Abra Bangued

10 places to visit in and around Bangued, Abra

Abra is an enigma. For me at least. It’s ruggedness and mystery is something that an adventurer should discover. This province is just so promising that there are so many opportunities for discovery. But if you’re not so much into roughing it up, the municipalities of Bangued, Tayum, Pidigan and San Quintin are interesting enough for a leisurely tour. The good thing? These are just adjacent towns connected by good roads.

Check this top ten list of things to visit within and around Bangued.

Bangued

The St. James the Elder Cathedral of Bangued

The St. James the Elder Cathedral of Bangued

1 St. James the Elder Cathedral
Originally founded by the Augustinians who built a church in the 19th century, only to be destroyed during World War II. The Seculars, who took over built the present structure after the war. It’s a quaint yet simple facade dominated with lines.

The turn of the century brick cemetery chapel and now, the Shrine of San Lorenzo Ruiz in Bangued

The turn of the century brick cemetery chapel and now, the Shrine of San Lorenzo Ruiz in Bangued

2 San Lorenzo Ruiz Shrine

Originally built during the turn of the 19th century, it’s a beautiful brick structure that is even older than the cathedral. It is the cemetery chapel of Bangued with twin belfries and a triangular pediment. It’s a heritage structure with interesting brick details on its facade, nave and especially the rounded rear portion. This is now the Shrine of San Lorenzo Ruiz.

The ancestral house of the country's 1952 Senate President Quintin Paredes

The ancestral house of the country’s 1952 Senate President Quintin Paredes

3 Quintin Paredes ancestral house

It’s an imposing and beautiful green and cream colored ancestral house where the stateman and senate president of 1952, Quintin Paredes was born. The style is a renovated bahay na bato that still retains the original first level made of stone with a historical marker in front. It’s just near the Cathedral.

Scenic view of Bangued and beyond with Mount Banti Goolong (Sleeping Beauty mountain) in the background. This is in Cassamata Hill National Park in Bangued.

Scenic view of Bangued and beyond with Mount Banti Goolong (Sleeping Beauty mountain) in the background. This is in Cassamata Hill National Park in Bangued.

4 Cassamata Hill National Park and viewdeck

A sprawling 54 hectare green refuge where Victoria Park, a monument to the national hero Jose Rizal, an amphitheater and a marian statue is found. Cassamata Hill National Park offers a green refuge to the people of Bangued. It’s where many go up and down for the early morning and late after jogs. But the best reason to come up? Stunning views of Bangued below, the wide plains and rivers and a view of the Sleeping Beauty mountain beyond at the viewdeck. Climb up the marian statue’s second level for the best vistas!

Abraeniana Museum at the Divine Word College in Bangued introduces you to the cultural and ethnographic history of Abra

Abraeniana Museum at the Divine Word College in Bangued introduces you to the cultural and ethnographic history of Abra

5 Abraeniana Museum

If you want to get a glimpse of Abra, its history and culture and the different Itneg (or Tinguian) tribes that inhabit it, head to Abraeniana Museum at the Divine Word College. There are different artifacts, from religious antiques to Itneg baskets, regalia and daily utensils as well as things and events that trace the history of the province. A donation will help but get in touch first with the Abraeniana Institute just across the building.

The beautiful yet functional Calaba Bridge in Bangued gives you stunning views of Abra’s rugged countryside and wide expansive rivers. You can also see the Sleeping Beauty mountain from here.

6 Calaba Bridge
It’s one of the Philippine’s longest bridges stretching almost a kilometer with its steel trusses. And it’s also the best place to view and appreciate the ruggedness and beauty of Abra. A late afternoon visit is perfect as school children walk home while farmers, with their carabaos crossing the shallow water down below giving a memorable bucolic image.

READ MORE: A 900 meter bridge over stunning scenery in Abra

Pidigan

Delicious miki at Rico’s Pansitan in Pidigan

7 Miki at Rico’s Pansitan

A pit stop for many travelers, Rico’s Pansitan is popular for its delicious, cheap yet filling miki. A big, full bowl with lots of noodles, meat, an egg and savory soup will just set you back P35 which can be a meal in itself! The noodles are handmade and fresh everyday while the soup is a delicious broth of boiled meat stewing for hours. The pansitan also offers traditional Ilocano fare.

READ MORE: Savor Pidigan’s delicious yet cheap pansit miki

The abandoned brick church of Pidigan is stunning for its details and texture

The abandoned brick church of Pidigan is stunning for its details and texture

8 Old Pidigan Church

I got mesmerized at its beautiful brick facade with its interesting details, its texture and feel of an era gone by. This was built in the 19th century by Fray Jose Foj when an earlier church burned down in 1881. It was finished in 1890. Currently, due to its sorry state, has been converted into a warehouse while a modern church has been built beside it.

San Quintin

The Tangadan Tunnel in San Quintin welcomes you to Abra. A beautiful sculpture of local heroine, Gabriela Silang is at the left.

The Tangadan Tunnel in San Quintin welcomes you to Abra. A beautiful sculpture of local heroine, Gabriela Silang is at the left.

9 Tangadan Tunnel and Gabriela Silang bust
You can’t miss the Tangadan Tunnel. After the signages that welcomes you to Abra, this is the first solid structure that will greet you. Tangadan Tunnel is just one of around four or five tunnels in the country that have been hewn from the mountain. Beside it is a park with a bust of Gabriela Silang bravely atop a horse.

