Paoay loom weavers get P1-M aid

LAOAG CITY — The all-women group of loom weavers in Nagbacalan village, Paoay town have become richer by PHP1 million courtesy of the reigning Miss Ilocos Norte Dianne Irish Joy Lacayanga.

The 18-year old beauty queen, who traces her roots in Paoay town, recently emerged as the Miss Millennial Bayanihan Queen of the country’s longest running noontime show, Eat Bulaga.

Backed by thousands of Ilocanos nationwide, Lacayanga got the most number of votes in the people’s choice award.

Her prize came with PHP1 million for her chosen livelihood program—the loom weavers of Paoay.

Though they never expected the grant, the Paoay loom weavers association expressed gratitude to Lacayanga and the sponsors for being chosen as a recipient of the award.

“The amount will go a long way to improve our products,” said Charito Cariaga, president of the Nagbacalan Loom Weavers Multi-purpose Cooperative on Wednesday.

Over the years since the multi-purpose cooperative was founded in 1992, the ‘Abel Iloko’ (handwoven cloth) product that is famous in Paoay town has evolved into a world-class quality and much sought after local product in the Ilocos region.

With support from the different public and private organizations promoting artisan products, the ‘Abel Iloko’ weavers are inspired to carry on and explore more ways to improve the heritage textile industry of the province.

Earlier this year, the state-run Mariano Marcos State University in neighboring Batac City trained 10 highly-skilled loom weavers in Paoay to come up with new designs employing mathematical procedures.

The new designs and patterns are now being applied and some of these are showcased in different trade fairs and exhibits.