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Ilocano people Tattao nga Iloko
Ilocano women from Santa Catalina, Ilocos Sur, c. 1900.
The word Ilokano originates from Iloko (archaic form, Yloco), the conjugation of i- (meaning "of") and look (meaning "bay"), which means "from the bay" in Ilocano.
This section needs to be updated. Please update this article to reflect recent events or newly available information.(February 2020)
Two theories are prominent among historians regarding the Spread of what historians call the Austronesian peoples.
A theory posted by the anthropologist Henry Otley Beyer, known as the Wave of Migration Theory, posits that from 300 to 200 BC a migration of Austronesian speaking people from the island of Borneo arrived on the shores of northwest Luzon. They were supposedly the most recent of the three waves of migration to the Philippines known as the Malays. Before the arrival of these people, the inhabitants of northwest Luzon were a different Austronesian speaking people called the proto-Malay group whom consist of the modern Tinguian, Isneg, Kalinga, Kankanaey, Bontoc and other tribes collectively known today as the Igorot. Prior to the arrival of the Igorot were the people known today as the Aeta or Negritos. Different study shows that the Ilocanos came to the Northwestern Luzon along with the Kalingas, Apayaos and Tingguians  Over time, the Malay people intermarried with the proto-Malay and or Aeta people, and it is their descendants who lived along the coasts of Northwestern Luzon that the Spanish first came in contact with and called Ilocanos.
Nowadays, the most commonly accepted theory is the "Out of Taiwan" model. In this model, it is suggested that the ancestors of today's Austronesian peoples originated from migrations from the island of Taiwan during the Neolithic period.
While Spain applied the term barangay to the settlements in the Ilocos region upon contact, the Ilocano people called their towns, íli, and a smaller group of houses, purók.
These residents of the íli were organized in a class society. At the top of the class system was a chief or agtúray or ári and his family. The ári earned his position due to strength, wealth and or wisdom. This position could also be inherited and usually reserved for a male, however, in the event that no male heir was available a strong female heir was accepted.
If the heir was found to be weak by the íli, then another ári family would be put in place and the former ári family could fall down in class. Together with a community of elders called amáen or panglakáyen íli, the ári administered justice and governed the daily lives of the íli and led his/her people to war if necessary.
Below the ári were the wealthy babaknáng, or Maharlika in Tagalog, of who could easily move into the position of ári. Their wealth was maintained by their control of trade with primarily the Chinese, Japanese, Igorots, and the Tagalogs. Goods often traded were rice, cotton, gold, wax, iron, glass beads, honey, and stoneware jars called burnáy.
Below the babaknáng were the kailianes, a class that helped the ári in sailing, working his/her fields, and preparing for celebrations. In exchange, the kailianes were given gifts directly from the ári.
The katalonan were below the babaknáng and the kailianes and they were tenant farmers who consisted of the majority of the population in an íli. They largely practised wet-rice agriculture which included rice and taro as well as dry agriculture that included cotton.
At the bottom of the pre-colonial Ilocano society were the ubíng and below them the tagábu, also called "adípen". The ubíng were servants while the tagábu were slaves. The tagábu acquired their status through unresolved debt, insulting a member of the babaknáng or ári, by being prisoners of war, or even inheriting the debt of their ancestor.
An Ilocano woman and man wearing kattukong and annangá, circa 1820s.
Both Ilocano men and women grew their hair long, but tied it up in different ways. Some women twisted their hair to create a bun, while some men twisted their hair and hid it under a turban like wrapping called a bangal or potong. The patterns and colors of the bangal had many meanings. For example, red potong indicated that the wearer had killed, while a striped pattern indicated that the wearer killed at least seven people. In addition to the bangal, farmers and fishermen also wore a gourd hat called a kattukong on sunny or rainy days. The kattukong was made from a hollowed and dried calabash gourd or tabúngaw in Ilocano with a woven interior made of anahaw, nipa, bamboo, and/or rattan. Also often worn during rainy days was a cape called a annangá, also called "lábig" or "kalapiáw", which was often made of nipa palm leaves.
In 1660, Andres Malong, a chief of San Carlos, Pangasinan or Binalatongan as it was called than, allied with the people of Zambales in an effort to remove the Spanish colonizers and subdue those supported Spain. Malong, was formerly employed by the Spanish to help colonize non-Christian towns and villages in Pangasinan, however, as Malong subjugated others, he realized he could also overcome the outnumbered Spanish.
