The Province of Ilocos Norte
Ilocos Norte is located on the northernmost edge of western Luzon. Its boundaries are formed by the Babuyan Channel on the north and its sister province, Ilocos Norte, on the south. To the west are the tribulent waters of the South China Sea, while the eastern borders are formed by part of the Cagayan Valley, Abra and the Mountain Province. A well-paved coastal highway connects the province with the rest of the country. Ilocos Norte has a total land area of 3,400 square kilometers. It is composed of 22 municipalities with 477 barangays. The province's population was 514,000 by the census of 2000, and since 1999 its governor is Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr. It was made a separate province in 1818. The province is noted for being the birthplace of former Philippine President Ferdinand E. Marcos, who led an authoritarian rule over the country during the later half of his incumbency. Ilocos Norte has always been Marcos territory and the family enjoy a moderate amount of popularity in the province. Even before one reaches the capital, traces of the "great Ilocano" are unmistakable. Long before the Spanish galleons came to the Philippines, the coastal plane of Ilocos Norte was already flourishing with business carried out by the Chinese and Japanese traders. The first Spaniards to reach the region were Juan de Salcedo and his men, who were tasked to explore the coast of Luzon north of Manila in 1572. The largest concentration of people that Salcedo found was in Laoag along the Padian River, and Salcedo gained their friendship after initial skirmishes. Although the presence of the Spanish soldiers may have seemed fleeting to the Ilocanos, Salcedo's exploration marked the beginning of Spanish colonization of the region. Agriculture is the main source of livelihood in the province, all lands for cultivation can be planted with rice, corn, garlic, onion, sugarcane, tobacco, and cotton. Ilocos Norte is also noted for its various cottage industries, among which are cloth weaving, pottery-making, blacksmithing, woodcarving and furniture making. Its ethnic population is overwhelmingly Ilocano. Unlike the rest of the region, however, the Roman Catholic Church does not predominate. The Aglipayan Church, Iglesia ni Cristo, and other Protestant groups have strong followings, as well as, animism and non-religiosity. The climate is characterized by two extremes: very dry from December to April and very wet for the rest of the year. The average temperature in Ilocos Norte is 81 deg F. May is the warmest month, with an average temperature of 83 deg F, and December is the coldest. Laoag City
Laoag City, the capital city of Ilocos Norte, is 463 kilometers north of Manila. The municipalities of San Nicolas, Paoay, Sarrat, Vintar, and Bacarra form its boundaries. The foothills of the Cordillera Central mountain range to the east, and the South China Sea to the west are its physical boundaries. Flourishing along the bank of the Laoag River, it is the nerve center of the province and the seat of politics, business, commerce, education and religion. It became a 2nd class city in 1965. According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 94,466 people in 19,751 households. "Laoag" (Ilocano for "the place of light or clarity"), is an old, flourishing settlement known to Chinese and Japanese traders when the Spanish conquistador Juan de Salcedo arrived at the northern banks of Padsan River in 1572. Augustinian missionaries established the Roman Catholic Church in the area in 1580 and designated Saint William, the Hermit as its patron saint. Pedro Almazan crowned himself king of Laoag in 1661 in a bid of insurrection and protest against Spanish tax mandates. Other rebellions flared throughout colonial times, including against Spanish tobacco monopoly in 1782. Laoag is an 9 to 10 hour drive from Manila depending on the traffic or how fast you are going. Provincial buses also provide transportation from Baguio City,...
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