You are here: Home > Province of Ilocos Sur
Search Website:
Be Sociable, Share!


Province of Ilocos Sur

Ilocos Sur (Filipino:Timog Ilokos) is a province of the Philippines located along the western coast of Northern Luzon. Ilocos Sur is bounded by Ilocos Norte in the North, Abra in the Northeast, Mt. Province in the East, Benguet in the Southeast, La Union in the South and Luzon Sea and Lingayen Gulf in the West. The province falls within latitudes 16° 40’ to 17° 54’ north and longitudes 120° 20’ to 120° 56’ east. Vigan City, the provincial capital is approximately 408 kilometers by road from Manila, 128 kilometers north of San Fernando City, and 80 kilometers south of Laoag City.

City/Municipality No. of
Income Class Population
(Aug. 1, 2007)
Alilem 9 4th 6,217 11,933
Banayoyo 14 4th 7,149 2,463
Bantay 34 3rd 33,174 7,660
Burgos 26 4th 11,459 4,438
Cabugao 33 1st 33,847 9,556
Caoayan 17 4th 18,914 1,742
Cervantes 13 4th 14,116 23,470
Galimuyod 24 4th 10,310 3,440
Gregorio del Pilar (Concepcion) 7 5th 4,308 4,166
Lidlidda 11 5th 3,798 3,384
Magsingal 30 3rd 27,615 8,498
Nagbukel 12 5th 4,764 4,312
Narvacan 34 2nd 41,578 12,221
Quirino (Angkaki) 9 4th 7,866 24,010
Salcedo (Baugen) 21 4th 10,704 10,344
San Emilio 8 4th 6,920 14,144
San Esteban 10 5th 7,779 1,962
San Ildefonso 15 5th 6,670 1,135
San Juan (Lapog) 32 3rd 23,808 6,437
San Vicente 7 5th 11,907 1,260
Santa 26 4th 14,059 10,910
Santa Catalina 9 5th 13,284 968
Santa Cruz 49 1st 35,906 8,878
Santa Lucia 36 3rd 23,872 4,972
Santa Maria 33 3rd 28,002 6,331
Santiago 24 4th 16,806 4,636
Santo Domingo 36 3rd 25,888 5,549
Sigay 7 5th 2,453 8,155
Sinait 44 3rd 24,896 6,556
Sugpon 6 5th 3,936 5,711
Suyo 8 4th 10,943 12,400
Tagudin 43 2nd 35,791 15,119
Candon City 42 4th 56,270 10,328
Vigan City 39 4th 47,246 2,512

The province of Ilocos Sur is where the Ilocos Region’s myriad of cultures and histories converge to become a living museum of a spirited past. A national shrine, a national landmark, a national museum, heritage museums, ancestral houses, period houses, cobble-stoned streets – they all share space in the timeless land of Ilocos Sur.

Found in the province is the historic city of Vigan, which was inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage List in November 1999. Established in the 16th century, Vigan is the best preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia. Its architecture reflects the coming together of cultural elements from elsewhere in the Philippines and from China with those from Europe to create a unique culture and townscape without parallel anywhere in East and Southeast Asia. Its Kamestizoan District is replete with ancestral houses with ancient tiled roofs, massive hardwood floorings, ballustrades and azoteas in varying Spanish-Mexican-Chinese architectural styles.

Centuries-old Sta. Maria Church, declared a National Landmark, was used as a fortress during the Philippine Revolution of 1896. Tirad Pass, declared a National Shrine, had been the last stand of the Filipino Revolutionary Forces under General Emilio Aguinaldo of that same period. Bessang Pass served as the backdoor to General Yamashita’s last ditch defense during the last stage of World War II.

Brief History


Before the coming of the Spaniards, the coastal plains in northwestern Luzon, stretching from Bangui (Ilocos Norte) in the north to Namacpacan (Luna, La Union) in the south, were as a whole known as a progressive region called the Ylokos. This region lies in between the China Sea in the west and Northern Cordilleras on the east. The inhabitants built their villages near the small bays on coves called “looc” in the dialect. These coastal inhabitants were referred to as “Ylocos” which literally meant “from the lowlands”. The entire region was then called by the ancient name “Samtoy” from “sao ditoy” which in Ilokano mean “our dialect”. The region was later called by the Spaniards as “Ylocos” or “Ilocos” and its people “Ilocanos”.

The Ilocos Region was already a thriving, fairly advanced cluster of towns and settlements familiar to Chinese, Japanese and Malay traders when the Spaniard explorer Don Juan de Salcedo and members of his expedition arrived in Vigan on June 13, 1572. Forthwith, they made Cabigbigaan (Bigan), the heart of the Ylokos settlement their headquarters which Salcedo called “Villa Fernandina” and which eventually gained fame as the “Intramuros of Ilocandia”. Salcedo declared the whole Northern Luzon as an encomienda. Subsequently, he became the encomendero of Vigan and Lieutenant Governor of the Ylokos until his death in July 1574.

Augustinian missionaries joined the military forces in conquering the region through evangelization. They established parishes and built churches that still stand today. Three centuries later, Vigan became the seat of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia.

A royal decree of February 2, 1818 separated Ilocos Norte from Ilocos Sur, the latter to include the northern part of La Union (as far as Namacpacan, now Luna) and all of what is now the province of Abra. The sub-province of Lepanto and Amburayan in Mt. Province were annexed to Ilocos Sur.

The passage of Act 2683 by the Philippine Legislature in March 1917 defined the present geographical boundary of the province.

The names of famous men and women of Ilocos Sur stand in bold relief in Philippine history. Pedro Bukaneg is the Father of Iluko Literature. Isabelo de los Reyes will always be remembered as the Father of the Filipino Labor Movement. His wife, Leona Florentino was the most outstanding Filipino woman writer of the Spanish era. Vicente Singson Encarnacion, an exemplary statesman, was also a noted authority on business and industry.

From the ranks of the barrio schoolteachers, Elpidio Quirino rose to become President of the Republic of the Philippines. Col. Salvador F. Reyes, a graduate of the Westpoint Military Academy, USA, led an untarnished and brilliant military career.

General Information

  • Founded On: 1572
  • Capital: Vigan City
  • Area: 2,596.0 km2 (1,002.3 sq mi)
  • No. of City / Municipality: 34 (2 Cities / 32 Municipalities)
  • Income Classification: 1st Class
  • Languages / Dialects: Tagalog, Pangasinense, Visaya, Chinese, English, Kankanai, Tingguian and Muslim
  • Website:
The Pilgrimage Tour of Ilocos Sur (Presented by Former Governor DV Savellano)
Ilocos Sur - The Total Vacation Package (Presented by Former Governor DV Savellano)