Ilocos collectively refers to two provinces in the Philippines: Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur. Inhabitants are called Ilocanos and they speak the language Iloko, also called Ilocano. The Ilocos Region, containing four provinces, is named after Ilocos. 28% of the inhabitants of the region are Pangasinan people, who belong to a different ethnolinguistic group from the Ilocanos. In the 330 pages “The Ilocos Heritage” (the 27th book written by Visitacion de la Torre), the Ilocano legacy and the life of the Ilocano – are described as - "the browbeaten, industrious, cheerful, simple soul who has shown a remarkable strain of bravery and a bit of wanderlust." The Ilocano history reveals his struggles and victories – in battles for colonial independence from Spain and America, to Philippine leadership. The new Ilocano searched for greener pastures towards new lands local and foreign - Palawan, Mindanao, Hawaii, the United States and Greece. Geographical Location
Ilocos Norte is located in the northwestern part of Luzon and is geographically situated between 170-43’ and 180-29’ north latitudes and 1200-25’ and 1200-58’ east longitudes. It is bounded in the east by Cagayan and Apayao, in the southeast by Abra, in the south by Ilocos Sur and in the west by the South China Sea. Laoag City is the seat of the Provincial Government and is about 487 kilometers north-northwest of Manila. Ilocos Norte has a total land area of 3,622.91 sq. kms. It is rugged and rocky and has mountains which run northwest in the Cordilleras in the east. There are thirteen (13) mountains in the area, most of which are located in the southeastern portion.
Brief History of Ilocos Norte
Long before the coming of the Spaniards, there already existed an extensive region (consisting of the present provinces of Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Abra and La Union) which was renowned for its gold mines. Merchants from Japan and China would often visit the area to trade gold with beads, ceramics and silk. The inhabitants of the region, believed to be of Malay origin, called their place “samtoy”, from “sao mi toy”, which literally meant “our language”. In 1571, when the Spanish conquistadors had established the Spanish City of Manila, they began looking for new centers of administration to conquer. Legaspi’s grandson, Juan De Salcedo, volunteered to lead one of these expeditions. Together with 8 armed boats and 45 men, the 22 year old voyager headed towards the north. On June 13, 1572, Salcedo and his men landed in Vigan and then proceeded towards Laoag, Currimao and Badoc. As they sailed along the coast, they were surprised to see numerous sheltered coves (“looc”) where the locals lived in harmony. Consequently, they named the region “Ylocos” and its people “Ylocanos”. As the Christianization of the region grew, so did the landscape of the area. Vast tracks of land were utilized for churches and bell towers in line with Spanish mission of “bajo las campanas”. In the town plaza, it was not uncommon to see garrisons under the church bells. The colonization process was slowly being carried out. The Spanish colonization of the region, however, was never completely successful. Owing to the abusive practices of many Augustinian friars, a number of Ilocanos revolted against their colonizers. Noteworthy of these were the Dingras uprising (1589) and Pedro Almasan revolt (San Nicolas, 1660). In 1762, Diego Silang led a series of battles aimed at freeing the Ilocanos from the Spanish yoke. When he died from an assassin’s bullet his widow Gabriela continued the cause. Unfortunately, she too was captured and hanged. In 1807, the sugarcane (“basi”) brewers of Piddig rose up in arms to protest the government’s monopoly of the wine industry. In 1898, the church excommunicated Gregorio Aglipay for refusing to cut off ties with the revolutionary forces of Gen. Emilio Aguinaldo. Unperturbed, he established the “Iglesia Filipina Independence”. Aglipay’s movement and the nationalist...