Apayao in Focus

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Photo Credit: Inquirer.net

Of the various Igorot ethnic groups, it is the Apayao that I have been least exposed to. I remember faces and friends from every other Igorot ethnic group, but not from the Apayao. That is strange for me, since I spent majority of my first 7 years in the small barangay of Gobgob, Tabuk, in what was then known as the province of Kalinga-Apayao. I was told that I did visit relatives in Apayao when I was 3/4 years old. The family of my first cousin lived there. But they were Sagada Igorots who based themselves there, they were not Apayaos. Of my nephew/nieces from my cousin who lived there, I don't remember any of them marrying an Apayao. In 1995, when I was already in college, Kalinga and Apayao became 2 different provinces. Tabuk remained as the capital of Kalinga, and Kabugao was designated as Apayao's capital.

It is great then, to read an article on Apayao from the Inquirer. (See Faces from a Festival) The festival described in the article was Panagwawagi, a celebration of brotherhood between Ilocano lowlanders and the Cordillera people. If we were to check a map, Apayao shares most of its western border with Ilocos Norte. But these provinces share different histories. Ilocos Norte was heavily colonized by the Spaniards for almost 400 years. The locals of Apayao, like other Igorots living in the Cordilleras, were successful in resisting Spanish colonization.