Ilocos is a bastion of heritage preservation in the Philippines, where visitors can enjoy Vigan, a well-preserved Spanish-Filipino village, and a true showcase for Spanish influence in the islands. Other attractions include the ancestral homes, now museums, of the colorful characters of Philippine history. The body of the region’s most infamous son, former president Ferdinand Marcos, lies preserved in a glass case in the Marcos Museum and Mausoleum in Batac, Ilocos Norte.
Ilocanos are known to be hardworking and frugal, hardy in the face of adversity. Respect and humility in everyday dealings mark the Ilocano personality; they live simply, concentrating on work and productivity. Local artisans like fabric weavers and potters are famous for their skilled craftwork.
Authentic local cuisine consists mainly of vegetable and poultry from small farms, daily catch from traditional fishing methods, and local pork delicacies like bagnet (dried pork belly) and longganiza (ground pork sausage). A famous regional dish is pinakbet, a mixture of vegetables such as squash, okra, eggplant, ampalaya, and string beans cooked with bagoong or shrimp sauce. Ilocano dishes are usually salty or bitter and eaten with rice. A popular snack from Ilocos is the empanada—a deep-fried pie made from an orange-colored dough, stuffed with egg and bits of pork. It is eaten with sukang Iloko or sugar cane vinegar.