MUNICIPAL DISTRICT OF TINEG, Historical Data Part I - Philippine Historical Data MUNICIPAL DISTRICT OF TINEG, Historical Data Part I - Philippine Historical Data


Municipal District of Tineg



About these Historical Data

[Cover Page.]

Republic of the Philippines
History and Cultural Report
Municipal District of Tineg, Abra




This report is the result of the work of a committee composed of Mr. Felipe Gayban, Mr. Udarlico Gallardo, Mr. Lelia Ferras, and Mrs. Marta B. Gayban, all public school teachers in the Municipal District of Tineg, Province of Abra.

No written records were consulted as none was available. The members of the committee, however, interviewed old people who were in a position to furnish the desired information. Moreover, Mr, Felipe Gayban, the chairman of the committee, is a native of Tineg and is quite acquainted with most of the information needed in this report.

Licuan District

[p. 1]



Present official name of the TOWN*

The town was [named] Tineg by the first inhabitants and this has never been changed. The intermittent beginning in October up to February brought about the word Tineg, meaning stormy, the popular name of this place, however, is Agsimaw that means near a creek.

Date of Establishment*

There are no written records of its establishment, but it is believed that the town was founded sometime in 1500 by Dao-ayan and his wife, both primitive Malays who must have found their way to the head waters of the Tineg River upon crossing the Cordillera from Apnaya on the Cagayan Valley.

Persons who held positions in different regimes

During the Spanish Regime

Among the prominent persons who held the position as cabeza de barangay during the Spanish occupation were Dulon, Tawaeg, Tebay, Calpasan, Bucyay, Lamag and Layugan, [who] served in the same capacity during the closing days of Spanish rule. Tineg was officially under Dolores, Abra at the time.

During the American Regime

he first president and vice-president of Tineg during the American occupation were Bewat and Beren, who served at the time of the late Juan Villamor, then the sub-governor of Abra. They were followed by BATAY and BALUCAS, Duguis and Subngaren, Eyod and BenBenwaren. Layugan and Tibuc were the incumbents just before Abra was separated from Ilocos Sur.

In 1918, when Abra was finally made a regular province, Gayban and Caldi were appointed president and vice-president, respectively. It was during their incumbency when the first school was established with their Tabañag as their first teacher. The officials that followed served in the following order:

Calubing and Turas
Palangdaw and Baguilo
Bonifacio Fistejo and Jose Beguen
Tidong and Gorot
Pedro Buday and Santos BANGQUIG

They were the first mayors and vice-mayors,

Busing and Duyugan were the incumbents during World War II. They were followed by Sulian and Layugan in 1946-1948, Jose Betguen and Donato Buyaw in 1949-1951 and the present mayor and vice-mayor, Crisanto Tingday and GABINO Uringan,

[p. 2]


After the capture of General Aguinaldo at Palanan, the Americans hoisted their flag atop Mt. Manigo and Talampac, two of the highest peaks in Tineg.

Important EVENTS

During the Spanish time, the people of Tineg lived in fear and strife because of the tribal war against the Apayaws of Mt. Province. All the neighboring barrios were burned and plundered by the enemy. Only the poblacion of Agsimaw was not invaded. Among the foremost heroes of Tineg during the TRIBAL war were Pilyaw, Beren Bucyay and Serot.

In 1918 to 1941 was a period of economic activity. Before 1915, the people depended upon "caiñgins" for livelihood and had fewer varieties of crops. During the American regime, the people under the leadership of the town officials, built rice terraces, introduced new crops, raised cattle and fruits, and built stronger houses. The people were better clothed and fed as a result of the economic and social progress.

In World War II, out of four young men who joined the Philippine Army, only two lived to see V-J Day. Private Benwaren and Benita Cariño both died in the battle of San Fernando, La Union. Private Eduardo Bersalona and Lieutenant Felipe Gayban served with Colonel Macario Peralta's intelligence detachment in Luzon.

The people of Tineg helped greatly the cause of the resistance. They actively assisted the guerrillas and hid many Americans, like Corporal Heuser, Ebert and CAROL, Sergeant BRESELTON, and Lieutenant ZIAYA, who later were moved to Apayaw in late 1943 upon orders of the then Mayor Praeger of the 26th Cavalry (P.S.).

In reprisal for the death of a Jap soldier (Ocabe) on January 2, 1943, the imperial forces massacred 93 civilians of Tineg and Lanek in March 31, 1943. For three months following the Japs’ beastly act, the people of Tineg and Lanek hid in the jungles.

Destruction of lives and properties in World War II

During the Filipino-Spanish American War, there was no destruction of life and property as Tineg was not in the area of operation.


