The Ultimate Guide to La Paz, AbraLa Paz means Peace
Everything You Need to Know About La Paz, Abra
Where is La Paz
La Paz is located in the northern part of the province, and is 14km away from Bangued across the Calaba Bridge which spans the Abra River. Its Municipal neighbours are Danglas, and Lagayan. The collective name for the three municipalities is “LADALAGA” .
La Paz Municipality is made up of 12 Barangays, – Benben, Bubulala, Buli, Canan, Liguis, Malabbaga, Mudeng, Pidipid, Poblacion, San Gregorio, Toon and Udangan.
History of La Paz, Abra
Sitio Ababeng of Poblacion located south of the barangay was the place where the first group of Tinguian settlers stayed. During those days, the Tinguians were in constant war with the Itnegs of Gabuakan in the north.
In one of the encounters of the warring tribes, as the legend goes, a cock with shiny feathers flew from heaven to a tree near the warring tribes. The cock flapped its wings so strongly that the warriors stopped fighting, and stood there amazed. When the cock vanished, the earth shook and all the men fell down unconscious on the ground. When the men regained consciousness, they made peace with each other and then named the place “Namagpagan” meaning “where the flapping of the wings occurred”. The named Namagpagan remained until the Spanish arrived.
When a group of missionaries led by Father Bernardo Lago, an Augustinian friar came to this place, they were welcomed by the friendly inhabitants. The place was so peaceful that the missionaries changed the name of the place to “La Paz”, which means peace.
The site of Namagpagan is now used for the annual Cong Jb Bernos International Freestyle Motocross Event which is part of the towns Abel Festival activities held in January of each year.
La Paz is known as The Rice Bowl of Abra along with Manabo. The names of the streets in Poblacion are said to be named after traditional local varieties of rice such Ballatinao, Wagwag, Raminad, Gangkab and Langpadan.
The Presidencia or Municipal Hall is situated in the Plaza surrounded by the Our Lady of Peace Church, the High School, and Police Station. The layout of La Paz is inherited from the Spanish era with streets radiating out from the main square in a grid system. In the Plaza there is one of those popular signs made from huge letters “My Home La Paz” as well as a stage which is used for various events throughout the year. A dancing fountain that works in the evenings and a giant sundial are situated in one corner of the Plaza.
La Paz Seal Symbolism
The 12 stars and the 12 leaves stand for the 12 Barangays of the Municipality. The Dove and Olive Branch represent Peace. The year 1832, is the year the Municipality was founded.
Use #MyHomeLaPaz and #LaPazAbra on your Social Media posts for easy indexing
La Paz Tourism, Handicrafts and Pasalubong
La Paz has lots of potential for tourism. The Municipality is well located along with Lagayan and Danglas over the Abra River from Bangued. Between them they can offer Nature-based Tourism, Cultural Tourism, Sport and Adventure Tourism, Heritage Tourism and Farm Tourism. La Paz has its fair share of attractions from a Waterfall and Rivers to Farms and Cottage Industries.
Pasalubong Centre – Mudeng
You can find the Pasalubong Centre and Tourism Office over Calaba Bridge and next to the Ysrael Bernos School in Mudeng. Here you can find souvenirs made by the small cottage industries of the Municipality. The products include Abel Cloth from Bulbulala, Shrimp Traps from Malabagga, Basi from Pidipid, Various Bamboo Products from Udangan, and much more.
Bitu Bitu Falls – Udangan
If you are into chasing waterfalls, then Udangan has a real adventure for you. An hours hike from the Barangay across farmland you arrive at a series of Falls, with names like Bulagsi Falls, Rissood Falls and Bitu Bitu Falls. Bitu Bitu Falls are the main attraction with its Heart shaped pool that requires some rock climbing to reach. Climb up and follow the river to the next level of Falls to complete the set.
Barcena’s Bamboo Craft – Udangan
Barcena’s Bamboo Craft is a small cottage industry in Udangan. The family based business produces a number of products made from bamboo, such as hats, trays, fans, chairs, tables, and bags and baskets. Their products are available in the Pasalubong Centre in Mudeng and Tangadan as well as some outlets in Manila.
Leila’s Abel Weaving – Bulbulala
The Barangay of Bulbulala is the centre of La Paz’s traditional loom weaving industry. Their expertise is producing fine woven fabrics called Abel. These textiles are woven on handlooms by women of the village who have learned the skills passed down by their mothers and grandmothers.
