Mountain Province

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sMountain Province is a landlocked province of the Philippines in the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzon. Its capital is Bontoc.

Mountain Province was formerly referred to as Mountain in some foreign references. The name is usually shortened by locals to Mt. Province. The province was named so for being in the Cordillera Central mountain range found in the upper realms of Luzon island.

Mountain Province was also the name of the historical province that included most of the current Cordillera provinces. This old province was established by the Philippine Commission in 1908,[1][2][3] and was later split in 1966 into Mountain Province, Benguet, Kalinga-Apayao and Ifugao.[4][5][6]

The province is also known for its mummy caves, which contain naturally mummified bodies, and for its hanging coffins.[4]


Spanish period

The area of the Cordillera mountains proved difficult to control by the Spaniards. During the long Spanish rule, not much was done to bring the province under control. From 1566 to 1665, they sent expeditions to conquer the land but the rugged terrain and hostile indigenous population at the time were major obstacles to complete subjugation.[7] The first serious effort to subjugate them was made in 1785 when soldiers were sent from Cagayan to put down a revolt of the Kalingas. A famous Spanish explorer, Guillermo Galvez, conducted more than 40 forays to the mountainous region.[8]

Formerly called La Montañosa by the Spanish colonizers due to its mountainous terrain,[4][9] the area was subdivided into 6 comandancias politico-militar.[10]

The 6 former Comandancias Politico-Militar of La Montañosa [10]
Comandancia Year established Comandancia Year established
Benguet 1846 Amburayan 1889
Lepanto 1852 Kayapa 1891
Bontoc 1859 Cabugaoan 1891

American period

On August 19, 1908, during the American rule, the Philippine Commission enacted Act No. 1876, which organized the entire area of the Cordilleras into one large province, named Mountain Province.[1][3][4][11]

The first governor was Samuel Cane, and the town of Bontoc was made the capital. It was originally composed of the sub-provinces of Amburayan, Apayao, Benguet, Lepanto-Bontoc, Ifugao and Kalinga.[3][9]

Amburayan was later abolished in 1920 and its corresponding territories were transferred to the provinces of Ilocos Sur and La Union. Lepanto was also reduced in size and its towns were integrated into the sub-provinces of Bontoc and Benguet, and to the province of Ilocos Sur.[7][12] [13]

Historical sub-provinces of Mountain Province under Act No. 1876[1][3][10][13]
Sub-province Abolished? Notes
Amburayan Yes, in 1920 Territories annexed to Ilocos Sur and La Union[3][13]
Apayao No
Benguet No Eastern towns annexed to Ilocos Sur and La Union in 1920[13]
Ifugao No
Kalinga No
Lepanto-Bontoc Yes, in 1920 Territories annexed to Ilocos Sur, Bontoc and Benguet[3][13]

Post-war era

Effective on April 7, 1967, Republic Act No. 4695 abolished the old Mountain Province, converting its sub-provinces into 4 independent provinces: Benguet, Ifugao, Kalinga-Apayao and Mountain Province (corresponding to the former Bontoc sub-province).[4][6][9] On June 15, 1987, the Cordillera Administrative Region was established upon the issuance of Executive Order 220 by then-President Corazon Aquino, and Mountain Province was made one of its provinces.[7][14][15]


The Chico River with the capital town of Bontoc in the background

Mountain Province covers a total area of 2,157.38 square kilometres (832.97 sq mi) occupying the central section of the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzon. The province is bordered on the north by Kalinga, south by Ifugao, southwest by Benguet, west by Ilocos Sur, and northwest by Abra.The province is bordered on the north by Kalinga, south by Ifugao, southwest by Benguet, west by Ilocos Sur, and northwest by Abra.

Situated within the Cordillera Central, Mountain Province is 83% mountainous while 17% make up hills and levels. The province has many rivers, waterfalls, mountains, and caves. The central and western areas of the province are characterized by rugged mountains and steep cliffs, while the eastern portion has generally sloping terrain.[4][9]

Administrative divisions

Mountain Province comprises ten municipalities, all encompassed by a lone legislative district.

Ph fil mountain province.png
Municipality Population Area Density (2015) Barangay
(2010) ±% p.a. km2 sq mi /km2 /sq mi
Barlig 5,838 −3.59% 228.64 88.28 21 54 11
Bauko 30,172 +0.56% 153.00 59.07 200 520 22
Besao 7,818 −1.98% 173.62 67.04 41 110 14
Bontoc 23,980 +0.52% 396.10 152.94 62 160 16
Natonin 10,048 +0.42% 252.00 97.30 41 110 11
Paracelis 26,476 +1.15% 570.16 220.14 49 130 9
Sabangan 8,741 +1.22% 72.04 27.81 130 340 15
Sadanga 9,181 −0.81% 83.30 32.16 110 280 8
Sagada 11,244 −0.20% 83.32 32.17 130 340 19
Tadian 20,689 −1.23% 145.20 56.06 130 340 19
Total 154,590 +0.05% 2,157.38 832.97 72 190 144


Mountain Province has 144 barangays comprising its 10 municipalities.

