You are now entering “ABRA” – the signboard said as I entered Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) from Sta Maria, Ilocos Sur (Region 1).
Nothing so special. It doesn’t have stunning rock formations nor white sand beaches. I believe there are waterfalls but very far from Bangued, its capital. The green mountains of Ilocos began to be brown and dry as Abra province came near. It was scorching hot and if not for the gushing wind, I will be all wet of my sweat.
So what’s in Abra? Some Old Churches, Campo Santo, La Paz loom-weaving, Victoria Park and the Calaba river where locals sometimes visit to freshen up. I believe there’s more but because of the peace and order situation, tourists have no choice but to explore the places within the city.
Its one province that tourist avoid because of the political problem that it has. I don’t want to comment on this. I just want to share what I felt when I visited the town after Bangued- Tayum.
It was 5:30pm, and people should be out there walking at the park, kids playing, and so on… But what I saw was almost a ghost town. The few locals I met along the way are wary of me, ”tamang hinala sa mga kilos ko” should I do something bad. I can’t blame them, maybe because a lot has done something wrong in the past. It’s kinda sad that when I smile at them, they would pretend as if they didn’t see me. Some busied themselves.
And when I went back to Bangued proper, a grim scene just happened. A man was shot 3 times right there at the ground floor of Mega Centrum, the building that the city government is using. The suspect ran away and I saw the shot man being rushed to the hospital by the policemen.
It freaked me a little because I went inside that same building hours ago to ask information about tourist spots in the area.
Now I know why the government officials kept on telling me not to wander when it is already dark.
So I spent the rest of the night inside my room.
NOTE: Forgive me for the black and white photos. Its a sign of protest to the government officials of Abra. I hope they do something about the situation.
And I hope what I heard wasn’t true. Some kill even for just a cavan of rice as payment. WHATDA?!!!
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I was in Abra during Days 8 and 9 of ISANG DAAN Journey .
#ISANGDAAN is a personal journey and challenge to backpack around the Philippines the cheapest way possible for 100 days. “Isang Daan” is a Filipino term that can mean either “one way” or “one hundred.”
If you want to follow my steps, I have an interactive map- ISANGDAAN Journey map.