What Are the Traits of the Ilocano?

The Ilocano people are stereotyped as being thrifty and family-oriented, placing high value on education. They’re also described as being hardworking, determined and persevering. While the Ilocanos are called “kuripot,” or cheap, it’s generally understood in the Philippines that it’s difficult for them to earn a living in their territories.

Situated between the Cordillera mountain ranges and the South China Sea, the Ilocano people rely primarily on agriculture to earn money. They primarily grow fruit and vegetables. However, they are located far away from central areas of trade and industry, requiring them to travel for long hours to arrive in Manila where they can sell their no longer fresh produce. Because of this, the Ilocano people rarely have surplus money to spend.

The emphasis placed on family is evident in their marriage traditions. Both the bride and groom must obtain the approval of all four parents, who can either support or veto the marriage. After the engagement is formally announced, the parents determine the location, date, budget and other arrangements. The bride and groom’s parents have different obligations placed on them.

Despite being located in a remote and rural location, there is a high rate of literacy among Ilocano children who receive formal educations.