Ilocos Region

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Region I
Ilocos Region
Northwestern Region
Ph locator region 1.png
Regional Center San Fernando City
Population 2,803,805
– Density 220.9 per km²
Area 12,695.0 km²
Provinces 4
Cities 9
Municipalities 116
Barangays 3,265
Cong. Districts 12
Languages Ilokano, Pangasinan, Bolinao

Region 1 of the Philippines is located in the northwestern part of Luzon. It is bounded by Cordillera Administrative Region and Cagayan Valley to the east, Central Luzon to the south and by the South China Sea to the west.

The region is composed of four provinces, namely: Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union and Pangasinan. Its regional center is San Fernando City, La Union. The region is occupied 70% by Ilocanos and 28% by Pangasinenses.

Although the Philippine government designated Region 1 as the Ilocos Region, many people find the designated name of the region as ethno-centric, as it promotes the wrong notion that all the residents of Region 1 are Ilocanos. Many people find the name Northwestern Region, which is geographically deduced, as the more appropriate term.


People and culture

The Ilocos provinces of Region 1 is the historical homeland of the Ilocanos as well as the famous former president who holds the title of longest presidential term of twenty years President Ferdinand Marcos. The Ilocanos have the following percentage of the population inside the bracket in each province: Pangasinan (43%), La Union (92%), Ilocos Norte (97%), and Ilocos Sur (93%). Pangasinan is the historical homeland of the Pangasinenses. The population of Pangasinan composed around 60% of the whole population of the region. The Pangasinenses presently constitute around 50% of the population of the province. The province was not originally part of the Region 1. It was only during the time of President Marcos, when Pangasinan was included in the province. 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 is also an undercurrent of traditional animistic beliefs especially in rural areas. The small mercantile Chinese and Indian communities are primarily Buddhists and Hindus respectively


Although the economy in the southern portion of the region, esp. Pangasinan, is anchored in 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. At the same time the importance of trading, financial services, and educational services in the economy cannot be denied. Income in the 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. According to the data from the Statistical Coordination Board, the bulk of the collections come from Pangasinan, which posted 61% of the total.

The service and light manufacturing industries are concentrated in the cities. Dagupan City is mostly driven by its local entrepreneurs, which have started to expand its network up to the national level. San Fernando City in La Union also has an active shipping port and Laoag City in Ilocos Norte has a growing international airport. The government is one of the largest employers along with multinational corporations like Coca-Cola.

The tourism industry focuses on the coastal beaches and on eco-tourism. There are fine sands stretching along Bauang, La Union and the rest of the region. Opportunities to engage in other water sports and activities abound. Eco-tourism takes advantage of the marine and forest resources in the region and displays the natural beauty of the Ilocos.

The region is also rich in crafts, with renowned blanket-weaving and pottery. Their burnay pottery is well known for its dark colored clay.

Political Division

Region 1 is composed of 4 provinces and a total of 9 cities.

Province Capital Population
Pop. density
(per km²)
Ph seal ilocos norte.png Ilocos Norte Laoag City 514,241 3,399.3 151.3
Ph seal ilocos sur.png Ilocos Sur Vigan City 594,206 2,579.6 230.3
Ph seal la union.png La Union San Fernando City 657,945 1,493.1 440.7
Ph seal pangasinan.png Pangasinan Lingayen 2,434,086 5,368.2 453.4

Component Cities


Region 1 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 number 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 Lingayen Gulf. The river flow into a broad delta in the vicinity of Lingayen and Dagupan City.

Tourist Attractions

Hundred Islands National Park. Located in the Lingayen Gulf in Pangasinan, the watery park is dotted by 123 small, pristine islands. Three islands have been developed for tourists.

Vigan colonial houses. Vigan City is famous for its cobblestone streets and Spanish-style houses, an architectural remnant of its colonial past. The Mestizo District displays mansions typical of the era. They were owned by prominent Ilocano-Chinese merchant families of that time, hence mestizo or "mixed race."

Ancient churches. The region is dotted by old Catholic churches built by natives for the Spanish. Famous churches can be found in Vigan City, once the seat of the Bishop of Nueva Segovia; Paoay,Ilocos Norte and in Manaoag, Pangasinan.


Region 1 was first inhabited by the aboriginal Negritos before they were pushed by successive waves of Malay immigrants that penetrated the narrow coast. Tingguians in the interior, Ilocanos in the north, and Pangasinense in the south settled the region.

The Spanish arrived in the 16th century and established Christian missions and governmental institutions to control the native population and convert them to the Roman Catholic church. Present-day Vigan City in Ilocos Sur province became the bishopric seat of Nueva Segovia. Proud 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 region's history as insurrections. According to Nick Joaquin in his book Culture and History, the Pangasinenses were the last to be stand against the Spaniards.

The most notable of the rebellions were 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.

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

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

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

Flag of the Philippines.png Philippines
Capital Manila | National Capital Region
Provinces Abra | Agusan del Norte | Agusan del Sur | Aklan | Albay | Antique | Apayao | Aurora | Basilan | Bataan | Batanes | Batangas | Benguet | Biliran | Bohol | Bukidnon | Bulacan | Cagayan | Camarines Norte | Camarines Sur | Camiguin | Capiz | Catanduanes | Cavite | Cebu | Compostela Valley | Cotabato | Davao del Norte | Davao del Sur | Davao Oriental | Dinagat Islands | Eastern Samar | Guimaras | Ifugao | Ilocos Norte | Ilocos Sur | Iloilo | Isabela | Kalinga | La Union | Laguna | Lanao del Norte | Lanao del Sur | Leyte | Maguindanao | Marinduque | Masbate | Misamis Occidental | Misamis Oriental | Mountain Province | Negros Occidental | Negros Oriental | Northern Samar | Nueva Ecija | Nueva Vizcaya | Occidental Mindoro | Oriental Mindoro | Palawan | Pampanga | Pangasinan | Quezon | Quirino | Rizal | Romblon | Samar | Sarangani | Shariff Kabunsuan | Siquijor | Sorsogon | South Cotabato | Southern Leyte | Sultan Kudarat | Sulu | Surigao del Norte | Surigao del Sur | Tarlac | Tawi-Tawi | Zambales | Zamboanga del Norte | Zamboanga del Sur | Zamboanga Sibugay
Other subdivisions Island groups | Regions | Cities | Municipalities | Barangays | Legislative districts
Sabah | Scarborough Shoal | Spratly Islands

See also

External links

Original Source

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