Leila’s Loom weaving is one of the largest suppliers of Abel cloth in Abra. You can visit their Cottage Industry if you want to see how Abel cloth is made. They have finished products in stock in the small shop/office on site if you are interested in buying a souvenir or present for your friends and family.
Riaba Cave – Brgy Liguis
A short hike from Liguis Elementary School and with a bit of uphill climbing you arrive on the roof of Riaba Cave. From here there are panoramic views over the Soot River and surrounding farmland and as far as Tayum and Dolores. Carefully climb down the rock slope and hidden underneath is a small cave where a farmer shelters his goats. The main attraction here is the rock bridge which has been eroded and sculpted over time.
Farm Tourism at Dupo Farm in La Paz. On the farm, managed by Mr. Pablo Dupo, the main crop is Mangoes. Other fruits include Lanzones, Tamarind, Rambutan and they also have Bee Culture.
Tours can be arranged through Abramazing Tours if you are interested to find out how a local farm works.
Products from Around the Barangays
Udangan – All kinds of items made from Bamboo – trays, hats, bags, baskets, fans.
Mudeng – Fresh Water fish and shrimps.
Liguis – Bamboo table mats, trays, vases, baskets
Pidipid – Sugarcane products – sweets, wine, basi, vinegar, molasses.
San Gregorio – Sweetcorn.
Toon – Abal-Abal, a local delicacy of beetle that appear at sunset during May each year.
Bulbulala – Abel hand loom woven cloth, Blankets, bags.
Canan – Rice.
Poblacion – Bibingka, Rice, Mangoes, Lanzones,
Buli – Shrimps, Tilapia.
Malabagga – Bamboo hats, Barekbek (bamboo shrimp traps).
La Paz Heritage
La Paz was founded during the Spanish Colonial era in 1832. Poblacion is based on the spanish grid system of town planning. Wandering around Poblacion, La Paz there still remain some structures that can be classed as Heritage, some from the Spanish times and some from more recent times.
The old houses sadly are slowly disappearing. One just demolished last year. There are still some houses left standing which need to be classified as “Heritage” . Other Heritage buildings in La Paz include three churches and the two schools in Poblacion.
The central road that leads from the Plaza to the Central School, at the other end of town, still has the original spanish road underneath all the layers of concrete and asphalt that have been added with each repair, raising its current level to way above its original state.
Other Heritage structures such as Wells are still in evidence in a few places, as is the old red brick Spanish Granary, called a Sarosar. These structures are on private land and are at the mercy of the landowners.
To be classed as a Heritage Site or Local Site of Importance, a structure should be at least 50 years old.
La Paz Central School Gate
Constructed in 1940/41 the school gate is now 80 years old. These structures are usually donated by former pupils who raise the funds to build them.
Old and New KM Posts, San Gregorio
Just outside the walls of San Gregorio Elementary School are two Kilometre Posts. One is an old one made from Stone and the other a Yellow modern cement one.
Sarusar (sa-roo-sar) is an Ilocano word for storage place. The Sarosar (Communal Rice Granary) a Spanish red brick structure, was the place where the town used to store its rice for distribution in times of emergency. Each farmer had to contribute a certain share of his harvest to the Sarosar.
The building is in a lot along appropriately named Sarosar Street. It can still be seen set back from the road about 30 metres inside the lot.
Spanish Red Brick Wells
One structure that is very hard to demolish are Wells. In Spanish towns, wells were dug in a straight line, the same distance back from the road. Wells were usually shared by four houses unless the land or house belonged to a prominent person who were permitted to dig their own wells.
There are said to be three Spanish Era Wells remaining in Poblacion. One on a plot of land that until last year still had the Ancestral house still standing on the corner of Sarosar St and W. Langpadan St.
If you know of the whereabouts of others please Contact Us with the details.
St. Francis Xavier Parish, Mudeng
On January 4th,1975 whilst sky watching on the veranda of the convent of Saint Francis Xavier church in Mudeng, Abra, an amateur astronomer, the German SVD parish priest, Fr. Leo Boethin discovered a comet. Comet Boethin (known as 85D/Boethin) is the only comet that has been discovered in the Philippines. Read More Here
Churches of La Paz
Our Lady of Peace Church, La Paz
Parish of Nuestra Senora de La Paz,
The church situated in Poblacion La Paz was built sometime before 1889, is older than the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, and was the first Aglipayan, Iglesia Filipina Independente Church in Abra. According to its oldest baptismal record, the Church in La Paz was already in existence as early as 1889 under the name “Iglesia Catolica Apostolica Filipina”. In 1902 the La Paz Parish became one of the founding members of the newly founded Iglesia Filipina Independiente during the imcumbency of Ftr Benigno de Lara. The text “Iglesia Catolica Apostolica Filipina” is carved in the stone archway of the entrance, but was sadly cement covered over for some reason in the year 2000, the same year that the church was painted blue. Built of red brick the structure has stood the test of time but the bell tower shows some cracks and is in need of restoration. There were originally three bells donated by the Adres family. One of which is still used today. A second bell was damaged and is kept in the church office, while the third bells whereabouts is currently unknown.
