Open main menu

The Gaddang people are a linguistically-identified ethnic group of related families sharing lengthy residence in the watershed of the Cagayan River in Northern Luzon, Philippines. Gaddang speakers were recently reported to number around 30,000.[1] There are another 6,000 related Ga'dang speakers whose vocabulary is more than 80% identical.[2] The identification is solely their language; the Gaddang have incorporated people from many tribes, ethnicities, and nations during the hundreds of years they've been in Luzon.

Total population
30,000 (estimate)
Regions with significant populations
(Cagayan Valley, CAR)
Gaddang, Ga'dang, Yogad, Ibanag, Ilocano, English, Tagalog
Christianity (Predominantly Roman Catholic, with a minority of Protestants)
Related ethnic groups
Ibanag, Itawis, Ilokano, other Filipino people

Members of the several closely-related language groups (Gaddang, Ga'dang, Cauayeno, and sometimes Yogad) are frequently depicted in government documents, history, and cultural literature as a single people; distinctions between (a) the Christianized "lowlanders" and (b) the non-Christian residents in the mountains appear to be ignored or glossed-over by many sources. There are both intriguing similarities and unreconciled differences (in history, location, lifestyle, and beliefs) between these populations.


The Gaddang in Their HomelandsEdit

The pink-shaded area has been occupied by Gaddang-speakers throughout recorded history.

The Cagayan Valley is cut off from the rest of Luzon by ranges of mile-high, rugged mountains to both the east and west, which meet at Balete Pass in the south near Baguio City (geographically within Benguet province). As you proceed south along the Cagayan and its' tributary the Magat river, the hills become a dominant presence. Originally dense rainforest, the valley floor is now taken by intensive agriculture and mid-size civic centers continuously surrounded by small towns and villages.

In 1917, H. Otley Beyer reported 21,240 Christian Gaddang ("civilized and enjoying complete self-government") and 12,480 Pagan Gaddang ("semi-sedentary agricultural groups enjoying partial self-government).[3] He broke the Christian group into 16,240 Gaddang-speakers and 5,000 Yogad-speakers. Some Pagans spoke Maddukayang (or Kalibungan) - a group totalling 8,480 souls. There were also 2,000 whose language was Katalangan (likely an Aeta but possibly an Igorot language,[4] and another 2,000 speaking Iraya (not to be confused with the language of the Mangyans of Mindoro, but probably intended to refer to the Irray[5]).

A 1959 article by Fr. Godfrey Lambrecht, CICM is prefaced[6]:

They (the Gaddang) are the naturales of the towns of Bayombong, Solano, and Bagabag, towns built near the western bank of the Magat river (a tributary of...the Cagayan River) and of the towns of Santiago (Carig), Angadanan, Cauayan, and Reyna Mercedes....

According to the census of 1939, the pagan Gadang numbered approximately 2,000, of whom some 1,400 lived in the outskirts of Kalinga and Bontok subprovinces... and some 600 were residing in the municipal districts of Antatet, Dalig, and the barrios of Gamu and Tumauini, Dalig is ordinarily said to be the place of origin of the christianized Gadang. The same census records 14,964 Christians who spoke the Gadang language. Of these 6,790 were in Nueva Vizcaya, and 8,174 in Isabela. Among these there were certainly some 3,000 to 4,000 who were not naturales but Ilocano, Ibanag, or Yogad who, because of infiltration, intermarriage, and daily contact with the Gadang, learned the language of the aborigines.

The 1960 National census reported 6,086 Gaddang in the province of Isabela, 1,907 in what was then Mountain Province, and 5,299 in Nueva Vizcaya.[7] Mary Christine Abriza[8] wrote:

The Gaddang are found in northern Nueva Vizcaya, especially Bayombong, Solano, and Bagabag on the western bank of the Magat River, and Santiago, Angadanan, Cauayan, and Reina Mercedes on the Cagayan River for Christianed groups; and western Isabela, along the edges of Kalinga and Bontoc, in the towns of Antatet, Dalig, and the barrios of Gamu and Tumauini for the non-Christian communities. The 1960 census reports that there were 25,000 Gaddang, and that 10% or about 2,500 of these were non-Christian.

There is a rural barangay named Gaddang in the municipality of Aparri (formerly Faru) where the Cagayan reaches the sea.[9]

The evidence[10] is that Gaddang have occupied this vast protected valley, in proximity to Ibanag, Itawis, Yogad, Isneg, Malaweg, Bugkalot and Aeta peoples for many hundreds of years;[11] all these Cagayan Valley peoples share linguistic and cultural similarities, as well as much common history.

The International Fund for Agricultural Development published a study on Indigenous People's Issues in the Philippines in 2012;[12] they identified Gaddang in Isabela, Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, and Mountain Provinces.


