January 29, 2023

LUNA, Apayao – The province of Apayao celebrated its 25th foundation anniversary highlighting the gains of the province since its establishment as a separate province in 1995.
Gov. Eleanor Bulut-Begtang said the celebration of the silver anniversary of Apayao showcased the rich culture and tradition of its people and at the same time highlighted the developments and accomplishments of the province in the past 25 years.
Begtang said they also showcased the vision and dreams of the past leaders of the province like her father, the late Elias Bulut Sr., who initiated the separation of Apayao and Kalinga as two independent provinces through Republic Act 7878 passed on Feb. 14, 1995.
Apayao was the most underdeveloped part of the Cordillera back then and its separation from Kalinga as an independent province was seen by Bulut Sr. to spur the needed development in terms of infrastructure, livelihood, tourism, and other aspects.
The gains of the province were showcased through the different activities the agro industrial trade fair and tourism exhibits, the Apayao Food Fair, and the float and street dancing competitions.
Begtang said even as the province is still recovering from the damaging typhoons and monsoon rains in the last quarter of 2019, they pushed with the celebration to show to the residents and visitors what the province has become, particularly its development.
The I-Apayaos strived to rise again and rebuild their losses as they showcase their resiliency to disasters through the support of the provincial government, municipal government and barangay units, line government line agencies, and the private sector.
Rep. Elias Bulut Jr. reminisced what Apayao was 25 years ago and what it has become today, particularly during the height of insurgency.
He recalled how the military and other government forces liberated the province from the New Peoples’ Army then. With the leadership of his father, the Armed Forces of the Philippines battled the stronghold of the NPAs in the historic Marag Valley in Luna town and Paco Valley in the tri-boundaries of the towns of Pudtol, Flora, and Kabugao.
After several years of battle, the area was recovered and Marag Valley today is becoming one of the favorite tourist destinations with its Manacotta caves and river systems and the Dupag rock formations.
The foundation anniversary was celebrated through the Say-am Festival with the theme, “Apayao at 25: Treasuring our silver, soaring to our gold.” – Redjie M. Cawis