About Ilocos Sur Province, Philippines

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Ilocos Sur Province

Ilocos Sur is a province of the Philippines located in the Ilocos Region in Luzon. Vigan City, located on the mouth of the Mestizo River is the provincial capital. Ilocos Sur is bordered by Ilocos Norte and Abra to the north, Mountain Province to the east, La Union and Benguet to the south, and the South China Sea to the west.

BRIEF PROFILE
Capital: Vigan City
Land Area: 2,596.0 km²
Population: 632,255 (2007)
Languages Ilocano

Geography

Political

Ilocos Sur is subdivided into 32 municipalities and 2 cities.

Physical

Ilocos Sur is located along the western coast of Northern Luzon. It is bordered by Ilocos Norte to the north, Abra to the northeast, Mountain Province to the east, Benguet to the southeast, La Union to the south, and the China Sea to the west. Its area of 2,579.58 square kilometers occupies about 20.11% of the total land area of Region 1.

The topography of Ilocos Sur is undulating to rolling with elevations ranging from 10 to 1,700 meters above sea level.

Climate

The climate is generally dry as defined by the Hernandez climate classification - the dry months are from October to May. However, the southernmost portion, Cervantes, is humid and rain is evenly distributed throughout the year while the eastern part of Sugpon is drier. August has the most rainfall while January and February have the least. The mean temperature in the province is 27 degrees C. January is the coldest.

Major Industries

The people are engaged in farming, producing food crops, mostly rice, corn, vegetable, root crops, and fruits. Non-food crops include tobacco, cotton, and tigergrass. Cottage industries include loom weaving, furniture making, jewelry making, ceramics, blacksmithing, and food processing.

History

Before the coming of the Spaniards, the coastal plains in northwestern Luzon, stretching from Bangui (Ilocos Norte) in the north to Namacpacan (Luna, La Union) in the south, were a region called the Ylokos. This region lies in between the China Sea in the west and Northern Cordilleras on the east. The inhabitants built their villages near the small bays on coves called “looc” in the dialect. These coastal inhabitants were referred to as “Ylocos” which literally meant “from the lowlands”. The entire region was then called by the ancient name “Samtoy” from “sao ditoy” which in Ilokano mean “our dialect”. The region was later called by the Spaniards as “Ylocos” or “Ilocos” and its people “Ilocanos”.

The Ilocos Region was already a thriving, fairly advanced cluster of towns and settlements familiar to Chinese, Japanese and Malay traders when the Spaniard explorer Don Juan de Salcedo and members of his expedition arrived in Vigan on June 13, 1572. Forthwith, they made Cabigbigaan (Bigan), the heart of the Ylokos settlement their headquarters which Salcedo called “Villa Fernandina” and which eventually gained fame as the “Intramuros of Ilocandia”. Salcedo declared the whole Northern Luzon as an "encomienda", or a land grant. Subsequently, he became the encomendero of Vigan and Lieutenant Governor of the Ylokos until his death in July 1574.

Augustinian missionaries came to conquer the region through evangelization. They established parishes and built churches that still stand today. Three centuries later, Vigan became the seat of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia.

A royal decree of February 2, 1818 separated Ilocos Norte from Ilocos Sur, the latter to include the northern part of La Union (as far as Namacpacan, now Luna) and all of what is now the province of Abra. The sub-province of Lepanto and Amburayan in Mt. Province were annexed to Ilocos Sur.

The passage of Act 2683 by the Philippine Legislature in March 1917 defined the present geographical boundary of the province.

There are many writers and statesmen throughout the history of the Phillipines. Pedro Bukaneg is the father of Iluko Literature. Isabelo de los Reyes will always be remembered as the Father of the Filipino Labor Movement. His mother, Leona Florentino was the most outstanding Filipino woman writer of the Spanish era. Vicente Singson Encarnacion, an exemplary statesman, was also a noted authority on business and industry.

From the ranks of the barrio schoolteachers, Elpidio Quirino rose to become President of the Republic of the Philippines which is the town's most illustrious and native son of Caoayan, Ilocos Sur. Col. Salvador F. Reyes, a graduate of the Westpoint Military Academy, USA, led an untarnished and brilliant military career.

People and Culture

In the 330 pages of “The Ilocos Heritage” (the 27th book written by Visitacion de la Torre), the Ilocano legacy and the life of the Ilocano – are described as - "the browbeaten, industrious, cheerful, simple soul who has shown a remarkable strain of bravery and a bit of wanderlust." The Ilocano history reveals his struggles and victories – in battles for colonial independence from Spain and America, to Philippine leadership. The new Ilocano searched for greener pastures towards new lands local and foreign - Palawan, Mindanao, Hawaii, the United States and Greece. The Ilocano material culture and spirituality can be seen in the past - images of Spanish santo (saints), antique but intricate wooden furniture and quality local fiber. The native Ilocano is a weaver, wood carver and pottery expert. The Ilocano cuisine ranges from the exotic "abu-os" (ant eggs) to vegetable broth "dinengdeng," the sticky "tinubong" to the "poqui-poqui" (eggplant salad). Ilocos Sur, like other provinces in Ilocandia, is filled with colonial churches, a legacy of Spanish Catholicism.

Map of Ilocos Sur Province
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