Archeologic sites in Penablanca have established the presence of humans in riparian Northern Luzon as early as the Pleistocene era (as much as one million years ago).[13]

The Cagayan River and its tributaries on Luzon, Philippines. Prehistoric peoples spread along the rivers from the mouth in the north

Between 200 B.C. and 300 A.D., colonizing expeditions of Austronesian peoples arrived along the northern coasts of Luzon.[11] They found the Cagayan River watershed sparsely occupied by long-established Negrito Aeta (Atta) peoples, while the hills were already populated by the more-recently arrived Igorot (thought to originate from Taiwan as late as 500 B.C.[14]) The valleys of the Cagayan and its tributaries were covered with dense old-growth rain-forest with an extraordinarily diverse flora and fauna.[15]

Unlike either the Aeta hunter-gatherer or Igorot terrace-farmers, the Indo-Malay colonists practiced swidden farming, as well as finding success with primitive littoral and riparian economies - all of which demand low population density and frequent relocation as resources become exhaused. The social structure accompanying these practices rarely goes beyond an extended family group; it most often leads to suspicion of - or even hostility towards - outsiders and a stubborn resistance to change.

Continuing in-migration and a conservative reluctance to venture a different economic and social organization forced all these Indo-Malays to move frequently.[16] Over many generations they spread inland into valleys along the Cagayan River and its tributaries, pushing up into the foothills. Because the Gaddang occupy lands further from the mouth of the river than do most other Indo-Malay groups they may be considered likely to have been among the earliest to arrive.

The Indo-Malay arrived in separate small groups during this half-millennium, undoubtedly speaking varying dialects, while time and separation have indubitably promoted further linguistic divergence. Still, the descendants of this 500-year-long migration share elements of language, genetics, practices, and beliefs. Over the last century ethnologists have recorded versions of a shared "epic" depicting describing the arrival of the heroes Biwag and Malana[17] (in some versions from Sumatra), their adventures with magic bukarot and depictions of riverside life, among the Cagayan Valley populations including the Gaddang.

Other cultural similarities include familial collectivism, dearth of endogamous practices, and marked indifference to intergenerational conservation of assets. These behaviors tend to foster a high individual survival rate, but did relatively little to establish and maintain a strong, continuous cultural identity for each small group.

Historic recordsEdit

The initial recorded census of Filipinos, based on tribute collections from Luzon all the way to Mindinao, was conducted by the Spanish in 1591 (26 years after Legazpi established the Spanish colonial administration); it found nearly 630,000 native individuals.[18][19][20][21] Prior to Legazpi, the islands had been visited by Magellan's 1521 expedition, and the 1543 expedition of Villalobos. Estimates of the population upon Legazpi's arrival run from slightly more than one million[22] to nearly 1.7 million.[23] Even allowing for inefficiencies in census methodologies, claims of a 40%-70% decline in population due to disease and military action over a quarter-century makes it obvious that the advent of the Spanish (with their arms and diseases) was a cataclysmic event for all the islands.

There can be no doubt that the Spanish imposed a very different social and economic order on the Cagayan valley. The establishment of missions introduced concepts of land tenure beyond the usufruct system of temporary swidden patches in the forest. The Church and Crown demanded regular tributes of goods and service; they viewed the elusive lowlands natives as a resource. The evanescent hamlets and tiny social-groups got in the way of Spanish economic exploitation of the new acquisition. Trails through the forest became roads, towns and churches came into existence, new skills and social distinctions sprang into being in a single generation.

Spanish occupationEdit

Mapa del itinerario de la expedición de Miguel López de Legazpi en la Islas Filipinas (1560s)

The Gaddang enter written history in 1608 when the Dominican order founded the mission of St. Ferdinand in the Gaddang community of Abuatan, Bolo (now the rural barangay of Bangag, Ilagan City), nearly forty years after initial Spanish settlement in the Cagayan region (but only 100 miles away).[24] 1621 saw the Gaddang (or Irray) Revolt, led by Felipe Catabay and Gabriel Dayag.[25] The Gaddang Revolt was spurred by the Church/crown imposing tribute, as was Magalat's rebellion in Tuguegarao a generation earlier.

Records left by Spanish religious and military say the residents burned their village and the church, then removed to the foothills west of the Mallig River. A generation later, Gaddang returnees - at the invitation of Fray Pedro De Santo Tomas - reestablished the Bolo community, although the location was changed to the opposite side of the Cagayan river from the original village. The Gaddang Revolt effectively ended with the first mass held by the Agustinians on 12 April 1639 in Bayombong, Nueva Vizcaya, the supposed final-stronghold of the Gaddangs.

