Ilocos Sur is a province of the Philippines located along the western coast of Northern Luzon and belongs to Ilocos Region. It consists of 2 component cities and 32 municipalities with the historic city of Vigan as the provincial capital. The province occupies about 20.11% of the total land area of Ilocos Region. Ilocos Sur is bordered by Ilocos Norte and Abra to the north, Mountain Province to the east, La Union and Benguet to the south, and the South China Sea to the west.
The climate in the province is generally dry from the months of October to May. The southern portion, however, is humid and rain is evenly distributed throughout the year while the eastern part is drier. August has the most rainfall while January and February have the least.
Ilocos Sur is inhabited mostly by Ilocanos belonging to the third largest ethnic group of Malay origin. The people engaged in farming, producing food crops mostly rice, corn, vegetables, root crops, and fruits. Non-food crops include tobacco, cotton and tigergrass. Cottage industries in the province include loom weaving, furniture making, jewelry making, ceramics, blacksmithing and food processing.
The historic city of Vigan, which was inscribed in UNESCO’s World Heritage List in November 1999, is almost four centuries old. It was once known as “Kabigbigaan” from “biga”, a coarse, erect and araceous plant with large and ornate leaves which grows on the banks of the rivers. Its name “Bigan” was later changed to Vigan. Vigan is the best preserved example of a planned Spanish colonial town in Asia. Its Kamestizoan District has examples of typical houses with tiled roofs, hardwood floors, balustrades and azoteas in varying Spanish-Mexican-Chinese architectural styles without parallel anywhere in the East and Southeast Asia.
Other tourist spots in the province are the notable beaches of Cabangtalan in Sinait, also known as Imelda’s Cove; Pug-os in Cabugao; and the beaches in the towns of Santa Maria, Santiago, San Esteban and Candon. Ilocos Sur is home to century-old churches such as the Vigan Cathedral; Santa Maria Church which is inscribed in UNESCO World Heritage Sites list; Candon Church which has a grand façade and is famous for its tall bell tower and the longest painting in the Philippines; and the Sinait Church which houses the miraculous statue of the Black Nazarene.