The term IKALAHAN is derived from the word Kalaban that refers to the type of forest trees growing in the area. The prefix "I" denotes residents. The "people of the forest" number 30,000 (National Council of churches in the Philippines February 1988). They are concentrated in the Boundary of Sta. Fe and Pangasinan, Kayapa (Province of Nueva Viscaya, Region II), and Buguias (Province of Benguet, CAR)
The Ikalahan are short people, fair complexioned, black round eyes and black straight and silky hair. Their noses are fairly developed. They are shy and they live in far-flung areas, unreached by any type of transportation.
The Ikalahan economy is basically agricultural. The primary source of livelihood is swidden gardeners planted with several varieties of camote and gabi. Other cash crops like beans, bananas, gingers and few trees are also planted. Rice is grown mainly in a few terraced fields and in valleys along the river. In limited areas, the Ikalahan also practice occasionally wet agriculture.
Raising pigs and chickens is an important part of Ikalahan economy. Pigs, because of their importance is prestige feast, have been used as the primary index of wealth in Ikalahan society. In recent times, because of the diminishing observance of the prestige feast, ownership of the cows has become a more important indicator of wealth.
Handicrafts, such as making brooms, baskets and backpacks, are a seasonal cottage industry in Ikalahan homes.
They musical instruments of the Ikalahans are gongs or gangsa, guitar or galdang, pakgong and ko-ling (law harp).
To the Ikalahans, the people in authority are the elders or Nengkaama. Their decisions and advice are well respected. The ascendance to the elder status does not require any election nor is it received through inheritance. It is an earned status through community recognition of one's ability to accomplish reconciliation. This leadership quality is most pronounced in the Tongtongan (conference), where all sorts of crimes and offenses are settled through the council of elders. Tongtongan is the highest arbitration body in the Ikalahan society. It is composed of elders acting as judges and counselors at the same time. It serves as the official venue for the solution of problems, crime, and other issues brought to its attention.
Keesing Felix M. The Ethnohistory of the Northern Luzon. Stanford University Press 1962