TRACES OF THE GADDANGS
Ethnologists classify the Ibanags, Yogads, Itawis and Gaddangs as the “naturales” of Cauayan. In the same manner, the Ilocanos are the naturals of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Abra.
The Ibanags are found all over Isabela but they are mostly found in the northern half of the province more particularly in the municipalities of San Pablo, Sta. Maria, Cabagan, Tumauini,Ilagan and Magsaysay. Most of the Yogads are found in the town of Echague. The Gaddangshowever are found in the municipalities of Angadanan, aurora, Gamu, Reina Mercedes, Santiago,Tumauini and Cauayan.
The GADDANGS are divided into two types, the Pagans and the Christian Gaddangs. The life of the Gaddangs from birth to death is a series of rituals and offering of sacrifices to their Gods and Goddesses.
The Pagan Gaddangs believe in the existence of supernatural being’s power. They believe that they are surrounded by these beings like the “CARAGAT”, the “MAINGALS” (ghost deities) and the “CARALUA NA PINATAY” (ghost). Fear of these Gods affects their every behavior, guides their way and every action and governs their every existence.
Although majority of the Gaddang and other naturals are now Christianized, there still exist the ancient custom of the Gaddang called “GAGANGAY NA MANANANACAMIRA”. To the Gaddangs, supernatural beings are like human beings. They have their own families, they need food, clothing, drinks and the like. Theirs is a kind of body which is invisible and impaliable or spiritual. They marry but in a spiritual manner. Their offerings inherit their spiritual qualities. They dwell in a fixed adobe, they cannot be seen but they can sometimes be heard. They can be touch by men but they cannot be felt. Then they eat, drink chew or smoke, they eat the “soul” of the pig or chicken and drink the “soul” of the liquor, chew the “soul” of the betel nut and smoke the “soul” of the tobacco and dress themselves with the “soul” of the cloth to cover their spiritual body. They are not only humanlike but they are also Gaddang like, since they are represented as having the same desire and taste, joys and sorrows as the Gaddangs. (Reprinted from Cagayan Valley Today, February 1977 issue)
There are various conflicting versions of the ethological curiosity, the pockets of Gaddangs inCauayan who developed their dialects, customs and tribal clannishness to the exclusion of neighboring towns such as the Ibanags of Gamu and Ilagan and the Yogads of Echague and theItawis in some section of Isabela. Gaddangs are ethologically associated with those of NuevaVizcaya while the Itawis are of Western Cagayan and Isabela and lastly, the Ibanags are of Cagayan origin.
Based on Church records, sometimes in 1622 a missionary priest Father Pedro de Sto. Tomas assigned to Calanusian in his eagerness to enlarge his flocks sailed up the Magat River until he reached that narrow valley now occupied by Solano and Bayombong people by the originalGaddangs. This tribe was distinctly differ from the native Kalingas and Igorots who inhabited the surrounding mountains who were worrying against the low-landers as early as that time.
Offering wider lands, richer forest and comparative place, the missionary friar convinced 300 families of Gaddangs of Nueva Vizcaya to return with him to Calanusian to settle in the lush valley of the Cagayan River and this the original Gaddangs of Cauayan are established here about, developing their own peculiar dialects, retaining their distinct customs and ways of life to the exclusion of their neighbors ways. Similarly, other priest and Siffu River and brought down Itawissettlers down, stream established pocket of settlement along the Cagayan River. Of course, theIbanags from downstream lured by the province better life upstream sailed up too, and secure themselves or intermingle with the inhabitants along the river deltas and remain to develop their ethnic peculiarities even up to the recent times.
The town was originally inhabited by a handful of Gaddang, Itawis and Ibanags but with the passing of the years in many settlers of different ethnic groupings migrated to the place. Today, the town can be truly said as a melting pot. (Reprinted from the “Town Fiesta Souvenir Program of Cauayan, 1985).