The name “Chananaw” means lake in the middle, which come from the former stagnant lake that located in the middle of the village.
A local story abounds as to origins of the name “Chananaw”. A long, long time ago, due to clan wars in Tucucan, Bontoc in Mountain Province, two brothers escaped and traveled to the east, following the route of the Chico River. After two days of hiking, they came to the village and decided to stay there. The two brothers befriended the villagers; this is why they were allowed to stay there for a long period of time until the elder brother got married and his brother named “Fanaw” decided to travel to a nearby village of Tulgao to search for his future. Fortunately, upon his arrival in Tulgao, a young woman named “Chanaw” welcomed him into her family’s house. That night, “Chanaw” introduced “Fanaw” to her parents.
“Fanaw”, being a gentleman, became a friend and a helper to “Chanaw’s” family. After some time, “Chanaw’s” parents decided to let “Fanaw” marry their daughter because they had seen for themselves that “Fanaw” was of good character. “Chanaw” and “Fanaw” lived happily together in Tulgao, where they raised two sons. When “Chanaw’s” parents died, “Fanaw” began to hunt wild pigs and deer in the forest for their living, because they had no rice fields to till in Tulgao.
One day, “Fanaw” went on a hunting trip to the north of Tulgao and did not return home. His wife, after waiting for five days, grew worried. “Chanaw,” told her sons that they would go and look for their father. They all went to the north, following a foot trail. On their second day of searching. “Chanaw” heard the familiar sound of the barking of their dog. They moved towards the sound of the barking and eventually, found the dead body of “Fanaw”, floating in a lake. They took “Fanaw’s” corpse from the water and brought him to a plateau nearby. “Chanaw” sent her eldest son to the village to tell what happened to “Fanaw”. The following day, their relatives arrived for the five-day wake.
After the funeral, the relatives left “Chanaw’s” family decided to stay at the place where “Fanaw” was buried. “Chanaw,” told her sons that they would till the land surrounding the area where their father was buried. At first, they cultivated the land by making slash-and-burn fields. As time passed, they also made rice terraces. “Chanaw” named the place “Fanaw” in memory of her husband.
When “Chanaw” grew older, she told her two sons to return to Tulgao to search for their future wives. They did as she told them and courted and married women from Tulgao. “Chanaw” was happy to see her sons got married. The sons returned to live in “Fanaw”, accompanied by their wives and their new relatives. When the sons begot children, “Chanaw” died peacefully, with a smile on her face. Her two sons decided to name the place “Chananaw”, they combined the names of their parents: “Chanaw” and “Fanaw”.
Ever since the place has been known as “Chananaw”. When the foreigners came to the village during the Spanish rule, they named the place “Dananao” and up to the present, the place is called “Chananaw” by the native inhabitants and “Dananao” by authorities.