MUNICIPALITY OF LAGANGILANG, Historical Data - Philippine Historical Data MUNICIPALITY OF LAGANGILANG, Historical Data - Philippine Historical Data


Municipality of Lagangilang

About these Historical Data

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Republic of the Philippines
Department of Education
Division of Abra
Dolores District


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Republic of the Philippines
Department of Education
Division of Abra
Dolores District


Submitted by:


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Part One — History

I. Present Official Name.

Lagangilang is one of the most important towns in the northeastern part of Abra. After the founding of the Catholic missions of Tayum in 1803, the Catholic mission of Pidigan in 1823, and that of La Paz in 1832, that of Bucay in 1847, the next town where the parish priest of Bucay and Tayum concentrated their attention to establish a mission was Lagangilang. After the creation of Abra into a politico-military province in 1846, Bucay was designated as the capital in 1847. Because of its proximity to Bucay and as the only good means of transportation that time was to flow down the Abra River, it was logical that the next established mission was that of Lagangilang. That was in the year 1851.

How the town got its present name remains a spell to any interesting (sic) ["interested" is the correct word] reader of its history. The present official name is Lagangilang and how it got its name will be treated in the next paragraph.

II. Former name or names and their meanings or derivation.

No known record could be found as to who the founders were. It was a known fact that its beginning was only [as] a village and as the years passed, it grew into a prosperous town through local commerce. The founders, then, were the most influential people of the barrio, and as they were Tinguians and mostly illiterate, they had no record of their local history up to this writing.

IV. Names of persons who held leading official positions in the community.

The village was gradually absorbed by a neighboring town called Bacao, presently called Dolores. The headman who was the leader of the barrio remained under the control of the Alcalde-Mayor until it became a township in 1912. All the town officials were selected by special elections. The chief executive of the province was the sub-govermor of Abra, as it was combined with the province of llocos Sur. In the year 1817, Abra became municipalities. The then municipal officials were selected by popular will of the people during the general elections. Among the chain of municipal executives were:
Capitan Amogong
Victoriano Borgonia
Capitan Dogquem
Capitan Tomas Quinto
Capitan Aclang
Capitan Tinubag
Municipal President

[p. 2]

Capitan Aglinggi
Capitan Cagaid Omli
Capitan Pacifico Gumtang
Capitan Bal-liao Hermoso
Capitan Edao Dickenson
Capitan Velentin Bintocan
Capitan Cagaid Omli
Mr. Rufo Dacanay
Capitan Cagaid Omli
Capitan Eusebio Omli
Mr. Jose B. Wagayen
Municipal President
Municipal Mayor
Military Mayor
Municipal Mayor

III. Data on historical sites, structures, buildings, old ruins.

Since the town is and had not been the seat of any important functionary of the government either the Spanish or the American, no structure or important building has been erected. The buildings are of the old type with a touch of modern finish. No known historical site could be pointed to any visitor except the modern agricultural high school buildings that are the attractions of the town.

V. Important facts or incidents that took place.

a. During the Spanish occupation -

The town was a scene of a punitive revolt during the Spanish occupation, but it was unsuccessful. The Katipuneros used to stay there to map out their plans to attack the Spanish soldiers.

b. During the American occupation to World War II -

No incidents ever took place during this period except the ordinary and common occurrence of everyday life. No significant event transpired because it is not a strategic place for any military or occupational forces. The peace condition accounts for its being a unique settiement as no event of significance ever occurred in the place.

C. During and after World War II -

At the outbreak of the war in 1941, the Philippine Army established the town as its last headquarters. A military form of government was established under the then Major Walter Cushing of the famed Cushing Guerrillas. Lagangilang was then declared as the temporary capital of Abra. Because of these developments, the Japanese were attracted to the place. There was a short exchange of fire between our soldiers with the enemies on the banks of the Abra River near the town. Our soldiers were scattered and the civilian officials surrendered to the new rule.

