Mula nang maging lubos na at nagsasarili nang lalawigan ang Nueva Vizcaya, ang kasaysayan nito’y binubuo na ng kultura at tradisyon at paniniwala ng mga katutubong unang nanirahan dito na kinabibilangan ng mga Isinay, Gaddang, Bugkalot (o Ilongot), Ifugao (Ipugaw), at nang lumaon ay ang mga Ilokano at iba pang pangkat etniko.
The Isinay (Isinai, Inmeas) are a small group found principally in the municipality of Bambang (1,225), Nueva Vizcaya, and Dupax Sur (265) in Quirino province. The total population is set at about 6,000 (NSO 1980). The language belongs to the northern Philippine, central Cordilleran group. The subsistence technology is principally wet rice cultivation. There is some swidden cultivation in the higher elevations. Subsistence is supplemented by animal husbandry. Since the area is linked with the major transportation arteries that connect southern and northern Luzon, and thus exposed to intensive trade, culture change is highly advanced and much of the traditional culture is gone. The population has merged with mainstream society due to the changes wrought by the national power structure, educational system, market economy, and the great religions. Except for the language, the ethnic character is no longer distinguishable. Population movement theories point to the Isinay country as one of the possible staging areas for the migration of people to the Ifugao highlands.
The Gaddang people are a linguistically identified ethnic group of related families sharing lengthy residence in the watershed of the Cagayan River in Northern Luzon, Philippines. Gaddang speakers are reported to number around 30,000, plus another 6,000 genetically related Ga’dang speakers whose vocabulary is more than 80% identical.
These two groups are often depicted in historic and cultural literature as a single population; distinctions between (a) the Christianized “lowlanders” and (b) the non-Christian residents in the mountains appear to be ignored by many sources. There are both intriguing similarities and unreconciled differences in history, location, lifestyle and beliefs between these two related populations.
The Bugkalot ethnic community or Ilongot tribe is a Philippine indigenous group that is found in the provinces of Nueva Ecija, Nueva Vizcaya, Quirino, and Aurora. Many of them live in the eastern central part of the Caraballo and Sierra Madre mountain ranges and by the Conwap, Bua, and Tubo rivers. There are at least 5,000 head families of Bugkalots who occupy at least 62 village-communities in these areas. Once known as head-hunters, the Bugkalots consist of various warring tribes. There are various sub-tribes which are distinct from each other but share certain linguistic and cultural characteristics. The people are especially known for their colorful traditional dress, crafts, and dances and their musical instruments.
Igorot, or Cordillerans, is the collective name of several Austronesian ethnic groups in the Philippines, who inhabit the mountains of Luzon. These highland peoples inhabit all the six provinces of the Cordillera Administrative Region: Abra, Apayao, Benguet, Kalinga, Ifugao, and Mountain Province, as well as the adjacent provinces.