Abel in Ilocos Norte

Find abel products and workshops in Laoag, Currimao, Paoay, and Solsona.

By Rachelle Medina
November 15, 2010

Abel in Ilocos Norte

Unlike Ilocos Sur, where abel production is concentrated in Vigan, Norte weaving is practiced in different barangays in this extremely picturesque province. Other differences lie in patterns: the linear designs are called banderada (flags) and the optical art patterns of tiny squares and eight-point stars, binakol. Colors are more subdued and sophisticated, and the mosquiteras (mosquito nets) are simpler and finer. Tablecloths are also accented with embroidery of fruits, flowers, and simple geometric patterns.

Where to Go in Ilocos Norte for Abel

abel_content_lako_mi.jpgFIRST STOP: Lakô Mi gift shop
Sitio Remedios Heritage Village Resort, Barangay Victoria, Currimao

Hidden within the sleepy seaside town of Currimao amidst numerous other beach resorts is the delightful Sitio Remedios with its clusters of actual Ilocano bahay-na-bato in lieu of beach cottages. Aside from the fact that abel is liberally used within this resort, from its tablecloths and towels to the curtains and mosquito nets, the resort’s gift shop carries some beautiful examples of inabel patterns. These are sold by the yard, alongside other Ilocano artifacts and social-realist paintings by the Salingpusa art collective.

abel_content_alelis.jpgSECOND STOP: Aleli Joy’s Inabel
Barangay 22, Nagbacalan, Paoay

A brisk 10-minute drive from historic Paoay Church and its plaza is the quiet community of Nagbacalan and Aleli Joy’s Inabel, with products from local weavers. It is a tiny store in a garage, owned by Councilor Cely Domingo and manned by a good-natured manang, but it is certainly worth the trip as there are items not readily available in most souvenir shops, and buying their products help keep the community’s weaving industry alive. Abel is available from P80 to P125 a yard, and bedsheets, grape-patterned tablecloths (P1,500), placemats, wraps and shawls (P150 to P300), binakol bags (P150) and fine, square-patterned mosquiteras or mosquito nets that can also be used for camisa Chino are also present. Some of the more unusual finds were the abel medallions used as leis during awarding ceremonies—they seemed more apt on a whimsical Kate Torralba dress than on a schoolgirl.

abel_content_museo_ilocos_norte.jpgTHIRD STOP: Museo Ilocos Norte
Gen. Luna St., Laoag City

Museum hours are 9 AM to 5 PM, Tuesday to Sunday
P20 entrance fee for adults

The Museo is actually a converted Tabacalera or tobacco warehouse from the 1800s, now housing a collection of artifacts representative of the region’s culture. This is one of the more interesting places to see abel in its earliest forms—as a primary material for clothing, sewn into kimona (traditional woman’s blouse), tapis (wraparound), and pandiling (long skirt) as seen on display in the main exhibition hall. The second floor of a reconstructed ancestral house within the museum holds an old pangablan or abel loom. The Sarusar or museum shop downstairs was closed for lunch when we stopped by, but the nice attendant let us and another itinerant tourist in to browse through their abel blankets (P1,200 to P1,500), cute binakol floppy hats (P200), and messenger bags (P125 to P150).

Other places to find inabel in Ilocos Norte:

  • Bagnos Training & Production Center, Poblacion, Paoay, tel. (077) 793-2621
  • MMSU Loomweaving Industry, MMSU-COT, Paoay, Ilocos Norte, tel. (077) 793-2060
  • Nalasin Multi-Purpose Cooperative, Brgy. Nalasin, Paoay tel. (077) 793-2440
  • Timpuyog Ti Amianan Association, Brgy. Juan, Solsona, Ilocos Norte

Click here to read about abel in Ilocos Sur.

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