The Return of Apo Anno


The Return of Apo Anno
Secretary Gemma Cruz Araneta
Department of Tourism
Natubleng Elementary School
Buguias, Benguet, 21 May 1999


Governor Raul  Molintas,

Mayor Domingo Bay-an

Mrs. Purificacion Molintas of the

Benguet Provincial Tourism Council

Distinguished guests

Ladies and Gentlemen


We in the Department of Tourism consider it a supreme honor to take part in this historic and sacred ceremony celebrating the return of the mummified remains of Apo Anno, a noble descendant of an eminent member of the  Kankanaey community. His body was stolen in 1885, it had changed hands through the centuries until it was discovered in 1984, somewhere in Manila.

Today Apo Anno is finally home in sitio Nabalicong, now a part of Natubleng, Municipality of Buguias of the Province of Benguet. It is fitting that this sacred and happy event should be marked with strict regard for the rituals and traditions of your community.

Though you hail from different communities and speak different languages, the return of Apo Anno has the same profound significance whether you  are Ibaloi, Kakanai, Kalanguya, Karao or Iwak. Apo Anno is an imperishable part of your communities and cultures. His disappearance for more than a century was believed to have brought about catastrophes like landslides, heavy rains,  as well as drought, even scarcity of food.

We lowlanders whose ancestors lived in coastal communities were Christianized and Hispanized in the 16th century, after Fernando Magallanes landed somewhere in Cebu. However, communities in the interior and  the highlands, like yours,  were barely touched by colonization You were able to preserve the cultures, arts  and traditions of our ancestors.

We can only dimly grasp the profound significance of the return of Apo Anno  for all of you. However, I can see happiness in your eyes because the long search for your Apo has finally ended.

Now that Apo Anno has returned, may  our fellow Filipinos in the province of Benguet be blessed with peace and prosperity in the years to come.