We are not alone when we suggest this began the distinction between the "Christianized" and "non-Christian" Gaddang.[26] Bolo-area Gaddang fled to seek refuge with mountain tribes who had consistently refused to abandon traditional beliefs and practices for Catholicism. The Igorots had killed Father Esteban Marin in 1601 and had subsequently waged a guerrilla resistance[27] after Captain Mateo de Aranada burned their villages in response. It is likely the mountain tribes accepted the Gaddang as allies against the Spanish. Although the Gaddang refused to grow rice in terraces (preferring to continue their swidden methods), the mountaineers did teach the Gaddang to build homes in the trees (and possibly to participate in head-hunting). Many Gaddang eventually returned to the valley, however; they accepted Spain and the Church in order to reclaim their lowlands-arming lifestyle.

The Catholic Church continued to forcefully proselytize in the Cagayan Valley, reaching the furthest 'uphill' point at Aritao (Ituy) by 1609.[28] The Ituy mission initially baptized Isinay and Ilongot, but thirty years later, services were being held for Gaddang in Bayombong. Initial church efforts were led by Augustinians, but they were succeeded by Dominican friars. The Spanish administration of Governor Dasmarinas during this period also sent several military-economic expeditions into the upper Magat valley to determine the value of the area's natural resources. By the 1747 census, the mission of Paniqui included 470 residents of Bayombong and 213 from Bagabag, all said to be Gaddang or Yogad. The substantial size of this Magat Valley Gaddang population - more than 170 kilometers from present day Ilagan City - argues for a settlement that had existed longer than the 120+ years since the Irray revolt.

The Gaddang are mentioned in Spanish records again in connection with the late-1700s rebellion of Dabo against the royal tobacco monopoly; Ilagan City was by then the tobacco industry's financing and warehousing center for the Valley.[29] Tobacco requires intense cultivation, and the Cagayan natives were often considered too primitive to provide the needed labor. Workers from Ilokos and Pangasinan were imported to do the work. Today, descendants of those 18th and 19th-century immigrants (notably the Ilokano) outnumber the descendants of the aboriginal Gaddang, Ibanag,and other Cagayan valley peoples by nearly seven-to-one.

Finally, a royal reform and re-organization of the Cagayan government and economy began in 1839 with the creation of Nueva Vizcaya province. In 1865, Isabela province was created from parts of Cagayan and Nueva Vizcaya. The new administrations further opened Cagayan Valley lands to large-scale agricultural concerns funded by Spanish, Chinese, and wealthy Central Luzon investors, attracting more workers from all over Luzon.

During the Spanish occupation, education was entirely a function of the Church, for the purpose of converting indigenes to Catholicism. The throne decreed instruction was to be in Spanish, but most friars found it easier to work in local tongues - with the dual effect of maintaining these dialects/languages while supressing Spanish literacy (and avenues to power). The Education Decree of 1863 changed this, requiring primary education (and requiring establishment of such schools in each municipality) and enforcing the use of Spanish language for instruction.[30] Implementation in remote Northern Luzon, however, was not yet in full effect by the revolution of 1898.

American occupationEdit

Gaddang and Ilokano Teachers in best native dress circa 1902

An early official reference to the Gaddang during the American Occupation directs the reader to "Igorot".[31] The writers said of the "non-Christian" mountain tribes:

Under the Igorot we may recognize various subgroup designations, such as Gaddang, Dadayag, or Mayoyao. These groups are not separated by tribal organization... since tribal organization does not exist among these people. but they are divided solely by slight differences of dialect.[32]

They also catalogue populations of the Cagayan lowlands; he theorizes about the origins of the inhabitants, saying:

Ilokano have also migrated still further south into the secluded valley of the upper Magat, which constitutes the beautiful but isolated province of Nueva Vizcaya. The bulk of the population here, however, differs very decidedly from nearly all of the Christian population of the rest of the Archipelago. It is made up of converts from two of the mountain Igorot tribes, who still have numerous pagan representative in this province and Isabela. These are the Isanay and Gaddang. In 1632 the Spaniards established a mission in this valley, named Ituy and led to the establishment of Aritao, Dupax, and Bambang, inhabited by the Christianized Isnay, and of Bayombong, Bagabag, and Ibung, inhabited by the Christianized Gaddang. The population, however, has not greatly multiplied, the remainder of the Christianized population being made up of Ilocano immigrants.[33]

The problematic but influential D. C. Worcester travelled extensively in Benguet, Bontoc, Isabela, and Nueva Viscaya, and reviewed early attempts to catalogue the indigenous peoples in The Non-Christian Tribes of Northern Luzon[34]; he collects "Calauas, Catanganes, Dadayags, Iraya, Kalibugan, Nabayuganes,and Yogades" into a single group of non-Christian "Kalingas" (an Ibanag term for 'wild men' - not the present ethnic group) with whom the lowland ("Christian") Gaddang are identified.

