Cordillera Administrative Region

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Cordillera Administrative Region
Rehion Administratibo ti Kordiliera
Rehiyong Pampangasiwaan ng Cordillera
Flag of Cordillera Administrative Region
Map of the Philippines showing the location of Cordillera Administrative Region
Map of the Philippines showing the location of Cordillera Administrative Region
Country Philippines
Island group Luzon
Regional center Baguio City
 • 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)
ISO 3166 code PH-15
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

The Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) (Filipino: Rehiyong Pampangasiwaan ng Cordillera) is a region in the Philippines that is composed of six provinces, namely: Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga and Mountain Province, as well as Baguio City, the regional center. The Cordillera Administrative Region encompasses most of the areas within the Cordillera Central mountains of Luzon, the largest mountain range in the country. It is the country's only land-locked region. The region is home to numerous indigenous tribes collectively called the Igorot.


On June 18, 1966, Republic Act No. 4695[2] was enacted to split Mountain Province and create four separate and independent provinces namely Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga-Apayao, and Mountain Province.

Prior to the formal creation of Cordillera Administrative Region, as a consequence of the constitutional mandate under the 1987 Philippine Constitution, Ifugao and Kalinga-Apayao was loosely under Cagayan Valley while Benguet and Mountain Province was grouped under Ilocos Region.

On July 15, 1987, President Corazon C. Aquino issued Executive Order No. 220 which created the Cordillera Administrative Region, that included Mountain Province, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga-Apayao and annexed the province of Abra as part of the Cordillera Administrative Region.

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.[2]

Several attempts at legalizing autonomy in the Cordillera region have failed in two separate plebiscites. 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 but failed to muster a majority vote in the plebiscite on January 30, 1990.[3] The second law, Republic Act No. 8438 passed by Congress of the Philippines on December 22, 1997, also failed to pass the approval of the Cordillera peoples in a region-wide referendum on March 7, 1998.

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

Recent events[edit]

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.

The Cordillera Peoples' Alliance[edit]

The Cordillera peoples are a founding Member of UNPO, represented through the Cordillera Peoples' Alliance (CPA), which is a federation of organizations of the indigenous peoples of the Cordillera. Founded in 1984 by seven Igorot peoples’ organizations, it grew to over sixty members in its first year. Today the CPA has more than 120 member organizations. The areas on which it is active vary from land issues to political items. Its major aim is to unite the Igorot people to fight a common cause. The CPA is committed to advance the collective interests and welfare of the indigenous people of the mountain provinces.

Political divisions[edit]

CAR is subdivided into six (6) provinces and has one highly urbanized city, Baguio and one component city.


Political map of Cordillera Administrative Region
Province Capital Population
Pop. density
(per km2)'
Ph seal abra.png Abra Bangued 234,733 3,975.6 59.0 Eustaquio Bersamin
Ph seal apayao.png Apayao Kabugao 112,636 3,927.9 28.7 Elias C. Bulut, Jr.
PH seal benguet.png Benguet La Trinidad 403,944 2,826.59 142.9 Nestor Fongwan
Ph seal ifugao.png Ifugao Lagawe 191,078 2,517.8 75.9 Denis Habawel
Ph seal kalinga.png Kalinga Tabuk City 201,613 3,119.7 64.6 Jocel Baac
Ph seal mountain province.png Mountain Province Bontoc 154,187 2,097.3 73.5 Leonard Mayaen


Cities Province City Class Income Class Population
Pop. density
(per km2)'
Ph seal Baguio.png Baguio City Benguet Highly Urbanized 1st Class 318,676 57.51 5,541.23 Mauricio G Domogan
Tabuk city seal.png Tabuk Kalinga Component 5th Class 103,912 700.25 148.39 Ferdinand B. Tubban


Population census of Cordillera AR
Year Pop. ±%
1990 1,146,191 —    
2000 1,365,412 +19.1%
2010 1,616,867 +18.4%
Source: National Statistics Office[1]

Ethnic groups[edit]

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.[5] They are commonly referred to as Igorot.

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.:[6] 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 Balbanlan
  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
  1. 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:
  2. Ymandaya(Isnag)- Calanasan(Bayag)
  3. Imallod(Isnag)- Kabugao, Conner, Pudtol, and some part of Luna(Macatel)
  4. Malaweg of Conner, Apayao
  1. Ibaloi
  2. Kankanaey
  3. Kalanguya[7]

tuwali, ayangan, kankanaey, yattuka reference: ifugao history

  1. Ifugao
  2. Kalanguya[7]
  1. Kalingan
  2. Banao
  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-liguistic 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

Regional economy[edit]

Extras of the Cordilleras 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 City 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.

The region also has various festivals. They include:

  • Panagbenga Festival

Panagbenga / Baguio Flower Festival which is celebrated in February. The festival focuses on Baguio as the Flower Garden City of the North. Highlights include flower exhibits, lectures, garden tours, floral competition and a parade of floats.

  • Adivay Festival

Adivay festival in Benguet which means "coming together of people to celebrate" is celebrated every month of November. The month-long activities highlights the Agro-industrial and trade fair which showcase the different products of Benguet.

  • Ullalim Festival

Ullalim Festival/ in Kalinga which is celebrated every February 14. It is in celebration of the founding anniversary of the province and the Peace acts called Bodong. It is the poetic expression of the heroic exploits, romance, joys, successes as well as tribulations, and the way of life of the Kalingas from birth to death. The Festival highlights the weaved clothes (laga) exhibits, world class coffee beans and other products of Kalinga.

  • Lang-ay Festival

Lang-ay Festival in Mountain Province celebrated every April 7. This is a week-long agro-industrial trade, tourism and cultural fair with tribal dances and songs. 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.

Ifugao 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) same as that of Asipulo

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.

  • Matagoan Festival

Tabuk Matagoan Festival which features G-String marathon (runners wear G-String only), cultural dances and songs. The festival showcases the different products of tabuk coming from the different parts of Kalinga such as the aromatic Kalinga coffee.

Tourist attractions[edit]

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

Tourist attractions in the region include the world-famous Banaue Rice Terraces in the province of Ifugao. Nations around the world boast of their own self-proclaimed "eighth wonder of the world." The Philippines considers Banaue Rice Terraces as its "Eighth Wonder of the World." The Banaue terraces, ancient sprawling man-made structures from 2,000 to 6,000 years old, are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They are part of the Rice Terraces of the Philippine Cordilleras, widely found in the provinces of Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province. The Philippine Eagle and the Crested-Serpent Eagle was also found in the Last forest frontier of the North the Province of Apayao.

Natural attractions of the region include the Sumaguing Cave in Sagada and the mummy caves of Benguet and Mt. Province. There are four National Parks: Cassamata Hill, Mount Pulag, the highest mountain in Luzon, and second highest mountain in the Philippines, following Mount Apo of Davao, with an elevation of 2,922 meters above mean sea level, Mt. Data, and Balbalasang-Balbalan, located in the province of Kalinga. Kalinga also offers world-class white water rafting along the Chico River. The summer capital of the Philippines is Baguio, within the Cordillera Administrative Region.


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 17°10′N 121°10′E / 17.167°N 121.167°E / 17.167; 121.167