Must Bring: Pasalubong Products from Ilocos Region

The Ilocano cuture is alive and well. Because local artisans still practice their art, visitors are provided the rare chance of witnessing the authentic works of our craftsmen. Among the best are basketry, bricks, pottery, metal works, rattan, tinsmith and loom weaving. Ilocos region is proud of its garlic, sukang Iloko (native vinegar) and tobacco. Among the native delicacies are bagnet, biscocho, cornicks, empanada, pinakbet, okoy, kalamay, linga, longganisa and tupig.

When the choices are narrowed down to nurturing your heart while satisfying your appetite, this delicacy may not be included in your list. However, the oil-soaked Bagnet (known as chicharon and deep fried pork meat), despite its cholesterol content and pre-cooked preparation, still has a stying power as other home-grown delicacy. The secret to the mouth-watering Bagnet is in its crispy skin. The crispier it becomes the harder to resist.

A visit to Ilocos will not be complete without tasting its famous Vigan empanada. You can choose to sample this tasty delight in the food establishments that dot the city or the empanada stalls in the market and plazas. The Vigan empanada is much in keeping tih the Vigan people's love for vegetables in their cuisine. It is similar to a thin taco that is fried to a crisp, with vegetable and meat filling.

The longganisa is one of the traditional industries of Vigan city. It is made from ground pork, mixed with garlic, vinegar and other seasonings. Its healthy garlic ingredient becomes more acceptable to both palate and health of the consumers.

Abel Iloco
Also called inabel, has a long tradition and history, and is justly famous for its quality and durability. ITs pattern and colors are derived from the natural environment of Ilocos. During colonial times, abel fabrics were used as sailcloth for ships and boats - yet another proof of the high quality of Ilocos weaving. Blankets that are used by generations handed down from mother to daughter, are likewise famous.

Jars made from Vigan are much sought-after by foreign and local visitors. This earthenware is called burnay. The industry that has grown from the making of burnay dates back to pre-colonial times when immigrants from China came to settle in Vigan. they practiced the craft of making earthenware using the grade A clay that was found in plenty in the western area of Vigan. The making of burnay is done with just the use of the potter's skillful hands and use of pottery wheel and kiln. Fine sand is used to temper the clay, which once fashioned into the desired shape is placed inside high temperature ground kilns made from brick and clay. Compared to terracotta, people say that the burnay is harder.