Apostolic Vicariates of Bontoc-Lagawe
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In a land area of 4,615.1 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the civil provinces of Mountain Province and Ifugao.

Mountain Province is a landlocked province of the Philippines in the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzon. Its capital is Bontoc and borders, clockwise from the south, Ifugao, Benguet, Ilocos Sur, Abra, Kalinga, and Isabela.

Ifugao is a landlocked province of the Philippines in the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzon. The province of Ifugao is located in a mountainous region characterized by rugged terrain, river valleys, and massive forests. Its capital is Lagawe and borders Benguet to the west, Mountain Province to the north, Isabela to the east, and Nueva Vizcaya to the south.


As of yearend 2009 the total population of the vicariate is 336,936 of which 58 percent are Catholics.

The Cordillera region of Northern Philippines is the ancestral domain of the Igorots. It comprises the six provinces of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province, plus the lone city of Baguio. The Igorots are grouped into six ethno-linguistic groups, the Bontoc, Ibaloi, Ifugao, Isneg (or Apayao), Kalinga, and the Kankana-ey. Below are brief descriptions of these Igorot ethnic groups.

The Bontocs live on the banks of the Chico River. They were once well-known because of their headhunting practices in the olden days but not today. In the previous time, the most distinctive body decoration of the Igorot was the tattoo. The Bontoc describe three types of tattoos: The chak-lag, the tattooed chest of the head taker; pong-o, the tattooed arms of men and women; and fa-ték, for all other tattoos of both sexes. Women were tattooed on the arms only.

Ifugao are the majority of the province population with them compromising about 67.9% of the population. Other ethnic groups living in the province are the Ilocanos, Ikalahan, Ayungan and Kankana-ey.


People of Bontoc speak Bontoc dialect, Kankanai and Ilocano. Other dialects spoken by the immigrants are Pangalatok, Cuyonan, and other speaking their own dialect (Sadanga, Guinaang Bontoc, Bayyu).

The Ifugao have a language that changes from village to village. It is of Malayo-Polynesian derivation. Dialect and change of pronunciation can make it a real challenge to sustain a conversation between neighboring villagers. Because of these differences, Tuwali is used by the Ifugaos as the Ifugao language to enable themselves to understand each other. They can also speak dialect like Ilokano and Tagalog. Many Ifugaos, especially in Lagawe, Kiangan, Mayoyao, Aguinaldo and Banaue, are fluent in English as well.


Suffragan of Nueva Segovia
Created: Aug. 6, 1992
Erected: Nov. 27, 1992
Coverage: Civil provinces of Mountain Province and Ifugao
Titular: Immaculate Heart of Mary, Aug. 22

The new Apostolic Vicariate of Bontoc-Lagawe covers the two civil provinces of Ifugao and the Mountain Province. It is bounded on the north by Kalinga- Apayao, on the east by Isabela, on the west by Ilocos Sur, and on the south by Nueva Vizcaya. It is one among three vicariates created on July 6, 1992, dividing the old Vicariate of the Mountain Provinces into three: the Vicariates of Baguio, Tabuk and Bontoc-Lagawe.

The mainstream of the populace belongs to ethno-linguistic groups that have inhabited the central and southwestern parts of the Cordillera region for centuries. This is made up of the Bontoks, Kankanaeys and the Allay Gaddangs of the Mountain Province, and the Ayangans, Tuwalis and the Kalanguyas of Ifugao. Although all these groups are classified under the common name of Igorot, each has a distinct culture and a distinct language. Much of their cultural traditions are still intact. Basic values such as family and community are still very highly esteemed.

A majority of the people are involved in subsistence agriculture that makes use mostly of terrace planting. Despite the area's wealth in natural resources the two provinces are economically depressed and remain neglected in basic social services and infrastructure.

Politically, Ifugao is comprised of 11 municipalities while the Mountain Province is made up of 10. The vicariate therefore covers a total of 21 municipalities occupying a land area of 4,757.7 square kilometers.

The vicariate reaches out to the faithful through 21 mission stations spread out in both provinces. The area is divided into two ecclesiastical districts, that of Ifugao and that of the Mountain Province.


Ifugao was formerly a part of the old Mountain Province. It was created as an independent province on June 18, 1966 by virtue of Republic Act No. 4695, otherwise known as the "Division Law of Mountain Province". Under this law, Mountain Province was divided into four (4) provinces namely: Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga-Apayao and Mountain Province.

