Pudtol Church Ruins in Apayao

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Pudtol is about 20 minutes drive from Luna town proper.

Do not ask the locals about the ruins. Chances are they are unmindful of its significance. To get there, ask instead for directions to the Pudtol Municipal Hall, and you will find a church and school at the back. On the right side of the church are the ruins.

From online sources, the church  was built in the 1600’s by Spanish missionaries to convert the locals, known as Isnegs, to Christianity.  Today, the Isnegs comprise a good majority of the indigenous people of the province of Apayao, even if about half of its population are Ilocanos. At some point, this church was abandoned, and eventually deteriorated. Today, only the ruins tell of that story about early attempts to Christianize the indigenous tribes of the cordilleras.

Within Pudtol town, there are two church ruins – – the other one in Mataguisi. I actually went to Pudtol as a side trip on my way to Kabugao, and for some reson missed mataguisi, in spite of seeing the Mataguisi signs early on.

Pudtol can be visited on its own from Luna town. But if one is on his way to Kabugao or to Kalinga Province, then Pudtol will be an easy side trip since it will be on the way.

Road Trip: Apayao to Kalinga

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November 14, 2017 I posted on my facebook wall

And,  immediately, my well meaning friends who only recently visited Apayao and Kalinga gave me friendly advice:

“Ingat sa daan… expect the unexpected”

“be very careful. the road is very treacherous.”

“Via Pudtol-Kabugao-Conner-Tabuk…. yan ang tunay na adventurer….”

That is because I was going from Apayao to Kalinga on a route less traveled. My friends who recently visited, and other sets of friends who visited Apayao and Kalinga, would eventually exit from Apayao thru Cagayan Valley and enter Kalinga thru Tuguegarao.

In fact, when  I wanted to estimate the distance and travel time thru waze, the app was responding via the route always taken: exit thru Pamplona and then enter Kalinga thru Tuguegarao. Waze would not recommend the route.

Then I tried to calculate travel time to Conner, the last town in Apayao that shares boundaries with the first town of Pinukpuk in Kalinga, and waze again calculated using the entry via Tuguegarao. Made me think the roads are impassable.

Starting point: Star Jewel Lodge

A chance encounter with a guest at the lodge I was staying in made me decide to take the Apayao to Kalinga route. The gentleman is from Conner. He said the roads are good, but the concern was that there is a long stretch of mountain roads where there was no mobile signal, and where there were no homes or communities. That if something goes wrong, the traveler will be helpless.

I also asked a friend who lived in Tabuk if the road from Pinukpuk to Tabuk was good. She said yes.

And so armed with this info, I made sure I had enough water and food, just in case something goes wrong.  And off I went.

From Luna in Apayao, the next town was Pudtol. It was a good stop to take a photo of the ruins of the old church.

 

Ruins of an old church in Pudtol, the most visited spot on this town

From Pudtol we started ascending the mountain road that led to Kabugao, the capital of Apayao. And then to Conner, the last town.

 

I realized, too, that in Apayao, there are cattle ranches.

 

From Conner, I saw the uphill road to Kalinga, starting from the town of Pinukpuk. And then it was on to Tabuk, the capital of Kalinga.

No wonder waze points to the route via Cagayan. This is a point where Kalinga, Apayao, and Cagayan meet.

 

The welcome sign at PINUKPUK,  the first Kalinga town from this route.

 

Travelers will then have the Chico River throughout the route, all the way to Tabuk City

 

The roads are used to dry either rice or corn

 

a business establishment in Pinukpuk

 

Finally, TABUK

Tabuk City Hall

Travel time, including stops, was 5 hours. The roads were alternately good and bad, mostly good. The views were fantastic, and more than made up for the uncertainty, and the potential danger.

Having taken this route, I now know that, with a reliable 4X4, this road is actually easy. Exciting. And scenic.