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Ilongos Culture, Customs And Traditions


Iloilo- province , eastern portion of the island of Panay. It includes offshore islands in the Visayas sea (eats) and Guimaras Island in Guimaras Strait. The province has an area of 2,056 sq. mi. (5,324 sq. km) and is mountainous. In the west and hilly in the northeast, where the Bulabog- Putian National Park lies between Digle and San Enrique. Its irregular coastline has productive fisheries based on the port of Estancia in the north. Drained by the Jalaud River, the central and coastal region, constituting the Iloilo Basin, are level and fertile, and many areas annually harvest two rice crops. Other products include sugarcane, coconuts, bananas, and corn. Forest products and textile manufacturing are also important.

Cabatuan and Janluay (on the main north south highway), Pototan and Santa Barbara ( freight depots of the Iloilo Railroad), and Barotac Nuevo are important trading and rice-milling centers. Other population centers in addition to Iloilo City, a chartered city and the provincial capital include Mlagao, Lambunao, Dumangas and Calinog.

ILOILO CITY, a chartered city, capital of Iloilo province, on the southern coast of Panay. At the mouth of the Jaro River on the Iloilo Strait and sheltered by the offshore Guimaras Island. It is commercial center of Panay and regional center of sugar exports.

Pre- Spanish settlement was extensive, but the seaport remained small until 1855, when it was opened to foreign trade. The huge sugar exports of the nearby island of Negros were an additional spur to its growth, and for a time Iloilo city rivalled CEBU CITY as the main port of the Visayan Islands. Although freight traffic dropped with the construction of artificial ports on Negros, passenger traffic has remained high. Thousands of migrant labourers annually journey through Iloilo City, which is linked by rail with Roxas City, on the northern coast, to Negros sugar plantations. Iloilo City is also a major fishing port and it has a large airport.

The city has a compact urban core and several plaza and market centers. It did not include a large rural area upon chartering and is thus more urbanized than most Philippine cities. Building constructed after afire in 1899 show marked Spanish influence. Iloilo City is known for its old churches and for jusi (raw silk) and pina (pineapple fiber) fabrics. It is the seat of Central Philippine University (1905), the University of San Agustine (1904), and West Visayas State College 91924).


The Ilongos observed certain customs and traditions about birth, baptism, courtship and marriage, death and burial. Compare these customs and traditions with those of the Ilocanos, Tagalogs, and Bicolanos.


The coming of a child in an Ilongo family is usually an important and welcome event. Certain precautions are followed to insure the safe delivery of the child. Among these are as follows;

1. The members of the family see to it that all the wishes of an expectant mother are granted. They are careful not to displace the mother for fear that she might give birth prematurely.

2. The mother is cautioned not to make fun nor look at people with certain physical handicaps because this might happen to her unborn child.

3. The mother-to-be is not allowed to eat foods with black color to avoid having a child who is dark complexioned.

4. The newly-born child should be rocked to and form so he will grow-up to be brave.

5. The placenta should also be buried together with a book on music arithmetic and readings so that the child will be well versed in all these subjects.

6. The placenta should be placed inside as earthen jar and buried with it. This will curb the child's adventurous spirit. He will not go to far away places and will surely return to his hometown in his old age.

7. When a child is being delivered at the height of lightening and thunder, it is believed that the child will grow up to be brave, courageous and intelligent.

8. A child born at daybreak will be cool-headed patient, hardworking but will posses a weak spirit and cowardice.

9. A child born between seven or eight o'clock in the evening will be brave and domineering.


Baptism is a catholic religious ritual observed by the catholic parents of a new born child. The following are some practices the Ilongos follow in connection with baptism

1. The parents select the godparents very carefully so that child will take after the good character traits of the godparents.

2. The parents choose the priest or the minister to baptize the child.

3. It is the parental privilege to give the name to their child.

4. The child should be baptized after the first week or not later than the third month after birth. If a child dies without the benefit of baptism his soul will go to purgatory. This is according to catholic belief.

5. Baptismal parties are held after the baptism to ensure the child's success in any future undertaking.

6. It is common practice by godparents to give a certain amount of money to the child for his financial security. The money must either be invested in business or spent for the child's welfare.

7. The parents and godparents of the child develop an almost brotherly relationship. They fondly call each other as compadre and comadre.


The man court the girl of his choice by visiting her at home and sending love letter. When the girl accepts the man. they became engaged. Before their marriage, the man has to observe the pabagbati and the paregalo. The pabagti refers to required servitude of the man is the house of the girl while the paregalo is the formal announcement by the parents of the intention of their son to marry their daughter. On this occasion, the boy's parents bring food and drinks while both parties are making arrangements for the coming wedding. If the man is accepted by the girl's parents, a dowry is agreed upon. The man is also required to stay in the girl's house prior to the wedding day. The behavior of the man is carefully observed while rendering service to the girl's family.


The marriage is solemnized by a minister of the church or by the justice of the peace court. On the eve of the wedding day, a dance is held at the house of the bride-to-be. The expenses for the wedding dress, church rites and wedding reception are shouldered by the groom and his family. After the wedding, the married couple kiss the hands of the elders to receive their blessings. The wedding ceremony is later followed by the wedding party. The parents and visitors presents such as furniture, utensils, dishes, and beddings to the newlyweds. During the party, the bride and the bridegroom are asked to dance on the mat. While dancing, the guest throw money to the bride and groom. The money the couple picks up serves as additional fits. After the wedding, some parents allow the newlyweds to stay with them until they are able to save and stand on their own.


The death and burial of a person is a community affair. Relatives and friends offer help to the relatives of the dead person in the form of money and service. Friends and relatives attend the wake and offer prayers for the dead man's soul. During the wake, the family refrains from bathing and sweeping the floor for fear that another person will die. The family wears lack for one year as a sign of mourning. The family and friends of the deceases accompany the dead during the funeral. Some carry the coffin while others stay behind to prepare food. After the burial, the family invites those who joined the funeral partake of foods then prepared. After the burial the family offers prayers to the dead or a nine-day novena. The host provided a big feast on the third and ninth day of novena. This is a catholic beliefs.


The Ilongos are also influenced by many superstitious beliefs as follows;

1. Bananas should be planted after eating a full meal so that the fruits will become big and full.

2. They offer prayers to the saint to give them rain after the prayers, the image is brought to the beach and dipped in the water.

3. Before they harvest crops in the farm they offer foods and prayer.


1. It is a bad luck for a house to have 13 post.

2. Stairs of houses should face the east to bring in good luck.

3. Move into a new either on a Wednesday or Saturday.

4. Bring first salt, rice before moving intothe house.

THE ILONGOS............

The Ilongos of Iloilo and some province of West Visayas live in houses made of wood, nipa, cogon or coconut leaves. Sawali or split bamboos is used for their walls. The floors are made of inch-wide split bamboos nailed to bigger cut bamboos.

Ilongos are very hospitable, they always provide for their guest comfort and ease at their own expenses. They also very gentle in their ways that their quarrels do not see like ones. Since time is not important to the Ilongos; they take life as it comes. 

The art of the Ilongos is depicted in their lovely woven hablon materials and embroidered designs on robes of priest and children's wear.


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