MUNICIPALITY OF LA TRINIDAD, Historical Data - Philippine Historical Data MUNICIPALITY OF LA TRINIDAD, Historical Data - Philippine Historical Data


Municipality of La Trinidad

About these Historical Data

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Bureau of Public Schools

La Trinidad, May 22, 1953


Six kilometers north of the City of Baguio lies the beautiful gardens of La Trinidad, [a] picturesque spot which one would never miss to see while touring this province. La Trinidad, one of the three pioneer regular municipalities of [the] Mountain Province, is the capital of the Sub-Province of Benguet. It is comprised of eight colorful barrios of which the La Trinidad townsmen and barrio folks can be proud of.

Pico: Pico, the barrio that lies within the valley, is the biggest barrio of the town. The name "Pico" is now the official name of the barrio, derived from the word "Piho," which means the true people of the place or, in other words, the aborigines of the barrio. Before the Spanish regime, the Igorrotes of the barrio where the people lived was divided into three groups, namely: the Piho people, the Ibaloi, now the local dialect of the whole municipality, and the Kankanai. This barrio is comprised of several sitios, namely Ilang, now Kilometer 4; Kengkas, now Kilometer 5; Pico Central, Bayabas, and Puquis.

Bekkel: Bekkel lies in the southeastern part of La Trinidad. During the pre-Spanish period, this barrio was full of growing trees. Now, it is inhabited by three distinct groups of people, namely: the Ibalois, the Kankanais, and the Kalanguyas. The Ibalois live in the sitios of Busi and Balangbang; the Kankanais live in the sitios of Lamot and Peril; while those living in Obulan and Gungle are called Kalanguyas. This barrio came to be called "Bekkel" because, during the early days, the residents of this placed used to squeeze the necks of those persons who got drunk in a gathering or feast. "Bekkel," therefore, means the squeezing of the neck.

Agno: The barrio that is in the northern part of La Trinidad is called Agno. It used to be called "Alno" by the people who lived there because of the water flowing from the creeks around the place. It was named Valdez, who was the first inhabitant of the place. It has four sitios: Peril, Cayob, Conig, and Obulan. Peril got its name because it is located at a corner of Agno. Cayob means the land of [the] fresh wind. Conig is named after a plant that thrived in the place which was used as a dyeing material. Obulan is named after a big stone used for sharpening bolos and knives.

Benneng: Bineng, one of the farthest barrios of La Trinidad, is situated on the northwestern part of the valley. The name "Bineng" has been derived from the word bi-neng, which means, to Benguet Igorots, "the wall which protects the water from flowing and erosion of the soil." This barrio is a plateau. During the olden times when the Trinidad River used to overflow the barrio,

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the inhabitants had to put stones as walls at the edge of the place to stop the erosion. This barrio had only one sitio before because of the tribal wars, the inhabitants of the other neighboring sitios [missing word] themselves and lived together for safety. It was after the tribal wars in 1898 and 1900 when this barrio was organized. This barrio has fertile land and fruit trees can thrive well. One half of the barrio has sufficient water for rice to grow well.

Ambiong: The barrio of Ambiong lies on the boundary between La Trinidad and the City of Baguio. It is adjacent to Aurora Hill, the squatters' site of Baguio. [A] Long time ago, Ambiong was a thick forest so that there were many bees and stalwart pine trees. The people had been taking plenty of honey for food as well as for [missing word]. As the years went on, so the people had been cutting the big pines for posts. Little by little, the barrio was cleared. The people inhabited the place and cultivated the parcel of land. Thus, Ambiong grew as a progressive barrio. The name "Ambiong" means presence of bees in the place.

Lubas: Lubas is a little barrio located on the eastern part of La Trinidad. This barrio is inhabited by Igorots of the Kankanai tribe who came from nearby towns. This barrio got its name from a derivation of the word "duvas." Duvas is a kind of white clay used for washing the hair in place of soap. This clay was discovered by a woman who went to bathe in a brook. By the brook, she saw a clay [and] used it for her hair. Through constant rubbing, suds were produced. After rinsing her hair, she found out that the luster of her hair was smooth. Thus, the word "duvas" became a popular word amongst the people and the nearby inhabitants flocked to the place. Hence, Duvas (Lubas) became a small barrio.

