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Cordillera Administrative Region

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Title: Cordillera Administrative Region  
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Cordillera Administrative Region

Cordillera Administrative Region
Rehion Administratibobo ti Kordiliera
Rehiyong Pampangasiwaan ng Cordillera
Flag of Cordillera Administrative Region
Location in the Philippines
Location in the Philippines
Country Philippines
Island group Luzon
Regional center Baguio
 • Total 19,294 km2 (7,449 sq mi)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 1,616,867
 • Density 84/km2 (220/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
Provinces 6
Cities 2
Municipalities 75
Barangays 1,176
Cong. districts 7
Languages Ilocano, Ibaloi, Kankanaey, Kalanguya, Kalinga, Ifugao, Itneg, Isneg, Pangasinan, Tagalog, English, others

Cordillera Administrative Region (Filipino: Rehiyong Pampangasiwaan ng Cordillera), designated as CAR, is a region in the Philippines in the island of Luzon. The only landlocked region in the country, it is bordered by the Ilocos Region in the west and southwest, and by the Cagayan Valley on the north, east, and southeast.

The region is composed of six provinces, namely: Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain Province. The regional center is the highly urbanized city of Baguio.

The region, officially created on July 15, 1987,[2] covers most of the Cordillera Central mountains of Luzon, and is home to numerous indigenous peoples collectively known as the Igorot.


  • History 1
    • Background 1.1
    • Creation of the region 1.2
    • Modern history 1.3
      • Recent events 1.3.1
  • Geography 2
    • Physical 2.1
      • Mountains 2.1.1
      • Rivers 2.1.2
    • Administrative divisions 2.2
      • Provinces 2.2.1
      • Cities 2.2.2
  • Demographics 3
    • Ethnic groups 3.1
      • Ethnic People of Abra 3.1.1
      • Ethnic People of Apayao 3.1.2
      • Ethnic People of Benguet 3.1.3
      • Ethnic People of Ifugao 3.1.4
      • Ethnic People of Kalinga 3.1.5
      • Ethnic People of Mountain Province 3.1.6
    • Languages 3.2
  • Regional economy 4
  • Culture 5
    • Festivals 5.1
      • Provincial and city 5.1.1
      • Town festivals 5.1.2
        • Ifugao
  • Tourist attractions 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8



An old U.S. Army map showing Mountain province covering the present areas of Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Apayao

During the Spanish occupation of the Philippines, Christianization and eventual subjugation of the mountain region proved difficult for the Spanish colonial government.[3] Several comandancias were established by the Spanish colonial government in strategic areas of the mountain region. Among them were Amburayan, Cabugaoan, Kayapa, Quiangan, Itaves, Apayaos, Lepanto, Benguet, Bontoc, Banaue, and Tiagan.[4][5][6]

On August 18, 1908 during the American regime, Mountain Province was established by the Philippine Commission with the enactment of Act No. 1876. Ifugao, which was part of Nueva Vizcaya province,[7] and the former Spanish comandancias of Amburayan, Apayao, Benguet, Bontoc, Kalinga and Lepanto, were annexed to the newly created province as sub-provinces.[8][9] Amburayan was later abolished in 1920 and its corresponding territories were transferred to the provinces of Ilocos Sur and La Union. Lepanto was also reduced in size and its towns were integrated into the sub-provinces of Bontoc and Benguet, and to the province of Ilocos Sur.[3][10][11]

On June 18, 1966, Republic Act No. 4695 was enacted to split Mountain Province and create four separate and independent provinces namely Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga-Apayao, and Mountain Province.[12][13] Ifugao and Kalinga-Apayao were placed under the jurisdiction of the Cagayan Valley region,[14] with Benguet and Mountain Province placed under the Ilocos Region.

Creation of the region

On July 15, 1987, President Corazon C. Aquino issued Executive Order 220 which created the Cordillera Administrative Region. The provinces of Abra, Benguet and Mountain Province (of the Ilocos Region), and Ifugao and Kalinga-Apayao (of the Cagayan Valley) were annexed as part of the newly created region.[2][15]

Modern history

On February 14, 1995, Kalinga-Apayao, one of the five provinces of the region was split into two separate and independent provinces of Apayao and Kalinga with the enactment of Republic Act No. 7878.[16][17]

Several attempts at legalizing autonomy in the Cordillera region have failed in two separate plebiscites.[18][19] An affirmative vote for the law on regional autonomy is a precondition by the 1987 Philippine Constitution to give the region autonomy in self-governance much like the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao in southern Philippines. The first law Republic Act No. 6766, took effect on October 23, 1989[20] but failed to muster a majority vote in the plebiscite on January 30, 1990.[19][18] The second law, Republic Act No. 8438 passed by Congress of the Philippines on December 22, 1997,[21] also failed to pass the approval of the Cordillera peoples in a region-wide referendum on March 7, 1998.[18][19]

At present, a third organic act of the Cordillera is in the offing supported by the Cordillera Regional Development Council.

