|Region||Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR)|
|Area|| 3,975.6 km²|
|Total (2000)|| 209,491|
Abra is a landlocked province of the Philippines in the Cordillera Administrative Region in Luzon. Its capital is Bangued, and it borders Ilocos Norte and Apayao on the north, Ilocos Sur and Mountain Province on the south, Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur on the west, and Kalinga, and Apayao on the east.
The predominant languages are Ilocano and Itneg. Based on the 1995 census survey, Ilocano is generally spoken by 73.65% of the region's total population. 25.18% speak Itneg, 0.16% speak Tagalog, and the remaining 0.54% speak other dialects.
As of 1990, there were 743 cottage industries in Abra, of which 208 are registered with the Department of Trade and Industry. 59% are engaged in bamboo and rattan craft making, both leading industries in the area.
In 1992, the natural dye industry, together with loom weaving and embroidery, was revived by former Governor Ma. Zita Claustro-Valera, the first woman governor of Abra.
Abra's economy is agriculture-based. Its major crops are rice, corn, and root crops; and commercial produce are coffee, tobacco, and coconut. Extensive grassland and pasture areas are used for livestock production.
Abra is subdivided into 27 municipalities.
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Abra is hemmed in by the towering mountain ranges of the Ilocos in the west and the Cordillera Central in the east. It has an extremely rugged terrain, with mountains and hills rising along its perimeter and interior. The plains are drained by the Abra River, which flows northward from Mt. Data in the Mountain Province.
The first inhabitants of Abra were the ancestors of the Bontocs and the Ifugaos. These inhabitants eventually left to settle in the old Mountain Province. Other early inhabitants were the Tingguians, or Itnegs, as they are also known.
In 1598 a Spanish garrison was established in Bangued to protect the Ilocanos who converted to Christianity from Tingguian raids. During the British invasion, Gabriela Silang and her army fled to Abra from Ilocos and continued the revolt begun by her slain husband, Diego Silang. She was captured and hang by the Spanish in 1763.
In 1818 the Ilocos region, including Abra, was divided into Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur. In 1846 Abra was created as a political-military province with Lepanto as a sub-province. It remained so until the arrival of the Americans in 1899.
In 1908 the Philippine Commission once again in annexed Abra to Ilocos Sur in an attempt to resolve Abra's financial difficulties. But on March 9, 1917, the Philippine Assembly reestablished Abra as a province.
The revolutionary priest, Conrado Balweg, who fought for the rights of the Cordillera tribes, began his crusade in Abra. After successfully negotiating a peace accord with Balweg's group in 1987, the Philippine government created the Cordillera Administrative Region, which includes Abra.
- The Official Website of the Provincial Government of Abra
- The Website of the Province of Abra
- WOW Philippines - Abra
- Abrenian.com - Online Community for Abrenians