|Region||Ilocos Region (Region I)|
|Mayor||Michael V. Fariñas (NPC)|
|Area|| 127.47 km²|
|Total (2000)|| 94,466|
Laoag City(Ilocano: Ciudad ti Laoag; Chinese: Pinyin: Lǎowò) is a 1st class city in the province of Ilocos Norte, Philippines. It is the capital city of Ilocos Norte, and the province's political, commercial, and industrial hub. The municipalities of San Nicolas, Paoay, Sarrat, Vintar, and Bacarra form its boundaries. The foothills of the Cordillera Central mountain range to the east, and the South China Sea to the west are its physical boundaries.
The town experiences the prevailing monsoon climate of Northern Luzon, characterized by a dry season from November to April and a wet season from May to October, occasionally visited by powerful typhoons. On July 13, 2006, the whole city of Laoag is in state of calamity due to the typhoon Florita.
According to the 2000 census, it has a population of 94,466 people in 19,751 households.
"Laoag" (Ilocano for "the place of light or clarity"), is an old, flourishing settlement known to Chinese and Japanese traders when the Spanish conquistador Juan de Salcedo arrived at the northern banks of Padsan River in 1572. Augustinian missionaries established the Roman Catholic Church in the area in 1580 and designated Saint William, the Hermit as its patron saint.
At the arrival of the Spaniards in the Philippine Islands, they found out that the natives were divided into community groups, each having its own independent government. That there were centers of population as was observed by Captain Juan de Salcedo, Ilocos was extraordinary in size. In Laoag alone, the population reached as high as 6,000. This was the greatest number of inhabitants in a “barangay” or “puroc” in the whole country at the advent of the Spaniards. The houses of the natives, made of bamboo and cogon numbered to no less than a thousand. These were built and compactly arranged around a hill known as “Ermita Hill”, located at the Southeastern section of what Laoag is now at the very brim of the northern bank of the Padsan River. The natives must have chosen this spot for the location of their community not only of its proximity to the river which is indispensable to them as the source of their protein, that is, fish, shellfish, and water for drinking and washing. Buzeta, commenting on the practice of the Ilocanos in constructing their houses very close to one another., that no space was left for their orchards contrary to the common practice of the natives in their places of island who constructed their houses isolated in the fields adjacent to their farms. The late Don Luis Montilla, who for several years, was Director of the National Library (now the Rizal Centennial Commission) unquestionable documents in the national Archives which mention 1580 as the real data of the organization of Laoag as a parish under the Patronage of St. William, the Hermit, whose feast is celebrated on the 10th of February every year.
Before the end of the 16th century, the missionaries, in their desire to improve the living conditions of the natives, resettled the big center of the community of Laoag from Ermita Hill to its present location. This center is the present Plaza of the city of Laoag. Following the gridiron pattern of Greco-Roman origin in laying out towns, Laoag was resettled by the Spanish missionaries by first laying out the central rectangle where the location of the plaza, church, convent, tower, “tribunal”, and other important edifices were indicated. These were followed by the laying out of rectangular street blocks. The Laying out of the poblacion done, the indigenous population was prevailed upon to construct their houses in proper places within the reach of the church bells. The poblacion was subsequently divided into different barrios, each named after a patron saint assigned to them.
Though Laoag was converted into a city in 1965 through a plebiscite, leaving its municipal status, it remained the capital of Ilocos Norte. The first city mayor was Hon. Eulalio F. Saizon.
The inhabitants of Ilocos at the arrival of Salcedo were a sturdy and industrial race predominantly Austronesian.
The first wave of Austronesian immigrants to the Philippines came about 200 to 300 B.C. These immigrants were the less civilized Austronesians – ancestors of the Igorots, Ifugaos, Bontocs, and Tinguians of Northern Luzon.
The second wave came after the Christian Era, beginning about the first century A.D. and continuing through the succeeding centuries until the 13th century. These migratory waves saw the advent of the alphabet-using Austronesians – ancestors of the present Ilocanos, Tagalogs, Visayans, Bicols, Pampangos, and other christian Filipinos. To these better civilized Austronesians belonged the Ilocanos that Salcedo found in the Ilocos in 1572.