During the occupation, the Japanese soldiers established their garrison at Lagangilang. At this period, there was a lull of the guerrilla activities in this place. The guerrillas retreated to Guinguinabang, Lacob, Abra, and their leader Major Cushing chose to make disturbances outside of the province. Their guerrilla activities almost culminated after the death of Major Cushing. By this time, the Japanese were ordered to leave the place to get ready for their last stand at Bessang Pass between llocos Sur and Mountain Province.

[p. 3]

Soon came the period of confusion and terror. Guerrillas occupied all places vacated by the Japanese. The guerrillas took advantage of the peaceful citizens, accusing them of collaboration with the Japanese, and committed gruesome and brutal murders and rapes. All male citizens were forced to join the organization known as "bolomen," and all female citizens above sixteen years were forced to join the Women's Auxiliary Service known as WAS. These mass killings only ended by the arrival of the 15th Infantry under Major Duque of Ilocos Norte. Lagangilang again became the military headquarters until the Japanese were driven away from Bangued, the capital of the province. A military government was again established and the military authorities placed Mr. Rufo Dacanay, a teacher of Lagangilang National Agricultural High School, as mayor. On July 4, 1945, the Philippines was given her independence and from this date, the civil government was again established up to the present.

The Philippine educational system was revised to suit the exigencies of the last war. Mass promotions were made of the overages [likely "overaged"] and the double-single session plan was followed. The period of Japanese occupation was a period of educational blackout in this particular town and almost all towns of the province. Schools were closed during the occupation, and after liberation, the schools resumed operation under the much criticized double-single-session plan.

Commerce was resumed and business had its boom. Merchants from all over the province came to Lagangilang during market days and the rehabilitation of commercial enterprises soon began. The spirit of religious fervor was intensified, and soon religious organizations like the Iglesia Ni Cristo, Iglesia Ni Manalo, Aglipayanism, Witnesses of Jehovah, [and] Seventh Day Adventists, sprung much to the chagrin of the local Catholic parish.

IV. Destruction of lives, properties, and institutions during wars — 1896-1900.

The Katipunan had its effects on the lives of the people during the dark period of the Revolution. The organization had their members and they banded together to overthrow the Spanish yoke. The Katipuneros took hold of their native bolos, some guns, and they met the Spanish cannons with legendary bravery. The Spanish-American War came and, although the natives did not want to accept the American rule, they were forced to because of the inferiority of their arms.

Many lives and properties were lost during this war, but soon after, the natives felt the benevolence and good intentions of the Americans, [and] they readily accepted their rule; and once more peace and order reigned throughout the town.

Rehabilitation — During the war, this town was not burned by the retreating Japanese forces. Only the municipal building was razed to the ground. Rehabilitation was most rapid. Commerce and trade prospered and the people once more were able to build more and better homes. Reconstruction of homes abandoned during the mass evacuation were repaired and remodeled.

[p. 4]


The barrios composing the municipality of Lagangilang are Cayapa, (Bacooc) Dalaguisen, Lagben, Nagtipulan, Paganao, and Tagodtod. There are sitios comprising these barrios. Each of these barrios has a unique and interesting local history which would be treated separately in the foregoing paragraphs.

CAYAPA (or Bacooc) - Bacooc, now Cayapa, was formerly calied Balongog because there are many brooks. Then, a couple named Tabao and Aga came to the place. They had a son whom they named Bacooc. A few days later, Bacooc died. Bacooc was the first one who died and the first who was buried in Balongog. The father of Bacooc changed the name Balongog to Bacooc in memory of his son. The people are Tinguians. During the Spanish times, the office of the Capitan was called "TRIBUNAL" AND WAS ERECTED IN Bacooc. There was forced labor. The people were whipped by the Spanish officials for non-obedience. They were punished by hanging or beheading. When the Americans came they were liberated from their oppressors.

DALAGUISEN - In the early days, this barrio was named Quimpal. In the course of time, many people settled in the outskirts of the barrio because of its fine and fertile soil. This settlement was then called Dalaguisen. During the Spanish time, there was a road passing through Dalaguisen in going to Quimpal. Officials at that time such as the gobernadorcillo, the aguacil mayor, and the cabeza de barangay, who used to go to the capital, always passed by to talk with the people. Thus, it was called Dalaguisen because it was always touched. The people are a mixture of Tinguians and Christians. They are industrious and they market their products to Bucay or to Lagangilang. At present, the "Teniente del Barrio" acts as the representative of the mayor.

