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PUBLIC ADVISORY

“THERE’S NO WAY BUT UP”

by PGIN-CMO

Jun. 23, 2022 ...

Ilocos Norte boasts its bountiful agriculture, flourishing tourism, clean energy, and, above all, its people. As one of the provinces with the lowest poverty rate in the country, Ilocos Norte continues to grow as an "ideal business destination" in Northern Luzon.

The Provincial Government further strengthens the public-private partnership in the province to maximize its resources and generate profitable opportunities for its people. Below are the business and investment prospects that await investors.

Over 51,000 hectares of farmland are tilled by Ilocos Norte's hardworking farmers, who are responsible for the province's high-quality natural products and food sustainability. Thanks to a favorable climate and the cultivating hands of its farmers, Ilocos Norte is one of the country's top producers of garlic and dragon fruit as well as the second largest producer of tomato, native shallot, and mango (Northern Philippines). Currently, the province is shifting to high-value crop production to supply Ilokano farmers with alternatives to seasonal produces like rice, garlic, and native shallots, among others.

Many prospective investments in the agriculture sector are accessible in Ilocos Norte, including production capital, agricultural land acquisition for expansion, farm development, setting up processing facilities, equipment and warehouse, packaging, and cold storage.

Tourism and the creative industries, on the other hand, are also the economic backbone of Ilocos Norte. Its highest annual tourist arrival was over 3.8 million in 2019, representing a 1,394% in tourism traffic since 2012.

As a result of this growth, Ilocos Norte became one of the best tourism-oriented provinces in the Philippines from 2017 to 2019. This has led to the expansion of tourism assets such as the establishment of resorts and accommodations, the formation of different industry associations, and an increase in the number of graduates with a specialty in tourism and hospitality management.

At present, the Ilocos Norte Trade and Promotions and Investment Center (INvest) is seeking investors to help develop the Laoag International Airport and Currimao International Seaport, which serve as the Philippines' Northern Gateway. Moreover, the INvest is encouraging the emergence of more hoteliers, eco-adventure leisure and recreation (e.g. cable park, treetop adventure, kite surfing), health and wellness (e.g. farm-to-table restaurants, wellness activities, beauty and spa), social entrepreneurship (e.g. supermarket, micropower generation, online marketplace), and creatives (e.g. heritage arts and crafts, loom weaving, pottery) to further diversify the province’s tourism.

Ilocos Norte is also known as the "Renewable Capital of the Philippines" and is home to Southeast Asia's first and largest wind farm. Energy Development Corporation, Mirae Asia Energy Corporation, and Zak Green Energy, Inc., among others, are expanding their operations in Ilocos Norte, taking advantage of the province's high wind power density, promising solar power, and strong hydro-power generation.

According to INvest, the total wind potential capacity in Pagudpud, Pasuquin, Burgos, and Bangui is 719 MW; the total solar energy potential capacity in Pasuquin, Burgos, Currimao, and Paoay is 312.5 MW; and the towns of Adams, Carasi, Dumalneg, Nueva Era, Pagudpud, and Vintar are ideal locations for a hydroelectric plant.

In addition, Ilocos Norte has a diverse range of mineral potential, including gold, copper, iron, magnetite sand, limestone, and other minerals, dispersed across its 350 hectares of total land area. Mineral deposit explorations, river dredging and quarrying, metallic ore and non-metallic mineral mining, mining unit operations and auxiliary service, and mineral and metal processing are lucrative investments in the province.

Furthermore, Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) and other services are growing in the province. Ilocos Norte has proven to be the best location for business operation because of a steady stream of college-educated individuals specializing on Information Technology (IT), Engineering, Business Administration, and Health. Additionally, Ilocos Norte is the first province in Northern Luzon to open an international shopping mall, with international brands such as H&M, Uniqlo, and Starbucks.

The service industry in the province is also expecting to see an increased investment in higher learning and healthcare institutions, research institutes, and consumer services.

Indeed, “there’s no way, but up.” Ilocos Norte strives in every way to become an investment hub and an IT destination in Northern Luzon, brimming with economic progress and a vast reservoir of opportunities for its people.


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