Spotlight: The Products, Industries, and the Economy of Ilocos Norte

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Photo by Eugene on Flickr

One of the best provinces to invest and to do business in is Ilocos Norte. The economy of Ilocos Norte is one of the fastest-growing economies in the country. It also boasts various business opportunities and potentials in Ilocos Region. Likewise, it is abundant with natural resources, just like Iloilo City and Guimaras of Visayas.

Ilocos Norte has 21 municipalities and 2 component cities. And Laoag City serves as its capital. The province sits in Luzón Island’s northwest corner, bordering Cagayan and Apayao to the east, Abra to the southeast, and Ilocos Sur to the southwest. Ilocos Norte’s border on the west is the West Philippine Sea and on the north by the Luzon Strait.

Aside from these geographical and physical data, there are other significant pieces of information that people should know about Ilocos Norte. These would include the economy, products, and industries in the province.

Here are 20 interesting facts about Ilocos Norte:

1.  Early trade with Asian neighbors

Historical accounts showed that long before the Spaniards arrived, there was a vast territory famous for its gold mining, which included provinces in the northern Philippines that included Ilocos Norte. Japanese and Chinese merchants would frequently visit the area to sell gold for beads, pottery, and silk. The locals, who are thought to be of Malay ancestry, named the area “samtoy,” a contraction of “sao mi toy,” which means “our language.”

2. How the Province got its name

After establishing the Spanish City of Manila in 1571, the Spanish conquistadors began seeking for other administrative sites to capture. Juan De Salcedo, the grandson of then Governor-General Miguel López de Legazpi, offered to head one of these missions. Salcedo and his troops eventually arrived in Vigan before moving on to Laoag, Currimao, and Badoc. To their surprise, they discovered several protected coves or “looc” where the people lived in peace as they sailed down the coast.

As a result, they named the place “Ylocos” and the people who lived there “Ylocanos.”

Meanwhile, Ilocos was just one province during the Spanish era. However, there was a division of Ilocos later into two povinces. This was on February 2, 1818. Finally, Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur came to existence. The monarch of Spain issued a Royal Decree dividing the Provincia de Ilocos in response to the Ilocanos’ uprising against the monopolies of tobacco, basi, and vinegar, with the goal of destroying their unity.

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3. Economy of Ilocos Norte

Ilocos Norte is to become the finest area for companies to invest and do business in the country. It steadfastly has devotion to research and development, providing investors with the highest-motivated and best-skilled personnel, eager to collaborate with growing and developing businesses.

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4. Products and Industries

The province is famous to specialize in different industries and products. In the field of agriculture, the province produces palay, corn, garlic, legumes, root crops, tobacco, and other fruits and vegetables. The yields of palay and corn are greater than the national average way back in 2015. For fishery, tilapia and assorted fishes are famous as products of the province. Likewise, swine and cattle comprised the livestock industry.

Meanwhile, cottage industries in the province include loom weaving, furniture, ceramics, and iron works. On one hand, salt, empanada, bagoong, patis, basi (native Ilocano wine), vinegar, longganisa, chicharon, bagnet, chichacorn (cornick), jewelry, garments, cereal processing, packaging, and mechanized processing equipment are products under manufacturing and food processing.

5. Fantastic Logistics Launchpad

As one of the gateway in the Ilocos Region, the province is becoming a significant commercial center, connecting north and central Luzon to major Asian economies such as Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Japan, and South Korea, which are all located north of the Philippines. Because of its closeness to China, the world’s second-largest economy, the province serves as a great springboard and gateway for inward and outgoing logistics not only in the Asia Pacific but all over the globe.

6. A Fortress of Peace and Order

The province’s kind and God-fearing population, along with the country’s best police force, has converted it into a secure haven for investors seeking high profits and high quality of life. The province has a relatively low crime rate. And a proclamation proved it to be free of insurgency.

7. Power Quality and Supply Dependability

Ilocos Norte is the uncontested wind energy capital of the Philippines, housing the most wind turbines and therefore assuring the provision of quality and dependable electricity to businesses, with enormous installed wind energy capacity in the future. There are also ongoing wind projects with huge potential energy capacity that passed the approval of the Department of Energy.

