History and Government
Kiangan is the oldest town of the province. It derives its name from Kiyyangan, an ancient village near the bank of the Ibulao River across the Lagawe Valley. The name Kiyyangan is enshrined in Ifugao mythology and is believed to be the dwelling of Wigan and Bugan, the mythological ancestors of the Ifugao.
Since time immemorial, Ifugao traditional society never had any resemblance of a political form of government. Hence, from a strict political point of view and understanding, the Ifugaos were never a tribe since they had no tribal chiefs who ruled over them. But their society was governed by strict and demanding customary laws which were enforced by community sanctions.
Moral authority was exercised by the Munlapu, especially in socio-religious matters. The Munlapu possessed wisdom and knowledge of the Baki and the customs and traditions of the community. They were of good character and usually were materially well-off. While the Kadangyan or members of the aristocracy held some degree of eminence, most of them never attained the highest degree of influence in the community. Rare were the cases of some Kadangyan who also became respected Munlapu.
The political independence of the Ifugao remained undisturbed until the 1950’s when the Spanish troops fought their way to Kiangan, in response to headhunting raids against the Spanish Filipino subject in the neighboring lowlands. Many punitive expeditions were sent to the area but were ably resisted by the villagers.
In 1801, Friar Juan Malano entered Kiangan alone, the first missionary to reach the place without the company of a military force. He was welcomed by the Ifugao in Kiangan but his stay was for a few days only.
More military expeditions were sent to Kiangan, and in 1832, Guillermo Galvez was named Commandants General de Igorot. Guillermo Galvez made his way to Kiangan and in 2 days, he destroyed 18 sitios. In spite of the Spanish expeditions, the Ifugaos continued to attack the Spaniards with Kiangan and some neighboring areas continuously asserting their independence.
A fort was built by the Spaniards at Kiangan and a garrison of Spanish and Filipinos was assigned to maintain permanent presence in Ifugao. Sometime in 1870, Friar Victorino Garcia and several soldiers of the Kiangan garrison were killed by Ifugao warriors.
It was only in 1889 that Spanish authority began to be felt by the people when the Spaniards intensified their authority over the Ifugaos through the establishment of the Commandancia Politico Quiangan, from which Spanish civil guard posts were established in the neighboring rancherias like Hapao, Banaue, Kiangan and Mayoyao. Spanish authority remained enforced until 1897 when the last Spanish forces were expelled from the area by defiant native warriors.
Contact with the Americans among the Kiangan people came about when the place was put under Nueva Vizcaya. The principal linkage between Nueva Vizcaya and Kiangan was a trail constructed during the early stages of occupation of the Spaniards. Through this trail, troops stationed in Nueva Vizcaya easily penetrated Kiangan at the southern backdoor of Ifugao.
In 1905, Ifugao was separated from Nueva Vizcaya and was made a sub-province. Jeff Gallman was appointed as Lieutenant Governor of the sub-province of Ifugao. He was known to be a peacemaker applying justice to all cases brought to him for settlement. Today, the phrase “nangamung si Gallman” is still remembered by the people. Translated, it means “it’s up to Gallman”. The Americans were responsible for the education of the people with soldiers volunteering as teachers. Among those educated by the Americans were Joaquin Codamon and Juan Saquing.
When the Commonwealth of the Philippines was established in 1935, the subprovince of Ifugao was administered by a deputy governor with Kiangan as the seat of the government. Many prominent officials from the municipality became deputy governors. Luis Pawid, Jose Dulinayan, Valerio Famorca I, Alejandro Fontanilla, Alexander Lanag, Raymundo Baguilat, Jose Guinid, and Victor Codamon served in that order until Ifugao became a regular province in 1966.
An informal election was held in 1935 with the use of colors for the municipality of Kiangan with Raymundo Baguilat being elected as municipal district mayor from 1935-1940. In his third reelection bid for the position, Baguilat was defeated by Jose Dulinayan during the election of 1940. The tenure of Dulinayan was disrupted by the invading Japanese Forces. Nevertheless, Dulinayan successfully had the townspeople evacuated to the different evacuation camps before he left and joined the guerilla course under Col. Manriquez of the 14th Infantry, USAFIP-NL.
The Japanese puppet government appointed Agustin Tayaban as military mayor of Kiangan. He held the position until the liberation of the municipality by the allied forces upon the surrender of Gen. Yamashita at a building in the Kiangan Central School compound.