With his Zambales allies, Malong crowned himself the king of Pangasinan and sent out letters to all the chiefs of the Ilocos Region, Pampanga and Cagayan Valley and demanded that they too align and recognize Malong as their king and kill any Spaniards among them. If they did not, Malong warned that he would invade and punish them for not joining his cause.
Unlike Pangasinan and the Zambales, The Ilocos at the time was a region that the Spanish invested its soldiers and missionaries in and routinely secured. Towns such as Vigan, Ilocos Sur and Tagudin, Ilocos Sur were quickly conquered by the Spanish encomiendas, fortifications and Catholic churches quickly established to subjugate the Ilocano people into the Spanish Empire. The Spanish were swift in this process to stake their claim on the region's gold trade with the Igorots. They sought to prevent Chinese and Japanese pirates and different European powers such as the Dutch or English from taking these trade routes. Considering this relatively recent history with the Spanish and primarily under the influence of Catholic missionaries, many of the Ilocano chiefs rejected Andres Malong's offer.
Ilocano merchants in the mid-19th century.
In response to their rejection, Malong sent a Zambales chief named Don Pedro Gumapos, who had recently conquered the Pampanga region with 6,000 men, to invade the Ilocos as well as Cagayan regions. Gumapos and his men were met with only 1,500 Spanish loyalist Ilocanos under the command of the alcalde mayor of the region and even missionaries. As such, the Zambales and Pangasinese army quickly defeated them and marched as far north as Vigan, Ilocos Sur where they sacked and burned the Spanish stronghold and nearby villages. With many of the Spanish missionaries and colonial authorities in Ilocos evacuated and/or in retreat, Malong than asked Gumapos to assist him in Pangasinan, where the Spanish were beginning to advance on him. As Gumapos and his troops traveled back down through Narvacan, Ilocos Sur, they continued to raid Ilocano towns and villages for supplies. Ultimately, the people of Narvacan responded with guerrilla tactics aided by their Tinguian allies. This retaliation by the Ilocano people was devastating and caused more fatalities on Gumapos' army than with the Spanish lead Ilocano forces.
As the invading army headed south they sacked and/or burned the coastal towns of Santa Maria, Ilocos Sur, San Esteban, Ilocos Sur, Santiago, Ilocos Sur and Candon, Ilocos Sur. When they finally approached Santa Cruz, Ilocos Sur, Gumapos encountered a Spanish led army who had just finished reconquering Pangasinan and captured Andres Malong. Despite learning of Malong's defeat, Gumapos led his army to battle. Gumapos and his army were defeated after two large battles. After being captured, Gumapos was sent back to Vigan, Ilocos Sur where he was executed by hanging. The Ilocos Region would not see another revolt against the Spanish until 1762.
Ilocano people emigrating to the Cagayan Valley, c. 1920.
Ilocanos number 8,074,536 in the Philippines in 2010. A few Ilocanos living in the Cordilleras have some Cordillerano blood.
Ilocandia is the term given to the traditional homeland of the Ilocano people, which constitutes present-day Ilocos Norte and the northern portions of Ilocos Sur.
The mounting population pressure due to the substantial population density during the mid-19th century caused the migration of the Ilocanos out of their traditional homeland. By 1903, more than 290,000 Ilocanos migrated to Central Luzon, Cagayan Valley, and Metro Manila. More than 180,000 moved to Pangasinan, Tarlac, and Nueva Ecija. Almost 50,000 moved to Cagayan Valley; half of them resided in Isabela. Around 47,000 lived in Zambales and more than 11,000 in Sultan Kudarat .
The Ilocano diaspora continued in 1906 when Ilocanos started to migrate to Hawaii and California. Ilocanos composed the largest number of expatriates in the United States, though most are bilingual with Tagalog. There is a significant Ilocano community in Hawai'i, in which they make up more than 85% of the Filipino population there.
Prior to the arrival of the Spanish, Ilocanos were animists who believed in spirits called anito who were either bad or good, male or female. These anito ruled over all aspects of the universe. For example, Litao were anitos of water, Kaibáan, also called Kanibáan, were anitos of the undergrowth in a forest, and Mangmangkik were anitos of trees. The Mangmangkik were often feared for causing sickness when a fellow tree was cut down. To appease the Mangmangkik before cutting down a tree, the following chant was made:
Dikat agunget pari.
Ta pumukan kami.
Iti pabakirda kadakami.
This chant calls on the Mangmangkik and beseeches them not to curse the people cutting the tree down. Similar chants and phrases are uttered to appease the Kaibáan when hot cooking water is thrown out into the yard for disposal. The Kaibáan can be befriended, giving luck and blessing to the person. Likewise, if a Kaibáan is angered, illness and in some cases death would plague the person's health and family.