8. Green Technology on the Cutting Edge

Being the country’s renewable energy hub, the province focuses on sustainable development and cutting-edge technologies. In fact, it has the first wind farm in Southeast Asia. The province’s location is ideal for renewable energy, including a solar power facility at Brgy. Paguludan, Currimao, Ilocos Norte, which broke ground in November 2012.

Meanwhile, the province is one of the country’s cleanest and greenest. In keeping with its environmental commitment, the province has implemented green measures to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and seek long-term growth.

9. A Local Government Unit that is Proactive and Committed

Ilocos Norte continues to expand at an unparalleled rate because of the provincial government’s outstanding leadership, particularly in the fields of investment, agriculture, commerce, tourism, health, and education, to name a few. Ilocos Norte is being developed as a worldwide province, with plans to make it one of the most attractive trade and investment destinations in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

10. Amazing Intermodal Transportation

The province is accessible via Laoag International Airport, Currimao Seaport, and a number of transport routes provided by bus lines leading to major cities in Metro Manila including Quezon City. The daily aircraft routes from Laoag International Airport connect Ilocos Norte to Manila and the rest of the globe. The country’s main airlines offer flights to the province, making it more accessible than ever.

The harbor at Currimao is also important for shipping and receiving products into and out of the province.

11. Strengthened Disaster Preparedness

Ilocos Norte established a Provincial Resiliency Council to disaster-proof the province, which has extended and deepened participation from all sectors. Pre-positioned food, heavy equipment, and medications have been placed in freshly rebuilt evacuation facilities.

Natural defensive barriers against weather disturbances are also present throughout the province. Typhoons from the Pacific Ocean are tempered by two mountain ranges east of the Ilocos Norte. Storm surges from the west, if any exist, are absorbed by the Laoag and Paoay Sand Dunes, the country’s sole sand dunes.

12. Highly Skilled and Educated Manpower

Indeed, the Ilocanos value great education, as seen by the province’s literacy rate of 99 percent. Higher education institutions, including technical and vocational schools, that are globally competitive ensure a constant supply of qualified and hardworking human resources.

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Photo by Eugene on Flickr

13. Tourism of Ilocos Norte

A coastal province where history meets natural beauty, Ilocos Norte is blessed with rich baroque buildings, plentiful rocky beaches, and the magnificent Cordillera Mountains. Now that quarantine restrictions have been eased, Ilocos Norte intends to reopen its borders to welcome back leisure visitors from the rest of the nation. The World Tourism Council and the Department of Tourism gave Ilocos Norte a “safe travel” mark for complying with safe travel guidelines and other requirements.

14. Beaches and Natural Wonders

Ilocos Norte has a diverse terrain rich in man-made natural wonders that invite you to discover the finest of land, air, and sea. Ilocos is guaranteed to wow you with its magnificent scenery, whether you’re gazing at the Kapurpurawan Rock Formations, visiting the towering Bangui windmills, or strolling along the pebbled beaches of Pagudpud. Surf-ready waves urge you to explore Pagudpud’s magnificent tropical paradise, thanks to its geography and environment.

But who says you have to confine yourself to the sea when it comes to surfing? Ilocos Norte also gives surfers the chance to ride down the beautiful La Paz and Paoay Sand Dunes.

15. Historical Sites and Destinations

You may walk down memory lane in Ilocos Norte’s streets, admiring the beauty of historic churches and bell towers! Visit the Taoid Museum in La Tabacalera Lifestyle Center to learn more about the region’s history and culture. It showcases the pre-colonial aspect of Ilocandia and its Cordilleran roots. Because they are neighbors, Ilocos Norte and the Cordilleras have developed a strong bond that continues to this day.

