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“We, the Kalanguya-Ikalahan living inside the Ancestral Domain envision a sustainable and self-reliant IP communities, healthy, empowered and God-fearing members enjoying full ownership of land with protected and well-managed environment and are committed to preserving and promoting IP culture and practices.”


The Kalanguya-Ikalahan have a history of long continuous possession and occupation of their ancestral domain where they were already cultivating the soil and hunting in the forest before the Spanish set foot in this lands. However, records show that history of the Kalanguya-Ikalahan Tribe could not be traced because Filipinos born in the Gran Cordillera Central are generally known as Igorots, Igorotes, and Ygolot which comprises of many tribes like the Isnegs, Bontoc, Ifugao, Kankanaey, Ibaloi and Kalanguya. But historically they all have one thing in common, whatever they are called, their ancestors resisted assimilation into the Spanish Empire for three centuries. At the time of the American invasion, they were still living in pre-literate society, and since they therefore kept no written records, it is not possible today to write a history of the Igorot people.

The history of the sub-tribe Kalanguya-Ikalahan can be traced back since the Spanish period during the missions of Ituy in 1854 under Commandante Dovilla who was sent by General Don Arandia to spread the Christian faith and to establish the Civil Government to the non – Christian tribes in which the first Kalanguya-Ikalahan settlement found in the north was (Yangyangan) now Imugan. It is where the famous Villa Verde Trail could be located; it was named after Father Juan Villa Verde, a Dominican Priest, who insisted on its construction. It was an important means of transportation in 1885-1910. It links Ilocos Region and Cagayan Valley.

Census figures for 1876 show that Nueva Vizcaya has 32, 209 population with 32,184 “indios”5 as ordinarily called by Spain of the indigenous population but the Igorots never accepted the term thus they were collectively referred to as tribus independientes in the sense that they were composed of independent tribes; only in the sense that they were composed of independent people, not that they were organized into independent provinces. Around 1890 a series of mountain jurisdiction was formed in a major effort to control the non-Christian groups and among those established was the Commandancia of Kayapa in which the settlement of Imugan was included. Until in 1901 Governor General Francis Burton Harrison founded the Municipal District of Imugan by virtue of Executive Order No.39.


Demographics & Geography

The Kalanguya-Ikalahan Ancestral Domain of Sta. Fe, Aritao (portion) and Kayapa (portion) is bounded on the East by the Municipality of Dupax del Sur, Nueva Vizcaya; West by San Nicolas, Pangasinan; south by the Municipality of Carranglan, Nueva Ecija and North by the Municipality of Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya. The ancestral domain is traversed by the Daang Maharlika, the main arterial road that links the entire Northern Luzon to Manila. On this aspect, the Municipality of Sta. Fe which is practically covered by the ancestral domain is ascribed as the “Gateway to Cagayan Valley”.

The Kalanguya-Ikalahan ancestral domain has a total land area of 30,758.5822 hectares more or less and is composed of 23 barangays from the municipalities of Santa Fe, Aritao and Kayapa, Nueva Vizcaya.The territory is mountainous to rugged terrain with elevations greater than 260 meters above sea level. The highest elevations are Mt. Akbob sometimes called Mt. Imugan with 1,685 meters above sea level and Mt. Bantay Lakay with 1,717 meters located in the southern portion of the Ancestral Domain.

As of 2003 the total population of the ancestral domain is 15,554 with a total household of 3,275. From this population there were 10,442 Indigenous Peoples and 5,064 non IP’s living in the domain. As of December 2003 census conducted by NCIP, there are 24tribes identified in the ancestral domain, of these, 16 are identified as IP’s and 8 are non IP’s. 57.53% of the population speaks the dialect of the Kalanguya-Ikalahan tribe. This is followed by Ilocano, 24.67%; Tagalog, 7.07% and a great number of Ibaloi 4.98%.


Socioeconomic profile


There are approximately 18,000 hectares devoted to agricultural production in the ancestral domain. Most of these lands are devoted to rice (palay) production covering irrigated, rain fed and upland areas. Some are devoted to vegetables, permanent crops as well as temporary crops and few are devoted to swidden and other forms of agricultural farming.

The primary source of livelihood for the Kalanguya-Ikalahan is the swidden farming on the mountain slopes of the ancestral domain. The tribe is known as shifting cultivators since they apply a fallow period of 2 to 3 years before cultivating the area previously left. Pigs and chicken are the primary live stocks but goats, cows, and horses are also important.

The staple food is yam known locally as obi but called camote in the lowlands. A portion of the swidden farms is planted to tiger grass to provide materials for broom straw and to prevent erosion. Camote and cassava are sometimes planted. The land is never left barren. After several years, if the fertility of the soil seems to have diminished the forest is allowed to reclaim the farm. Since adequate land has always been available to the Kalanguya Ikalahan, swidden agriculture has been the most suitable method. Both the forest and the water resources have remained stable. As time passed by, many members of the tribe became skilled laborers as carpenters, masons and other skills. They are hired in the community to do special works. Others are professionals and some are employed in the government service/or private sector.

