Importance of Bontok.—Head-taking.—Atonement
Bontok is a place of importance, as becomes the capital of the Mountain Province. Here are schools, both secular and religious; two churches in building (1910), one of stone (Protestant Episcopal), the other of brick (Roman Catholic), each with its priest in residence; a Constabulary headquarters; a brick-kiln, worked by Bontoks; a two-storied brick house, serving temporarily as Government House, club and assembly; a fine provincial Government House in building; streets laid off and some built up, these in the civilized town. This list is not to be smiled at; a beginning has been made, a good strong beginning, full of hope, if the unseen elements established and forces developed are given a fair chance. The place was important before we came in; the native part is ancient and has a municipal organization of some interest. Spain first occupied the place in 1855 and garrisoned it with several hundred Hokanos and Tagalogs. She has left behind a bad name; but the insurrectos (Aguinaldo’s people), who drove the Spaniards out, have left a worse. Both took without paying, both robbed and killed; the insurrectos added lying.
Some four hundred Igorot warriors were persuaded by the insurrectos to join in resisting the Americans and went as far south as Caloocan just north of Manila, where, armed only with spears, axes, and shields, they took their place in line of battle, only to run when fire was opened. According to their own story,  which they relate with a good deal of humor, they never stopped until they reached their native heath, feeling that the insurrectos had played a trick on them. Accordingly, it is not surprising that when March went through Bontok after Aguinaldo, the Igorot should have befriended him, nor later that the way should have been easy for us when we came in to stay, about seven or eight years ago.
The site is attractive, a circular dish-shaped valley, about a mile and a half in diameter, bisected by the Rio  Chico de Cagayan, with mountains forming a scarp all around. Bontok stands on the left bank, and Samoki  on the right; separated only by a river easily fordable in the dry season, these two Igorot centers manage to live in tolerable peace with each other, but both have been steadily hostile to Talubin, only two hours away. However, it can not be too often said that this sort of hostility is diminishing, and perceptibly.