Saturday, August 17, 2013

ABRA on a rainy weekend

"A rainy day may not be as good as a bright sun-shiny day to travel but it brings out something new. It is a -when the doors close, the windows will open- situation. Now, should we take a look inside through the window?"

Bangued is the Capital Town of the province of Abra. Abra being in the Cordillera Autonomous Region or CAR is landlocked by the provinces of Ilocos Sur at the west and south, Ilocos Norte at the north and west, Apayao at the north and east, Kalinga at the east, and Mountain Province at the South.

-my pagnapagna-

I was hoping it would not be rainy that day (August 17, 2013) but the forecast on the television weather report said it would in this part of the country. Still hoping for "miracles", our journey to the province of Abra did pushed through.

From San Fernando City , La Union we passed by the following Towns to get to Bangued Abra:

1- San Juan, La Union
2- Bacnotan, La Union
3- Balaoan, La Union (and a portion of Luna)
4- Bangar, La Union
5- Sudipen, La Union
6- Tagudin, Ilocos Sur
7- Sta. Cruz, Ilocos Sur
8- Sta. Lucia, Ilocos Sur
9- Candon City, Ilocos Sur
10- Santiago, Ilocos Sur
11- San Esteban, Ilocos Sur
12- Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur
13- Narvacan, Ilocos Sur
14- San Quintin, Abra
15- Pidigan, Abra
16- Bangued, Abra

We arrived at Bangued, Abra at 6:10 in the morning of around 3 hours of Bus ride on a rainy day.  Sheltering at the entrance canopy of a popular fastfood chain outlet which was still closed at that time, we can see the Cathedral of St. James the Great from where we stood.

Cathedral of St. James

We went inside the church to hear an early morning mass and after which we went to roam and look around at the town plaza area where the Municipal Hall and Provincial Capitol buildings are located.

Abra Provincial Capitol Building

With umbrellas, we walked our way to Zone 7 to take a jeepney ride going to the town of San Juan.

The jeep departed at 7:26 am passing by the Don Mariano Marcos Bridge at 7:54 am, 7:59 at the junction in Talogtog Dolores, and finally we arrived at downtown San Juan at 8:24 am.

San Juan Multipurpose Covered Court

Still raining, we took shelter at their Multipurpose Covered court where we saw some people selling vegetables, meats and wares along side with teenagers playing basketball. I do not know if that was a make-shift marketplace from the heavy rain or the Market itself.
Buying crayfish in front of the Municipal Hall

Noticed a slight commotion in front of the Municipal Hall, there we went to see. They were buying what we locally call as "udang" or crayfish ( freshwater crustaceans resembling small lobsters). Forgive my ignorance for personally, I have never seen so many crayfish before, it was some three basket full of big and i think, fully grown crayfish. Most of these crayfish bodies measured 2 inches long not including its head. I am amused and delighted to see such a great harvest from their river for I am used to seeing the small ones measuring an inch or less, harvested from Naguilian and Bangar in my province of La Union. I have also known that these were harvested from the river at barangay Pang-ot of the neighboring town of Lagayan still here in Abra and the vendors said tomorrow they will sell  "bunog" (a variety of small freshwater/river fish. Mullet or goby fish.).  I bought a kilo of crayfish while a municipal employee bought a styrofoam box full of some 10 kilos of it which she will probably re-sell.

San Juan, Abra Municipal Hall

After buying crayfish, it is now time to inquire about the waterfalls and caves, yes caves! a slight plethora of caves in the province of Abra. We went inside to one of the opened office (a cooperative department office) of the Municipal Hall and we talked to Dr. Meynarda Bautista Yamat, who also gave us a free snack of fried sweetened bananas on a stick or locally called "banana cue". If I heard it right, she is the municipal or provincial Dentist and a sister to the Mayor of the said town.
She briefed us about the cave while waiting for the Barangay Captain from that area who is just around the vicinity at that time. The Barangay Captain came but with a bad news. He told us that we can not make it this time because of the bad weather. He is very willing to accompany us and even discussed their tourism development plans on the said cave but the monsoon rains forbid. The problem would be crossing the river by foot and that would be very dangerous for sudden rise of water may occur and strong river flow which we can not take the risk. Although frustrating that we cannot see the cave at that time, that is very very right! I said to myself concerning safety. We thanked him as well as to Dr. Yamat, then my companion and I went to take photos of their church - the St. John the Evangelist Parish Church.

It is still raining and San Juan Church is close.
At an eatery in San Juan, Abra and their specialty is pancit!

At a local eatery, we went to have a snack.
 "Pancit yu man ading" (Pancit please) i said to the waitress. 
"Adda sabaw na manong?" (with soup sir?) he asked back.  I was a little bit confused about what she said, it must be the soup that they serve aside from the main order of food. 
Smiling, she said "sabaw na nga beef sir?" (Beef soup sir?).  
"Okey, sige" (okey, alright) i said. 
After some few minutes she brought our order of pancit not the dry one but the "Bangued pancit Miki" a kind of noodle dish in beef broth with pinches of fried meat. 
While we ate the delicious "pancit miki", we asked a favor if they can dry fry the crayfish I bought. Dry fry to avoid spoilage for the long journey going home. Without hesitation they did dry fry it. We paid our consumed food, thanked them and left for the town of Lagangilang.
At the town of Lagangilang, we inquired at an opened office section of their humble town hall. We got the same reply that it is very dangerous at this time to do to the caves and waterfalls for the same reason of the bad weather. They were accommodating, we thanked them and roamed around the town going to the one of the oldest tertiary school in the region that was founded in 1908, formerly known as Lagangilang Agricultural College (LAC) and now the Abra State Institute of Science and Technology (ASIST).

Entrance arch and gate of Abra State Institute of Science and Technology.
The Church in Lagangilang, Abra

We visited also the Church of the Holy Cross at barangay Laang of that town of Lagangilang. A beautiful facade of bricks (obscured by some overgrowth of trees that needs trimming) which resembled the looks of an old English church.
It rained from time to time. The downpour of rain even got heavier when we got back at downtown Bangued. Armed with umbrellas, we went to see the Victoria Park at Cassamata Hill National Park.

While taking the picture, we were standing across the road here waiting for a bus.

Our primary plan would be staying overnight in the province of Abra to explore what we can explore within two days. I love nature and the culture, so we can even go to some remote towns but it seems that the weather forbids it. We decided to come back another day and go back to Home Sweet Home.

 -end of pagnapagna-

Subject   : BANGUED, ABRA
Location : Municipality of Bangued
                 Province of Abra

How to get there:
From Manila take a bus bound for Bangued, Abra. 
The Buses that usually travel here are:
Partas Bus, Viron Transit, Dominion Bus.
Other Mini-bus from Baguio also travels to Bangued, Abra.

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  1. You know what kabsat, we have the same predicament. So you reached Abualan in San Juan? Just went there August 22, 2013. Same reason, we can't go to the caves due to the river, we went to the Lobot Ecopark instead and a sidetrip to the Tumungpa River at the Abualan Proper. We also got lost, we almost entered Tineg via San Juan-Tineg FM Road, LOLS! :p

    We just drove a motorcycle. However the ecopark was astounding. Just enough to compensate our effort. Also try Libtec, Dolores, it is a must-see eco-adventure trail! You could check out my flickr for my photos since I haven't blog them yet. (


    1. Okey hehe... palampasin muna ang mga ulan-ulan. Sige puntahan ko mga yan gusto ko mga adventure trail. :-) "nature".
      Thanks Ed!