--- Facts & Figures: Province of Abra ---

FACTS & FIGURES

... At a Glance

Area 3,180.8 sq. km.
Capital Bangued
Total Population
(As of May 2010)
234,733

Population Growth Rate
(1990-2010)

1.20
Household Population
(As of Aug 2007)
230,294
Number of Households
(As of Aug 2007)
46,546
Average Household Size
(As of Aug 2007)
5.0
Population Density
(As of May 2010)
73.8/sq. km.
Number of Municipalities
(As of Sept 2011)
27
Annual Per Capita Food Threshold
(As of 2009)
PhP 11,233
Annual Per Capita Poverty Threshold
(As of 2009)
PhP 16,132
Number of Barangays
(As of Sept 2011)
303

 

 

 

 

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Hemmed in the towering mountain ranges of the Ilocos on the west and the Cordillera in the east, the province of Abra occupies the western portion of the Cordillera region. It is bounded on the north by Ilocos Norte and the south by Ilocos Sur and Mountain Province. Towards the east is Kalinga and on the west, the province of Apayao. As it straddles the Ilocandia and the Cordillera, these landlocked province is a melting pot of the lowland people of dominant Spanish ancestry and the unique ethnicity of the upland Tingguian tribe.

Insulated by the Mountainous Gazebo, nature has remained prestine in Abra and life goes on in a relaxed pace away from the humdrum of urban cosmopolitan living. With a land area of 3,180.8 square kilometers, Abra accounts for one-fifth of the regions land area, the largest province in the region. It possesses the most number of municipalities (27) and barangays (303) among the seven Cordillera provinces. The seat of the provincial government is at Bangued, its capital town which is four hours from Baguio City and 10 hours from Manila.

The province teems with empressive natural resources. Among the region's seven provinces. In the year 2010 it has the largest area of alienable and disposable land totalling 89,034 hectares, more than one-fourth of the region's A & D lands. More than half of its land are forestlands which are repository of a myriad of forest products and minerals such as gold, clay guano, rock phosphate and cement raw materials.

The total population of Abra is 234,733 as of May 2010. This is an increase of 25,242 persons from the August 2000 census count of 209,491 or a growth rate of 1.20 from 1990 to 2010.


Brief History

Abra was created a politico-militar province in 1846, prior to which it comprised part of the old Ilocos Province and later to Ilocos Sur when Ilocos was divided into two provinces in 1818. Civil Government was established in Abra on August 19,1901, but on February 1905 it was re-annexed to Ilocos Sur. Abra remained a sub-province for 12 years regaining its status as a province only after the passage of Act 2683 in March 1977.

Records show that even before the Spanish conquest of the country, the people of Abra were already engaged in agriculture, production and trade. The Abra River was the primary means of transportation in and out of Abra. Traders from Vigan and other provinces used the river in bringing their trade to the provinces. The horse, for which Abra was once famous, was also used as a means of transportation especially for the people coming from the mountains until the Tangadan tunnel was built in San Quintin.

Te cultural heritage of the province is clearly manifested by the customs of the people, especially those from the mountain areas. The presense of antique porcelain jars and gongs indicate that the people of Abra were once engaged in trade either directly or indirectly with the other oriental countries most probably China. This is also substantiated by the kind of music that the people in the highland play during special occasions and celebrations. Such practices as the "kalon" which is a type of compact or treaty practice by the highlanders is believed to have started before Magellan came to the Philippines.

When the Spaniards came to the country, missionary work was done in Abra particularly by the Augustinian friars who founded the town of Bangued in 1898. They also made extensive studies on the culture of the mountain people of the province.

With the revolutionary movement which started in the eighteenth century, the people of Abra actively participated in the national uprising. In the middle part of 1899, 1 revolutionary government was set up in Abra through the leadership of Don Blas Villamor. Leocadio Valera became provincial governor until Abra fell into the hands of the American forces. The Americans established a civil government on August 19, 1901.

During the World War II, when the Philippines fell under the Japanese Imperial Army, a sudversive guerilla organization was formed to resist the Japanese Occupation Army. The Japanese Occupation which lasted from April 1942 to April 1945 adversely affected the industries and proprties of the people. The province recovered only after the Philippines was liberated by the American forces in the latter part of 1945. The coming of the Americans brought about substantial change in the social, religious and political life of the province.

Abra is composed of 27 municipalities and 303 barangays. The capital town is Bangued while the other municipalities are Boliney, Bucay, Bucloc, Daguioman, Danglas, Dolores, Lacub, Lagangilang, Lagayan, Langiden, La Paz, Licuan-Baay, Luba, Malibcong, Manabo, Penarrubia, Pidigan, Pilar, Sallapadan, San Isidro, San Juan, San Quintin, Tayum, Tineg, Tubo and Villaviciosa.


Points of Interest

HISTORICAL

Casa Real- a facade of the first provincial capitol of Abra, located at Bucay, Abra.

Gabriela Silang Monument- popularly known as the " Joan of Arc" of the Ilocos, led the Ilocanos' resistance against the Spaniards in 1763, after her husband Diego Silang was treacherously shot on May 28, 1763. Today, her monument stands at the town plaza of Pidigan to remind every one of the gallant stand and the ideals she and her husband fought and died for.

