The people of the Mountain province are divided into five main ethnics groups, namely, Italia, kankanai, Ifugao, Bontoc and Apayao. But the term Igorot is used to designate all of them. This word originated from the Spaniards meaning savage headhunters, a pagan backward people. In 1572, when the Spaniards first came to the region, they found a fierce freedom-loving people whom they never could subjugate. Thus, the term Igorote was applied to the people which was passed from generation to generation and is now used to refer to the vigorous, courageous, and hardy mountaineers of the Mountain province.

In the annals of Spanish history covering its rule in the Philippines, it is revealed that white man made several attempts to explore and penetrate into this mountain territory. The first recorded attempt was in 1663 when Governor General Diego de Salcedo sent out an expedition under the command of Pedro de Monforte which succeeded in reaching as far as Guan, Lepanto. Another expedition was attempted in 1775 by Manuel Arza, mayor of Pangasinan. This expedition tuned out to be a failure for it coincided with the Kalinga uprising. It was Governor General Basco who sent an expedition from the Cagayan Valley to pacify the uprising.

No less than fifty expeditions were led by the famous Spanish explorer, Guillermo Galvey in the Mountain Country early in the nineteenth century. He was accredited for having visited the entire Southern portion of the province. With his report as the basis, The Spanish government organized the province into six “Commandancias politico-Militar” namely, Benguet, in 1846; Lepanto in 1852; Bontoc in 1859; Amburayan in 1889; Cabugoan in 1891; and Cayapa also in 1891. Each commandancia was divided into rancherias. The chief of headman in the in the rancheria was named “Presidente”. The headman in each hamlet was named “tiniente Del Barrio”. To each commandancia was designated a capital namely: Alilem, Capital of Amburayan; Bagubagu, Capital of Apayao; La Trinidad, capital of Benguet;Bontoc, capital of Bontoc; Cervantes, Capital of Lepanto, and Kiangan, Capital of Kiangan. In each capital, The Spaniards established quarters for the governor and his staff, a garrison, a church, a convent with a compulsory school, and private stores. In spite of the unfavorable maltreatment that the mountaineers suffered under Spanish rule it is a fact that the Spaniards gave them their first step towards civilization and nationalization. These political divisions formed the basis of the present system of sub provinces.

During the last decades of its rule the Spanish government occupied most of this cordillera with military forces.Cuarteles or garrisons were established in many places, and these were connected by trails or mountain horse roads. Missionaries of the Agustinian and Dominican orders established missions in most of these “Commandancias”; the government undertook to vaccinate the people and went so far as to attempt schools. Coffee and cattle raising were introduced.

Following the breakdown of Spanish Government and the retirement of the Spanish troops and missionaries from the Cordillera, most of the results of their work were swept away. The cuarteles and missions were in many places destroyed, the roads grew up with the jungles, and when the American Governments five years later, sought to reoccupy these mountains, there was little to indicate the former presence of Spanish soldier and missionary. Left to themselves, these head hunting communities were then engaging in a perfect orgy of feuds. These conditions do not apply to Benguet nor to parts of province of Lepanto, but almost everywhere else confusion and head hunting reigned. In 1902, the American Government began to task of organizing governments for the control and benefit of these peoples. The task has been successful, and although Igorot communities still covertly take heads from one another, the best of feeling prevails between the Igorots and the Americans.

Owing to the pacific conditions which prevailed in Benguet while the rest of Northern Luzon was either in a condition of insurrection or inter-community feud, this province was the first region to secure civil government under the American rule. In 1901 considerable force of American teachers was sent there and opened schools in at least 8 of the towns. American teachers were sent to Lepanto-Bontoc in 1902. Subsequently schools were opened in the former Spanish spots or “Comandancias” of Amburayan, Banaue, Kiangan, and Tiagan, and within the last year of Mayoyao, Kalinga, and Apayao. With in the recent months the school administrations of these two provinces have been united in a single school division known as the “mountain division”.

Schools for Igorots are of two kinds-industrial boarding schools, to which children come from more or less distant towns, and village schools conducted in the Igorot communities. Of the former schools 5 were conducted during the last year, at Baguio, Benguet, for boys; at Bua, Benguet, for girls; at Allele, Amburayan; Cervantes, Lepanto; and at Bontoc. The plan of these schools is to give the children a comfortable home, food, and clothing and training in toll work and agriculture, as well as in academic subjects.