With the aid of the UNITED STATES WAR DAMAGE COMMISSION, the school building that was destroyed during the war was rebuilt in 1850. Besides this standard size building, the PARENT-TEACHER ASSOCIATION of TINEG put up a standard temporary schoolhouse. The destroyed ones have been rebuilt out of strong material. Farms have been neglected during the war.

[p. 3]



The people of Tineg have distinct customs and traditions from other Tinguian tribes in Abra.


During the initial period of labor of the expectant mother, the local midwife, together with close relatives, is called upon to attend to the delivery. If the child is not delivered despite persistent labor, the midwife or any woman leader present makes a solemn promise to the anitoes or to Igoniangitan (superior God) that a sacrifice feast will be made following the delivery. Whether the newly born child dies or lives, the feast promised is always fulfilled, otherwise the gods will get angry and make the mother or any member of the household sick.


Right after birth the infant is baptized, any old woman, preferably the local priestess, gives the name of the newly born, The woman takes the child in her arms and says a few prayers to BAWALA or the minor gods imploring for good luck and [a] long life for the child. Infants are often named after prominent ancestors.


Among the early folks, courtship or engagement is an open affair. During the suitor's visit to the girl's house, he takes along bags of "boyo" or some cigars or betel leaves to offer to the members of the household. If the lover is a musician, he plays his bamboo flute or violin or a bamboo eukolele or merely chants a love song in the presence of the members of the family. The man leaves the girl after two or three hours and returns before dawn to talk personally. If the parents of the girl want the man, the door or windows are not locked before the man returns. If the parents dislike him, the entrance of the house is securely locked to prevent him from getting in. If the girl accepts the lover, she wakes up her parents and reveals her engagement, Marriage follows shortly after.


Sometimes, marriage is contracted by parents without the previous consent of the children concerned. Usually, the mother is privileged to select the future wife of her son, even if the latter is still a baby. When she has found a good match, she gives an initial dowry to the girt's mother, so that the girl will not be promised to [an]other boy. When the initial dowry is accepted by the girl's mother, a mariage contract follows in the presence of everyone in the village. Only [missing word] is served during the affair.

The different items of the dowry are announced by a go-between or moderator. The girl's father, in turn, announces the name of each person who is to receive each dowry. The dowry may be in the form of animals, fields, jewelry, porcelains, money or any property. The affair is climaxed by a dance or [the] singing of marriage songs. After this, the boy is taken to the girl's house or vice-versa by a committee assigned for the purpose.

[p. 4]

On the designated time, a few years after the groom is asked to settle his accounts on the promised dowry. Everyone in the town is invited to attend the gathering. The bride's parents butcher a large pig which is divided into shares, each share to be given to each person who donates any form of material help to the groom during the settling of accounts. After all, the promised dowry is received by those entitled,


The funeral services of a deceased that often last two days is an expensive custom. The kin from distant places, including the inhabitants of the village of the deceased, attend the funeral. The people are given drinks and smokes at the expense of the family of the deceased. Funeral songs and eulogies feature the funeral services.

After the corpse is buried, a follow-up party is tendered by the family of the deceased, the main [purpose] of which is to remove partly the grief of the bereaved. For one year following the death of a husband, the widow does not wear new clothes. The mother of a departed son or daughter does the same, but this practice is not imposed on a widower.


Visitors are often honored with a welcome party in which basi is drunk. The visitors and the villagers spend the whole night dancing and drinking until all are groggy.


The Tinguians are a sentimental people. They always remember their dead with lavish parties during days of plenty. Even during lean years, well-to-do Tinguians celebrate the death anniversary of relatives with pompous extravagance.

Wedding jubilees, inaugurations of new homes or new rice-fields, are celebrated with equal pomp, but the most expensive party is the wacsi (the death anniversary).

[An] Aquinagnanitos party is held when a person is sick during, which the priestess or sonet delivers his longest prayers to the anitoes. When the priestess is through with the prayers, dancing to the tone of the gongs takes place.


Divorce is granted with dispatch on [the] grounds of adultery, infidelity, cruelty, theft, and highly disrespectful acts against parents of either spouse. If it is adultery, the woman returns all the dowries given by the husand. Concubinage is not a ground for the law of divorce on the part of a wife, but concubinage with infidelity is a good reason to divorce her hushand.


In a majority of cases, punishment is in the form of indemnity to the aggrieved party. Fines are usually in the form of money or basi and the latter is

[p. 5]

by the villagers while the money becomes public property. Murderers pay for [the] lives of their victims in the form of property or money. If it is libel or theft, the offender also pays the aggrieved party.


