Nearing the end of the Second Millennium, the Province of Ilocos Norte launched a rehabilitation and conservation program of the rich legacy and culture of the Ilocano ancestry. Long before the Spanish exploration and occupation of Ilocos in 1592, the region was already a flourishing community of settlements, doing trade and commerce with other people groups in the island and in distant shores.
Taking a page from his mother former First Lady and now representative of the province’s Second Legislative District, Imelda Romualdez Marcos, then Governor Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. ordered a major rehabilitation and restoration program for the former tabacalera building. Originally designed and used as the Administrative Center of the Tobacco Monopoly in Ilocos Norte during the reign of the Spanish over the Philippine islands, the building was the site of a museum in the early 70’s. Its operations was halted until Senator Bong-Bong Marcos initiated the reactivation of the provincial museum.
Museo Ilocos Norte is one of the preserve museums in the country today. Also called Gameng or treasure in Ilocano, it is living up to its name as it houses an extensive collection of artifacts and memorabilia that serve as a strong reminder of the rich Ilocano culture and heritage.