About 30,000 spectators have witnessed the grandest night Ilocano dance competition show in the North, the Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival of Festivals held at the Marcos stadium in Laoag City on December 6, 2013.
All the 21 municipalities and 2 cities in Ilocos Norte competed for hours by presenting their respective dance festivals reflecting their unique culture whether in products, livelihood, history, religion, tradition, natural heritage or the combination of all.
At the opening number, Ilocos Norte Gov. Imee R. Marcos spoke and welcomed the people with warm greetings and expressed her joy of helping, because for the first time, the event was organized to raise funds for the construction of the new Philippine National Red Cross Ilocos Norte Chapter building in Laoag City.
“For the first time, we are helping to raise funds for the Philippine National Red Cross, for their extraordinary efforts not only in times of calamity, but for the health and safety of our families.” , Governor Marcos said.
She cited PRC Ilocos Norte Chapter for giving emergency relief aids to typhoon Yolanda affected areas, particularly in Tacloban City.
Those who served as members of the board of judges were former president and director of Cultural Center of the Philippines Nestor O. Jardin; director of Philippine Ballet Theater Ronilio Jaynario; director, choreographer, and researcher of the Kalilayan Folkloric Group Rommel Serrano; associate producer of It’s Showtime Fulgencio Coching Follero Jr.; , Sexbomb member Aira Bermudez; head of Cultural Center of the Philippines Dance Division Josie Guillen and president of Philippine Folk Dance Society Larry Gabao.
Of the 23 competitors, Laoag City which portrayed the sequel of the traditional courtship, Pamulinawen bested other contestants by bagging the overall title for the second time.
The Pamulinawen entry depicted a rival between an Ilocano bachelor and a Spaniard who were both enthralled by the beauty and grace of a young Ilocana . To win her heart, the Spaniard enchanted her with the dreamy music of his mother land, while the Ilocano fought for her with his most powerful weapon, a music that flows from the harp of love, this then led to the creation of the Pamulinawen Love Song.
Also, with their folk-ballet plus acrobatic interpretation, colossal props and giant mechanical “kalesa” and cart, the audience and judges were impressed in awe.
On the other hand, the show’s biggest surprise, Tadek Festival celebrated by Tingguians of Nueva Era ranked second. For the first time in the 3-year history of Tan-ok, Nueva Era was so far the only tribal community that topped the competition.
The performers showcased their unique culture through the Tadek dance which is a means of thanksgiving for the new couple who are believed to bring forth blessings and perseverance to the whole Tingguian community.
According to Nueva Era Mayor, Aldrin Garvida, their presentation focused on their distinct customs and traditions showcasing the rich culture of the Tingguians, refraining from the incorporation of contemporary ideas to avoid confusion.
The Empanada Festival of Batac City, which was considered the strongest contingent being on top for all the editions of Tan-ok notched the third spot.
This year they focused on the joy and fun of making and selling of empanada which come with smiling faces, as shown in their dance which showcased many dance genres, including ballet, jazz, jive, and among others.
Other remarkable presentations were by the municipality of Vintar whose performers flaunted as white, red, and brown siwawers (a legendary bird that symbolizes the townsfolk’s valor); Banna which paraded its adorable ant mascots to showcase the townsfolk’s art of harvesting ‘abuos’ or ant eggs; Pinili was grandiose in presenting their famous white gold harvest, garlic ; Paoay was inviting with their 400-year old Guling-Guling Festival which featured the UNESCO Heritage Church of Saint Augustine (Paoay Church) as background; Currimao with its Dinaklisan Festival depicts the glory of fishing using the traditional but earth-friendly daklis; and the gateway town of Badoc for its artistic interpretation of the legendary arrival of the image of the province’s patroness, La Virgen Milagrosa which at the same time pay tribute to Badoqueño, and Ilocos Norte’s iconic artist, Juan Luna.
According to Governor Imee R. Marcos, this “festival of masses” is not just about the Ilocano “sense of pride, unity and greatness” but an investment for the province’s bounty and potential in tourism.
“This year we are talking about not merely one night of festivals, spectacles, tremendous dancing, we are speaking of an investment for the days and years to come”, Governor Marcos said.
She also added that the event aims to recall what the province stands for and make everyone proud that even if sometimes being a Filipino is a confusion, certainly being Ilocano is clear-cut, emphatic, and proud. —Rey T. Arcangel, Jr., PGIN-CMO