Wangal: Tackian, the the Igorots Tackian, is along the Mountain Trail highway. It is five kilometers from the town. Reports from the old folks of the barrio revealed that this barrio got its name from the first headman of the place who died and was burned and buried there.

In the early days, there was a large marshy lake in the middle of the beautiful and fertile valley of Trinidad. A hard ledge of rock at the lower end kept the water from running out, so that during typhoons, it reached as far as what is now Km. 5. So, the people named the place Bunguit (signifying where the water can't run out.)

The primitive inhabitants, the Indonesians, probably arrived more than 6,000 years ago, when there was a [unreadable word] complete

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land passage from Asia to the Philippines due to the sea water being used up in the ice during the glacial periods. These immigrants amalgamated into the present Ibaloi tribe. These people were industrious and prosperous. When the Spanish explorer, Don Quirante, arrived her in 1624, he reported that there were 800 cogon thatch roofed houses standing in the low hills surrounding the lake. He was received hospitably and a grand feast was prepared for him. On that expedition, Quirante reached the famous Antamok mines. The natives had been, for a century, mining gold from Antamok, Acupan, Tabio, Suyos, etc., and trading with the Ilocanos. For over 200 years, the Spanish government governed or ruled these "Igorotes" (Mountain people) [from] the lowland headquarters at Agoo. It was called loosely from "commandancia politico general de Igorottes." The Spanish were much interested in the conversion of the heathen Igorots to Christianity. Around 1755, while Don Arandia was Governor-General of the Philippines, the Augustinian friars became active. Six leading Igorots, apparently for the purpose of getting back confiscated gold and obtaining other redresses, agreed to be baptized. They were taken to Manila and there, in the Tondo church, were baptized during a big celebration. Afterwards, the governor-general kissed the hands of the now Christian Igorots. Hundreds of other Igorots came down from the mountain and were baptized at Agoo. They asked for a priest and Padre Vivar was sent. He built a mission at Tingdo near Tuba of today.

On October 16, 1755, Padre Vivar came to Trindad and, the next day, said mass there where the people had set up a cross. They told the people about the cross which, they said, God had sculpted for them on the rock at Korus (now Cruz). However, the padre fell into difficulties. Although the people obligingly allowed themselves to be baptized, they refused to abandon their canyao form of worship.

Padre Vivar was enthusiastic over Trinidad Valley (He called in Benguet.). He wrote that there were some 200 houses scattered around the low hills and that the lake was full of eels and water fowls. The principal food of the people was camote, gabi, camote-kahoy, beans, etc. They raised rice only to make tapuy as beverage to be drunk at their canyaos. There were plenty of pigs and chickens; while the rolling hills and the mountains, there were innumerable cattle. Life was good. The Igorots had many Ilocano slaves, obtained through barter. They raised large quantities of tobacco which they traded in the lowlands. This nearly broke the lucrative Spanish monopoly on tobacco.

In order to stop this competition and also to put the Igorots under tribute, Governor-General Arandia ordered the Alcalde-Mayor of Pangasinan, Don Laurel Avha de Unitia, to lead a punitive expedition against the Igorots. After considerable difficulty, the Mayor finally gathered 1,365 men and, after several attacks, was able to accomplish his mission. He burned 35 rancherias. He had been ably and bravely opposed by Kidit (an

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ancestor of Mayor Cariño), who gathered hundreds of men and first defeated the Spanish near Asin, but on March 16, 1759, was overwhelmed at Lumbang and Boa [unsure transcription, problem with the original]. This punitive expedition did not result in improving the Spanish position, but it paralyzed all mission work. The Ibaloi were finally pacified by Commandante Don Guillermo Galvey, who first came to Trinidad (then called Benguet from Bunguit) in January 1829 with two officers, 59 men, [and] 200 carriers. The inhabitants opposed this, but he shot some and made others prisoners, and burned 180 houses. After several other expeditions which Don Galvey made, he established the province of Benguet in 1846. There were 30 rancherias with the capital of La Trinidad (re-named in honor of his wife Trinidad). The first kapitan of Benguet was Pulito of Kapagway (now Baguio), a minor rancheria which had only about 200 houses. The names of the Spanish Commandantes Politico Militar were: Dons Guillermo Galvey, Sorra, Oay [or Cay], Bellows, Orao, Vicente Villena, Cesario Martinez, Juan Arañez, Jose Martinez, Guillermo Lanza, Eduardo White, Eduardo Cereseda, and Antonio Bejar. They built trails, started schools and churches. Arañez propagated an extensive coffee industry.

