Ancient settlements and communities that thrived in the Pre-Spanish colonial period like Butuan and Ilog were built along the river banks. The most plausible reason is that water transportation was the most convenient and most readily-available centuries before the Industrial Revolution changed the landscape.
When the Spanish colonization of the Philippine islands spread up north, the mountainous areas of the Cordilleras were not spared from the expansion. The mighty Abra River System helped spur the campaign and this may have eventually led the establishment of the provincial government along its banks in Bucay.
Located near the present presidencia, the former casa real of Abra has been reduced to ruins with its brick gate the only enduring testament of its old glory. The gate still prominently displays an old Spanish coat of arms.