Before the coming of the Spaniards, the coastal plains in the northwestern extremity of Luzon, stretching from the Bangui in the north to Namacpacan (now Luna, La Union) in the south, were as a whole known as a progressive region rich in gold.
In 1611, when Pangasinan was created, part of modern La Union was annexed to a new province. By February 2, 1818, growth and prosperity were sufficiently great to compel the Spanish authorities to divide the ancient province of La Union into two: Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur. Ilocos Sur then included its present territory, plus the northeastern part of modern La Union and all of Abra (which was then called Abra de Vigan).
In 1846, Abra was made a separate politico-militar province by the Spaniards, but was re-annexed back to Ilocos Sur as a sub-province in 1903 by the Americans. The present province of Abra was finally established in 1917.
The province of Ilocos Sur is located along the western coast of Northern Luzon. It is bounded by Ilocos Norte in the North, Abra in the Northeast, Mountain Province in the east, Benguet in the Southeast, La Union in the South and the Luzon Sea and the Lingayen Gulf in the West.
As of June 30, 2001, the province is composed of:
Approximately 23.7 percent of the province's total land area are crop lands. Aside from La Union, Ilocos Sur is one of the country's major producers of tobacco. Its other major agricultural products include onion, tomato and banana.
Industries in the province are mostly small and medium scale ones in the areas of pottery, ceramics and furniture making. These industries absorb more than half of the population total employment.
The ubiquitous old and ancestral houses and churches have made the local tourism industry a major contributor to the province's economy. Other tourist attractions include natural scenic spots and industries such as pottery and ceramics.
The province has two distinct seasons: Wet from May to November and Dry during the rest of the year. Monthly average rainfall is estimated at 213 millimeters. Annual average temperature reaches 28.5 degrees centigrade.
Sources: Ilocos Sur Socio Economic Profile, 1990, Provincial Planning and Development Office, Ilocos Sur / Ilocos Sur, 1996, Department of Tourism
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