The province of Abra, well known to be off the track for tourists and travelers because of negative publicity, I bravely entered the province with a motorcycle (actually the scooter type). It took me half a day (from afternoon to dark) to motorbike-traverse several towns along the Abra-Kalinga Road, Ilocos Sur-Abra Road and some off-roads as well and it brought me into the realization that Abra is a very beautiful province, full of natural wonders, even man-made wonders and unknown heritage unwritten in history books that you will come to reverse the idea that this province is infested with dark politics behind the dark entrance.
|Tangadan Tunnel, the iconic entrance to the Abra province|
I don't live in Abra but it is close to my heart. Sometimes I even hesitate to blog about the beautiful spots in the province because I am afraid that it will gain attention and eventually become unsustained thus ending up as a trash seconday to irresponsible human activity.
For my recent trips to Abra, it has been a dream to photograph this tunnel the way I want it but always ends up to nothing because I usually ride on a bus. The idea of driving a motorbike (though a bit unsafe based on a general perception) to Abra popped out to my mind so that I can stop over anytime.
Those times, Abra was still a part of the Ilocos Region (Region 1) and the IRAA meet was held in this province. Abra is now a part of CAR (Cordillera Administrative Region) although most of its people have closer attachment to the Ilocano culture that emanates from Ilocos. Most of the Abrenians consider themselves as Ilocanos and they speak Ilocano too.
Nah! Google was not helpful and I ended up contacting several people in Abra to share their knowledge about it but everything turned out to be theories and they didn't consider their statements as facts per se.
Here are some of the theories (Even people from Abra themselves are not well-knowledgable about it).
Theory 1 | Abra as Horse Capital of the Philippines: One of them told me that Abra used to be the "Horse Capital of the Philippines" and those horses were good for races.
Theory 2 | Horses used to freely roam around Abra: A statement from another Abrenian shows that Abra used to be the land of the free for horses, quoted: "According to my late grandfather, large horses were grazing and roaming free in Abra during his childhood. One would simply catch a wild horse to tame or domesticate and it is his to keep. My grandpa had sold 30 of his tamed horses in the 1930's to accummulate enough money to fund his journey to the mainland USA in 1930.
The horse variety pre-dated the arrival of the Spaniards, so it was surmised that they were not Spanish, Mexican, nor Portuguese horses as many believed but rather brought to our land by the Chinese pirates led by Lim Ah Hong giving the theory that the Abra horses belonged to the same horse variety used by the Mongols to establish the biggest empire in history. Horses coming from Abra were the champions in horse races held in Manila during the Spanish era."
If you have related theories, you can simply post it at the comment section below. For now, the theories I posted are those I received when I contacted this people.
If you are a fan of Philippine Commercials, you can possibly remember the Coca Cola commercial "Karl Kalabaw" which was shot near this tunnel.
I tried to find a YouTube video about that commercial but to no avail.