When the Philippines regained its independence from America on July 4, 1946 an election was held with Bonifacio Bulayungan being elected as municipal district mayor of Kiangan. Bulayungan held the position for 3 terms until the election of 1959. Eladio Malingan was elected Mayor. Malingan held the position for 2 terms until June 1967 when he was appointed technical adviser to Malacañang.
The appointment of Malingan enabled vice mayor Julian Dulawan to act as mayor. Dulawan served the unexpired term of Malingan.
In the election of November 1967, Malingan was elected municipal mayor. Re-elected in 1971, Dulawan held the position until 1980 when he was elected to the provincial board. Dulawan was succeeded by Jose Guyguyon who won during the election in 1980. Guyguyon held the position until he lost it to Julian Dulawan in 1988. In the election of 1992, Jose Guyguyon came back as mayor with Julian Dulawan retiring from politics. In the election of 1995, Teodoro Baguilat, Jr., a grandson of Raymundo Baguilat, Sr. got elected as mayor holding the position until the present (1999).
On January 13, 1992 Republic Act No. 7173 was signed into law by then President Corazon C. Aquino. The law provided for the creation of the municipality of Asipulo out of the 9 southern barangays of Kiangan. The barangays were: Amduntog, Antipolo, Camandag, Cawayan, Pula, Haliap, Panubtuban, Namal and Nungawa.
Presently, Kiangan is subdivided into 15 barangays, namely: Ambabag, Baguinge, Bolog, Bokiawan, Dalligan, Duit, Hucab, Julongan, Lingay, Mappit, Mungayang, Nagacadan, Pindongan, Poblacion and Tuplac.
The topographical features of the municipality is generally mountainous containing slopes above and below 18 degrees. The lower portions are cultivated for agricultural purposes while the upper ones are reserved for forest farms and watersheds.
Most noted among the mountain ranges are: Mt. Santo Domingo, with its towering height of 1,290 meters above sea level; Mt. Capugan which is visible at the northern portion with its elevation of 1,051 meters above sea level; Mt. Atade in the western direction; and the Million Dollar Hill, located in the same direction. The Million Dollar Hill got its name when during World War II, the United States Armed Forces in the Philippines - Northern Luzon spent millions of dollars in ammunitions to clear the area from the invading Japanese Imperial Army.
Kiangan is traversed by many rivers and brooks in all directions. On the north is the Dalligan River, which bounds the municipality with Hungduan; the Bokiawan River, which is part and parcel of the river traversing the municipalities of Hungduan and Tinoc; the Ibulao River, which is formed by the Dalligan and Bokiawan Rivers, bound the municipality with the capital town of Lagawe; and on the western side, the Numbongngog and Bagnit Rivers at barangay Julongan.
Lakes are also found in the municipality. Well known among them is the Ambuwaya Lake which is famous for its legend. Legend has it that the lake was once a village inhabited by a headhunting tribe. The village was turned into a lake due to a curse by one of the villagers against a leach. Today, the lake is being used as a hatching center for fingerlings. Other smaller lakes are also found in other barangays, among them the Balangon Lake.
The climate of Kiangan is relatively temperate. This can be attributed to its geographical location and physical features. The forests control the extreme temperature from the westerly direction while the cool breezes of the mountains make the temperature favorable. Dry season usually lasts for 3 months starting in the early part of January until late April. The wet season sets in on the early part of May until late December, sometimes extending until January. The hottest months are March and April while the coldest months are experienced from November to February. The average rainfall is 450 mm.
Majority of the municipality's population speak the Ifugao dialect being the mother tongue. Before Kiangan's division with the creation of Asipulo, it was inhabited by 3 major ethnolinguistic groups: the Tuwali, the Ayangan and the Kalanguya. At present, Kiangan has only 2 ethnolinguistic groups, the Ayangan and the Tuwali.
The Kiangans worship deities with “Maknongan” as the most supreme. Kiangan is believed to be the source of the “baki” which is being practiced in the province. Rituals where chickens, pigs carabaos and other animals are used as offerings are still being practiced by some households. However, there are also some who were converted to Christianity.
Based on the 1995 Census of Population, Kiangan's population is 13,514, a total number of households of 2,591 with an average household size of 5.2 and a population growth rate of 2.54% basing from the years 1990-1995.
Tourist Attractions and Places of Interest