As of 2010, the most populous barangay in the province is Poblacion in the municipality of Paracelis, with a total of 5,687 inhabitants. Balintaugan in the municipality of Bauko has the least population with only 144.


The population of Mountain Province in the 2015 census was 154,590 people,  with a density of 72 inhabitants per square kilometre or 190 inhabitants per square mile.

Based on the 2000 census survey, Kankana-ey comprised 51.8% (72,694) of the total provincial population of 140,339. Balangao/Baliwon came in second at 13.46% (18,886), and Bontoc at 12.28% (17,234). Other ethnicities were the Ilocano at 4.97% (6,968), Applai at 2.1% (2,947), Binontok at 1.79% (2,510), and Kalinga at 1.76% (2,468).[16]


An Anglican church in Sagada

Anglicanism predominates in the province with approximately 60% adherence with the other religions such as Roman Catholicism, Seventh-Day Adventist Church, Iglesia Filipina Indepiendente, Iglesia ni Cristo and Free Believers in Christ Fellowship.

Mountain Province is the only predominantly Protestant province in the Philippines.


The province has several rice terraces in seven of its different towns:[9]

  • Ambasing Rice Terraces — Sagada
  • Bangaan Rice Terraces — Sagada
  • Bangen Rice Terraces — Bauko
  • Barlig Rice Terraces — Barlig
  • Bayyo Rice Terraces — Bontoc
  • Besao Rice Terraces — Besao
  • Bontoc Poblacion Rice Terraces — Bontoc
  • Bucas Rice Terraces — Besao
  • Bulongan Rice Terraces — Sagada
  • Dalican Rice Terraces — Bontoc
  • Fidelisan Rice Terraces — Sagada
  • Focong Rice Terraces — Sadanga
  • Kapayawan Rice Terraces — Bauko
  • Kiltepan Rice Terraces — Sagada
  • Maligcong Rice Terraces — Bontoc
  • Natonin Rice Terraces — Natonin
  • Sadanga Rice Terraces — Sadanga
  • Suyo Rice Terraces — Sagada
  • Tanulong Rice Terraces — Sagada

The mountainous province also offers excellent mountain climbing experiences with two of its mountains among the top 10 highest points in the Philippines:

  • Mount Kalawitan, 2,714+msl - Sabangan
  • Mount Amuyao or Mount Finaroy, 2,702+msl - Barlig


List of former governors

  • 2001–2004 — Sario M. Malinias
  • 2004–2010 — Maximo B. Dalog
  • 2010–2016 — Leonard G. Mayaen
  • 2016–present — Bonifacio C. Lacwasan Jr.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 (1908) Seventh Annual Report of the Secretary of the Interior to the Philippine Commission for the Fiscal Year Ended June 30, 1908 (Digitized by Google on 23 Nov 2005 (Original file from the University of Michigan)), Manila: U.S. Government Printing Office, 17–19. “([[[:Template:Google books]] Google Books link])” 
  2. (1934) [[[:Template:Google books]] Taming Philippine Headhunters: A Study of Government and of Cultural Change in Northern Luzon]. Stanford University Press. ISBN 9780804721103. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 (2008) [[[:Template:Google books]] 1908 :The Way it Really was : Historical Journal for the UP Centennial, 1908-2008]. Diliman, Quezon City: University of the Philippines Press. ISBN 9789715425803. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 (1995) "The Provinces", [[[:Template:Google books]] Fast Facts about Philippine Provinces], The 2000 Millenium, Makati, Metro Manila: Tahanan Books, 108–109. ISBN 971-630-037-9. 
  5. Natural Attractions found in Atok. Province of Benguet.
  6. 6.0 6.1 Republic Act No. 4695: An Act Creating the Provinces of Benguet, Mountain Province, Ifugao and Kalinga-Apayao.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 Mt. Province. The Ultimate Travel Guide for Tourists. Department of Tourism.
  8. Area of Coverage: The Region.
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 Facts & Figures: Mountain Province.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Benguet History. “Benguet was once part of Mountain Province.”
  11. Act No. 1876 (18 August 1908).
  12. (1920) [[[:Template:Google books]] Census of the Philippine Islands Taken Under the Direction of the Philippine Legislature in the Year 1918, Volume 1]. Bureau of printing. 
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 13.4 Cordillera Administrative Region History (14 August 2009).
  14. Regional Profile: Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
  15. The Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
  16. Mountain Province – Home of the Kankanais; Table 4. Household Population by Ethnicity and Sex: Mountain Province, 2000 (6 February 2002).