PROVINCE OF ABRA Historical Data - Philippine Historical Data PROVINCE OF ABRA Historical Data - Philippine Historical Data

PROVINCE OF ABRA Historical Data

Province of Abra

About these Historical Data

This page contains a transcription of the Historical Data of the Province of Abra, the graphic files of which were initially taken from the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections and then subsequently processed using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software to extract the text so that these may be coded to become web pages. A link to the original files is given at the end of this page.

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This syllabus is a compilation of information and facts about the province of Abra as a whole, including each of its municipalities separately treated. The subject divisions as presented have not been intended for specific teaching units but rather as a treatise on each subject with most pertinent ideas included.

The materials have been the product of community surveys, interviews from competent resource persons, and research jointly undertaken by teachers, principals, supervising principals and division supervisors, municipal, provincial officials and prominent citizens who have the intimate knowledge and sympathetic understanding of the local materials and resources.

Rather than merely depending on the limited scope of the courses of study which become inadequate for instruction in regions with varied problems, needs and interests deviating from the typical, this syllabus has been intended to supplement, enrich and vitalize classroom instructions in consonance with the presently irrefutable emerging educational philosophy of thoroughly grounding the child with the available rich local materials and resources as bases of his understanding and grasp of life, thereby ensuring his intelligent and successful participation working for the progress and uplift of his own community.

Division Superintendent of Schools

[Table of Contents]


Natural Resources and Products
Population – People and Culture
Social Organizations and Institutions
Home Life
Transportation & Communication
' Provincial

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Location and Boundary. - The Province of Abra is located approximately between latitude 17 48' 15" North and latitude 17 11' 17" North and between longitude 120 27' 32" East and longitude 121 07' 17" East. It is bounded in the north by Ilocos Norte and Apayao, a sub-province of [the] Mountain Province; in the south by Ilocos Sur and Bontoc sub-province, in the east by Kalinga sub-province and in the west by Ilocos Sur.

Geological and Geographical Features. - Abra has a total land area of 3,809.9 square kilometers, which is mostly rugged and mountainous and covered with forests. The bedrock is volcanic and ignocus [igneous?], overlaid by limestone, sandstone and by recent alluvium. There is gold dust along the Binongan River. Of mineral springs in the province, only that of Lomon River is known. Its temperature ranges from 70 to 80 Farenheit with a flow of 3 to 4 cubic centimeters per ascend.

The province derived its name from the Abra River, which "opens" (in Spanish, "abrir") an outlet into the sea through the narrow Banauang Gap. The Abra River flows from far south of the coastal plain and runs north, parallel to the coast, for about 55 miles. Even during low water, the river is too swift for boats, so all passengers and freight are carried on bamboo rafts. During heavy rains, the swollen waters, which cannot easily pass through the narrow Banauang Gap, cause great destruction.

It is when the southwest and northwest monsoons blow that Abra has heavy rainfall and, consequently, rich valleys.

The people in the valleys are Ilokanos, while those in the mountains are Tinggians. The rich valleys have also attracted people from other provinces.

Political Subdivisions. - The Province of Abra consists of 18 regular municipalities, namely: Bangued, Bucay, Danglas, Dolores, Lagangilang, Lagayan, Langiden, La Paz, Luba, Manabo, Peñarubbia, Pidigan, Pilar, Salapadan, San Juan, San Quintin, Tayum and Villaviciosa; and 19 municipal districts, namely: Alaoa, Anayan, Baay, Bangilo, Bolinoy, Bucloc, Buneg, Caganayan, Daguieman, Danac, Lacub, Lanec, Licuan, Malibcong, Mataragan, Naglibacan, Tiemplo, Tineg and Tubo. In turn, these municipalities and municipal districts are further subdivided into 226 barrios.

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The history of Abra has been recorded as far back as the early days of Spanish colonization. Missionary work was undertaken by the Augustinian friars who, in 1598 (77 years after the first Spaniard had set foot on Philippine soil), founded the town of Bangued.

The Silang Revolt of 1762, which spread throughout the Ilocos provinces, saw Abra taking a small but active part. Pedro Becbec, who later turned traitor, was Diego Silang's chief lieutenant in Abra. Silang's wife tried to carry on where her husband left off, but was overpowered by the strong force under the command of Manuel Ignacio de Arza.

In 1818, as a consequence of the division of the ancient Ilocos Province into Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur, Abra became a part of the latter. Prior to this, Abra was included within the jurisdiction of the old Ilocos Province.

At the start of the 19th century, the missionaries established several important misions, among which were Tayum, founded in 1803; Pidigan, in 1823; La Paz, in 1932; and Bucay, in 1847.

Abra was created into a politico-military province in 1846. It consisted of what is now known as the subprovince of Lepanto and the towns of San Jose de Manabo, Bangued, Tayum, Pidigan, La Paz and San Gregorio.

When Bucay was founded in 1847, it became the capital of the province; but later, in 1861, Bangued took its place and has remained the capital of Abra ever since.

Don Blas Villamor was the moving spirit of the Philippine Revolution in Abra. It was he who helped set up, in 1899, a provincial government with Leocadio Valera as governor. Such was the state of affairs in Abra when, not long after, the province capitulated to the American forces. United States military outposts were established at various points, but were discontinued due to the apparent peaceful conditions existing during the occupation.

But guerrilla warfare conducted in the province led to further aggression. The guerrillas, however, could not compete with the strength of the American forces. They later surrendered.

The people, seeing that peace and order were maintained, that their industries would be protected by America, resumed normal activities.

The Province of Abra was created under the Provincial Act of February 6, 1901, by an enactment of the Philippine Commission. It was annexed to Ilocos Sur as [a] sub-province in February, 1905, and continued as such until March 1917, when by virtue of the passage of the Act of 2863, Abra was restored once more as a separate province.

World War II left a distinct mark on Abra. The Japanese forces landed on Bangued on December 10, 1941, staying there for only a few days. They came back, however, and established their government in the capital on February 14, 1942, until the American forces, after subjecting the province, especially Bangued

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to intensive bombing, liberated the province in April 1945. Four months later, the Commonwealth Government was restored in a devastated Abra, and several days afterwards, American military police arrived to restore peace and order in the province.

Population: Past and Present. - The most salient characteristic of the population of the entire Province of Abra is that there is a slight decreased in the total number of inhabitants in 1948 compared with the figures for 1939. The population total for 1939 was 87,780, while in the latest Census reports, only 86,600, showing an overall decrease of 1,180. This trend is exactly the opposite of that established throughout the country. This is attributed to two major causes: migration in search of better living prospects and, to a certain extent, the war between 1942 and 1945 caused a good number of casualties.

The rate of density is a little less that 23 inhabitants per one square kilometer.

Between 1903 and 1948, Abra's population records an increase of 67 per cent, or an annual rate increase of 1.5 per cent, about one-half of the annual rate of the whole country for the same period. The annual rate for Abra was highest between 1903 and 1918, when the figure stock [stuck?] at 2.68 per cent. After that, the rate began to fall, to .99 per cent between 1918 and 1939; and to .63 per cent betwee 1918 and 1948. As a matter of fact, Abra's population dropped 1.3 per cent for the period, or a rate [of] decrease of 1.4 per cent annually.

Between 1916 and 1939, Abra's population moved up by 20.7 per cent, or an annual rate of .99 per cent. The increase was due mainly to mining activities, especially in the mountain barrios, which followed the Philippine mine boomlet of 1936.

Substantial population increases were recorded for the period 1918 to 1939: in the municipalities of Bucloc, 68 per cent; Pilar, 52.2 per cent; Salapadan, 73.7 per cent; San Juan, 41.3 per cent; and Villaviciosa, 58.8 per cent. Between 1939 and 1948, the increase is slight, in fact Villaviciosa shows a drop.

Bangued, the provincial capital, reports a drop of 3.2 per cent between 1939 and 1948; Danglas, 3.1 per cent; Dolores, 16.1 per cent; and Pidigan, 13 per cent.

Of the 32 municipalities and municipal districts, 18 or about one half, report population decreased between 1939 and 1948, as against 3 between 1918 and 1939. None of the municipal districts reported a decreased between 1903 and 1948. Between 1918 and 1948, there were municipalities reporting decreases.

The most populous town is Bangued, the capital, which reports a total of 14,792; next is Tayum, 6,281; and third, Bucay, 6,215.


Agricultural Products. - The agricultural development of the province has become more flourishing today than before the war. This is due to the introduction of modern methods of farming. Before the introduction of the

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bulldozer, the people had had a very hard time expanding their rice and corn fields, but when the machine was used by the people, some uncultivated slopes of land were made plain and were cultivated. With the aid of the new ECA fertilizer, which was distributed to the farmers under certain conditions, production increased twice and, with the increase in production came agricultural progress. The last war caused damages to agricultural activities amounting to six million pesos throughout the province. Farming equipment was either stolen by civilians or taken away by the Japanese. Work animals were either killed by the people themselves or the enemy and guerrillas for food. Just after liberation, the extent of recovery with regards to the losses suffered by the people from farm equipment and work animals was slow. It was not until the introduction of bulldozers and fertilizers that the province gradually recovered from its agricultural losses. Now, the area of cultivated lands have become greater and their value has been estimated at ₱1,000.00 per hectare today. There are still many uncultivated agricultural lands available for cultivation. At present, some of these uncultivated lands are now being leveled with the use of bulldozers, and they are ready for cultivation. Both the lowland and upland sections of the province are adapted for agricultural purposes. The crops that are profitably produced in the lowlands are rice, corn, tobacco, carrots, and vegetables; while the crops that are most profitably produced in the uplands are rice, citrus, coffee, and root crops. The principal crops produced in the province in the order of their importance are rice, corn and tobacco. At present, the average acreage devoted to rice is 15,395 hectares with a production of 421,135 cavanes or a yield of 82.5 cavans per hectare. Before the war, the acreage devoted to rice was 15,000 hectares, with a production of 323,060 cavanes, or a yield of 58.1 cavans per hectare. Before the war, there were only 6,750 hectares with a total productionof 71,400 cavanes or a yield of 10.5 per hectare. The acreage devoted to tobacco is 290 hectares, with a production of 171.75 tons, or a yield of 0.592 ton per hectare.

