MUNICIPAL DISTRICT OF MATARAGAN, Historical Data - Philippine Historical Data MUNICIPAL DISTRICT OF MATARAGAN, Historical Data - Philippine Historical Data


Municipal District of Mataragan

About these Historical Data

[Cover Page.]




This is a compilation of the researches made by five committees, the chairmen of which were the five classroom teachers of the Municipal District of Mataragan. The members of each committee were selected old men from the five places reported on who could furnish the information desired.

No written records were consulted as nane is available.


Licuan District

[p. 1]

Republic of the Philippines
Department of Education
Bureau of Public Schools
Division of Abra


Part One — HISTORY

1. Present official name of the town -

The present official name of the town is Mataragan, Abra.

2. Former name or names and their derivation: - The present name was derived from the names of the original places of the two groups of people who first inhabited this place (Mabaca and Binongan), with the incorporation of the Spanish word "Matador" and the Ilocano word "dara" (blood). About the end of the Spanish regime in the Philippines, Mataragan was inhabited by two rival groups of people, the Mabacans (Igorots) and the Binongans (Tingians). These two groups of tribes were intermittently at war and deaths on both sides were not unusual. At one time, there occurred in this isolated place an epidemic. According to the inhabitants of this place as related to them by their ancestors, a giant monster appeared in this isolated place and brought misfortune to the lives of the people. The people at that time believed that they could stop that terrible calamity which had visited them by butchering a number of pigs and cattle and that the blood of these animals would be offered to the monster. But the epidemic raged unabated, killing hundreds of people. This isolated place was called in Spanish "Matador" as most of the people and animals alike were annihilated and killed. "Mata" comes from Mabaca and Matador, "Ra" comes from the word dara (blood) and "Gan" comes from Binogan.

3. The date of establishment cannot be ascertained. However, many believe that it was perhaps in the year 1876, as the district was formerly a part of the municipal district of Buneg.

4. The founders were the leading old men of Mataragan in the early days, namely: Bagioan, Ginayen, Langgia and Bung-gawan. All were good kaingin farmers, hunters, and strong men during their times.

5. Persons who held leading positions during the Spanish Time —

Capitan Municipal were:

1. Bagoian
2. Ginayen
3. Langgia
4. Bung-gawan
5. Calagdawan

Teniente Absoluto

1. Lagdawan 2. Bannongan 3. Ap-payao 4. Tabaguen

Cura Parroco - None

[p. 2]

6. Jueces de Semesira - None

7. Maestro Municipal - Pedro Cruz


1. Presidente

1. Gapisan
2. Bangyad
3. Calumnag
4. Guayen
5. Sagmayao
6. Sawadan
7. Madegiem
8. Bagsao
9. Bellingen
10. Gayban
11. Maguelang
12. Baguan
13. Gullayan
14. Tangbawan
15. Gamengan
16. Sibayan
17. Bay-ayan

2. Vice-Presidente

1. Gamengan
2. Gullayan
3. Gayban
4. Sawadan
5. Bagsaw
6. Maguelang

3. Mayor

1. Cadangan
2. Bacuyag
3. Sabas Gorospe
4. Catalino Wagayen

4. Vice-Mayor

1. Magayan
2. Gayyed
3. Macario Sibayan
4. Culangan

5. Municipal Secretary — Municipal Treasurers carried with them the duties of Municipal Secretary, the fact that this is not an organized municipality.

6. Justice of the Peace — No Justice of the Peace is stationed in this district. But before the war, the Justice of the Peace of San Juan, Abra, took charge of this district. After the war and up to the present time, Judge Jovito P. Barreras, Justice of the Peace at Lagangilang, has jurisdiction over the district.

7. Councilors

1. Bagguan
2. Bacuyag
3. Sibayan
4. Idaban
5. Danao
6. Ngitit
7. Bugao
8. Sabas Gorospe

8. Municipal Treasurers

1. Vicente Porte
2. Solomon Sabaot
3. Joseph Malinnag
4. Geronimo Bumatay
5. H. Gumpad
Note: These Treasurers were assigned in this district in the order of their names. They were not actually stationed here; however, they had jurisdiction over this district and other municipal districts.

[p. 3]

9. Chief of Police

1. Lacio 2. Lunes 3. Badong Sagmayan
Note: These chiefs of police were stationed in other districts but they had jurisdiction over this district.

10. [The] Teniente del barrio now assigned in poblacion Mataragan is Francisco Duyak.

