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Apostolic Vicariate of Bontoc-Lagawe

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Apostolic Vicariate of Bontoc-Lagawe
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In a land area of 4,615.1 square kilometers, the diocesan territory covers the civil provinces of Mountain Province and Ifugao.

Mountain Province is a landlocked province of the Philippines in the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzon. Its capital is Bontoc and borders, clockwise from the south, Ifugao, Benguet, Ilocos Sur, Abra, Kalinga, and Isabela.

Ifugao is a landlocked province of the Philippines in the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzon. The province of Ifugao is located in a mountainous region characterized by rugged terrain, river valleys, and massive forests. Its capital is Lagawe and borders Benguet to the west, Mountain Province to the north, Isabela to the east, and Nueva Vizcaya to the south.


As of year end 2017 the total population of the vicariate is 392,270 of which 61.60 percent are Catholics.

The Cordillera region of Northern Philippines is the ancestral domain of the Igorots. It comprises the six provinces of Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Mountain Province, plus the lone city of Baguio. The Igorots are grouped into six ethno-linguistic groups, the Bontoc, Ibaloi, Ifugao, Isneg (or Apayao), Kalinga, and the Kankana-ey. Below are brief descriptions of these Igorot ethnic groups.

The Bontocs live on the banks of the Chico River. They were once well-known because of their headhunting practices in the olden days but not today. In the previous time, the most distinctive body decoration of the Igorot was the tattoo. The Bontoc describe three types of tattoos: The chak-lag, the tattooed chest of the head taker; pong-o, the tattooed arms of men and women; and fa-ték, for all other tattoos of both sexes. Women were tattooed on the arms only.

Ifugao are the majority of the province population with them compromising about 67.9% of the population. Other ethnic groups living in the province are the Ilocanos, Ikalahan, Ayungan and Kankana-ey.


People of Bontoc speak Bontoc dialect, Kankanai and Ilocano. Other dialects spoken by the immigrants are Pangalatok, Cuyonan, and other speaking their own dialect (Sadanga, Guinaang Bontoc, Bayyu).

The Ifugao have a language that changes from village to village. It is of Malayo-Polynesian derivation. Dialect and change of pronunciation can make it a real challenge to sustain a conversation between neighboring villagers. Because of these differences, Tuwali is used by the Ifugaos as the Ifugao language to enable themselves to understand each other. They can also speak dialect like Ilokano and Tagalog. Many Ifugaos, especially in Lagawe, Kiangan, Mayoyao, Aguinaldo and Banaue, are fluent in English as well.


Suffragan of Nueva Segovia
Created: Aug. 6, 1992
Erected: Nov. 27, 1992
Coverage: Civil provinces of Mountain Province and Ifugao
Titular: Immaculate Heart of Mary, Aug. 22

The new Apostolic Vicariate of Bontoc-Lagawe covers the two civil provinces of Ifugao and the Mountain Province. It is bounded on the north by Kalinga- Apayao, on the east by Isabela, on the west by Ilocos Sur, and on the south by Nueva Vizcaya. It is one among three vicariates created on July 6, 1992, dividing the old Vicariate of the Mountain Provinces into three: the Vicariates of Baguio, Tabuk and Bontoc-Lagawe.

The mainstream of the populace belongs to ethno-linguistic groups that have inhabited the central and southwestern parts of the Cordillera region for centuries. This is made up of the Bontoks, Kankanaeys and the Allay Gaddangs of the Mountain Province, and the Ayangans, Tuwalis and the Kalanguyas of Ifugao. Although all these groups are classified under the common name of Igorot, each has a distinct culture and a distinct language. Much of their cultural traditions are still intact. Basic values such as family and community are still very highly esteemed.

A majority of the people are involved in subsistence agriculture that makes use mostly of terrace planting. Despite the area's wealth in natural resources the two provinces are economically depressed and remain neglected in basic social services and infrastructure.

Politically, Ifugao is comprised of 11 municipalities while the Mountain Province is made up of 10. The vicariate therefore covers a total of 21 municipalities occupying a land area of 4,757.7 square kilometers.

The vicariate reaches out to the faithful through 21 mission stations spread out in both provinces. The area is divided into two ecclesiastical districts, that of Ifugao and that of the Mountain Province.


Ifugao was formerly a part of the old Mountain Province. It was created as an independent province on June 18, 1966 by virtue of Republic Act No. 4695, otherwise known as the "Division Law of Mountain Province". Under this law, Mountain Province was divided into four (4) provinces namely: Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga-Apayao and Mountain Province.

The (new) Mountain Province is a former sub-province - Bontoc - of the (old) Mountain Province.

During the Spanish Occupation, as early as 1663, the Spaniards tried but failed to conquer the mountain region because of the ruggedness of the terrain as well as the hostility of the Igorot tribes. However, the Spaniards were able to place the different parts of the mountain region into commandancia military-politicos. The unrelenting tribes of Bontoc, Western Ifugao and Southern Kalinga were placed in one commandancia.

Under the Americans, the (old) Mountain Province became a province in 1908. It was made up of the Sub-provinces of Lepanto-Bontoc, Amburayan, Ifugao, Kalinga, Benguet and Apayao. Later, Amburayan and Lepanto were integrated with the Sub-provinces of Bontoc and Benguet leaving the five sub-provinces known as BIBAK - Benguet, Ifugao, Bontoc, Apayao, Kalinga.

Republic Act No. 4695 of June 18, 1966 divided the (old) Mountain Province into 4 provinces namely: Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga-Apayao and (new) Mountain Province - formerly the sub-province of Bontoc. With Executive Order 220, issued by President Corazon Aquino, Cordillera Administrative Region was created with Mt. Province as one of its 6 provinces.

A Philippine province is headed by a Governor. A Provincial Council (Sangguniang Panlalawigan) is composed of a Vice Governor (Presiding Officer) and Provincial Board Members. A Philippine city or municipality is headed by a Mayor. A City Council (Sangguniang Panlungsod) or Municipal Council (Sangguniang Bayan) is composed of a Vice Mayor (Presiding Officer) and City or Municipal Councilors. A barangay is headed by a Barangay Captain, who is also the presiding officer of the barangay council. The Barangay Council is composed of seven (7) Barangay Kagawads. A similar unit called a Youth Council (Sangguniang Kabataan) is headed by an SK Chairperson with a similar rank to a Barangay Captain. The council is composed of SK Members.

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