The acreage devoted to each crop has increased as a result of the war due to the introduction of bulldozers, which leveled and expanded mounted slopes which had not been touched before the war. From the foregoing figures, it is understood that the yearly production of the province has increased to two per cent within the period of five years. During the war, there was a decrease in production, and this was due to the lack of work animals and to the fear of the people of the Japanese soldiers. Some of the factors used today for improving crops and increasing production are the introduction of modern methods of leveling the ground by bulldozers, the introduction of the ECA fertilizer, new seeds, and the building of irrigation dams and systems in some parts of the province.

The minor crops produced in the province are cassava, camote, gabi, peanuts, and vegetables. Today, the volume and value of these crops are estimated at 3,597 tons of ₱50,000.00 respectively; as compared to during the war when the volume and value of the said crops were estimated at 2,725 tons and ₱20,000.00, respectively. Under the present circumstances, the same crops planted before the war appear to be more profitable for expanded production from the standpoint of adaptability of the soil and demand. These crops are rice, corn, and tobacco; and they are more in demand in the market than any other crop. Aside from their demand in the market, they are also best suited and adapted to the kind of soil and climate which the Province of Abra has. If the fields of Abra are properly cultivated and tilled as it is being done now, the province can be self-sufficient in food and may add more to what it is at present exporting to the neighboring provinces.

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With the introduction of bulldozers, fertilizers, and modern methods of farming, the province can supply more than its present population and it can add more to what it is at present trading like rice, corn, tobacco, and root crops that were traded to other provinces for the year 1951 was placed at ₱48,000.00. In the course of the rehabilitation of agricultural activities, problems have been encountered by the people. For instance, the problem of where to secure farm implements and where to find work animals after liberation has bothered the farmers so much so that they experienced hardships in working on their farms. The estimated value of materials needed for rehabilitation work was very great then that the people sacrificed everything they had just to be able to buy the materials with which to till their lands. The people worked on their fields to bring back their farms to their pre-war levels. In large farms, the farmers hired laborers to help them rehabilitate their various agricultural pursuits. The wages given to these farm workers were uniform and they were paid according to the kidn of work they do. The wages were good and the workers worked as if they were always supervised by the capatas, although there were no capatas at all. There is a wage inspector in the province whose work is to find out that the laborers are given their proper wages.

At present, the agricultural development of the province is at its highest peak, and with several bulldozers of the Engineer's Office, now leveling the mountain slopes and sides, the province may still become one of the richest in Northern Luzon as far as production is concerned. The introduction of the ECA fertilizer, the building of [a] new irrigation system, the construction of the Sarapa Dam in Bangued, the introduction of new seeds, etc. have enhanced the agricultural rehabilitation of the province, and there will come a time when they are developed fully to bring about wealth and progress to the people in Abra. The time is not long now, provided the government will include this province in its coming industrialization program and extend its credit facilities to small farm owners for the further cultivation and improvement of their lands.


The leading industries in the province today are: rice, corn, tobacco raising, livestock raising, mining, logging and lumbering and other minor forest products like rattan, almaciga, salakot weaving, napkin ring and its allied products, basket weaving, hat weaving, and fishing. Rice has been used in the making of cakes and is considered as one of the best among all grains in the manufacture of "puto" industry and other native delicacies. Corn has also been considered as a good source of income. The people grind the corn and they sell it to poultry and swine raisers as feeds. Out of the corn they also produce what is popularly known among the Americans as "Corn Flakes," which is very good in the making of what the Ilocanos call "salapusop," an Ilocano corn bread. Tobacco is one of the best sources among the people as they manufacture cigars and cigarettes out of the product. At present, the people still depend so much on the tobacco industry for livelihood, and income. Livestock raising, most profitable of which is horse raising and cow raising, are at present being resorted to by the most important industries in the province. Aside from the raising of horses and cows, the people, too, raise chickens, pigs and carabaos for the local markets or to be exported to Baguio and Manila. The people also make good money out of the leather and horns which they get from every animal that is killed for food within the province. There are six mining industries in the province but they were neglected since the last war as the Japanese confiscated all their machineries and mining equipment. Until now, they have not been

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rehabilitated, owing to bad roads which were destroyed by the Japanese and to the lack of machinery and equipment indispensable to their operations and lack of capital. Logging and lumbering at present are controlled by four Filipinos who sell their products within and outside the province. In spite of these four Filipinos, there are also the Chinese enterprises selling lumber and hardware coming from Cagayan via Vigan and Manila, respectively. The raising of rattan and almaciga are two industries which have a flourishing future to the natives, especially, and who are residing in the mountains. At present the owners of bulldozers are making out a lot of money from the rattan industry as they are the ones who duly discover the place where rattan is growing whenever they go out leveling the mountain slopes and also owners of lumber concessions. Roads which are very hard to pass are at times the handicap of the rattan to be brought down to towns where they are accessible by transportation facilities. The salacot and tampipi industries are also promising for there are plenty of raw materials as "bolo," "pocer" and bamboo throughout the whole province. These two industries have been an industry among the people during the pre-war days. It needs to be developed and expanded for a wider market and scope for it is needed where there are farmers most especially the salacot industry. The Abra river is rich in fishes, but fishing as an industry among the people is not quite progressive as the other industries already mentioned.

The war has brought a lot of damages to the foregoing industries. For instance, the livestock raising industry has differed in its production, especially the raising of horses for racing due to their being stolen or confiscated by civilians or [the] Japanese. There was a scarcity of chicken, pigs, cows, and carabaos just after liberation and the people had a very hard time raising the some anew. The mining industries which were newly established before the war and which were totally destroyed by the Japanese need to be rehabilitated with the aid of the government. Requirements for their rehabilitation are to be furnished by the government in the form of financial aid, credit facilities and procurement of modern mining equipment. The problems that may be encountered in the rehabilitation of work in the two mining industries now in its early rehabilitating stage, are many and varied. Among these are the construction of roads going to the mining site, the cleaning and excavation of the site which are now covered by landslides and erosions, etc.

There is a promising prospect for the further development of the different industries mentioned in the foregoing paragraphs if there is only enough available capital with which to expand them and keep them always rolling and if there are available machineries, farm lands and workers in the province as there are plenty of people who are out of [a] job for the present time. The demand for the various goods to be produced out of rice, tobacco, corn, livestock, lumber, bamboos, pocer, and fishing have also a very flourishing future both for local and foreign trade if these industries are fully developed through modern methods. There is also a bright prospect for turning these products into finished goods like, for instance, the leather of cows into finished shoes, if only the government will aid the province in its industrialization program. What the province needs are enough capital, machineries and power to generate the machineries.


As a result of changed conditions brought about by the war, many minor industries have sprung out in the provinces. For instance, there are the "salacot" making industry, the napkin ring industry, the buri and pocer hat weaving industry, the mat weaving industry, the basket weaving industry, the

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tampipi industry, and the shoe and slipper-making industry, etc., which are very popular among the natives of the province. Before the war, these industries were not very much developed as they are now. The volume and value of the production are estimated at 10,000 and ₱20,000 respectively; while the volume and value of the pre-war production was 15,000 and ₱30,000 respectively. Before the war, the price of one salacot was ₱2.50, one buri hat was ₱1.20, one buri mat was ₱1.00, one basket was ₱0.35, and one tampipi was P2.00. Now, the price per unit of articles produced has increased as the cost of living is high in the province. At present each salacut costs ₱3.50 each, [a] buri hat costs ₱2.00, each buri mat costs ₱2.50, each basket costs ₱0.50 and each tampipi costs ₱3.50.

The province is very rich in raw materials like bamboo, pocer, bolo, rattan, buri palms, almaciga, etc. These raw materials can be secured in any part of the province, but most especially in La Paz, Lagangilang, Peñarubia, and Bucay, where the different industries mentioned in the foregoing paragraph are at present established. Little damage was done to these raw materials during the war as the Japanese could not go and destroy them as they are situated in the mountains and are not accessible to roads, if there was any damage of kaingins or taken by the natives for the construction of their houses, etc. However, if I were to estimate the extent of the damage done, I will place it at ₱75,000.00. At present, the quantity and value of all raw materials in the province which could be utilized in the manufacture of articles and surplus available for export to other provinces is estimated at half a million pesos or more.

Aside from the different minor industries mentioned in the foregoing paragraph which are now in operation, there is also a bright prospect for the development of other new industries like, for instance, the furniture industry, the lime industry, and the pottery industry. At present, there are enough raw materials and manpower supply for the development of these new industries, but because of the lack of capital, their bright prospects for development and expansion are rendered useless. What the province needs in order to establish these new industries to add to their progress is enough capital to build factories and to buy raw materials and also to have enough money for usages, wages and transportation facilities. There is a great demand for furniture, lime and pottery in the province, as its people are importing a lot of these products from nearby provinces. The products [prospects?] for expansion of these un-introduced industries are bright and their future outlook promising, if only the government or any other entity will take the initiative to invest the needed capital for their development and industrialization.

