Hungduan is derived from the root word “hungdu” which means to proceed, pass, go or traverse through. Hungduan, therefore, means a place where people pass through on their way to another place. In the early times, Hungduan was the main route of travelers from other municipalities on their way to Benguet and Baguio City.
The Spaniards established a military post in Hapao to reinforce their garrison in Bontoc and at the same time supported the mission previously established in this district.
In Hapao, the first commanding officer was Don Basilio de Plana with 20 soldiers stationed in the area.
While there are only few written accounts on the Spanish activities in the locality, the Roman Catholic religion and the presence of the old Spanish trails connecting Kiangan and Hungduan and Banaue-Hungduan-Tinoc-Buguias are the only proof of Spanish influence in Hungduan.
The American government established schools and constructed roads using the Spanish trails.
The administrative division of Ifugao, as a sub-province of the old Mountain Province, comprises only three municipalities namely Kiangan, Banaue and Mayoyao. The territorial jurisdiction of Kiangan covered the present areas of Hungduan, Tinoc, Lagawe and Lamut.
Burnay (now Lagawe) and Hungduan were separated out of Kiangan to became the 4th and 5th municipalities of Ifugao through Executive Order No. 6, s. of 1921
Hungduan became a municipal district through Executive Order No.33. by then, the municipality was composed of 15 barangays, namely: Abatan, Ahin, Ap-apid, Bangbang, Binablayan, Danggo, Eheb, Gumihang, Impugong ,Luhong, Maggok, Poblacion, Tinoc, Tucudan, and Wangwang.
Hungduan was the center of warfare during the last stages of world war II.The mighty Japanese Imperial Army led by Tomoyuki Yamashita entrenched themselves at the vicinity of Mount Napulawan. To flush them out, the combined American and Filipino forces used bombs leading to the immense destruction of the rice terraces,Irrigation canals and massive evacuation of the people.
The population of more than 14,000 inhabitants was reduced to around 3,540 after the war, many of whom died of hunger and diseases.
March 16, 1982
Under Batas Pambansa Bilang 184, Eleven (11) barangay of Hungduan were separated to create the municipality of Tinoc. Only four barangays were retained namely Abatan, Bangbang, Maggok and Poblacion.
January 19, 1983
Under Batas Pambansa Bilang 327, the barangays of Hapao, Bokiawan, Nungulunan and Lubuong, out of Banaue, were transferred to Hungduan.
June 10, 1990
Sannguniang Panlalawigan Resolution No. 29 proposing the separation of sitio Baang from Barangays Hapao and Nungulunan was ratified. To date, the municipalities has nine barangays.