When the U.S. took the Philippines from the Spanish in 1899, they instituted what President McKinley termed a "benign administration".[35] Governance by the military energetically promoted improvements, many of which remain relevant today. The Army built roads, bridges, hospitals, and public buildings, improved irrigation and farm production, constructed and staffed schools on the U.S. model, and invited missionary organizations to establish colleges.[36] Most important, these improvements affected the entire country, not just primarily the environs of the capital. The infrastructure improvements made great changes in the lives of the "Christianized" Gaddang in Nueva Vizcaya and Isabela, although they assuredly had a much smaller effect on the Gaddang in the mountains.

In addition, the passage in 1916 of the Jones Act affected almost all U.S. efforts in the Philippines by making them focus on the near-term eventuality that Filipinos would be in charge. Food safety regulations and inspection, programs to eradicate malaria and hookworm, and public schools were particular American projects affecting provincial Northern Luzon.[37] A practical decision was made to conduct education in English.

During the first years of the 20th century, American administrators documented a number of cases throughout the islands of Filipino individuals being involved in the sale or purchase of Ifugao or Igorot women and girls to be domestic servants.[38] The regular sale of "non-Christian" Cordilleran and Negrito tribes to work as farm labor in Isabela and Nueva Viscaya was documented, and several Gaddang were listed as purchasers.[39][40] In 1903 the Senior Inspector of Constabulary for Isabela wrote to his superiors in Manila

"In this province a common practice to own slaves... Young boys and girls are bought at around 100 pesos, men (over) 30 years and old women cheaper. When bought (they) are generally christened and put to work on ranch or in house... Governor has bought three. Shall I investigate further?"[41]

While household slaves often were treated as lesser members of Filipino families, the situation was exacerbated by the sale of slaves to Chinese residents doing business in the Philippines. When Governor George Curry arrived in Isabela in 1904, he endeavored to enforce the Congressional Act prohibiting slavery in the Philippines, but complained the Commission provided no penalties. The practice was effectively discouraged by 1920, but was considered to be of long standing.

In 1908, the Mountain Province administrative district was formed, incorporating the municipality of Natonin, and its barangay (now the municipality) of Paracelis on the upper reaches of the Mallig River, as well the Ifugao municipality of Alfonso Lista up hill from San Mateo, Isabela. These areas were the home of the Ga'dang-speaking Irray and Baliwon peoples, mentioned in the early Census as "non-Christian" Gaddang. A particular effort of the new province's administration was the suppression of head-hunting.[36]

In 1901, the U. S. Army began to recruit counter-insurgency troops in the Philippines. A number of Gaddang took advantage of this opportunity, and joined the Philippine Scouts through the late 1930s. The Scouts were deployed at the Battle of Bataan,[42] so most were not in their homelands during the Japanese Occupation. One Gaddang 26th Cavalry private, Jose P. Tugab, is said to have fought in Bataan, escaped to China on a Japanese ship, was with Chiang Kai-shek at Chunking and US/Anzac forces in New Guinea, and returned to help free his own Philippine home.

Japanese occupationEdit

On December 10, 1941, elements of the Japanese 14th Army landed at Aparri, Cagayan and marched inland to take Tugueguarao, as hapless regular Philippine Army (PA) units surrendered or fled. The main Japanese force proceeded to Ilocos Norte along the coast, but they also deployed troops to administer the agriculturally-rich Cagayan Valley and facilitate Japanese expropriation of the food supplies. By late 1942 food and other commodities for native residents had become very scarce.[43]

Philippine Army escapees hid in the mountains or valley villages; many engaged in small-scale guerrilla actions against the Japanese. Americans Lt.Col. Martin Moses, & Lt.Col. Arthur Noble remained at large; in October 1942 they attempted to organize a significant co-ordinated Northern Luzon guerrilla action. Communications failed, and the attacks were unsuccessful.[44] The Japanese occupying forces in Cagayan Valley viewed this as a serious threat - they brought thousands of troops from the capture of Manila and Bataan to discourage resistance in a fierce and indiscriminate manner. "(Local) leaders were killed or captured, civilians were robbed, tortured, and massacred, their towns and barrios were destroyed."[44]

Still, in these hard times for North Luzon, many individual Japanese sought to befriend Filipino residents, and married local women. The Manila government of President Laurel encouraged collaboration with the Japanese.

Unsurrendered American Capt. Russell Volckmann re-organized the United States Army Forces in the Philippines, North Luzon (USA-FIP NL) in 1943, with a new focus on gathering intelligence. In the valleys, his native forces (including a number of Gaddang) were effective, even though they ran great risks,[45] and provided General MacArthur with important information about Japanese troop dispositions.

