History and Government
Biag, the founder of Sagada, bothered by the dangers posed by headhunting enemies and the destruction caused by wild pigs on his kaingins, left the mountains together with the families of his brothers and sisters and found themselves settling somewhere in Candon, Ilocos Sur. Wary of attempts by Spaniards to have them baptized with Spanish surnames, he left Candon together with his family and moved back to a place further west. Later he started back to the mountains until he finally came to what is now Sagada. Biag brought with him a cultural background, enriched by his experiences from “Loco”, the Igorot name for the lowland coast, into this land “Golot”, the name Igorots gave their place of origin.
Deducing from the facts surrounding the story of Biag, Sagada came about in the 1830’s. This was about the time Governor Claveria was enforcing the giving of Spanish surnames to the Filipinos. Biag instituted a ground religious festival that took place every ten years wherein the dried tails of pigs sacrificed for the occasion were kept in a basket knapsack of Biag which had been preserved to the present. The period of Biag could be established by the count of the tails.
The name Sagada came about when a group of Spanish soldiers coming from Besao met a man near Danum Lake who was carrying a bamboo basket for catching fish. The soldiers asked the man what the name of next place was. Thinking that they were asking what he was carrying, the man answered, “sagada”. From then on the settlement of Biag went down on Spanish record as Sagada.
Ignacio Daoas was elected mayor for the 1988-1992 term, Maximo B. Dawas for the 1992-1995 term, and Thomas A. Killip for two terms, 1995-1998 and 1998-2001.
The municipality is composed of nineteen barangays. These barangays are Aguid, Ambasing, Ankileng, Antadao, Ballugan, Banga-an, Dagdag, Demang, Fidelisan, Kilong, Madongo, Nacagang, Pide, Poblacion, Suyo, Taccong, Tanulong, Tetepan Norte and Tetepan Sur.
Sagada lies in a small valley at an elevation of 5,000 feet above sea level in the Cordillera mountain range of Northern Luzon, 415 km. from Manila via Baguio and 18 km. from Bontoc, which is situated in a larger valley beside the Chico River.
The municipality has two kinds of climate, the dry season and the wet season. During the dry season the warmest months when temperature can reach as high as 32 degrees Celsius are March, April and May. Months when temperature drops down to as low as 4 degrees Celsius are December, January and February.
The people of Sagada are Malays and speak a language called Kankana-ey. They are generally referred to as Igorots. They are sturdy and industrious. As of 1995, the municipality's population was 10,354, 95% of which are Igorots of the northern Kankana-ey tribe, and 5% are from other tribes.
The main occupation of the people is agriculture. Nearly all households have a small piece of land from which they raise rice, corn, vegetables and fruits. Swine-raising in small scale is engaged in by practically all households as additional source of income and as a source of meat supply vital to the performance of rituals.
Business is limited to sari-sari stores, buy-and-sell, weaving, lodging houses, restaurants and cafes. The famous Sagada weaving industry and the operation of lodging houses and restaurants have economically uplifted the community. The influx of tourists to the municipality has motivated residents to engage in this kind of business.
Tourist Attractions and Places of Interest