Museo Ilocos Norte

Museo Ilocos Norte showcases not just the history of ‘Norte’ but also the multi-cultural heritage of this part of Ilocos Region.

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Disclaimer: The content of this article is based on personal experience as well as references to the date of publication. Changes may occur on contact details, transportation, fees, etc. With this, please do comment at the end of the article any updates as well as corrections on the content, anything amiss, or any information that you think is crucial to the readers. Thank you!


Location

Address: Gen. Luna cor V. Llanes Streets, Laoag City, Ilocos Norte, Philippines

Coordinates: 18.1967° N, 120.5925° E

Map:

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Business Hours
  • 0800AM-0500PM

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Fees
  • Entrance Fee: Php50.00

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Contact Person/Group/Website/Page

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Inside Museo Ilocos Norte

Museo Ilocos Norte showcases not just the history of ‘Norte’ but also the multi-cultural heritage of this part of Ilocos Region.

The museum was mainly conceived to encourage a sense of pride for the folks of Ilocos Norte, especially the younger generations of Ilocanos, Yapayaos, Itnegs, and other citizens [1]. Its goal is also to generate, among both the young and old, a feeling of belonging for their ancient homeland. The symbol of the Museo, a many-rayed sun, is taken from one of the finials at the back of the 9th century church of San Nicolas [1].

<p class="has-text-align-justify" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">A stroll away from the Laoag Plaza, Museo Ilocos Norte is very accessible to tourists as it is located in the heart of the city. It is also strategically housed in a historic Tabacalera warehouse. It houses a good collection of traditional clothing, common utensils, ceremonial objects, among others of Ilocano, Igorot and Itneg in the olden days. Actually, some of them are still being used today. A stroll away from the Laoag Plaza, Museo Ilocos Norte is very accessible to tourists as it is located in the heart of the city. It is also strategically housed in a historic Tabacalera warehouse. It houses a good collection of traditional clothing, common utensils, ceremonial objects, among others of Ilocano, Igorot and Itneg in the olden days. Actually, some of them are still being used today.

<p class="has-text-align-justify" value="<amp-fit-text layout="fixed-height" min-font-size="6" max-font-size="72" height="80">It is a museum of modest size but full of unique relics of local tribes many pieces showing the influence of China, Spain and US on the region. It is a museum of modest size but full of unique relics of local tribes many pieces showing the influence of China, Spain and US on the region.

Navigating through the museum is easy. If you want, there is an available guide that can help you especially if you need explanation on the content of the museum.

The following are just a few of the content of the museum:

You will be greeted with the colorful traditional attire of the lowland ancestry.

Carbide lamps, known as lampa locally, is usually used during fishing at night, both freshwater and saltwater fishing. Interestingly, this is also being during frog hunting, hence the local phrase agsilaw ti tukak.


Farming implements are of various shapes and sizes. With the advent of industrialization, some of these are now not known to the younger generation. For example, harvesting rice using rakem is now rarely done. This is where museums play a vital part.

A fascinating article in one of the Museo Ilocos Norte is the ananga. This is an organic rain protection gear made from palm leaves. I remember this also as we onw one when I was younger [shows how ancient I am :)].


Pottery had always been a part of daily living of the Ilocanos. Primarily, these pots were used for tea drinking, and as container for salt, brown sugar, water, local wine (basi) and bagoong (fermented fish).

Pottery, both of local and China origin, are also showcased in the museum.

Buffalo-drawn carriages are also being displayed in Museo Ilocos Norte. Through this museum, I became aware that we do have a local counterpart of a saddle.


The iconic kalesa is also in display. The kalesa (horse-drawn carriage), one of the earliest modes of transportation in the Philippines, has since become a Filipino cultural heritage and tourist attraction in some parts of the country [3].

This kalesa occupies most of the floor of the end of the hall. I am happy with it as it is one of the defining part of Ilocos history.

Bufallo hides are used as decorations or in making leather-bags and such. One of the most extraordinary–or probably ordinary– use of the dried hide is it is being used as a mat of pounding rice bundle, ready for rice milling or traditional pounding in big wooden or stone mortar with wooden pestle.

A buffalo hide covering an entire double window.

At the end of the the large hall is a split-level replica of a 19th century ilustrado house. Ilustrados are citizens who have attained higher education [2].


Kitchen utensils including a pugon are well-placed in the upper split-half floor of the museum.


A remnant of the past, a wooden trunk is commonly known by the older people. Usually, this are being used to store clothes. There are a lot more of pieces in this section such as weaving machine, decorative clothes, and musical instruments.


In summary, Museo Ilocos Norte is of modest size but has collections that defines the province’s history. It is a very informative place for non-residents. This museum is highly recommended if you want to have a glimpse of the history of Ilocos Norte.

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How to Get To Museo Ilocos Norte

By land. Take any bus heading to Laoag City.

  • Manila buses bound to Laoag City are Partas, Dominion Bus, Aniceto Bus, Viron Transit, Florida Bus Line, Fariñas Trans, Maria De Leon Bus Lines, RCJ Bus Lines and F. Franco Transit. Make sure it is bound to Laoag, though most of these buses also have Vigan to Laoag trips. Anywhere from Laoag City, hail a tricycle and tell the driver to drop you at the Museo Ilocos Norte.
  • From Baguio City, you can take a Partas bus near SM City Baguio or the ordinary mini-buses in Bayanihan. Make sure it is bound to Laoag, though most of these buses also have Vigan to Laoag trips. Anywhere from Laoag City, hail a tricycle and tell the driver to drop you at the Museo Ilocos Norte.
  • GMW Liner and Florida Liner have buses plying a vice versa Abra and Tuguegarao with a stop in Laoag City route. Anywhere from Laoag City, hail a tricycle and tell the driver to drop you at the Museo Ilocos Norte.

By air. Cebu Pacific and Philippine Airlines flies from Manila to Laoag International Airport.

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Helpful Local Phrases
  • Good morning: Naimbag a bigat; Good afternoon: Naimbag a malem; Good day: Naimbag nga aldaw; Good evening: Naimbag a rabii
  • How are you?: Kumusta
  • Thank you: Agyamanak
  • What is your name?: Ania ti nagan mo?
  • I don’t understand: Diak maawatan
  • How do I get to…?: Kasantnu ak a makapan sadiay…?
  • One: maysa, two: duwa, three: tallo, four: uppat, five: lima, six: ennem, seven: pito, eight: walo, nine: siyam, ten: sangapulo
  • How much is this?: Sagmamano daytoy?
  • Help!: Arayat!
  • Sorry: Pakawanennak

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Other Notable Nearby Places

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References

[1] Museo Ilocos Norte. n.d. About The Museum. [online] Available at: <http://museoilocosnorte.com/about-the-museum/&gt; [Accessed 9 September 2020].

[2] Cullinane, M., 2003. Ilustrado Politics: Filipino Elite Responses To American Rule, 1898-1908. Manila: Ateneo University Press, p.30.

[3] Montefalcon, M., Cruz, R., Inocencio, M. and Portus, A., 2018. An Ergonomic Assessment of the Philippine Kalesa. Advances in Physical Ergonomics & Human Factors, pp.170-178.

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