Recent events

In September 2000, the municipal council of Itogon, Benguet, withdrew support for the San Roque Dam project. The project had met a lot of resistance, because of the reported failure of its proponents to update its Environmental Certificate of Compliance (ECC) and to submit a watershed management plan required for a project of that magnitude. The San Roque Dam was to become one of the biggest dams in the world and would threaten the living environment of the Igorot.

The CPA, in co-operation with other organizations, had highly resisted this project and thus booked a little victory. However, in May 2001, president Arroyo declared that the San Roque Dam project would continue anyway because it had already started and therefore was difficult to stop. At the same time she promised to not sacrifice the environment, to resettle the people who will lose their houses, to compensate other people, and to initiate no other large-scale irrigation projects in the future. Time will prove whether she will keep that promise.

In December 2000, the Supreme Court of the Philippines dismissed a petition that questioned the constitutional legality of the Indigenous Peoples Rights Act (IPRA), and act which came into existence in 1997 giving the peoples of the Cordillera decisive influence over the establishment of foreign mining companies. In this act, ownership over the lands was regarded as communal, rather than individual and thus coincided more with the view on ownership of the Igorot. The IPRA was totally different in tone than the 1995 Mining Code.

Without consulting the Cordillera people, this code gave companies the freedom to devastate tribal lands, allowed 100% foreign ownership, and gave companies the right to displace and resettle people within their concessionary areas. Some influential people filed a lawsuit with the Supreme Court against the IPRA, because it contradicted with the Mining Code and would therefore be unlawful. The fact that the Supreme Court had to dismiss the petition, because the vote had been 7-7, could be understood as another victory of the CPA.

In February 2001, President Arroyo spoke with officials from the Cordillera Administrative Region, and promised to start rebuilding the infrastructure and offered the Cordillera people financial assistance for development projects. Some people were surprised when they discovered that Arroyo spoke fluent Ilocano, the lingua franca in northern parts of Luzon.



Relief map of the region


The region is mainly mountainous, situated within the Cordillera Central mountain range. Mount Pulag, the highest mountain in Luzon, is located at the tri-point of Benguet, Ifugao, and Nueva Vizcaya provinces.


The region has several rivers. The most extensive in the region is the Chico River, a major tributary of the Cagayan River, traversing the provinces of Mountain Province and Kalinga. Other major rivers include Agno, Amburayan, Bued in Benguet, Abulog in Kalinga, Abra River in Abra, Ahin River in Ifugao, Apayao River in Apayao, and Siffu River in both Ifugao and Mountain Province.[22][23]

Administrative divisions

Cordillera Administrative Region is politically subdivided into 6 provinces. It has 2 cities; the highly urbanized city of Baguio, and the component city of Tabuk. There are 1,176 barangays in the region.


Political map of the region
Seal Province Capital Population
(per km2)
No. of
Cities No. of

Abra Bangued 234,733 3,975.6 59.0 N/A 303 Eustaquio Bersamin
Apayao Kabugao 112,636 3,927.9 28.7 N/A 133 Elias C. Bulut, Jr.
Benguet La Trinidad 403,944[B] 2,826.59 142.9 Baguio 140 Nestor B. Fongwan
Ifugao Lagawe 191,078 2,517.8 75.9 N/A 175 Denis Habawel
Kalinga Tabuk 201,613 3,119.7 64.6 Tabuk 152 Jocel Baac
Bontoc 154,187 2,097.3 73.5 N/A 144 Leonard Mayaen
A Italicized municipality names in list are former names.
B Total population figures exclude the independent city of Baguio.


Seal City Province City class Income class Population
(per km2)'
Baguio Benguet Highly urbanized 1st class 318,676 57.51 5,541.23 Mauricio G Domogan
Tabuk Kalinga Component 5th class 103,912 700.25 148.39 Ferdinand B. Tubban


Ethnic groups

A man from Tinglayan studying to be a Christian priest, 2008. He is vested in traditional garb and holds a handcrafted weapon first produced during the Second World War; traditional Kalinga cloth is draped over Orthodox icons in the manner of Russian nabozhnyks.

Cordillera is home to many ethnic tribes living on the Cordillera mountain range.[25] They are commonly referred to as Igorot.

