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      Kalinga as a political domain was non-existent during the 300 years of Spanish colonial rule. Spanish writers towards the 18th century merely noted that there were inhabitants of the mountain region at the central dorsal expanse of what the Spaniards called the Gran Cordillera (mountains) of Luzon. The name “Kalinga” apparently is not indigenous to the present Kalinga constituency since the word is traced to “Gaddang” dialect.

      The name referred to the mountaineers on the eastern side of Gran Cordillera who, during those years of Spanish occupation of the Cagayan Valley, pestered lowlanders with their head-hunting raids. Kalinga as name stuck with those mountain dwellers occupying now the territory of Kalinga Province.

      Kalinga was first organized as a political realm under the American political rule when Mountain Province was created by the Philippine Commission Act 1876 on August 18, 1912. It was one of the five sub-provinces then of Mountain Province when it was divided into several, sub-provincial units along ethnic lines.

      By an act of Congress, Kalinga was lumped with Apayao as one separate province by RA 5695 which divided Mountain Province into four subprovinces on June 18, 1966. Kalinga became a separate province by virtue of RA 7878 which divided the Kalinga-Apayao provinces into two in 1992.

      The province is constituted by eight municipalities namely, Balbalan, Pasil Lubugan, Pinukpuk, Rizal, Tabuk, Tanudan and Tinglayan. Tabuk is the capital town.


      The Province of Kalinga is located centrally in the Cordillera region, bounded on the north by Apayao province, South by Mountain Province, east by Cagayan and Isabela and west by the Province of Abra.

      The topography of the province is mountainous, rugged with its highest mountain peak rising 6,000 ft above sea level– Mt. Sapocoy which towers over the province of Abra and Kalinga. Its lowland plains called the Laya Valley is a fertile alluvial land covered by the municipality of Tabuk, Pinukpuk and Rizal. Mountain peaks ranging from 1,500 to 2,500 meters. Average temperature ranging from 17 to 22 degrees Celcius and Type III weather patterns. Dry season extends from November to April. The rest of the year is wet and the heaviest rainfall were recorded in the months of July and October.

Soil type of the province is loam.


Growth Rate

      Kalinga’s growth rate from 1980 to 1990 is among the lowest in the Cordillera Administrative Region with 1.83% as the average growth rate. At present, Kalinga has a population of 137, 074. Among the eight municipalities, Tanudan has the highest average annual growth with 3.95 followed by the capital town of Tabuk with 2.95 percent. Pasil has the lowest growth rate of 0.98 percent.

Age Group

      The 1990 provincial population is distributed by age group as: 0-14 years old which comprises 43 percent (58,221); 15-64 years old with 54 percent (74,240); and 65 years old and above accounting for only 3 percent. The 1990 figure further shows that the procvince has dependency ratio of 83.43 percent or there were 83 persons in the dependent ages for every 100 persons in the working or productive ages.

      In terms of growth rate, population ages 65 or over posted the fastest with 2.86 percent annually from the 1980 population level, persons age 15-64 years old exhibited an annual growth rate with 1.96 and those ages 0-14 years old increased at the rate of 1.59 percent.

Population Density

      As of 1990, Kalinga has one of the lowest population density in the Cordillera Administrative Region with 44 per square kilometer, a total area (sq. km) of 3119.4 and a population of 137,074. Kalinga shares 17 percent of the CAR area; 12 percent of the region’s population. Tabuk, the capital town posted the highest population density of 89 per square kilometer while the municipality of Balbalan is sparsely populated with a density of 18 per square kilometer.

Indigenous Groups and their Characteristic and/or Rituals that makes them Unique

There are 31 Subtribes of the Kalinga Ethnolinguistic Group distributed over the eight municipalities of the province. They are the following:



Geographical Location

1. Alingag (Salegseg) Balbalan
2. Ableg Pasil
3. Banao Balbalan (Pantikian, Talalang, Balbalasang)
4. Bangad Tinglayan
5. Biga Tabuk
6. Ballayangon Pinukpuk
7. Balatoc Pasil
8. Balinciagao Pasil
9. Basaso Tinglayan
10. Botbot Tinglayan
11. Buwaya Balbalan
12. Calaccad (Gaddang) Tabuk
13. Dacalam Tanudan
14. Dananao Tinglayan
15. Dao-angan Balbalan
16. Gammonnang Rizal
17. Guinaang Pasil
18. Gobang Balbalan
19. Gilayon Pinukpuk/Tabuk
20. Kagalwan Pasil
21. Limos Pinukpuk
22. Lubuagan Lubuagan
23. Lubo Tanudan
24. Mabaca Balbalan
25. Mabongtot Lubuagan
26. Mangali Tanudan
27. Nanong Tabuk
28. Tanglag Lubuagan
29. Taloctoc Tanudan
30. Tinglayan Tinglayan
31. Sumadel Tinglayan


      Each of these subtribes can be identified, principally from their dialect which has dissimilarities in diction, pronounciation and most especially in the phonetic letters and the fricative and voiceless expression of their speech.

      Example of this is the letter “l”. The Southern Kalinga pronounces the “l” as “r” while the northern Kalinga group has the “l” voiceless. In Balbalan, the Alingag (Salogsog) pronounces the “l” as “y” while in Buwaya, the “l” is voiced as if it is “r” or “l”.

      In rituals, Kalingas in general have commonalities in certain ceremonial rites but as denominated in culture into northern and southern Kalinga some rituals are practices as common among these two ethnolinguistic groups.

The beauty in the multilingual, ethnolinguistic groups of Kalinga is that while they speak in different tongues, they understand each other.

About the Author:
John B. Donqui-is is a native of Balbalan, Kalinga who has settled inter-tribal conflicts. He wrote and coordinated the documentation of the Pagta, Law of the Kalinga Bodong, which was adapted last Sept. 13, 1998.