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Ilocos, Region I, Philippines

Last modified: 2013-07-20 by ian macdonald
Keywords: ilocos | laoag | la union | pangasinan | dagupan city | san carlos | don mariono marcos memorial state university |
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Region I of the Philippine Republic is Ilocos. This is, not to dwell on the obvious, where the Ilocanos came from who were transplanted to work in the tobacco fields in other provinces. Tobacco was formerly dominant here, too, but the product has taken a beating on the world market, and the farmers have diversified and now also grow rice, maize, fruits, vegetables, sugar cane, cotton, and livestock as well. There is also fishing, as the province consists largely of coast, and considerable small-scale manufacturing, producing jewelry, ceramics, textiles and clothing, furniture, and other products.

Ilocos, at the northwestern corner of Luzon, had regular trade with Japan and China long before the Spanish arrived in 1572 under Juan de Salcedo. He established Spanish rule, but the Ilocanos rebelled in 1589, and apparently every few years thereafter during the sixteenth, seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. In 1882 the people erected a monument King Alfonso XIII in gratitude for his recent abolition of the government tobacco monopoly, established in 1782, which had forbidden the Ilocanos to grow any other crop. At the time of the final break with Spain a Philippine Independent Church was established under the leadership of Father Gregorio Aglipay of Ilocos Norte. It now holds the allegiance of most of the people of the province.
John Ayer, 1 April 2001

Flag images here drawn after Symbols of the State, published by the Philippines Bureau of Local Government.

See also:

Ilocos Norte

[Ilocos Norte, Philippines] by Jaume Ollé, 12 January 2001

Ilocos Norte was made a separate province in 1818, and comprises 3,400 Its capital and only city is Laoag, site of an international airport. There are also twenty-two towns. The province's population is 514,000 by the census of 2000, and its governor (as of 1999) is Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. (the late President Marcos's family comes from the town of Batac). A coastal highway connects the province with the rest of the country. One of the numerous architectural notabilities is the Cathedral of San Guillermo, which I believe is depicted on the seal of Laoag. Eighty meters away is its bell-tower, which is sinking into the ground--straight down, unlike Pisa's. I infer that this tower appears on the provincial seal.
John Ayer
, 1 April 2001


[Laoag City, Philippines] by Dirk Schönberger, 12 January 2001

Source: Symbols of the state

Ilocos Sur

[Ilocos Sur, Philippines] by Jaume Ollé, 12 January 2001

Ilocos Sur also dates from 1818. Its population is 584,000 in thirty-four towns covering 2579 The capital is Vigan, where Juan de Salcedo established the Spanish government of Ilocos. Vigan was the seat of a bishopric from the seventeenth century and long a flourishing trading center. The architectural monuments of its mercantile heyday still stand, and a number of museums preserve the area's cultural heritage. For the rest, Ilocos Sur, like Ilocos Norte, rebelled frequently. Tirad Pass contains a monument to the Filipino soldiers under Gregorio Pilar who there covered the retreat of General Emilio Aguinaldo of the first Philippine Republic. During 1945 Ilocos Sur was a staging area for the Philippine and American forces preparing to attack the Japanese under General Yamashita, making their last stand in the northern Cordilleras.

The economy of Ilocos Sur is based on agriculture, producing a wide variety of vegetables, animals, and fish; they are expanding into a variety of food-processing industries, and also practice a number of crafts and cottage industries: jewelry making, wood and stone craft, ceramics, wine and vinegar making, blanket-weaving, basket-weaving, shellcraft, and ironmongery. Transportation services have been modernized, and tourism is now established.
John Ayer
, 1 April 2001

La Union

[La Union, Philippines] by Jaume Ollé, 12 January 2001

The Philippine Province of La Union was formed in the 1850s of towns taken from Ilocos Sur and Pangasinan--hence the name, and probably the handshake on the shield. Its 1500 of land is home to 656,000 inhabitants (by the 2000 census) dwelling in twenty towns, of which San Fernando is the provincial and regional capital. I suspect that the yellow building in the center of the shield is the provincial capitol.

Long before the Spanish (led by Juan de Salcedo) arrived, the people who lived in what is now La Union had regular trade with China and Japan. They panned for gold--de Salcedo sent fifty pounds of it to Manila after his first visit. The foundation of the economy is farming and fishing. Unusually for the Philippines, the province grows grapes commercially. In common with its neighbors, it produces rice, tobacco, bananas, coconuts, other fruits and vegetables, and fresh and dried fish. It shares many handicrafts with them: blanket-weaving, basket-weaving, ceramics, shell-craft, ironwork, and jewelry. It is modernizing its foreign trade with an international airport and seaport at San Fernando, and working to develop local industry and expand tourism.
John Ayer
, 2 April 2001

Don Mariono Marcos Memorial State University

[Don Mariono Marcos Memorial State University, Philippines] image located by Jan Mertens, 12 July 2008

A university page showing the seal featured on the flag can be found at
Jan Mertens, 12 July 2008


[Pangasinan, Philippines] by Jaume Ollé, 12 January 2001

Pangasinan is the largest (about 5,400, most populous (well over 2,000,000 inhabitants), and southernmost province in the Ilocos Region of the Philippine Republic. It curves around Lingayen Gulf, a rich fishing ground. The name "Pangasinan" comes from the traditional and still current practice of making salt from sea-water on the beach, as shown in the foot of the provincial seal. The marshland along the coast has largely been converted into fishponds, which also I detect on the shield. Like the more northern provinces in the region, Pangasinan enjoyed a brisk foreign trade long before the arrival of the Spanish, and continues it now, with a modern international seaport under construction. It also grows huge quantities of rice, maize, vegetables, fruits, and seafoods and freshwater fishes. Food processing is steadily advancing. Traditional small-scale industries still practiced include brick-making (look at the flag again), pottery, woodcrafts, rattan-craft, metalcraft, shellcraft, and hat- and shoemaking. Other industries are being introduced, and tourism (which also has a long history in Pangasinan) is encouraged. I suspect the stately building is the provincial capitol, in the town of Lingayen. Pangasinan also has three cities, Urdaneta, for which I have no flag, and San Carlos and Dagupan.
John Ayer, 3 April 2001


[Dagupan City, Philippines] by Dirk Schönberger, 12 January 2001

Source: Symbols of the state

San Carlos

[San Carlos City, Philippines] by Dirk Schönberger, 12 January 2001

Source: Symbols of the state