In the municipality of Paoay, there is also the Saint Augustine Church, also known as the Paoay Church. The church is famous for its distinctive design, which has accentuations of the massive buttresses that run along the sides and rear of the structure. In 1973, the Philippine government designated it as a National Cultural Treasure, and in 1993, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the Philippines’ collective group of Baroque Churches.

culinary - economy of ilocos norte - streamtech fiber internet
Photo by Shubert Ciencia on Flickr

16. Culinary Specialties

The gastronomic specialties of Ilocos Norte are likewise well-known. Bagnet, deep-fried crispy pig cracklings ideally dipped in a bagoong and calamansi sauce and served with a cool beer, is a favorite meaty pork dish. This crispy-skinned delight pairs well with the traditional pinakbet, which is a must-try for any visitor. Pinakbet, a classic Filipino beef stew with boiled vegetables and shrimp paste, is a popular dish in the Philippines.

Another specialty from the province is poqui poqui is the perfect side dish made with grilled eggplants and scrambled eggs, sautéed with garlic, onions, and tomatoes. Top it off with the signature fish sauce called Patis. While, the dinengdeng is a traditional soup-like vegetable dish made with a variety of boiled vegetables and seasoned with bagoong, a salty fish sauce. Served either with grilled or fried fish on top, you will definitely have a tasty mouthful with this.

Certainly, for a snack, nothing beats an Ilocos Empanada, which is well-known throughout the country. The country’s oldest known Empanada manufacturer, Glory, is from Batac City.

17. Laoag City – Ilocos Norte’s capital

The capital of the province of Ilocos Norte is Laoag City. Its name is derived from the Ilocano word “lawag,” which means “light” or “brightness.” The city is also known as the “Sunshine City” because of its clean skyline and gorgeous blue skyline.

The city is a thriving and dynamic growth hub in the north, a really unique destination with panoramic sand dunes, rich greenery, gorgeous beaches, high land attractions, historical and heritage monuments, and more. It is Ilocos Norte’s commercial and commerce hub, with a diverse range of businesses and institutions. The central business district is home to hotels, restaurants, bars, banks, and other businesses.

The Laoag City Commercial Complex is particularly interesting since it houses shops selling Ilocano goods like Inabel, Bagnet, Longganisa, Sukang Iloko, and other Ilocano delicacies.

laoag - economy of ilocos norte - streamtech fiber internet
Photo by Wayne S. Grazio on Flickr

18. Economy of Laoag City

On the other hand, in terms of per capita income and the Human Development Index, Laoag City is one of the wealthiest cities in the country. Indeed, Laoag City, with a total land area of 12,747.35m, offers a lot of room for economic growth.

Laoag is recognized as an ecotourism hub by the Department of Tourism because of its historic picturesque tourist locations, availability of internationally competitive lodgings and amenities, and the presence of supportive national government agencies.

19. Other Known Towns in Ilocos Norte

Aside from Laoag City, there are other booming municipalities in Ilocos Norte including San Nicolas, Bacarra, Vintar, and Sarrat.

San Nicolas’ major trademark is pottery-making. It was first brought by the Spaniards, who named it Alfareria, which means “Art of Pottery.” Meanwhile, the town of Baccara’s two main agricultural income crops are tobacco and garlic.

Vintar residents work in agriculture, fishing, and herding. The municipality is primarily rural, although it is known across the province for its stunning ladies with distinct Spanish characteristics. As a result, the town is known as “The Home of Beautiful People.”

Sarrat is notable for its church, which is regarded the province’s largest and has the country’s longest nave, as well as an Important Cultural Property of the Philippines.

20. Pamulinawen Festival

Another is the Pamulinawen festival, which takes its name from Pamulinawen, a classic Ilocano folk ballad about a woman. To encourage friendship and sportsmanship, the event is happening in the city of Laoag, Ilocos Norte.

Every year in the first week of February, this event is in Laoag City, to honor the city’s patron saint, Saint William. It evolved from a modest celebration of Saint William’s Feast Day into an elaborate festival that highlights the city’s culture and traditions via a range of events.

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Streamtech now serves Ilocos Norte

Certainly, Ilocos Norte is such an ideal place for business and investments. And subscribing to a reliable internet service provider is a necessity if you intend to set up a business or simply get the best fiber internet service in this province.

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