Rice (palay) production in the ancestral domain is done twice a year in the municipality of Santa Fe but in Aritao some barangays covered by the domain do it three times a year. Palay is cultivated on both lowland and upland areas of the domain. Productions in the upland barangays are for home consumption only.



There are two types of agro-industries existing in the ancestral domain: handicraft production and food processing. Native handicrafts are crop out of rattan, bamboo, reed and tiger grass as raw materials. Rattans are usually gathered from primary and residual forests of Bantinan and Canabuan where these minor non-timber forests products abound. Other sources are from the ancestral domain of the Bugkalots in the municipalities of Alfonso Castaneda and Dupax Norte. Rattan splits are used for weaving baskets and tiger grass brooms; bamboo and reed are used for framing. These products are for foreign markets. Soft broom making has been the oldest form of handicraft in the ancestral domain that yield substantial income to weavers and growers of tiger grass.



Many micro enterprises are engaged in food processing and cottage industry and locally available raw materials are being used for this endeavor. Wild growing fruits as well as common fruits and flowers like guava, dagwey, passion fruit, dikay and gumamela are brought out from obscurity by the Imugan based Kalahan Educational Foundation (KEF) who discovered many fruits in their reserves and converted them into jams, jellies, prunes, marmalades and juices.


Culture and traditions

Social ties

The community people have customs and beliefs related to their daily living. They share their unity, concern and togetherness in their daily involvement in their activities. They believe that they come from one grand parent and this is the bond of their unity and understanding. They feel it as a responsibility to help and share with anyone in need of help.

When there is a big occasion in a family like kalang (keleng), timbal (marriage) or death, the members of the community help. Each family also gives some rice and wine for the occasion. Each member helps in all the work until such occasion is finished.

Each community member helps in whatever heavy work a family needs. This bayanihan system is called the Da-ngah. The people help heartily in the work of a family in need or in any big community work. This work may be house construction, road construction, hauling of heavy materials or any work that a family could not afford to do. The workers will not be paid but they will be fed if they do not bring their own food.

Another good practice of help and unity is the system of Balhan. This is a heartfelt giving off of money or any item for a person who is in dire need. The family in need goes around to his relatives and friends to solicit their donations in cash or in kind. The reason for solicitation may be death, accident or any other problems.


Religious Beliefs and Rituals

In the Kalanguya-Ikalahan society, celebrations can be classified into three categories according to the size of the celebration and the involvement of the community.

1. The Laga is the smallest form of celebration; hence, few people attend it. Normally, only the sponsor’s immediate neighbors and the ritual leaders are present. Only a small pig or chicken is used for the ritual that lasts for a few hours only.

2. The Kalang (keleng) is a fairly large celebration that may involve the butchering of one or more large cows and/or several pigs. A general invitation is usually sent out to the community members who invariably respond to the call. This kind of celebration normally lasts for a day before everybody goes home carrying with them their meat share (in-abbong or bokboki) that varies in number of family members. During times when the meat could not adequately supply proportionately the entire households in the community, the meat share is given equally per family regardless of the number of family members. Whether a family has attended or not, he is given a share of the meat. Discrimination in meat distribution is unheard of. More recently, the household share of meat has followed the equal number system.

3. The Padet (prestige feast) is the most extravagant and expensive among all the celebrations. It requires the butchering of several pigs and may last for a period of ten days. It requires the performance of a certain order of ritual, however, in this area it has not been performed for over a decade.

During the kalang or padet (prestige feast), the immediate members of the sponsoring family are marked on the forehead with blood from the wooden stick used to kill the pig. This mark is called boyag. Here, the ritual leader invokes his invitation to the spirits and ancestors of the sponsor to bring good luck, after which the stick is kept underneath the roof or near the kitchen where other sticks are displayed.

The rituals, some of which are shared in common with other tribes, are performed to “ appease the gods, deities and ancestral spirits” that might have been offended or disturbed in their sacred abode causing illness or sickness and misfortunes to happen to certain individuals. In other words, they are used to “gain the goodwill” of the spirits.

A more important significance of the celebrations is the function it provides for the community. First, it serves to strengthen the unity of the community members towards cooperation and giving of assistance to every member when it comes to work; and secondly, through the ba-liw and other forms of music, elders are able to give advice and counsel to members of the community transgressing community mores. Thus, these celebrations serve to maintain and affirm authority of the elders in the community.

House construction

There are rites performed before and after a house is constructed. Once the post and skeleton of the house is finished they will perform the hag-ak. They will butcher a chicken for a ceremony led by the mabaki (ritual leader). When the construction is finished they often perform the Dahadah (inauguration of the house) before the family will live in the new house. This is the formal blessing and at the same time a blow out of the family for constructing a house. The ceremony includes the boyag during which blood is marked on the forehead of each family member and on various parts of the house.