Other Churches in Poblacion, La Paz
- UCCP – United Church of Christ in the Philippines – Founded in 1904 – corner of Sarosar and Gangkab Streets.
- Seventh Day Adventist – Founded in 1969 – Malyok St. East
La Paz Festivals and Fiestas
Abel Festival (24th to 26th January)
The feast day of Our Lady of Peace, which is celebrated in Rome on January 17, is celebrated in Toledo, Spain,Hawaii, and the Philippines on January 24, in Paris on July 9 and in El Salvador on November 23.
La Paz was founded in 1832 during the Spanish conquest of the Philippines and so follows the Spanish feast date of January 24th each year.
The town celebrates the feast with its own added celebrations. Street Dancing, in costumes made with the local Abel woven cloth from Bulbulala, with inter-barangay competitions are held around town and in the Plaza. There is also a firework display and celebrity night when invited artists perform.
Since 2012 the JB Bernos International Motocross event has been added to the Abel Festivals agenda.
Abong Abong (Semana Santa)
In La Paz, Abong Abong are structures made of Bamboo and Abel reflecting local materials. A couple of weeks before Easter construction starts in the streets around Poblacion. The theme varies from year to year but the scenes are the same. Maundy Thursday and Good Friday are the main days with the scenes depicting the Crucifixion of Christ.
An inter-barangay competition is held with the best Abong Abong taking the prize.
La Paz Sport and Recreation
Cong. Jb Bernos International Freestyle Motocross
This popular event is held at the Namagpagan MotoX track during the annual Abel Festival from 24th to 26th January. A fresh track layout is designed by George Lalin each year and takes around 3 weeks to complete. Competitors come from all over the Philippines to take part. Some years there are also freestyle displays with riders and bikes flying, somersaulting and doing all kinds of acrobatics.
Every barangay has at least one basketball court. Most are now covered courts. Some side streets, as is common everywhere in the Philippines, may also have a homemade ring, meaning that you can always find a game to join in. The main covered court is in Poblacion and is named after the late Ysrael Bernos. Each year in December the Congressman JB Bernos Basketball Championship is held. This is the biggest tournament in Abra with teams from each Municipality bidding to become Province Champions.
The cockpit arena (known as “The Gallera de La Paz” is in Mudeng about 500 metres along the highway after crossing Calaba Bridge. Held every Sunday, the sport is very popular and much money changes hands during the events. Even if you do not understand what the sport is all about, go along and soak in the atmosphere as the excitement around each fight comes to a climax.
Mountain Biking and Hiking
Biking is a popular way to keep fit, and many bikers from Bangued ride across Calaba Bridge to enjoy the well maintained open and quiet roads of La Paz. To see more of the Municipality its best to get off the main road and ride round the various sitios.
- Ride up hill to Brgy Ben Ben and follow the road back down to Pidipid
- Turn right in San Gregorio and ride to Bulbulala, visit the Abel Loom weavers, then take the back road on to Canaan where you can either carry on to Poblacion or return to Bangued.
- From Poblacion take the back road to Buli and on to Malabagga
- Explore the farm to market roads on the west side of Pobacion
Brgy Liguis – There is a short circular bike or hike circular route in brgy Liguis for those who wish to get off road and see some of the countryside. Read More Here
La Paz Bridges
Spanning the Abra River and connecting Bangued with La Paz, Danglas and Lagayan, Calaba Bridge is a vital route in the province. Only finished in 2010, the bridge is a popular tourist spot, with views of Mt Bullagao, Tayum and the mountains of Tineg, for sunsets, sunrises and numerous forms of “Selfie” taking. During the summer months there are bamboo cottages to rent along the banks of the river where families or groups of friends can hangout and enjoy swimming, and bbq’s. Read More Here
Soot Bridge, La Paz, Abra
Soot Bridge built in 2002 is a one lane bridge across the Soot River in Barangay Mudeng, La Paz. You will cross Soot Bridge on the way to Poblacion after crossing Calaba Bridge. The bridge connects Mudeng with San Gregorio. Turn left before Soot Bridge when coming from Bangued and the road will take you to Brgy Liguis, Riaba Cave, and an alternative route (only for two wheel vehicles) to the crossing for San Gregorio.
