Dingras' ''Ani'' Festival wins Ilocos Norte's "Tan-ok" Festival of Festivals 2016Nov 26, 2016
Upstaging 22 other contingents of the "Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival of Festivals," the town of Dingras, Ilocos Norte, conquered this year's competition through an inspiring portrayal of how the Ilocano spirit perseveres through recent disasters.
In her opening message, Governor Imee R. Marcos posed the question, "Ano nga ba ang pinagmamalaki at pinagyayabang at pinagkakadakila ng pagiging Ilocano?"
She added, "It is time that we think back of our history, our leadership, and our present━important developments among the youth and the future, to decide finally and forge: Pasingkedan ti kinatan-ok ni Ilocano!" The last phrase roughly translates to "making Ilocos Norte great again."
"Para sa mga Ilocano, lalo na sa mga Dingreños, dumaan man ang isang 'Lawin,' ang buhay sa bukid ay patuloy pa rin," explained Roxette Gyle de Roxas on behalf of her town. She was referring to the super typhoon "Lawin," which had struck Northern Luzon last month, leaving severe agricultural damages.
Theater director Alexander Cortez, who chaired the 9-strong panel of judges, commented that "the stories are very relevant. They chose environment, leaders, agriculture, presentation of cultural heritage, so it's not limited to one topic... You can definitely learn a lot from it,"
Sharing their Ani or Harvest Festival, Dingreños put on a show of the humble and strenuous yet happy lives led by farmers, who earned their town the title of "Rice Granary of the North."
Aside from the demand of hard labor, rice farming also emphasizes how people pool together efforts to sustain and benefit their entire community.
Audiences cheered as the performers brought their prided crop onstage through a recreated rice thresher and rice mill showering grains of rice symbolizing their bountiful harvest after months of toiling in the fields.
As De Roxas described, "Nagaget, naandor, ken managyaman, aniaman a bagyo iti dumalan." (This is the spirit of the Ilocano farmer – hardworking, enduring and grateful amidst any storm that hits him).
As champion, the town of Dingras received a cash prize of Php350,000.00 and the grand trophy.
At second place was last year's champion, the coastal town of Currimao who had put on a close fight with a presentation that audiences described as having taken them underwater. This earned the town Php250,000.00.
Since 2013, Nueva Era has proved itself as the top-performing contingent among the province's indigenous communities. The town found itself at third place this year, winning Php150,000.00.
Dingras, Currimao, and Nueva Era also dominated the top three spots last year. Before then, Dingras had never placed within Top Eight of the competition.
Town Mayor Erdio Simon Valenzuela admitted, "I had told [our team]: 'We will not be aiming for the championship, but let us show 100% participation and support to the Tan-ok festival.'"
Following Nueva Era, the town of Bangui, with their ''Amian'' Festival featuring the famous Ilocos windmills, was named first runner-up.
Sarrat's ''Ritritemon Cayong'' Festival was second runner-up, followed by Laoag City's ''Pamulinawen'' Festival.
Tying for fourth runner-up were the towns of Badoc and Carasi, respectively for the ''La Virgen Milagrosa'' Festival and the ''Magdadaran Talip'' Festival.
"Tan-ok" festival organizers also gave minor awards: Best Production Design was given to Dingras; Best Video went to Dumalneg's ''Panagwawagi'' Festival; Best Music was awarded to Nueva Era.
The best female and male performers, Jen Estoque of Sarrat and Rayzen Felipe of Nueva Era, were also recognized.
"I see here many Ilocano talents and they're exceptional. They are very dedicated," said Cortez.
Last year's installment of Tan-ok marked shift in the front-liners of the contest as coastal towns and indigenous communities dominated top spots. It was the same year that performances began incorporating a video presentation showed on a LED screen to accompany their performances.
''Tan-ok'' is a grand showdown of different festivals found among Ilocos Norte's 21 towns and two cities. It has grown to become the largest event in Northern Luzon that celebrates Ilocano greatness or "tan-ok" through showcasing the intricacies of each town's culture and traditions.