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Shopping in Abra: A Tourist’s Guide to Local Gems

Abra, a province nestled in the Cordillera Administrative Region of the Philippines, offers more than breathtaking landscapes and rich cultural heritage. It’s a treasure trove for those seeking unique finds and authentic souvenirs. Whether you’re a collector of handcrafted goods, a foodie with a curious palate, or simply looking for that perfect memento of your trip, the shopping in Abra caters to every taste.

This guide equips you with the knowledge to navigate the vibrant markets and shops, ensuring a delightful shopping experience during your Abra adventure.

Shopping in Abra – a guide for tourists

Abra Shopping Center
Abra Shopping Center

Malls: A Glimpse of Modern Convenience

Abra may not boast sprawling shopping malls like major cities, but it does offer a couple of convenient options for everyday needs and familiar brands.

1. Centro Mall

Centro Mall is a vibrant hub of commerce and leisure. This mall’s modern architectural design offers a seamless blend of contemporary amenities and local charm.

Centro Mall caters to diverse needs with its array of shopping outlets, ranging from renowned international brands to local favorites, ensuring a satisfying retail experience for all visitors. Indulge in a culinary journey at the food court, offering diverse flavors to tantalize your taste buds.

Beyond shopping and dining, Centro Mall provides entertainment options to suit every preference. Catch the latest blockbuster at the cinema complex or enjoy family-friendly activities at the entertainment zone.

With its central location and convenient facilities, including ample parking and accessibility, Centro Mall is the go-to destination for locals and tourists alike seeking a dynamic shopping and leisure experience in Bangued, Abra. Come and immerse yourself in the vibrant energy of Centro Mall.

2. Oval Era Mall

Nestled in the picturesque town of Bangued, Abra, the Oval Era Mall is a beacon of modernity and convenience in this quaint Philippine province. With its sleek, oval-shaped design, this mall effortlessly combines contemporary architecture with a touch of local charm.

Oval Era Mall - shopping in abra
Oval Era Mall

At Oval Era Mall, visitors are greeted with many shopping, dining, and entertainment options. The mall caters to diverse tastes and preferences, from well-known international brands to local boutiques. Indulge in a culinary adventure at the food court, which offers a variety of cuisines, or catch the latest blockbuster at the state-of-the-art cinema complex.

Beyond retail therapy, Oval Era Mall serves as a community hub, hosting events, exhibitions, and cultural performances celebrating Abra’s rich heritage. With ample parking and convenient amenities, it’s the perfect destination for locals and tourists to unwind, shop, and socialize in the heart of Bangued. Experience the epitome of modern shopping fused with local flair at Oval Era Mall.

3. Ataw Shopping Center

Ataw Shopping Center is a bustling retail destination that caters to the needs of the local community and beyond. With its inviting ambiance and convenient layout, this center offers diverse shopping options to satisfy every shopper’s needs.

At Ataw Shopping Center, visitors can explore various shops, from fashion boutiques and electronic stores to specialty shops offering local handicrafts and souvenirs. The center also features a vibrant food court where visitors can indulge in various local and international cuisines.

In addition to shopping and dining, Ataw Shopping Center provides a lively atmosphere with regular events, promotions, and entertainment activities for visitors of all ages.

Conveniently located and equipped with ample parking and accessibility features, Ataw Shopping Center is the perfect destination for a day of retail therapy and leisure in Bangued, Abra. Come and experience the vibrant energy of Ataw Shopping Center today!

Remember, Abra’s authentic charm lies in its local markets and shops. So, while these malls offer a touch of familiarity, venturing out is where you’ll discover the soul of Abra’s shopping culture.

A Symphony of Crafts: Must-Buy Native Products

Abra is renowned for its skilled artisans who have passed down their craftmanship through generations. Here’s what you need to add to your shopping list:

weaving in abra
  • Binakol: This handwoven textile, made from abaca fibers, is a true Abra icon. Traditionally used for clothing, it’s now available in bags, wallets, table runners, and more. Look for intricate patterns and natural dyes that showcase the weaver’s artistry.

  • Bamboo Crafts: Bamboo is a versatile material in Abra, from intricate baskets and trays to sturdy furniture. Support local artisans by purchasing meticulously crafted bamboo products, perfect for adding a touch of nature to your home.

  • Woodcarvings: The Ifugao people, who have a significant presence in Abra, are known for their exquisite woodcarvings. Find intricate statues, furniture accents, and decorative pieces depicting indigenous designs and figures.

