Farmers praise Apo Anno for bountyBy Maurice Malanes
Inquirer Northern Luzon
Carrots, cabbages and potatoes have been growing abundantly in a village in Buguias town, giving Kankanaey people a steady income.
They credit their good fortune not only to good farming practices but also to a revered Igorot ancestor, the mummified Apo Anno, whose remains were returned to the community after these were first seen in a carnival in 1922.
“I saw for myself the top-quality carrots the villagers there just harvested,” said Felix Nayusan, who supervises the Benguet Museum.
Since 2001, Buguias has been producing 500,000 tons of cabbage, 300,000 tons of potatoes, 200,000 tons of chayote and 100,000 tons of carrots a month, records from the provincial government showed.
Residents of Sitio (sub-village) Nabalicong in Barangay (village) Natubleng are convinced the harvests are blessings from Apo Anno, Nayusan said.
Anno was a Kankanaey hunter, who was a son of Tugtugaka, a chieftain and hunter of Nabalicong, and Cuyapon, who was believed to be a fairy and a guardian of forest animals.
As a revered leader of his community, Anno had his body tattooed to indicate his prominent status.
Nayusan said the community had grieved for years when the mummified body was stolen in 1918. Anno’s descendants believed that the theft displeased the spirits, who showed their displeasure by bringing heavy rains and landslides to the Cordillera.
At a Manila carnival in 1922, the mummy resurfaced briefly but was not seen again until 1984 when it was displayed at an antique shop and was taken to the custody of the National Museum.
Benguet elders, who were accompanied by local officials to the museum in Manila, confirmed the mummy’s identity from its tattoos. In May 1999, they accompanied the mummy home.
A three-day feast was held in Apo Anno’s honor before the mummy was entombed in a cave in Nabalicong. A rainbow appeared in the sky at the culmination of the event—an auspicious sign, according to the elders.
“Since the return of Apo Anno, the community folk of Nabalicong and its neighboring villages have noted bountiful harvests and good income,” Nayusan said.