In 1945, the resistance also coordinated their activity with American invasion plans. Gaddang homelands actions in which local guerillas had a recognized impact include: flank actions at Balete Pass (now Dalton Pass) to open the main drive down the Magat valley, the destruction of bridges on the Bagabag-Bontoc Road which cut off supply for General Yamashita's forces in the mountains, and the drive from Cervantes to Mankayan to reduce the last Japanese stronghold at Kiangan.[46]


The Commonwealth of the Philippines was established as an independent nation by the Treaty of Manila on July 4, 1946. The population of the Philippines at independence was less than 18 million. By 2014, the Philippine Census passed 100 million, and is forecast to grow to 200 million in the next forty years,[47] even after losing large numbers of Filipino permanent emigrants to other countries.

Accelerated population growth has had two effects on lowland Gaddang communities: (a) enormous numbers of people have relocated to the relatively uncrowded Magat/Cagayan valleys from other parts of the country,[48] overwhelming original populations and regionally-available resources to accommodate and integrate them; while (b) educated Gaddang have continued to emigrate and become permanent residents of Canada, the US (especially in California, Washington, and the Midwest), the EU, and other countries in South-East Asia.

In October 1997, the national legislature passed the Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act; the National Commission on Indigenous Peoples (NCIP) recognizes the Gaddang as one of the protected groups.[49] Initially there was uncertainty about which peoples were included,[50] however in May 2014 the Gaddang were recognized as "an indigenous people with political structure" with a certification presented by NCIP commissioner Leonor Quintayo.[51] Starting in 2014 the process of 'delineation and titling the ancestral domains" will be undertaken; the claims are expected to "cover parts of the municipalities of Bambang, Bayombong, Bagabag, Solano, Diadi, Quezon and Villaverde".[52]


A hat from the Gaddang people, in display at the Honolulu Museum of Art

Ethnography & Linguistic ResearchEdit

Although consistently identifying the Gaddang as a distinct group, historic sources have done a poor job of recording their cultural practices, and material available on the language has been difficult to access.

Early Spanish records make little mention of customs of the Ibanagic and Igaddangic peoples, being almost entirely concerned by events and Government/Church efforts at replacing the chthonic cultures with a colonial model.[53] In the 1901 Philippine Commission Report states: "From Nueva Vizcaya the towns make the common statement that there are no papers preserved which relate to the period of the Spanish government, as they were all destroyed by the revolutionary government."[54] American occupation records are often more descriptive and more readily available, but most correspondents were also pursuing an agenda for change and consequently performed only cursory discovery of existing behaviors and historic customs.

Father Godfrey Lambrecht, rector of St. Mary's High School & College 1934-56, documented a number of linguistic and cultural behaviors in published articles.

The Gaddang language is identified in Ethnologue,[1] Glottolog,[55] and is incorporated into the Cagayan language group in the system of linguistic ethnologist Lawrence Reid.[56] The Dominican fathers assigned to Nueva Viscaya parishes produced a vocabulary in 1850 (transcribed by Pedro Sierra), and copied in 1919 for the library of the University of Santo Tomas by H. Otley Beyer.[57] In 1965 Estrella de Lara Calimag produced a word-list of more than 3,200 Gaddang words included in her dissertation at Columbia.[58][59] The Austronesian Basic Vocabulary Database lists translations of more than two hundred English terms on its Gaddang page.[60]

Highlands cultureEdit

Many popular writers on culture and tourism are enamoured of the more-exotic culture of the much less numerous highlands Gaddang (Ga'dang), and so pay little attention to the more-numerous "assimilated" Christianized families.[61] This follows from the narrative of an initial American assumption that lowland Gaddang originated with the highlands groups who subsequently became Christianized and then settled in established valley communities, acquiring the culture and customs of the Spanish, Chinese, and the other lowlands peoples.

Many of the writers also seem to distinguish these residents of Ifugao and Apayo from other mountain tribes primarily by their dress customs.[62] This has not been the case with Professor of Anthropology Ben J. Wallace (Dedman College, Southern Methodist University) who has lived among and written extensively about highland Gaddang since the 1960s.[63][64] His recent book (Weeds, Roads, and God, 2013) explores the transition these peoples are making into the modern rural Philippines.

Some traditional highlands Gaddang men practice a ritual similar to potlatch in order to bring prestige to their family. The tradition of taking heads for status and/or redressing a wrong appears to have ended after WWII, and taking heads from Japanese seems to have been less sarisfactory than from a personal enemy. Both men and women lead and participate in religious and social rituals.[65]

Class & EconomyEdit

Interviews in the mid-20th century identified a pair of Gaddang hereditary social classes: kammeranan and aripan[66]. These terms have long fallen into disuse, but comparing old parish records with landholdings in desirable locations in Bagabag, Bayombobg, and Solano indicates that some real effects of these class distinctions remains active. During the first decades of the American occupation, a major effort to eradicate slavery terminated the widespread practice of purchasing Igorot and other uplands children and youths for household and farm labor. Many of the individuals so acquired were accepted as members of the owner-families (although often with lesser status) among all ths Cagayan Valley peoples. Present-day Gaddang don't keep a memory of a dependent-class (although the strong tradition of bringing unfortunate relatives into a household places a reciprocal geas on beneficiaries to "earn their keep"). There does not seem to have been a Cagayan Valley analogue of the wealthy Central Luzon landowner class until the agricultural expansion of the very late nineteenth century; most of those wealthy Filipinos were of Ilokano or Chinese ancestry.

