"There are threats of rock slides and land slides along the way but we were not thinking about it because the enjoyment, freedom and awe we are feeling is turning on our positive side and optimism to encounter better things and not the worse."

Being an off-beaten destination, Sallacong maintains the purity of its beauty! There are few human activities happening in this hidden destination except for the fertile valley that is being planted with crops and the stunning green fields where livestocks freely enjoy the nature's gift for their survival and to wit, the purity of its beauty is preserved.

Sallacong, a valley along the Abra River is blessed with pristine beauty and peace.

We entered this destination taking the inconvenient and bumpy road and the first person we saw was with a gun that made my brother decide not to continue the journey because of fear. It was a frightening welcome!

However, as we observed the old man with a gun, we just came to know that he was just hunting wild birds and strangers like us wasn't his target. We were relieved and felt safe! We were able to take a deep breathe of soundness after knowing that our life is not at risk for the very first person we met along the road. So we continued our journey.

The road we had to take was challenging. But behind the challenge of traversing this path, is a rewarding accomplishment because the fact that we are traversing the road, beautiful sceneries kept appearing!

Never mind the bumpy path, it was just a part of the journey. Along our way, the lush green steep mountain ranges of the Cordilleras seemed like waving a warm welcome for us.

It feels like the mountains can rarely see strangers that had the courage to explore their hidden paradise amidst the rumors and news that Sallacong is one mischievous place for strangers. Because of it's isolation, it is a favorite throw-out place for salvaged and dead bodies, as the rumors are telling.

In spite of the false threats and unconfirmed rumors, there's none that will stop us and I think the only things that will stop our journey are imminent danger, flat tires and empty gasoline tank.

There was sense of freedom thinking that we were the only three (with my two younger brothers) on the road without seeing any houses and even if we will shout out loud, we are so free to do it because of the sense of freedom this adventure is bringing us!

The views we are seeing are so unlimited. It was just a heart-to-heart encounter with nature! The clear afternoon sky, the lush green mountains, the calm and pristine river and huge rocks just made this adventure a total package.

Of course, for ordinary tourists seeking the convenience of the destination, this place is hidden. So it is just waiting to be discovered. If it  has gained the attention of the people, hotels, restaurants or spas may have popped out in this area.

But the thing is, what makes this place so special is that it is hidden and because it is an isolated area, the greatest thing it could do to you is to surprise you with it's beauty you've never expected.

My brother even did perform planking at the top of a rock direct to the cliff which I also did.


It was a beauty you will never expect because given the negative publicity and the location of the place, being not so accessible, only a few will dare to explore Sallacong. Of course, who would discover the beauty of this place if the image is not so good? So it will just surprise you with natural wonders you have never known before.

Sallacong is located in a fertile valley in between Bantay (Ilocos Sur) and San Quintin (Abra Province). There are no regular trips entering Sallacong, you must at least have your own vehicle or to walk instead.


We were enjoying our adventure and we did all the fun we can do this day. There are threats of rock slides and land slides along the way but we were not thinking about it because the enjoyment, freedom and awe we are feeling is turning on our positive side and optimism to encounter better things and not the worse.

We continued the trip ahead and it was such an unexpected discovery that behind the mountains that hide this community, there situated a multi-billion project called the Banaoang Pump Irrigation Project! Wow!

It is a project that waters the rice fields for most of the towns of the first district of Ilocos Sur. I didn't know I can find it here.


Well at least, there is a huge man-made structure in the area. The good thing is, it is located in a location where it does not obstruct the beauty of the sceneries you see.

Going ahead, we were climbing on the road to a higher elevation and what we saw in the valley was just so surprising!

The view was relaxing! We saw wide green fields with cattle grazing! The view is like the pictures I see in New Zealand.

The grazing fields were just enough to feed the livestocks that also enjoy the sense of freedom they have while feeding at the green grazing fields!

Now, we are already seeing people, mostly shepherds, and I now can say that the people here are not dangerous, they just want to live peacefully with their very own hidden paradise.


My youngest brother exploring with me.

After that very great and unforgettable encounter of the valley which we are overlooking from the road situated in a higher elevation, we decided to go down the river and the scene was more than fulfilling!

We absolutely had an intimate moment with nature until sunset is already appearing at the west on which it signals us that we need to go home although we were still starting to fall in love with the place.


The Abra River was just so magical. It flows so calmly as it goes down below the mountains watering the valley towards the West Luzon Sea.

The Abra river has a big role in Sallacong. Aside from the fact that it adds beauty to the place, it also waters the fertile valley giving the local residents a chance to harvest in high volume of crops.

Now, we just have explored and discovered a hidden paradise that also served as a quality moment with my two younger brothers and it is time to go.

Sallacong was such a hidden paradise and I would prefer it to just be hidden because the more people will know about it, there is a great chance that commercialization will take place.

I just mean that I am not against commercialization but what I would want to happen is that can we just leave the place as it is without applying the laws of economics and just allow the place to thrive naturally that everyone especially the new generation will just view the sceneries the way we used to view now. /end

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Tags: Off beaten path in ilocos sur | off beaten path in ilocos | sallacong | abra river | motorcycle road trip
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EDMAR GUQUIB

Born and Raised in Vigan, Philippines. Hardcore Ilocano. Genuine Bigueño. Sucker of Long Land Trips. Loves the Highlands. Professional Nurse on Weekdays. Coffee Addict. Travel Blogger in Between. For sponsorship, advertising, event invites and collaborations email me at edmaration@gmail.com.

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