History and Government
In 1800, Kibungan was a virgin forest and a sparsely populated area. During those days, the most feared creatures were the so-called “busol” or head hunters. As a result of this head hunting activity, some people of Mankayan, Buguias and Bakun moved southward and settled in the place. Sometime later, an American writer who was fond of adventure went to visit and observe the customs and traditions of the inhabitants. While he was there, he often heard the beautiful sounds of the gongs echoing on the towering rocky mountainsides during cañaos. To him, the sounds gave “kibong-kibong” rhythm. Hence, from the “kibong-kibong” sounds frequently heard, Kibungan’s name was coined.
However, some old folks claim that it was derived from a specie of monkeys called by the natives “kibong” that inhabited the lofty virgin forest several years ago.
Hunting was a major activity during the early days where hunters who reached Kibungan established their home there. More people came in and the population of the place grew.
From 1988 to 1998, the municipality had been led by Mayor Albert Mayamnes. In 1998, however, he ran for a seat in the provincial board and won. Former Vice Mayor Agnawa Contada became mayor in 1998 up to 2001.
Kibungan has seven barangays, namely: Badeo, Lubo, Madaymen, Palina, Poblacion, Sagpat and Tacadang. One hundred fifty-six sitios compose the whole municipality.
Kibungan is bounded by the municipality of Bakun on the north, on the east by Buguias, on the west by the province of Ilocos Sur, and on the south by the municipalities of Kapangan and Atok.
Kibungan has a total land area of 26,108.3799 hectares. Of the total municipal land area, 4,796.3123 has. are classified as alienable and disposable lands while the remaining 21,312.0676 has. are within the so-called unclassified public forest/timberland. Ironically, the classification of lands done does not totally conform with the actual situation. Almost 75% of all rice terraces in the municipality falls under forest zones while moose precipice/ravines are classified as alienable and disposable. Among the barangays, Tacadang has the largest land area with 7,235.2121 has. while Sagpat is the smallest with 1,949.0487 has.
Of the 21,312.0676 has. of land classified as timberland and/or unclassified public forest, an approximate total land area of 10,000 has. are actually with trees and other forest covers. Benguet Pine trees dominate the forested zones. However, forest resources are practically diminishing. Forest destruction has been mainly caused by the so called slash and burn/swidden farming, forest fires, shifting cultivation and soil erosion.
Kibungan is popularly known in the province as the “Switzerland of Benguet” because of its alps and rocky mountains. Deep ravines and cliffs separate and isolate many sitios of some barangays. Although some plateaus, hills, and small valleys can be seen in the locality, Kibungan is dominantly mountainous in nature.
Aside from its beautiful mountains and century old rice terraces, Kibungan has many rivers and streams. Waterfalls on high mountain cliffs decorate the mountains especially on rainy days. Many streams contribute to the formation of 3 big rivers that join the Amburayan River that eventually drains to the China Sea. The streams and rivers are rich with shrimps, eels and other fishes that can thrive only in the mountains. Hot springs are also found at the foot of the mountains.
The municipality is within cool highland mountainous zone with elevations at more than 2,500 meters above sea level. Generally, the slope is more than 18%. During its coolest months of December and January, barangay Madaymen experiences chilling temperature of 0° Centigrade causing the famous “Snow of Madaymen”. The wet season is experienced from June to October and the dry months are from November to May.
Population of the municipality based on survey report of the National Statistics Office in September 1995 totaled 14,443 for a population growth rate of 2.37% from January 1990 to September 1995. At an average household size of 5, Palina has the highest population growth rate from January 1990 to December 1995 at 10.42%. This was consistent with the increase in the number of households during the same period which registered an annual rate of 14%. Among the barangays, Madaymen has the highest population with 4,234 while Badeo has the lowest with 883. The high population of Madaymen is due to the presence of commercial vegetable farms in the area that attracts many migrants from other barangays.
Agriculture plays a dominant role in the economy of the municipality. The physical area planted to agricultural crops is about 15,559.1773 has. Only 35%, however, is irrigated while the remaining 65% depends on rain for irrigation.
Primarily, large portions of the municipal land area are utilized for agricultural purposes. Originally, rice production is Kibungan’s main agriculture activity. However, with the advancement of agricultural technology, the largest portion of agricultural land is now devoted to vegetable production. Of the total agricultural land, 26,108.3799 has. or 15.47% is being planted to rice while vegetable land is estimated to be at 5,403.8099 has. or 20.69%. Another major crop of the municipality is camote taking a total land area of 5,997.3781 has. or 22.97%. The remaining land area is planted to other crops.
Kibungan’s rich natural resources have created various kinds of cottage industries such as gift and toy making, loom weaving, food processing, broom making, basket weaving, knitting, furniture making and garments.
These industries are mostly local-based, making use of locally produced materials and providing employment to individual entrepreneurs and organized groups particularly women.
Tourist Attractions and Places of Interest