The general insurrection of 1896 agains the Spaniards spread to Benguet. So, at the end of July 1899, Commandante Bejar and his companions left the capital and then, at Puguis, retreated to Bontoc. The Katipunan came, gathered the Igorots, looted and burned the Spanish government buidings, and set up the Philippine Republican Government with Ora (Juan Cariño), uncle of Mayor Cariño, as Governor of Benguet.

Early in 1900, the Americans came. So, Juan Cariño and his officials retired to the Agno River, where at Daclan in Bokod [in] May 1900, they surrendered to Captain Robert R. Rudd, 48 Infantry, U.S.V. (colored). Captain Rudd established his headquarters in the old convent (across the road from the Catholic church). Clemente Nalkes was made president of La Trinidad. In 1901, H.P. Whitmarsh was appointed municipal president of La Trinidad. The rest of the story is that of the modern development within the memory of many. The Agricultural High School was established in 1916 with Lonsto Cariño as acting Principal. He resigned in June and James W. [not sure about "W"] Wright took his place. Mr. Wright had a great deal to do with putting the school in its present splendid status. The Bureau of Public Works blasted out the bend of the Balili River and dug canals to drain the old lake. Year after year (except during the occupation) brought constant improvements. Now, there are about 8,000 happy prosperous people living in this fruitful valley.

The people of La Trinidad have different customs and traditions which are worth mentioning. These are some of them:

1 - Cañao is a beautiful, traditional, and ceremonial practice amongst the people which is handed down from generation to generation. Cañaos are performed for different purposes. There is a cañao for the dead, cañao for marriage, cañao for

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the sick, cañao for prayer and luck. When someone dies, animals are butchered; eating, drinking of "tapoy," a favorite drink made out of fermented rice, and prayers are done for several days. A cañao for marriage is called "callon." The man who desires to marry prepares animals, wine, rice, and camote for [a] festival. After the ceremony, [a] portion of the meat is distributed to the people and neighboring barrios for their share. This meat, in the dialect, is called "apag." A cañao performed for the recovery of a sick person is called "buyon." Whatever animals the sponsor wants must be butchered even if the one sponsoring has to resort to begging or borrowing. A cañao for prayer for luck is done as a blow-out for the great accumulated wealth he had gained. This is the biggest of all cañaos and is usually called the "pesiet."

2. Kaising: If a young man likes to marry a girl, he consults the prominent people of the place, and these men go to the place or house of the girl. If the girl will consent, a big party to celebrate the marriage will be executed. If the girl dislikes and manages to escape from home, the parents will try their best to look for her and, if found, bring her home and confine her by tying her. Thus, the party will go on until the woman will finally consent to the marriage.

3. Burial Ceremonies: If a rich person dies, he is made to sit on an improvised chair, and a feast which will last for severald days, say from six days to a month, is done. If the person happens to be poor, he can be buried at once without being made to sit on a chair. The use of coffins is not usually practiced for the dead. A corpse is wrapped in a blanket with the legs folded to the knees and carried by the old people to the cemetery located somewhere in the mountains. Food and drinks are served also in the cemetery before and after the corpse is buried.

The traditional activities are made during cañaos. Traditional songs called the "bakliw" are sung by old women and men. Traditional dances [are done] with the use of gongs made of brass. These people also have beliefs to be noted. To them, an eclipse foretells the coming of famine, sickness, or war. A strong wind tells that a ghost is near. The bile of a pig being butchered if half-filled is, to them, a sign of poverty, and so they have to butcher another [pig]. If the bile is filled, it shows prosperity.



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1896 - 1900 - Philippine Revolution:

Officials during the arrival of the Americans were Juan Cariño, President Provincial; Igmedio Octaviano, Consejeros de Justicia; Andres Valbuena, Consejaro de Rentas; Mariano Lagasca, Consejero de Policia; Miguel Picart, Presidente Municipal; Agustin Caoili, Vice Presidente; Vicente Garcia, Delegado de Justicia; Felicisimo Puzon, Delegado de Policia; Pablo Capasin, Delegado de Rentas.