All the minor industries of the people of Abra can be developed on a commercial scale as there are enough raw materials and manpower supply, but due to the lack of capital for the present time, their commercial development has not been very successful. However, even if there is not enough capital to finance the smooth sailing of these industries, the people are still exerting all what they have and could do to produce enough goods to sustain their livelihood. There are two big springs in the province which could be utilized to generate water power for [the] production of electricity, but until now they have not been constructed in order that they may produce the current necessary to generate electricity throughout the province and even to the neighboring provinces. When the power to generate electricity throughout the province is established and when enough capital is poured to the province, the more are the chances for the development and expansion of the old and new industries on a commercial scale or level. For them, a lime factory run by electricity can be established in the province and people can work day in and day out, thus making production fast on a commercial basis.

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The domestic trade of the province has almost returned to its pre-war condition as the stores and bazaars which have been completely razed to the ground during the bombing of Bangued have been fully rehabilitated by the Chinese businessmen. Before the war, Bangued was the commercial center of the province owing to its location and, being the capital, it ought to be so. At present, it is still the commercial center and merchants and peddlers from all parts of the province come to buy their goods from the Chinese and Filipino merchants doing business in town. As it was before the war, the Chinese owned most of the stores and hardware stores and they are the ones who are at present furnishing the Filipino merchants with all kinds of goods ranging from canned sardines to building construction materials. The Chinese buy their goods direct from Manila and, as soon as they arrive in the province, the Filipino merchants go to them and re-buy some of their goods at a nominal price. So, the Chinese are the ones responsible in the distribution of goods to Filipino retailers. Some distribution is done by the PRISCO Branch store too, especially when the PRISCO is still extending credits to Filipino retailers, but at present, the PRISCO stopped its policy of extending credit facilities to Filipino merchants. [The] Chinese owned at least 90 per cent of all commercial activities in the province. The system of distribution before the war has not changed with the present system, the Chinese distribute their goods through [the] basis of rationing to their members. These associations secure their goods at the ECA and the National Cooperatives Administration Office, Manila; and they somehow do a great deal of helping the people by rationing them food stuffs like rice, sardines, milk, sugar, and other commodities like soap, clothes, and toilet articles when these things are badly needed in the province. There are no other stores then except these associations. But when stores began to sprout again with the advent of better times and the Chinese have once again established their stores, these sixteen associations already came to close. At present, not even a single one remains and this shows that the present extent of commercial activities in the province has returned to its pre-war levels. The only regret is that the cooperatives should have survived inasmuch as the people are its members and owners. The cooperatives are still in existence only they are not in operation anymore. Investigations made by the Provincial Agent reveal that they are not in operation but could be re-activated. The members of some of these cooperatives can reactivate if given the opportunity to have what was given or extended to them during their organization.

The kinds of native goods being handled by merchants in the province today are rice, corn, bagoong, salacot, wooden shoes, shoes, slippers, buri mats, buri hats, soap, Ilocano clothes, onion, root crops, etc. The merchants are handling foreign goods, too, like canned sardines, salmon, peas, milk, flour, textiles, toilet articles, imported shoes, and building construction materials, etc. All the goods mentioned above are sufficient for general consumption by the people in the province, with the exception of building construction materials which are critically needed to supply the demand of the people, especially in the town of Bangued where only one house was left standing in the wake of the war. What the people need are enough G.I. sheets, nails, cement, lumber and all sorts of construction materials whose quantity and value is estimated at 300,000 and a half million pesos or more respectively.

The main sources of the goods sold in the markets are Manila, Vigan, I. Sur, Cagayan, Baguio, and San Fernando, La Union. The goods that are coming from Manila are mostly foreign goods, while those coming from Ilocos Sur and San Fernando, La Union are mostly native goods, while lumber is coming

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from Cagayan, and vegetable crops are coming from Baguio like sayote, onions and cabbages. However, some of the native goods like wooden shoes, buri mats and hats, tampipi, salacot, napkin ring, baskets, etc. that are being sold in the markets are products of the province.

The number of retail stores in the whole province is 126, of which 30 stores are owned by the Chinese, and the remaining 96 by Filipinos. The town of Bangued has 46 retail stores while Pidigan has 20, Dolores 14, Bucay 15, Pilar 18, Lagayen 6, Tayum 19, Lagangilang 22, Ganglas 5, Penarubia 4, San Quintin 3, Sallapadan 4, San Isidro 2, Manabo 17, Luba 2, Villavisiosa 3, and La Paz 17.

The towns of Bangued, Lagangilang and Dangles are the only places in the province where the Chinese merchants are doing business. The Filipinos doing retail trade in the province have a total investment of ₱300,000 while the Chinese have over a million pesos. The lines of business in the province are divided between the Chinese and the Filipinos, with the Chinese handling most of the groceries, lumber and hardware and retail stores. However, in most of the municipalities excluding Bangued, the Filipinos also own bakeries, groceries and retail stores, but only 10 per cent that of the Chinese from [the] standpoint of volume and turn-over.

One of the existing problems in the retail trade business is the lack of incentive on the part of the Filipino merchants to invest more on business because the Chinese are monopolizing most of the businesses as they are given cheaper prices due to their brotherhood Chinese union and Chamber of Commerce. Even other companies like the FILIPINO, Manila, the Chinese merchants are charged better prices for they buy at ₱21.80 per case while Filipino retailers are charged at ₱31.20, that is ₱3 more than the Chinese are paying. There is a great difficulty in this matter as the Filipino merchants could not compete with the Chinese and the only existing solution to this problem is to make the prices uniform for the Chinese and the Filipinos alike. In so doing, the distributive structure of the Filipinos straightened and their competition with the Chinese high as they could also go and buy their goods direct to Manila and not only depending upon the Chinese in the province, for their goods that they sell in their stores. And if the aim of the government will materialize in that the PRISCO will buy the goods and then distribute them to Filipino retailers or cooperative associations, I believe it will be more beneficial and promising to Filipino merchants and that they can for sure be able to compete with the alien traders.

Today, the commercial activities in the province has become more progressive despite the many problems being encountered by the Filipino retailers. The Chinese are the ones making the domestic trade progressing day by day. [The] Present trend of trade in the province shows that the merchants, Filipinos and Chinese, who are at present doing business, can furnish all the necessary requirements of the people. The future outlook of business is bright and it is very promising under the new situation.


The chief market towns in the province are Bangued, Dolores, Tayum, San Juan, La Paz, Pidigan, Bucay, Pilar, Manabo, Dangles, Villavisiosa, and Lagangilang. The market days in Bangued are all days; Dolores-Wednesday and Friday; Tayum-Wednesday and Sunday; Dangles-Monday; San Juan-Saturday; La Paz-Tuesday; Pidigan-Wednesday; Pilar-Monday; Manabo-Wednesday; Villavisiosa-Wednesday and Lagangilang-Sunday.

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The conditions of public markets in these towns are very poor, with the exception of Bangued, which has a first class public market situated in the northern part of the town. The public market in Bangued was built before the war yet, and it was left intact though riddled with machine gun bullets because it is located far from the main town. However, some parts of the market building which were destroyed by bullets have been repaired after liberation and it is now considered as a model market in the entire province. With regards to the conditions of the public markets in the other towns, one would comment on them as very poor upon seeing them and would need a lot of improvements which could only be brought about by financial aid from the government. These markets are rated as belonging to the third class or even the fourth class types of markets usually found in non-progressive towns in the country today. Although the conditions of the market are poor, yet the buying activities of the people is fair and active during their town fiestas and church or religious activities.

The war has affected very much the market prices on all commodities found in all markets in the province. Prices have gone higher as has been the usual trend in the most progressive markets in the country today. Current prices on all major agricultural products like Abra rice is ₱1.20 per ganta, corn milled per ganta costs ₱0.65, corn grain per ganta costs ₱0.40, and tobacco leaf per quintal costs ₱25.00 siince agricultural products like cabbage per his ₱1.20, string beans per bundle costs ₱0.05, ampalaya reg. size costs ₱5 per hundred; tomatoes costs ₱2.50 per hundred; and green papaya reg. size costs ₱0.05 while the ripe papaya costs ₱.20. Prices on livestock and poultry have increased also and one kilo of port costs ₱2.50, one kilo of beef costs ₱.00, and one kilo of carabao meat costs ₱2.00, while a chicken per unit, sisiw costs P0.60, inahin costs ₱2.50, dumalaga costs ₱1.80, and tandang costs ₱2.00 each. The hen native eggs costs ₱1.20 per dozen or ₱0.10 each. [The] Prices of forest products have also increased three-fold as compared before the war. A lumber commercial size per 1,000 bd. ft. of Apitong and Tangili rough costs ₱200.00, while the same kind of lumber but dressed or finished lumber costs ₱200.00. A piece of Plywood 4 x 8' locally made costs ₱8.50 and a piece of Plywood 3 x 6' locally made costs ₱4.00. Other forest products like rattan per hundred costs ₱16.00. A piece of regular bamboo costs ₱0.50 each. Prices on consumer goods are much better now than after liberation and during the time when the import control law was at its highest peak. A tin of tall or oval natural sardines costs ₱0.55; a tin of condensed milk costs ₱0.70; a tin of corned beef costs ₱1.10; a tin of alpine milk (small size) costs ₱0.25; a tin of Alaska Chump Salmon costs ₱1.35; and a tin of powdered milk Klim costs ₱2.30, etc. A yard of mahong costs ₱2.50; a yard of West Point Khaki costs ₱4.65; a yard of muslin (coco) costs ₱1.85; a yard of Chambray costs ₱1.65; a yard of gabardine suiting costs ₱7.50; and a yard of printed dress for women costs ₱1.65. T-shirts which are products of the National Development Company costs ₱3.50 to ₱5.00 per piece while those imported from the United States costs ₱4.50 to ₱6.50 per piece. The current prices of hardware in the province is much higher than in Manila or in some cities due to the fact that means of transporting these things are very hard and due to the fact that these things are in demand in the province, especially in the town of Bangued where only one house was left intact in the wake of the war.