Biodiversity and ecological significance

The Forest Areas constitute at least 16,075.06 hectares (52.2%) of the ancestral domain. They are classified into two major categories: Protection Forests and Production Forests. Their protection forests are required to remain intact. They serve as a life–support system for the ancestral domain communities-- serving as watersheds, wildlife sanctuaries, gene banks for both flora and fauna and all genetic resources in the forest, and educational sites.

Cluster One of its forests has maintained records of the carbon sequestered by its Protection Forests since 1994. It is attempting to sell the carbon to polluters.

Cluster Three and Four have delineated about 600 hectares for reforestation under the Kyoto Protocol. It is attempting to sell the carbon as well. If any of the clusters is able to sell its carbon, the proceeds will go to the General Fund of the CPO to protect and improve the forests and to provide social services.

Flora and Fauna

Dipterocarp trees are the dominant trees in the ancestral domain. It is followed by pine trees this is since it is adjacent to the cordillera range which is also covered by pine forests. Pine trees cover an estimated 800 hectares. It thus serves as the major wood product for building houses of the local residents aside from the indigenous species which is also abundant in the specially to those areas within the Kalahan reserve.

Migratory birds from China and adjacent countries come to the Kalanguya-Ikalahan Ancestral Domain for the winter. A program has been started to identify a signature species of bird and contact the people in the other country where it summers for the coordinated protection of the species at both ends of its migratory route. The foreign community shall be known as a Sister Forest and communication and cross-site visits shall be encouraged.

The communities recognize that most species of wildlife are threatened. Strict protection policies are implemented in the entire ancestral domain. Hunting of endangered species is forbidden everywhere. Each CPO shall decide on the proper time for the brief hunting season of non-endangered species within Production Forests. Absolutely no hunting shall ever be allowed within the Protection forests. Wild meat shall be served occasionally in the traditional practice of providing food for resident families but shall not be commercialized until populations are very big.


There are five watershed areas covered by the ancestral domain, In terms of catchment area the largest is Pampang watershed. It is a section of the larger catchment that originates in the north at Kayapa. The Santa Fe watershed is composed of many rivers and creeks that converge to the Santa Fe River northward. This area comes on deck to the Pampang watershed in all aspects. The Main channel of this area extending from Baracbac to Balete is highly deposited as the river valley experience annual swelling, thereby, flooding banks and adjacent fields. Imugan watershed is significant in terms of drainage density and stream frequency. Tributaries/ rivers and creeks from barangays Bantinan and Canabuan.


Government among the Kalanguya-Ikalahan people centers in the community elders. These elders are usually male but they can be female. No election is held by which an individual is set apart as an elder but any resident in the community can tell you exactly the names of all of the elders in all of the nearby communities including his own. They hold office by ascription or by community agreement. Actual decisions are made by community consensus but it is the elders who call the conference (tongtongan) at which time decisions are made; and it is again one of the elders who will finally verbalize the decision when the consensus has been achieved.

The qualifications for the office of an elder are as follows:

  1. Maturity - usually over 40 years old.
  2. Civic Mindedness – they must show interest in community welfare.
  3. Activity – must attend most of the conferences and take part in deliberations.
  4. Memory – must be able to remember the decisions of previous conferences.
  5. Good public relations – companionable
  6. Dependable
  7. Cooperative and obedient to the community mores.

There seems to be no strict financial pre-requisite but it is understood that a person who does not make a fairly good living for his family is not careful or intelligent enough to be considered as an elder.

Elders may also be removed from their positions. They will be removed if they have damaged their own reputations by flagrant violation of local mores (adultery, for instance, or excessive drunkenness) or lack of ability at handling the work of an elder. There is nothing-overt done in order to remove an elder, but when a conference is held he is no longer called but may attend whenever he wants to.

It should also be mentioned, at this point, that the Kalanguya Ikalahan community is the basic decision-making unit in the society. Even matters such as engagement or marriages, family disputes or farm practices, are made the subject of conferences. All conferences are public and are noted for the openness and frankness of the discussions held. No conferences valid, however, unless the elders, or at least the majority of them, are present. It is the elders who finally decide that a consensus has been reached and who will express that consensus to the group. If one of the elders is unable to attend the conference, the ones present will discuss his absence. If they feel certain that he will accept their verdict and that he and his family are not directly involved in the dispute, they will probably continue with the meeting. If, however, they know that he or some relatives is personally involved and his personal presence is therefore quite important, they will simply postpone the conference until he can be there. No ones rights are ignored.

The elders maintain the peace and welfare of the community by quickly instigating a settlement whenever a dispute or a crime occurs. An elder also exercises a very positive influence on the community in that way

Ikalahan as an ICCA


Registered Name

Indigenous Name




The Kalanguya-Ikalahan Ancestral Domain  is mountainous to rugged terrain with Forest Areas that constitute at least 52.2% of the  ancestral domain and are classified into two major categories:  Protection Forests and Production Forests.

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