Other ways anitos were respected and appeased were through offerings and sacrifices to idols on platforms called a simbaan or designated caves where the anito frequents. These offerings, called 'atang', consisted of various foodstuffs and sweets, as well as cigars and paan. Atang is also offered to the deceased during prayers for the dead or on All Soul's Day.
Another practice which survived well into the 19th century was 'sibróng'. Associated with human sacrifice and headhunting, sibróng was a prevalent practice in the Ilocos region. The person who carried out the executions was called the 'mannibróng'; this term now means 'thief' in modern Ilocano. Before the death of a community leader or a member of the Principalía, the dying person would lift his hand raised with a certain number of fingers. The number of fingers raised would be the indicator of how many people would have to be killed in order to accompany the dying to the afterlife. In other cases, the people chosen by the mannibróng would have their fingers cut off instead of being executed. Síbrong can also refer to the practice of placing a human head in the foundations of the building to protect the structure from damage.
In Ilocano mythology, Angalo was a mythical creation giant who was also the first man. Through his actions, he shaped the Cordillera Central, Luzon mountain range, formed the oceans and its saltiness, and put up the sky, moon, sun and stars. The Banaoang Gap, in Santa, Ilocos Sur was said to be created by Angalo when he kicked the mountain range while sleeping.
Unnamed Supreme God: the supreme god who tasked the primordial giants to initiate the creation of many things
Anglao: also called Angalo; dug the earth and made the mountains, urinated into the holes in the earth and made the rivers and lakes, and put up the sky, the sun, the moon, and arranged the stars at the behest of the supreme god
Aran: one of the two primordial giants tasked with the creation of many things
Ilocanos boast of a somewhat healthy diet heavy in boiled or steamed vegetables and freshwater fish, but are particularly fond of dishes flavored with bugguong, fermented fish that is often used instead of salt. Ilocanos often season boiled vegetables with bugguong monamon (fermented anchovy paste) to produce pinakbet. Local specialties include the abuos, soft white larvae of ants, and "jumping salad" or tiny, live shrimp with kalamansi juice. Another food that is popular for many Ilocanos is marunggay. It is a good condiment for meat soup called la'uya (e.g. tinola) or it can be mixed with the famous dinengdeng, a soup made of mainly vegetables with prawn aramang. Most households grow this tree in their backyards and usually offered free for all the neighbors who may want them. Many Ilocanos from Hawai'i are fond of eating them. The Ilocano people are also known to be the first ethnic group in the Philippines to eat the larvae and eggs of abuos (weaver ants). The practice has since been infused as well with other ethnic groups in northern Luzon.
One of the most well-known Ilocano literary works written in Iloco is the Biag ni Lam-ang (The Life of Lam-Ang), an epic poem about the fantastic life and escapades of an Ilocano hero named Lam-ang. "Biag ni Lam-ang" is a testament in the Ilocano literature. The Ilocano writer Elizabeth Medina is probably the most remarkable living Ilocano writer in the Spanish language.
Even before the coming of the Spaniards, the Ilocano people of Northern Luzon were already crafting tools and objects that describes their culture and civilization. Prior to the Spanish colonization that westernized the Ilocano people, the Ilocanos already invented the Dadapilan (a tool use for crushing sugarcane). Other cultural items includes tilar (native loom), dulang (low table), abel (textile), burnay (native jar), almiris, (mortar), maguey products, panday blacksmith, sag-ut (cotton yarn). The Ilocanos of Northern Luzon are one of the Ethnolinguistic group of the Philippines that was colonized by Spaniards but preserved some of its indigenous arts.
Gregorio C. Brillantes from Camiling, Tarlac, a multi-award-winning fiction writer and magazine editor, is one of the Philippines' greatest writers in English.
Jose Burgos, Filipino priest and martyr during Spanish times.
Edmundo Abaya Archbishop Emeritus Edmundo M. Abaya, DD was born on Jan. 19, 1929 in Candon, Ilocos Sur.During his active years in the ministry, Abaya had served as chairman of the CBCP's Commission on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs from 1988 to 1989.The first appointee of the late pope-turned-saint John Paul II as bishop in the Philippines died on September 20, 2018
Joseph Emilio Abaya DOTC secretary His father, Cong. Plaridel Abaya hails from Candon Ilocos Sur. Descendant of Isabelo Abaya of Candon, Ilocos Sur, "one of the greatest heroes of the Revolution in the entire North".