A kilo of imported nails checkered and plain heads, 1" to 4" long costs ₱1.10 while G.I. Sheets Gauge 26 x 8: costs ₱9.80; a barbed wire per 70 lbs. roll costs ₱21.00.

A kerosene per can of 5 gal. costs ₱4.60; gasoline per liter costs ₱0.255; a laundry soap per bar costs ₱0.20; toilet soap reg. size Camay costs ₱0.25 per cake; a match per pkg. of 10 boxes each Rizal Jar costs ₱0.30; carbide per kilo

[p. 11]

costs ₱0.90; [an] electric bulb 220 volts - 25 watts costs ₱0.70; and a package of 20 sticks of cigarettes puppies and Santa Fe costs ₱0.45.

The general conditions of marketing and distribution facilities are fair in spite of the fact that the Chinese merchants control most of the distribution of goods or commodities, especially those coming from Manila, to the Filipino retailers. The Chinese merchants are the ones furnishing the Filipino retailers with all sorts of consumer goods, especially those who are from the towns where there are no Chinese doing business. The conditions of marketing are fair enough in these towns, as it is in the towns where there are Chinese merchants, as the regular ceiling prices of commodities are strictly enforced and established.

The current trend of prices of all sorts of commodities, like for instance canned goods, rice corn, textiles and other essential commodities in the province, is going downtrend as the province has almost returned to its pre-war levels. Today, a yard of printed dress costs 20 to 30 per cent less than the price of the same dress two or three years ago. As the prices of essential commodities are slowly going downward, the province can still look forward to a time when the pre-war prices will again come to stay.


The province has no credit institutions whatsoever where merchants can loan money for business purposes, though it has branches of the Philippine National Bank and Postal Savings Bank. However, these two branches of banks cannot give credit to merchants or to any other persons wishing to loan money as they are not the type that can issue loans. Only persons who have money to deposit or money to withdraw from these banks are the only ones who can use them. The volume of money being transacted at the Philippine National Bank for the past year is two hundred thirty six thousand pesos (₱236,000.00), while the Philippine Postal Savings Bank has ₱177,000.00.

The only sources of capital of the small business establishments are the Chinese merchants who give the latter capital in the form of commodities which they may encash as soon as the goods are sold; and the Filipino money lenders who charge a very exorbitant rate of percentage interest. The owners of small business establishments go to the Chinese merchants whenever they need capital goods, or, to the Filipino money lenders of which the province has a few, whenever they need money to buy commodities which are not found in the province.

There is [a] great necessity for the establishment of agricultural and industrial credit institutions in the province in order to curb the exorbitant rates of percentage interest being charged by money lenders. Aside from that, it will enable the people, too, to have adequate sources whereby they could loan money to finance their different kinds of industries, unlike now when they can hardly make both ends meet due to lack of capital.

Monetary conditions in the province today are fair due to [the] pork barrel and election money. Before the election, money was very hard to find, but when election, came money sprouted like mushrooms and a lot of people became rich. That is always the usual case of Abra whenever election comes. However, loose change is becoming scarce again although they have been changed to paper money.

[p. 12]


Labor in the province is not very good and very prospective, although there is adequate manpower to [meet] most local demand for two reasons: first, because of the lack of capital to finance industries whereby the people can work; and secondly, because there are no organizations of labor or recruiting centers whereby laborers may depend employment. Despite the fact that there is an adequate supply of labor in the province, only a privileged few are at present working either with the Bureau of Public Works in the province or some other entities outside of the province. Because of the lack of capital, there was never a time when strikes or conflict between labor and capital occurred in the province.

At present, there are many people in the province who are unemployed. The reason for this employment problem is due to [the] lack of capital to finance cottage industries and other forms of work indispensable for the development of such industries.

Wages now as compared before the war are higher as the cost of living becomes higher, too. Before the war, a laborer was receiving ₱1.00 a day; now the some person receives ₱2.00 to ₱3.00 a day. In farming activities, a laborer before the war used to receive ₱0.50 a day depending on the kind of work; now the same person gets ₱2 to ₱2.50 a day. The pre-war wages of laborers in the province in the construction of public buildings or works was ₱1.00 a day, while today they receive ₱2 to ₱3.00 a day, 50 to 75 per cent more than they used to have before.

The possibilities for recruiting laborers in the province for immigration to other countries are very bright as all unemployed persons are very willing to leave the country in search of money and fame. As a matter of fact, there were already plenty of people from the province who were recruited to work in other countries like Okinawa, Guam, and Hawaii before and many more are willing to go, but were not taken because the quota was already filled. However, those who were not able to go abroad either went to Manila; San Fernando, La Union; Angeles, Pampanga; or to Mindanao. The people of Abra are possessed with the spirit of the true Ilocano who is so fond of adventure that he is willing to go to any place where there is work to do. Today there are still many others who are out of work in the province who are willing to work abroad, and they are waiting for any recruiting agency to call them.

The province has not been affected very much by the minimum wage law because of the lack of big commercial and industrial establishments and because the employees are conniving with their employers. The employees are depending so much upon their employers that they accept whatever wage the latter give to them without taking into account that there is a minimum wage law in existence. The Wage Inspector is busy doing all his level best to detect violations particularly the possibility of padding of payrolls and daily time records.


There are several points of attraction for tourists in the province which can be developed, and if properly carried out, may serve an attraction for excursionists coming to the province or for tourists visiting Northem Luzon. However, at present, there is not a single resort whereby tourists or other visitors may spend their vacation. The points of attractions which could be developed

[p. 13]

as vacation resorts are Masisiat, Mapaso Hot Spring, and Lusuac Spring. The climate of Masisiat is very cool and invigorating and it is a very good camping place for those who would like camp life. It is a very clean place, and if properly converted to a vacation resort with all the facilities needed for vacationists, it may attract people not only from the province of Abra itself, but also from the other neighboring provinces. The hot spring at Mapaso has been attracting many people especially excursionists, although the place does not look more of a beauty spot. What the province needs to do in order to attract tourists or excursionists is to improve and develop those beauty spots in such a way that they look more like vacation resorts than just ordinary places. Lusuac is the source of our water supply in Bangued. It is a nice camping ground for Boy and Girl Scouts. It is a picnic ground for social and outdoor activities.

There are only two hotels in the entire province of Abra and they are only located in Bangued. The larger one, the Abranian Hotel, is located beside the Roman Catholic Church while the other, the Virginia Place and Restaurant is situated along the Taft Avenue Road in the central part of the town. The former is owned by Mrs. Felicitas V. Torrijos of Bangued, while the latter by Mrs. Paz B. Favorito of Bangued. At present the two hotels are charging two pesos per meal, or, five pesos a day per person, that is, already including board and lodging. Accommodations in these hotels are good and the food is excellent, too.

The province has only one Chamber of Commerce which was established by the Chinese doing business in the province. Aside from the Chinese Chamber of Commerce, there are other civic organizations such as the Knights of Columbus, which has for its members provincial officials and prominent persons of the province; the JAYCEES, the Women's Club, the Bangued Eastern Dramatic Guild, the Christian Endeavors Society, the Children of Mary, etc. These social organizations or associations have a great influence on the community life of the people as proven by the fact that the said associations have brought the people closer to each other and have cemented a stronger bond of brotherhood and understanding among them.


Practices being resorted to by merchants and vendors in the province with regards to the buying of goods for sale at wholesale or retail are quite similar to what I have already mentioned in the middle part of this report. The Chinese merchants are the ones who go to Manila to purchase all kinds of commodities which are in great demand in the province. When they go back, the small Filipino retailers go to them and they buy wholesale from the former, which they sell by retail in their respective markets. Sometimes, rich Filipino merchants go to Manila, too, and they do their buying without depending so much upon the Chinese. But those who cannot afford to go to Manila just content themselves with what they can get from the Chinese. This system of buying has already become a tradition among the merchants in the province that they could no longer take it off from their systems.

The retailers, Chinese and Filipinos alike, in the province sell their goods individually, that is they do not have similar prices for certain kind of commodities. This is due to the fact that there are no cooperative marketing associations whatsoever to look after the enforcement of uniform prices on all goods of the same kind. The Chinese have their Chamber of Commerce and at times have a uniform price but still they could not avoid competing among themselves though competition is at a lesser degree.

[p. 14]

So that competition is very keen among the merchants, especially the Filipino retailers. Some retailers sell a certain kind of commodity at a much lower price than the other retailers are selling. And naturally, customers flock at stores that have lower prices.

Transportation is not being used in a large scale as a function of the marketing system within the province because there are no big business establishments. However, as far as the transportation of goods from Manila to the province is concerned, the Chinese and some Filipino truck owners are monopolizing it. The only one using its transportation selling to the different municipalities is the PRISCO Branch Office. Their panel delivery truck goes to places of business especially during market days and trade or sell their goods to the people.

