WEB AND WEAVE: ILOKANOS AS MIGRANTS (Part I)

The Ilocano or Ilokano people are the third largest Filipino ethnic group. Aside from being referred to as Ilocanos, from “i”(from), and “looc”(bay), they also refer to themselves as Samtoy, from the Ilocano phrase “saomi ditoy”, meaning ‘from our language’. The word “Ilocano” came from the word “Iloco” by the natives of the upper part of the land known as “Cordillera.”

Originally indigenous to the narrow coastal strip of northwestern Luzon, the migration of Ilocanos has been great.

Ilokanos are known to be wanderers, in search for lands and opportunities. With their cultural values and practices in them, they venture in strange lands. Sheer determination and positive outlook towards life compel them to endure the hardships and struggles that new opportunities offer them.

Just like other places, Mindoro Province in Region IV is not exempted to the lands where Ilokanos migrated. This predominantly Tagalog speaking province, being  a part of Southern Tagalog Region, is now  a home to many Ilokanos. Victoria, formerly Borbocolon,  in Oriental Mindoro has become a melting pot among Ilokanos, Bicolanos and Batanguenos.

This town was once part of the Municipality of Naujan, around 34 kilometers away from Calapan City, until its creation on September 15 1953. Through the untiring efforts of Marciano Roldan and former Secretary Ordona, the municipality of Victoria was created by virtue of Executive Order 620 of the late President Elpidio Quirino in honor of his daughter, Victoria.

Victoria’s mixture of population is deemed to be its significant asset. The Bicolanos who settled near Lake Naujan became the suppliers of fish; which the Visayan people acted as merchants. The Batanguenos preferred the hilly sections of the place while the Ilokanos opted to settle in the fertile lowlands, and developed the agricultural potential of Victoria.

Out of the 32 barangays of Victoria, eight are perceived to be Ilokano dominated communities. In fact, several Punong Barangays (Barangay Captains) and kagawads are Ilokanos. One barangay is even a namesake of the place where they came from: Urdaneta.

This study spells the cultural and social significance of Ilokano migration and its wide influence in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro.

Statement of the Problem

This study sought to present the victories of Ilokano migration in Victoria, Oriental Mindoro.

Specifically, it tried to determine 1) the profile of the respondents along the following socio-demographic factors: Age, Sex, Type of work, Number of children, Number of years living in Mindoro, Number of times visited Ilocos/Region 1 and Dominant language spoken; 2) the Ilokano cultural practices observed by the respondents while living in Mindoro along: Kinship Gathering (Baptism, Wedding and Wake), Indigenous Culinary Arts, Beliefs in the Supernatural, Ilokano Socialization, Recreation and Sports Activities, and Values; and 3) the significant relationship between the two sets of variables.

Scope and Delimitation

This study is delimited to the cultural values/ practices of the Ilokano migrants such as kinship gathering, indigenous culinary arts, beliefs in the supernatural, Ilokano socialization, recreation and sports activities and their values. The respondents of this study involved adult Ilokano immigrants themselves and the local born.  

Assumptions of the Study

The following assumptions were utilized in this study:

1.    The Ilokanos of Victoria, Oriental Mindoro are the best sources of information about their victories of migration in the said province.

2.    The cultural practices of the respondents are measurable and reflective of their identity.

3.    The questionnaire used is valid and reliable.

4.    The answers of the respondents are indicative of their true assessment and practices.

5.    The questionnaires were distributed under normal conditions.

     (To be continued)