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MANUEL DULAWAN

Ifugao is a small province in the Cordillera Region with a population of only 153,340 as of 1995, but it has more than its share of important historical sites and interesting scenic and cultural sights.

Historical Sites

1. Awa Victory Site. Located in Barangay Julongan about seven kilometers west of Kiangan Poblacion, the oval shaped knoll was the site of the Spanish military fort put up by the Spanish authorities sometime in 1896 in order to subjugate the fiercely recalcitrant people of Nagacadan  and Julongan. Before long, the bolo-wielding warriors of the area attacked the garrison and totally destroyed the Spanish force. This decisive victory of the Ifugao led to the weakening of Spanish authority  in Kiangan, the center of the Spanish government in Ifugao, and hastened the early withdrawal  of the Spanish forces from Ifugao in 1897– even before the Americans set foot in the place.

2. Banaue Poblacion. Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo, retreating from the pursuing Americans in 1901, encamped at Banaue for some days before resuming his escape to  Isabela via Hingyon, Lagawe, Aguinaldo (town named after President Aguinaldo) and Lista. It was in Banaue  where the Americans first set up their headquarters in early 1902 under Lt. Levi Case.

3. Kiangan. It is the oldest and most historic town in Ifugao. It was the seat of military and political authorities during the Spanish and American colonial periods and the seat of the civil government of the sub-province of Ifugao during the Commonwealth era from 1935 to 1946 and the early post-Liberation years until 1949.

       4. Kiangan War Memorial Shrine. A gigantic concrete structure stands commandingly at Linda, Kiangan, erected in 1974 to commemorate the end of World War II in the Philippines.

5. Million Dollar Hill.   A short distance directly west of the War Memorial Shrine is a ridge. It was pulverized by American shells and bombs during the Battle of Liberation in 1945 in the effort to pound the well-entrenched Japanese forces guarding the rear of Gen. Tomoyuki Yamashita, the Supreme Commander of the Japanese Imperial Army in the Philippines.

6. Yamashita Surrender Site. The Home Economics building of the Kiangan  Central School was the place where Yamashita physically surrendered to the Americans on September 2, 1945 after he  came down from his hideout in the Hungduan-Tinoc area.

Cultural Sights

1. The Ifugao Museum. Located at Linda, Kiangan just below the War memorial shrine, the museum building houses artifacts that inform about the traditional life and ways of the Ifugao.

2. Tam-an Village. Contemporary Ifugao village life can be observed in this village near Banaue, Poblacion.

3.  Ifugao Performing Arts Festivals. Annually on May 1, the town of Kiangan stages the GOTAD AD KIANGAN, a festival of Ifugao performing arts. Four other towns have their song and dance festivals as features of their town fiesta activities. These towns are Banaue, Imbayah, Hingyon (Gotad and Hingyon), Hungduan(Tungo as Hungduan) and Lagawe (Kulpi ad Lagawe).

Man-Made Marvels

       1. The Ifugao Rice Terraces. The most famous attraction in the Cordillera, these terraced mountain ricefields are found in nine of the eleven municipalities of Ifugao. They are breathtakingly beautiful that some visitors long ago were moved to dub them the “8th Wonder of the World”. Constructed hundreds of years ago with the use only of wooden spades and levers, these terraces, if placed end to end, would extend more than halfway around the world.

2. The Ifugao House. The bale-type house of the affluent Ifugao is a unique architectural structure which antedates by centuries the modern pre-fabricated building. Made only of wood, reeds and thatch without the use of nails, it can be dismantled, transferred to another place and rebuilt and it will look exactly  the same as before in shape and size.

Nature’s Beauties

1. Ambuwayya Lake. A few kilometers east of the town proper of Kiangan, this small body of water and its forested environs are a favorite trekking and picnic destination during dry days.

2. Waterfalls Galore. Waterfalls of varying heights and sizes dot the mountain areas. The popular ones are the Tappiya Waterfall in Batad, Banaue and the twin Numbungngug-Bagnit Waterfalls in Wangwang on the boundary of Asipulo and Kiangan.

3. Hot Springs. The hot spring at the foot of a mountain in Tukukan, Tinoc is so hot an egg can be boiled in it a matter of minutes. One is also found in Hapao, Hungduan and another in Ducligan, Banaue.

4. Caves. Bintakan and Najtoban, both in Lagawe, are near roads and are easily accessible. The large one atop Mt. Pangaggawan in Kiangan requires an amount of trekking to get to its location.

About the Author:
Manuel Dulawan is the Officer-in-Charge of the Ifugao Academy and has authored two books on Ifugaos and the Ifugao culture.