The beautiful church of Tayum is one of the reasons why you should visit this province.

The beautiful church of Tayum is one of the reasons why you should visit this province.

The ancestral hous of Don Teodoro Brillantes, now abandoned and in disrepair

The ancestral house of Don Teodoro Brillantes. CLICK TO ENLARGE.

10 Tayum Church
This is one of the reasons why you should visit Tayum! The Sta. Catalina de Alejandria Parish Church was built by the Seculars with their Itneg converts and is one of the country’s National Cultural Treasures. The church ground is wide and expansive and at the side are century old trees with cement tables and seats which is perfect for a late afternoon visit and just gaze at the beautiful architecture. An old convent, now unused is infront but outside the perimeter fence.

Although there is also the Don Teodoro Brillantes ancestral house and museum nearby, even if it’s a National Historical property, its in bad condition and the interior is in a bad state. Museum artifacts are no longer present.

The best breaded pork chop ever!

GETTING THERE: From Manila are several buses like Partas and Dominion that travels to Bangued, the provincial capital. To go around Bangued and nearby towns, hire a tricyle if you don’t have your own vehicle.

WHERE TO STAY: Abra Grand Valley Hotel in Calaba is just along the highway, near Calaba Bridge. It has clean and cozy rooms with a restaurant downstairs and a swimming pool. The rooms at the back provide mountain views including the Sleeping Beauty mountain.

WHERE TO EAT: There are several fastfood and restaurants in Bangued as well as its varied pansitans. But you should check out Tina’s Refreshment Parlor and Restaurant for delicious yet affordable meals.

Thanx to Vice Governer Chari Bersamin for this opportunity, Edmar of edmaration.com as well as Elric who toured me around.

Estan Cabigas is freelance photographer, blogger and writer based in Makati City, the Philippines. A true blue Cebuano, he makes stunning images and meaningful photo stories. His work has been published in local and international publications including National Geographic Magazine, Geo (Germany), Sunday Times Magazine (London) and other publications. He is also a peripatetic traveler and has traveled to all 81 Philippines provinces. I'm open for work, collaborations and inquiries, including hotel, restaurant and site features and reviews.

15 Comments

  1. Estan Cabigas (@EstanCabigas)
    September 24, 2014 @ 16:14

    10 places to visit in and around Bangued, Abra: Abra is an enigma. For me at least. It’s ruggedness and myster… http://t.co/xd09grNXqn

  2. Jem
    September 25, 2014 @ 6:15

    Hi Estan, Ang ganda nito. Para na rin akong nakarating don. I never thought Abra had so much to be proud of. That’s the part of Northern Luzon I have never been to. Thanks for sharing.

  3. rEydan
    September 25, 2014 @ 8:37

    Thanks for sharing this Sir Estan! Pwedeng pwede na to for day tour before visiting Vigan City. Places to visit, noted!

  4. Rosarito Carino
    September 25, 2014 @ 14:39

    I notice you did not go to the Gabriela Carino-Silang Gallery of Fine Arts,

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157602108876013/

  5. estan
    September 26, 2014 @ 7:53

    Yes, kahit day tour pwede siya. 🙂

  6. estan
    September 26, 2014 @ 8:01

    Welcome Jem. Yes, it has interesting places too. But if you’re up for it, Abra is better appreciated for its adventure travel possibilities. Soon 🙂

  7. estan
    September 26, 2014 @ 8:02

    Hi Rosarito, yes, because when we went there, may lamay.

  8. @abrenian
    September 27, 2014 @ 14:50

    Quite an interesting blog from a Langyaw (outsider). Can you add more places to visit? http://t.co/jYeUNLXXa7

  9. @blessedlaarni
    September 28, 2014 @ 19:40

    10 places to visit in and around Bangued, Abra http://t.co/kieZIfWTs5

  10. banguedenio
    March 11, 2015 @ 4:21

    just a few corrections:

    St. James the Elder Cathedral (erected in 1722 and completed only in 1823) was bombed during WW2, the roofs caved in but the belfry and the church walls are still the original structure. What you see now though (the bell tower most especially) is a product of years of transformation under the SVD and secular priests during the early 20th century. It was never “rebuilt” by the secular priests.

    San Lorenzo Ruiz Shrine was built in the early 20th century – completed and dedicated in May 3, 1922. It was designed by Brother Arnulf, the SVD mission carpenter at that time. The same carpenter also was also to blame for the transformation of St. James the Elder Cathedral bell tower.

  11. estan
    March 28, 2015 @ 17:31

    Thanx for the corrections! Really appreciated it 🙂

  12. flora bernardez
    February 9, 2016 @ 8:02

    Wow! Maraming salamat at may naglabas ng kagandahan ng aking bayang tinubuan…Bangued, Abra. Mga lumang bldgs n schools sana i feature mo pa.

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    August 20, 2016 @ 14:18

    […] of the trailblazers’ blogs aren’t that impressive except for those written by Edmaration & Langyaw. So we thought we’d hold on to our old-school […]

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    September 19, 2018 @ 19:05

    […] Source: Langyaw Reference: http://langyaw.com/2014/09/24/10-places-visit-around-bangued-abra/ […]

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