The Municipality of Adams made history in Ilocos Norte last February 2 as the first member of the Indigenous Cultural Community (ICC) in the province to conquer the “Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival of Festivals.”
Usually held in the later months of the year, “Tan-ok ni Ilocano” or simply “Tan-ok” is a grand showdown of town and city festivals set onstage instead of on the streets as in traditional fiestas. Last November, postponement of the contest was announced in light of Ilocos Norte’s 200th founding year or bicentennial celebration.
The “bicentennial edition” of the competition is also its seventh installment.
Governor Imee R. Marcos shared, “Kahit winatak-watak ang Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Abra, La Union.. hinati-hati ang Cordillera – iisa pa rin ang Ilocano.
“…Ang dami-dami naming kwento, ang daming produkto, ang daming tribo,” she added, saying “Tan-ok” was Ilocos Norte’s great effort to tell their stories through the arts of singing and dancing their unique festivals onstage.
Adams performed their Ginginubat Festival, which tells of their simple but sacred courtship revolving around the “tani” of the Yapayao tribe or the role of parents in the courtship of their children.
In the rendition, a young girl unhappy with her engagement falls ill after she refuses a gift from her fiancé and is cursed by the man’s mother. Upon asking the help of the “Arupagan” or old woman faith healer, the families are told that only the strange flower called “Sabuyakyak” on Mt. Kinanudan would be able to heal her.
The man ventures into the mountain, seeking the flower, but encounters a host of obstacles, including Kinanudan’s transformation into a wild beast. After acquiring the flower, he rushes to the girl’s side and she is instantly healed. She then falls in love with him for his true and pure love proven through his struggle for her life.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, who was representing President Rodrigo R. Duterte at “Tan-ok,” shared that “this occasion underscores your people’s pride and your rich diverse cultures. Indeed, ‘Tan-ok ni Ilocano’ features greatness that is distinctly Ilocano, where the towns and cities of this great province showcase their talents on stage.”
The town took home a P350,000.00 cash prize. They also garnered Best Festival Music and Best in Choreography and Direction.
Meanwhile, Dingras, the 2016 champion, earned second place with their performance featuring the Ani Festival and a tale of community strength and brotherhood in times of difficult or little harvest. At third place was Nueva Era’s Tadek Festival, which told the story of their “diro” or harvest of honey.
Runners-up were Carasi’s Magdadaran Talip Festival; Piddig’s Festival; Banna’s Abuos Festival; Badoc’s La Virgen Milagrosa Festival; and Batac City’s Empanada Festival.
Other special awards given were Best Video (Badoc), Best Production Design (Dingras), and Best Performers (Nueva Era and Piddig).
Contingents were judged according to theme or concept, 25%; choreography, 20%; performance, 25%; costume and props, 20%; and originality, 10%. The panel was composed of nine experts or authorities in dance, festivals, indigenous culture, theater production and visual arts, tourism, and cinematography.
Mr. Felix Monino Duque, lighting director and cinematographer, chaired the panel. He is also a recipient of the Cultural Center of the Philippines (CCP) Gaward Award for Theater and City of Manila Patnubay ng Sining at Kalinangan Award.
Accompanying him were Mr. Mark Anthony Chaiwalla, of the University of Santo Tomas’ Salinggawi Dance Troupe; Ms. Consuelo Tankeko of Mumbrella, a media, marketing, and entertainment company; and Mr. Lyle Eymard Villahermosa, of the Ramon Obusan Folkloric Group who choreographed the production numbers in the recent Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) and Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) events hosted by the Philippines.
Also on the panel were a Former Chair of the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) National Committee on Dance, Mrs. Josefina Guillen; the Artistic Director of the Sinulog Festival of Cebu, Mr. Patricio Primor Jr.; Artistic Director of the CCP Gawad Sa Sining Barasoain Kalinangan Foundation Inc. and Tourism Supervising Officer of Malolos City, Mr. Armando Sta. Ana; Founding President of Jeepney Tours and Host of the Discover Eats! Food and travel show, Ms. Cela Rose Garcia; and the current Artistic Director of Dulaang UP, Mr. Dexter Santos.
The seventh “Tan-ok” officially launched Ilocos Norte’s bicentennial year. Already, the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO) under the directive of Governor Marcos have pegged special editions of yearly activities until February 2019.
Next on the bicentennial calendar is the centenary commemoration of the Provincial Capitol building as well as the “Open Capitol” exhibit on February 15; the “I Love Ilocos Norte” Concert and Sirib Awards program on February 16; and the “Taray ni Ayat” (Run of Love) fun run on February 17. # (PGIN-CMO)