Ilocos Region

Ilocos Region I

The Ilocos region or Region I (Ilokano: 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 and is located in the northwest of Luzon. It borders to the east the regions of the Cordillera Administrative Region and Cagayan Valley and to the south the region of Central Luzon. To the west north 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 City, La Union. Ilocano speakers compose 66% of the region, and Pangasinan speakers are 27%, and the Tagalogs compose 3%

History

Region 1 was first inhabited by the aboriginal Negritos 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.

From the data on the population distribution of Region 1, it is clear that not all the inhabitants are Ilocanos. Around one-third are non-Ilocanos and yet there is a popular misconception that all the inhabitants are Ilocanos.[1] The use of the term Ilocos Region promotes the wrong notion that all the residents of Region 1 are Ilocanos. Before the administration of Ferdinand Marcos, Pangasinan was not a part of 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. 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.

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. Before Region 1 was modified by Ferdinand Marcos, Pangasinan was not part of the region.

Economy

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. At the same time the importance of trading, financial services, and educational services in the economy cannot be denied. 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.

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 international shipping port and the upgraded and soon to be developed San Fernando International Airport. While Laoag City 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. 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 Region 1.

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