Ethnic People of Abra

The Tingguians are composed of sub-groups known as the Itneg tribes which includes Adasen, Balatok, Banaw, Belwang, Binungan, Gubang, Inlaud, Mabaka, Maeng, Masadiit, and Muyadan or Ammutan.:[26] Their places of abode are found in the different municipalities in Abra as follows

  1. Adasen- Lagayan, San Juan and Tineg
  2. Banaw - Daguioman, Malibcong, also found in Balbalan, Kalinga
  3. Binungan - Baay-Licuan and Lacub
  4. Balatok - in the villages of Amti, Kilong-olaw, & Danak, all in Boliney
  5. Belwang - in the village of Dao-angan in Boliney
  6. Gubang - Malibcong
  7. Inlaud - Lagangilang and Peñarrubia, in Lumaba village of Villaviciosa, in the villages of Abang and Patoc in Bucay, in Langiden, San Isidro, San Quintin, Danglas (also found in some parts of Nueva Era)
  8. Mabaka - Lacub and Malibcong
  9. Maeng - Luba, Tubo and Villaviciosa, (also found in San Emilio, Ilocos Sur, Banayoyo and other towns in Ilocos Sur)
  10. Masadiit - Sallapadan, Bucloc and in the village of Sapdaan in Manabo, and in barangays Poblacion, Bawiyan, and Dumagas in Boliney
  11. Ammutan a.k.a. Muyadan tribe - in Manabo

Ethnic People of Apayao

Isnag tribe are also known as Isneg which composed of the sub-groups known as the Ymandaya and Imallod (Isnag refers to the people while Isneg is refers to their dialect). Isnags are also found not only in the Province of Apayao but also in the Eastern part of the Province of Ilocos Norte and Northwestern part of the Province of Cagayan.Their places of abode are found in the different municipalities in Apayao as follows:

  1. Ymandaya(Isnag)- Calanasan(Bayag)
  2. Imallod(Isnag)- Kabugao, Conner, Pudtol, and some part of Luna(Macatel)
  3. Malaweg of Conner, Apayao

Ethnic People of Benguet

  1. Ibaloi
  2. Kankanaey
  3. Kalanguya[27]

Ethnic People of Ifugao

tuwali, ayangan, kankanaey, yattuka reference: ifugao history

  1. Ifugao
  2. Kalanguya[27]

Ethnic People of Kalinga

  1. Kalingan
  2. Banao

Ethnic People of Mountain Province

  1. Bontoc - Bontoc
  2. Balangao - Natonin
  3. Baliwon - Paracelis
  4. Applai-Bauko, Besao, Sabangan and Sagada Municipalities.


The Cordillera region is the most diversified ethno-linguistic region in the Philippines with its major languages having sub-dialect variations. The topographic formation of the Cordillera mountain range, which has greatly influenced the upstream migration of peoples in the Cordillera into the hinterland, corresponds the various dialects pattern formation. The disparity in linguistic ethnicity however, did not form variation in cultural development as almost every Cordillera people shares similar cultural identity among different tribes.

  • Bontok - spoken in Bontoc
  • Ifugao - spoken in Ifugao
  • Isnag - spoken in Apayao
  • Balangao - spoken in Natonin
  • Kankanaey - spoken in Western Mountain Province and some municipalities in Benguet Province
  • Ibaloi - spoken in Benguet Province
  • Kalanguya - spoken in some municipalities of Benguet
  • Itneg - spoken in Abra

Ilocano is spoken in almost all parts of the region.

Regional economy

Economy of the region is diverse; mining, agriculture, export processing zone, tourism are among economic activities in the different provinces of the region.

The region is abundant with mineral reserves. These include metallic ores such as gold, copper, silver, zinc, and non-metallic minerals like sand, gravel and sulfur. Mineral reserves are found in all the provinces. However, mining is concentrated in Benguet.

Its timber resources has dwindled since the introduction of slash-and-burn method of farming in all parts of the Cordillera mountain range.

Vegetable crop production is well developed in Benguet, rice production in Ifugao and Abra, corn production in Mountain Province, and Kalinga.

Baguio and La Trinidad are considered as the industrial centers in the region. Baguio City hosts Baguio Export Processing Zone where operations of big companies like Texas Instruments, and MOOG are located. The city also hosts offshore and outsourcing companies operating call centers.

The primary growth centers of the region are Metro Baguio and the Eastern Cordillera Growth Corridor.


The Bontoc Museum, run by the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, hosts many of the materials used by the different Ethnic Tribes in the Mountain Province.
Man of the Ifugao tribe in traditional costume.

