I. Norte’s grandest festival to kick off on Nov. 17

‘Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival of festivals’, Ilocos Norte’s biggest cultural festivity returns to promote northern wonders this Nov. 17 at Ferdinand E. Marcos Memorial Stadium, Laoag City.

Taking center stage is a myriad of festivities distinct to Ilocos Norte such as Empanada of Batac City which shows off the recipe for the most popular Ilocano orange-colored fastfood, and Panag-Abuos of Banna which recounts the art of harvesting ‘abuos’ or ant eggs to serve one of the most exotic delicacies.

Other participating festival contingents that reflect the province’s home-grown traditions are also present, such as the highlighting of the ceremonial dance, Tadek of Nueva Era, and the religious ‘ash marking’ echoed in the age-old Guling-Guling of Paoay. Livelihoods are also outlined such as the revelry of fishing vocation displayed in Dinaklisan of Currimao, while another, Amian Festival accents the seaside Windmills of Bangui, one of the most admired tourist attractions in the province.

“The event is not just the best chance for each town to showcase the festival it annually celebrates. It is also a great opportunity for the province to promote its tourist spots,” said Provincial Tourism Officer Ianree Raquel.

This year’s ‘Tan-ok ni Ilocano’ is anticipated to gain a more massive crowd, with 23 participating contingents, each numbering at most 200, including dancers, propsmen and support staff. Visitors from outside the province are also expected to stream in during the event, encouraging Capitol officials to gear up the set with “a much wider audience space”.

Raquel also said that “famous local and international personalities” in the fields of arts and culture are invited; some of them will even sit as judges. He also added that there will be more prizes at stake, including special awards for the best lighting design and the best festival dance music.

“Surely, this will encourage the participants to do better, thus raising the bar of the competition too,” he added.

‘Tan-ok ni Ilocano’ which translates to ‘the Greatness of Ilocano’ is the grand showdown of the different festivals of the towns and cities of the province, aiming to give a common ground to the rich diversity of Ilocano culture and heritage best viewed by way of performing arts. It is one of the biggest tourism campaign strides of Ilocos Norte launched simultaneously with Governor Imee Marcos’s birthday last Nov. 12, 2011.

Gov. Marcos hopes that the annual celebration of the said festival will make Ilocos Norte even more popular not only among its neighboring provinces but also across the country and even overseas.—