Balbalan, Kalinga

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Municipality of Balbalan
Map of Kalinga with Balbalan highlighted
Map of Kalinga with Balbalan highlighted
Balbalan is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 17°27′N 121°09′E / 17.45°N 121.15°E / 17.45; 121.15Coordinates: 17°27′N 121°09′E / 17.45°N 121.15°E / 17.45; 121.15
Country Philippines
RegionCordillera Administrative Region (CAR)
DistrictLone District
Barangays14 (see Barangays)
 • TypeSangguniang Bayan
 • MayorRuben Dongui-is
 • Electorate8,809 voters (2016)
 • Total542.69 km2 (209.53 sq mi)
 (2015 census)[3]
 • Total12,195
 • Density22/km2 (58/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC+8 (PST)
ZIP code
IDD:area code+63 (0)74
Climate typeTropical rainforest climate
Income class3rd municipal income class
Revenue (₱)111.2 million  (2016)
Native languagesKalinga language

Balbalan, officially the Municipality of Balbalan is a 3rd class municipality in the province of Kalinga, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 12,195 people.[3]


[Note: The historical note is taken from an article by Scott Magkachi Saboy]

Early beginning[edit]

This town draws its name from an ancient practice. It was said that war parties coming from certain areas in northern Kalinga (probably, the ancient place of Salegseg) used to meet by a creek when mapping out their plan of attack against or when regrouping after attacking a certain village. Since they would always wash (balbal, in the local dialect) their blood-stained bodies and weapons in the creek, the place and its adjacent areas came to be known as Balbalan. Since its tribal war days, Balbalan has become one of the most peaceful place in Kalinga as dramatized by the selection of one of its ethnic sub-groups, the Salegseg.

Spanish Era: At the Edge of the World[edit]

The Spaniards made at least 10 incursions[nb 1] into the land of the Kalingas from the early 1600s to the late 1800s, four of which were made from the west (Abra) primarily targeting the regions of Banao and Guinaang.[4] Although they succeeded around the mid-1800s in establishing a telegraph station in Balbalasang (where, incidentally, they appointed the noted Banao leader Juan Puyao as a gobernadorcillo or councilor) and subsequently hacking out an Ilocos-Abra-Kalinga-Cagayan trail, they failed to establish a total politico-military foothold in Kalinga.[5]

Prior to the establishment of American rule in Kalinga, the ethnic sub-groups covered by the present geopolitical configuration of Balbalan were, like other Kalinga communities at that time, organized according to an indigenous system or concept of local governance operating within a “bilateral kinship group” circumscribed by semi-permanent territorial boundary.[nb 2][6]

This period saw the rise of several community leaders often mentioned in Balbalan orature: Sagaoc, Balutoc, Masadao, Gaddawan, Dawegoy, Lang-ayan, Bayudang, Gammong, et al.

American Era: Toward the Mainstream[edit]

When the Americans imposed their system of government over the archipelago, the land of the Kalingas became one of the highlights of their so-called “pacification campaign.” On 18 August 1907, Kalinga, then a sub-province of Lepanto-Bontoc, came under the control of Lt. Gov. Walter Franklin Hale who established his seat of government in Lubuagan where he organized the sub-province into four districts: Tinglayan-Tanudan; Balbalan-Pasil; Pinukpuk-Tobog (Tabuk), and Liwan (Rizal).[7]

Exactly a year later, Act 1870 of the Philippine Commission carved the old Mountain Province out of northern Luzon with Kalinga as one of its five sub-provinces. Kalinga was immediately reorganized into five municipal districts — Lubuagan (including Tanudan and Pasil), Balbalan (including Balinciagao), Tabuk (with Liwan or Rizal), Tinglayan, and Pinukpuk — each led by presidents. Among these municipal chiefs was Puyao[nb 3] who served in that capacity for close to 24 years under five subprovincial chief executives: Walter F. Hale (1907–1915), Alex F. Gilfilan (1915), Samuel E. Kane (1915–1919), Tomas Blanco (1918–1923), and Nicasio Balinag (1923–1936). Puyao did not run for office during the first local elections in the area in 1934, and was succeeded by Awingan. Three years later, municipal chief executives became known as “Municipal District Mayors.”[8]

Little is known of the political organization of the municipality during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines, except that in 1942 a Japanese garrison was established in Balbalan, as well as in Lubuagan and in Tabuk.

Post-War Era: Charting a Course[edit]

The old Mountain Province was regularized as a “first class province” in 1959 and new local elections were subsequently held. In Balbalan, Pedro Sagalon was elected mayor (Sugguiyao, 23). From the birth of the new Mountain Province on 18 June 1966 to 1988, there is a dearth of records on the succession of leadership in Balbalan. From 1988 to the present, however, government records list the following as mayors: Leonardo Banganan (1988–1992), Edward Calumnag (1992–1995), Rosendo Dakiwag (1995–2001), and Allen J.C. Mangaoang (2001 to 2013).

