Friday, July 5, 2013

Abra's American-era town: Lagangilang

(This post is part of my Abra Townhopping last June 15, 2013)

Honestly, I have never heard of Lagangilang before. Among all five towns that I have visited in Abra, this town has the least information over the net and the least to be mentioned by different websites and travel blogs. The only thing that persuaded me to visit this town is when I read in a certain website that "there are three Spanish-era Churches still existing in Abra: Bangued, Tayum and Lagangilang". And that did it. I told myself, by hook or by crook, I will visit this town and it's Spanish-era church. I immediately look for ways on how I will be able to reach the town and fortunately, the town is just after Tayum so I decided to just rent a tricycle going there.

After having a walking tour around Tayum town proper, I immediately hailed a tricycle and told the driver to bring me to Lagangilang. I contracted him for Php 100.00 and he readily accepted it. We reached Lagangilang Arch after some minutes and I took a picture of the evidently old and somewhat unmaintained welcome arch.

Some minutes have passed before we reached the Lagangilang Municipal Hall. I asked the driver whether he knows where the old church of Lagangilang is but he said he also do not know. What I did is to immediately go to the police station and ask where it is.

At first, the policeman on duty pointed me to the back of the Municipal Hall where according to him, a church is standing. He must have realized that I am looking for another church so he asked me if I am looking for a "catholic" church and told me that the church he is pointing to is an old Aglipayan Church. The Catholic Church can not be found in the town proper but is located one barangay away.

Because I was already at the town proper, I took my time having a short walking tour around it and took a shot of two old houses just a road away from the municipal hall, and of the Aglipayan Church at the back of the municipal hall. It is nice to know that people in this town are so approachable. When I asked the people in both houses whether I can take pictures of their houses or not, they readily agreed and one of them remarked, "luma 'no? (old, isn't it?)"

I learned later that one of the houses was built in 1933, and the other, in 1926, both in the American period. They can easily be noticed because they stand out among the houses lining the road. One of the houses, according to the police who I will be having a little chitchat later, is owned by a former mayor of Lagangilang.

After taking shots, I immediately get back to the waiting tricycle but the policemen called me and asked for an ID. I thought then that they may be mistaking me for someone who will do mischief. I felt uncomfortable then but I gave them my ID anyway. Seemingly unconvinced yet, they asked me why am I taking pictures and told them I am a travel blogger. Upon learning that, they told me to show my blog to them.

I was already uneasy then because I wasn't used to being suspected of anything I am not. Good thing is that, after some question and answer, it seems they already believed me and the conversation finally relaxed. They already started to tell me stories about the town, and told me the way to Lagangilang Church. They even offered me something to eat though I humbly refuse them. And my Operation Look for Lagangilang Church resumed.

After some minutes again, we already reached the church. The church I was fervently searching came into my view and I was very happy to see it. Lagangilang Church is different form other old church that I have seen because it is edged and the finishing seems more precise and sharp. It was made of red bricks and looks like the San Lorenzo Chapel in Bangued. Actually, according to Sir Perdigon, a researcher on Abra matters who I met online during researching relevant information about Abra to be used in this blog, the San Lorenzo Church and Lagangilang Church may have been built (or finished) at the same time sometime in 1930's.

The only downside for me is that the only part of the old church that remains is the facade and the back part. All the other parts between them are new and concrete. The church's front door is now at the former side part of the church. The facade is now just the side of the church as well as the back part where the old altar  could have been.

At the left side of the now front door can be seen a historical sketch of the Church and obviously of the Lagangilang town. It seems the creation of the town really happened during the American period though some reports places Lagangilang's beginnings as early as 1800's. 

After finally finding the reason why I wanted to visit Lagangilang, I declared mission accomplished and decided to go back to Bangued so I can already visit the next town, Pidigan. I talked to the tricycle driver to bring me to Bangued but he politely refused and told me to just ride the jeepney going there to save fare (jeepney fare from Lagangilang to Bangued is only Php 35.00). As I was very thankful for his help and patience (for waiting for me whenever I would stop the tricycle and take a picture of something), I gave him Php150.00 instead of the Php 100.00 we agreed upon earlier.


To know more about my Abra tour, you may visit the following posts:

The province that is open for all to explore: ABRA
The Abran Capital: Bangued
Bangued's Twin Town: Tayum

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About the Author

I am ROMEL RAFOR JAIME, the man behind San Josenyong Gala. My travel blogger name came about because I am a proud resident of the City of San Jose del Monte, Bulacan. In real life, I am a licensed librarian who works in a college in Gapan, Nueva Ecija as a librarian and teaches general education subjects from time to time. My goal is to visit all the 81 provinces of the Philippines before visiting other countries. As of 2017, I have already visited 73... :)

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