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A Brief History of Benguet Province

The life of Benguet before becoming a province of the Cordillera region.

 |  2 min read

Ibalois, the original settlers of the province of Benguet, circa 1920's
Ibalois, the original settlers of the province of Benguet, circa 1920's

Early in the 19th century after the Spanish explorer Guillermo Galley's report of his expedition, the Spanish Government organized the mountain region into six (6) commandancias politico-militar namely:

  • Benguet in 1846
  • Lepanto in 1852
  • Bonico in 1859
  • Amburayan in 1889
  • and Kayapa and Kabugao in 1891

The province of Benguet, as now constituted, have portion of which were parts of the Districts of Lepanto, Bonico and Amburayan. Early commandancias were divided into rancherias. The commandancia of Benguet was consisted of 41 rancherias with La Trinidad, named after Galley's wife, as capital.

La Trinidad, Benguet. circa April 1945 | CTTO
La Trinidad, Benguet. circa April 1945 CTTO

In 1899, the Katipunan came to Benguet and united the Igorots and established Benguet under the Government of the Republic of the Philippines. Ora Juan CariƱo of Tublay was appointed Governor of Benguet and Chairman of the Board. In La Trinidad, Miguel Picarte was appointed as president but their terms were short lived for the American colonizers came in the early 1900's.

Under the American rule, civil government was established under Act No. 48 local civil government of Benguet was established composed of the townships of La Trinidad, Galiano, Itogon, Tublay, Atok, Kapangan, Balakbak, Palina, Ampusongan, Loo, Kabayan, Buguias, Adaoay, Bokod, Daclan, Sablan, Kibungan and Ambuklao.

Ibalois, the original settlers of the province of Benguet. Ca. 1920's
Ibalois, the original settlers of the province of Benguet. Ca. 1920's

Act no. 1396 otherwise known as the Special Government Act, dated September 14, 1905 repealed Act No. 49 reorganizing the Province of Benguet. When Baguio became a chartered city in 1909, the original towns of Benguet province as embodied in Act No. 48 dated November 22, 1900 were reduced to 13. The town of Tuba was created.

Eventually, the towns of Ambuklao, Adaoay, Balakbak, Daclan, Galiano, Palina and Loo were abolished under Executive Orders issued by the Governor General of the Philippines With the passage of Act No. 1876 on August 13, 1908, Benguet Province became a sub-province of Mountain Province.

The other sub-provinces are: Amburayan, Apayao, Bontoc, Ifugao, Kalinga and Lepanto. By operation of Act No. 2877 on February 4, 1920, the boundary of Benguet sub-province was amended resulting in the abolition of the sub-provinces of Amburayan and Lepanto, part of Amburayan was placed under La Union and part of Lepanto was placed under Ilocos Sur.

A river that divides Sablan and Tuba.
A river that divides Sablan and Tuba.

Republic Act No. 4695, dated June 18, 1966 divided the old Mt. Province into the provinces of Benguet, Mt. Province, (referring to the sub-province of Bontoc) Kalinga-Apayao and Ifugao, Benguet province consist of the municipalities of Atok, Bakun, Bokod, Buguias, Itogon, Kabayan, Kapangan, Kibungan, La Trinidad, Mankayan, Sablan, Tuba and Tublay, with La Trinidad as capital. Benguet together with Mt. Province, Abra and Kalinga-Apayao which later were separated as provinces which used to be under Region 1 together with Ifugao under region II has later comprised the Cordillera Administrative Region by virtue of Executive Order 220.


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