  • Indigenous Jewelry: Abra’s indigenous communities, like the Itneg and Tinggian, have their own distinct jewelry styles. Look for handcrafted necklaces, bracelets, and earrings made from beads, shells, and precious metals.

  • Pottery: Abra’s potters create beautiful and functional pieces from local clay. Find sturdy cooking pots, decorative vases, and unique tableware that are beautiful and durable.

Where to Find Them

  • Public Markets: Bangued Public Market and Tayum Public Market are excellent starting points for finding a vast array of these products. Haggling is expected, so be prepared to negotiate for a fair price.

  • Specialty Stores: For a more curated selection, head to shops like Calixterio’s Handicrafts in Bangued, which offers a variety of handcrafted goods.

  • Weaver’s Associations: Supporting local weavers directly helps preserve this cultural tradition. Look for associations like Bulbulala Loomweavers Association in La Paz for high-quality, authentic Binakol.

A Culinary Adventure: Savory and Sweet Delicacies

Abra’s cuisine is a delightful blend of indigenous and colonial influences. Don’t miss these unique treats to take a bite out of Abra’s culinary heritage:

Vigan Longganisa
Vigan Longganisa
  • Vigan Longganisa: This air-dried sausage is a staple in Abra. It’s typically garlicky and slightly sweet and can be enjoyed for breakfast or as a snack.

  • Pinikpikan: This dish, made with young chicken or dog meat, is considered a delicacy by some Abra indigenous groups. If you’re open to more adventurous options, ask around about its availability, but be respectful of local customs if it’s not for you.

  • Shung➣ (Shoong): This fermented shrimp paste is a pungent but flavorful condiment used in various Abra dishes. For the less adventurous, take home a bottle of bottled bagoong, a less intense version of shrimp paste.

  • Tayabas (Guava) Cheeses: Made with locally grown guavas, these artisanal cheeses come in various flavors and textures—a perfect sweet and savory treat to bring home.

  • Peanut Brittle: This local favorite is made with peanuts caramelized to crispy perfection. It is a delightful and affordable souvenir for friends and family.

Where to Find Them:

  • Public Markets: Most public markets have dedicated sections for local delicacies. Try them before you buy, or ask vendors for recommendations.

  • Specialty Shops: Look for shops specializing in Abra’s

Beyond the Markets: Unique Shopping Experiences

Abra offers more than just traditional markets and shops. Here are some unique experiences you won’t want to miss:

  • Visit a Weaver’s Workshop: Witness the magic firsthand by visiting a weaver’s workshop, like the Pinili Weavers Association in Pinili. See how local fibers are transformed into beautiful woven products and gain a deeper appreciation for this age-old craft.

  • Explore a Communal Farm: Abra has a strong agricultural tradition. Visit a communal farm, such as the Langiden Community Farm in Langiden, to learn about local farming practices and support sustainable agriculture. You might even be able to purchase fresh produce or handcrafted goods made with farm products.

  • Attend a Local Festival: Abra comes alive during its vibrant festivals. Immerse yourself in the local culture and witness traditional dances while having the opportunity to purchase unique festival souvenirs. Some notable ones include the Dinagyang Festival in Bangued and the Sangyaw Festival in Manabo.

Insider Tips for Savvy Shoppers

  • Embrace Haggling: Haggling is a common practice in Abra’s public markets. Do your research beforehand to get a general idea of fair prices, and be prepared to negotiate friendly but firmly.

  • Carry Cash: While some larger stores accept credit cards, cash is still king in Abra, especially in public markets and smaller shops.

  • Bring Eco-Bags: Help reduce plastic waste by bringing your reusable bags when shopping.

  • Support Sustainable Practices: Look for shops and products that promote sustainable practices, such as using eco-friendly materials or supporting local artisans.

  • Ask Questions: Don’t hesitate to ask vendors or shopkeepers about their products. They’ll be happy to share their knowledge and answer any questions you may have.

Conclusion: A Memorable Shopping Spree Awaits

Abra’s shopping scene is more than just a place to buy souvenirs; it’s a window into the province’s soul. By venturing beyond the usual tourist spots and supporting local artisans and businesses, you’ll take home unique finds and a deeper appreciation for Abra’s rich culture and heritage. So, get ready to embrace the vibrant energy of Abra’s shops and markets and discover treasures that will become cherished reminders of your unforgettable Abra adventure.

Beyond this guide, remember that the true beauty of shopping in Abra lies in its surprises. Embrace the unexpected, keep an open mind, and let yourself be captivated by the hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

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