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’s 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 (Ilocos Sur Socio Economic Profile, 1990, Provincial Planning and Development Office, Ilocos Sur / Ilocos Sur, 1996, Department of Tourism / NSCB RU I – Ilocos Sur Facts and Figures.htm).

The province of Ilocos Sur particularly in the municipalities of Sta. Maria, San Esteban and Santiago of the second congressional district of Ilocos Sur are rich in stone deposits potential for stone craft industry.  However, the industry seems and remains to be unknown (undocumented) in the national level and unchallenged to improve the industry maybe because of some difficulties encountered by the people; thus, the prospects of the people for growth remain to be a dream.

The researches prioritized to study the “The Hidden Figures of Ilocos’ Stones” a basis for development before other places are considered; the fact that the two researchers belong to the second district of Ilocos Sur wherein these municipalities exist. They came up with a concept of contributing something in pursuit of research and development for the growth of the people involved in this industry in particular.

Statement of the Problem

The study attempted to determine the socio-economic profile of the respondents, their perceptions towards their socio-economic difficulties including inventory level along needs for tools and equipments, needs for technology transfer, development and marketing needs; prospects of the stone mining and carving capitalists relevant to development in the province. Specifically, it sought to answer the following:

1.    What is the socio-economic profile of the respondents in terms of the following: 1.1. age, 1.2. sex, 1.3. civil status, 1.4. educational attainment, 1.5. number of years as miners/carvers, 1.6. source of income, 1.7. other source of income, 1.8. weekly average income, 1.9. number of family members, 1.10. training / seminars attended (relevant to stone mining and carvings), and 1.11.trade festivals attended (relevant to stone mining and carvings) 1.12. number of cubic meters a stone miner could bring down per week?

2.    What is the level of the socio-economic difficulties encountered by the respondents along: 2.1 tools and equipments used, 2.2. transportation and facilities used, 2.3. health and safety, and 2.4. association/cooperatives?

3.    What is the inventory level of the following along: 3.1. needs for tools and equipments, 3.2. needs for technology transfer and development, and 3.3. marketing needs?

4.    What are the prospects of the entrepreneurs relevant to the development of the stone mining and carving industry in the province of Ilocos Sur along:

4.1 Marketing Flow:

4.1.1 Buying,

4.1.2 Displaying, and

4.1.3 Selling

4.2 Physical Flow:

4.2.1 Transporting

4.2.2 Warehousing

4.2.3 Designs

5. Is there a significant relationship of the socio- economic profile of the respondents to the level of socio-economic difficulties?

6.  Is there a significant relationship of the socio-economic profile of the respondents to the inventory level of tools and equipments, needs for technology transfer and development, and marketing needs?

Scope and Delimitations of the Study

The researchers delimited the study to the following municipalities: Santiago, San Esteban, and Sta. Maria, Ilocos Sur wherein the stone mining and carving industry is located. The study was conducted during the months of October 2005 to February 2006.

Interviews were also conducted to the investors, resulting to the relevant information along the marketing practices and prospects.

    (To be continued)