CULTURAL

Pinaing (Sacred Stones) - found in Dumayco, Penarrubia, 6.62 kms. from Bangued. In the hollow of a huge Balete Tree are found sacred stones called "pinpinaing" by the village people which symbolizes the "anito" (spirits) of their ancestors.

Don Teodoro Brillantes Family Museum- a private museum which houses the collections and mementos of the Brillantes family with a strong reflection of the Spanish culture.

Old Roman Catholic Churches- the churhes are among the traces of the cultural heritage left by the Spanish colonizers. These are found in the municipalities of Bangued, Tayum, and Lagangilang. In Lagangilang, the church is not located in the town plaza unlike the churches in Bangued and Tayum where the churches are located near the town plazas and the municipal halls.

NATURAL

Abra River - the most popular river among the numerous rivers criss-crossing the valleys of the province, being the biggest and longest. An ideal place for swimmers as well as those fond of fishing with spacious and clear water.

Boliney Hot Spring - located at Bani, Boliney, Abra. It can be reached by jeepneys after travelling 32 kms. The place is an ideal for swimmers who love taking a bath in hot and cold water.

Tugot ni Angalo - translated as "Footprints of Angalo" -the Adam in Abra mythology- it is found in Kabaruyan, San Quintin. The "footprint" is a perpetual monument of Angalo. People claim this is a real giant footprint around fifteen meters long, five meters wide and ten feet deep.

Libtec Underground River - An enchanting underground river located in Barangay Libtec, Dolores. Residents in the area claim the place is home to some "mysterious" water creatures.

Kimkimay Lake - located at Taquib, Villaviciosa. This is a favorite place for town picnickers using the lake as a swimming pool and a place for fishing.

Sibud-sibud cave - located along the road of Tineng. It can be reached after travelling a distance of around 33 kms. It is an ideal place for nature lovers.

Limbo Lake - second lake located at Villaviciosa. It offers an ideal place for campers and hikers. The distance to travel is however negligible.

MAN - MADE

Don Mariano Marcos Bridge - located along the Abra-Kalinga National Road which is the third longest bridge in the country with a total length of 886.8 linear meters.

Tangadan Tunnel - this is a 40 meter tunnel located along the Abra-Ilocos Sur National Road. The tunnel is a popular benchmark to most of the provinces' populace as well as to visitors where dignitaries and other prominent visitors are being welcomed.

Lusuac Dam- this is the gravity irrigation dam located at Lagayan. This is an ideal place for fishing and swimming with its clear water.

Victoria National Park - located atop a hill overlooking the town of Bangued and neighboring municipalities of Tayum, La Paz, Pidigan and Penarrubia. A shrine of the blessed mother cradling Infant Jesus was built near a reservoir of Bangued waterworks. A swimming pool is also available for swimmers.

Borikibok Resort- located at San Miguel, Bucay, Abra. It offers a cool, shady and cozy ground for picnic lovers with its heart shaped swimming pool, dancing conference square located under the shady atmosphere of trees.

Brima Resort - located in Penarrubia, Abra, the resort boasts of a swimming pool under shades of mango trees. Thus, the place is ideal for swimmers who love cool water and cozy atmosphere.

Malamsit Calm Spring - one of the first resorts developed by a private citizen and is located in the historic lowland Tingguian town of Penarrubia. It offers a shady swimming pool with a clear and calm water amidst ornamental plants and shady fruit trees.

Manabo Irrigation Project - is an ideal place for students to visit with its Roman-inspired aquedecks, a spacious swimming pool and one kilometer tunnel.

Palayan ng Bayan - is a vast tract of barren land converted into an agricultural land when the Palayan ng Bayan program was launched in the province in 1974 as a sister program of the Masagana '99 program. The site covers a sprawling 56 hectares atop a hill.

Abra River Irrigation Project - a project of the church in Abra and the National Irrigation Administration designed to irrigate approximately 3,900 hectares of farmland in the municipalities of Tayum, Bangued, Pidigan and Penarrubia. This project enables the people of the said municipalities to harvest crops twice a year.

Provincial Capitol - is a three storey building situated North of Bangued Town Plaza and Northwest of Bangued Municipal Hall. Its cool atmosphere provided by the trees surrounding the building is a suitable place for government officials and employees to perform their functions as servants of Abrenians.

Mary Barbero Park - is the town plaza of the Municipality of Tayum which is located 5.6 kms. northeast of Bangued. It boasts of a man-made lagoon and a playground for children, not to mention the century-old acacia trees surrounding the landscaped plaza.

Malanas Dam - is a gravity irrigation dam located at San Juan, Abra. It taps the water resources of Malanas River irrigating a sizable portion of the ricefields of San Juan.

 

Sources:

Cordillera Almanac
Vol. I - Local Government Units
1999
Department of the Interior and Local Government
Cordillera Administrative Region
    

1999 Tourism Situationer
Department of Tourism
Cordillera Administrative Region  

+ Photo courtesy of the PEENRA Project Team

 

Page last updated: April 19, 2012


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