History and Government
In the olden days, Kabunyan created Lumawig and Bangan who met after the Great Flood on Mt. Kalawitan, the highest mountain between Ifugao and Mt. Province. Their descendants spread out in many directions; some went northward, making their way to Bontoc and Gonogon; some went southward to Tinek, while some, farther to Bakun. The descendants who went to Bontoc and Gonogon moved further to Banao and Namiligan and from there, migrated to Mankayan.
“Mankayan” is from the Hispanized “Nancayan”, from a native term for the place, “Nangkayang” which means “high up in the mountain”.
In this then thickly forested area, the hunting and swidden farming settlers inhabited Panat, Bag-ongan, Ampontoc and Dec-can, which were pockets of small, short-grass plains. The settlers subsisted on game, gallod, camote and gabi until before the 13th century. In Panat, a woman discovered gold dust in her hair after taking a bath in the river and showed it to the rest of the community. From then on the settlers in Panat and Bag-ongan started a new source of livelihood by learning to exploit their gold through the “labon” system. The precious metals extracted by the settlers were traded with people from the lowlands, highlands and the Chinese for pigs, carabaos, rice, meat, salt, blankets, ware and jars. Because of gold mining and trade, the population of Panat and Bag-ongan swelled and spilled over to nearby places of Lap-angan, Pala-saan, Payen and Esmay. However, in the 16th century, an epidemic caused the dispersion of the population from Dec-can to Sesecan and Baguyos, and from Ampontoc to Comillas, Cervantes, Angaki and Camay.
In the latter part of the 16th century, two hunters from Palatang, Buguias, pursued a deer into the yet thickly forested parts of Nangkayang until they reached the place called Kamangga-an, the location of the present-day Lepanto. Kamangga-an was called so because of the presence of mango trees. The deer, harassed by the hunter’s dog fell into a deep ravine where the hunters found it. There they spent the night feasting on the roasted deer’s meat. The next morning, the hunters were surprised to find out that the rocks they used to elevate in roasting the deer was malleable. Copper was discovered and for this reason “Kamangga-an” was now called “Magambang”, gambang being the native term for copper. The mining and manufacture of this mineral into pots, pipes and tools brought new settlers who established themselves in Tubo, Tabio, Sesecan, Patpat, Balili, Mabilig, Bato, Bay-o, Payew, Colalo and Busan.
By the 17th century, Nangkayang was a growing community of dispersed settlements surviving on hunting, swidden farming, gold and copper mining as well as manufacturing, and trade.
In the 1800s, interested in the mining area of Nangkayang, the Spaniards began sending expeditions to survey the area. The most successful of the expedition was done by Engineer Don Antonio Hernandez in 1850. Two years later, Lepanto - where the mining area of Mankayan was a part of - was made into a military district. From the mining reports, Señor Tomas Balbas y Castro put up in 1856 the “Sociedad Minero-Metalurgica Cantabro Filipino de Mancayan”. Nangkayang now came under the direct rule of Spaniards. Scattered communities were reconcentrated into Mankayan, Tubo, Lipatan and Cruz. “Bengyadores” and “Cabezas de Barangay” were appointed. In 1875, however, the Cantabro ceased operations because of problems of transportation and production costs, though the rest of the Spanish colonial policies were retained.
In January 1900, the Americans arrived in Mankayan and realized the rich mining potential of the area. Under the Americans, Mankayan was retained as one of the townships in the military-ruled Lepanto District by 1900, similarly of the Lepanto subprovince by 1908, and a municipal district of Benguet sub-province by 1913. In 1933, the Americans incorporated the Suyoc Mines and, in 1936, the Lepanto Mines.
The war years swept through Mankayan in 1941-1945. The operation of the mines came under the management of the Mitsui Company. While life in the mining community was not very much interrupted, the economic life of Mankayan became limited.
After the war, reconstruction and rehabilitation became the call of the day for Mankayan. Mining operations were resumed as the Lepanto Consolidated Mining Company re-established itself. The Itogon-Suyoc Mines was also opened. Roads, bridges, school buildings were constructed, and electric power as well as telephone lines were installed.
From 1913, the leaders of the municipality were: Linggoy Ling Eng (1913-1915), Cadlos Totanes (1915-1918), Norte Lupiaten (1919-1921), Teodoro Jimenez (1922-1924), Campos Sy Leung (1925-1927), Pepe Betuagan (1928-1929), Sakiwat Beg-asan (1930-1931), Gapit Pondo-an (1931-1933), Teodoro Jiminez (1934-1936), Clemente Irving (1937-1939), Teodoro Jimenez (1940-1941), Clemente Irving (1942-1943), Simeon Campos (1944-1945), Isidro Bugnosen (1946-1947), Teodoro Jiminez (1947-1948), Tomas Sab-it (1948-1949), Cayatoc Gayongan (1950-1952), James Guanso (1953-1963), Agosto Santos (1964-1976), Cellong Campos (1977-1979) and Agosto Santos in 1980. From 1981-1988, there were no records as to who ruled the municipality. In 1988, Arsenio Sabado was elected as mayor. Sabado held the position until 1992 when he was succeeded by Materno Luspian who held the position from 1992 to 1995. Luspian was succeeded by Manalo Galuten in 1995 who at present is still the mayor.
Mankayan is presently subdivided into 12 barangays, namely: Balili, Bedbed, Bulalacao, Cabiten, Colalo, Guinaoang, Paco, Poblacion, Sapid, Suyoc, Tabio and Taneg.
With a total land area of 17,514.50 hectares, Mankayan is about 99 km. north of Baguio City. It is located 16°52" latitude and 120°47" east latitude, bounded on the north by Cervantes, Ilocos Sur; on the east by Tadian, Mt. Province and Buguias, Benguet and on the south and west by Bakun, Benguet.
The municipality's topography is generally mountainous and has a tropical climate and 2 seasons - the wet and the dry. The wet or rainy season starts on the months of May to October while the rest of the year are dry.
The municipality's population is 34,699 (1995 Census) occupying 6,859 households and an annual growth rate of 2.93%. Population density is at 200 persons per hectare, a male to female ratio of 100:110 and an urban to rural population ratio of 2:10.
Major ethnic group in the municipality is the Kankanaey. The major dialects of the people are Kankanaey, Ilocano and Bontoc.
The main source of livelihood of Mankayan is agriculture having a total land area of 7,515 has. devoted to it. Of the total agricultural land area, only 140 has. are irrigated while a larger 7,375 has. are rainfed. The key crops are highland vegetables. Next to farming as source of livelihood is mining.
Tourist Attractions and Places of Interest