Ernesto Maceda also known as Manong Ernie was a Filipino politician, lawyer, and columnist who served as a Senator of the Philippines from 1971 to 1972 and again from 1987 to 1998. He served as Senate President from 1996 to 1998. His Mother, a Madarang came from Candon Ilocos Sur.
Sonny Cabatu (born on October 10, 1960 in Cabugao, Ilocos Sur), is a semi-retired Filipino professional basketball player in the Philippine Basketball Association and was the very first draft pick of the league in 1985. He is also the father of current Barangay Ginebra Kings player Junjun Cabatu.
Niña Corpuz, former Filipino journalist from Batac, Ilocos Norte
Onofre Corpuz, from Camiling, Tarlac, writer and former secretary of the Department of Education; 13th president of the University of the Philippines; president of the Development Bank of the Philippines.
Darren Espanto, Filipino singer, His parents are Ilocano From Nueva Vizcaya.
Erlinda Fadera-Basilio, ambassador and permanent representative of the Philippines to the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva, Switzerland; the first woman Vice President of the UN Human Rights Council; founding member of the English Speaking Union (ESU), Philippines Chapter. She is from Bacnotan, La Union.
Ferdinand Marcos, Jr., also known as BongBong Marcos, is the only son of former president Ferdinand Marcos. He served as governor of Ilocos Norte from 1998 to 2007. He also served as a representative of Ilocos Norte's 2nd District. He is currently a Senator of the Philippines.
Mariano Marcos, father of Ferdinand Marcos, was a lawyer and a politician.
Martha Vanessa Antonio del Moral, better known by her screen name Vaness del Moral (born on May 23, 1988 in Baguio, Benguet, Philippines), is a Filipina actress and a talent at one of the top management groups in the Philippines, the GMA Artist Center.
Paulino Santos, from Camiling, Tarlac, a former chief of staff of the Philippine Army during the time of Philippine President Manuel Luis Quezon; founder of Penal Colonies and a Philippine Constabulary Second Lieutenant.
Luis "Chavit" Singson (born June 21, 1941), better known as Chavit Singson, a Filipino politician from Vigan City. He was a former Governor of the province of Ilocos Sur, Philippines since 1998. He is the owner of the Partas Bus Company.Singson is said to have started EDSA II, when in October 2000 he alleged he gave President Joseph Estrada Php 400 million as payoff from illegal gambling profits.
Liza Soberano Hope Elizabeth Soberano (formerly known by the screen name Hope Soberano), is a young Filipina American model and actress, is a contract artist of ABS-CBN and Star Magic. She is currently starring in the teleserye FOREVERMORE and in the movie "THE BET" to be released in 2015. Her father and ancestors are Ilocanos from Sta. Maria, Asingan, and Baguio.
Jessica Soho (born March 27, 1964) is Filipino broadcast journalist, documentarian and news director who received a George Foster Peabody Award and was the first Filipino to win the British Fleet Journalism Award in 1998. She is from San Juan, La Union
Carlos P. Garcia, 8th President of the Philippines (1957-1961), his parents were natives from Bangued, Abra.
Máximo Villaflor Solivén (September 4, 1929 - November 24, 2006) was a prominent Filipino journalist and newspaper publisher. In a career that spanned six decades, he attained his greatest peak and influence with the Philippine Star, which he co-founded in 1986, and where he served as publisher until his death. His daily column published in the Star, titled "By The Way", was one of the most widely read newspaper columns in the Philippines
Teófilo Yldefonso, "the Ilocano Shark" (February 9, 1903 - July 19, 1943), was a Filipino swimmer who specialized in the breaststroke. He was the first Filipino to win an Olympic medal, and the only Filipino to win multiple medals. He was born in Piddig, Ilocos Norte.
Mateo, Grace Estela C. (2004). A history of Ilocos: a story of the regionalization of Spanish colonialism (Ph. D. thesis). University of Hawaii at Manoa. hdl:10125/11655.
The Online Ilokano Dictionary Project - A free Ilokano dictionary application. The primary objective of TOIDP is to provide an online Ilokano resource for people to utilize so that they may overcome the language barriers existing between the English and Ilokano languages. Feel free to browse around and make full use of the tools available on this site.
Tarabay iti Ortograpia ti Pagsasao nga Ilokano - A free ebook version of the Guide on the Orthography of the Ilokano Language developed by the Komisyon ng Wikang Filipino (KWF) in consultation with various stakeholders in Ilokano language and culture. Developed back in 2012 as a resource material for the implementation of the Department of Education's K-12 curriculum with the integration of MTB-MLE or Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education.