Ilocos Region

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Region I
Ilocos Region
Location in the Philippines
Location in the Philippines
Coordinates: 16°37′00″N 120°19′00″E / 16.616666666667°N 120.31666666667°E / 16.616666666667; 120.31666666667Coordinates: 16°37′00″N 120°19′00″E / 16.616666666667°N 120.31666666667°E / 16.616666666667; 120.31666666667
Country Philippines
Island group Luzon
Regional center San Fernando, La Union
 • Total 13,055 km2 (5,041 sq mi)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 4,748,372
 • Density 360/km2 (940/sq mi)
Time zone PST (UTC+8)
ISO 3166 code PH-01
Provinces 4
Cities 8
Municipalities 116
Barangays 3,265
Cong. districts 12
Languages Ilocano, Pangasinan, Bolinao, Tagalog, English

The Ilocos Region (Filipino: Rehiyon ng Ilocos; Ilocano: Rehion ti Ilocos or Deppaar ti Ilocos; Pangasinan: Rihiyon na Sagor na Baybay na Luzon (Region at the Northwest Coast of Luzon)) is a region of the Philippines, designated as Region I. It is located in the northwest of Luzon, bordering to the east the regions of the Cordillera Administrative Region and Cagayan Valley and to the south the region of Central Luzon. To the northwest is the South China Sea.

The region is composed of four provinces, namely: Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan. Its regional center is San Fernando, La Union. Ilocano speakers compose 66% of the region, Pangasinan speakers are 27%, and Tagalog compose 3%.[2]


Region 1 was first inhabited by the aboriginal Negritoes before they were pushed by successive waves of Malay/Austronesian immigrants that penetrated the narrow coast. Tingguians in the interior, Ilocanos in the north, and Pangasinense in the south settled the region. Before the administration of Ferdinand Marcos, Pangasinan was not a part of the region.[3]

The Spanish arrived in the 16th century and established Christian missions and governmental institutions to control the native population and convert them to Catholicism. Present-day Vigan in Ilocos Sur province became the diocesan seat of Nueva Segovia. Ilocanos in the northern parts were less easily swayed, however, and remained an area filled with deep resentments against Spain. These resentments bubbled to the surface at various points in the Ilocos provinces' history as insurrections, most notably that of Andres Malong and Palaris of Pangasinan, Diego Silang and his wife Gabriela Silang in 1764, and the Basi Revolt in the 19th century. However, it was the Pangasinenses in the south who were the last to be stand against the Spaniards.[4]

In 1901, the region came under American colonial rule, and in 1941, under Japanese occupation.

During 1945, the combined American and the Philippine Commonwealth troops including with the Ilocano and Pangasinese guerillas liberated the Ilocos Region from Japanese forces during the Second World War.

Several modern presidents of the Republic of the Philippines hailed from the Region: Elpidio Quirino, Ferdinand Marcos, and Fidel V. Ramos.

Before the formation of the Cordillera Administrative Region, Region 1 also included the provinces of Abra, Mountain Province, and Benguet.


The Ilocos Region occupies the narrow plain between the Cordillera Central mountain range and the South China Sea. It also occupies the northern portion of the Central Luzon plain, to the north-east of the Zambales Mountains.

Lingayen Gulf is the most notable body of water in the region and it contains a hundred of islands, including the Hundred Islands National Park. To the north of the region is Luzon Strait.

The Agno river runs through Pangasinan and empties into the Lingayen Gulf. The river flow into a broad delta in the vicinity of Lingayen and Dagupan.

Administrative divisions[edit]

The Ilocos Region comprises 4 provinces, 9 cities, 116 municipalities, and 3,265 barangays.[5]

Province Capital Cities and
(per km²)

Ph seal ilocos norte.png Ilocos Norte Laoag 557 568,017 3,399.3 167.1 18°11′50″N 120°35′37″E / 18.1973235°N 120.5935433°E / 18.1973235; 120.5935433 (Ilocos Norte)
Ph seal ilocos sur.png Ilocos Sur Vigan 768 658,587 2,579.6 255.3 17°34′23″N 120°23′12″E / 17.5729636°N 120.3867938°E / 17.5729636; 120.3867938 (Ilocos Sur)
Ph seal la union.png La Union San Fernando 576 741,906 1,493.1 496.9 16°36′52″N 120°18′57″E / 16.6145621°N 120.3158283°E / 16.6145621; 120.3158283 (La Union)
Ph seal pangasinan.png Pangasinan Lingayen 1,364 2,779,862 5,368.2 517.8 16°01′14″N 120°13′50″E / 16.0206431°N 120.2306071°E / 16.0206431; 120.2306071 (Pangasinan)
  • Names in boldA indicate cities.
    • Double daggers (‡) indicate cities independent from provinces.