The Spaniards found the inhabitants of Ilocos with distinctive peculiarities in character and culture. They looked very similar to the Tagalogs with faded hair, big eyes, olive-like color, flat nose and with very thin beard or none at all. However, they spoke a different dialect that, although belonging to a common mother tongue as the Tagalogs, had required certain modifications and idiosyncracies making the Ilocano dialect quite different from the Tagalog. Laoag City, the sparkling gem of Ilocandia, is located at the west central part of the province of Ilocos Norte in Northern Luzon, nestles in the vast plain in the idyllic bank of the Padsan River that course its way from the east towards the South China Sea. Laoag City is along the Manila North Road. Vigan is 78 kms. from Laoag, 217 kms. from San Fernando City, La Union, 363 kms. from Tarlac and 488 kms. from Manila. It is 274 kms. from Baguio City.
The current mayor is Hon. Michael Farinas.
Laoag City has a total population of 94,466 for the year 2000 as per NSO official report. In 1995, the total inhabitants of the city was 88,336, an increase of 6, 130. Based on the 1995 and 2000 intercensal periods, the Average Annual Growth Rate of the city is 1.45%.
The number of households is 19,751 and the average household size is five (5) persons per household. Male-female ratio is 1:1; Birth rate is 26.44% while Death rate is 4.28%.
In the city of Laoag as of year 2000, Urban barangay San Lorenzo had the largest number of population at 2,883; followed by Rural barangay Buttong at 2,277; and then by Barangay 2 Sta. Joaquina at 2,048. With the least inhabitants was Rural Barangay 39 Sta. Rosa, 592, and then Brgy. 52-A San Mateo, 594. Noticeably, the residents of Brgy. 23 San Matias decreased by 740.
Its ethnic population is overwhelmingly Ilocano. Unlike the rest of the region, however, the Roman Catholic Church does not predominate. The Aglipayan Church, Iglesia ni Cristo, and other Protestant groups have strong followings.
Apart from being distinguished as the provincial capital, Laoag City is also the center of the fast developing North Luzon Economic Triangle. The city seats in a strategic area close to the economic centers of East Asia, reachable in 45 minutes by plane from Hong Kong and 30 minutes from the port city of Kaohsiung in Taiwan. Having critical infrastructure such as Laoag International Airport and the Currimao Port makes Laoag the port of entry of goods and services complemented by an extensive road and highway system that connects it to other cities. A extensive banking system is also found in the city with an impressive number of twenty-five different local, domestic, and foreign banks ready to serve any financial needs.
Wtth a 12,747.35m total land area, Laoag City provides a large opportunity for economic expansion. The historic scenic tourist spots, availability of internationally competitive accommodations and facilities, and the presence of supportive national government agencies, makes Laoag an ecotourism center, as classified by the Department of Tourism. The Northwestern Luzon Growth Quadrangle, fondly called the NORTH QUAD, also aims to develop rural areas through an integrated countryside agri-industrial development approach with emphasis/focus in attaining sustainable and equitably growth; increase the productivity of agriculture and fisheries; encourage industrial competitiveness in the local and foreign markets like Taiwan, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong. Plans are also being undertaken for the establishment of an ECO-TOURISM village, which will showcase the rich cultural heritage of the Ilokanos and the local industries.
Laoag and the surrounding municipalities also bolster a strong workforce. A proposed industrial park name "Laoag Ecozone" is set to rise within the city limits to host manufacturing companies. Opposite the industrial site will be housing projects and along the national highway going to the Laoag International Airport are rural barangays to become residential zones. At present, most industries in the city are small-scale consisting of small-scale food processing factories, rice mills, jewelry-making, hollow blocks factories and metal crafts.
The city is also in the forefront of green-technology after Danish investors set-up the first wind-driven powerplant in Southeast Asia. The 25-megawatt plant cost $47.6 million US Dollars and an $11 million US Dollar expansion is concurrently under construction, which is set to quadruple the capacity.Laoag windmills
As the provincial capital, Laoag is the center of social and economic activity with almost all major commercial and institutional establishments gravitating towards it. The importance of education in socializing its population is shared by both the local government and the private sector, which has invested heavily in the development of the academic infrastructure. The city is home to public and private schools offering elementary, secondary, and tertiary education programs. Current Philippine law requires free compulsory education to the general population from elementary to high school, as well as, subsidized tertiary education in state-ran institutions. Alternative private schools offering parallel programs to government schools are also found with additional programs to cater to students with various needs. These schools are an important component of the educational system and reflect the city's diversity as they include Chinese schools, Catholic schools, all-male and all-female boarding schools, and military schools.
