Early Iron-Working Among the Vanaws

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✍ Scott Magkachi Saboy

Vanaw elders like Gabriel Dalipog and Royce Lingbawan often tell me that Vanaw was once the center of weapons making in Kalinga which was, according to them, a major reason why other Kalinga groups at the time would go to Vanaw “tapnu makavjong kan jataku” (to forge a peace pact with us).

I suppose this notion of ancient arms production among the Vanaw finds support in one of the papers of the American anthropologist Fay-Cooper Cole  (8 August 1881 – 3 September 1961). 

“The finest headaxes and spear-points made in northwestern Luzon (Philippine Islands) come from Balbalasang and the other villages of the upper Buklok, or Saltan river, just at the boundary between the Tinguian and Kalinga tribes.” Thus wrote Cole in his 1922 article, “Philippine Forge Group” published by Chicago-based Field Museum of Natural History.

The illustration below which accompanies the article shows Vanaw folks working on their forge in Inallangan, Balbalasang.

Iron-working iVanaws at Inallangan, Balbalasang (Cole 1922, i)

For a full description of how iVanaws of old operated this forge, refer to Cole’s article below:

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