The (new) Mountain Province is a former sub-province - Bontoc - of the (old) Mountain Province.

During the Spanish Occupation, as early as 1663, the Spaniards tried but failed to conquer the mountain region because of the ruggedness of the terrain as well as the hostility of the Igorot tribes. However, the Spaniards were able to place the different parts of the mountain region into commandancia military-politicos. The unrelenting tribes of Bontoc, Western Ifugao and Southern Kalinga were placed in one commandancia.

Under the Americans, the (old) Mountain Province became a province in 1908. It was made up of the Sub-provinces of Lepanto-Bontoc, Amburayan, Ifugao, Kalinga, Benguet and Apayao. Later, Amburayan and Lepanto were integrated with the Sub-provinces of Bontoc and Benguet leaving the five sub-provinces known as BIBAK - Benguet, Ifugao, Bontoc, Apayao, Kalinga.

Republic Act No. 4695 of June 18, 1966 divided the (old) Mountain Province into 4 provinces namely: Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga-Apayao and (new) Mountain Province - formerly the sub-province of Bontoc. With Executive Order 220, issued by President Corazon Aquino, Cordillera Administrative Region was created with Mt. Province as one of its 6 provinces.

A Philippine province is headed by a Governor. A Provincial Council (Sangguniang Panlalawigan) is composed of a Vice Governor (Presiding Officer) and Provincial Board Members. A Philippine city or municipality is headed by a Mayor. A City Council (Sangguniang Panlungsod) or Municipal Council (Sangguniang Bayan) is composed of a Vice Mayor (Presiding Officer) and City or Municipal Councilors. A barangay is headed by a Barangay Captain, who is also the presiding officer of the barangay council. The Barangay Council is composed of seven (7) Barangay Kagawads. A similar unit called a Youth Council (Sangguniang Kabataan) is headed by an SK Chairperson with a similar rank to a Barangay Captain. The council is composed of SK Members.


The main transportation getting around Bontoc, as in many capital towns in the Philippines, is the tricycle. These are motorcycles with side cars that can carry around 3-4 persons.

Jeepney is the most popular mode of transportation in Ifugao.


Annual per capita income (in Philippines Pesos) 16,768 or USD384 as of November 2010.
Mountain Province
Annual per capita income (in Philippines Pesos) 22,441 or USD515 as of November 2010

Major industries
Mt. Province is classified as a 4th class province. Agriculture is the main source of income with tourism providing a significant boost to its economy.

Although Bontoc is the province's capital, the town of Sagada is more famous among tourists. Its rice terraces, though lesser known compared to the Banaue rice terraces, are equally spectacular. Whereas the walls of the Banaue's terraces are of compacted earth, Sagada's walls are small rocks laboriously piled one on top of the other. The town is also known for its limestone caves that served as burial grounds during the pre-Christian Sagada era.

The main economy of Ifugao is based in agriculture, hunting and forestry. They raise rice, rootcrops, vegetables, coffee and cotton in the rice terraces or in kaingins. Wood-carving and the making of traditional handicrafts are also additional investment. However, tourism potentials are still being further developed to boost the economy.

Ifugao products are based on trading industries such as gift, toys and house wares; special garments and textiles, and other food and beverages.

Banaue Rice Terraces are the main tourist attraction in the province. In 1995, the site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site dubbed as the "Eight Wonder of the World".

Mineral Resources
Bontoc is rich in gold especially in barangay Mainit, Alab Proper and Maligcong where gold panning exist. There were previous studies conducted by mining firms in barangay Mainit but these findings have not been formally released for public consumption. However, there is prevailing practice of gold panning in barangay Mainit. The quarry source for sand and gravel is from the Chico River notably within the Samoki and Poblacion areas. Other barangays extract sand and gravel from the tributaries of the Chico River, the Bayyo-Agcoyo River, and the Amlosong River for the upper southern barangays. The Bayyo side of Mount Polis bordering the municipality of Banaue is also a potential source of mountain sand and gravel.

Various woven materials like knapsack, bags, purses, etc. are being made at the Sagada Weaving House. Sabangan Loom Weaving features placemats, napkins, table runners, and bags while the Samoki Weaving Industry is distinct from that of Sagada Weaving and Sabangan Loom Weaving by way of how the woven materials are made. Samoki's tapis, G-strings, belts and blankets are made by backstraps weaving.


Telephone companies provide local and international direct dialing capabilities. In addition, these lines will also have call forwarding and conference features. There are also telegraphic services available in the region. Public calling offices are also available to accommodate clienteles aside from the local subscribers.

