Information about Tobacco Monopoly Monument
Tobacco Monopoly Monument
The Tobacco Monopoly Monument is a brick obelisk in Aurora Park in Laoag City, Ilocos Norte. It commemorates the abolition of the tobacco monopoly during the Spanish colonial era, which forced farmers into abusive labor. An inscription on the obelisk reads “erected by the people as an expression of joy” over the termination of the monopoly.
The colonizing Spaniards found that the land and climate of Ilocos is very suitable for growing tobacco. And so, by royal decree of King Carlos III in February 1780, the Spanish government established the monopoly of the tobacco industry in Ilocos and the northern region. It was to position the Philippines as a leading tobacco producer in the world.
The monopoly resulted in great revenue but fueled corruption by the authorities against the Filipino farmers. They forced the townsfolk to plant no other crop but tobacco and sell only to the Spanish government. All the products were strictly controlled in warehouses like the Tabacalera building in Laoag. The building still stands to this day as Museo Ilocos Norte.
The monopoly was abolished a hundred years later by King Alfonso XII, who was eventually bestowed the name the Peacemaker. In gratitude, the people of Ilocos constructed the monument in November 1882.
Best time to visit
Avoid the months of July to October, as this is usually a rainy period for Laoag. November to February are usually the dry but cool months and the best time to visit the monument and the rest of the city. You can still enjoy the monument and park any time during the months of March to June, but wear light clothing and bring drinking water as these are usually the hottest months of the year.