Most of the lower-level schools are government-owned and are divided into three districts comprising a total of thirty three primary and elementary schools. Seven private elementary schools are also present, however, most are sectarian and run by religious organizations. In addition, there are eight private and three public high schools, although the latter has significantly higher number of attendees.
In order to provide continuing education to supply the dynamic economic needs of the city, several colleges and universities offer degrees in special areas. Currently two public institutions are operating, and they are the Mariano Marcos State University and the Ilocos Norte College of Arts and Trades. Five private colleges and universities are also in operation, with programs ranging from two-year associate degrees and doctoral degrees. These private institutions are: Northwestern University, Northern Christian College, Divine Word College of Laoag, Data Center College of the Philippines, and AMA Computer College.
Also found in Laoag are four private special vocational schools namely, STI Laoag, the Overseas Technical Institute, the Lazo Fashion School, and the Bel Arte School of Fine Arts.
Tourism has become a major economic driver of Laoag City, paving the way for new commercial investments and infrastructure development. A recent surge in Chinese and Taiwanese tourists have been flocking to splurge in the city's profitable casino located inside the only 5-star hotel in the northern Philippines, Fort Ilocandia Hotel and Resort. Other places of interest include a tour of heritage sites featuring Spanish colonial buildings, Philippine-baroque churches, white-sand beach resorts of Pagudpud, and Marcos-era mansions. The dramatic increase in tourist arrivals also prompted the establishment of a Chinese consulate to oversee the security of Chinese citizens living or visiting the city. A new immigration policy set to simplify entry of Chinese tourists into the country by issuing visitor visas in the airport after arrival is expected to entice more guests to come. To supplement the anticipated growth in tourist-related business activity, the government of Ilocos Norte has started construction on a multimillion dollar convention center and hotel to supply the demand and diversify services.
Other tourist sites include:
- The Sinking Bell Tower
- St. William Cathedral
- Ilocos Norte Capitol
- The Tobacco Monopoly Monument
- La Paz Sand Dunes
- Marcos Mansion
- Fort Ilocandia Resort and Hotel
- Casino Filipino
- 18-hole Golf Course designed by Gary Player
- Pagudpud White Sand Beaches
- Ilocos Lighthouse
- Bangui Windmills
- Ilocos Norte Museum
Laoag International Airport services flights to and from Hong Kong, Taiwan and mainland China, as well as, domestic flights by Philippine Airlines and Cebu Pacific. Foreign airlines offer direct charter flights to Laoag as part of travel packages with optional excursions to tourist sites outside of the city. Once in the city, tourists can find travel agencies all over including ticket offices of several airlines in the airport terminal.
Several large bus companies are also available with services to different points in the Philippines. Some of these companies are: Maria de Leon Bus Lines, Farinas Bus Lines, Philippine Rabbit Bus Company, and Partas Transit. Laoag is a 10-14 hour drive from Manila.
Laoag City is politically subdivided into 80 barangays.
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- DZLO: DZLO 1233
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- DWIL: 90.7 Love Radio
- DWNA: 93.1 Hot FM
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- DWEL: MOR 95.5 My Only Radio For Life
- DZMN: MNYEE 96.3
- DZLS: Barangay 97.1
- DWSN: DWSN 97.9
- DWHP: 99.5 iFM
- DZOD: 101.1 (TBA)
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- DWTE: 106.7 Dream FM
- UNTV : Channel 37
- Associated Broadcasting Company: Channel 2
- ABS-CBN: Channel 7
- National Broadcasting Network: Channel 11
- Intercontinental Broadcasting Corporation: Channel 13
- Studio 23: Channel 23
- Quality TeleVision: Channel 27
- ACQ-Kingdom Broadcasting Network: Channel 35
- GMA Network: Channel 5
- SRTV: Channel 58
- CTI Television: Channel 66
- Official Site
- Pasyalan Ilocos Norte
- Laoag City Photos
- Philippine Standard Geographic Code
- 2000 Philippine Census Information
- Awesome Pagudpud: The Definitive Travel Guide