When the Americans took over the administration, Benguet was the first to be organized as a province. As early as 1900, civil government was established with Baguio as the capital. At first, the old Spanish political divisions were followed and Igorots were appointed as much as possible in the government. Thus, H.P. Whitmarsh was the first governor while in Baguio rancheria; Sioco Camino was appointed “presidente”. Lepanto-Bontoc was the next to be organized in 1902 as a province with Cervantes as its capital. It comprised 3 sub- provinces, namely, Amburayan, Lepanto, and a part of the territory known as Kalinga. In 1907, Kalinga, However, was created as a separate sub-province. Apayao which was formerly a part of Cagayan province was made a sub-province also in 1907. In 1908, the Mountain Province was organized as a special province of the archipelago with Bontoc as its capital. It was there by, distinctly divided into the sub-provinces of Benguet, Amburayan, Lepanto, Bontoc, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Apayao.In organizing the new government, the Spanish rancherias became Municipal districts, and two or more rancherias were combined so that Benguet’s former 31 rancherias became 13 municipal districts. The Mountain Province was thereby led to the road of modern civilization and progress.

A deputy governor was placed over each. W.F. Pack became the first provincial governor on March 15, 1909.


E.A. Echman (1912-1916), Joaquin D. Luna, (1916-1917), Aquino Calvo, (1917-1920), Joaquin D. Luna, (1920-1921), J.C.Early, (1921-1929), W.E. Dosser, (1929-1936), Rodolfo Baltazar, (1936-1940), Nicanor Carag, (1940-1941),Roque Peredo, (acting) (August 31,1941 to june 30,1942), Dr. Hilary Clapp ( May 1, 1942 to March 13, 1945), Miguel Moldero ( Vice Lanag, Feb.22 to Oct. 19, 1945 ) , Felix Diaz ( 1945 to 1946) Denis Molintas ( 1947 to 1949 ), Jose Mencio ( Sept. 28,1949) to April 6,1953) , and Bado Dangwa ( April 6,1953, to date. Jose Martinez and Tomas de Guzman acted also as governors for a short period.

Lepanto- Bontoc Province had in 1905 been divided into three sub-provinces; Amburayan (capital at Tagudin), Lepanto (capital at Cervantes), and Bontoc (capital at Bontoc). Amburayan and part of Lepanto were later added at La Union and Ilocos Sur Provinces. The rest of Lepanto was divided between Benguet and Bontoc. With these boundary changes in 1920, the sub-provinces took the form as now constituted.

The governors of Lepanto-Bontoc Province:
Thomas S. Mair, W .A. Dinwiddie, C.E. Nathorst, and W.A. Reed.
The lieutenant and deputy-governors of Amburayan were:
Pio Ancheta, Walter F. hale, John H. Evans, J.C. Early, A.V. Dulayuple, and Eugene de Mitkiewecz.

The lieutenant and Deputy-governors of Lepanto were:
Thomas Mair, Wm. Dinwiddie, W.A. Reed, W.A. Miller, Samuel E. Kane, Jose Martinez, Tomas de Guzman and Joaquin Ortega.

The Lieutenant and Deputy-governors of Apayao were:
Blaz Villamor , Norman G. Conner, Francis J. Whitney, Alex H. Gilfillan, Maximo Meiban, D. Ducasin, C.B. Lizardo, R. Sabino, Domingo Guzman, Joseph Fagkangan, Milton Ayochok and Conrado Batlong.

The first Governors and lieutenant and Deputy-governors were:
H.P. Whitmarsh, Wm. F. Pack, E.A. Eackman, John h. Evans, Hilario Logan, Sharon R. Mote, Joaquin Ortega, Tomas de Guzman, Juan Gaerlan, Tomas N. Blanco, Henry A. Kamora and Louis Hora.

The Lieutenant and Deputy-governors of Bontoc have been:
T.M. Hunt, P. Wagar, Daniel Folkmer, E.A. Eckman, John Evans, J.C. Early, Samuel E. Kane, Sharon R. Mote, Joaquin Ortega, Nicasio Barinag, Tomas N. Blanco,G.D. Arciso, Louis C. Claver and Mark Daoey.

Of Ifugao the Lieutenant and Deputy-governors have been:
Capt. Jeff D. Gallman, Lt. Cappleman, Capt. O.A. Tomalinson, Maj. Wm. E. Dosser, Pedro Bulan, Capt. Manalo, Luis Pawid, Valerio Farmoca, Alfredo Cappleman and Leopoldo Culhi.
The Lieutenant and deputy-governors of Kalinga have been:
Walter F. Hale, Alex G. Gilfillen, Samuel E. Kane, Hilario Logan, Tomas N. Blanco, Nicasio Balinag, G.D. Arciso, Luis C. Claver, Camilo Lammawin, Antonio Canao and Martin Cobson.

Source: Vertical Clippings from the BSU Archives

Contributed by: Laurence Kipaan 11132008

Encoder: Sheen Mon, Jermaine