History and Government
It was during the American Regime in the early 20th Century that Mountain Province was organized which resulted in the subsequent creation of the Municipal District of Conner. The Municipal District was named after Engr. Norman Conner who designed the road construction in the area.
In 1915, the presidents, the equivalent of the present day mayor, were appointed by the American officials who established their headquarters at Kabugao. Among such presidents were Odao, Diego Kinarugan, Tongdo Mangliwan and Eboy Libnosan. Matias Latay who was then appointed as mayor by the occupying Japanese forces ended his mayorship before the liberating army and resumption of American Administration. By virtue of Executive Order No. 42 issued on June 25, 1963, Conner became a regular municipality with Ernesto Gasmeña, Sr. as the first elected municipal mayor. Pio Bengnan was elected as the second mayor in 1967 to 1970 followed by Anthony Songgadan whose term started from 1971 and ended 1986. Robert Bolinget was appointed as Officer-in-charge during the Aquino Administration from 1986 to 1988 succeeded by Paul Delwasen who was elected mayor for three consecutive terms (1988-1995). He is the incumbent Vice Governor of Apayao. The present elected mayor is Manuel Betat.
Conner is composed of twenty-one barangays, namely: Allangigan, Ban-ban, Buluan, Caglayan, Calafug, Cupis, Daga, Guina-ang, Guinamgaman, Ili-han-han, Karikitan, Katablagan, Malama, Manag, Mawigue, Nabuagan, Paddaoan, Puguin, Ripang, Sacpil, and Talifugo.
Conner has a land area of 69,430 hectares, located at the at the “Neck and Lower Jaw” of the bust-like map of Apayao or at the foothills of the Cordillera range traversing the borders of Cagayan, Kalinga, and Apayao provinces. It is directly south of Kabugao, with Kalinga sharing its southern boundary. It is bounded on the east by the province of Cagayan and on the west by the province of Abra.
Conner is also characterized by rolling hills interspersed with pocket valleys watered by two major rivers, the Nabuagan and Baren rivers. These rivers would then meet at the confluence of the Matalga bridge and empty itself into the main vein of the Chico river.
As Conner is situated in the lowland parts of the Cordillera, the climate is warm. This is categorized under Type III of the Weather Bureau. This means that relatively dry season occurs from February to May while the rest of the year is wet.
Conner has also a forest reserve of 116,862 hectares, which serves as watershed for three major rivers in the municipality.
The original or indigenous inhabitants are the Isnegs and the Kalingas, the former inhabiting the northern part while the latter the southern part part of the municipality. Resident migrants include the Kankanaeys, Ilocanos, Malauegs, Kalingas, Ibalois and Bagos. Other small groups are the Itawes, Ifugaos, Ibanags, Visayans, Bicolanos, Tingians of Abra and many others. The different tribes add up to the latest population count of 17,461 as of the 1995 population census.
Education and Culture
In the municipality, all the barangays have at least one elementary school while the secondary schools are located in the barangays of Buluan, Malama and Ripang.
The ethnolinguistic groups still maintain their cultural practices and traditions. Generally, they find commodities of cultural elements which they share harmoniously among themselves. However, ethnocentrism still prevails as evidenced by seemingly antagonistic attitudes of one tribe against the other. Notably, like any other tribes, the Isnegs do not recognize one supreme God. As animist, the Isnegs believe in the sacredness of nature such as boulders, trees (balete), creeks, forest, etc. as abodes to spirits. The movement of nature such as the sounds of the birds (balsit), dogs, and other beast signifies omen (bad or good). To counter a bad omen, a “Sumang” is performed by giving the omen beast ceremonial foods such as meat, diket (glutinous rice) or plain rice.
Agriculture remains to be the primary occupation of the municipality employing more or less one third of the population’s workforce. Rice, corn and bananas are the main products of the people supplemented by seasonal production of coffee, beans and other vegetable crops where banana is being exported to various parts of Luzon making the municipality one of the largest producers of banana in the country. Food processing of banana product has been established by a cooperative in the municipality and has been observed to be in demand in the local market.
Seasonal workers of logging companies operating in the area brought about brisk business activity during the dry months of the year which starts on January through June.
Tourist Attraction and Place of Interest