• The January 26 Tan-ok dance parade kicks off the
    bicentennial celeb, activities to end on Feb. 17

The Province of Ilocos Norte will celebrate its 200th founding anniversary or bicentennial year on February 2, 2018, with a series of activities highlighting the Ilocano arts, culture and history.

Two centuries ago, the one Provincia de Ilocos was split into two independent provinces now known as Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur by virtue of a Spanish Royal Decree, historians said.

The split, historians added, was made due to the shocking Ilocano revolts against the local Spanish authorities here in 1807, 1810, 1812, and 1816, mainly originated from the northern Ilocos and later spread to the nearby south.

Most notable was the Basi Revolt led by Pedro Mateo and Saralogo Ambaristo of Piddig town. The Basi Uprising arose to protest the Spaniards’ oppressive monopoly of the basi or sugarcane wine, a major farm product of the olden Ilocano folks.

A locally-made intoxicating beverage, basi was an integral part of Ilocano culture, served as favorite wine drinks on many occasions and events.

While all the said Ilocano revolts were eventually contained by the more superior Spanish forces, it inspired more native Ilocanos to retaliate against oppression and later became a backdrop to the final revolution that relieved the Philippines of Spanish rule.

Ilocos Norte’s celebration of its founding year was institutionalized when Governor Imee R. Marcos first took office in 2010.

According to Ilocos Norte Tourism Office Ianree Raquel, the bicentennial theme is “What makes you proud to be an Ilocano?”

“There is a need to come together as a province and really think about the meaning of what being an Ilocano is. This will be a time not just to look back to the past, but also to examine the present and reflect on what we can do to push the province forward.”

Among the highlights include a bicentennial parade in Laoag City and nearby San Nicolas town on January 26, and literary contests such as singing, digital poster-making, and quiz show to be held at Robinsons Ilocos on January 27.

The “Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival of Festivals” will officially launch the bicentennial year on February 2, a grand showdown of festivals by the different cities and towns in Ilocos Norte that in previous years was usually held in the last quarter of the year.

Governor Marcos had initiated it in 2011 to “rediscover Ilocanos’ sense of pride, unity, and greatness.
“More than one night of festivals and tremendous dancing, ‘Tan-ok’ is an investment for the days and years to come. We do this to revive what Ilocos Norte stands for and why we are proud to be Ilocanos.”

On February 15, the “Open Capitol” exhibit will be held at the Provincial Capitol Bldg. to promote transparency and openness. It will coincide with the centenary commemoration of the erection of the Capitol edifice.

It will be followed by the “I Love Ilocos Norte” Concert on the Feb. 16 together with the Sirib Awarding rites, honoring outstanding Ilocano youth who have won or were recognized in national and international competitions.

It is organized by the Ilocos Norte Youth Development Office (INYDO), along with the “Taray ni Ayat” (“run of love”) fun run on February 17.

Governor Marcos also revealed, “We’ve got some plans for a joint celebration with Ilocos Sur, but we haven’t finalized it”.(PGIN/CMO)