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Nyl Akkin

on 4 January 2014

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Transcript of BAGO/ BAG-O TRIBE

Bagos are hilltribe dwellers and original inhabitants in the border regions between Ilocos and Cordillera mountains. They are different from their neighboring tribes and other adjacent ethnic groups whose ancestors are early inhabitants of the country prior to colonization.
Bago communities existed in the country before the arrival of the Spaniards. According to its history, during the process of Christianization by the Spanish Catholic missionaries, they were dubbed as "Bagong Kristyano" by those who preceded them and the name calling stuck and are called Bagos to the present day.
Certificate of Ancestral Domain and Land Titles were awarded to the Bago tribe in Bakun, Benguet, Alilem and Sugpon, Ilocos Sur. On the process are Pugo, La Union; San Emilio and Cervantes, Ilocos Sur. This proves that Bago ancestors are inhabitants in their areas since time immemorial.
The Spaniards created the upper delta of Abra River, as Commandancia Politica-Militar de Tiagan in 1847 and the upper delta of Amburayan River as Commandancia Politico-Militar de Amburayanon April 10, 1890. These Commandancias are located at the borders of the Cordillera (Gran Cordillera) and the Ilocos Region now the 14 upland municipalities of Ilocos Sur and the municipalities of Sudipen, Santol, San Gabriel and Pugo, all of La Union. According to its history, during the process of Christianization by the Spanish Catholic missionaries, they were dubbed as "Bagong Kristyano" by those who preceded them and the name calling stuck and are called Bagos to the present day.
The ancestral domain of the BAGO TRIBE in Sugpon covers a total land area of 17,408 hectares, of which 6,339,417 hectares have been issued a Certificate of Ancestral Domain Title (CADT). In addition, 6,415.18 hectares are classified as alienable and disposable, including agricultural, residential, institutional and commercial lands; a sizable portion is still forest or timberland. The ancestral domain includes the six barangays of Banga, Caoayan, Licungan, Danac, Pangotan and Balbalayang.

The Bago tribe is part of the 1st Malay migrating groups to the Philippines, believed to be about 200-300 years B.C. who entered and settled at the upper delta of the Amburayan River (Ilocos Province) with some going further north at the upper delta of the Abra River and from here, Bago tribe migrated to all parts of the country and even abroad. The upper deltas of the Abra River and the Amburayan river were already inhabited by the Bago Tribe before the arrival of the Spaniards in the Northern Philippines.
The Bago tribal group is a product of intermarriage between the Ilocanos of the lowlands and different indigenous cultural communities of the Cordillera. They settled between the mountain ranges of Ilocos and the boarders of the Ilocos Provinces, La Union, and Pangasinan. They are of medium build, although some resemble the Kankanaeys with fair complexion and a sturdy build.

The Bago tribe is described as “the most organized tribe nationwide” by Commissioner Rizalino Segundo of the National Commission of Indigenous Peoples (NCIP). According to the NCIP, the Bago is the most numerous in population among the Indigenous People (IP) of Region I, recorded at over 700,000 individuals making up 6% of the total IP population.
The Bago tribe describe themselves as “hilltribe dwellers in the border regions between Ilocos and Cordillera Mountains who are the offspring of intermarriages as well as product of trade between mountain tribes of the Cordillero and the Iloko of the lowlands.”
The Bagos have their own language, examples are: sinoy naicasta (why, what happened), tapey (rice wine), mannapo (native priest), sapo (prayer), am-in (all), sumaa (to arrive), napupuka (awake), minpintas (beautiful), ambit (baby girl), amboy (baby boy), eng-nga / unga (baby/child), minlam-ek (cold), minsipnget (dark), minngina (expensive), nakinguab / kinbaba (lower portion), tumayaw (to fly), minlaba (to wash clothes). Some Bago jargons are: ayaket or yaw’, this is said when dismayed/disappointed or amazed, kasos and Aye’, these are also said when dismayed or disappointed, ni’-in’, this is said when one happens to commit mistake.
Generally, the Bagos speak the dialect akin to the Kankanaey, Tingiuans and Ibalois; however, to this day; most of them speak the Iluko dialect with distinct intonation. The Bagos have their own culture which has persisted to this time despite the inroads of western influence and the so-called modernization. This culture was preserved despite of the influence of lowland brothers. However, the Bago rituals, practices, customs, systems and beliefs are also common to the Kankanaeys, Tingiuans and Ibalois; though with little difference in terms of procedures of performing these rituals.
The Bago integration with the other hilltribes and intermarriages with the Ilocanos, Tagalogs, Visayas or Muslims is the reason for the virtual losing of its own identity. That’s why some people claim that the Bago tribe is non-existent because they could not trace their place in history.
The Indigenous Peoples of today are different from the Indigenous Peoples prior to colonization because time, place and person change. Traditions change as new values are introduced and integrated in the society. That is why, it is wrong to say that the tribal communities at present in the midst of urbanization are the same compared to the past. Some of the tribal groups, especially those that either live near urbanized areas or have an access to internet or new technologies, are definitely no longer the same.
Of Iloco-Cordillera descent, the Bago practice simple, ordinary methods of agriculture. Tobacco-drying barns are frequently found, together with harvests of garlic and onion. Their farming methods and practices include a system of initiating farm workers at harvest time through a working relationship known as gamal, ammuy, and bunggoy. Prominent members of the Bago indigenous group are former Governor Lupo Biteg of Ilocos Sur and his son Jonathan Biteg, who also became the Municipal Mayor of the same town.

Today, Bago Maors have a league of their own, known as Ilocos Sur Upland Towns Association, which serves as a forum in which higher political authorities can hear their
aspirations for development. Being of Iloco-Cordillera descent, they practice simple, ordinary methods of agriculture. Tobacco drying barns, harvests of garlic and onion are integrated in their houses. Their farming methods and practices include a system to initiate farm workers at harvest time through a working relationship known as gamal, ammuy, and bunggoy
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