[Updated] Impasugong proposed as Bukidnon’s tribal capital

MALAYBALAY CITY (Bukidnon News Dispatch/25 September) – Impasugong, Bukidnon’s
134-year old town has been proposed to be declared as the tribal
capital of the province.

Provincial Board member Nemesio Beltran Jr. said the proposal is now
in the hands of four committees of the board.

Established in 1877, Impasugong has been able to preserve its cultural
heritage and ethnic identity, Beltran added.

According to Mindanao historian Rudy B. Rodil, Impasugong is one of
only four Bukidnon towns where the majority of the inhabitants are
Lumads or indigenous peoples. Seven other towns in Mindanao are also
predominantly Lumads.Backed by eight of the 14 members of the provincial board, the
proposal was triggered by Beltran’s participation in the 134th
foundation anniversary of the town which started out as a Spanish
settlement.

Beltran said that as of Wednesday last week it was already in the
agenda of the hearings being conducted by the committees on indigenous
peoples, tourism, laws, and rules and privileges.

He noted in his resolution that the town is the only one in Bukidnon
where the Higaonon tribe lives in all 13 barangays and “religiously
practice their tribal customs and traditions,” including rituals and
indigenous justice system.

Higaonon is one of the province’s seven tribes, the others being
Bukidnon, Manobo, Talaandig, Matigsalug, Tigwahanon and Umayamnon.

Impasugong is a Higaonon term which means “current that flows upstream.”

But Beltran admitted to Bukidnon News that aside from the preservation
of its cultural heritage, the proposed declaration of Impasugong as a
tribal capital is aimed to boost tourism.

Along with Malaybalay City, Impasugong, dubbed the “home of the
country’s finest cowboys,” was the main location of the 2009 movie
“Love Me Again” which starred Angel Locsin and Piolo Pascual.

There are nine commercial cattle farms in the area holding 1,143 heads
in all. The local government unit also manages a communal ranch in a
649-hectare land that holds 300 heads of cattle.

Impasugong hosts the country’s oldest reforestation project, a
1000-hectare site in Barangay Impalutao which became a major location
of the movie “Bagong Buwan” starring Cesar Montano.

Atugan Bridge, a 214-foot high structure that spans a canyon that cuts
across a portion of the national highway in the town, is reputed to be
the second highest bridge in Asia. (Walter I. Balane/Bukidnon News)

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