Apayao, is a landlocked province of the Philippines in the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzon. Its capital town is Kabugao. Even during pre-Hispanic time when the provice was still the old Mountain Province, Kabugao was already the recognized as the capital of the then sub-province of Apayao. It borders Cagayan to the north and east, Abra and Ilocos Norte to the west, and Kalinga to the south. Prior to 1995, Kalinga and Apayao comprised a single province named Kalinga-Apayao, until they were split into two to better service the needs of individual native tribes in the provinces.
Although Apayao was among the earliest areas penetrated by the Spaniards in the Cordilleras, the region, inhabited by the Isneg tribe, remained largely outside Spanish control until late in the 19th century. As early as 1610, the Dominican friars established a mission in what is now the town of Pudtol. In 1684, the friars again made vain attempts to convert the people and established a church in what is now Kabugao. The ruins of the early churches in Pudtol and Kabugao still stand as mute testimony to the failed attempts to occupy Apayao.
The Spanish authorities were then able to establish the comandancias of Apayao and Cabugaoan in 1891, which covered the western and eastern portions of what is now Apayao. The comandancias, however, failed to bring total control and the Spanish government only maintained a loose hold over the area.
The Americans established the Mountain Province on August 13, 1908, with the enactment of Act No. 1876. Apayao, along with Amburayan, Benguet, Bontoc, Ifugao, Kalinga, and Lepanto, became sub-provinces of this new province. Before this, Apayao had been a part of Cagayan province.
In 1942, Japanese Imperial forces entered Apayao, starting a three-year occupation of the province during the Second World War. Local Filipino troops of the 1st, 2nd, 12th, 15th and 16th Infantry Division of the Philippine Commonwealth Army and the military forces of the USAFIP-NL 11th and 66th Infantry Regiment, supported by the Cordilleran guerrillas, drove out the Japanese in 1945.
After almost 60 years, on June 18, 1966, the huge Mountain Province was split into four provinces with the enactment of Republic Act No. 4695. The four provinces were Benguet, Bontoc (renamed Mountain Province), Kalinga-Apayao and Ifugao. Kalinga-Apayao, along with Ifugao, became one of the provinces of the Cagayan Valley region in 1972.
On July 15, 1987, the Cordillera Administrative Region was established and Kalinga-Apayao was made one of its provinces. Finally, on February 14, 1995, Kalinga-Apayao was split into two distinct provinces with the passage of Republic Act No. 7878.
The merged outlines of Apayao and Kalinga resemble a bust of a man akin to former President Ferdinand Marcos (looking toward his home province, Ilocos Norte) whom the media called as the "Great Profile" during the Marcos Era.