Records do show many Gaddang names as land and business owners. The Catholic church also offered career opportunities. Gaddang residents of Bayombong, Siudad na Santiago and Bagabag enthusiastically availed themselves of the expanded education opportunities available since the early 20th century, producing a number of doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers and other professionals by the mid-1930s. A number also enlisted in the U.S. military service as a career (the U.S. Army Philippine Scouts being considered far superior to the Philippine Army).

During the late 1990s, a UST student attempted an "ethnobotanical" study, interviewing Isabela Gaddang about economically-useful flora[67]; this included notes on etymologic history and folk-beliefs.

Status of women and minor childrenEdit

Lowlands Gaddang women regularly own and inherit property, they run businesses, pursue educational attainment, and often serve in public elected leadership roles. Well-known and celebrated[68] writer Edith Lopez Tiempo was born in Bayombong of Gaddang descent.

As mentioned above, there appear to be no prevailing rules of exogamy or endogamy which affect women's status or treatment. Both men and women acquire status by marriage, but there are acceptable pathways to prestige for single women in the Church, government, and business.


As has been documented with other Indo-Malay peoples,[69] Gaddang kin relationships are highly ramified and recognize a variety of prestige markers based on both personal accomplishment and obligation (frequently transcending generations).[70]

The Gaddang as a people have lacked a defined and organized political apparatus; in consequence their kinship-system is the means of ordering their world.[71] Although linguistically there appears to be no distinction beyond the second degree of consanguinity, tracing common lineal descent is important, and the ability to do so is traditionally admired and encouraged.[72]

Funerary practiceEdit

Modern Christian Gaddang are most commonly entombed in a public or private cemetery, following a Mass celebration and a procession (with a band). A wake is held for several days, allowing family members and friends travel-time to view the corpse. Mummification is not usually practiced.


The Gaddang language is related to Ibanag, Yogad, Itawis, Malaueg and others.[73] It is distinct in that it features phonemes (the "f","v","z" and "j" sounds) not present in many neighboring Philippine languages. There are also notable differences from other languages in the distinction between "r" and "l", and the "f" sound is a voiceless bilabial fricative, and not the fortified "p" sound common in many Philippine languages (but not much closer to the English voiceless labiodental fricative). The Spanish-derived "J" sound (not the "j") has become a plosive. Gaddang is noteworthy for common use of doubled consonants (e.g.: Gad-dang instead of Ga-dang).

Gaddang is declensionally, conjugationally and morphologically agglutinative, and is characterized by a dearth of positional/directional adpositional adjunct words. Temporal references are usually accomplished using agglutinated nouns or verbs.[74]

The use of Gaddang as a primary language has been declining.[75] In the first years of the American occupation, residents of Nueva Vizcaya used to schedule community events (eg: plays) in Ilokano and Gaddang on subsequent nights to ensure that everyone would enjoy them,[76] while teachers in the new American schools were confronted with:

Ilocanos, Gaddanes (sic), and Isanays; the latter coming from the Dupax section. There was no one language that all could understand. A few spoke, read, and wrote Spanish the others Spanish was as strange a tongue as English.[77]

Folk traditionsEdit

Main street of Solano, NV - circa 1904

Three hundred years of Spanish/Catholic cultural dominion have effectively eradicated any useful pre-colonial artistic or musical legacy of the lowland Cagayan peoples, including the Gaddang. Although the arts of the Cordillerans and the islanders south of Luzon are well-researched, even sixty years of strong national and academic interest has failed to uncover much tangible knowledge about pre-Spanish Cagayan valley traditions in music, plastic, or performing arts.[78] A review of Maria Lumicao-Lorca's 1984 book Gaddang Literature states that "documentation and research on minority languages and literatures of the Philippines is meager"[79] That understood, however, there does exist a considerable record of Gaddang interest and participation in Luzon-wide colonial traditions, examples being pandango si ilaw, cumparsasa, and pasyon.[65]

Some early 20th century travelers report the use of gangsa in Isabela as well as among Paracelis Gaddang.

(The article's author draws on nearly 40 years of close experience with Magat-valley Gaddang for the following:) Most Gaddang seem fond of riddles, proverbs and puns, and keep their dialect alive with traditional songs (including many harana composed in the early parts of the 20th century). Stories of ghosts and witchcraft are also popular, with the tellers most often relating them as if these were events in which they themselves had participated.