The Tinguians not only believe in anitos but also in a superior god, the lord in heaven. They believed that "anitos," not disease germs, bring illness. Anitos are worshipped to avoid illness and disaster. Big trees, caves, deep water or pools, deserted homes, mountains and waterfalls are believed to be the homes of anitos. Whenever animals are butchered or parties are held, small bits of food are always placed at the sacred places. "Boyo" and cigars are also placed in the homes of the gods from time to time fo please them.

[To] These early people, [it was] taboo working on the day following the appearance of the new moon. They discontinue their journey when they see the tigmamanoguin-bird on their way or when they hear someone sneeze, they believe that the sad twick of a hawk presages danger and misfortune.

The sudden coming of storms, thunder, and lightning is attributed to the displeasure of the gods. Intermittent showers are said to be the tears of dead great men somewhere.

They believe in witchcraft, that some persons can make others sick or turn themselves into any kind of animal.


Like the Christians, the Tinguians of Tineg believe that a superior being (god) created and heaven. They say that the moon, stars have been planted in their places by God. They contend that the earth was first before the flood of Noe; that the violent quake at the end of the flood created different land forms.


The following are the popular tales:


Long ago, there lived a well-to-do couple in the small village of Tuyangan, Tineg, Abra, who had a beautiful daughter named Sabina. Being the only child in the family, she was loved by her parents that they did not even allow her to work or stay in the sunshine long. Most of the time, she was kept in the house with her governess and companion and guard. Even the young men in the village who were allured by Sabina's beauty were afraid to get near her because her father's word was law.

One afternoon, Sabina's parents were out in the kaingin harvesting palay, she escaped from her governess and wanted to play with other maidens of her age in a meadow nearby.

[When] The players were caught in the rain, Sabina returned home drenched to the skin. The following morning, Sabina laid sick in her room suffering a high fever.

[p. 6]

Every quack doctor in the community and from the neighboring villages was called by the parents to treat her, but none could make her well.

As a last recourse, the local priestess advised the parents to give a sacrificial feast to which the anitos who made her sick will be invited. But the party will not be complete without the liver of a deer that will be given to the anitos and to Sabina. So, the father commanded the best hunter in the village Itadagan to hunt for a deer for the party.

Itadagan and his fleetest dog, Labang, climbed the Cordillera before the crowing of wild cocks split the stillness of early dawn. After sunrise, Labang found the most wonderful deer Itadagan had ever seen.

The deer was extradinarily big, with golden ears and thorns. The running deer flittered in the morning sun as it circled around the cogon-crushed part of the mountain.

Itadagan followed the deer across streams, brooks and rivers. He was determined to get the deer at any cost, because his failure to bring home venison will mean the death of Sabina.

Along the tracks of the deer were strands of hairs of gold, and Itadagan will stop now and then to pick them up and place them in his boyo bag. As a result, he was left far behind. He no longer heard the barking of his dog Labang. When he reachd the top of the mountain range, he shouted at the birds and other creatures to stop the noise so he could hear or determine where the dog and the deer were.

Immediately, the Balbalayang mountain range between Abra and Abayan become silent and has remained up to the present. Meanwhile, the hunter was able to hear again the almost inaudible bark of Labang way down the Tineg River. Itadagan passed through a shortcut. He met the deer on the rocky banks. He hurled his spear but missed the deer. The footprints of the giant deer as it jumped to escape the spear were deeply imbedded in the rocks and thick dust of gold was left. Itadagan picked up again the gold and followed the deer that swam down the river.

The dog, the deer, and Itadagan crisscrossed the north and eastern backwoods of Abra for three days. On reaching the body of Pinongan River, the tired deer was caught in a whirlpool, and it sank to the bottom. Itadagan and his dog Labang followed the river as far as the lowlands, but they never found the golden deer.

Itadagan trekked back to the village of Tuyangan and, tired, hungry, and empty-handed, except for the bulging gold in the former boyo bag.

Then they reached the village, the feast was going on. The priestess prayed passionately to the gods to save Sabina and to excuse the village for rendering a feast without venison to offer to them. To quench the wrath of Sabina's father on seeing Itadagan without a deer, the latter showed the small bag of gold. Seeing the gold, Sabina got up and examined it in sheer delight, and she became suddenly well.

[p. 7]

Itadagan drank his share of wine, and amidst the merry-making, he related to the people his strange hunting adventure. Envious of the gold of Sabina, the people after the feast went to the spot where the golden deer passed, and they found plenty of gold dust. Since then, gold has been found in the creeks, brooks, rivers, and mountains of Abra.


As a stranger goes with the winding trail that leads to Suwaban, a barrio of Tineg, he will tire before he reaches the summit of the mountain range. But when he is a few yards to the top, his fatigue suddenly fades. He will push further with renewed vigor and determination because he notices that he is in a jungle replete with marvelous beauty and [a] thousand melodies from the birds, insects and rills. He will behold seemingly supernatural phenomena.

