Ilocos Norte

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Ilocos Norte is a province of the Philippines located in the Ilocos Region. Its capital is Laoag City, located in the northwest corner of Luzón Island, bordering Cagayan and Apayao to the east, and Abra to the southeast, and Ilocos Sur to the southwest. Ilocos Norte faces the West Philippine Sea to the west and the Luzon Strait to the north.

Ilocos Norte is noted for being the birthplace of the former President Ferdinand E. Marcos.


Long before the arrival 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 Austronesian inhabitants of the region called their place samtoy, from sao mi toy, which literally meant "our language here"

In 1571, when the Spanish conquistadors had Manila more or less under their control, they began looking for new sites to conquer. Miguel Lopez de 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, 1572, Salcedo and his men landed in present-day 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. 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 Ilocano. When he died from his compatriot's bullet, his widow Gabriela continued his cause. However, 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.

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, La Union and Abra likewise became independent provinces.


Administrative divisions of Ilocos Norte

Ilocos Norte covers a total area of 3,467.89 square kilometres (1,338.96 sq mi) occupying the northern tip of the Ilocos Region in Luzon. The province is bordered by Cagayan to the extreme northeast, Apayao to the east, and Abra to the southeast, Ilocos Sur to the southwest, the South China Sea to the west, and the Luzon Strait to the north.

Administrative divisions

Ilocos Norte comprises 21 municipalities and 2 component cities, further subdivided into 557 barangays. There are two legislative districts in the province.

City or Municipality District Area Density Barangay
km2 sq mi /km2 /sq mi
Adams 1st 159.31 61.51 11 28 1
Bacarra 1st 65.32 25.22 490 1,300 43
Badoc 2nd 76.68 29.61 410 1,100 31
Bangui 1st 112.98 43.62 130 340 14
Banna 2nd 92.73 35.80 210 540 20
Batac 2nd 161.06 62.19 340 880 43
Burgos 1st 128.90 49.77 76 200 11
Carasi 1st 82.97 32.03 19 49 3
Currimao 2nd 34.08 13.16 360 930 23
Dingras 2nd 96.00 37.07 400 1,000 31
Dumalneg 1st 88.48 34.16 33 85 4
Laoag 1st 116.08 44.82 960 2,500 80
Marcos 2nd 72.77 28.10 240 620 13
Nueva Era 2nd 515.02 198.85 18 47 11
Pagudpud 1st 194.90 75.25 120 310 16
Paoay 2nd 76.24 29.44 330 850 31
Pasuquin 1st 210.54 81.29 140 360 33
Piddig 1st 216.20 83.48 99 260 23
Pinili 2nd 89.48 34.55 190 490 25
San Nicolas 2nd 40.18 15.51 910 2,400 24
Sarrat 1st 57.39 22.16 440 1,100 24
Solsona 2nd 166.23 64.18 150 390 22
Vintar 1st 614.35 237.20 52 130 33
Total 3,467.89 1,338.96 170 440 557

Template:Ordered list


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

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 3,900. The least populous is Sapat in the municipality of Pasuquin, with only 32.


The population of Ilocos Norte in the 2015 census was 593,081 people,  with a density of 170 inhabitants per square kilometre or 440 inhabitants per square mile.


Paoay Church

Roman Catholicism and the Aglipayan Church are the two major religions in the province.Template:Citation needed

Among the major Roman Catholic churches in Ilocos Norte include:

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.


Aside from the national language and English, there are three indigenous languages in Ilocos Norte. There are the dominant Ilokano language, the Isnag language of the east, and the Faire Atta language in Currimao.

The Faire Atta language is listed as one of the 15 endangered languages of the Philippines according to the UNESCO Atlas of the World's Endangered Languages. The Faire Atta language is listed as Severely Endangered, with less than 300 speakers remaining. All remaining speakers of the language are part of the community's elders. Without a municipality-wide teaching mechanism of the Faire Atta language for the youth, the language may be extinct within 3-5 decades, making it a language in grave peril unless a teaching-mechanism is established by either the government or an educational institution in Currimao and nearby municipalities.[2]


Bagoong fermenting in burnay jars
Kapurpurawan Rock Formation in Burgos

The province specializes in the following products and industries:

  • Agriculture — rice, corn, garlic, legumes, root crops, tobacco, and other fruits and vegetables
  • Fisherytilapia and assorted fishes
  • Livestock — swine and cattle
  • Cottage industriesloom 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


Term of Office: June 30, 2019 - June 30, 2022

Governor Matthew Joseph Marcos-Manotoc
Vice Governor Cecilia Araneta-Marcos
Provincial Board Members 1st District:
  • Rodolfo Christian G. Fariñas
  • Franklin Dante A. Respicio
  • Saul A. Lazo
  • Portia Pamela R. Salenda
  • Donald G. Nicolas

2nd District:

  • Medeldorf M. Gaoat (Sr. PBM)
  • Domingo C. Ambrocio
  • Da Vinci M. Crisostomo
  • James Paul C. Nalupta
  • Aladine T. Santos
PCL President Handy T. Lao
ABC President Elmer C. Faylogna
SK Federated President Rafael Salvador C. Medina


Ilocos Norte is also known as a northern tourist destination, being the location of Fort Ilocandia, hotel, resort and casino. Built between 1981 and 1983 by the Philippine Tourism Authority, the Spanish-Moroccan Villa was designed by Architect Jeorge Ramos. The golf course on Paoay Lake was built by Marcos in 1977, and designed by Gary Player.[3] Also of note are the La Paz Sand Dunes, Malacañang of the North, Cape Bojeador Lighthouse, Bangui Wind Farm, Saud Beach in Pagudpud, and the Early Pliocene calcarenite Kapurpurawan Burgos Formation, which has been sculpted by wind and waves.[4]


  1. Laoag Earthquake - 17 August 1983. Phivolcs (1983).
  2. UNESCO Atlas of the World's Languages in danger.
  3. "Fort Ilocandia". discover philippines (September–October): 16–17, 24. 2004.
  4. Callejo, Gretchen; De Silva, Leopoldo; Fernando, Allan (2017). "New age assignment of the Kapurpurawan Rock Formation Calcarenite in Burgos Ilocos Norte Based on Planktonic Foraminiferal Assemblage". Journal of the Geological Society of the Philippines: 26–40.