Spanish Church Ruins of Pudtol, Apayao – A Testament to Tribal Resiliency
Pudtol Church in Apayao was abandoned in 1815 due to persistent attacks by the Isneg tribespeople
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).
Welcome to my website! I’m travel writer, photographer and online influencer Edgar Alan Zeta-Yap from the Philippines. Join me as I hike, dive, fly, eat and do pretty much anything in between across 7,641 islands and beyond. Need to reach me? Please write me an email.