Kiangan, Ifugao… Town of Living Traditions

Municipality of Kiangan

Role of Kiangan in History

Posted by lgukianganadmin on 09/19/2011 with Comments

The Role of Kiangan in Ifugao History

Kiangan is the location of Kiyangan after which it was named and believed to be the first settlements of the Ifugao’s long-ago forebears.  As such, it holds a certain pre-eminence in the mind-set of the Ifugao elders especially the mumbaki.

During the colonial periods as well as the first three years of the Republic of the Philippines, Kiangan was the center of government in Ifugao.  Being the seat of the political and military authority of the colonial powers, it was no accident that the first formal schools in Ifugao were established in the place – elementary and secondary.  As a consequence, it was the people in Kiangan who were the first among their Ifugao brethren to attain education.  This proved to be the foremost factor that gave Kiangan a decided advantage over other towns in the historical development of Ifugao.

When the Mountain Province was created in 1908 Ifugao was included as one of its five subprovinces.  As a subprovince it was entitled to a seat in the National Assembly, the legislature that replaced the Philippine Commission.  Rafael Bulayungan, a product of the first formal school in Ifugao at Kiangan and “the best educated Ifugao at the time,”1 was appointed assemblyman representing Ifugao.  He was succeeded to the position by Joaquin Codamon, Sr., another man from Kiangan.  When civil government was instituted in 1935 with the establishment of the Philippine Commonwealth by the Americans, it was Luis Pawid, Sr. of Nagacadan, Kiangan who was appointed as the first deputy governor of Ifugao subprovince.  Before then Ifugao was headed by the lieutenant governor starting with Levi Case in 1902.  He was followed, in the order of succession, by Jefferson Gallman (1906-1913); Owen Tomlinson

Photo courtesy of Adriana Saquing

Carmelo Saquing, together with his younger brother Julian and his friend Rafael Bulayungan, was a graduate of the primary school put up by Father Malumbres. He played an important role in the mission’s efforts in Christianizing the people in Kiangan

Miguel Gumangan, a former public school teacher, was elected as delegate of Ifugao to the 1934-1935 Constitutional Convention. Later he was elected to the National Assembly representing the Third District of Mountain Province.

Luis I. Pawid, scholar at the Philippine Normal School in Laoag, Ilocos Norte, rose to the position of Supervising Principal in Benguet before his appointment as the first deputy governor of Ifugao in 1935 after topping the test for the position.

Atty. Gabriel Dunuan was the first Ifugao lawyer. He first served government as a municipal judge; then elected twice to the House of Representatives; appointed as Chairman of the Commission on National Integration; finally capping his government service as Judge of the Court of First Instance in Nueva Vizcaya.

A graduate of St. Louis High School in Baguio City and University of Sto. Tomas, Manila, Alberto Crespillo, Sr. taught first in the public school in Hapo, Hungduan. He was elected together with Miguel Gumangan, to the 1934-1935 Constitutional Convention. After his service as instructor in the St. Joseph’s School, he taught as a professor at St. Louis University until his death.

(1913-1917); William Dosser (1917-19027); Mariano Meimban (1927-1930); and Pedro Bulan (1930-1935).)

Meanwhile, in 1934, the election for delegates to the Constitutional Convention was held in Ifugao.  Miguel Gumangan and Alberto Crespillo, Sr., both teachers by profession from Kiangan, were elected to represent Ifugao in the national convention tasked to draw up the basic law of the Philippines.  Subsequently, Gumangan was elected to the unicameral National Assembly representing the Third District of the Mountain Province which was made up of Ifugao subprovince and the three western municipalities of Bontoc subprovince, namely: Bauko, Besao and Kayan, now Tadian.  (The congressional districting of the old Mountain Province was maintained even when the unicameral assembly was abolished by virtue of an amendment to the 1935 constitution, and in its place was the bicameral legislature made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate.  It was not until 1969, with Luis Hora serving out his last term as Congressman of the Third District, that Ifugao as a province finally became a congressional district all by itself with Romulo Lumauig elected as congressman of the lone congressional district of Ifugao .