Finally, the Christian Gaddang retain a strong traditional belief in illness with a supernatural origin, and some families practice healing traditions which were documented by Father Godfrey Lambrecht, CICM, in Santiago during the 1950s.[80] These include the shamanistic practices of the mailan, both mahimunu (who function as augurs and intermediaries), and the rare maingal (sacrificers - whom Lambrecht identifies with ancestral head-hunters). The spirits that cause such diseases are carangat (cognates of which term are found in Yogad, Ibanag, and Ifugao): each is associated with a physical locality; they are not revenants; they are believed to cause fevers, but not abdominal distress. It is believd as well tha Caralua na pinatay (ghosts) may cause illness to punish those Gaddang who diverge from custom.

Indigenous religionEdit

The Gaddang believe in a variety of deities, including:

  • Nanolay - Is both creator of all things and a culture hero. In the latter role, he is a beneficent deity. Nanolay is described in myth as a fully benevolent deity, never inflicting pain or punishment on the people. He is responsible for the origin and development of the world.
  • Ofag - Nanolay's cousin.
  • Dasal - To whom the epic warriors Biwag and Malana prayed for strength and courage before going off to their final battle.
  • Bunag - The god of the earth.
  • Limat - The god of the sea.[81]


  1. ^ a b Gaddang at Ethnologue (21st ed., 2018)
  2. ^ Ga'dang at Ethnologue (21st ed., 2018)
  3. ^ "Population of the Philippine Islands in 1916",
  4. ^ "The Subgrouping of Philippine Languages", Teodoro Llamzon, Philippine Sociological Review, vol. 14, no. 3, 1966, pp. 145–150.
  5. ^ "Population of the Philippine Islands in 1916",
  6. ^ Lambrecht, Godfrey (1959). "The Gadang of Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya: Survivals of a Primitive Animistic Religion". Philippine Studies. 7 (2): 194–218. JSTOR 42719440.
  7. ^ 1960 Popualtion and Housing Report, Bureau of Census
  8. ^ Philippine Peoples: Gaddang
  9. ^
  10. ^ Maria Luisa Lumicao-Lora, Gaddang Literature, 1984, ISBN 971-10-0174-8
  11. ^ a b roy v aragon. "Province of Cagayan Website :: HISTORY". Retrieved 2013-04-28.
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^ Encyclopedia of the Peoples of Asia and Oceania, Barbara A. West (page 299) ISBN 978-0-8160-7109-8
  15. ^ Lawrence R. Heaney; "The Causes and Effects of Deforestation"; Chicago, 1998
  16. ^ Valdepeñas, Vicente B.; Bautista, Germelino M. (1974). "Philippine Prehistoric Economy". Philippine Studies. 22 (3/4): 280–296. JSTOR 42634874.
  17. ^ Cagayan. "Arts and Culture". Retrieved 2013-04-24.
  18. ^ The Ethnohistory of Northern Luzon,Keesing, F.M., 1962, Stanford University Press, Stanford CA
  19. ^ Carol R. Ember; Melvin Ember; Ian A. Skoggard, eds. (2005). History. Encyclopedia of Diasporas: Immigrant and Refugee Cultures around the World, Volume 1. Springer.
  20. ^ Stephanie Mawson, ‘Between Loyalty and Disobedience: The Limits of Spanish Domination in the Seventeenth Century Pacific’ (Univ. of Sydney M.Phil. thesis, 2014), appendix 3.
  21. ^
  22. ^ The Hispanization of the Philippines: Spanish Aims and Filipino Responses 1565-1700 (J. L. Phelan, 1959, University of Wisconsin, Madison)
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^ Weeds, Roads, and God: A Half-Century of Culture Change among the Philippine Ga'dang, Ben J. Wallace, Waveland Press, pages 7-15, ISBN 978-1-57766-787-2
  27. ^ Philippine History 1: Module Based Learning, R. & R. Ongsetto (2002 edition) ISBN 971-23-3449-X
  28. ^ "Diocese of Bayombong". Retrieved 2013-04-28.
  29. ^ Linda A. Newson: Conquest and Pestilence in the Early Spanish Philippines, 2009, ISBN 978-0-8248-3272-8
  30. ^
  31. ^ Index, Census of the Philippine Islands, Vol I; United States Bureau of the Census, Joseph Prentiss Sanger, Henry Gannett, Victor Hugo Olmsted, United States Philippine Commission (1899–1900)
  32. ^ Page 456, Census of the Philippine Islands, Vol I; United States Bureau of the Census, Joseph Prentiss Sanger, Henry Gannett, Victor Hugo Olmsted, United States Philippine Commission (1899–1900)
