Ilocos Norte

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Ilocos Norte
Flag of Ilocos Norte
Official seal of Ilocos Norte
Map of the Philippines with Ilocos Norte highlighted
Map of the Philippines with Ilocos Norte highlighted
Coordinates: 18°10′N 120°45′E / 18.167°N 120.750°E / 18.167; 120.750Coordinates: 18°10′N 120°45′E / 18.167°N 120.750°E / 18.167; 120.750
Country Philippines
Region Ilocos (Region I)
Founded 1818
Capital Laoag City
 • Type Province of the Philippines
 • Governor Imee Marcos (NP)
 • Vice Governor Angelo Barba (NP)
 • Total 3,467.89 km2 (1,338.96 sq mi)
Area rank 42nd out of 80
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 568,017
 • Rank 50th out of 80
 • Density 160/km2 (420/sq mi)
 • Density rank 53rd out of 80
 • Independent cities 0
 • Component cities 2
 • Municipalities 21
 • Barangays 557
 • Districts 1st and 2nd districts of Ilocos Norte
Time zone PHT (UTC+8)
ZIP code 2900 to 2922
Dialing code 77
Spoken languages Ilocano, Tagalog, English

Ilocos Norte (Ilokano: Amianan nga Ilocos; Tagalog: Hilagang Ilokos) is a province of the Philippines located in the Ilocos Region. Its capital is Laoag City and is located at the northwest corner of Luzon Island, bordering Cagayan and Apayao to the east, and Abra and Ilocos Sur to the south. Ilocos Norte faces the South China Sea to the west and the Luzon Strait to the north.

Ilocos Norte is noted for being the birthplace of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, who led an authoritarian rule over the country during the latter half of his incumbency. The Marcoses enjoy a modicum of popularity in the province. Ilocos Norte is also known as a northern tourist destination, being the location of Fort Ilocandia, an upper class hotel and beach resort famous among expatriates, and Pagudpud.


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) 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 here"

In 1591, when the Spanish conquistadors had Manila more or less under their control, they began looking for new sites to conquer. Legazpi'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 north. On June 13, 1592, 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. As a result, they named the region "Ylocos" and its people "Ylocanos".

As the Christianization of the region grew, so did the landscape of the area. Vast tracts of land were utilized for churches and bell towers in line with the 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 sugar cane ("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 Independiente". Aglipay’s movement and the nationalist sentiment it espoused helped restore the self-respect of many Filipinos.

In an effort to gain more political control and because of the increasing population of the region, a Royal Decree was signed on February 2, 1818 splitting Ilocos into two provinces: Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur. Soon thereafter, the provinces of La Union and Abra likewise became independent.


Population census of Ilocos Norte
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 461,661 —    
1995 482,651 +0.84%
2000 514,241 +1.37%
2007 547,284 +0.86%
2010 568,017 +1.36%
Source: National Statistics Office[2]


Although majority of the people in the Philippines are adherents to the Roman Catholic, the majority in the province are adherents to the Aglipayan Church, founded by Batac native Gregorio Aglipay.

Ilocos Norte is home to several famous Roman Catholic churches:

Ilocos Norte is the home of the Aglipay Shrine (Aglipayan Church) where the church's first supreme leader was buried.There are also increasing members of Jehovah's Witnesses. There are also minor but steadily increasing members of Iglesia ni Cristo. Islam is also practiced by Mindanaoan traders and immigrants.


Bagoong fermenting in burnay jars in the province of Ilocos Norte, Philippines

The province specializes in the following products and industries:

  • Agriculture - rice, corn, garlic, legumes, root crops, tobacco, and other fruits and vegetables
  • Fishery - tilapia and assorted fishes
  • Livestock - swine and cattle
  • Cottage industries - loom weaving, furniture, ceramics, iron works
  • Manufacturing and food processing - salt, empanada, bagoong, patis, basi (native Ilocano wine), vinegar, longganisa, chicharon, bagnet, chichacorn (cornick), jewelry, garments, cereal processing, packaging, mechanized processing equipment
  • Wind Power Ilocos Norte's position on the northwest corner of Luzon makes it ideal for wind power generation. There is currently a 25 Megawatt wind farm in Ilocos Norte, and several more wind energy projects are being planned
  • Tourism
  • Pottery

Political Divisions[edit]

Political Map of Ilocos Norte


Ilocos Norte is divided 21 municipalities, and 2 cities, further subdivided into 557 barangays.

