Ilocos Sur History, Geography, Economy, Officials

Ilocos Sur History

Ilocos Sur History
Ilocos Sur Provincial Capitol

Profile of Ilocos Sur (Geography)
Location –> Ilocos Region, Northwestern Luzon Island, Philippines (See map below)
Neighboring Provinces –> Ilocos Norte, Abra, Benguet, and La Union
Capital –> Vigan City
Area –> 2,596.00 km2 (1,002.32 sq mi)
Population –> 689,668 (2015 census)
Terrain –> Mountainous in the east, hilly at the center, narrow coastal plain in the west
Industries –> Agriculture and light manufacturing
Major Products –> Tobacco, Rice, Corn, Fish, Livestock
People/Language –> Ilocano, Tagalog
Cities –> Candon and Vigan
Municipalities (Towns) –> (32) Alilem, Banayoyo, Bantay, Burgos, Cabugao, Caoayan, Cervantes, Galimuyod, Gregorio Del Pilar, Lidlidda, Magsingal, Nagbukel, Narvacan, Quirino(Angkaki), Salcedo (Baugen), San Emilio, San Esteban, San Ildefonso, San Juan, San Vicente, Santa, Santa Catalina, Santa Cruz, Santa Lucia, Santa Maria, Santiago, Santo Domingo, Sigay, Sinait, Sugpon, Suyo, Tagudin

Government Officials
Governor –> Jeremias “Jerry” C. Singson
Vice Governor –> Ryan Luis Singson
Representative (1st District which covers the city of Vigan and the towns of Cabugao, Magsingal, San Juan, Santa Catalina, Santo Domingo, Sinait, Bantay, Caoayan, San Vicente, and San Ildefonso) –> Ronald Singson
Representative (2nd District which is composed of Candon City and the municipalities of Banayoyo, Burgos, Galimuyod, Lidlidda, Nagbukel, Narvacan, Salcedo, San Esteban, Santa, Santa Cruz, Santa Lucia, Santa Maria, Santiago, Alilem, Cervantes, Gregorio del Pilar, Quirino, San Emilio, Sigay, Sugpon, Suyo, and Tagudin) –> Kristine Singson Meehan
Predecessor –> Eric D. Singson
Provincial Board Members (Sangguniang Panlalawigan or SP)
Maria Mikaela Karita Mendoza – 1st District
Efren Rafanan Sr.
Ronnie Rapanut
Christopher Abraham “Topeng” Baterina
Constante Oandasan
Jaime Singson – 2nd District
Pablito Sanidad Jr.
Virginia Pe Benito
Benjamin Maggay
Mildred Elaydo

Ilocos Sur History

Ilocos Sur was already settled by people called Ylokos when the Spanish Conquistador Don Juan de Salcedo arrived. Subsequently, the latter proclaimed the whole area as an encomienda on June 13, 1572 which became the foundation date of the province.

Many missionaries came and settled in Vigan which later became the seat of the Archdiocese of Nueva Segovia aside from being the center for political and military activities in the region.

On February 2, 1818, the northern part was separated and became another province named Ilocos Norte. In the year 1854, some towns on the southern part was given to the new province of La Union. Later, the eastern territory became the province of Abra while the southeastern part went to the province of Benguet.

The province was the scene of at least three major revolts against Spanish rule. The first revolt was lead by Diego Silang in 1762. When he died, his wife Josefa Gabriela carried on the resistance. Almost 50 years later, a certain Ambaristo led another uprising due to the unacceptable monopoly of the government in the manufacture of rice wine called Basi. In 1898, the then town of Candon was the scene of yet another revolt. This time it was led by Federico Isabelo Abaya.

During the Philippine-American War, the “Battle of Tirad Pass” in the southeastern part of the province saw the death of General Gregorio del Pilar who was guarding the retreat of President Emilio Aguinaldo to the Cordillera Mountains.

On September 1, 1901, a provincial civil government was established with Don Mena Crisólogo, a delegate to the Malolos Congress, as the first provincial governor. Vicente Singson Encarnacion represented the province in the First Philippine Legislature which was opened in 1907.

During the Second World War, the province was captured by the Japanese in 1941. On April 18, 1945, Ilocos Sur was declared liberated after the defeat of the Yamashita-led Japanese forces in the Battle of Besang Pass in the town of Cervantes.

For many years, the province has been ruled by the Singson-Crisologo Clan. The influential Luis “Chavit” Singson is currently the political kingpin in the province.

Go here to see all the famous people from Ilocos Sur.

Go here to see the candidates and results of the 2022 election in Ilocos Sur.

Go here to see the candidates and results of the 2019 election in Ilocos Sur.

Read the history of Ilocos Sur in Tagalog here.


The economy of Ilocos Sur is primarily based on agriculture particularly the production of tobacco and small scale production of rice and corn. People on the coastal areas are mostly engaged in marginal fishing.

The development of the tourism industry is a high priority of the government. The province has several historical places, beaches and coves to be promoted as tourist spots.

Ilocos Sur Economy
Ilocos Sur Tobacco Farms (credit: NTA)

RELATED: Profile of Pangasinan Province

See also: List of Philippine Provinces and Capital by Region

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