Ilocos Norte’s fifth ‘Tan-ok’ fest to feature “double challenge” for contingents

15911185225_3b609b2b6fHailed as the biggest cultural event in northern Luzon, the Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival of Festivals returns this November 28, 2015 with an all-new production component to improve the storylines of the competing 21 municipalities and 2 cities.

Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO) Head Aianree Racquel revealed that each contingent’s dance choreography will now be complemented by a “video presentation of the town’s various tourist attractions or a narrative relevant to their presentation.”

Annually held at the Ferdinand E. Marcos Memorial Stadium, Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival of Festivals was firstly organized in 2011 to bring together the province’s municipalities and cities to showcase their festival dances in a one-night grand celebration of Ilocos Norte’s diverse and unique culture and tradition. “Tan-ok” translates to “greatness.”

Since then, the festival has been drawing the largest crowd of Ilocanos as well as balikbayans,visitors from neighboring provinces, celebrity guests and art and culture enthusiasts. Last year, attendees reached a record-high of more than 50,000.

Yung Tan-ok (ni Ilocano Festival of Festivals) ngayon ay kakaiba, hindi lamang yung live performance ang importante dahil may puntos na rin sa LED (light-emitting diodes), yungfilmmaking naging component na siya,” said Governor Imee R. Marcos, admitting that she is somehow nervous with this new change.

Governor Marcos added that the new component brings a “double challenge” to the participants but “it is also an opportunity for them to show their town’s various attractions with the help of a video presentation displayed on a LED (panel).”

In the past years, organizers of Tan-ok ni Ilocano have been keen in arranging story conferences to help the choreographers come up with storylines that truly reflect their towns’ culture and tradition.

Noted Ilocano sociologist and writer Herdy La. Yumul has lauded the provincial government for helping the choreographers come up with “truthfulness and authenticity” in presenting their stories through their festival dances.

Last year’s Tan-ok ni Ilocano brought the city of Laoag its third championship, making it the first hall-of-fame awardee of the competition.

With improved narrative, Laoag City contingent surely surprised the entire province last year as the main dancers of its Pamulinawen Festival were little kids who portrayed the birth of the city from the time Spaniards arrived to the present as a center of progress.

Gaining the second spot last year was the Dinaklisan Festival of Currimao with the Tadek Festival of Nueva Era earning the third place.

‘Going beyond the festivities’

More than promoting pride, unity and greatness across the province, the Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival of Festivals has always been acclaimed for going beyond the festivities through leading a significant cause.

In 2013, a portion of the festival’s income was used in the construction of the new building of the Philippine National Red Cross – Ilocos Norte Chapter. Last year, several small and medium enterprises of the province were benefited.

“This year, the income from the sales of the VIP tickets will be used for tourism and cultural product development of the province,” noted Xavier Ruiz of INTO.—John Michael Mugas, PGIN-CMO