HomeThe Journal of Historyvol. 57 no. 1 (2011)

In Search of a Regional History: Teaching and Researching Northern Luzon History

Maria Nela B. Florendo

Discipline: History



The concepts of region and regional history go beyond superficial assemblages of events and people confined in a geographic space. More than limiting, a regional history traces meaningful relationships (historical confluences) of areas which, on many occasions, are different and distinct. One example is Felix Keesing’s explorations of lowland-upland interactions in The Ethnohistory of Northern Luzon. Samuel K. Tan in “The Methodology of Regional History” (1977) stresses the need to connect regional history to national istory through the following linkages: (1) regional history in the context of Philippine historical processes; (2) the dialogical processes that take place between regional settings and national policies and programs;[and] (3) the “national dimension of regional aspirations.” This paper presents Northern Luzon, which is composed of the Ilocos (subdivided to Ilocos Sur, Ilocos Norte and La Union), the Cordillera and Cagayan (subdivided to Cagayan, Isabela and Nueva Vizcaya), as it evolved through time. It defines the historical confluences between/among the sub-areas and social processes like ethnic reconstruction, demographic changes, socio-political dynamics that have shaped the region. The paper draws from the author’s experience in both teaching and researching Northern Luzon History as regional history, and hopes to draw in the conference participants to an engagement with the methods and perspectives of regional history.