LAGBEN - The present barrio of Lagben in the municipality of Lagangilang has a very interesting original nomenclature. As was the case of some sellers in other places, the first people who came to what is now Lagben selected the place for them to settle because of the proximity of the river to the place. The river served them in many ways. They could use it as a means of transportation; they could catch fish that was plenty; and they could get their water supply from it. In order that the first settlers could handily make use of the river, they settled a few meters inland from the riverbank. As the time went on, the settlers started making paddies for farming. The land is covered with alluvial soil. The sitios composing Lagben are Nagbalaoan, Ongaongan, Pacyas, Codam, Wil-lawil, Agdawin, Sumimbaan, Pisong, and Nagbatacan. The establishment of the barrio dates back to1850.

During the Spanish regime, the barrio was an independent municipality. She had her own gobernadorcillo. The leader or most distinguished man of the municipality became the gobernadorcillo, holding the position for a long time. When the office of the gobernadorcilio was abolished, Lagben went under the town of Lagangilang and it became a barrio under the "Teniente del Barrio." Some of the men who held this position were Capitan Sawisao, Ambaca, Gettap, Daoala, Ambasing, Basioa, Bogsing, Tadeo, and Cada.

The people of Lagben are fond of dedicating valuable things to their dear ones who have died. One such example is the kiosko-like building with the figure of a man riding on horseback placed at the center to commemorate the death of a prominent resident, Capitan Sawisao.

[p. 5]

NAGTIPULAN - Nagtipulan derived its name from the Ilocano word "Nagsisipulan," meaning together, the other sitios joined together with Nagtipulan at the center. The sitios that surround Nagtipulan are Paoan, Sabocan, Talalang, Pangilib, Bayobay, Sal-oy, Batugan, Malmaliga, and Bangbang. The men who came first in this barrio had long hair encircled around their heads with the bark of a tree. The women wore beads and trinkets on their hair and arms which served as a sign of wealth. They wore tapis and tight camisas. During the revolutionary war of 1896-1898, many people died of cholera and dysentery. In 1943-1944 during the period of Japanese occupation, the ravages of war and malaria exacted a heavy toll on the inhabitants. The barrio has, at present, a semi-permanent school building where there is a complete elementary school.

PAGANAO - Paganao is the farthest barrio from the poblacion. Long ago, the people of this barrio named it Paganawan. Since Paganawan was rather difficult for the people to pronounce, they gradually [it] shortened to Paganao. The sitio of Dacuag is the only sitio included in its territorial jurisdiction. Paganao was established during the Spanish regime, and its cultural growth has been slow due to the backwardness of the people because they cling to their age-old customs and traditions. The people are Tinguians and are slowly being Christianized. The "teniente del barrio" acts as the representative of the municipal mayor, and is responsible for the peace and order in the barrio. The following are the tenientes del barrio who served from 1900 up to the present time: Bawalan, Laoyan, Apang, Gay-ad, Gayban, Bohang, Dioayan, Cadatal, Lupang, Balaoeg, kul-lapit, and the present is Andeng.

Dacwag was a sitio within the jurisdiction of Paganao and is now extinct. Before, Dacauag was populated, but because it was not safe to stay in the place, the people moved to Paganao. It was continually exposed to the attacks of the headhunters from the Mountain Province. During the Spanish occupation, the Spanish soldiers killed some of the first settlers of Paganao. They hid from the Spanish soldiers and they made kaingins in the mountains. When the Americans came, they re-settled in Paganao and they established their permanent homes.

