Back to Article List

GASPAR C. CAYAT

       The Kalanguya derive their ethnic name from the word “Kalanguya”. It is a contraction of the words “keley ngo iya”, which literally means, “what in the world is this?” This is used to pacify and therefore a word of peace. It is also used to correct mistakes. Kalanguya also refers to the people’s language.

Based on the testimonies of the “nangkaama” (elders representing a wide cross-section of the Kalanguya areas) in a series of Kalanguya Congresses beginning in 1993, the main origin of the Kalanguya people are from the adjacent communities of Ahin, Taboy, Tucucan and Tinoc or Tinec. Since Tinec is now a separate municipality embracing Ahin and Tucucan and other areas of origin of the Kalanguyas, it is therefore appropriate to put Tinoc, Ifugao as the point of origin of the Kalanguyas. It was understood that when you say, Tinoc or Tinec, it means you either come from Ahin, Tucucan or other places in the general area which they have been occupying since time immemorial. By reasons of “Bungkellew” (plague) and the “Ngayew” (head hunting activities)of neighboring ethnic groups, many left the area for other places. Others went west to Buguias and Mountain Province, others to southern Benguet and eastern Pangasinan and still others to Nueva Vizcaya and Nueva Ecija.

In Nueva Vizcaya, the group has been identified in anthropological literature as Ikalahan.

Geography

The mountainous haven of the Kalanguya lies within the heart of Northern Luzon, Philippines. The government has declared most of these mountain areas either as forest reserves, watersheds or National Parks. If is not however, a separate political subdivision but it can be considered as such, since most of the areas are geographically contiguous. The Kalanguya area spans the administrative regions of Pangasinan, Cagayan Valley, Nueva Ecija and the Cordillera. It is composed of the municipalities of Tinoc and Asipolo of Ifugao Province, the municipalities of Ambaguio, Kayapa, Santa Fe, and Aritao of Nueva Vizcaya; portions of the municipalities of Buguias, Kabayan, and Bokod of Benguet Province; a portion of the municipality of San Nicolas, Pangasinan; and a portion of the municipality of Caranglan, Nueva Ecija. All these municipalities can be reached through rugged roads or foot trails.

The mountain areas in some other parts of Northern Luzon have sporadic population of Kalanguya bringing with them their common heritage. Still some went to the lowlands inter-marrying with the people in the area.

Demography

The contiguous areas are composed of the eleven municipalities, three of which have 98%, three have more than 60%, three have more or less 30% and two municipalities have more or less two percent (2%) population of Kalanguya.

The following show the Kalanguya population per municipality:

 

Municipalities
Population
Annual Growth Rate
1. Ambaguio 9,485 .
2. Aritao 29,151 8.230%
3. Kayapa 19,376 1.480%
4. Santa Fe 11,854 -4.12%
5. Buguias 28,034 2.13%
6. Bokod 10,526 -1.75%
7. Kabayan 10,510 0.31%
8. Tinoc 9,504 2.06%
9. Asipulo 9,964 2.79%
10. Caranglan . .
11. San Nicolas . .

 

        DATA SOURCE: National Statistics Office (1995)

Unique Traits, Characteristics, Beliefs, Rituals of lthe Kalanguyas

The government has identified the Kalanguya in general to be living below the poverty line. A study of their lifestyle show that they have developed indigenous institutions and simple, sustainable economic systems as well as pastoral and sylvan systems. With the advent of cash economy, the Kalanguya lifestyle began to yield to certain pecuniary motivations. The indigenous life system where ecological concerns were protected is now vanishing

They believe in a supernatural being which they call “Kabunyan”. Kabunyan to them is the Almighty and creator. However, since they have not yet seen Kabunyan, they also refer to Him as “Agmattebew” (could not be seen or spirit). During planting harvesting, birth and death of people and other activities for livelihood, the “Mabaki,” (Ritual/Prayer Leader) asks Kabunyan for help.

The Kalanguya are obedient and peace loving. Peace and order have been preserved by their strong cultural priorities, customs and traditions, which have been guiding them for the past centuries. Among their other cultural practices in avoiding violence and court litigation are the following:

1. “Tongtong” is a gathering of elders where amicable settlement of cases is done. Offenders who are found guilty are penalized and are made responsible for feeding the arbiters, witnesses or the people of the community depending on the gravity of the case being settled. Cattle, pig or chicken or other forms of food (depending upon the gravity of the offense) are given to the aggrieved parties to perform a “guinnomon” to thank the gods and ancestors that such crime will not be repeated.

2. “Kaihing” this is an early negotiation between two families for the marriage of their children. Sometimes it is also intended to settle family disputes where the offender and the offended family are required by the “nangkaama” (elders) to settle their feud through “kaihing” requiring the offender to betroth his son to the daughter of the offended. Secondly, “kaihing” is also a voluntary act between two families to strengthen their existing good relationship. In “Kaihing” no minimum age is required. It is even possible to engage a yet to be born child.

About the Author:
Gaspar C. Cayat is Executive Director III of the Cordillera Executive Board-CAR and President of the Kalanguya Tribe Organization, Inc. Northern Luzon. He also serves as Commissioner of the Ifugao Terraces Commission.