Ilocano: Brilliance of the North

“Naimbag nga Adlaw!” from the northwest seaboard of Luzon comes the greetings which in the English language would mean “Good day.” Inhabiting in the Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Cagayan, Abra, La Union, Nueva Vizcaya, Pangasinan, Tarlac, and Benguet, with the most appealing dishes and recipes are the third largest ethnolinguistic group in the Philippines, the Ilocanos.


This hardworking ethnic group in the Philippines were not given much land to farm, but have managed to make the most of the usage of small space accessible to them by planting industriously. They are also observed as thrifty, but it is understood since it is difficult for them to earn a living in their area. They are also family-oriented wherein every decision especially marriage must be approved by all members of the family. They are appreciative, simple, and determined.


Ilocanos are also known for their remarkable literary masterpiece, “Biag ni Lam ang” and some famous personalities such as Elpidio Quirino and Ferdinand Marcos, former Philippine presidents, and Jose Burgos the Martyr Catholic priest known in history.


Regarding specialties and cooking, the number of migrating population of Ilocanos had spread their food throughout the archipelago. Dinengdeng is the first in the line of the famous Ilocano foods, which is full of vegetables like string beans, squash, and ampalaya and is then spiced up. Dinardaran is another specialty or the Pork blood stew. The third one is Dinakdakan, very much similar to Sisig but different in the manner of slicing the meat. It is made of pork brain and is often served as appetizers for liquor drinkers. Igado is consists of pork tenderloin and liver cut into strips and mixed with bell pepper and peas. This dish is another must-be-tried food of the Ilocanos perfect with rice for lunch or dinner.


Ilocano traditions are also fascinating as their prudence significantly influenced this. Like all others, death to them is a great sorrow. In this life event, if a father dies, the mother dresses him alone to receive unsaid messages of the deceased. They also have different rituals done during the wake and after the burial. They are also known to have different songs for different occasions or life events.


It is indeed an excellent opportunity to share activities, foods, and stories with these people since innate in them is to be loving, seeking for belongingness and very hospitable. From the northern part of the Philippines, in the warm hearts of the Ilocanos, “Naimbag na Adlaw!”