Essential Travel Guides
An Introduction to Abra
Abra is a landlocked province in the Cordillera Administrative Region in the Philippines. The province is bordered by Ilocos Norte on the northwest, Apayao on the northeast, Kalinga on the mid-east, Mountain Province on the southeast, and Ilocos Sur on the southwest.
Abra remains one of the least visited provinces in the Philippines but is one of the most beautiful. Abra has a reputation for being “unsafe” mainly because of political gang wars and election rivalry in the past.These days the troubles have ceased and the province has quietened down somewhat.
Abra has something for everyone – Mountains, Nature, Hiking Trails, Waterfalls as well as Museums, Ancestral Houses, and Spanish Era Churches and Ruins.
Abra has also managed to keep some of its local cultures and traditions alive. By exploring the province and mixing with the locals you will discover more.On my first short visit to the province I concentrated on the area around Bangued. I can’t wait to return to explore and discover for myself many more of the provinces hidden treasures.
I would like to thank Edmar Guquib of Edmaration, George Antony Lalin (Tourism Consultant of the Abra Office of the Congressman), Jun Rosales and Dykath Molina for their time, hospitality, kindness and assistance during my visit without which I would have struggled.
#abramazing #galasaabra #evatayo #congjbtourism
A SOJOURN IN BANGUED
- Tangadan Welcome Tunnel – Abra Border
- Teofilo Garcia – National Living Treasure
- St. James the Elder Cathedral – Bangued
- San Lorenzo Ruiz Shrine – Bangued
- Calabra Bridge
- Loom Weaving – Bulbulala
- St. Catherine of Alexandria Church – Tayum
- Gabriela Silang Gallery of Fine Arts – Tayum
- Casa Real de Bucay
- Casamata Hill, Bangued (For Sunset)
Master Craftsman of The Gourd Hat known as Tabungaw
St. Catherine of Alexandria Church Tower, Tayum
A 19th-century Baroque church located at Brgy.Poblacion, Tayum
Gabriela Silang Museum of Fine Arts, Tayum
A private museum located in the ancestral house of the Cariño family
Loom Weaving – Bulbulala
Leila’s Loomweaving in Brgy. Bulbulala, La Paz uses century-old handlooms to produce traditional handicrafts.
Casa Real de Bucay Gate, Bucay
The centuries-old façade of the ruined Casa Real (Provincial Capitol Building)
San Lorenzo de Ruiz Church, Bangued
A Red clay brick church with twin bell towers located at Barangay Camposanto in Bangued
SAN QUINTIN, ABRA
Teofilo Garcia, Abra's National Living Treasure
One of the first stops in Abra you should make is a visit to the workshop of Teofilo Garcia, in San Quintin. Teofilo Garcia is a National Living Treasure whose speciality is making hats made from gourds called tabungaw. These traditional hats used to be worn by everyone in the village, especially when out working in the fields.
Tabungaw hats are made from gourds that he grows and harvests himself. The inside is lined with finely woven rattan matting, and the outside varnished to protect the hat from the elements.
Being the only Tabangaw maker left in Abra he is the last of yet another dying tradition. He offers classes in the art of Tabangaw making and visitors are welcome at his workshop..
The workshop is located in the town of San Quintin along the main road between the Tangadan Tunnel and Bangued.
SAN LORENZO RUIZ SHRINE, BANGUED, ABRA
This beautiful red brick,19th century Spanish era church ( San Lorenzo Ruiz Shrine ) is situated beside Bangueds Cemetery in Camposanto, and is now dedicated to San Lorenzo de Ruiz. The church has twin bell towers with a couple of bells hanging in the right hand one.
Its neo-gothic facade and church design was sketched by Brother Arnulf Rademaker, a German SVD missionary carpenter who also redesigned the Bangued Cathedral’s facade and bell tower.
Casa Real de Bucay
CASA REAL de BUCAY RUINS:
Casa Real in Bucay today is a monumental arch , complete with columns and capitals, topped by the insignia and crown of the Kingdom of Spain. Built of stone and mortar covered by bricks, it was the gate to a long-gone military fort high on a cliff above the Abra River on the eastern confines of the town.
The fort had to do with the creation of Abra in 1846 as a province segregated from the Ilocos with Bucay as its capital.The arch itself is in a very precarious state after the 1991 earthquake that brought devastation to Baguio and Cabanatuan – Jose R. Perdigon
Other historical buildings in the centre of Bucay include :-
St. Narcissus Church Built in 1847
The Convent Ruins
The Presedencia ( Municipal Building)
The 1914 American built Central School Building
Did you know that Bucay was the first capital of Abra from 1846 until 1863 when the seat of power was transferred to Bangued
Gabriela Silang Museum of Fine Arts
The Gabriela Cariño Silang Gallery of Fine Arts is an Aladdins Cave full of priceless artifacts and is the 300-year-old ancestral home of the Cariño family. This house is where the revolutionary fighter Gabriela Silang sought refuge to escape the Spanish who were trying to capture her after the execution of her husband Diego Silang.
In 1993, former Philippines Ambassador to Sri Lanka, Rosario V. Cariño, decided to open it to public as a museum. It contains relics from the Philippine revolution as well as arts and antiquities from all over the world.
The collection also has paintings by Juan Luna, Fernando Amorsolo, and Pablo Picasso, amongst others.
The museum is now housed in what used to be the house’s horse stables.
SAINT CATHERINE OF ALEXANDRIA CHURCH
Completed in 1803 Tayum Church is also known as Santa Catalina de Alejandria Church and is around 15 minutes away from Bangued, Abra’s capital.. In 2001 it was declared a National Cultural Treasure. St. Catherines is said to be the largest church in Abra.
The church has a four tiered bell tower from the top of which there are fantastic views over the surrounding countryside.
The church was dedicated to St.Catherine of Alexandria whose feast day is celebrated every 25th day of November.
Did you know that Tayum got its name after the indigo plant which was commonly known to the Ilocanos as Tayum-Tayum
Completed in 2010, the Calaba Bridge spans the Abra River with a length of 900 meters.Constructed byAustrian Engineers, it is the longest bridge in the province of Abra.
Calaba Bridge is 17 metres longer than the Don Mariano Marcos Bridge.
The bridge was built to connect the three towns of La Paz, Danglas and Lagayan to Bangued.
BRGY.BULBULALA, LA PAZ
Brgy Bulbulala in town of La Paz, just a short drive over Calaba Bridge is home to a traditional loom weaving industry. The owner, Naty Quiday, started the business to preserve the tradition of loomweaving fine woven fabrics called Abel. These textiles are hand loomed by women of the village who have learned the craft from their mothers and grandmothers. When i visited there were even a couple of girls helping their mother weave.
Abel cloth is a traditional finely woven fabric known for its durablity and beauty. Many families hand abel cloth down to younger generations as heirlooms.
You can see abel weavers busy at their craft on century old looms and watch the cotton or sagut yarns descend, ascend and crisscross one another in hypnotic movements.
Essential Travel Guides
How to travel to Abra
- From Metro Manila, there are three bus companies operating along the Manila to Bangued route.
Partas Bus Company, Viron Transit and Dominion Bus Lines.
- Journey time is around 10 hours
- Fare at time of writing is P600
There are no airports in Abra.
- Cebu Pacific has daily flights to Laoag.
- From Laoag take a bus to Vigan and change there for a bus to Bangued
ABRA - THE BEAUTY OF NATURE & HERITAGE