Kabayan, long before it was known or named, was a thickly forested and mountainous settlement. The whole place was completely covered with pine trees, higher up with virgin oak, and much higher, by the grassy height of Mount Pulag. Tall grasses such as the talnag, ba-ay, kaybuan and duakan covered the lower places and still abound in the area today. Settlements have been named after these grasses. A wild variety of gabi, called badday, also grew in the place. Early settlers called the place “Kaba-ayan” after an abundant root crop with strong vines on which they subsisted.
Kabayan is located along the Agno River, most easternly of Benguet Province and withing the towering presence of Mount Pulag. It is bounded on the east by barrios Tawañgen, Lusod and Awing which adjoin the municipality of Hungduan in Ifugao Province; to the south by barrios Ashaoay and Bashoy which adjoin the municipalities of Bokod; to the southeast by the mountain chain of Nueva Vizcaya; to the west by the barrios Batan and Pacso which adjoin the municipalities of Atok and Kibuñgan; and to the north by barrios Pacso, Gusaran and Sad-day which adjoin the municipality of Buguias.
Registered under the Spanish military district of Benguet with headquarters at La Trinidad in 1846, Kabayan however was known to the Spanish colonizers much earlier and is constantly named in Spanish archives as a large town. The town has the distinction, among others, of being among the first school sites under both the Spanish and American administrators.
As with its family clusters, Kabayab may be divided into the northeast barrios of Bad-day, Tawañgen and Lusod where are found the kalañgoya or kal-kali of its kadasan district; the Central Agno river settlements of Pacso, Gusaran, Anshokey, Kabajan, Dutab and Duacan; the foot-of-Pulag settlements of Bashoy and Eddet; and the upper elevation settlements of Batan and Ashaoay, all of which compose the i-badoy district of kulos ni shanum. Families of the Batan-Ashaoay group have close linkages with those of the northern barrios of Bokod and the early i-runtog settlements of Atok and Tublay.
Vague, if at all, distinctions are made in the not too distant past of the boundaries of Kabayan, The generalkalañgoya area from Ahin and Tinek in present Hungduan, to Amlimay and Loo in Buguias, to Balinit, Sabadak, Debeng and Palansa in Bokod, even to Kayapa and Imogen in Nueva Vizcaya were frequented by Kabayan families. So too were the i-papsaw sites of Shekdan, Ambekdew, Antamok, Shalupirip and the i-runtogsettlements of Tabeyo, Shontog, Shatakan and Shuyo. Family ties extend over the same distances to date.
Into the central valley, some 285,400 square kilometers in area, came migrants from the south(Badoy), east (Tinek, Tawañgen, Kalaykay), and the north (Loo, Ahin, Sabañgan) to meet, marry and settle and establish the “lead” families of Kabayan. Original to the area within living memory, extensively intermarried, and main participants in the writing of the town history, these families today bare the names of Daoal, Comising, Merino, Budkey, Fermin, Sinong, Kamora, Cosalan, Aroco, Bejar, Baucas, Tomilas, Suaya. Dalis, Gondales, Dictag, Toctocan, Sabo, Marquez, Boro. There are many others.
Remembered among the earliest ancestors of the Kabayan people are the so-called ampasit and talao who intermarry with original settlers and whose descendants are only generally identified.
MARRIAGE CUSTOMS AND TRADITIONS
Foremost among the marriage customs and traditions of Kabayan are the kaising and kalon.
There are generally two kinds of kaising, that which results from the attempt of parents to marry off children of the same social strata, baknang, and that which attempts to erase ill feeling that fellow settlement of disputes.
The kaising is a long term engagement that can begin even before a child is born. It is enforced with the butchering of an animal or animals by the parent of the male child. Animals could be carabaos, cows or horses. Both children are early told their responsibilities toward this arrangement. Pigs are the animals butchered during the ngilin or marriage ceremonies.
Kalon may likewise be without the consent of the parties to be married but is generally done immediately preceding the ngilin or when both partners are of marriageable age. A carabaos is normally butchered during the occasion. Cows and horses are likewise made available. The ngilin in this instance normally follows the following evening of the kalon.
Taboos during the ngilin are strictly observed to ensure a long and prosperous marriage. Bile of all pigs butchered is “read” by the mambunong and only after a propitious omen is “read” does the slaughter of pigs end. Care is taken to avoid any dropping of objects and the stones converted into cooking stoves are well chosen to avoid any bursting.Failure to fulfill kaising arrangements entails the return by the non-contracting party of the animals butchered during the kaising.