Available historical accounts show that Spanish missionaries first stepped in Apayao in 1608 where they established their foothold at the present day municipality of Pudtol. They found the Mandayas later known as Isnegs already in their organized communities. It was also on this year that Father Geronimo Molina started his missionary work in the province.
Towards the latter part of the 18th century, the Spaniards could only claim to have conquered the lower part of Apayao where they established their politico-militar commandancias. Evidence of this are the ruins of the Spanish churches at barangays Mataguisi and Emilia.
On June 18,1966, Republic Act No. 4695 was enacted creating four separate independent provinces namely: Benguet, Ifugao, Mt. Province and Kalinga-Apayao from the original Mountain Province.
When Executive Order No. 220 was signed and issued by Her Excellency President Corazon C. Aquino on July 15,1987, creating the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), the provinces of Ifugao and Kalinga-Apayao of Region 2 and Abra of Region 1 were included in the territorial coverage of the CAR.
In 1994, Congressman Elias K. Bulut filed a bill in congress for the possible separation of Kalinga and Apayao which on February 14, 1995, Republic Act No.7878 was signed into law. This Act provides for the conversion of the province of Kalinga-Apayao into regular province to be known as the provinces of Apayao and province of Kalinga, amending Republic Act No.4695.
As a new province, the Apayao Provincial Government has no buildings to house its offices. Hence, these offices are temporarily housed in privately owned houses in the poblacion of Kabugao, the capital town of Apayao.
The province has its own natural attractions not found in the rest of the region. It was the " Cordillera's Last Frontier for Nature Richness".
I. BRIEF OVERVIEW
The province of Apayao is located at the northernmost tip of the Luzon mainland. It is bounded on the east by the province of Cagayan, on the west by Ilocos Norte and Abra and on the south by Kalinga. The province's total area is 392,790 hectares, which is about 21 percent of the total land area of the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR).
It is made up of seven municipalities with 131 barangays and composed of the following municipalities, namely:
MUNICIPALITY LAND AREA (has.) NO. OF BARANGAYS
1. Calanasan 1,138.90 16
2. Conner 694.40 21
3. Flora 324.40 21
4. Kabugao 806.40 16
5. Luna 655.40 22
6. Pudtol 238.90 22
7. Sta. Marcela 70.00 15
The province is classified into upper and lower. Upper Apayao with 3 municipalities occupies 67.2% of the total land area and has a mountainous topography characterized by towering peaks, plateaus and intermittent patches of valleys. Lower Apayao on the other hand with 4 municipalities is 32.8% of the total land area is generally flat land with rolling mountains and plateaus.
The prevailing climate in the province falls under corona's Type III Classification. It is characterized by relatively dry and wet seasons, from November to April and wet during the rest of the year. Heaviest rain occurs during December to February while the month of May is the warmest.
The province has a total population of 74,720 for the year 1995. This marked an increased of 1.34% from the 1990 population of 74,004. The Isnegs are the dominant ethnic group in the area.
Ilocano is the dominant dialect spoken by almost half of the 26,812 households in the province followed by Isneg and Tagalog. The rest of the 25 dialects are spoken in small numbers of the household.
Updated records of the Department of Trade and Industry Provincial Office reveal that existing industries in the province are furniture, garment craft, food processing, gifts and house wares and agricultural support.