Teofilo Garcia: A National Living Treasure Awardee from Abra

Teofilo Garcia: A National Living Treasure Awardee from Abra


Tue Fellow Garcia: “Tabingo” maker from Abra

AAfter spending an overnight in the wagon, we hiked our Flat Grand North Luzon artists to the road less traveled destination – Abra. From the wagon, it took about an hour and a half to reach Bangoush City.

Tungadan Tunnel in Abra Province
Tungadan Tunnel in Abra Province

Our first stop was the humble home Tefilo Garcia – One of the country’s national residential treasures and we were able to gain in-depth information about his personal life and everlasting craft.

About Theophilo Garcia

In case you are wondering what is Tabingau, it is an alcano term for “Oppo”, also known as bottle gourd or white pumpkin. Teufyla Garcia, on the other hand, is considered to be the last among the Tabongo hat makers, made of traditional headgear Tabunga or Loki.

Katkong or Tabanga hat from Attara
Katkong or Tabanga hat from Attara

Theophilo, born March 27, 1941, at the age of 15, began the art of making katokong or tubao hat with his grandfather, Hippolyte.

Teufelo Garcia and its Tabingau Making Art
Teufelo Garcia and its Tabingau Making Art

She devoted most of her life as a farmer to sending her five children to school. They also took their time to “appo” their main ingredient in the traditional tabingaou preparation. It is said that a tabinga hat takes at least seven days to finish, as it uses only the handheld tool that it has developed to produce its last product.

Different types of gourd are used to make the Tabunga hat
Different types of gourd are used to make the Tabunga hat

Currently, Theophilo has been invited to speak and perform locally and abroad. He even opened his own home so that people could see some of his unique creations, and even teach local school children the art of making tango. Until now, he has been innovating on traditional designs based on recent travel incentives. He has also created unique patterns that he learned when he was young.

What is a National Resident Treasure?

If anyone has preserved some of the Philippines’ most important indigenous traditions, then it can be called the National Living Treasure or “Gawad sa Manlilikha nganan”. They were selected by the National Commission on Culture and Arts (NCCA) and should be dedicated to craftsmanship, excellence and the ability to transfer their craft to young people.

National Treasure Award Marker
National Treasure Award Marker

In addition to this dedication, the individual must also have technical, creative abilities in connection with the traditions of the community and folk art, and the appreciation of his people.

Tue Fellow Garcia
Tefilo Garcia

Some of our national resident treasures include Alonzo Siklag (a traditional dancer and composer), Haja Amana Aapi (Pandey Met Weaver), and Magdalena Gamayev (a textile weaver).

How To Reach Bangod, Abra

  • From Manila, it takes 8 hours to reach the land by land journey. You can choose from Partas or Varun bus operators to take you to your destination.
  • At the highway crossing for Abra and about there and wait for another bus to Bangod, Abra.

Looking for the best Abra hotels, resorts, and cheap flights to nearby cities? Check out our list of cheap hotels and resorts by reviewing, or you can also check out Airbnb Properties available in the city.

Want more updates on new tourist destinations in Abra Province? Follow us on Facebook, and #TeamOutofTown TwitterInstagram, Instagram and Pinterest for more travel ideas.

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