The Abra province is still an unexposed tourism destination. Here you will enjoy a culture that is so very rich in history, and blessed with breathtaking scenery just like many other tourism sites in the Philippines. Tourist and vacationers will most certainly be amazed by the province’s cuisines, folk dances, tribes, public rituals, and local products.
Geographically, Abra is bordered by beautiful mountains of the Ilocos province in the west and the mountains of the Cordilleras to the east. Abra occupies a large portion of the western section of the Cordillera region also. So with this the Abra province is really just a melting point where you will find people with a very dominant Spanish ancestry, with a combined ethnicity of the native Tingguian tribe.
Nature has apparently remained very pristine in this part of the country. This could be because Abra is seemingly insulated by a mountainous gazebo. Because of this, life goes on here in a relaxed pace, away from the common humdrum of bustling urban cosmopolitan living. Abra is teeming with impressive and unspoiled natural resources. More than half of the province’s overall land area is consisting of forest lands, which practically serves as a repository of myriad of forest products and natural minerals like clay guano, gold, cement, rock phosphate, and other raw materials.
Through the years, Abra has been known with a moniker ‘killing field of the north.’ This could be because of the image the province has created in the past—it was known in the past decades as a province where violence was frequently committed. This image has been posting a negative impact to the provincial tourism industry. To counter the supposed setbacks from the peace and order situation, the provincial tourism officers have been aggressively promoting the province as a promising tourism destination.
Abra could still be considered as an under-populated province. With its land area of about 4,000 square kilometers, there are only about 231,000 inhabitants as of the latest count (2007). More than half of the households are engaged in crafts making, particularly of handicrafts made from rattan and bamboo. Tourists and vacationers could find unique souvenir and novelty items that could not be found and bought anywhere else. It is also the Philippines’ ‘Dye Capital’ because its grounds profusely grow many natural dye producing plants, which are used for giving attractive color to food, beverages, textiles, furniture, and even pharmaceutical products.
To date, both the local and national governments are working together to promote Abra as an ideal travel and vacation destination. Peace and order is maintained, while infrastructure developments are continuously established to reach even the most far-flung areas in the province that could not be easily accessed by ordinary motor vehicles. Bangued, the provincial capital, is becoming more commercialized to accommodate basic commercial, banking, and tourism establishments.
Tourists could always readily get to several tourism points of interest in Abra. The province has its own enchanting underground river at Barangay Libtec in the town of Dolores. Family picnics are ideal at Kimkimay Lake found at Taquib, town of Villaviciosa. The Victoria National Park is atop a high hill overlooking Bangued and its neighboring towns. Meanwhile, the Abra River still serves as a recommended site to enjoy swimming and fishing in clear, fresh water.
For tourists who love local festivities, Abra stages the festival of Raniag ti Abra or Abrenian (bamboo) festival on the first week of March. Famous local delicacies that are uniquely prepared and served in the province include sautéed eggs of giant red ants and kampa, which is cooked using eel, cascaron, and wild mushrooms as ingredients.
How to get to Abra Province
You could get to the province through riding buses from three points in Luzon. Partas Trans covers a route going to Abra from Metro Manila and Pangasinan. Philippine Rabbit bus line also runs from Metro Manila to Baguio to Abra, while Viron Trans offers bus trips from Baguio to Abra.