TAGODTOD - The name Tagodtod was derived from the Ilocano word "tagod," this place being famous because of the abundance of trees used for "tagod," as "tagod" in the dialect is used for cotton yarns to make it smooth and durable. The barrio is on a hill and at the foot of this hill are the rice fields that the inhabitants cultivate for their livelihood. The "teniente del barrio" takes charge of the peace and order and sees to it that the municipal ordinances are followed. The tenientes who had served the barrio since its founding are Segundo Gandeza, Emigdio Tuzon, Manuel Gandeza, Fermin Costales, Hermogenes Borgonia, Lino Martinez, Francisco Gandeza, and Virgilio Martinez. The sitios composing the barrio are Nagayangan, Comba, Barbarit, and Palting. There is a public school in the barrio and they are taking advantage of the school.


The barrios comprising the town of Lagangilang have almost the same folkways because they originated from the same tribe. Among the people, there are some beautiful pieces of legends and folklore [which] when framed piece by piece contribute a priceless heritage of human culture. Among them were the following:

[p. 6]

The Adam and Eve of the Ilocanos

With the exception of Ines Cannoyan and Lam-ang, hero and heroine of the Ilocano epic, none stands out so much as the famous characters in Ilocano saga, Angalo and Aran. They are believed to be the first creatures on earth and were of gigantic proportions. Angalo and Aran, according to popular belief, lived before the creation of the earth, the sea, and the sky, or the land. Angalo's head reached the heavens and in one step he, could negotiate the distance from Manila to Vigan. The earth trembled when he walked, thus causing the earthquakes; and his laughter could be heard throughout the world. The reverberation of his laughter was the cause of the thunder.

By order of a Supreme Being called Bathala, Angalo created the hills and mountains by scooping out earth and piling them. He urinated into the deeper and bigger holes and they became the oceans and seas. Then, he put up the sun, the moon, and the stars in the sky. He spat and his sputum became the first man and woman.

Another legend of Angalo and Aran is that they had three daughters, though not as formidable in proportions as their parents. On one of their trips to Manila, coming from a land across the sea, Angalo stumbled in the middle of the sea. As he had a heavy load of salt, the sea absorbed all the salt — hence the sea is salty.

Angalo, Aran, and their children settled and lived for some time in the Ilocos. Their abode was in caves. One such cave is in Bucay, Abra, which is believed to be connected with the tunnel to another cave in Cagayan. Another is in Sinait, Ilocos Sur, near the foot of the Ilocos Mountains. According to residents, this cave is as big as the Cathedral of Vigan but the entrance is very narrow. Aran and her daughters were poor swimmers, were bathing in the China Sea [and] they were about to be drowned by the incoming waves. Angalo went to their rescue by dipping his "baag" (G-string) into the sea and thus made the sea shallower.

Another story is that what is now Abra was once a lake, but that, in a fit of anger at his wife, Angalo kicked at part of the Ilocos mountains which surrounded it, draining all the water of the lake in the China Sea. The opening made is now the Banaoang Gap, a deep gorge in the Ilocos Mountains through which the Abra River bursts on its torturous way into the sea.

There are said to be in Ilocos, Pangasinan, and Cagayan some big footprints suggesting that of a gigantic human being attributed to Angalo. These giants are said to have lived some thousands of years ago, but they are still popular among the Ilocanos today. Besides their footprints and caves, there are other reminders of their stay in the region. It is told that their spirits still haunt the Banaoang Gap and the cave in Marmay, Sinait, Ilocos Sur. Their spirits could assume any form they want: beast, bird, man or merely a piece of live charcoal dancing and leaping in the dark at night. In whatever these spirits assume their forms, woe unto him who incurs their ire for their spirits are said to work havoc and destruction. In the earlier days, the spirit of Angalo was not as vindictive as it is now.

"KUMAOS" or kidnappers were on the rampage that time. Children mysteriously disappeared and the people thought that the "kumao" got them, for their blood that was precious to some evil spirits. One day a stranger was

[p. 7]

sighted in Vigan. Suspecting him to be a "kumao," the people took steps to catch him and inflict upon him the punishment he so richly deserved. They went in hot pursuit of him, but the stranger fled to the Banaoang Gap and sought refuge in a dense thicket on the bank. His pursuers fired several pistol shots at the place where he disappeared. A bullet must have grazed him, for they heard a blood-curling, hair-raising wail, like that of a man dying in extreme agony and anguish. Too late to realize it must have been Angalo in human form. They had incurred his eternal hatred.