The Cordillera region is known for its unique musical instruments including the gangsa kalinga, nose flute, bamboo flute, buzzer, bangibang, tongatong, diwdiw-as, saggeypo, and bamboo zither.


Spring Festival (Chinese New Year) Month of January Baguio City

Panagbenga (Baguio Flower Festival) Month of February Baguio City

Ullalim Festival February 13-16 Kalinga Day

Abrenian Festival March 9 Bangued, Abra

Lang-Ay Festival April 7 Mountain Province

Parade of Cordillera Festival End of November Baguio City

Provincial and city

The region also has various festivals. They include:

  • Panagbenga Festival (Baguio Flower Festival) - celebrated in the city of Baguio every February. The festival focuses on the city as the Flower Garden City of the North. Highlights include flower exhibits, lectures, garden tours, floral competition and a parade of floats.[28]
  • Adivay Festival - celebrated in the province of Benguet every November. "Adivay" means "coming together of people to celebrate". The month-long activities highlights the Agro-industrial and trade fair which showcase the different products of the province.[29]
  • Ullalim Festival - celebrated in the province of Kalinga every February 13–16.[30] The festival celebrates the founding of the province, showcasing the cultural heritage and way of life of the Kalingas.[31] Highlights include exhibits of weaved clothes (laga), coffee beans and other products of the province.
  • Lang-ay Festival - celebrated in Mountain Province every April 7. This is a week-long agro-industrial trade, tourism and cultural fair with tribal dances and songs.[32] Lang-ay is a native term which describes the tradition of the people of Mountain Province to celebrate festivities, share happiness, foster family solidarity, hospitality and nurture friendship - all with a toast of home-brewed wine.
  • Matagoan Festival - celebrated in the city of Tabuk every June 16.[30] The festival features G-String marathon (runners wear G-String only), cultural dances and songs, and showcases the different products of Tabuk coming from the different parts of Kalinga such as the aromatic Kalinga coffee.

Town festivals

  • Kulpi ad Asipulo (Asipulo, Ifugao - April 16–19) - Town Fiesta adopting the ritual term "kulpi", a family thanksgiving after transplanting the rice seedlings.
  • Tungoh ad Hungduan (Hungduan, Ifugao - April 17–19) - Town fiesta adopting the cultural festival term "tungoh", where the community celebrates the end of rice planting season.
  • Gotad ad Hingyon (Hingyon, Ifugao - April 23–25) - Town fiesta adopting the festival term "Gotad" which is culminating activity of a "bimmayah" - a well-to-do.
  • Kulpi ad Lagawe (Lagawe, Ifugao - April 25–27) - Town Fiesta adopting the ritual term "kulpi", a family thanksgiving after transplanting the rice seedlings.
  • Urpih Bannawar (Banaue, Ifugao - April 26–27) - Town fiesta also performing the cultural ritual of the "urpih" by the town mayor. Similar to the kulpi of Lagawe & Asipulo except that Banaue has no "K" in their dialect.
  • Immbayah (Banaue, Ifugao - April 27–29) - A festival celebrated every 3 years. The event title was coined after the term "bumayah" referring to a well-to-do who celebrates his good health or ripe old age with gong-beating and dancing culminating in the feast.
  • Gotad ad Kiangan (Kiangan, Ifugao - April 30 - May 2) - Same as that of Hingyon where the program includes cultural dances, presentation or Contested ethnic songs and games.
  • Among ad Alfonso Lista (Alfonso Lista, Ifugao - May 11) - Town fiesta adopting the Ifugao term "ammong" which means a gathering.
  • Keleng di Tinek-town fiesta of the municipality of Tinoc which adopt or practice the ritual of a "keleng". Keleng means a bountiful thanksgiving of a couple to the "Kabunyan" the highest god. Gongs and dances were practiced by the community and bountiful meals were served.

Tourist attractions

The Sagada Rice Terraces, one of the main tourist spots of the region.

Tourist attractions in the region include the Banaue Rice Terraces in the province of Ifugao. The terraces, ancient sprawling man-made structures from 2,000 to 6,000 years old, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and are part of the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras. The Philippine Eagle and the Crested-Serpent Eagle was also found in the Last forest frontier of the North the Province of Apayao.

Other natural attractions of the region include the Sumaguing Cave in Sagada and the mummy caves of Benguet and Mountain Province. There are four national parks: Cassamata Hill, Mount Data, Balbalasang-Balbalan, located in the province of Kalinga, and Mount Pulag, the highest mountain in Luzon at 2,922 meters above sea level. Kalinga also offers white water rafting along the Chico River.