The system of financing is the same as that mentioned in the middle part of the article. The small Filipino retailers finance their own stores, and those who cannot finance themselves depend upon the Chinese who give them capital goods, or to the money lenders who give them loans at exorbitant rates of percentage interest. This system of financing as a function of [the] marketing system of the province has already become a custom and a tradition among the people.

Before a Commercial Agent was assigned in Abra, there was no such thing as the dissemination of accurate and up-to-date market information in the province. But now that a Commercial Agent has been assigned in the province, the markets are now receiving information as to market prices which he receives from the Central Office. With regards to the ceiling prices, the old price ceiling regulations have remained unchanged or dormant in all public markets in the province since last July which is now higher than the current market prices. The Price Administration Board of Manila should do something about this in order that the people will not be very much affected by the old ceiling prices as the trends of current prices is downtrend due to the lifting of the import control law.


As of 1939 Census As of 1948 Census
Alawa @
Anayan @
Ba-ay @
Bangilo @
Beliney @
Buclos @
Buneg @
Cacanayan @
Daguieman @
Danac @
Lacub @

[p. 15]

As of 1939 Census As of 1948 Census
Lanec @
La Paz
Licuan @
Malibcong @
Mataragan @
Naglibacan @
San Juan
San Quintin
Tiempe @
Tineg @
Tube @
TOTAL 87,780 86,600
@ - Municipal Districts

Culturally, the province of Abra fares much better than many provinces. Basing from the 1939 census, the number of adult illiterates 19 years and above was 32,126. Out of this number 8,619 were enrolled in the adult education classes throughout the province from 1948 to 1951. The number of adults promoted in 1948-49 school year was 56, in 1949-1950, 132 adults; and in 1950-1951, 1,081 adults or a total of 1,269 out of the 8,619 illiterate adults enrolled. The percentage of promotion basing on the 1939 census is 3.9% while basing it on the enrolment from 1938-1951, is 14.7%. For the school year 1950-1951, there were 1,081 adults promoted out of a total of 3,350 illiterates enrolled. There were 528 public school teachers in the division. Hence, the percentage of promotion based on enrolment was 32.2% and the ratio of adults promoted to each teacher was 2.04%. The following figures furnished by the Bureau of Census and Statistics show the literacy status of the province of persons ten years old and over for the year 1948. There was a total of 63,395 adults ten years old and over. Out of these, 35,794 are able to read and write; 26,431 are not able to read and write and 1,170 are not reported or determined. Those who are able to read and write represent 56.5%, those not able to read and write, 41.7%; and those not determined, 1.8% out of the 63,395 adults 10 years old and over.

Social and recreational activities can be found in practically all the towns and barrios of the province. The communities have been divided into "Puroks" and these puroks play a very important part in the improvement of the life of the people in all aspects of community living. Reading centers or community libraries are found in all towns and barrios of the province. Generally, each purok has its own reading centers. Majority of the reading centers are housed in temporary buildings. There are a few permanent structures with some costing as much as ₱500.00.

[p. 16]

These are all built by the people with money, materials, and labor donated voluntarily. The reading matter for these centers, especially in the rural areas, is the greatest problem. Newspapers, magazines, and books in English, Ilocano and Tagalog are found in these centers. Only a few, so far have accumulated cultural books for the reading matter of the people. Some reading centers have recreational halls where adults spend their time in playing indoor games, pingpong, chess, dominoes, and Chinese checkers. They also engage in crochet, embroidery, weaving of hats, baskets, mats, fish traps, and other productive articles while conversing with one another. The Timpoyog (Bucay) reading recreation center of Bucay is, so far, the best in the division. Adults and children play different kinds of games in the town plazas, small vacant lots in the locality like volleyball, basketball, softball, badminton, pingpong, swings, see-saws, flying rings, climbing bars, etc. There is one community playground in the province located on a lot donated by its owner, Dona Sofa A. Smith for use by the community.

Inter-community or purok contests in athletic games are a common sight during Saturdays and Sundays. Literary-musical programs are sponsored by the puroks once a month. Band concerts are held once in a month by two musical bands in the province (Pilar and Pagela, Bucay) for the entertainment of the people.


The social organizations greatest influencing factors on the lives of the people in the province of Abra are the family, the school, the church, the "purok," the barrio, and the municipality.

a. The Family - The family is the smallest unit of social organization. Self-pride, intense love for kin, gratefulness to it for being the spring bound of one's life and future well-being which only a family nestled and nurtured in an ideal home affords, develop in the members of the family the greatest attachment to it. The father, being the main breadwinner of the family, is the head and exercises control on it subject to the laws of the land both written and unwritten. The mother takes charge of the management of the home although in many of the more enlightened families, she is extending her activities in public affairs along social and civic life. The children are trained early in an atmosphere of filial love and obedience ever dutiful to the parents, the boys in rural communities helping their parents in the farms, while the girls, in the household chores. As in most Filipino families the children are sent to schools and those with aptitudes for higher education are most favored even to the extent of spoiling them so much so that oftentimes the parents themselves endure great sufferings and sacrifices selling their lands and other property for their children's education. Sometimes these results in the tragic consequences, for after the children have finished their education, they forget or are unable to reciprocate their parents by leaving them early or they are unable to find employment along their chosen vocations or professions, especially those in white-collar jobs now oversupplied. Parents should therefore exercise wisdom in guiding their children in their studies at all times. Most often, however, the children's filial love and devotion to the family extend even after finishing their education. They, in turn, help their parents by sending their brothers and sisters to school.

Because of the nature of Filipino tradition, the family's influence on its members is perhaps greater than that of any other single organization. It is, therefore, important that the home should enshrine within its fold those human

[p. 17]

qualities and virtues that shall contribute most to the progress and well-being of the Filipino nation which are among others, industry, sacrifice, service, morality, and Godliness.

b. The School - Next to the home, the school is perhaps the most potent influencing factor in the lives of the people. All the poblaciones have complete elementary schools, while most of the barrios have schools. There are three public high schools offering the general curriculum, one each in Bangued, the provincial capital, Bucay, and Pilar. An agricultural high school supported by the National government is in the municipality of Lagangilang.

The school is regarded as a seat of influence where the children's personalities and characters are molded. It is for this reason that the government and the people are greatly concerned over its activities and progress. For its part, the school has reacted favorably to the needs, problems, and interests of the people. In its present new role, it has adopted the so-called Community Centered School movement whereby it strives for the social progress and uplift in the lives of the people in rural areas aside from serving as the training ground for future leaders and [a] laboratory in teaming and practicing the democratic procedures and processes in life, a system to which we have pinned our hopes for achieving real happiness and contentment in this world of ever-increasingly complex and rigorous life.

c. The Church - The church is an institution of incalculable socializing influence in a province like Abra, where the people's lives are unfettered by the sophistry and influx of modernism, especially in the remote rural sitios. Harassed by the grim realities of life out of which they have no alternative but bow to the inevitable, they find relief and consolation amidst deep contemplation in their firm belief in the Divine Power. Six religious sects are predominantly engaged in spreading the gospel: The Roman Catholic, the Protestants, the Aglipayan, the Jehova's Witnesses, the Seventh Day Adventist and Iglesia Ni Cristo. These different sects through their church or chapel and priest or pastor vie with each other in spreading their faiths in an effort to increase their memberships resulting oftentimes in bitter antagonism against one another.

The importance of the presence of these churches and chapels among the people lies mainly in their role as constant reminders of Godliness influencing the people's lives in their solicitude for the Christian virtues.

d. The "Purok" - The "purok" is a newly-born organization out of the community's program of improving the life and lot of the rural undeveloped areas sponsored by the public schools. It is composed of a group of families numbering from thirty to one hundred, depending on the sizes and thickness of population of the regions, usually covering entire barrios of municipalities that are more or less compact. It is sort of a civic organization that seeks the upliftment of the lives of its members along such phases as health and sanitation, economic development, good citizenship, literacy, home beautification, and civic life. Undoubtedly, the "purok" in its barely one year of existence has wrought incalculable progress in the rural areas which the schools in fifty years have failed to bring about.

e. The Municipality - The municipality is more of a political organization but due to the many problems anent its progress and wellbeing it also partakes of social functions.

[p. 18]

f. Each municipality is made up of the poblacion situated in the heartof the town and barrios situated in the outlying portion of the municipality. The municipal government is administered by its officials who are either elected or appointed by proper higher authorities. Its officials are the following:
1. Mayor - elected by the people
2. Vice-Mayor - elected by the people
3. Secretary - appointed
4. Treasurer - appointed
5. Councilors - elected by the people
6. Justice of the peace - appointed
7. Chief of police and policemen-appointed

Due to the many problems and needs of the people in the municipality, social and civic groups help bring about the solutions of these problems redounding to the welfare and wellbeing of the entire community.

f. The Barrio - A barrio consists of a number of sitios that are near one another. The head of each sitio is called a sub-teniente and these sub-tenientes are appointed by the Municipal Mayor. The barrio head is called a teniente del barrio, who is also appointed by the mayor. Usually, a teniente del barrio comes from among the sub-tenientes. He is a man of influence in [the] barrio, one who commands the respect of his constituents. In cases of arbitration, the teniente del barrio is resorted to for deliberation and action. Whatever decision the barrio head makes is always honored by the conflicting parties in the barrio. In other words, the influence of the barrio head is very binding among the inhabitants in the barrio.