From then on, the Banaoang Gap has been exacting its yearly toll of human lives. There has not been a year that has [not] witnessed an accident in the Gap. It is now referred to as the death hole of the Ilocanos.


As a type of distinct race and people, the inhabitants of this town have their own beliefs and customs handed down from generation to generation. Although no written record of these beliefs and traditions had been preserved, still they are the characteristic traits which typify a people.

The people of this town are fond of dedicating valuable things to their honored dead, money, trinkets, and clothing are placed in the graves of the dead. It is believed that she will use these things in the other world where she will live exactly the same life as on earth. The richer ones also place their cooking pots, basins, antics [likely antiques], and even firewood.

When a stork is born in the place, the less educated still place the infant on a winnower or flat basket and then drop abruptly so as to remove the infants' instinct of fear, thus making the child always brave and free from nervousness in the future.

Many inhabitants still believe in anitos. This is one way of curing their illnesses. It is their belief that when they build a small house perched on the top of a pole, [they should fill it] with cooked rice, meat, and other kinds of food for the anitos to eat. If the anitos or spirits are satisfied with their food, they get away from the patient and relieve him of his illness.

Another means of curing their patient according to their belief is by "panyang" in the local dialect. In this "panyang," nine pairs of young men and young women are needed. The boys hold bolos and pairing with the women, follow the women going under nine houses on their way the house of the patient cutting slightly the post of the houses so that the spirit of the evil ones will go away.

They also believe in the sirena (siren), so that no one goes to the river alone at night especially the children. The "sirena" or the spirit of the water pounces on anyone that comes across and takes him to the bottom of the river.

It is believed that when one dies suddenly, it is because of the "sairo" or evil spirits. When an earthquake occurs, it is said that rain is scarce, and when the lightning occurs, they burn buri leaves to appease the wrath of the lighthing. When drought occurs, they pray the "novena" for nine successive nights, and the last night they believe that the rain will fall.

There are many beliefs about childbirth, When a child is born, the mother is placed on a bamboo bed or seat that is usually elevated. The mother takes

[p. 8]

a hot bath and drinks water from time to time. Under the house, a branch of camanchile or orange tree with thorns is placed to drive away the evil spirils that would like to inflict harm to both child and mother. During this period of childbirth, a sharp-pointed bolo is placed under the cradle to guard the child against the whims and caprices of the devil.

COURTSHIP - A man and a woman usually marry through engagement or parental engagement. When a man wishes to marry a woman, his parents will usually send a letter or they themselves with some elders go to the woman's house and arrange a marriage with the woman. They usually express their love for the woman and they both agree the ceremony is planned. The ceremony is usually celebrated in the woman's home. During the feast, there is a "pal-'wad" which a group of elders usually form and place on the side of the group where there are many people. A large plate and the relatives of both parties place their gifts of money beside the plate where their names are listed. If a man gives money, he is usually given a drink of the native basi. A representative from each party will then count the money and give these to the couple.

An old way of courtship prevailed, but it is now outmoded. When a man liked to marry a woman, he gathered firewood and put these in the woman's house. If the woman used the firewood in her cooking, it was presumed that she liked the man for her husband, but if she did not use them at all [to show] she abhorred him.

BURIAL - As the deceased is carried down the stairs among the relatives who are mourning, a man takes a spear, striking a pig tied for the purpose but not killing it. The cortege will then proceed to the burial place. Upon returning, one could not go up without heating the foot on the fire built near the stairs [so] that the sickness which caused the death of the deceased would not re-occur again in the household.

SUPERSTITIONS - When a man starts for a place and a dog or a pig or person sneezes, it is a sign that he or she would meet an accident on the way or some misfortune would befall him or her. "Boni" or "dawak," corresponding to the "In-in-napet," is another interesting custom of the Tinguians of the municipality which is usually done in the following manner: "Boni"” or "Dawak" is a belief in anitos. If someone falls sick, they have the padawak so that the evil spirit would help cure the patient. An old woman would go near the patient and, with a bowl and a key, she makes a sound with them to call the spirits. After a few minutes, the spirits will talk with the woman and they will tell her what to do. They usually kill a pig or chicken and a part of the pig or chicken goes to [the] old woman.