VI. Date of historical sites, structures, buildings, ruins — None.

VII. Important facts, incidents or events that took place.

A. During the Spanish fime were:
1. Head hunting among the people in the adjoining districts including Apayao and Kalinga, Mt. Province.
2. Epidemics such as cholera and dysentery.
3. The separation of Mataragan from Buneg district.
4. The Spaniards and their followers made a flying visit.
5. "Insurrectos" also visited this place and branded some people who were against them with [an] iron brand.
1. Appointment of presidentes, mayors, etc. to govern and guide the people to abide with the American government and improve their ways of living.
2. Peace treaty or "Calon" or "Bedeng" came to existence among the different districts and with the Mt. Province, thereby, friendship existed among them.
3. The establishment of a public school in this district.
4. The frequent visit of the armed forces (P.C.) to this district to observe and promote peace and order.
5. American miners and Filipinos alike explored this district in search of gold and to stake mining claims.
6. The appointment of a "Delegado" (Governor's Representative) to visit the district to know their problems and to induce the natives to have better farming and living conditions.
C. During and After World War II.
1. [The] Japs invaded Mataragan and stayed for a week in the year 1943. They destroyed government properties in the school, collected chickens, rice, pigs and some cattle without paying for them.

[p. 4]

2. Guerillas under the leadership of Captain J. Parado also visited this place in the year 1944.
During and After World War II.
a. Political — Two political factions: The Paredes Faction and the Valera Faction of the Liberal Party.
b. Economics - Rice is enough for the inhabitants. Other foodstuffs are scarce; however, [a] food production campaign is being undertaken.
c. Religion - Catholic missionaries sometimes visit this place and some natives have now joined the Catholic Faith.

8. Destruction of lives and property, institutions during War — 1896-1900 Filipino-Spanish-American War.

Spaniards and their followers made a flying visit. No casualties were reported. The "Insurrectos" followed suit. There were no casualties, but they branded people [who] against them.

1941-1945 — Filipino-Japanese War.

a. Japs stayed in Mataragan for a week collecting rice and other foodstuffs such as pigs, chickens and cattle without paying for them. They also tortured some natives. No deaths reported from the tortures.

b. Filipino Guerrillas under the leadership of the late Captain J. Parado also visited this place. No casualties were reported.

B. Measures and Accomplishments toward Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Following World War II:

a. Pre-war mayors and other district officials were automatically reinstated to assume their posts.

b. People were ordered to return to their homes and engage again in some profitable industries.

c. The public school was re-opened in the year 1946.

d. Relief in the form of clothing was distributed to the people by the personnel of the Philippine Red Cross, stationed at Bangued, Abra.

e. Greater food production, better sanitation, home improvements, eradication of illiteracy, construction of reading centers were initiated by the teachers, in conformity with the Community Centered School Program.


9. Traditions, Customs and Practices in Domesticand Social Life.

[p. 5]

a. Birth — Usually, when a child is born, a traditional party that is called "Beni" is given. The relatives and some friends enjoy the simple ceremony by performing native dances and songs, (tadek and oggayam) accompanied by the barbaric rhythm of the gongs. They drink wine (basi) in order to make the occasion livelier and enjoyable. The master of ceremonies usually gives the name of the child.
d. [Note: There is also an error in the lettering in the original document.] Baptism — [The] Baptism of a child usually takes place after 10 or more days after delivery and is performed during the "Beni" celebration. Now, many children are baptized Christians by missionaries.
e. Courtship — The parents propose or select the wives or husbands of their children. This practice is, however, being eradicated, as some of their educated children are now given a free hand in the selection of their partners in life.
f. Marriage — Usually, the marriage ceremony is administered by the old men (cacapitanes). A dowry and a wedding feast are to be agreed upon by the contracting parties. Upon agreement, the date is fixed for the wedding, and a wedding feast is given in honor of the groom [bride] and the bridegroom. Relatives of both contracting parties are invited. Native dances, native songs and drinking of basi usually make the marriage feast an enjoyable one.
g. Deaths & Burials - An atmosphere of sorrow pervades the neighborhood when a person is dead. They perform the so-called "Kidem" in which they butcher a pig. During this performance, the men in sorrowful verses lament and weep. Next, they again have the "alcas" in which some men drink basi and a more vigorous and lamentable kind of crying is heard. After these performances, the women's turn comes, which part they call "pimalayac." They also lament and cry. In the course of these performances, people who wish to extend help to the bereaved give donations in the forms of money or rice. After all of these are performed, they bury their dead. They bury their dead in the yards or under their houses. Just after the burial the gongs are sounded, the "tadek," is danced, and condolences are sung. Usually, during these ceremonies people are fed [held?] in a house other than that where the corpse is laid.
h. Visits - It is the custom of the natives that when they go to another district to visit their relatives (very rare), they bring with them cooked rice (diket), which they offer to their relatives. In return, the hosts butcher a pig to show their happiness and hospitality to their visiting relatives.
Festivals — No fiestas are held here, however, on special occasions such as "Paton-od" {in honor of the dead), wedding feasts, visits of government officials, the natives usually wear their most attractive attire wearing vari-colored clothes, precious beads and other ornaments in order to make the occasion more colorful and gay. Native dances and songs accompanied by the sweet music of the gongs dominate the occasion. In the "paton-od," which usually lasts for three to 5 days, animals are butchered to feed the visitors.