Other important social organizations and institutions are the Parent-Teacher Association, the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts and the Red Cross.

a. The Parent-Teacher Association - The PTA is composed of parents, teachers, and other civic-spirited citizens. They are organized primarily to develop closer relationships between teachers and pupils and teachers and parents. In other words, through [the] PTA's, the school is brought closer to the community and the community is brought close to the school. In this way, community living is also improved. Among some of the roles of the PTA are to construct school buildings, improve the school plant, provide facilities for use of leisure hours, build and improve community roads, construct community reading centers, help develop economic stability, promote better health and sanitation, help solve disciplinary problems, help eradicate illiteracy, and help sponsor social organizations.

b. The Boy Scout Movement in Abra -

I. Main function or objective -

The Boy Scout Movement in Abra, as elsewhere, seeks the character development, citizenship training, and physical fitness of the boys. The objective is concisely stated in the Scout Oath and Law.

II. Organization -

The body that administers and supervises the Boy Scout Movement in the province is known as the Provincial Council, which meets once a year. It is composed of the following:

[p. 19]

a. Representatives of institutions and groups sponsoring troops and packs.

b. Members-At Large representing civic, educational, business, and labor interests.

The Executive Board, however, has direct charge of Boy Scout activities in the entire province. It acts in the name of the Provincial Council. It is composed of the following: President, Vice-President, Treasurer, Provincial Commissioner, Scout Executive, (Secretary of the Board), District Committee Representatives, and members-at-large.

In order that all phases of the Scout Program maybe adequately administered, operating committees are organized. The members of these committees are drawn from those that composed the Provincial Council. The operating committees are as follows:

a. Organization and extension
b. Leadership training
c. Camping activities
d. Health and safety
e. Advancement
f. Finance
The province is divided into Scout District organizations which follow the pattern of the provincial organization. It has direct jurisdiction over the troops in the municipalities that comprise it.

Ill. Means of support -

Like other civic organizations, the Boy Scout program is financed mainly from voluntary contributions. Annually, the Boy Scouts of the Philippines conducts a fund campaign with a period designated by an Executive order of the President of the Philippines.

The funds raised are spent largely, for the following:

a. Scouting activities, like camping, campuses, etc.
b. Purchase of equipment and supplies
c. Training of volunteer adult leaders
d. Salary of the Scout Executive who is a professional scouter

IV. Registered troops in the province

In 1948, each elementary school and high school had at least one registered troop. There was a total membership of more than 100 boys.

Most of the troops were of the Boy Scout level with a few Cub Packs, and Senior Scout units.

In more recent years the membership has gone down, but scouting still remains a potent force among the boys.

a. The Girl Scout - The Girl Scout movement is the counterpart of the Boy Scouts. It does the functions for the girls of the province as those performed by the Boy Scouts for the boys. Although the Girl Scouts Provincial Council of

[p. 20]

Abra has been newly established it has found spontaneous patronage among the civic-spirited leaders of the province and is therefore destined to achieve its objective of character building and citizenship training among the girls of the province. Girl Scouting, like Boy Scouting, is supported by voluntary contributions from the public which are collected every year during a fund drive authorized by the President of the Philippines through an Executive order.

b. The National Red Cross - There is only one Philippine National Red Cross. The incorporation was created by the Congress of the Philippines by its Act No. 95. A chapter or the provincial unit of the Philippine National Red Cross is an integral part of this organization.

The Abra Chapter received its Charter from National headquarters on September 28, 1952 amidst impressive independence ceremonies at the Capital Plaza, Bangued. It is charged with the responsibility to promote and administer all the local phases of national obligations and activities within the chapter jurisdiction, subject to policies, rules and regulations which National Headquarters may from time to time prescribe.

The territory under the jurisdiction of this Chapter is the province of Abra, with its headquarters and principal office at the capital, Bangued.

The governing body of the Chapter is the Chapter Board of Directors which has executive control and direction of the affairs of the Chapter, subject to rules, regulations and policies established by the Board of Governors of the Philippine National Red Cross.

Its main functions are: (1) Disaster preparedness and relief service, (2) home service, (3) nursing service, (d) safety service, (5) blood program, (6) military welfare service.

The Chapter is financed through the personal solicitation campaign it conducts annually. A certain quota is designated for the Chapter, and the rest remitted to the National Headquarters in Manila.


Kinds of Houses -

There are several kinds of houses in Abra. Typical of the houses of the rich are of the massive brick masonry type of Spanish design. This is especially true of the houses of the rich in Bangued. This type is possibly the result of Spanish influence in the community during the Spanish rule in the Philippines. However, most of these houses are now in ruins due to their destruction during the last war. In their place stand the more modern ones – the American type made of light and heavy materials. At present the tendency is towards such homes as this is due to American influence.

The middle class people have houses of light and heavy materials mostly of wood or lumber from the forests of Abra. Characteristic of these houses is the big living room with one or no room at all. Because of such structure, the shape is more or less square or rectangle.

Typical of the poor are houses made of bamboo with cogon roofing. Most of these houses are small with [the] kitchen separated from the structure. These houses are of one-room only, this being the bedroom and living room at the same time. The people eat in the kitchen.

[p. 21]

Home Management

In Abra, managing the house is the task of the mother. To her belongs the job of housekeeping, bringing up children, marketing, and looking after the needs of each member of the family, and budgetting the family finances. Among the rich and educated, few run the family income on a budget basis. The most common method of spending is the "dole or hand-out" method. This is a carryover of the patriarchal system. The father or mother holds the purse and doles out the expenses as they arise day by day. There is no plan for spending.

The mother or housekeeper plans the meals and cooks the food. The bigger members of the family help in the preparation of the food and in the various household chores as cleaning, carrying water, gathering firewood taking care of the baby and the like. To help increase the family income, the housekeeper does some sewing, weaving, or retail merchandising. The bread earner is usually the father but the mother now-a-days are almost on the same footing as the father when it comes to earning outside the home.

Ill. Foods-

The staple food of the people of Abra is rice. However, corn and camote are common substitutes for rice. In some communities, the people eat rice mixed with corn or wholly corn. The mountain people eat boiled camote or boiled cassava when rice is scarce.

Other useful foods are vegetables such as eggplant, beans, upo, squash, ampalaya, patola, camote, meat, eggs, and fish from the basic sources to provide the vital needs of the people as to the different food substances. A common food of the people of Abra is the "dinengdeng," a dish made of vegetables and bagoong with a small amount of fish added. Some families cannot get along without this food so that some even eat it every meal of the day. The "pinacbet" is a typical vegetable dish.

IV. Clothing

In the lowlands, the old woman usually wear [a] "maskota" skirt topped with the kimono. The younger set wears a simple dress patterned after the European dress. These clothes are worn for every day purposes. For formal or special occasions such as parties, dances, fiestas, and church wear, the wealthier womenfolk of the province wear the mestiza dress while the more modern belles wear the European dress cut according to the most recent trends in fashion.

The male population wears Chinese blouse and long pants for ordinary occasions, but on special occasions, they wear either the barong Tagalog or coat and tie after the European style. The wearing of the Chinese blouse has been influenced by the early Chinese who came in contact with the Filipinos because of early trade relations.

Most of the people in the uplands are Tinguians. As such, they have their own characteristic costume. The women wear the lapis, made of native woven material, and a kimono of light material. This outfit is completed with the use of multicolored beads wound around the head and the arms. The male still wear the G-string type of clothes when they are in their communities but when they go to the lowlands they put on clothes patterned after the European dress especially the educated younger people.

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This type of clothes has been worn since the earlier days and since these people are in remote places, far from the civilized world, they still stick to their old way of dressing.

V. Home Industry

The more common home industries are clothweaving, basket, hat, and mat weaving. Those who live near the river make fish nets and weave different apparatus for catching fish.

Some of the more educated class does some sewing and embroidery work.

These industries are not carried on a commercial basis due to the fact that the output could meet the demand of the people due to [the] lack of enough raw materials. What are produced are used for home consumption.

VI. Marriage Customs

In days of long ago, marriage was preceded by a long period of courtship. Courtship was done by [the] parents. The parents of the man chose the lady in marriage. The parents of the man would win the love the lady's parents, and if both parties agreed, they made arrangements for the dowry, thus fixing a date for the marriage. The marriage ceremony was performed by the parish priest or the Justice of the Peace. After the ceremonies, a big party usually followed. All relatives of the couple from far and near gathered to celebrate the occasion.

There are many practices on marriage. When the bride and the groom are in front of the staircase, the people throw at them a handful of rice, so they may live in abundance. When the newly-married couple go up the house, both of them step at the same time, so they will live peacefully. During the wedding feast, the people are careful not to break any chinaware or jars because they may bring bad luck to the couple. The bride and the groom are given each a candle when they are in front of the altar. The owner of the candle that burns out first is believed to die first.

VII. Baptism

When a child is born, the midwife wraps him and places him in a winnowing basket and scares the baby by jerking the basket and shouting at the same time. This is done so that in the future, when the baby grows up, he will not be easily scared or frightened by noise or similar disturbances. In the early days, baptism took place 3 or 4 days after the birth, but nowadays the parents usually wait until they have saved enough money to spend for the big party that usually follows. Usually, there are many godparents. These godparents pay for the church services plus some money or gifts to the godchild.