PIMPINADING - The pinpinading is usually a small house usually built at the entrance of the barrio, a big unique stone is placed in the little house. This is the house built for the spirits. It is believed that when these spirits are fed in the house, sickness or famine will not occur. This is called the "day-daya."

When the moon is slanting in the sky, it is a sign of [the] scarcity of rain, but when it is not slanting, there is much rain. Also, when the new moon is slanting, hunting is not so prosperous because it resembles a coconut plate and all the contents will be poured out. The "pasacla" or the balete trees and the dallipawen trees are believed to be the homes of the evil spirits. So, people are afraid to pass under the nights.

[p. 9]

If someone points at the rainbow, the index finger will become shorter. That the rain comes from the urine of Angalo when it is not heavy, they are the tears of Aran, the wife of Angalo. If a house lizard makes a sound, it seems that you go quickly because you will have good luck. If you go to a gambling place and you meet a pregnant woman, you will be unlucky. If you meet a man with a load, you will surely win; if a cow moos when someone is sick, the person may die.

When a house is burning and you place a pestle in a mortar, the pestle pointing at any direction the wind will change its course and follow the direction where one end of the pestle is pointing.

If you can secure the talisman or precious stone from the banana blossom as soon as it bows toward the ground, then you can win all the women you like to court. The Tinguians still believe in "Mang-gagamud" or witch. They believe that [if] the mang-gagamud or the "mangkululam" can get your footprints and place in the stove and you will always have high fever. She can pluck a hair from your head and make you sick, if you get food from her you will surely die when [it is] eaten.

A snake is lucky while a lizard is unlucky when seen by gamblers.

PROVERBS AND SAYINGS - Among the proverbs and sayings that have been handed down from generation to generation and are still common among the people of this municipality and perhaps through elsewhere among the neighboring towns and which are the priceless gems of local literature are the following:

1. He who sleeps gets a mucus in the eye. He who is wide awake, life is nigh.
2. He who plants reaps.
3. Love they neighbor as thyself.
4. Do not do unto others what you do not like others do unto you.
6. As luck is so is what you like.
7. Such is life.
8. Though little if molave though big if balete.
9. Cook the rice you have on hand.
10. Complain not when from our midst comes the thief.
11. No hay after the harvest.
12. He who takes care of hens eats eggs.
13. Like a dressing priest. (When a person dresses too long to be waited on.)
14. Repentance comes last.
15. Too many cooks spoil the broth.
16. There is life in the streets but death in the kitchen.
17. What use will be the grass when the horse will be dead.
18. There is no prayer that does not end with "amen."
19. He who borrows life shall pay with life.
20. If you plant an eggplant, the fruit shall be an eggplant.
21. Where there is smoke, there is fire.
22. When the hen cackles, it lays an egg.
23. He who eats pepper feels hot.
24. Words cannot be the same as deeds.
25. A weevil goes little by little.
26. No man can be tuned into stone.

[p. 10]

27. When good fortune comes we forget our friends.
28. He who holds a cooking pot touches cinders.
29. God takes care of those who take care of themselves.
30. Patience begets the kindness of God.
31. Do not accuse lest you be accused.
32. A barking dog seldom bites.
33. A roaring river runs shallow.
34. Behind the clouds, the sun still is shining.
35. Though the big carabao might be stolen if the conversation is not broken.
36. You do not know the medicine if you have not tried.
37. A pretty lady easily gets married.
38. The shrimp still uncooked, outjumps the fish.
39. Something to keep, something to get.
40. Where the sugar, is there is the ant.
41. Thy word is thy face.
42. Time flies away but one stays.
43. To prepare is to reap.
44. Though the boat sinks if I still have my pipe.





Lagangilang Elementary School

Transcribed from:
History and Cultural Life of the Municipality of Lagangilan, 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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