The Apayao (Isneg, Isnag, Mandaya, Ibulus, Imandaya, Imallod, Itne’g, Kalina’, Apayaw, Iapayaw, Imandaya, Imallod, Idamma’n, Abulog) inhabit the northern end of the Cordillera mountain ranges in the northern portions of the Kalinga and Apayao provinces. The country is mountainous. The lowlands are mostly level swamps of lesser areas that alternate with hills. This is the only part of the Cordilleras that can be traveled by water by the use of boats and rafts. The territory, however, is not exclusively inhabited by the Apayao alone. Other ethnic groups like the Kalinga and Itawit also occupy pockets. Groups of Negrito are also found, as well as Ilocano farmers, especially in the flat lands. There are at least three generalized grouping: (1)KabugaoMandaya Tawit; (2) Karawagan, and (3) Talifugu. The areas of concentration of the people are in the municipalities of Pudtol (21,075), Kabugao (10,651), Kalanasan (8,367), and Conner (3,086)(NSO 1990). In the province they number to about 24,844 with a total national population of some 27,627 (NSO 1980). The groups are riverine-oriented and practice a slash-and-burn type of cultivation, and presently an intensive type of wet rice agriculture in the lower reaches of the drainage systems and the floodplains. Most are traditionally oriented along the banks of the Abulug (Apayao) and Matalag rivers, and the tributaries. Rice is a prestige crop with yams, taro, corn, and sweet potato supplementing the diet. Settlement areas are usually small permanent hamlets within hailing distance and composed of kin-related households. Multifamily houses are among the most sturdily built in the Cordilleras with nuclear compartments.

       The political structure is usually headed by individuals of economic and leadership distinction, mengal, with a large kin following. The position is not inherited. The prestige validating feat, sayam, is also indulged in by highly placed males to celebrate propitious events. Ritual celebrations are attended to by female ritual specialists who are generally mediums. Ritual feasts are usually accompanied by “boasting” by mengals around a ritual stone

Distribution of Ethnic Groups by Provinces
(Arrangement: Population count)
Total National Population 27,627
Kalinga-Apayao 24,844
Agusan N. 9
Aklan 10
Benguet 281
Cagayan 142
Davao 10
Ilocos N. 2,134
Ilocos S. 37
Laguna 20
Manila 9
Misamis Occ. 5
Mt. Prov. 10
N.Vizcaya 10
Pangasinan 50
Surigao N. 10
Tarlac 11
Tawo-tawi 11
Zamboanga N. 12
Zamboanga S. 12