The Kankanay (Northern Kankanai, Lepanto Igorot, Katangnan, Sagada Igorot, Kataugnan) are found on the western flank of the Cordillera in the Mountain Province just east of Ilocos Sur. They are in the municipalities of Tadian, Besao, Sabangan, and Sagada. Cervantes in Ilocos Sur also has a fairly large Lepanto Kankanai concentration. The population is estimated at some 59,987 (NSO 1990) in the area about Lepanto and Tiagan to the headwater streams of the Chico and Abra rivers where they practice wet terracing. This type of cultivation, however, was preceded by dry cultivation of tubers, a practice widespread among the peoples of the Cordilleras.
The northern Kankanay are more related in terms of culture to the Bontoc peoples to the north and northeast on the Chico River system. The language (Kataugnan), however, has been classified with the Kankanaey to the south of them in the Amburayan area. There are differences in dialect from district to district.
They have large nucleated communities associated with the terraces especially about the Kayan, Bauko, Besao area. The social organization parallels that of the Bontoc. The ward system of structuring groups is practiced with the institution of the dapay, which is similar to the Bontoc ato. Male meeting houses cum dormitories are separate from those of women.
Mining for gold and copper is extensive in Suyoc and Mankayan, they worked extensively during historical times. Rice, sweet potatoes, and taro are the principal crops. The terracing is similar to those of the Bontoc.
|Distribution of Ethnic Groups by Provinces
(Arrangement: Population count)
(The NSO census does not distinguish between the two groups. Here the Kankanai is taken to be only the population in Mt. Province. The rest are counted as Kankana-ey arbitrarily for lack of more definitive data.)
|Kankanai Total National Population||59,987|
|Kankana-ey Total National Pop.||158,313|
|Total National Population||218,300|