If you're a Filipino, I am sure you have visited Paoay in the past. If so, have you visited these places? But if you're not a Filipino and are looking to visit the Philippines in the near future, make sure to write all this down because these spots are a must-see for any tourist in Paoay!
The first thing you should do is secure that pasalubong for you to take home and to give to your loved ones!
1. Buy Pasalubong
The most famous pasalubong you'll find is cornick, a crunchy deep-fried corn nut snack. It is most commonly garlic-flavored but can also come in a variety of other flavors.
J. Nazarene is one of our favorite stops to buy pasalubong. They have different price range for all kinds of tourists and you'll surely leave this place NOT empty-handed.
Besides, this is almost beside the famous Paoay Church which is our next stop!
J. Nazarene Pasalubong Stop Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/7PPi1Wb7aj9Sx9hm7
2. San Agustin Church of Paoay
San Agustin Church of Paoay or most commonly called Paoay Church is just as famous as the cornick, empanada, and the sand dunes of Paoay.
Having the age of more than 300 years old, this church is declared as a Natural Cultural Treasure by the Philippine government and also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Now, I'm not a catholic but the architecture of this building is enough for me to take a picture with it. One thing that is amazing to me is that the walls are made of large coral stones on the lower part and bricks at the upper levels. The mortar used in the church includes sand and lime with sugarcane juice boiled with mango leaves, leather, and rice straw. Well, how cool is that?
Paoay Church Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/eVbTyeBf1MeRcro39
3. BATAC Riverside EMPANADAAN
Granted this is not a part of Paoay, but what is a visit in Paoay if you cannot taste Ilocos Empanada??
The best spot to get the most authentic, original, and freshest Ilocos Empanada is to go to Batac Riverside Empanadaan. Batac has held this honor with no contest ever since the beginning. This building has a lot of stalls that sell empanada but Tita Glory's is still the best and the original so make sure to buy at least one from their stall.
Ever since I discovered Ilocos Empanada, hers was my standard. LOL. This is not an ad. I'm basically speaking out my experience. Her empanada is just fresh, full of fillings, crispy, and very very tasty!
You would be able to see how fresh their empanada is because they only make the empanada when you order.
Ilocos Empanada, specifically the Batac version, is famous for its orange-hued shell and is filled with longanisa, bean sprout, and egg. It is then deep-fried making it super crispy!
Fun Fact: It is said that Tita Glory started the whole trend of making empanadas orange as it is her favorite color.
Batac Riverside Empanadaan Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/hAxb6d9AzckCbesC9
4. Paoay Sand Dunes
You should at least try the famous Paoay Sand Dunes once in your lifetime. Paoay Sand Dunes, also called Suba Sand Dunes, is an 88sq km of mini-desert adjacent to Suba Beach. A 4x4 jeep will drive you to a roller-coaster ride in the sand dunes and you can also experience sandboarding activity.
You can try sitting down or standing up. The guides prefer to tell you to sit down especially for beginners.
We spend P2,500 (approx. 50$) for one vehicle that can only carry 4 people.
Paoay Sand Dunes Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/EPYUFuJwrjrBNyeB9
5. Buy Inabel Fabric/Products
The Ilocos Region of the Philippines is home to the art of inabel, which is a traditional form of weaving by hand and by loom. Inabel literally translates to 'woven' in the Ilocano dialect while abel means to weave.
If you're not into fabrics, buying local products from local people is a big help to everyone. You will not only get beautiful products but also be helping the tourism of a local place.
We went into two places to buy fabrics and face masks. The first one is Aleli Joy's Inabel Loom Woven Cloth. We bought a lot of face masks here and they are still my favorite ones to wear up to this day.
The second place is Nagbacalan Loom Weavers, which they said is owned by a cooperative. The women directed us to a house at the back and in here we bought quality inabel fabrics. They also sell table runners, pillow covers, and a lot more. They have different colors, patterns, and sizes for you to choose from.
They have a brand on their finished products which is Abel Paoay. I tried looking for a Facebook page or Instagram to link it here but I can't find one.
Aleli Joy's Inabel Loom Woven Cloth Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/VQXXhSd2X7TME29f8
Nagbacalan Loom Weavers Google Map Location: https://goo.gl/maps/jXzZywTvm7jSCuND7
These are the top 5 spots you should visit in Paoay this 2021. We visited all of them last January but it is still best to call or message them in their Facebook accounts ahead of timeif they are open.
Some would say that I should include Malacanang of the North on this list but at the time we were visiting Paoay, they are still closed due to the current situation of the world so I have to skip that out.
Here is my travel vlog from Paoay:
As always, travel responsibly and keep safe!