Cellular phone service is also now available by top cellular phone providers of the country. The use of cellular phones makes communication accessible even to remote areas thru text messaging.

Radio Stations
There is one AM and FM radio station located in Bontoc, Mountain Province. No AM station in Ifugao, only FM station located in Lagawe.

TV Station
There is only one TV station in the territory: TV 11 owned and operated by ABS-CBN Corporation.

Infrastructure facilities


Bontoc has a total of 94.935 linear kilometers of roads. The road network comprises of 60.558 km. of the national road, 31.709 km. of the provincial road and 2.668 km. of municipal road. Concrete roads total 15.160 km, asphalts 10.725 km, gravel 69.050 km, and earth-filled none. The total road network cannot meet the road standard of 1 km. of road per 1 square kilometer since we have 0.24 km. per 1 square kilometer.

Water Supply
The drinking water of the municipality is being served by the community water system that managed by the municipal government. There are also some private water systems that serve the other constituents. Some get water from the community water system. The other get their water source like deep well, artesian well, and springs. Some households get their drinking water at the filling shop.


Mountain Province
Formerly dubbed as "La Montañosa" by Spanish administrators for its mountainous terrain, Mt. Province lies in the heart of the Grand Cordillera, known to be the Philippine's biggest and highest chain of mountains. The province is bounded on the North by Kalinga, on the south by Benguet and Ifugao, on the east by Isabela, and on the west by Ilocos Sur and Abra.

Mt. Province's total land area is 209,733 hectares, 23% of which were classified as alienable and disposable, and 77% as forest lands. Towering peaks and sharp ridges describe the central and western parts of the province, while gradually sloping and rolling foothills are the general features of the eastern towns.

Ifugao has a total land area of 251,778 hectares. The extensive mountain ranges that dominate the landscape have been terraced by hand for growing rice because there is hardly any level land. Even the nearby villages are on the mountain slopes. Numerous rivers and waterfalls drain into the lowland valleys.

Ifugao has a lone congressional district comprise of 11 municipalities and 175 barangays.
Municipalities: Aguinaldo, Alfonso Lista (Potia), Asipulo, Banaue, Hingyon, Hungduan, Kiangan, Lagawe, Lamut, Mayoyao and Tinoc

Mountain Province
Mountain province has a lone congressional district comprise of 10 municipalities and 144 barangays.
Municipalities: Bontoc, Barlig, Bauko, Besao, Natonin, Sabangan, Sadanga, Sagada, Tadian and Paracelis.


Am-among Festival is held every Sept 16th. Am-among is a cultural practice among the Bontoc tribes where villagers take rest after the rice fields have been planted. Assigned persons kindle a small fire in nearby rice field and cook inasin (salted pork). Rice wine is offered to Kabunian (God) and prayer is said for good harvest. On the second day, male members trek to the river to catch kachiw (river fish) while the women collect koti (shells). These are brought home, cooked with meat, and partaken by family members and relatives. The fourth day usually is the proper rest day where men and women will not work in the fields and children either stay at home or bathe in the river. Traditionally a practice among clans, am-among has been extended as a town occasion.

Lang-ay festival a yearly cultural event held in the capital town of Bontoc which highlights the province rich cultural diversity and multi-ethnic groups as they gather and showcase their dances, fashion and cultural diversity.

Begnas di Bauko - Begnas is a festival of prayer and merriment for all graces received by the municipality. On this occasion, the Baukenians will be showcasing their rich culture, traditions and arts handed to them by their forefathers.

Activities include agri-industrial trade fair where the municipality's products will be sold and displayed to the public, cultural presentations by the different barangays. They may choose from the native dances, chants, rites, musical instruments or rites for their cultural presentation. There will be also an indigenous game on 'depap di otik' (pig catching).

There will be also streetdancing competition among the participating elementary schools and among the 8 clusters of this town.

Fagfagto Festival - Rituals are part of daily lives of the people in the cultural town of Bontoc, northern part of the Philippines, where at the end of harvest time means the observance of stone-throwing event called Fagfagto. In the month of August, Fagfagto is annually performed by the people of Bontoc in the Mountain Province during the time when the crop harvesting is almost over, consequently the beginning of the season of sweet potato planting. Traditionally, young males throw stones at each other as they station, setting up camps of river stones on two opposite fields of Kidlaa and Churya, across Chico River near Samoki Village every afternoon, until lesles or rest day is declared. The object of the event is to hit the members of the opposing team as much as possible to win the game. It is believed that the more injuries a participant obtain during Fagfagto, is prized with bigger amount of sweet potatoes Bontocs called the tukhi.