Starting with Luis Pawid other men from Kiangan were appointed as deputy governor of Ifugao.  These were Raymundo Baguilat, Sr., Jose Guinid and Victor Codamon, the last serving until 1967 when Ifugao became  a province by virtue of R.A. 4695 which created four provinces out of the old Mountain Province, namely: Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga-Apayao and Mt. Province, composed of the former subprovince of Bontoc.

The first congressional election under the Republic of the Philippines was in November 1946.  Ifugao was still lumped with Bauko, Besao and Kayan.2 Atty. Gabriel Dunuan from Kiangan was elected to represent the Third District of  the Mountain Province.  He was re-elected in 1949, but in his third bid in 1953 he was defeated by Luis Hora of Kayan.3 Hora was re-elected in 1957, 1961 and 1965.

In the early years of the American colonial period and during the first two decades after the grant of Philippine independence, Ilocanos were the teachers in Kiangan, sent over by the colonial government to man the schools.  Only a handful of natives who had finished  only the elementary grades were employed to teach.  Those who were promising were sent to take up the secondary normal course in La Trinidad, Benguet and came back to teach, some  of them being sent to other parts of the Mt. Province, like Kalinga and Apayao.  A few, like Luis Pawid, Miguel Gumangan  and Alberto Crespillo were sent to take up tertiary degrees in education.

When secondary schools were founded (the Ifugao Academy in 1926 and the St. Joseph’s School in 1934) a number of graduates from Kiangan pursued college degrees in Silliman University, Sto. Tomas Univesity and the Philippine Normal School.  They came back to teach in their Alma Mater, like Martin Guinid and Ernesto Allaga, Sr., before the outbreak of the Second World War.  Many of their students who came from other parts of Ifugao, in turn, went on to become leaders in their respective hometowns in Ifugao.  Thus, the two high schools in Kiangan contributed directly and indirectly to the development and progress of Ifugao.

In provincial political leadership, Ifugao has had governors who hailed from Kiangan, all graduates from the two oldest high schools in Ifugao, namely: Gualberto Lumauig (1967–1976); Zosimo Paredes, Sr. (1976–1986); Juan Dait, Jr. (1986–1988); Ildefonso Dulinayan (1995–2001); and Teodoro Baguilat, Jr. (2001 -2004).

With Ifugao becoming a full-fledged province in 1967, there followed the organization of the Division of Ifugao, which before then was under the Biak Division.  The first schools division superintendent was Raymundo de Leon who had come from Pangasinan and taught many years in Kiangan and married Catalina Dulinayan, a member of one of the most prominent families in the town.  After de Leon others from Kiangan headed the Division of Ifugao as superintendent or OIC superintendent: Mr. Jose Codamon (OIC), Dolores D. Codamon (SDS), Alfredo Belingon (OIC), Pedro Indunan (SDS), Cecilia Bulayungan (SDS), and Mary Namuhe (SDS).

During the Japanese Occupation, many men and women from Kiangan went underground and joined the guerrilla movement against the Japanese.  Most of the Ifugao officers in the 11th Infantry Regiment under Col. Russel Volkmann were from Kiangan: Maj. Joaquin Dunuan, Capt. Alfredo Bunnol, Lt. Francisco Balanban, Lt. Santiago Balajo, Lt. Guinid Tuguinay and Lt. Manuel Dayag.  These officers led Ifugao guerrillas who fought bravely and helped defeat the Japanese forces in Northern Luzon.

In their political, educational and military service, men and women from Kiangan directly and indirectly helped shape policies that influenced the course of the history of the province.  Thus is the role of Kiangan in the development and progress of Ifugao.

  • Thoughts for Simply Living

    Jeremiah 29:11
    "For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope."

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