welcome to Adams, population: 1800
A small town - the smallest in the Philippines with only 1 barangay, nestled in a valley surrounded by pristine rain forest near the northern edge of Luzon. It was our home for two stress free days. Limited cellphone signal (currently only Globe works), no 3G, no emails.
Adams lived up to how it got its name. There were several variations of the story but the main theme remain the same: it looked like the garden of Eden or the garden of Adam and Eve when early settlers first laid eyes on the lush valley - rich in natural resources and has a very diverse flora and fauna.
lush green valley
The place became a melting of different tribes from Apayao and Cordillera region. Currently the population consist of different Igorot groups (Kankana-ey, Isneg), Yapayao, and Bago - just to name a few. Its a perfect example of how different cultures coexist harmoniously with one another.
There are so many dimensions to the place: people, culture, food, and scenic beauty. So many to cover in one visit, but here are bits and pieces of Adams:
Baset hanging bridge
Its the longest hanging bridge in the province of Ilocos Norte. During the rainy season when the river overflows and covers the small concrete bridge below, this bridge becomes Adams' lifeline to the outside. Its a great experience crossing this bridge (not for those with vertigo) on foot. Some daredevil ones cross this on motorcycle (most common mode of transportation there), much to the chagrin of their passengers.
crossing the into Adams
Adams is just 13.5 kilometers from the main highway but it looked like far away place, much different from the coastal scenery of Ilocos Norte. A few minutes into the ride to Adams, the salty and humid sea breeze is replaced by a cool mountain air. The dirt road is like a corridor cut through a heavily forested area. You'll know when you are near the town proper when you cross the crystal clear Bolo river. Fed by countless waterfalls if there is one reason to go to Adams then this is it - at least for me), the river traverses the town and empties in Bangui Bay in the north.
serenity of Ilyn's place
Built piece by piece by the Chens, this place is truly a labor of love and one of the best homestays (a "homey place" as the Adams folks would call it). Ilyn used to be an OFW in Taiwan but later decided to settle in her home town of Adams. A colleague of hers, a Taiwanese national, followed her here and the rest is a love story that became the foundation of this homey place.
Adams has some of the best local fruit wines I've every tasted. Dr. Bielmaju, who owned a small winery, treated us to an evening of wine tasting which lasted from dinner time to near midnight - much to the delight of a wine connoisseur companion. The town folks started experimenting blends and producing wines starting 2008. Currently there are about 63 wine makers and producers.
Of the fruit wines in Adams, the Bugnay (wild blackberry or currant tree) wine is my favorite. Bugnay's richly color fruit (ranges from red, to deep crimson, to violet and black) is also a favorite of mine as a kid. If there is one wine that will put Adams on the wine map of the Philippines, then this would be it.
waterfalls of Adams
For those who love nature and the great outdoors, Adams is a perfect place. It has countless hiking trails that culminates in a pristine waterfall. Its as if every hike there has a prize of a cool dip at the end of the trail. On our short stay there we manage to visit four beautiful waterfalls, which I think deserves a separate post.