After two years, that was December 1, 1899, the Americans came. The established a Campamento de Militar, headed by Major Robert Rudd and later succeeded by Book. They established a municipal government and the officials nominated were the following:

Clemente Valdez, Presidente Municipal
Clemente Laoyan, Vice Presidente
After January 1, 1901, the govierno civil was organized with the following nominated officials:
Phil Whitmarsh - Governor Provincial
Otto Shearer - Secretario
Swiss Hollman - Representante Popular
Clemente Valdez - President Municipal
Clemente Laoyan - Vice President
Lucio Almazan - Secretario, Treasurero
In 1902, Whitmarsh was succeed by William Pop as Governor Provincial; Carlos Lubral [unsure], Secretario; Mateo Carrantes, Representante Popular; with Clemente Laoyan as Presidente Municipal and Dagal [unsure], Vice Presidente; and Juan Valdez as Secretario-Treasurero. These officials were changed year by year.
1904 Presidente Alibio Officia
Vice Presidente - Puroc
Sec. Treasurero - Eugenio Valdez
1905 Vicente Sales - President
Pulas - Vice Presidente
Eugenio Valdez - Secretario-Treasurero
1906-1907 Clemente Laoyan - Presidente
Baniwas - Vice President
Pascual Pacis - Secretario-Treasurero
1908-1909 Baniwas - Presidente
Colansong - Vice Presidente
Feliciano Hidalgo - Sec.-Treasurero

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1910-1911 Palacsa - Presidente
Cayao - Vice Presidente
Feliciano Hidalgo - Sec.-Treasurero
1912-1913 Pil-o Yatyatan - Presidente
Cayao - Vice Presidente
Feliciano Hidalgo - Sec.-Treasurero
1914-1915 Juan P. Laygo - Presidente
Tinoy-an Laruan - Vice Presidente
Feliciano Hidalgo - Sec.-Treasurero
1916-1917 Alno Morales - Presidente
Baldomero Namoro - Vice Presidente
Feliciano Hidalgo - Sec.-Treasurero
1918-1919 Baldomero Namoro - Presidente
Abela - Vice Presidente
Justo Tolentino - Sec.-Treasurero
1920-1922 Clemente Laoyan - Presidente
Adriano Balancio - Vice Presidente
Domingo Sales - Sec.-Treasurero
1923-1925 Adriano Balancio - Presidente
Laruan - Vice Presidente
Domingo Sales - Sec.-Treasurero
1926-1928 Dalmacio Lubos - Presidente
Abela - Vice Presidente
Basilio Tumpap - Sec.-Treasurero
1919-1931 Dalmacio Lubos - Presidente
Unknown - Vice Presidente
Basilio Tumpap - Sec.-Treasurero
1932-1934 Henry Chamos - Presidente
Eduardo Abastilla - Vice Presidente
Basilio Tumpap - Sec.-Treasurero
1935-1937 Luna Nabos - Presidente
Unknown - Vice Presidente
Basilio Tumpap - Sec.-Treasurero
1938-1940 Henry Chamos - Presidente
Eduardo Abastilla - Vice Presidente
Basilio Tumpap - Sec.-Treasurero

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[Note to the reader: Confidence in the transcription of this page, especially the names, is low because of the new typewriter ribbon used which rendered the characters thickly and often unreadable.]

1941-1945 Antero S. Alumit - Municipal Mayor
Ibbes Bentis - Vice-Mayor
Basilio Tumpap - Treasurer
1946-1949 Cipriano Abalos - Municipal Mayor
Billy Hollman - Vice-Mayor
Ibbes Bentis - Vice-Mayor
Basilio Tumpap - Treasurer
1850-1951 Ezra P. Nabus - Municipal Mayor
Roman Malintas - Vice Mayor
Sergio Abad - Treasurer
In 1950-1951, La Trinidad was turned into a regular municipality on December 2, 1952, for which the following officials were elected during its first inauguaration:

Ezra P. Nabus - Municipal Mayor
Ramon Malintas - Vice Mayor
Sergio Abad - Treasurer

Present Municipal Officials

Larry A. Ogas - Municipal Mayor
Moso Duna - Vice Mayor
Sergio Abad - Treasurer

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