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Nov 07

Alab, A Barrio With an “Ancient” Past

by Kristine Mocyat

kmocyat@yahoo.com

1. Brief History

Alab Oriente

Legend of Alab
Once there was a hunter from barrio Samoki (Bontoc) who lost his dog. One, day he was hunting at the area of Alab, he was surprised to discover his missing dog lying down at a corner. He called for his dog so they could leave. The dog got up and they both left. After having lunch later that day, the hunter noticed that his dog was missing again. He surmised that it must have returned to that place where he found it resting earlier on.
He decided that the following day, he would call him back. Truly the day after, he did find his dog at the same place. He beckoned to the dog but it refused to go home with him. So the hunter went home and told his wife hat happened. Both of them went to see the dog. Seeing that the place was conducive for farming, they made a clearing and started to plant crops. Soon, they built a house and settled there.
Their children are known to be the ascendants of the people of Alab today. Alab Proper When Alab was divided into Alab Oriente and Alab Oroper in 1972, Alab Proper retained 313 hectares of land area the sitios of Bengasan, Data, and Mat-ao are sustained in this barangay. Having the same foot with Alab Oriente population, the people of Alab Oriente descend from the family of the hunter from Samoki who started the first settlement across the river in Dongyowan (Alab Oriente) With the passage of time, a certain person named Baclangen lost his sow He couldn’t find it anywhere in the village. Searching as far as he could, he crossed the river and climbed up the mountain. He found the pig in Bengngasan. It was so heavy to carry back to Dongyowan so he decided to leave it there.
Everyday, he brought the pig food from Dongyowan. After some time, Baclangen realized that he could build his house near the pig instead. He transferred his family there ant they became the first settlers of the place. Later, the sow gave birth and a pen was constructed so that no pig would stray. One time, a group of Spaniards passed by while the natives were enclosing the pen. They asked what is the name of their place. Thinking that they are being asked if what are they doing, they answered “men al-alad kami”. it was the word Alab that stuck to the Spaniards and so in their records, the place bore the name, which it carries up to the present time. (from the book TAWID)
B. Current Officials
MAYOR:
  • Pascual Sacgaca
COUNCILORS:
  • Eusebio Kabluyen
  • Benjamin Ngeteg
  • Jerome Tudlong, Jr.
  • Ignacio Afidchao
  • Constancio Miranda
  • Herman Farnican
  • Wilbert Padngaran
  • Anthony Sumcad
Alab Oriente Barangay Officials:
Barangay Captain:
  • Marlon Kis-ing
Barangay Councilamen:
  • Ben Awangan
  • Ben Dapig
  • Jerry Bangoy
  • Andres Cortez
  • Mary Malecdan
  • Morris Macayba
  • Theodoro Bagawili
Sk Chairman:
  • Kristine Mocyat
Alab Proper Barangay Officails:
Barangay Captain:
  • Crispin Dapig
Barangay Councilmen:
  • Hye Bellang
  • John Bellang
  • Godfrey Indongsan
  • Romeo Langagan
  • Gregorio Gawidan
  • Harry Waking
  • Elsie Martinez
Sk Chairman:
  • Tanny Fe Mangagley
Sk Kagawad:
  • Michelle Toyoken
  • Diary Macli-ing
  • Glory Awing
C. The Location of Alab:
Alab is located along the Halsema Highway. If you are going to Baguio, the boundary is located at the Amlosong Jumbo bridge before Dantay and if you are going to Bontoc from Baguio, the Boundary is located after Malitep in Balili. Alab Oriente has a population of 358 and Alab Proper has population of 576.
How to Go to Alab
If you want to go to Alab, the jeep station is in front of the Aglipay General Merchandise or near the XiJEN Business Center. The ride to Alab is from 7:30am until 5:00pm. You can also ride on a bus to Baguio and stop at Alab. There are three buses going to baguio where in you can ride going to Alab, the Rising Sun Trans, Lizardo (GL) trans and the Dangwa tranco (JACKS) the trip is from 5:30. It is a 15 minute ride from Bontoc to Alab. The fare going to alab is 20 pesos.
Acoomodation
In Alab, there is no hotel or restaurant. It is up to the barangay officials to accommodate you, they give you food and if you want an overnight stay they will provide a room for you to sleep. It is not a problem to them because the people there still practice hospitality. They will respect you because you are a visitor of the barangay.
D. The Spots of Alab
The Petroglyphs
A petroglyph is a carving on a rock. The Alab Petroglyphs is located across the Chico River, a short distance upstream from Bontoc. It was declared a national cultural treasure in 1975. Still undecipherable, it is a huge rock with bow and arrows and human figures etched on the surface of the mountain where the rock stands. Brgy. Alab is located 9 kms. south of Bontoc on the Halsema Highway. The petroglyphs are a three-hr. climb above the village and past burial caves. It is believed that the inscriptions portray fertility rites.  This is the reason why I say my barrio home has an ancient past.  If only further studies are to be made-as the inscriptions on the cave, tend to portray, a civilization ahead of their time.

The Ganga Cave

Ganga is a cave located above the rice fields of Alab Oriente Bontoc. It is a burials cave which they believe the people who are buried their teenagers who went to the mountains to get some firewood.

Long time ago,  the e-alab teenagers (babalos and babalasang) of Alab (Proper and Oriente) went to   mountain of Dongyowan to get some firewood. They rested on a big rock in Binut-buto looking down a rice field (Kebasan). As they are resting, one of them challenged the other to throw a pointed stick down to the rice field and who will throw the farthest is the winner. They did not know that a pregnant woman is planting rice and they did not intend to hit her. They still continue throwing pointed stick and all of a sudden  all of them feel sleepy, they went asleep and after hours later as they woke up, they saw a sticky rice (diket) in a basket and a bundle of tobacco that was offered to them. They did not notice who brought them that food for them but because they are all hungry, they  ate  the food that was brought to them. They also did not continue to get firewood because it is already dark. As they went home they all went to the ato (dap-ay) to give the bundle of tobacco to those older people who are taking in tobacco. That night, the people of the village heard that the teenagers suddenly became weak and some of them are dying. The old people who took in the tobacco went dizzy. According to some of the old people, the cause of their death is the food that they ate  because it is the pregnant woman who brought them the food for them. In the morning, all of the teenagers who when to get firewood were all dead. The people of the village planned to make ah coffin for all the dead. The old people of the village planned to bury them in a cave above the rice fields and the name of the cave is GANGA.

Now a days some people say they are hearing some sound like playing a gong, or cutting firewood, and even some are crying. They are not already putting the dead on that cave because some say they are not comfortable.

3 comments

  1. Lailanee

    Kristine, it’s time to change the names of the barangay officials. Anyway, your article is really helpful. Keep it up!

  2. Touristic Guy

    Great story! But I can’t find a photo of the Petroglyphs. . . Can we access it here later?

  3. Gertrude

    Fabulous!!!!! Keep it up!!!!!

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