On descending the downward trail, he will hear the peculiar sound of a waterfall, resembling that of a gong and a human song. It is, indeed, so pleasant to hear the exquisite melody and the rythmic pilling that the stranger cannot help but hurry down until he reaches the gurgling foamy waterfall. As he stands on the banks of the pool at the base of the pool, he gazes around spellbound. In front of him lies a stone whose shape and color is like a preciously kept antique jar. The leaves and the branches of the trees above the pebbles [are] black as kitchen soot as though campfire has always been under them. This pool is called GEWIR OR BINIBIL. How it got its name is a tale that runs thus:

Long, long ago in the municipal district of Tineg, there lived a couple with three children. The head of the family was Gewir. He was a hunter and the only thing he could do to support his family was to go hunting with his dogs.

As usual, he took his dogs one day and climbed the terrain near the village to begin the day's hunt. No sooner had he climbed the first mountain when his dogs noticed a deer's smell. It did not take long before his dogs found the wild animal. He saw them running after it, crossing one mountain after another.

Gewir ran after the animal also, and in a few minutes, he caught a glimpse of the wild animal. It was really a big and fat one. He and his dogs jumped into the pool. The deer, sensing no means of escape from the dogs, jumped into the pool.

Seeing that it was easy to catch the deer alive, he jumped into the pool, too, following the animal. They both went deeper and deeper until the deer went out of his sight. To his surprise, he came to a house in the depths of the pool.

Wonder came to Gewir's mind. He could not believe what he saw. He walked around from room to room to prove that he was not dreaming — and sure enough, he was not.

He found a beautiful woman sewing by the window. The woman rose from her seat and said, "Now that you're in my house, you shall never return to your home. You shall stay forever with me."

Gewir being enchanted by her beauty, thought no more of his family. He said, "Yes, but let me bid farewell first to my loved ones. Let me get also my antique jar (binitibil) for you as dowry."

[p. 8]

The siren, knowing Gewir's stolen heart, let him do as he wished.

Sure enough, after two days, Gewir returned with his "Binilibil" in spite of [the] bitter pleas of his family to desist frem returning. He placed the jar on the bank and went down to the pool.

The antique jar turned into stone, retaining its form. Ever since, people called the place "Binibi" after the jar of Gewir, after the hunter's name.


On a pine clad hill called Tagonton, near the base of the Mt. Manigo, two kilometers away from Tineg, stands a long bamboo tree, the size, and a dozen quaint-looking stones, the size of antique jars. Would you like to find out how these stones and the bamboo came about?

When the world was yet young, there lived a beautiful girl in the small village of Agsian whose parents earned their living by planting rice in the kaingins. Dona was her name. She was the loveliest maiden in the village. The first sight of her radiant charms would kindle the bursting love of a man.

Despite her beauty, the love and lavish attention her parents bestowed on Dona, she was by no means spoiled. She helped her mother in every way she could.

After her kaingin was cleared, one day her mother invited all the village women to help her plant rice. It was a turn- which or a Tagnawe, so every woman was present. A big fat hog was butchered for the planters and a jar or cave [cane?] wine was served before lunch.

The wide kaingin was gay with gongs, jokes and laughter as the planters went slowly but steadily up the slopes. The young maidens were more agile than the women in planting, so the young maidens formed their own group after lunch. Dona's lovely face glowed like an angel amidst the black background of the kaingin in the hot noon day sun, as she rhythmically made holes in the ground with her iron dibble and dropped seeds into them.

All was well, long before sunset, for the day was usually bright. Not a speck of fog was seen on the summit of Mt. Manigo. Suddenly, the splash of lightning, crash of thunder, and a terrific whirlwind rant [probably misused word] the air [and] complete darkness enveloped the place. The women and the maidens shrieked for help. Frightened like chickens, the girls huddled close together. The earth quivered violently.

As if by magic, the violent whirlwind subsided, the lightning and thunder ceased, and the sun shone once more over the kaingin. Everybody sat still, staring blankly at each other. Looking around, they found that Dona was missing. In frantic sobs, her mother walked up and down the kaingin, looking for her daughter, but she was nowhere to be found. Everyone helped her search for Dona but their efforts were in vain.

The planters trudged homeward at sunset, grief-stricken over the disappearance of Dona. Only the father and the mother remained in the kaingin. The whole night, with pine torches, they wandered through the nearby forest, creeks and brooks; but they never found their daughter. They returned to the village the next day, exhausted and weak with grief. The town was under a pall of gloom over the loss of Dona.


Transcribed from:
History and Cultural Life of the Municipal District of Tineg, 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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