Capital :
Area :

Municipalities of Apayao Province


Kalinga and Apayao are in the northernmost Cordillera region in Luzon. They are landlocked by Cagayan on the north and east, by Isabela also on the east, by Abra and llocos Norte on the west, and by the Mountain Province on the south.


The province of Kalinga-Apayao was recently divided. Kalinga has eight municipalities, with Tabuk as its capital. Apayao has seven municipalities, with Kabugao as its capital. Kalinga is surrounded by mountain peaks. It is divided into three areas centered around the Chico River: the mountainous western portion of the river's basin, the valley of the river and its tributaries, and the level plains between the river and Cagayan province.

Apayao descends eastward to Cagayan Valley, interlocking wide tracts of flatlands and floodplains among its main rivers: Abulug, Talibago, Matalak, andSinundungan. The climate is relatively dry from November to April and generally wet the rest of the year.


The Indonesian immigrants who came to Luzon thousands of years ago are said to be the ancestors of the present-day Kalingas and Apayaos. During the Spanish era, Dominican missions were established in Tabang and Piat along the Chico River in 1604 and in Tuga, 25 km south of Tuao, in 1688. The Spaniards constructed military posts at Balbalasang, a town located near the Saltan River, and at Balitokon town, situated near the Pacil River. However, when the Philippine Revolution broke out in 1896, both the Spanish military soldiers, as well as missionaries, withdrew from the Cordillera mountains.

When the Filipino-American War broke out in 1899, General Emilio Aguinaldo and his army were forced to retreat from their capital in Malolos, Bulacan, to the northern provinces. In 1900, they stayed for two months in Lubuagan, a settlement of the Kalingas, to regain their,strength before proceeding to Isabela where Aguinaldo was eventually captured by the Americans.

When the old Mountain Province was created in 1908, two of its sub-provinces were Kalinga and Apayao. When Republic Act No.4695 divided the old Mountain Province on June 18, 1966 into four regular provinces, the sub-provinces of Kalinga and Apayao were merged to form one province. On February 14, 1995, they were converted into regular provinces by Republic Act No. 7878. The Kalinga area gained prominence in 1975 when the Chico Valley Hydroelectric Dam project was initiated by the government. Firm resistance to the project was demonstrated by the tribes, with the support of outsiders, because it would have flooded Kalinga villages, including their rice terraces and sacred burial grounds.


The province is clearly divided along tribal lines: the Kalingas and the Apayaos. The Kalingas were once fierce head-hunters and they are still a proud people, wary of strangers and fond of social celebrations. Although contemporary dress is now the norm, some men still wear G-strings and a round hat containing tobacco and matches, while women wear wraparound skirts. They live on leveled parts of steep mountain slopes, where a small shrine called podayan guards the entrance to the village.

The Apayaos, known as Isnegs in other provinces, get their name from the river where they get their food. They are skilled hunters and fishermen; they carry axes and woven rattan and bamboo baskets for keeping their catch. The men wear a blue or black G string under which is a bag containing tobacco or betel nut and lime; the women wear decorated dark skirts and long-sleeved blouses. They live in complex traditional houses with an elongated floor plan and a gabled roof, with granaries between the houses. Both ethnic groups are fond of tattoos; the Apayaos are the most heavily tattooed mountain people. Both also have elaborate costumes reserved for rituals and festive occasions.


Being a largely agricultural province, Kalinga-Apayao produces a variety of crops, the major ones of which are rice, corn, coffee, and coconut. Rich pine forests are found in the higher elevations. Kalinga's open grasslands are suitable for pastures while Apayao is abundant in mineral resources. Scenic spots and panoramic views all over the province need only to be tapped and developed into tourist destinations.


Information gathered from:
 League of Provinces
 by:Roberto C. Arellano
 This page last revised: March 05, 2004