Travelling to Tubo, Abra

Abra a province part of the Cordillera administrative region is famous for its violent politics specially when the election season is nearing. It kinda destroyed its image as a possible quiet get away. But I’m here to show you that its not as bad as what they show you on television.

Its a place that can bring you an adventure with nature. A place that can provide you comforting silence and a haven that can cradle your cravings for a simple life. The good part is Globe(the the telecommunications provider) has good signal that can allow you to connect to social media even if it feels like you are in a desolate place at the town we stayed at.

I do Freelance work shooting weddings and events for different photography groups and from time to time I end up traveling to a place I never knew existed. This time I’m traveling with Rich Martinez and Fridge Multimedia Video Team to cover an event at Tubo, Abra. This was back in April 5, 2017 the wedding is next day.

We met up around 5:00 am at Abanao Square, Baguio city. Started the trip early so that we can have enough time to scout the location and also get accustomed to the weather. Since its summer now here in the Philippines the temperatures here tend to become really hot specially in the low land provinces.

I didn’t have an ounce of sleep that night for fear of being left behind so I tried to get some on the road. At first it was working but it’s hard to ignore the scenery. It’s my first time going there and I enjoyed observing the road and the landscape.

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By the time we got to Ilocos Sur we hit Benjie’s to eat breakfast. The place looks like a locals only joint having a local Ilocano dishes like Pinapaitan, Dinengdeng, Dinakdakan and others. Something to take note for the pinapaitan dish, they separate the bile which is used to make the dish bitter and you put it on your dish to taste. This is kind of a local thing.  I got Pinapaitan and Lechon kawali and 2 rice. It was a mean breakfast. Heavy, savory, cheap and really good.

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The entrance to the province of Ilocos Sur

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My meal for that morning.
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Pinapaitan, an Ilocano dish consisting of beef innards and meat, sauteed and simmered in its own bile.
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Deep Fried Pork

We continued to traverse the land up until Narvacan, Ilocos Sur then we took a right turn. We head in to an unexplored territory for me.  The place feels oddly familiar but  at the same time really new. It has a touch of the mountains having an air similar to La union but cooler. It also has the lush greens of a place disconnected from the rest of the world but part of the roads seemed developed or so we thought.

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The Right turn going towards Abra.

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Our destination is at Tubo, Abra. According to wikipedia;


Tubo, officially the Municipality of Tubo (Ilocano: Ili ti Tubo, Filipino: Bayan ng Tubo), is a municipality in the province of Abra in the Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR) of the Philippines. The population was 5,699 at the 2015 census.[3] In the 2016 electoral roll, it had 3,378 registered voters.[4]

The municipality was created on June 17, 1967 from the former municipal district of the same name, through Republic Act 5161.[5]

For more info on wikipedia about Tubo you can check it here: Tubo

So we take another turn towards the right and we are starting to discover that the place we are heading to is not your typical rural place.

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A tunnel dug through the mountain, the main marker for the entrance to Province of Abra.

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This I think is a statue of Gabriela Silang who is an Ilocana Filipino Heroin who led the Basi Revolt after his husband died.
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A town we passed by going towards our destination.
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The Jeepneys are supposed to take in the passengers but its common practice in the provinces in the Philippines to cram all the cargo inside and for the passengers to ride it out under the sun.

We passed thru the town of Bucay then Manabo. The roads were shifting to dirt roads then paved roads and we passed over a make shift road thru the dried out parts of the river bed. At this day and age we all thought that everything has bridges and paved roads per town but not at this place. I was starting to think that we might need to get of the van to push it if we got stuck specially at the river.

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Manabo bridge.

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When the roads become paved to dirt then gravel

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We literally had to pass through the river bed.
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We got lost for a bit but we eventually found our way back on the roads
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Overloading, A common practice here in the Philippines. When cargo has seats and you take the scenic view.
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A hanging bridge connecting the other side of the river. Our driver mentioned that when the water rises on the river the land below becomes flooded and they got no choice but to go on foot to cross towards the other side.

Through the efforts of the Local government unit there were some make shift bridges that were maintained so that vehicles can pass by for a small fee. The scenery was breath taking I’m enjoying it since its been a long time that I had this kind of adventure.

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The toll gate
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The amount you got to pay to pass the make shift bridge
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The bridge is only good for passing one at a time
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A make shift bridge for the people on foot

After passing through the river we start our ascent towards the town that we are heading up to. The roads became one way. Sometimes dirt, sometimes paved. There are really steep climbs and very scary drops. It was a sunny day the roads were dry and a bit slippery due to the gravel and dirt that accumulated on it.

 The place offered such thrill on the roads and a whole lot of appreciation for natures beauty. At first I was starting to think negatively about the place but the scenes changed my mind. It offered an appeal to simple life. An option lost to many due to the fact that we are all drowned in by the allures of material living.

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A steep climb, the Van had to try three times going up this road.
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A view of nothingness and of nature.
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The serene beauty of the place
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Tubo Town Center
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Beyond the grass a high drop going towards the river below.
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The Dirt roads we took

We got to our destination and we were blown away by the beauty of the place. Its so peaceful  and serene. We had time to explore the place after shooting the details that are going to be used for the wedding on the following day.  At the river side you can just sit down relax and enjoy the view and take a dip. It was so refreshing to be stuck in such a place for 2 days. I just wish we had enough time to enjoy it since after covering the wedding we had to head back to Baguio for me to pack a fresh set of clothes then travel again towards my next destination.

The good part is at least I was able to stop listen to nature and enjoy what it had to offer at that moment, a peaceful afternoon and a rejuvenating effect to pause and heal the soul.

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Some kids skinny dipping on the clear and clean river.
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