City/Municipality No. of
Pop. density
(per km²)
1 1,785 159.31 11.2
43 31,648 65.32 484.5
31 30,708 76.68 400.5
14 15,025 112.98 133
Banna (Espiritu)
20 19,051 92.73 205.4
Batac City
43 53,542 161.06 332.4
11 9,687 128.90 75.2
3 1,473 82.97 17.8
23 11,970 34.08 351.2
31 37,021 96.00 385.6
2 1,814 88.48 20.5
Laoag City
80 104,904 116.08 903.7
13 16,984 72.77 233.4
Nueva Era
11 7,837 515.02 15.2
16 21,877 194.90 112.2
31 23,956 76.24 314.2
33 27,952 210.54 132.8
23 20,606 216.20 95.3
25 16,732 89.48 187
San Nicolas
24 34,237 40.18 852.1
24 24,770 57.39 431.6
22 22,990 166.23 138.3
34 31,448 614.35 51.2


Ilocos Norte has 557 barangays comprising its 21 municipalities and 2 cities.[6]

The most populous barangay in the province is Barangay No. 1, San Lorenzo (Poblacion) in the City of Laoag with a population of 4,391 in the 2010 census. If cities are excluded, Davila in the municipality of Pasuquin has the highest population, at 3,875. The least populous is Sapat in the municipality of Pasuquin, with only 32.[6]

Provincial government[edit]

The Provincial Capitol Building of Ilocos Norte.

Term of Office: 2013 - 2016

Governor: Maria Imelda R. Marcos
Vice - Governor: Eugenio Angelo M. Barba

  • Rodolfo C. Fariñas (1st District)
  • Imelda R. Marcos (2nd District)

Sangguniang Panlalawigan Members:

  • 1st District
    • Ria Christina G. Fariñas
    • Juan Conrado A. Respicio II
    • Portia Pamela R. Salenda
    • Vicentito M. Lazo
    • Rogelio R. Balbag
  • 2nd District
    • Albert D. Chua
    • Da Vinci M. Crisostomo
    • Ramon M. Gaoat
    • James Paul C. Nalupta
    • Joel R. Garcia

ABC President: Charles L. Tadena
PCL President: Domingo C. Ambrocio
SK President: -Cherry Mae C. Burogsay.


Bangui Wind Farm, the first power generating windmill farm in Southeast Asia.
The Sinking Bell Tower of Saint William's Cathedral in Laoag City.

The province offers a number of popular destinations for tourists, locals and foreigners alike. Because of its proximity to the South China Sea, tourist arrivals peak during the summer seasons, the beach resorts topping the most visited list.

  • Fort Ilocandia Beach Resort and Hotel
    The sandy beach spans 2 kilometers. It also offers the only 5-star hotel in northern Philippines sprawling over 77 hectares of land. It is located in Laoag City and is a 10-minutes drive from the Laoag International Airport.
  • Laoag Sinking Bell Tower
    Over the years the 45m high bell tower has shelved few meters downward. This is evident by the tower's entrance that at present day a man of ordinary height must bent over to get inside.
  • Bangui Wind Farm
  • Saud Beach Resort
  • Sta. Monica Parish Church Complex-Sarrat, Ilocos Norte
  • Paoay Church
    This baroque architecture church is inscribed in UNESCO's World Heritage List.
  • Juan Luna Museum
  • Cape Bojeador Lighthouse
  • Gov. Roque Ablan Sr. Shrine
  • Paoay lake
  • Marcos Museum and Mausoleum, Batac City
    Shows the memorabilia of Former President Ferdinand Marcos. The mausoleum is where the body of the late president is found, laid and preserved in a refrigerated crypt.
  • Batac City Riverside Empanadaan
    Known for the Batac Empanada.
  • Burgos Wind Farm
  • Caparispisan Wind Farm


  1. ^ "List of Provinces". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  2. ^ a b "Population and Annual Growth Rates for The Philippines and Its Regions, Provinces, and Highly Urbanized Cities". 2010 Census and Housing Population. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  3. ^ "Laoag Earthquake - 17 August 1983". Phivolcs. 1983. Retrieved 2011-01-02. 
  4. ^ "Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay: as of May 1, 2010". 2010 Census of Population and Housing. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  5. ^ "Province: ILOCOS NORTE". PSGC Interactive. Makati City, Philippines: National Statistical Coordination Board. Retrieved 26 September 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "2010 Census of Population and Housing: Total Population by Province, City, Municipality and Barangay:as of May 1, 2010" (PDF). National Statistics Office (Philippines). Retrieved 18 October 2014. 

External links[edit]