The Ilocanos

Learn About The Ilocanos

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The Sakada

An inside joke among the Filipino community in Hawaii has been passed down from generation to generation. It goes something like this: the “luna” (overseer) in one of the sugar plantations asked a new worker whether he was a Filipino. The worker replies, “No, I’m Ilokano.” Obviously, this joke unmasks the reality of the massive migration of the Ilocanos to Hawaii and to the United States.

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Ilocano Culture

The Ilocanos are known for being hardworking, appreciative, simple and determined. However, they are also known as stingy or “kuripot”. Of course, the Ilocanos being called stingy and cheap is just treated as a joke or pun among Filipinos and not as a negative regional stereotype. It is a regional characteristic that their Filipino brethren have grown to understand.

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Famous Ilocanos

The term Ilocano people refers to the dominant ethnic group from the northern part of the Philippines and is considered the third largest Filipino ethnolinguistic group.
Six former Philippine presidents were Ilocanos Elpidio Quirino, the country’s sixth president and the first from the Ilocos region, was a native of Caoayan, Ilocos Sur.

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History of Ilocanos

The Ilocanos are the 3rd largest ethnolinguistic group in the Philippines. The term “Ilocano” was derived from the words “i-“ (from) and “looc” (cove or bay), which when combined means “People of the bay”. They were also referred to as Samtoy, which is a contraction of the phrase sao mi ditoy (this is our language).

Basically, the Ilocanos are Austronesian-people/Austronesian-speaking people. The Ilocano dialect is related to the languages Indonesian, Malay, Fijian, Maori, Hawaiian, Malagasy, Samoan, Tahitian, Chamorro, Tetum and Paiwan. Today, the Ilocano dialect is the third most spoken language in the Philippines.

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Ilocanos in Hawaii

During the mid-19thcentury, the Ilocanos migrated in mass numbers out of their historical hometown to search for greener pastures in other regions in the Philippines. Most of these Ilocano’s moved to more fertile lands in the Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon (which includes provinces Tarlac, Pangasinan, Nueva Ecija)and to Metro Manila.

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Ilocanos and Philippine Politics

Even before the Spanish Colonial regime, the Ilocanos are known for their brave warriors and hardworking people. It wasn’t easy for the colonizers to conquer the Ilocano people. The native Ilocano warriors have put up tough battles with the Spaniards for land occupation. Unfortunately, the conquistadors outnumber them. Also, they have more advanced weaponry compared to the natives.

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Ilocos Norte
Maui 4th of July 2012