After going to the Marcos Mausoleum, our next stop was Paoay Church (St. Augustine). In all of my 42 years, I have been pronouncing Paoay wrongly (to sound something like Hawaii when Filipinos say it) when the emphasis should be on the first syllable “pa.” Well, you learn something on every trip so that’s why I like taking them!

Paoay Church is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is a nice, imposing structure and was built in the 1800s by the Augustinian missionaries. It makes for good photo opportunities and takes you back in time, more than 200 years ago.

A leisurely walk away from Paoay Church is Herencia Cafe. Toni of Playa Tropical had recommended Herencia Cafe to us, even as she mentioned other famous eateries and restaurants in Ilocos Norte, namely: La Preciosa and Saramsan. I guess we’ll have to return some other time to try the other two places.

If you are going to dine at Herencia, make sure to bring cash as they do not accept credit cards. It’s a nice, cozy, interesting place – with some of the tables having old sewing machines for legs. It would improve the place a lot though if the servers were friendlier and if they would smile more. On the day that we were there, the staff who took our orders looked tired and disinterested in what she was doing. She also tried to push everything on their menu (like crispy dinuguan and bagnet) even if she could see that we were just two adults with two kids and that we could probably not eat that much.

So what did we get to try? We ordered some soup like mushroom and squash soup and the pasta ilocandia (with longganisa) which were quite forgettable. For the pizza, we tried a combination of pinakbet pizza and the one with longganisa also and the pinakbet pizza was good! The crust was thin and crisp, the cheese was creamy and soft, and the toppings on the pizza like sitaw (string beans?), eggplant, tomatoes, and ampalaya (bitter gourd) made for a unique combination. The best part was when you actually pour bagoong (in liquid form) on the pizza.

We also tried the poque poque (an Ilocano dish made out of eggplant and tomatoes) and although it tasted good to me, Manuel, my husband, found it a bit too salty for him.

At Herencia, we also did some pasalubong shopping. We bought some squid rolls, sampaloc, and dilis and comparing the prices at Herencia with those at the domestic airport, the prices at Herencia were lower so we were able to save some money. There are also stalls nearby where you can buy chichacorn (think about what came before Boy Bawang) in all flavors: garlic, cheese, and barbecue.

Herencia Cafe is located at 14 Sangladan Paoay Ilocos Norte (walking distance from Paoay Church). You may reach them at 077-614-0214.

Next Week: Ilocos Norte Tour — Malacanang of the North and Museo Ilocos Norte

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