B Coordinates mark the provincial administrative center (capital town/city).
Political map

Component cities[edit]

City Province City
(per km²)

Alaminos City.png Alaminos Pangasinan Component 4th Class 85,025 164.26 517.6 16°09′24″N 119°58′50″E / 16.1565721°N 119.9804539°E / 16.1565721; 119.9804539 (Alaminos)
Batac city seal.png Batac Ilocos Norte Component 5th Class 53,542 161.06 332.4 18°03′24″N 120°33′50″E / 18.0566509°N 120.5639598°E / 18.0566509; 120.5639598 (Batac)
Candon.png Candon Ilocos Sur Component 4th Class 57,884 103.28 560.5 17°11′22″N 120°26′51″E / 17.1895029°N 120.4474068°E / 17.1895029; 120.4474068 (Candon)
Ph seal pangasinan dagupan.jpg Dagupan Pangasinan Independent component 2nd Class 163,676 37.23 4396.3 16°02′33″N 120°20′15″E / 16.0424848°N 120.3375688°E / 16.0424848; 120.3375688 (Dagupan)
Ph seal ilocos norte laoag city.png Laoag Ilocos Norte Component 1st Class 104,904 116.08 903.7 18°11′50″N 120°35′37″E / 18.1973235°N 120.5935433°E / 18.1973235; 120.5935433 (Laoag)
San Carlos City Logo.png San Carlos Pangasinan Component 3rd Class 175,103 169.03 1035.9 15°55′40″N 120°20′52″E / 15.9277812°N 120.3478217°E / 15.9277812; 120.3478217 (San Carlos)
Ph seal la union san fernando.png San Fernando La Union Component 3rd Class 114,963 102.72 1119.2 16°36′52″N 120°18′57″E / 16.6145621°N 120.3158283°E / 16.6145621; 120.3158283 (San Fernando)
Ph seal Urdaneta, Pangasinan.png Urdaneta Pangasinan Component 2nd Class 125,451 100.26 1251.3 15°49′24″N 120°19′46″E / 15.8232472°N 120.3294426°E / 15.8232472; 120.3294426 (Urbiztondo)
VIGAN SEAL.png Vigan Ilocos Sur Component 4th Class 49,747 25.12 1980.4 17°34′23″N 120°23′12″E / 17.5729636°N 120.3867938°E / 17.5729636; 120.3867938 (Vigan)


Although the economy in the southern portion of the region, esp. Pangasinan, is anchored on agro-industrial and service industry, the economy in the northern portion of the region is anchored in the agricultural sector. The economy in Pangasinan is driven by agro-industrial businesses , such as milkfish (bangus) cultivation and processing, livestock raising, fish paste processing (bagoong), and others. Income in the Ilocos provinces or northern portion mostly come from cultivating rice, tobacco, corn, sugarcane, and fruits; raising livestock such as pigs, chicken, goats, and carabaos (water buffalos).

The distribution of the economic activity in the region may be seen from the collection of tax revenue of the national government. The bulk of the collections come from Pangasinan, which posted 61% of the total.[6]

The service and light manufacturing industries are concentrated in the cities. Dagupan is mostly driven by its local entrepreneurs, which have started to expand its network up to the national level. San Fernando in La Union also has an international shipping port and the upgraded and soon to be developed San Fernando International Airport. While Laoag in Ilocos Norte has an international airport.

The tourism industry, driven by local airlines and land transportation firms in the area like Farinas Transit Company and Partas, focuses on the coastal beaches and on eco-tourism. There are fine sands stretching along Bauang, La Union and the rest of the region.[citation needed]

The region is also rich in crafts, with renowned blanket-weaving and pottery.[citation needed] The Ilocanos' burnay pottery is well known for its dark colored clay.[citation needed]


Population census of
Ilocos Region
Year Pop. ±% p.a.
1990 3,550,642 —    
2000 4,200,478 +1.69%
2010 4,748,372 +1.23%
Source: National Statistics Office[1]

The Ilocos provinces of the Ilocos Region is the historical homeland of the Ilocanos. The Ilocanos compose 66% of the region, the Pangasinan people compose 27%, and the Tagalogs compose 3%.[2]

Pangasinan is the historical homeland of the Pangasinenses. The population of Pangasinan comprises approximately 60% of the total population of the region. The Pangasinenses presently constitute around 50% of the population of the province.[2] The Ilocanos were not originally inhabitants of Pangasinan. They started migrating to Pangasinan in the 19th century.[7] Pangasinan was formerly a province of Region III (Central Luzon) before President Marcos signed Presidential Decree No. 1, 1972, incorporating it into Region I. Minority groups include the Tingguian and Isneg communities that inhabit the foothills of the Cordillera mountains.

The population is predominantly Roman Catholic with strong adherents of Protestantism such as the Aglipayan denomination further north of the country. There are also adherents to other Christian denominations, such as Iglesia ni Cristo, Mormons, and the like. There is also an undercurrent of traditional animistic beliefs especially in rural areas. The small mercantile Chinese and Indian communities are primarily Buddhists, Taoists, and Hindus.[citation needed]

Tourist attractions[edit]

Ilocos Norte

Ilocos Sur

La Union


Notable people[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d "Population and Annual Growth Rates for The Philippines and Its Regions, Provinces, and Highly Urbanized Cities" (PDF). 2010 Census and Housing Population. National Statistics Office. Retrieved 9 August 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c National Statistics Office
  3. ^ Presidential Decree No. 1, 1972
  4. ^ Culture and History by Nick Joaquin
  5. ^ "List of Regions". National Statistical Coordination Board. Archived from the original on 2008-10-27. Retrieved 9 January 2011. 
  6. ^ National Statistical Coordination Board
  7. ^ Rosario Mendoza Cortes, Pangasinan, 1801-1900: The Beginnings of Modernization

External links[edit]