Where to Stay in La Paz
A homestay on the side of a hill before Soot Bridge. Escala Homestay has fantastic views over the Abra River and surrounding towns. A good place to watch the sunrise.
Read More Here
Wonderland is run by what is left of the Lamplighter World Peace Mission. Set in the middle of woodland and near the Tineg River this site provides Basic accommodation in wooden huts. Good for small groups who like to stay in nature. Cooking facilities on site.
Where to Eat in La Paz
If you are feeling hungry or need a snack or merienda there are several places or find food to eat in the Municipality.
Panciteria and Eateries
- Jemuel Pancitan (Next to the Basketball Court), Poblacion – All day Pancit Miki
- Pataray Pancitan, Poblacion – Pancit Miki. Opposite the Plaza and next to the Sari Sari store is a Panciteria with no signage.
- Triple R Panciteria, San Gregorio – Pancit Miki. Along the main road near the Bulbulala crossing in San Gregorio.
- Jag No Choice Resto, Poblacion – On left side of the main road just after the turning for the Market. Opens around lunchtime and serves rice and ulam dishes
- Tres Marias Eatery – on the right after the Hospital as you leave Poblacion
Nida’s Bibingka – Poblacion
Homemade oven baked sticky rice and coconut bibingka is a must try. Its best to order ahead.
Read More Here
There are two bakeries in town with a selection of bread, cakes and pastries.
SheMel Bakery on the right side as you enter Poblacion,
JL Bakery along the main road to Lagayan opposite Abreco Electric.
Fresh fruit, vegetables, fish, meat can be found every day in the market.
There are also sellers of Lumpia, Banana Q, Turon and other snacks inside and outside the market building.
Other Places to Eat around the Municipality
- Chooks 2 Go, Several Panicterias around the Danglas Junction.
- There are some eateries and Panciteria near the Elementary and High Schools
Essential Services You may Need
Hospital – On the right side when leaving Poblacion for Lagayan
Petrol – Service Station in Canan, Also available in litre “pepsi” bottles from some sari sari stores
Mini Market and Hardware Store – Acostas in Canan
Pharmacy – One In the market building and there’s one along Binalasang St.
Abreco Electric – to pay electric bills. On Ballatinao St.
Drinking Water – In Poblacion there’s a “Living Water” Water Refilling Station in the Public Market and “Aquabest” along Wagwag St.
More Information Needed
Did we miss anything? Is there something else to add.
Please Contact Us with any information on Heritage, Food, Accommodation, History, Sports and anything you feel needs to be documented about the Municipality of La Paz.
How to travel to La Paz from Bangued
Jeepneys to La Paz and Lagayan leave regularly from the Petron Station on the Abra – Ilocos Norte Road near the Public Market. Fare is P25 Tricycles to La Paz also leave from there when full or you can hire one as a special trip. Make sure you Negotiate the fare ( should be around P100 to P150) with the driver before you start. By Car or Motorbike
Leave Bangued on the Abra – Ilocos Norte road in the direction of Calaba. Drive across the Calaba Bridge. Follow the road through Mudeng and over Soot Bridge. Continue past San Gregorio School. When you arrive at the Danglas crossing by the Petron station continue straight. Keep going until you come to Poblacion La Paz. The distance is around 14km.
Click Here and Find Out How to travel to Abra
How to travel to Abra from Manila
- 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 around P700
Bus Companies that link Bangued with other destinations are
Bangued to Manila, Baguio – Partas Bus Company Bangued to Manila, Baguio – Dominion Bus Lines Bangued to Baguio – Sambrano Bus Lines Bangued to Manila – Viron Transit Bangued to Vigan, Tuguegarao – Esonice Bus Lines Bangued to Baguio, Vigan, Laoag – BBL Transit.
By Air There are no airports in Abra. The closest airport is Laoag, three hours away by car.
- Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines have daily flights to Laoag.
- From Laoag take a bus to Vigan and change there for a bus to Bangued
- Or take any bus that is heading south and alight at Narvacan for bus and jeepney connections to Bangued
PIN to Read Later
PIN to Read Later
Follow Silverbackpacker for more of his Travels