The city of Baguio, dubbed the "summer capital of the Philippines", is a major tourist destination in the region.


  1. ^ a b "Population and Annual Growth Rates for The Philippines and Its Regions, Provinces, and Highly Urbanized Cities" (PDF). 2010 Census and Housing Population. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Regional Profile: Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)". CountrySTAT Philippines. Retrieved 18 September 2014. 
  3. ^ a b "Mt. Province". The Ultimate Travel Guide for Tourists. Department of Tourism. Retrieved 23 December 2013. 
  4. ^ Keesing, Felix Maxwell; Keesing, Marie Margaret; Keesing, Marie Martin; Institute of Pacific Relations (contributor); International Research Committee (contributor) (1934). Taming Philippine Headhunters: A Study of Government and of Cultural Change in Northern Luzon. Stanford University Press. pp. 67–69.  
  5. ^ "Benguet History". Province of Benguet (official website). Retrieved 22 October 2014. Benguet was once part of Mountain Province. 
  6. ^ "Historical Background". Provincial Government of Apayao. Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  7. ^ National Historical Institute (Philippines) [contributor] (1978). Kasaysayan, Volume 3, Issues 1-4 (Digitized by  
  8. ^ Ingles, Raul Rafael (2008). 1908 :The Way it Really was : Historical Journal for the UP Centennial, 1908-2008. Diliman, Quezon City:  
  9. ^ Worcester, Dean C.;  
  10. ^ Philippines. Census Office; Buencamino, Felipe; Villamor, Ignacio (1920). Census of the Philippine Islands Taken Under the Direction of the Philippine Legislature in the Year 1918, Volume 1. Bureau of printing. p. 68. 
  11. ^ "Cordillera Administrative Region History". Cordillera Connection ( 
  12. ^ "Republic Act No. 4695: An Act Creating the Provinces of Benguet, Mountain Province, Ifugao and Kalinga-Apayao". Chan Robles Virtual Law Library. Retrieved 18 September 2014. 
  13. ^ "Facts & Figures: Ifugao Province".  
  14. ^ "Historical Background". Provincial Government of Apayao. 15 April 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  15. ^ "The Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)". Department of Agriculture. Retrieved 18 September 2014. 
  16. ^ "R.A. No. 7878: An Act Converting the Sub-Provinces of Kalinga and Apayao into Regular Provinces to be Known as the Province of Kalinga and the Province of Apayao, Amending for the Purpose Republic Act No. 4695". Chan Robles Virtual Law Library. 14 February 1995. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  17. ^ "Facts & Figures: Apayao Province". Philippine Statistics Authority - National Statistical Coordination Board. 19 April 2012. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  18. ^ a b c Ferrer, Miriam Coronel (4 September 2010). "Cordillera autonomy - Miriam Coronel Ferrer".  
  19. ^ a b c "Cordillera Autonomy".  
  20. ^ "R.A. No. 6766: An Act Providing for an Organic Act for the Cordillera Autonomous Region". The LawPhil Project. Congress of the Philippines. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  21. ^ "R.A. No. 8438: An Act to Establish the Cordillera Autonomous Region". The LawPhil Project. Congress of the Philippines. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  22. ^ Cordillera People's Alliance, Public Information Commission (1 January 2001). "Dams In the Cordillera" ( 
  23. ^ "Cordillera's Water Resources". Cordillera Peoples Alliance. Retrieved 4 January 2015. 
  24. ^ a b "2010 Census of Population and Housing" (PDF). National Statistics Office of the Republic of the Philippines. Retrieved 27 June 2012. 
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ a b
  28. ^ Nagpala, Ellaine Grace L. (2007). "Panagbenga: A symbol of tourism, culture, and local cutflower industry" (January–March 2007 issue). Bureau of Agricultural Research Digest. Retrieved 3 January 2015. 
  29. ^ Caluza, Desiree (23 November 2011). "‘Adivay’: From clan gathering to Benguet feast". Inquirer Northern Luzon.  
  30. ^ a b "Festivals and Events in Kalinga".  
  31. ^ Balocnit, Peter (6 February 2014). "Kalinga ready for Ullalim festival".  
  32. ^ Batnag, Erwin (2 November 2014). "Lang-ay Festival 2015 Launched". Official website of the City Government of Mountain Province. Retrieved 3 January 2015. 

External links

  • Department of Interior and Local Government - Cordillera Administrative Region
  • Philippine Standard Geographic Code
  • Cordillera Administrative Region
  • Tribal Art of the Cordilleras
  • Cordillera Gateway

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