Tabuk became the Cordillera’s second city after Baguio on June 23, 2007, when 17,060 voters ratified Republic Act No. 9404, An Act Converting the Municipality of Tabuk into a Component City of the Province of Kalinga to be Known as the City of Tabuk.
In November 2008, the full bench of the Supreme Court of the Philippines declared Republic Act 9404 unconstitutional, reverting Tabuk to the status of a municipality.
Tabuk was once called the “Valley of the Gamonangs”. The Gamonangs are a Kalinga tribe which dominated northern Kalinga some centuries ago. This tribe was reportedly hostile and antagonistic that it provoked the anger of southern Kalinga tribes into joining forces against the Gamonangs.
The invasion by the allied southern tribes upon the Gamonangs left many dead in the battlefield. Soon a terrible epidemic followed which almost wiped out the Gamonang tribe. Those who escaped death were believed to have fled to the southeastern hills bordering the provinces of Isabela and the old Mountain Province.
Since then, the valley became a “No Man’s Land”. The Kalingas dreaded living in the valley. They superstitiously felt safe high up in the mountains and hills surrounding the valley. This left the valley to the deer, wild hogs and other wild animals.
Re-populating of the valley began sometime shortly before World War I. Then lieutenant governor Walter Hale sent six volunteer pioneers to re-inhabit the place. Three of these settlers came from sitio Tobog while three others were selected from Lubuagan. The settlers from Lubuagan failed after suffering from malaria. That left only the settlers from Tobog who started tilling the soil at Laya under the leadership of Gullit.
Between 1922 and 1923, a second group of settlers came from Bontoc, Mt. Province. Twenty-five homesteaders recruited from Samoki, Bontoc, decided to settle in a place now known as Barangay Bantay. They suffered malaria but they held on and the place became a thriving Bontoc village.
In an effort to push forward the colonization of the area, despite the appalling mortality of another Bontoc colony at Tuga, volunteers from Cervantes, Ilocos Sur were brought in. They were supplied with farm tools including mosquito nets and kitchen utensils. A certain Allo Caparas, a graduate of the Constabulary Army of Baguio, now the Philippine Military Academy, was assigned to manage the colony. Vicente Buslig, a nurse graduate of the Baguio Hospital and from Apayao, was sent to look after the health of these settlers.
Inspired by their success in the settlement at Tuga, the Cervantes settlers crossed the Chico River eastward, right to the heart of the fertile valley. The group was headed by Fructoso Gallema and Inocencia Candelario. There they found a “living spring” of fresh potable water. They settled near this spring and were later joined by settlers from Sigay, Ilocos Sur, led by Leon Bangisan and Pedro Balacang.
Thereafter, prisoners from the Ilocos came in headed by Francisco Viloria who settled in Bulanao. Dionisio Falgui brought in a group of Ilocanos from La Union and settled in Appas. They were joined by Lauro Arizala’s group from Zambales. Abraham Omao from Lubuagan chose to settle in Bulanao. The settlers harvests were abundant, the hills offered them plenty of venison and pork from the wild hogs. The creeks were full of fishes, crabs and lobsters but there were no roads and no markets for these products. Malaria casualties continuously depleted their number but the pioneers held on.
The dawn of the new era for Tabuk was more than assured with the coming of the Bureau of Lands Survey Party No. 3-A in the early 1930’s. The party scanned the sprawling valley and found Tabuk to contain a series of plains from Laya to Balong on the first valley, Ipil and Bulanao on the eastern plateau. Farther eastward across the hills, they saw another rich valley now known as Liwan or Babalag, Rizal. Southward, was the plateau of Callagdao and southward of Agbannawag, the plateau of Bulo. The government subdivision plan of Tabuk implementation accelerated the development of the town. Today, the names of dedicated surveyors like Mr. Edralin, Mr. Ela and Mr. Antonio Pizarro are always well remembered by the settlers who came in wave after wave to establish their homes in this great valley.
The booming community of Dagupan, which was often mistaken for Laya, was the fifth seat of the municipal government of Tabuk. The first presidencia was built at Balani, the second seat was at Macapel, Naneng. It was later transferred to Pacao before it was moved to Naneng Proper. Then for unknown reasons, it was transferred to Banat.
Finally, through a proclamation of President Elpidio Quirino, the seat of the municipality of Tabuk was fixed at Dagupan which means in the Ilocano dialect, meeting place.
On June 16, 1950, Republic Act No. 533 converted Tabuk into a regular municipality.
The town executives who helped shape the municipality into what it is today during the pre-war years were: Baac Gullit (1936-1937) and Jose Daodaoen (1938-1939); the military mayors were Francisco Viloria (1940) and Tangkib (1941); Tangkib (1942-1943) and Agustin Castro (1944-1945); during the Japanese occupation; Pio Albert (1946-1947) and Agustin Castro (1948-1950); during the post-war period, Agustin Castro (1950-1951), Miguel Buslig Sr. (1952-1953), Agustin Castro (1954-1955), Jaime Quirino (1956-1968), Ricarte Quinsaat (1968-1980, Jaime Quirino (1981-1987), Rommel Diasen (1988-1998) and Basilio Wandag (1998-2001).
The municipality is politically subdivided into forty barangays, namely: Agbannawag, Amlao, Appas, Bado Dangwa, Bagumbayan, Balawag, Baong, Bantay, Bulanao, Bulo, Cabaritan, Cabaruan, Calaccad, Calanan, Casigayan, Cudal, Poblacion, Poblacion West, Dilag, Dupag, Gobgob, Guilayon, Lacnog, Lanna, Laya East, Laya West, Lucog, Magnao, Magsaysay, Malalao, Malin-awa, Masablang, Nambaran, Nambucayan, Naneng, New Tanglag, San Juan, San Julian, Suyang and Tuga. But todate, Tabuk is politically subdivided into 42 Barangays.