Pirates, though more commonly associated with fairy tales nowadays, were a dangerous reality that many coastal towns in the Philippines had to deal with especially during the Spanish colonial period. In an effort to keep the people safe, authorities in a town vital to trading in Ilocos Norte built two imposing watchtowers, one on the north point and the other on the south. When Moro pirates, called cummaw by the locals, appeared in the horizon, the guards would yell out “correr!” and the townspeople would immediately do as they were told — run.
These two words stuck and were combined to name the town that was formerly part of Paoay. Currimao has since moved on from being a viable target for pirate attacks but the rich, Spanish-influenced heritage is still present for those who want a glimpse of times of the past.
The two watchtowers, known simply as North Watchtower and South Watchtower, are now mere ruins. Much of the walls have crumbled but their bases still stand strong, ready to welcome everyone to the town they once protected. They are listed as part of the Natural Cultural Treasures and Important Cultural Properties by the National Museum.
Nearby, the walls of a tabacalera owned by the Compania General de Tabacos de Filipinas S.A., one of the world’s oldest tobacco dealing companies, are found. It was used as a warehouse for the storage of tobacco, rice, and other goods traded by merchants when trading between Manila and Aparri, Cagayan was opened. This move turned Currimao into an important port along the route.
Architecture and history buffs will enjoy a visit to Sitio Remedios, a heritage village resort where old Ilocano houses that were rescued from being demolished were relocated and renovated. These vintage houses are named after the towns of the province and are available for rental. Sitio Remedios also offers a short visit package for those wish to view the houses.
Currimao also has its fair share of beaches for tourists who enjoy swimming and other water-related activities. Pangil Beach in Barangay Victoria is a top destination in town and is home to the Coral Rock Gardens, a cluster of rock formations along the bays of Pangil and Gaang. Currimao Beach is another go-to destination and is popular for its majestic views of the sunset.