Of the 23 rival contingents of the “Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival of Festivals,” the town of Dingras, Ilocos Norte, won this year’s competition through an inspiring portrayal of how the Ilocano spirit perseveres in recent disasters.
In her opening message, Governor Imee R. Marcos posed the question, “Ano nga ba ang pinagmamalaki at pinagyayabang at pinagkakadakila ng pagiging Ilocano?”
She added, “It is time that we think back of our history, our leadership, and our present-important developments among the youth and the future, to decide finally and forge: Pasingkedan ti kinatan-ok ni Ilocano!” The last phrase roughly translates to “making Ilocos Norte great again.”
“Para sa mga Ilocano, lalo na sa mga Dingreños, dumaan man ang isang ‘Lawin,’ ang buhay sa bukid ay patuloy pa rin,” said Roxette Gyle de Roxas on behalf of her townmates. She was referring to the super typhoon “Lawin,” which had struck Northern Luzon last month, leaving severe agricultural crop damages.
Theater director Alexander Cortez, who chaired the 9-man panel of judges, commented that “the stories were very relevant. They chose environment, leaders, agriculture, presentation of cultural heritage, so it’s not limited to one topic… You can definitely learn a lot from it,”
Sharing their Ani or Harvest Festival, the Dingreños put on a show of the humble and strenuous yet happy lives led by farmers, who earned for their town the title of “Rice Granary of the North.”
Aside from the demand of hard labor, rice farming also emphasizes how people pool together efforts to sustain and benefit their entire community.
The audience cheered as the performers brought their prided crop onstage through a recreated rice thresher and rice mill showering grains of rice symbolizing their bountiful harvest after months of toiling in the fields.
As De Roxas described, “Nagaget, naandor, ken managyaman, aniaman a bagyo iti dumalan.” (This is the spirit of the Ilocano farmer – hardworking, enduring and grateful amidst any storm that hits him).
As champion, the town of Dingras received a cash prize of Php350,000 and the grand trophy.
Second placer was last year’s champion, the coastal town of Currimao which had put on a close fight with a presentation that the audience described as having taken them underwater. This earned the town Php250,000.
Since 2013, Nueva Era proved itself as the top-performing contingent among the province’s indigenous communities. The town landed third place this year, winning Php150,000.
Dingras, Currimao, and Nueva Era also dominated the top three spots last year.
Town Mayor Erdio Valenzuela said, “I had told [our team]: ‘We will not be aiming for the championship, but let us show 100% participation and support to the Tan-ok festival.’”
Following Nueva Era, the town of Bangui, with their ‘’Amian’’ Festival featuring the famous Ilocos windmills, was named first runner-up.
Sarrat’s ‘’Ritritemon Kayong’’ Festival was second runner-up, followed by Laoag City’s ‘’Pamulinawen’’ Festival.
Tying for fourth runner-up were the towns of Badoc and Carasi, respectively for the ‘’La Virgen Milagrosa’’ Festival and the ‘’Magdadaran Talip’’ Festival.
“Tan-ok” festival organizers also gave minor awards: Best Production Design was given to Dingras; Best Video went to Dumalneg’s ‘’Panagwawagi’’ Festival; Best Music was awarded to Nueva Era.
The best female and male performers, Jen Estoque of Sarrat and Rayzen Felipe of Nueva Era, were also cite-d.
“I see here many Ilocano talents and they’re exceptional. They are very dedicated,” said Cortez.
‘’Tan-ok’’ is a grand showdown of different festivals found among Ilocos Norte’s 21 towns and two cities. It has grown to become the largest event in Northern Luzon that celebrates Ilocano greatness or “tan-ok” through showcasing the intricacies of each town’s culture and traditions. ### – (Jennifer T. Pambid, Mizpah Grace G. Castro, and Radz B. Bismonte, PGIN-CMO)