The Applai are indigenous people of the western Mountain Province which is composed of
the municipalities of Baseo, Sagada and parts of Sabangan, Bauko and Tadian. The word
Applai is a term popularly used by the Mountain Provinces Easterners to refer to the Mt.
Province Westerners, in the same manner that the Easterners are called
The word Applais are sometimes referred to as "kankanaeys" of Mountain
Provinces because of some similarities. Noting however, the difference in culture from
Benguet Kankanaeys, especially in ritual observance, then Congressman Alfredo Lam-En,
himself an Applai, had the "Applai" accredited as a separate tribe.
The Applais engage in a variety of economic activities all year round like wet farming,
slash and burn agriculture, camote, farming, trade and handicraft like backloom weaving,
bamboo basket weaving and pottery. They also raise fruits
and vegetables in all seasons of the year. Just like in early times, they raise
domesticated animals such as chickens and dogs. Pigs are raised in their dugungan
or gongo (pigpens) which are usually built within the premises of their houses.
The Applai villages are compact settlements which are divided into sections. Every
section belongs to one dap-ay or abong. The number of dap-ay adepends on the
population of the village. The dap-ay is a place to meet and settle disputes and hold
meetings. It also serves as a center of all religious rites the amam-a (council of
elders) forms the decision making body for the dap-ay.
In the applai tribe there are only two social classes, the rich Kadangyan and the poor
Kodo. The Kadangyans attain their social status by lineage, inter-marriage or accumulated
The applai tribe has its own customs and traditions to observe during occasions like
wedding, death and other community related affairs. The old folks of good standing of the
community serve as the master of the ceremonies. They solemnize, and settle matters
pertaining to community cultural affairs. They are convened to do the ceremonies Kabunyan,
as the supreme being.
The applais are one united community sharing each others happiness and burden,
having mutual understanding among villagers, and cooperating especially in community
rituals associated with the agricultural cycle and other ritual affecting the whole