There are no specific rules in the game of Fagfagto, only that one can easily distinguish the winning group when the opposing team retreats, or when a group is able to cross the battle line, which is the Chico River, causing the opponents to turn and run away.

Gagayam festival, a culture-based event that has gathered the people, who shared a common goal to preserve the richness of their culture and traditions passed to them by their great ancestors. Gagayam festival is also part of a thanksgiving cum celebration for the villagers and officials of the 15 barangays who are helpful in making the fifth class municipality as one of the most performing local government units in the Cordilleras.

Villagers, clad in their ethnic attires, showcased the richness of their culture and traditions through a pure ethnic street dancing, choreographed cultural presentation, and indigenous games.

Gagayam festival as a social tradition that showcases the peculiar and unique culture of Sabangan and its eco-tourism. The municipality of Sabangan is a culture-rich community as evidenced by the living tradition of its Kankana-ey and Applai tribes. The lifestyle of the people is typified with great respect for the customs handed down from their ancestors.

Religious practices, rituals and cañoas attend to their cycle of life, death, and agricultural activities. There are many kinds of cañoa. The chao-es is the feast for the manerwap, which is the ritual requesting for rain from Lumawig. A cho-es is also held when a person's name needs to be changed because of an incurable ailment that is believed to be caused by an ancestral spirit. The "fosog" is the feast for fertility rites.

The tribe's traditional clothing leaves males and females bare above the waist. But because of modern influence, younger members of the tribe wear trousers, shirts, dresses and shoes that lowland Filipinos usually wear.

The tattoo used to be a prestige symbol, worn only by the headhunter. However, it is now purely ornamental. There are three types of tattoos: the "chaklag," the breast tattoo of the headhunter; the "pongo," the arm tattoo of both sexes or the woman's tattoo; and the "fatek" which is used as the generic term and refers to all other tattoos.

The tattoo used to be a prestige symbol, worn only by the headhunter. However, it is now purely ornamental.

The woman's tattoo is on the back of the hands and encircles the arms beginning from the wrists to above the elbows. On the upper arm, the figure of a man with extended arms and legs may be etched. The man's tattoo has a simpler pattern and uses longer lines; the woman's tattoo uses cross-hatched lines and patchwork designs. Disfigurement such as swellings, are used deliberately as part of the tattoo designs.

Bontoc literature is transferred through word of mouth only. It is either sung or recited. Its primary purpose is to communicate ideas and attitudes to others at certain social occasions. It also reflects the tribe's collective history. Their literature includes riddles, proverbs, aphorism, songs, tales, legends, and myths.

Ritual literature is addressed to the deities or "anito" during ceremonies. Examples of ritual literature are the "ayyeng," "annako," "kapya," "manayeng/manaing," "orakyo," and "achog."

The most important of the tribe's mythology is the "oggood." The narrative concerning Lumawig, the Bontoc God and culture hero. He chose to marry the beautiful and industrious lady Fukan after rejecting one lady whose hair was too short, another lady who lived in a village that was too short, and another who "tittered like a bird." Many stories about Lumawig pertain to the beginning of the Bontoc society. He rewarded good and punished evil. He wanted peace and prosperity. He established the institution of the ato. He established the rituals. He performed wonders to teach ethical norms. He changed his own selfish father-in-law into a rock with water gushing forth from its anus.

On Mt Kal-lat is a huge stone said to have been set down by Lumawig. When bad weather threatens the people, the men gather around the stone and perform a ritual called "kapya."

The myths are also an integral part of the ritual. In the traditional wedding ceremony, the narrative of Lumawig's wedding is recited. Part of the planting rites to have an abundant harvest is the recitation of the myth about how the gods multiplied and increased the size of the crops.

Ifugao culture revolves around the rice, which is considered a prestige crop. There is an elaborate and complex array of rice culture feasts inextricably linked with taboos and intricate agricultural rites, from rice cultivation to rice consumption. Harvest season calls for grandiose thanksgiving feasts, while the concluding harvest rites "tungo" or "tungul" the day of rest entail a strict taboo of any agricultural work. Partaking of the rice beer bayah, rice cakes, and betel nut is an indelible practice during the festivities and ritual activities.