The present leadership of Balbalan has special significance to those who feared that the death of Juan Puyao in 1948 meant the end of his political bloodline. In the words of Kalinga historian Miguel Sugguiyao (1990, 39):


Balbalan is politically subdivided into 14 barangays.

  • Ababa-an
  • Balantoy
  • Balbalan Proper
  • Balbalasang
  • Buaya
  • Dao-angan
  • Gawa-an
  • Mabaca
  • Maling (Kabugao)
  • Pantikian
  • Poswoy
  • Poblacion (Salegseg)
  • Talalang
  • Tawang


Population census of Balbalan
YearPop.±% p.a.
1918 6,238—    
1939 5,670−0.45%
1948 6,184+0.97%
1960 7,605+1.74%
1970 6,518−1.53%
1975 7,552+3.00%
1980 9,168+3.95%
1990 10,147+1.02%
1995 11,742+2.77%
2000 11,934+0.35%
2007 12,012+0.09%
2010 12,082+0.21%
2015 12,195+0.18%
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[3][9][10][11]

In the 2015 census, the population of Balbalan was 12,195 people,[3] with a density of 22 inhabitants per square kilometre or 57 inhabitants per square mile.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ In The Kalinga Hilltribe of the Philippines (1990, 13-15), Sugguiyao lists three, but a comparative study of available documents as cited reveals more than that number.
  2. ^ Barton referred to these territories as “regions,” which is perhaps roughly equivalent to what the German traveler Alexander Schadenberg (1886) called “province,” as in “Banao province” (Scott 1975, 131). Note, however, that, according to Scott in another work (1974, 313), there was no such village as Banao, although “people from Inalangan down the Saltan River to Salegseg referred to themselvfes as Banao people.” Schadenberg also mentioned a “Chief Liagao” in the rancheria of Balbalasang (Scott 1975, 133).
  3. ^ Along with Lubuagan Presidente Antonio Canao, Puyao’s peerless leadership and his contribution to the success of American rule in Kalinga prompted then Congressman of the old Mountain Province Alfredo Lam-en to file a bill seeking to rename Balbalan and Lubuagan “Puyao” and “Canao,” respectively (Finin 2005, 194).


  1. ^ "Municipality". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  2. ^ "Province: Kalinga". PSGC Interactive. Quezon City, Philippines: Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d Census of Population (2015). "Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. PSA. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  4. ^ Scott 1974, 2; Bacdayan 1967, 17; Lawless 1975, 43-45
  5. ^ cf. Scott 1974, 249; Sugguiyao 1990, 15; Bacdayan, 17-18; Dozier 1966, 29-32
  6. ^ Barton 1949, 32; cf. Dozier 1967, 12 f; Sugguiyao, 4.
  7. ^ Sugguiyao, 16
  8. ^ De Los Reyes 1986, 28; Sugguiyao, 22; Jenista, 70,259
  9. ^ Census of Population and Housing (2010). "Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. NSO. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  10. ^ Censuses of Population (1903–2007). "Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)". Table 1. Population Enumerated in Various Censuses by Province/Highly Urbanized City: 1903 to 2007. NSO.
  11. ^ "Province of Kalinga". Municipality Population Data. Local Water Utilities Administration Research Division. Retrieved 17 December 2016.

Works cited[edit]

  • Bacdayan, Albert. The Peace Pact System of the Kalingas in the Modern World. Ann Arbor, MI: University Microfilms, Inc., 1967.
  • Barton, Roy F. The Kalingas: Their Institutions and Custom Law. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1949.
  • De Los Reyes, Angelo J. & Aloma M. De Los Reyes, eds. Igorot: A People Who Daily Touch the Earth and Sky. Vol. II. Baguio City: Cordillera Schools Group, 1986.
  • DILG-CAR. Cordillera Almanac Vol. 1 : Local Government Units. Baguio City: DILG-CAR, 1999.
  • Dozier, Edward P. Mountain Arbiters: The Changing Life of a Philippine Hill People. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press, 1966.
  • The Kalinga of Northern Luzon, Philippines. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1967.
  • Finin Gerard A. The Making of the Igorot: Contours of Cordillera Consciousness. Manila: Ateneo de Manila University Press, 2005.
  • Jenista, Frank Lawrence. The White Apos: American Governors on the Cordillera Central. Quezon City: New Day Publishers, 1987.
  • Lawless, Robert. The Social Ecology of the Kalingas of Northern Luzon. Ann Arbor, MI: Xerox University Microfilms, 1975.
  • Scott, William Henry, ed. German Travelers on the Cordillera (1860–1890). Manila: Filipiniana Book Guild, 1975.
  • The Discovery of the Igorots: Contacts with the Pagans of Northern Luzon. Quezon City: New Day Publishers, 1974.
  • Sugguiyao, Miguel. The Kalinga Hilltribe of the Philippines. Manila: ONCC, 1990.
  • Dannang, Noe. “The Rotary Way of Curbing Vindictive Killings.” The Highland Leader. October 1994, 5.
  • Scott, William Henry. “Notes on the History of the Mountain Provinces – IV.” University of Baguio Journal, IX-1 (1974): 1-4

External links[edit]