VIII. Death

When a person dies, he is kept in the house after embalmment. His relatives, near and far, are informed of his death and the body is not buried until such relatives arrive. The dead's precious things are hung or placed near him and some of these are buried with him except the jewelry. After the burial services, a prayer for the repose of the dead's soul is done for nine consecutive days, usually followed by serving eats. On the ninth day, a big party is held. Most of the dead's relatives help defray the expenses.

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The relatives of the dead wear black apparel for several months or for a year. On the first year anniversary, a prayer and a mass is again offered and relatives gather again for a big party.


Land Transportation - Transportation throughout the province is covered by land, and there is only one road connecting the province with the neighboring provinces. This road is connected with Ilocos Sur highway at the junction in Narvacan, and it protrudes northeast in the direction of Abra. The present condition of this highway is the same as that before the war, and it has remained the third class road that it was twenty-five years ago without any further improvement. Even the roads that connect the different towns of the province are classified as third class and they have not been improved as yet. There is a great need for the improvement of these roads which are sometimes very inaccessible for transportation during the rainy season, for they are very muddy and slippery and oftentimes are the causes of accidents which are very common during this particular season of the year. The mileage of this kind of road, which is the only kind of road in the entire province of Abra, is estimated at least 10 miles per hour. During the war, some of the bridges had been subjected to bombings and some were destroyed by the guerillas like the Sinalang Bridge located two kilometers south of Bangued, which was bombed by the Americans, the Suyo Bridge was destroyed by the guerillas, the Alinaya Bridge located at the highway between Pidigan and Suyo was also bombed, the San Matias Bridge in Barrio Agtangao, Bangued which was destroyed by the guerillas to prevent the penetration of the Japanese to Bucay; the Gadani Bridge in Tayum which was destroyed by the guerillas to prevent the advancing Japanese soldiers from entering Lagangilang, and the Dolores Bridge which was also destroyed by the guerillas for the same reasons. After liberation, all the bridges mentioned above were reconstructed and rehabilitated with the aid of the US-Philippine War Damage Commission. The following years, they were opened to traffic and since then have done a great deal of help to the people in moving from one town to another.

Conveyances - The type of transportation facilities that are being utilized for the movement of passengers and freight are passenger-jeepneys, weapons carriers, six-by-six trucks, and passenger buses. There are no animal-drawn vehicles being used for the transportation of passengers, although in some towns, there are parts, but they are only used in transporting farm products to market places. The number of registered motor vehicles in the province is 186. There are only three big bus companies that have lines connecting the province with the Northern part of Luzon and Manila. They are the Benguet Auto Line which plies from Bangued to Baguio and vice-versa every day, the Northern Luzon Bus Line which plies from Bangued to Manila and vice-versa and from Vigan to Bangued and vice-versa every day, and the Santiago Sambrono Transportation connecting the province with the other provinces, the company also monopolizes freight. The present rates of fares being charged by private operators of public utility motor vehicles like jeepneys, trucks, and weapons carriers range from one and one half to three centavos per kilometer for the transportation of passengers within the province. This is a very exorbitant rate at present as compared to the other rates being charged in other provinces. The three big bus companies mentioned above charge 1½ centavos per kilometer, which is [the] regular rate enforced by the government.

Since the last three years, there has been an increase in the volume of traffic handled in the province as compared with pre-war conditions.

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This was due to the many jeeps, weapons carriers, and other military trucks which were converted to passenger buses and due to the additional new buses from big bus companies. Now, more people are traveling in and out of the province and the present number of motor buses is not sufficient enough to handle the transportation of passengers and freight within and without the province. One must wait for very long time until he can get a ride to a neighboring town and sometimes he cannot ride at all because the vehicle is already filled even at the sides. Sometimes there are two trips going to the other towns, and if one happens to take the last trip which starts from Bangued at one in the afternoon, he can no longer return and must spend the night in that particular town even if it is only a question of ten kilometers. There is an acute shortage of passenger buses as even those that are going to Manila must go and spend the night inside the bus in order that he can have a place to sit the following morning when the bus is scheduled to depart. The addition of more buses for the transportation of the inhabitants of the province by the big bus companies is the only solution to this problem. However, in spite of this situation the conditions of traffic at present is far better than before the war.

Water Transportation - The accessibility of the Abra River has made possible the transportation of freight from one bank to another, although at present only rafts are being used. However, passengers are not being transported because it is very risky and [the] volume of freight handled is not very great as compared with land transportation. People prefer to transport their goods by land as it is faster and easier and even cheaper. There are no landing fields for air transport in the province, although in the town of Bangued, Bucay, and Manabo, private landing fields for the piper-club type of air place were constructed by Governor-elect Lucas Paredes for the use of his private plane. These landing fields were constructed before the recent elections to facilitate the coming of a piper-club to the province which the governor elect utilized during his campaigns.

Communication - The only type of communication which the province has for the present time are the telegraph and postal communication. The present telegraph system is the same as that before the war and Bangued is the only town which has a telegraph office and telegrams received for the other towns are sent by mail. Before the war, there was a telephone system connecting all the towns of the province, but it was totally destroyed during the war and was never rehabilitated until now.

Lighting and other Facilities - As it was before the war, Bangued is the only town which has an electric lighting service for civilian purposes in the entire province. The electric plant has been franchised from the government since 1925 for 25 years and it has been renewed for another 25 years by Major Urbano Banes of Bangued and his co-partner, Mr. G. Lahoz of Vigan, Ilocos Sur. The number of houses, commercial and industrial establishments using electric fluid at present has decreased as compared before the War. This decrease has been partly due to the small sizes of the houses now as compared before the War when the houses were big and spacious with brick foundations which looked more like the abode of the princess for the houses were then Spanish in style. An additional reason is that some of the people in Bangued have not yet rehabilitated their houses and yards.

There are three ice plants functioning in the town of Bangued today. One is located in the eastern part of the town and owned by Engineer Oscar Villanueva of Vigan, Ilocos Sur. The other one is located in the central part of the town and owned by Mr. Melchor Valeros of Bangued, Abra. The third one is located in the northwestern part of the town owned by Major Banes of Bangued, Abra.

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Abra was formerly a part of the great territory of Ilocandia, remaining as such until the year 1818, when the great province of Ilocos was divided into Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur. In the same year, Abra became a part of Ilocos Sur.

During the later half of the 19th century, as a result of the British occupation of Manila, Abra felt the effects of the Silang rebellion. Diego Silang, learning of the defeat of the Spaniards by the English in October, 1762, took up arms against the Spanish government in the Ilocos Provinces, to end the abuses of the officials and local priests. Silang had many willing followers. In Abra, his chief lieutenant was Pedro Benec, who later turned traitor to the great rebel and, in connivance with one Miguel Vices, murdered Silang.

Silang's faithful wife, Josefa Gabriela, gathered together the remaining loyal followers and fled to Abra. The natives of Abra joined forces with the heroic widow. But, meeting an overwhelming number of Spanish troops under the command of Manuel Ignacio de Arza, who had been hurried to Abra, her followers were routed, and she was later executed. Her execution formally ended the great Ilocos revolt.

In 1846, Abra became a politico-military province. It included what was formerly the sub-province of Lepanto, as well as the towns of Bangued, Bucay, Pidigan, Tayum, La Paz, San Jose de Manabo and San Gregorio. Bucay was made the capital of the province, but in 1861, Bangued was again made the capital.

During the American-Filipino war, Abra was led by Don Blas Villamor. In 1890, a provincial government was set up under the Republic of the Philippines (Gen. Aguinaldo's regime). Leocadio Valera was chosen governor, remaining in office until Abra fell into the hands of American forces late in the same year.

Civil government was established in Abra on August 19, 1901. In February, 1905, Abra was re-annexed to Ilocos Sur as a sub-province, remaining as such until March, 1917 when it became once more a separate province.

The officials of the provincial government are the provincial governor, and two members of the provincial board, the provincial treasurer, and the provincial fiscal. The first three officials are elected by popular votes and hold their offices for a period of four years. The provincial treasurer and the provincial fiscal are appointed by the President of the Philippines with the confirmation of the Commission on Appointments of the Philippine Senate and hold their offices during their good behavior or until the President approves their token or regular resignations.

Provincial Governor - The provincial governor is the chief executive of the province. He has administrative and supervisory control over the municipal mayors of the different towns. It is his duty to execute laws affecting the province, and resolutions passed by the provincial board. He also has general supervision but not administrative control, over the agencies of the national government in the province. He is the presiding officer of the provincial board during the session of that body. He appoints all employees whose salaries are paid from provincial general funds except the employees in the office of the Provincial Auditor and school employees.

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The Provincial Board - The provincial board is the law-making body of the province. It approves by resolutions the annual and supplemental budgets of the province. It also passes other resolutions which have the force of law affecting the welfare of the province. The provincial board consists of the provincial governor and two members. Two constitute a quorum. In the absence of the provincial governor, one member of the board can preside over its meeting. The two members of the board do not get [a] regular salary but they receive per diems during its regular and special sessions. The regular session of the provincial board is fixed by law. Special sessions, however, can be convoked by the provincial governor at any time there is necessity for it.

The Provincial Treasurer - The provincial treasurer is the financial official of the province. Among his duties are to collect taxes; to disburse funds covered by appropriations approved by the provincial board; to act as custodian and disbursing officer of trust funds; and to act as the property custodian of the province. He recommends the appointments of the employees under him to the provincial governor who, with the consent of the provincial board, is vested the power of appointing them, with the exception of his assistant and administrative officer when he is empowered to appoint. The latter official is considered transient in the province.

