Ilocano people

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Total population
(10.1% of the Philippine population)
Regions with significant populations
(Cagayan Valley, Cordillera, Ilocos, Metro Manila, Central Luzon, Zambales, Mindoro, Palawan, Mindanao)
 United States
(Hawaii, California)
Ilocano, Cebuano (in Mindanao), Filipino, English
Predominantly Roman Catholic,
Aglipayan minority, Protestantism
Related ethnic groups
Ibanag, Ivatan, Kapampangan, Pangasinan,
other Filipino peoples,
other Austronesian peoples

The Ilocano or Ilokano people are the third largest Filipino ethnolinguistic group.


Aside from being referred to as Ilocanos (from "i" – 'from', and "looc" – 'bay'), they also refer to themselves as Samtoy, from the Ilocano phrase "sao mi ditoy", meaning 'our language origin'. The word "Ilocano" came from the word "Iloco" or "Yloco."

Ethnic homeland[edit]

Provinces where Ilocano people are the largest ethnic group are shown in green.

Ilocandia is the term given to the traditional homeland of the Ilocano people. From the original western strip of Northern Luzon, Ilocandia has spread throughout the Cagayan Valley and some parts of Central Luzon.


Ilocanos number about 9,136,000.[citation needed] A few Ilocanos living in the Cordilleras have some Cordillerano blood.


Ilocanos speak the Ilokano language (also called Iloko), which is part of the Northern Philippine subgroup of the Austronesian family of languages. They also speak Cebuano (in Mindanao), Tagalog, and English as second languages.


Most Ilocanos are Roman Catholics, while a significant number[quantify] belong to the Aglipayan Church, which originated in Ilocos Norte.[1][2]


Many Filipino Americans are of Ilocano descent. They make up 85% of the Filipino-American population in Hawaii.


The Austronesian ancestors of the present-day Ilocanos came to the Philippines through bilogs, or outrigger boats during the Iron Age.

Spanish Era to the Philippine Republic[edit]

In 1572,Juan de Salcedo arrived to the town of Bauang.


The mounting population pressure due to the substantial population density during the mid-19th century caused the migration of the Ilocanos out of their historic homeland. By 1903, more than 290,000 Ilocanos migrated to Central Luzon, Cagayan Valley, and Metro Manila. More than 180,000 moved to Pangasinan, Tarlac, and Nueva Ecija. Almost 50,000 moved to Cagayan Valley; half of them resided in Isabela. Around 47,000 lived in Zambales.

The Ilocano Diaspora continued in 1906 when Ilocanos started to migrate to Hawaii and California. Ilocanos composed the largest number of expatriates in the United States, though most are bilingual with Tagalog. There is a significant Ilocano community in Hawaii, in which they make up more than 85% of the Filipino population there.[3]

Later migrations brought Ilocanos to the Cordilleras, Aurora, Mindoro, Palawan, and Mindanao provinces of Sultan Kudarat, North Cotabato, and South Cotabato.


Pinakbet, one of the staples of the Ilocano diet.

Ilocanos boast of a somewhat healthy diet heavy in boiled or steamed vegetables and freshwater fish, but are particularly fond of dishes flavored with [1]bagoong, fermented fish that is often used instead of salt. Ilocanos often season boiled vegetables with bagoong monamon (fermented anchovy paste) to produce pinakbet. Local specialties include the "abuos," soft white larvae of ants, and "jumping salad" or tiny, live shrimp with kalamansi juice.


One of the most well-known Ilocano literary works written in Iloco is the Biag ni Lam-ang (The Life of Lam-Ang), an epic poem about the fantastic life and escapades of an Ilocano hero named Lam-ang.

The ilocano writer Elizabeth Medina is probably the most remarkable living ilocano writer in Spanish language.

Notable Ilocanos[edit]

Philippine nationals of Ilocano ancestry[edit]

Foreign nationals of Ilocano ancestry[edit]

See also[edit]

Notes and sources[edit]

  1. ^ "Ilocanos." Junior Worldmark Encyclopedia of World Cultures. The Gale Group, Inc. 1999. Retrieved December 10, 2009.
  2. ^ "UCLA Language Materials Project". Retrieved 2012-09-28. 
  3. ^ Uhm Center For Philippine Studies
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  6. ^ Belarde, Sonia; Ronald Ocampo (2010-02-05). "Municipal Background of Luna, The Show Window of Apayao". d' lunanians: The Official Site of the Municipality of Luna Apayao. Retrieved 2010-09-27. 
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  33. ^,_Happy_Homebody/num/3/635
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  36. ^ "Featuring 7-Year-Old Break Dancer Anjelo Lil' Demon Baligad! - The Ellen DeGeneres Show"
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  39. ^ Lauren Smiley. "The Eyes of the Hurricane". SF Weekly. March 10, 2010.
  40. ^ "Ana Julaton: Her Side of the Ring". November 28, 2009.
  41. ^ "Famous Ilocanos and Ilocanas"
  42. ^ Official Bacarra Site Trivia
  44. ^ Aura Science Team Meeting : Boulder, Colorado : September 11 -15, 2006,
  45. ^ Ensuring the Climate Record from the NPOESS and GOES-R Spacecraft : Elements of a Strategy to Recover Measurement Capabilities Lost in Program Restructuring, National Academies Press, p. 25 (online page 36) 
  46. ^ "Munting Nayon News Magazine"

External links[edit]