinan, but were driven into the hinterlands by the second wave of Malay settlers with superior arms. The people moved upward from Lingayen, following the Agno River towards the mountains and reached a place good for hunting and raising animals and crops; there, they established their abode. Others moved on to Tinoc, Ahin, Hungduan, Hapao and other parts of Ifugao – only to come back at the start of the 15th century.
There is an “unwritten” genealogy that most settlers in Buguias traced their roots to Ifugao Province. There was once a couple named Lumawig and Bangan who resided in the eastern part of the mountains that is now Ifugao. Their descendants were hunters who came to Buguias. They were Taak, Tuwaok, Agmaliw, Dagol, Balaigan and Mayengmeng, who by intermarriage became the early settlers of Buguias particularly at Gueoeng, Amlimay, Sebang, Poblacion and Loo. (It is noted that the names of these first settlers are still used by the present generation of Buguias). As they grew in number, others migrated to other places of Benguet because of a leprosy epidemic (“bulutong”). Another cause of migration was the “bongkilaw” a strange sound (like a funeral hymn) at night, which caused fear among the settlers.
If there are many Kankana-ey speaking tribes outside Buguias (i.e., in Benguet), they were believed to be blood relations who left Buguias, particularly tracing their roots in Amlimay. On the other hand, though the Kankanaeys originally peopled Buguias, social contact, migration, and trade have transformed the Buguias into a melting pot of ethnicities, languages, and customs.
Culture and Dialects
In his book, “History of Buguias” (1979), Pedro Bestre stated that generally, the Indigenous People of Buguias are Kankanaey speaking. Nonetheless, the residents came from three (3) major culture groups. The Kalanguya speaking people dominate the barrios of Catlobong and Amlimay. On the other hand, the Ibalois inhabited Kabuguiasan. The Kankanaeys peopled the rest of the barrios: Baculongan, Calamagan, Abatan, Bangao, Loo, Buyacaoan, Amgaleyguey and Natubleng. A fourth culture group, although less significant and pronounced as the major groups, can be found in the heart of the municipality – Poblacion – where the dialect known as Mandec–ey predominates. This dialect carries the combination of the three major dialects, hence the residents of Poblacion can understand and can even speak any of the three other languages.
In 1978, of the total population of Buguias was 17,068, about 75% are Kankanaey, 15% Kalanguya and some 10% Ibaloi. Geographically, Kalanguya dialect is situated in the eastern part of the municipality, in the south is Ibaloi, while Kankanaey is North West and North east near eastern part of Mt. Province.