Monday, May 5, 2014


My name is Steve Surgeoner and I am a sophomore at East Stroudsburg University.  Over the past couple of months in our Spring 2014 semester I was assigned to do multiple blog posts for my World Regional Geography class. My blog will consist of the Ilocano people of the Philippines.  My blog will take you through many different aspects of what these people will go through.  I will take you through their history, their homeland, how they make a living, what they believe, what birds are around them, how they interact with other cultures and groups,  etc.  This blog will inform you sufficiently of this group of people and possibly more if you have no current knowledge of them.  All references are at the last blog post under references.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Homeland of the Ilocano

The ethnic homeland of Ilocano is in the Philippines in a region called the Cagayan Valley which is composed of four provinces.  Those four provinces are Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, and Arba which is landlocked.  Another part in which the Ilocano people homeland was in parts of Central Luzon. Today the Ilocanos still reside in parts of the Philippines but also in the United States.

A better understanding to where the Ilocanos live it's an area between the Cordillera Mountains and the South China Sea.  They say that a raise in see level by 100 meters would submerge this area.  The are where the Ilocanos live is very mountainous with mountains twenty kilometers to the east and more forty kilometers south.  Also there is Mount Pulog which is 2,900 meters and is sixty kilometers from the South China Sea.

Where the Ilocanos live in Luzon it is classified as to one of the driest regions in the Philippines. Although the Ilocanos have been known to be very successful farmers especially when it comes to rice.  This type of weather in the region have made the Ilocanos hard-working at what they do which includes farming, fishing etc.

World of the Ilocano

The Ilocanos live in houses that are built about two to three feet above the ground and are constructed out of wood, bamboo, and either straw or grass.  In the majority of the areas where that the Ilocanos live is on a coastal plain with few good harbors.  This causes them to be very hard-workers when it comes to making a living.

When it comes to the Ilocanos making a living most of them are farmers in which their main crop they grow is rice but they also grow tobacco, garlic, onions, and other vegetables.  Farming is the main source of income or food for the Ilocanos.  They will usually fish when their farming is lacking.  For a more serious income the Ilocanos part take in some cottage industries such as wine-making, pottery-making, weaving, basket and matt making, wood-working, and silversmithing.

The cultural landscape can be classified in a few ways.  One of those is that it is a Christian Population. The Ilocanos were first converted to Christianity by the Spaniards in the late 1500's.  Although their was a class system that the Spanish put the Ilocanos into classes designed for like modern day: rich, middle, and poor.

Ilocano Food

The Ilocanos diet consists mostly of fish, vegetables, and rice for a couple of reasons.  One reason is due to the fact that their land is very hard to grow anything due to the rain and dry seasons.  Another reason is fish and rice are a big part of their diet due to the fact their extremely good rice farmers and fish is a big part of the Ilocano diet.

The most popular food or seasoning that they use is called Bagoong. Bagoong is described as a fish or shrimp paste that is mainly on every food they eat.  One of these dishes that bagoong is on is a dish called Pinakbet.  I was required to make Pinakbet in my class and it was actually really tasty.  Pinakbet consists of Bagoong, tomatoes, green beans, peppers, melon, and eggplant.
Another favorite dish would be Kilawen.  Kilawen is very different than Pinakbet.  Kilawen consists of the meat and intestines of either water buffalo, cow, sheep, or goat.  You can either eat it raw or cook it.

Birds of the Ilocano's

Of the four provinces where the Ilocano's live they have many different species of birds.  The birds that you see over in these provinces are very similar to the birds that fly around here such as ducks, doves, kingfishers, etc.

The first province is Ilocos Norte and in that province their are approximately one hundred and sixteen different species of birds.  The different species range drastically.  There are Mallards, Great Egrets, Black-Winged Stilt, Collard Kingfisher, etc. all are in Ilocos Norte.  It's counterpart Ilocos Sur unfortunately has no known bird species known according to eBird.

The third province La Union has approximately eighteen different species of birds in the province.  The province holds not only one specie of Egret but others. For example there is the Intermediate, Chinese, and Cattle Egret.  The province is also home to the Little-Ringed Plover, Eurasian Tree Sparrow, etc.  Unfortunately the fourth province Abra which is landlocked has no known species of birds according to eBird.

Down below are pictures of the Collard Kingfisher and the Little-Ringed Plover

Ilocanos and their Neighbors

The Ilocanos are the third largest ethnolinguistic group and are spread out not only all of the Philippines but also around the world.  As of 1900 the Spanish gave a census of Ilocanos around the Philippines and there are thirty-four municipalities throughout the three our of the four provinces of Luzon: Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, and La Union.

When it came to trade with other cultures and groups they started with trading with other cullers in the south, one of those areas being the Province of Pangasinan.  They improved their trade techniques ships from Japan and China would appear on their coasts.  Through the trade they started to develop reading and writing skills.

The one group that the Ilocanos did not take kindly was the Spanish.  As I've stated before the Ilocanos were not to fond of the Spanish mainly due to their attempt to rule and conquer the Ilocanos.

Ilocanos Migrations and Diaspora

The Ilocanos have been leaving their homeland of Luzon since the 19th century and have been migrating to different places around the world.  Some of the Ilocanos have migrated to different parts of the Philippines such as the provinces of Pangasinan, Tarlac, and Nueva Ecija.  And as I've stated before the Ilocanos have migrated to cities such as Manila.

Not only have the Ilocanos migrated to different parts of the Philippines but also to other places around the world.  In the late 19th century many Ilocanos migrated to different parts of the world such as the United States, Canada, Europe, etc. for better economic possibilities.  Some of these better economic possibilities are doctors, nurses, teachers, and engineers.

Many Ilocano men although left for the islands of Hawaii for a different occupation.  They occupation they left for was to work on the Sugar Plantations in Hawaii. Not only did they settle in Hawaii but many Ilocanos have settled in the state of California to work on farms.  Most Filipino Americans in the United States are of Ilocano decent and they make up about 85% of the Filipino Americans in Hawaii.

The Ilocanos are the first cultural group from the Philippines to migrate to the United States.  Filipinos are also the most famous to migrate away from their homeland due to the fact that their homeland in Luzon is very difficult to make a living.