Ten minutes past five o’clock in the afternoon, finally, a driver accepted my ride request. I needed to be in Pasay city at 7 pm, but with the traffic, I may be late. Manic Monday. Right before reaching a major thoroughfare, the sky turned gray and poured. Great, I really won’t make it in time. While at an intersection, I thought of asking the driver to just reroute back home and cancel the trip. Called up the organizer but instead of canceling, asked if I can meet them along EDSA to save time. After roughly three hours in metro traffic, we’re finally off to Echague, Isabela.
‘Twas my first time in the province, more so in the town of Echague. Also the first time to have heard of the smallest minority ethnic group in the country, the Yogad tribe.
According to folklore, they were migrants from south of Philippines who settled in the region. Then during the Spanish occupation, they could not be outwitted. The Spaniards then decided to give them entitlement as, the alta Sociodad or god-like which coined their ethnic group name as YOGAD.
Such a fascinating story but never told.
Roughly two years later today, Yogad culture is in the limelight. As the town showcased their story at the recent Bambanti Festival. From the booth to the attire of the Festival King and Queen. Even the town’s piece during the dance showdown was inspired by a Yogad story, the legend of Capitan Tercero. Which made them the second overall champion this year.
More to Discover
As per the legend, Capitan Tercero was born with extraordinary strength and power. Eventually, he was considered as the town hero. Capitan Tercero defended Camarag, before being named after Rafael de Echague y Bermingham in 1752, when intruders from the Cordilleras tried to invade the town. He did set up bait to trick the attackers. Then suddenly making the kill with his Kampilan.
In retrospect, I’m glad I did not cancel my first trip to Isabela. It even made me comfortable riding the midnight bus even solo. Though I haven’t been back in Echgue proper during my last two visits, I’d be back to learn more about the Yogad tribe because they are not forgotten.
References: From printed materials at the MUNICIPAL CULTURAL and TOURISM OFFICE
NIA BUilding, Municipal Ground
Provincial Road, San Fabian, Echague, Isabela