Laoag wins Tan-ok dance fest anew

Laoag City’s Pamulinawen Festival won for the third time the 4th Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival of Festivals dance competition held at the Marcos Stadium, Laoag City last Saturday, November 29, 2014. It bested the other entry festivals of 21 towns and city as it romped away with the major prize of P350,000 cash.

Pamulinawen, the winning entry, featured child performers who took the roles as native settlers in the newly established town of Laoag during the Spanish era. Clad in colorful barong and saya, they wowed the mammoth crowd, especially the panel of judges with their energetic number.

The twist of the storyline was when the townsfolk’s resiliency was put to test by nature’s fury—a strong earthquake toppled the Laoageños’ houses and forced them out of the Ermita Hill to rebuild in a safer, lower ground. Soon, the devastated community bounced to become the center of economy and development in the entire province.

Ace dance choreographer Christian Espiritu said this year’s Pamulinawen was “original” especially “in terms of storytelling and casting”. He credited the kid performers for the win.

Second placer was the coastal town of Currimao which came as the biggest surprise of this year for executing a vibrant rendition of the Dinaklisan Festival.

The story focused on a young fisherman as a suitor of a beautiful lass. He offered her the great bounties of the sea. The rich seas of his town favored his dream. Fellow fishers helped him pull his catch to the shore through a sturdy rope (dinaklisan). Real fishing boat, giant jellyfishes made of umbrella and shimmering life-sized replicas of fish sewn on nets were some of the stunning props flaunted by the group.

JR Reynon, who played hero in the story, was awarded as the Best Male Performer.

The town of Nueva Era’s Tadek Festival, last year’s second placer, tramped to third this time and won a special award as Best in Production Design. Giant engkanto made of twigs, enormous heritage baskets and mascots of wild boars and monkeys gained the judges’ nod.

On the other hand, the Batac City’s Empanada Festival deep fried the rivals landing in the fourth spot. Ala-Broadway dance number portrayed the history of the famed Batac Empanada which dates back to the Spanish era. Determined to address the changing preference of the Ilustrados, the native Batacqueños cooked the Batac Empanada, a fusion of a Western cuisine and local ingredients such as papaya, eggs and the famous longganisa.

Judeleah Pucan, who played one of the heroines in the show, was awarded as the Best Female Performer. Her group also emerged Best in Festival Music.

The inferior upland town of Adams, famous for its “Bugnay” red wine, tasted first victory in four years ranking fifth. Its Ginginubat Festival dramatized an ancient tribal war between the Imallod and the Yapayao. The warriors ended up with a peace pact and a massive feast to symbolize an act of burying their hatchet. An actual flowing waterfall was one of the unique props of the Adams dancers.

In her speech, Governor Imee R. Marcos said that Tan-ok is one of the many ways of the province in keeping the Ilocano culture alive.

“We, here in Ilocos Norte, keep alive that culture, making certain that all generations, each one of us will be proud to be Ilocano. The values that distinguish us as a people beyond the artifacts and skills and pioneering spirit that have brought Ilocanos in every corner of the world,” she added. (Grazielle Mae A. Sales, PGIN-CMO)