Bontoc, Mountain Province

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Municipality of Bontoc
Official seal of Bontoc
Map of Mountain Province with Bontoc highlighted
Map of Mountain Province with Bontoc highlighted
Bontoc is located in Philippines
Location within the Philippines
Coordinates: 17°05′14″N 120°58′32″E / 17.08722°N 120.97556°E / 17.08722; 120.97556Coordinates: 17°05′14″N 120°58′32″E / 17.08722°N 120.97556°E / 17.08722; 120.97556
Country  Philippines
Region Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)
Province Mountain Province
District Lone District
Founded 1908
Barangays 16 (see Barangays)
 • Type Sangguniang Bayan
 • Mayor Franklin C. Odsey
 • Electorate 14,839 voters (2016)
 • Total 396.10 km2 (152.94 sq mi)
Population (2015 census)[3]
 • Total 24,643
 • Density 62/km2 (160/sq mi)
Time zone UTC+8 (PST)
ZIP code 2616
PSGC 144404000
IDD:area code +63 (0)74
Climate Am
Income class 2nd municipal income class
Revenue (₱) 123,441,548.36 (2016)
Native languages Bonton

Bontoc (Ilokano: Ili ti Bontoc), officially the Municipality of Bontoc, is a 2nd class municipality and capital of the province of Mountain Province, Philippines. According to the 2015 census, it has a population of 24,643 people.[3]

Bontoc is the historical capital of the entire Cordillera region since the inception of governance in the Cordillera. The municipality celebrates the annual Lang-ay Festival.

Bontoc is home to the Bontoc tribe, a feared war-like group of indigenous people who actively indulged in tribal wars with its neighbours until the 1930s. Every Bontoc male had to undergo a rites of passage into manhood, which may include head hunting, where the male has to journey (sometimes with companions) and hunt for a human head. The Bontocs also used the jaw of the hunted head as a handle for gongs, and as late as the early 1990s, evidence of this practice can be seen from one of the gongs in Pukisan, Bontoc. The town also hosts the UNESCO tentatively-listed Alab petroglyphs.

However, the original language is kankana-ey, as more of the younger generations speak a mixture of Ilocano, Tagalog, and Kankanaey native terms. This is partly due to the frequent contact of the younger generations with other regions of the Philippine nation. Some words are not in use anymore. Within Bontoc proper, only 40% of the local population can communicate using this language without diluting their daily language with other languages/dialects.[citation needed]

Alab petroglyphs[edit]

The Alab petroglyphs are ancient figures carved on mountain walls by the prehistoric people of Bontoc. The petroglyphs are the most important ancient rock art carvings in the Cordilleras and the second most oldest in the entire country, second only to the Angono petroglyphs of Rizal. Due to its high significance, it was submitted by the National Commission for Culture and the Arts of the Philippines to the UNESCO Tentative List of Heritage Sites in 2006, pending its inclusion in the World Heritage List along with the Singanapan charcoal-drawn petrographs of southern Palawan, Angono petroglyphs of Rizal province, charcoal-drawn Penablanca petrographs of Cagayan, and the Anda red hermatite print petrographs of Bohol.



Samuel E. Kane, American supervisor and then Governor, established the capital here after the Philippine Commission passed the Mountain Province Act in 1908,[4] building a provincial building, hospital, doctor's office, nurse's home, a school, and provincial prison.[5]:281–284 He also built the Tagudin-Bontoc trail, which by 1926, could accommodate a small car.[5]:329


Bontoc is politically subdivided into 16 barangays.

  • Alab Proper
  • Alab Oriente
  • Balili
  • Bay-yo
  • Bontoc Ili
  • Caluttit
  • Can-eo
  • Dalican
  • Gonogon
  • Guinaang
  • Mainit
  • Maligcong
  • Samoki
  • Talubin
  • Tocucan
  • Poblacion (Bontoc)


A Bontoc woman with a snake skeleton in her hair. Skeletons serve as a charm against lightning.
A Bontoc man (c. 1903)
Population census of Bontoc
YearPop.±% p.a.
1918 13,948—    
1939 14,284+0.11%
1948 15,005+0.55%
1960 16,301+0.69%
1970 16,901+0.36%
1975 17,476+0.67%
1980 17,091−0.44%
1990 17,716+0.36%
1995 21,192+3.41%
2000 22,308+1.11%
2007 24,798+1.47%
2010 23,980−1.21%
2015 24,643+0.52%
Source: Philippine Statistics Authority[3][6][7][8]


A group of Igorot pottery makers from Samoki, Mountain Province (c. 1910).

The local economy depends largely on small trades and agriculture. This capital town's biggest economic potential is tourism with its smaller rice terraces in Barangay Bay-yo, Maligcong and other areas.


Secondary education[edit]

Institution Location
ALBAGO National High School Balili
Dalican National High School Dalican
Guina-ang National High School Guina-ang
Mountain Province General Comprehensive High School Poblacion
Saint Vincent School Poblacion
Talubin National High School Talubin
Tocucan National High School Tocucan

Tertiary education[edit]

Mountain Province State Polytechnic College is the first tertiary institution in the municipality that offers various undergraduate and graduate courses.

XiJen College of Mountain Province is the only private tertiary institution that also offers technical-vocational courses.


  1. ^ "Municipality". Quezon City, Philippines: Department of the Interior and Local Government. Retrieved 31 May 2013.
  2. ^ "Province: Mountain Province". PSGC Interactive. Quezon City, Philippines: Philippine Statistics Authority. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
  3. ^ a b c Census of Population (2015). "Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. PSA. Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  4. ^ "Act No. 1876". 18 August 1908. Retrieved 22 October 2014.
  5. ^ a b Kane, S.E., 1933, Thirty Years with the Philippine Head-Hunters, New York: Grosset & Dunlap
  6. ^ Census of Population and Housing (2010). "Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)". Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay. NSO. Retrieved 29 June 2016.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ "Province of Mountain Province". Municipality Population Data. Local Water Utilities Administration Research Division. Retrieved 17 December 2016.

External links[edit]