  33. ^ Page 449, Census of the Philippine Islands, Vol I; United States Bureau of the Census, Joseph Prentiss Sanger, Henry Gannett, Victor Hugo Olmsted, United States Philippine Commission (1899–1900)
  34. ^ Philippine Journal of Science, 1906, vol 1 #8
  35. ^ "Manifest Destiny, Continued: McKinley Defends U.S. Expansionism". 1903-01-22. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
  36. ^ a b Report of the Secretary of the Interior - Manila 1908, Report of the Philippine Commission to the Secretary of War 1908 Part 2, GPO
  37. ^ ; (NOBLE COLONIALS: AMERICANS AND FILIPINOS, 1901-1940, K.F. Kasperski, University of Florida 2012)
  38. ^ "Slavery and peonage in the Philippine Islands" Dean C. Worcester, Government of the Philippine Islands, Department of the Interior, 1913; pp 92-95, 104-105
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^ "Slavery and peonage in the Philippine Islands" Dean C. Worcester, Government of the Philippine Islands, Department of the Interior, 1913; pg 21
  42. ^ "PSHS". The Philippine Scouts. Retrieved 2013-04-26.
  43. ^ Diary of Rammon A. Alcarez,
  44. ^ a b The Intrepid Guerillas of Northern Luzon, Bernard Norling ISBN 978-0-8131-2118-5
  45. ^ Romulo Ludan,
  46. ^ Reports of General MacArthur, The Campaigns of MacArthur in the Pacific, Volume I United States Army
  47. ^ "Statistics - Population and Housing". NSCB. 1995-02-23. Archived from the original on 2012-07-04. Retrieved 2013-04-26.
  48. ^ Abayao, Leah. "Pilot Study on Data Disaggregation and Indigenous Peoples in Nueva Vizcaya, Philippines | Leah Abayao". Retrieved 2013-05-03.
  49. ^ "The Indigenous Peoples' Rights Act of 1997". Opapp.Gov.Ph. 2011-10-24. Archived from the original on 2012-12-29. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
  50. ^ "Philippines: Gaddang Tribe Eyes Awarding Of Ancestral Domain Claims - Indigenous Peoples Issues and Resources". 2011-11-11. Archived from the original on 2013-06-05. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
  51. ^
  52. ^ Missing or empty |title= (help)
  53. ^ William Henry Scott; Barangay: Sixteenth Century Philippines Culture and Society, page 3, Ateneo de Manila Press, 1994
  54. ^ Report of the Philippine Commission to the Secretary of War, 1901 Part 2, page 510
  55. ^ Hammarström, Harald; Forkel, Robert; Haspelmath, Martin, eds. (2017). "Gaddang people". Glottolog 3.0. Jena, Germany: Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History.
  56. ^
  57. ^
  58. ^
  59. ^
  60. ^
  61. ^
  62. ^
  63. ^ Wallace, BEN J. (1967). "Gaddang Rice Cultivation: A Ligature Between Man and Nature". Philippine Sociological Review. 15 (3/4): 114–122. JSTOR 23892149.
  64. ^ Wallace, Ben J. (2013). Weeds, Roads and God: A Half Century of Culture Change Among the Philippine Ga'dang. ISBN 1577667875.
  65. ^ a b "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2016-10-20. Retrieved 2016-03-07.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  66. ^ A Gaddang Word-List With English Equivalents; Estrella deLara Calimag, Columbia University (thesis), 1965
  67. ^
  68. ^
  69. ^ "The Javanese family". Retrieved 2013-04-26.
  70. ^ geripit (2010-04-30). "Abante Ka - No. 28 PartyList: Who is Romulo Lumauig - Family background". Retrieved 2013-05-03.
  71. ^, page 6
  72. ^ Weeds, Roads, and God: A Half-Century of Culture Change among the Philippine Ga'dang, Ben J. Wallace, Waveland Press, pages 7-15, ISBN 978-1-57766-787-2
  73. ^
  74. ^ Kodachi
  75. ^ "Language Attitudes of the Gaddang Speakers towards Gaddang, Ilocano, Tagalog and English", S. Asuncion, Zayda & Madrunio, Marilu, Studies in English Language Teaching (2017)
  76. ^ "The Philippine experiences of an American teacher; a narrative of work and travel in the Philippine Islands", William B. Freer, 1906,
  77. ^
  78. ^
  79. ^ Aguila, Reuel Molina (1988). "Reviewed work: Gaddang Literature, Maria Luisa Lumicao-Lora". Asian Folklore Studies. 47 (1): 173–175. doi:10.2307/1178263. JSTOR 1178263.
  80. ^ Godfrey Lambrecht (1960). "Anitu Rites Among the Gaddang". Philippine Studies. 8 (3): 584–602. JSTOR 42719586.
  81. ^ 'Lambrecht: Anitu Rites Among the Gaddang,