[p. 6]

j. Punishments — The old men or the "cacapitanes" act as the jury in the district. They serve as the mediators between the two conflicting parties. Usually, hot discussions arise but after a thorough study of the case in question, these old men, including the mayor, (sometimes) may impose a fine upon the guilty person. These fines are in the forms of pigs, rice and basi that are to be used in a reconciliation party attended by all the people. The heavier the offense, the greater the penalty imposed upon the guilty person. Seldom, if ever, do cases in this district reach the courts of justice.

10. Myths, Legends, Beliefs, Interpretations, Superstitions, Origin of the World, Land, Mountains, Caves, Lakes, Plants, Trees, efc.

Myths or Legends (Name of Mountain)

The highest mountain in Mataragan is called "Manmanoc" Mountain. It is the source of the Mataragan River. Long, long ago, this great mountain was covered by thick forest practically untrod by human feet. In this great forest, there once lived an enchanted woman by the name of "Aliwengweng," who had great powers over that vast area. Hunters who happened to go into this forest long ago had lost their lives and their dogs. Others who survived were either lamed or became crazy. Fed with the great misfortunes caused by Aliwengweng, some courageous Mataragan folks during the last years of the Spanish rule in the Islands decided to put an end to the curse of the mountain. They butchered some chickens & pigs at the foot of this mountain and performed their ceremony called "daya." From then on, they have been able to explore this region without any harm befalling them.

In the midst of this risky forest, there stands a clear, blue and beautiful pool, and adjacent to it stands a big flat shining stone (Dalumpinas), which is always clean and smooth. On it stood two beautiful stones resembling a cock and hen. These figures, according to the old men, were like the works of a great sculptor. They were beautiful and shining, too, as if they were polished and clean everyday. Surrounding that clear pool stands beautiful trees with beautiful vines. The people believed that this wonderful place was the dwelling house of Aliwengweng over whom they had at last won. Today, the flat stone and the clear pool still remains clean, clear, and beautiful, but the stone cock and the hen are not to be seen anymore. The people called this mountain "Manmanoc," in remembrance of the wonderful stone figures of the cock and hen, that were once the pet of Aliwengweng, the enchanted woman of the mountains.

LEGEND (Name of a mountain)

One of the most important mountains in Mataragan was named after an Apayao warrior, Bulawat. Once upon a time, the men of Balen Apayao, were fierce headhunters. In the course of their head hunting expeditions to Mataragan, Bulawat and his men were met by the natives under the able leadership of Mangliwan on the top of a mountain not far away from Mataragan. After a short rest at the top of the mountain, the two leaders agreed to fight and that the unfortunate one be buried at the top of the mountain to be named after him. Without the help of their men, they fought bravely and fiercely. Mangaliwan, the Nataragan warrior won, and Bulawat, died a pitiful death. He was buried at the top of this: mountain which and forever bears his name.

[p. 7]


It is astonishing to note that the old folks and even the schoolchildren in this district are so afraid when the sun appears so suddenly when it is showering or raining. According to their beliefs learned from their ancestors, a cruel ghost whom they call "Aran" is in their midst and children seen or left outside their homes are liable to get sick. When this phenomenon happens, parents tell their children to take shelter.


The natives have the belief that when someone is sick among them, "anitos" or spirits of their dead are around the patient. One of them immediately sets a handful of cleaned rice and scatters it by throwing some on every corner of the house. As she throws the rice, she murmurs a request that the "anitos" or spirits immediately go away and not molest the patient anymore. By so doing, they believe that they can drive the spirits away and that the patient will soon get well.


(a) SONGS- 1. Salidommay
2. Og-gayam
3. Cay-ogan
4. Dango
(b) GAMES- 1. Dama
2. Playing cards
3. Softball (native made ball)
4. Sn. Peter (among children)
(c) AMUSEMENTS- 1. Culibeng or Bala-et
2. Bongcangcang
3. Hunting
4. Fishing
5. Storytelling (especially at night)
6. Dancing the "tadek"


There were four brothers who entered a cave at the same time. One wears white, another wears green, and the two others wear brown. When they came out of the cave, they were all in one, and it is red. (Ans. Lime (apog) beetle vine leaf (gao-wed) beetle nut fruit (bua) and tobacco leaf chewed by most people in the district forming sputum that is red.)


a. He who sleeps and does not work, shall not eat.
b. United we stand, divided we fall.


The crowing of the cocks.
The rising and setting of the sun.

[p. 8]


a. The moon — New month — Beginning of the month.
Full moon — Middle of the month.
Last Quarter — End of the month

15. Other folk tales - None.


16. Information on books and documents, etc. - none.

17. Names of Filipino authors born or residing in the community. - None.

Committee on Research:
Transcribed from:
History and Cultural Life of the Municipal District of Mataragan, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections. The pagination in this transcription is as they appear in the original document.
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