Spanish Church Ruins of Pudtol, Apayao – A Testament to Tribal Resiliency

Pudtol Church Ruins
Pudtol Church in Apayao was abandoned in 1815 due to persistent attacks by the Isneg tribespeople
Pudtol Church Ruins
The ruins are overgrown with tree roots

Like Abra and Quirino, Apayao is one of the most overlooked provinces in Luzon, more so in the tourist circuit. Most people have no idea about this place, other than the fact that this landlocked province used to be attached to Kalinga. Surprisingly, a number of its northern lowland towns are very accessible from the national highway between Claveria and Tuguegarao in Cagayan province. When our pumpboat trip from Claveria to Calayan Island was postponed, fellow travel blogger Hazel Ramos of Journeying Pinay and I detoured to the humble town of Pudtol in Apayao to visit its Spanish church ruins.

Apayao was one of the first areas of the Cordillera region penetrated by Spanish colonizers. Dominican missionaries established Pudtol as its first Christian settlement in the province in 1604. A stone church was built in 1684. It was built like a fortress to protect the colonizers; and later on abandoned in 1815 due to fierce attacks by Isnegs (also known as Isnag or Apayao), the indigenous people of the province. The Spanish government later regained some loose control over the province in 1891. Today, a majority of the Isneg people, who make up a third of Apayao’s population, are still animists.

HOW TO GET THERE: From Manila, ride a GV Florida bus to Junction Luna, via Laoag and Claveria (15 hours). From Junction Luna (aka Junction Libertad, Abulug, Cagayan), ride a jeepney to Pudtol, Apayao (PHP 30, 40 minutes).

7 Replies to “Spanish Church Ruins of Pudtol, Apayao – A Testament to Tribal Resiliency”

  1. reminds me of the guiob ruins in camiguin 🙂

  2. @Christian: Yeah… this one is set in less pastoral surroundings though (i.e. modern church and school)… =)

  3. this is very interesting. napa-isip tuloy ako kung ano pang pwedeng makita sa Apayao.

  4. @Batang Lakwatsero: There are more natural sites like forest sanctuaries, waterfalls, caves and even an underground river! They’re just hard to get to. Go, explore Apayao! =)

  5. i wanna visit Apayao soon! we missed this when we were in the area, kulang na kc sa time… sana soon! thanks for sharing EAZY! 🙂

  6. @Pinoy: It’s easy to get to from northern Cagayan towns like Magapit and Claveria =) You’re welcome!

  7. Ok kaya kung sa Tuguegarao ako manggagaling? Daan din kasi ako sa Tabuk then balik Tuguegarao…

    ask ko na lang din sir kung mayroon pang ibang spots na mapupuntahn sa Pudtol? Tsaka may time ba ang transpo palabas ng Pudtol… Thanks very much sir… 🙂

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