The Ilocanos

Culture and Traditions


Isabela, being the second largest Philippine province, is the most populated province among the five provinces in the Cagayan Valley region (Region 2). According to recent statistics, Isabela has a population of 1,401,495 people, which comprises about 46 percent of the population in the region.


Ilocanos are the most dominant group in Isabela. About 68.71 percent of the total household is classified as Ilocanos. Next in line are the Ibanag (14 percent) and the Tagalog (10 percent). The remaining 7 percent of the population are Gaddang, Paranan, Yogad, and other ethic groups.


Ilocanos are generally known for being hardworking, appreciative and determined. Compared to other ethnic groups, the Ilocanos are also known for their simple lifestyle and strong value for money. They are known for being seriously tightfisted, which has been a common joke or pun among Filipinos.


Ilocanos lived a tough life in the northern part of Luzon. Their geographical location is not blessed with a fertile land compared to Central Luzon. This has moved them to value every cent that they earn.


Ilocano Family


Like all Filipinos, the Ilocanos have a strong family tie. Most Ilocano families in Isabela compose of an average size consisting of 6 to 7 members. The father acts as the head of the family and primary breadwinner. The mother acts as the light of the home (ilaw ng tahanan) that takes care of the children and the house budget. The eldest child is responsible in dividing the chores equally amongst siblings.


Ilocano Marriage


Before planning for marriage, Ilocano children should seek the approval of both sets of parents first. Then, the parents shall decide if they would agree to let their child marry or not. The groom asks for his parents’ consent. It is his parents who will pay the dowry and finance the wedding.


Panagpudno is when the young man formally announces his desire to marry the young woman to her parents. The groom’s parents shall visit the bride’s parents and set the wedding date. Before they decide on the date, both parents shall meet with a planetario to learn which dates are good luck days.


Another meeting will be set for the wedding (palalian or ringpas) to finalize the wedding arrangements. It is also when the families will decide on the choice of sponsors, dowry, sagut (wedding dress and accessories), parawad (cash to be given by the groom to the bride’s mother as reward for raising his bride).


Value for Education


As industrious as they are in the fields, Ilocanos are also hardworkers in school. Most Ilocanos are literate. Ilocano parents are very passionate in giving their children proper education at all cost. They believe that having formal education shall open windows to better opportunities and ensure a better future for their kids.

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Ilocos Norte
Maui 4th of July 2012