Apayao is located deep in the Cordillera mountains of Northern Luzon. These mountain range form a natural boundary between the Ilocos Region in the west and the Cagayan Valley in the east. The Apayao river rises from its extensive watershed along its western slope and peaks. The river courses along the heartlands of the province, meanders beside the town of Kabugao following a northward route towards the Pacific Ocean through the coastal town of Abulug, Apayao. The province is classified into upper and lower. Upper Apayao with 3 municipalities occupies 67.2% of the total land area and has mountainous topography classified by towering peaks, plateaus and intermittent patches of valleys. Lower Apayao on the other hand with 4 municipalities is 32.8% of the total land area is generally flat with rolling mountains and plateaus. The total population of Apayao is 112,636 persons as of May 2010. The additional 15,507 persons compare to 2010 census implies an increase of 2.07 growth rate from 1990 to 2010. The Itnegs are the dominant ethnic group in the area. Anthropologists mostly foreigners who conducted ethnographic study of the people write various speculations on the origin of the term. Some say that the town Pudtol use to be inhabited in colonial times by "people who speak the Isnag language" and were classified as "Filipinos who have come to be called a cultural minority" the writers say that all other people living outside of the Hinterlands who speak other vernaculars are simply called "Filipinos". The apparent focus of early studies on ethnic cultures in the islands showed the emphasis on classifying the inhabitants into minority and majority cultural groups. The purpose of this was administrative in nature. The Spanish and the American regimes found that Filipinos along the Coastal places and lowlands were easily brought into the folds of law under these respective regimes. Those living in the mountainous and hills were rebellious and opposed to the presence of foreign rulers in their midst. Different set of laws were implemented in governing these so-called minority and majority cultures. The term Itneg, therefore, became demanding tag of identity for the Apayao people for many years until the end of the American rule in the country.
Philippine Statistics Authority - Cordillera Administrative Region