Casamata is a landmark in Bangued which is now VICTORIA PARK, named after the late wife of Don Quintin Paredes, the “father” of Abreq, a former Congressman who was Speaker of the House of Representatives and a President of the Senate.
Casamata is a Spanish word meaning “house of death.” It used to be the place where dynamites were stored in a warehouse and “OFF LIMITS” signs were posted. Hence, it was a dangerous place to go, especially when people were smoking a lot at the time I was a child, up to the time I left Bangued.
I used to go to that hill to gather ALLAGAT, a berry fruit, red in color when ripe, with lots of delicious seeds, and as big as a toe, bunched together as grapes.
There was a small pond near the place where we gathered this fruit. During rainy days it was fun to swim in it.
This place was also a source of firewood called DANGLA. When it is allowed to grow, Dangla is used for fencing the yard. But before the tree was fully grown up, we cut them down and carried them home for firewood.
I also used to go up the hill to fly my kite and enjoyed looking down on the town, up to the far west where the Abra River flows.
Before I left Bangued, after my graduation from high school, a friend of mine, FELIX BRILLANTES, used to accompany me very early in the morning to run up the hill, then take a bath under the overflow pipe of the reservoir.
This is now the place where they built a swimming pool, where I snorkeled in 1970 when Jojo was crowned as Miss Red Feather Philippines as Abra’s representative during Gorckaris’ regime.