The Provincial Fiscal - The provincial fiscal is the legal officer of the province. He represents the government in all criminal cases. He acts as the legal adviser of the government in the province. His legal opinions are sought by the other officers in various matters.

The Provincial Secretary - There shall be a secretary of the provincial board, whose duty it shall be to attend the meetings of the board and act as its recording officer and secretary.

He shall receive from the provincial governor and file in his office all reports to the provincial governor required by law, and shall index the same, and he shall generally set as custodian of all provincial records and documents having reference to the assessment of real estate, for the collection of the real estate tax, which are in the possession of the provincial assessor.

In addition to the officers of the provincial government, the national government maintains various agencies in the province. These agencies are the Office of the Provincial Auditor, Office of the District Health Officer, Office of the District Engineer, Office of the Court of First Instance, Office of the Division Superintendent of Schools, Office of the Provincial Commander, PC, and the Office of the Provincial Forester.

Office of the Provincial Auditor - The provincial auditor is appointed by the Auditor General and holds office until transferred by him, or is retired at the age of 65 years under Republic Act No. 660. His main duties are to examine and settle the accounts of the provincial, municipal, and municipal district treasurers and other offices of such branches of the government within the district assigned to him. He also makes examinations within his district of national accounts and render such reports thereon as the Auditor General shall require.

Office of the District Health Officer - The district health officer is appointed by the Secretary of health with the recommendation of the Director of Public Health. He has general administrative and supervisory control of matters affecting health and sanitation in the province. He has the power to recommend the appointments of employees under his office including the presidents of the

[p. 27]

sanitary divisions to the Director of Health or to the provincial governor who appoints them. Among his specific duties are to control epidemics; to vaccinate and immunize periodically the people of the province; to distribute medicines to the public specially to those who cannot afford to buy their own medicines; and to see to it that the sanitation of the province is maintained at a proper standard.

Office of the District Engineer - The district engineer is appointed by the Secretary of Public Works and Communication with [the] recommendation of the Director of Public Works. He receives his salary from the Bureau of Public Works' funds in the province. He has the power to appoint the employees of his office who receive their salaries from the engineering funds earmarked for various projects.

Among his specific duties are to take charge of the construction and maintenance of roads and bridges, to construct public buildings from funds covered by appropriations, to advertise bids for materials and labor of public works projects, and to have general supervision over private contractors undertaking the construction of public buildings.

Office of the Division Superintendent of Schools - The division superintendent of schools has general administrative and supervisory control over the public schools and public education in the province. He is appointed by the Secretary of Education with the recommendation of the Director of Public Schools. He holds office during good behavior or until transferred by the Director of Public Schools. He receives his salary from the national govemment. He is delegated by the secretary of education the power to appoint and assign national (municipal) teachers, provincial teachers, and other school employees and has the power to recommend the appointments of national (insular) teachers and other national (insular) employees to the Director of Public Schools who, in turn, recommends them to the Secretary of Education who has the ultimate power to appoint them. He has administrative and supervisory control over the school teachers and other school personnel in the division. He recommends the budgets of the provincial high school to the provincial board and approves all expenditures of provincial and national school funds in the province.

The school system of the province of Abra has considerably expanded after the war. This can be seen from the following figures:

Number of primary schools
Number of central schools
Number of barrio schools
Total enrolment 17,116
High School Enrolment
Abra High School
Bucay High School
Pilar High School
Lagangilang National Agricultural High School
Total 945

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Supervisors, Principals, Teachers, and other Employees

Clerical Force
Division Supervisors
High School Principals
Supervising Principals
Elementary Principals
Teacher Nurses
Classroom Teachers
Total 557

In order to maintain the operation of the public schools of the province, the national government allocates or provides funds through legislation every year. This government appropriation is supplemented with the help given by the PTA's and are spent for buildings, fences, acquisition of sites, equipment, repair, supplies, rentals and other various expenses.

The health of pupils and students is safeguarded through the dental and medical service whose funds come from the voluntary contribution of pupils and students of the public schools of the province.

The Provincial Forester - The provincial branch of the Bureau of Forestry, headed by the provincial forester, exercises general administration and management of the public forests with the aim of preserving, improving and developing its vast resources.

Provincial Forest District No. 3 comprises the Province of Abra. There are two forest stations, the district headquarters at Bangued and Forest Station Lagangilang at Bituen, Licuan with post-office address, Lagangilang, Abra. There is one special project (reforestation), the Lagangilang Reforestation Project at Bituen, Licuan with post-office address Lagangilang, Abra. The project has two subsidiaries, the San Antonio Subsidiary Nursery, San Antonio, Bangued and the Malatada Subsidiary Nursery at Abas, Sal-lapadan with post-office address Bucay, Abra.


Abra, referred to as that beautiful wonderland, is mentioned indefinitely in early Chinese records, but there are no reliable data about this region before the sixteenth century. It is believed that the town of Bangued was founded in 1595 by the Augustinian Friars, and by 1598, it was already a thriving settlement.

During the early part of the 19th century, Abra became the scene of active missionary work. Several important missions were established, among which were Tayum, founded in 1803, Pidigan, in 1832, La Paz in 1832, and Bucay in 1847. It could be seen then that Abra since the very beginning has been predominantly Catholic in religion.

The municipalities of Bangued, Bucay, Tayum, and Pidigan which are mostly inhabited by Christians are predominantly Catholics. The rest of the municipalities which are inhabited by a good portion of the Tinguian tribe and their descendants have embraced different religions among which are Protestantism, Aglipayan, Seventh Day Adventist, and Iglesia ni Cristo.

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Catholicism, however, appears to be generally accepted by the people of the province. This is due to the ability of the Faith to organize and establish their churches and provide systematic instruction and dissemination of their beliefs and practices besides being the first that had been introduced in the Islands. Considered the oldest, therefore, and fortified with the highest of reverence and authority with which it was once associated, it has assumed an air of superiority over all the rest.

Protestant Work in the province of Abra began as early as in the year 1907 or 1908. The Church of Christ (Disciples), under the Foreign Christian Missionary Society of America, established its work here by its missionaries, the Rev. Hermon P. Williams* and the Rev. W. H. Hanna. These missionaries lived in Vigan, Ilocos Sur, but preached in Abra part of the time. The Methodist Episcopal Church, through its missionary, the Rev. Peterson, began work here about the same time. He also made his home in Vigan but he was later assigned to work in Pangasinan, making Lingayen his headquarters.

The Evangelization of Abra in accordance with Bible truths was the main objective of these missions. In the early days, therefore, debates and arguments between ministers of the gospel and Roman Catholic leaders on Christian doctrines and teachings were common. The old Roman Catholic priest of Bangued, the late Rev. Bartolome Espiritu, was continually lambasting and attacking the people whom he celled "heretics" on his pulpit or at other places, when of course, the ministers could not have the ghost of a chance to answer his right back.

The Methodist withdrew work from Abra through committee agreement in August 1923. Since then, the Church of Christ (Disciples), now the United Church of Christ In the Philippines, work in many places in Abra, where they have organized churches and members. They have church buildings in Bangued, Dangles, La Paz, Dolores, Lagangilang, Peñarrubia, Villaviciosa, Patad, Manabo, Lamao, Lingey, Daguioman, Baay, Nagasasan, and Sallapadan.

They have worked in Sobosob, Boliney, Danao, Luba, Abang, Bucey, Abas, Ududiao, Gayaman, San Juan, and many other places.

Since the end of the war, the Jehovah's Witnesses and Iglesia ni Cristo have come in. These religious groups do not consider themselves Protestants. The Pentecostal Church in San Juan, Abra under the leadership of Mr. Silvestre Tavemar, has just begun work in Dangles, and Nagaparan.

Counting all children, the United church of Christ in the Philippines, in the province of Abra may have a membership of around 2000.

* The Church of Christ minister was the Rev. Agustin Belisario, now deceased. The Methodist Preacher was Isabelo Biancaflor.

In August, 1904, the Independent Aglipayan Church was first established in Bangued by Fr. Alipio Blanco. Many prominent people of Bangued joined the faith. Later, it spread to the municipalities of Lagangilang, Dolores, San Juan, La Paz and Pidigan. Due to [the] lack of persistent and systematic campaign and strong interest, it has not grown from its initial success.

After the war, the Jehovah's Witnesses appeared and soon has gained many adherents due to the very active participation of its members. Many of its

[p. 30]

converted adherents are from the remote barrios, sitios, and municipal districts embracing a good portion of the Tinguian population.

Iglesia Ni Cristo is another big religious sect which has been established even before the war. It has its chapel and preacher for religious services at Sinapangan, Bangued. It holds services every Thursday and Sunday of the week.

The Seventh Day Adventist is another sect which has also been established long before the war. Its adherents consider Saturday as the seventh day of the week and should be held holy and consecrated to the Lord. They consider Saturday as a day of rest. Its mission has been set up at the municipality of Pilar, Abra.

These different religious sects have fundamentally the same one objective – to spread the belief in one Divine Power and to lead a life based upon His ways and teachings. They differ, however, in many ways such as in their practices, ceremonies, and minor beliefs, so much so that they become jealous of one another, resulting in bitter antagonism against each other.

No matter to what religion one belongs he should be tolerant and respectful to the other religious sects because most of them aim to seek [for] the salvation of man and his deliverance from all evils. So deep is this mystery that it was thought best to allow freedom of religion among Filipinos.

Transcribed from:
Historical Data of the Province of Abra, online at the National Library of the Philippines Digital Collections. The pagination in this transcription is as they appear in the original document.
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