Ilocos Norte is a province of the Philippines located in the Ilocos Region. Its capital is Laoag City and is located at the northwest corner of Luzon Island, bordering Cagayan and Apayao to the east, and Abra andIlocos Sur to the south. Ilocos Norte faces the South China Sea to the west and the Luzon Strait to the north.
Ilocos Norte is noted for being the birthplace of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, who led an authoritarian rule over the country during the latter half of his incumbency. The Marcoses enjoy a modicum of popularity in the province. Ilocos Norte is also known as a northern tourist destination, being the location of Fort Ilocandia, an upper class hotel and beach resort famous among expatriates, and Pagudpud.
Map of the Philippines with Ilocos Norte highlighted
Long before the coming 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 inhabitants of the region, believed to be of Malay origin, called their place "samtoy", from "sao mi toy", which literally meant "our language here"
In 1591, when the Spanish conquistadors had Manila more or less under their control, they began looking for new sites to conquer. 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, 1592, Salcedo and his men landed in 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.
Although majority of the people in the Philippines are adherents to the Roman Catholic, the majority in the province are adherents to the Aglipayan Church, founded by Batac nativeGregorio Aglipay.
Ilocos Norte is home to several famous Roman Catholic churches:
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.
The province specializes in the following products and industries:
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 3,875. The least populous is Sapat in the municipality of Pasuquin, with only 32.
The province offers a number of popular destinations for tourists, locals and foreigners alike. Because of its proximity to the South China Sea, tourist arrivals peak during the summer seasons, the beach resorts topping the most visited list.