Day one we set out at 6 a.m. for Taleb, Abra Province.
Taleb is about an eight-hour hike from Sagada. Here’s a little (slightly erroneous) map I drew of day one.
We stopped for lunch at Buasao.
We had Zach’s favorite: hot and spicy tuna. We then hiked the top of the mountain ridge, which was encapsuled by clouds.
We eventually made it to Taleb, a forgotten village of Abra Province. The inhabitants of Taleb had reportedly been massacred near the start of the war between the Communist MPAs and the Philippine government. Along the way, we saw remnants of the campsites of the 1,000 or so Philippine soldiers who were along the ridge two months ago. The last four hours of the hike were downhill for about 1,500 meters in pouring rain. Our company slipped and slid our way down to the bottom and found shelter in one of the remaining huts of Taleb.
Chris wanted to take down the Philippine flag he brought last time because it had begun to look sad during the rainy season.
It’s a beautiful little corner of Abra, wedged in between a few rivers. Laaw, a talented hunter, was our host. He has five incredible hunting dogs that help him find deer and boars.
We stayed in Taleb for the next day as well. From the morning of day two:
Yeah, this trek was through a low-intensity civil war that’s been smoldering for decades. We heard many stories from locals about the conflict and the many effects it has had on their lives. Some lost the ability to traverse the mountains from their village to Sagada to sell and buy goods. Others were tortured. Some lost family members.