Our Mission

Ti mision ti Programa iti Lengguahe ken Literatura nga Ilokano ket ti pannakaited iti de-kalidad a pannakaisuro ti lengguahe, literatura, ken kultura nga Ilokano; ti pannakapartuat ken pannakaiburay kadagiti baro nga adal a mainaig iti Ilokano; ti panagpaay iti komunidad babaen ti pannakaited iti panagsanay, agtultuloy nga edukasion, ken aramid nga extension; ken ti pannakaitandudo, pannakaitan-ok, ken pannakapadur-as ti kannawidan dagiti Ilokano.

Ilokano: As a Major Language

Ilokano or Iluko, one referred to as the “national language of the north” for its prominence in that hemisphere, is the chief regional language of Northern Luzon.

It is used by at least fifteen million native speakers in the Philippines. It ranks third, after Cebuano and Tagalog in number of native speakers, and is the language of the group of provinces originally referred to as the Ilocos Region (Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, La Union, and Abra).

It is also widely spoken in the provinces of Isabela, Pangasinan, Tarlac, Zambales, Nueva Vizcaya, and Nueva Ecija. In addition, it is the lingua franca of all the mountain provinces of Luzon. Speakers are also numerous in the towns of Occidental Mindoro and Oriental Mindoro. In the southern island of Mindanao, large enclaves of Ilokano speakers are found in Cotabato and Davao. In Manila, it is not usually nowadays to hear Ilokano spoken in public places.

Outside the Philippines, Ilokano is the native and ancestral language of the majority of the estimated seven million Filipinos, including approximately 85% of the Filipino population in Hawai’i.

A member of the Austronesian language family, Ilokano is closely related to other Philippine languages of Indonesia and Malaysia. It is less closely related to Polynesian languages such as Hawaiian, Samoan, and Tahitian, and Micronesian languages like Chamorro and Palauan, as well as the language of Madagascar, Malagasy.

Why We Teach Ilokano at the University of Hawaii at Manoa

Ilokano is the mother tongue of the majority of the people of the Philippines in Hawai’i, and the heritage language of most Filipinos in the United States. Thus, in recognition of the large Ilokano population in the State, the University of Hawai’i has supported the development of a full Ilokano Program that started in 1972. This move was in response to the community’s need for Ilokano language and culture-trained professionals in the areas of health, social and legal services, education, and commerce.

Ilokano has been, from its inception, one of the largest language programs in the UH Department of Indo-Pacific Languages & Literatures.

Apart from the need to fulfill the UH language requirements, its growth has also been fostered by the basic desire of students of Philippine ancestry to show pride in their Ilokano heritage, communicate with their parents and other members of the Ilokano community, and serve the Ilokanos who need help in various service areas using the Ilokano language.

Other students from the University take the Ilokano courses to fulfill their academic requirement, to pursue their interest in Philippine cultures and languages, or to gain multi-cultural competency by way of the Ilokano Program’s Indo-Pacific courses in Philippine drama, film, pop culture, and critical studies.

The University of Hawai’i has been recognized nationally as having one of the best and most extensive language programs in the United States, and Ilokano is one of the language programs that has given it prominence. Ilokano has placed the University in a unique position of being the main resource for Ilokano Studies, and the only institution in the world offering a Bachelor of Arts degree with a specialization in Ilokano, a minor, and a certificate.