A Promising Future
Belonging to the Cordillera Administrative Region, Abra is a landlocked province approximately 270 miles away from Manila. In the past, Abra was marked with a stigma of being an unsafe place that has left many people to stay away, for reasons such as politics-related violence and the presence of insurgents within the area. Still, at present, this is somehow true. I myself have felt fear the moment I first arrived there two years ago as I saw a lot of soldiers marching down the road like as if there is a battlefield nearby. However, recent efforts of the local government to promote tourism can be seen as a pivotal point, with the influx of tourists as an evident sign that despite its lamentable history is a place worth going to.
If you are coming from Manila, there are several bus lines en route Bangued, which is the capital of Abra. This includes Viron, Dominion, and Partas. Online booking is available for Dominion via Pinoy Travel and as for Partas, it is partnered with Biyaheroes. Travel time usually takes around 9 hours but if you’re lucky enough, you can arrive in as early as 7 hours from your time of departure. As for those coming from the Summer Capital of the Philippines, one can opt for Partas. Travel time usually takes around 5 to 6 hours.
What to Expect?
For our trip, we decided to go chase after three waterfalls situated in three different municipalities. Thanks to my friend Glen who did all the research and for organizing this trip.
1 of 3: Sapilang Twin Falls
This falls is located in Barangay Sagap of the province’s capital. As we are doing a DIY trip, we went for the town’s local means of transportation i.e., using a tricycle. A one way trip costed us P50 each with one tricycle allowing us to have up to 4 passengers. For the guide fee, it is worth P300 which is good for a group consisting of 5 people. Additionally, a P50 environmental fee is being collected for each group. The falls involves a hike that takes around an hour depending on your pace (and the number of pictures you take along the way :p) to reach the top.
It starts with a river crossing but don’t worry because it is just a feet high.
The trail is generally slippery so I advise you to have a footwear that offers a good grip.
There are a lot of good spots to take photos and that perhaps was what consumed most of our time before reaching the top.
Once on top, you can indulge in either of the twin falls. Each has its own path if you want to go up. The one on the left offers a relatively easier path to follow. Since we are in the wilderness, it is always best to keep ourselves attentive of our surroundings. Snakes are present and during our visit, we did see one on the right side of the falls.
Once we were done, we now decided to take our lunch first before heading to the next falls. On our way, we decided to take a picture first on one of those picturesque structures there i.e., the Calaba Bridge.
2 of 3: Tiggalay Falls
For our second destination, it is located in Barangay Kirmay under the municipality of San Isidro. The trip takes roughly around an hour using a tricycle. A one way trip costed us P300 which is good for a group consisting of 3 people. So you might wonder if this one also involves a hike. Luckily, you don’t have to as the falls is located just by the side of the road. However, if you are an adventure enthusiast, you can hike all the way up to where the water is coming from. As we are lucky enough, the mayor of that town visited the falls on that same day and so, there were no fees collected from us.
3 of 3: Kaparkan Falls
And for our last port of call, it is the most popular tourist destination now in Abra which is the Kaparkan Falls located in the municipality of Tineg, closely resembling the well-known Kuang Si Falls in Laos. It is around 3 hours away from the capital and getting there is no joke. During the onset of the rainy season, it is highly recommended to go with the round-trip transport service (either via a monster truck or jeep) being offered by the Abramazing team that is currently being managed by Sir George Lalin and Ma’am Dykath Molina. Why so? The road going there is so steep and it can become extremely muddy which is knee-deep, requiring wheels to be equipped with chains for it to have a better grip. Hiking is not yet being encouraged given the road conditions. If you want, then you might want to just try Mt. Bullagao or Mt. Pugao (which I have yet to try soon).
Reaching the jump off point, you will need to do a 15-minute hike to get to the falls. The trail is easy to follow as you just have to follow the path before you. Once there, such scenery will greet you. I’ll just have to let the pictures do the talking now.
They say this Balete tree is filled with mystery as there are some speculations that it goes missing sometimes in pictures taken. However, I failed to take a picture of it from afar as I did not know about the story beforehand. I just learned about it when I was already back in Manila.
Also, one can opt to go down to the so called Blue Lagoon. Unfortunately, for our group, we were not able to do so and perhaps, a reason to go back there again soon. So basically that is all for our #Abramazing journey last July and I’m looking forward to going back there again soon.
- 10:00 Depart from Cubao
- 05:30 Arrival at Abra
- 06:30 Breakfast
- 07:15 Check-in at home stay
- 08:15 Head for Sapilang Falls
- 08:50 Arrival at Barangay Sagap
- 09:15 Start hike
- 10:15 Arrival at the top. Free time
- 12:00 Return to jump off point
- 13:00 Back at jump off point. Rest mode.
- 13:15 Head back to town proper
- 13:45 Arrival at town proper. Lunch time.
- 14:15 Head for Barangay Kirmay
- 15:15 Arrival at Barangay Kirmay, specifically at Tiggalay Falls. Free time.
- 17:15 Head back to Bangued
- 18:15 Arrival at Bangued. Photo ops at Victoria Park.
- 04:00 Wake up. Breakfast. Prep time
- 05:30 Register at District office of the Congressman for Kaparkan Falls tour
- 06:30 Depart from Bangued
- 10:00 Arrival at jump off point in Tineg
- 10:15 Arrival at Kaparkan Falls. Free time
- 12:00 Lunch time
- 1:30 Head back for Bangued
Who to Contact
You can easily message Abramazing team through their Facebook Page here. However, if you want to have a direct contact there, then you can either message either of the following:
- George Lalin – 09275609121
- Dykath Molina – 09277725856
They are most of the time active in Facebook specially Sir George so you can also contact them through Messenger.
For other questions, drop me a message here. Thanks!