Rukod ken Bagting

January 15, 2011 – March 12, 2011

A Survey of Traditional Ilocos Norte Measurement System

Before Spanish colonial times in the Philippines the Ilocanos already had an established measurement system.  Like in other countries, the Ilocanos were already using measurement units based on comparisons to existing common and familiar objects giving tangible concepts of measurements of solids, liquids, distances, weights and time.  Using colloquial expressions, these measurement units were approximations to calculate dimensions, capacities and sizes.  Measurements are necessary especially in commerce to specify anything quantitatively, as basis for pricing.

Even after the metric system was adopted, the Ilocanos continued to use the traditional measurement system.  It is still used in public markets and retail stores as standard basis for buying and selling products which come in bulk.  A walk to through the public market on open market days can give an interesting and authentic experience to observe the traditional measurement system very much in use. Another part of the local scene is a woman door-to-door vendor balancing on her head a basket of her merchandize items of fruits, vegetables, fish, seashells, a sundry of goods – with her ubiquitous measuring can.

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