Ilocos Norte's Himala sa Buhangin! 2017 fest to uplift local culture, talentsMay 12, 2017
At its fifth year, Ilocos Norte's biggest event of the season, the Himala sa Buhangin! Arts and Music Festival, will uplift local creatives and promote the province's cultural heritage on May 13 at the Paoay Sand Dunes.
It will also promote the legend of Paoay Lake, the largest lake in the province.
Debuting in 2012 with interactive art installations on the Ilocos desert, Himala! pioneered Philippine "film tourism" in 2014 when it unveiled a statue of "Elsa," Nora Aunor's lead character in cult classic film "Himala" (1982), a portion of which was filmed on the Sand Dunes.
The event has since featured the works of Filipino artists Gerry Leonardo, Raphael David, and Leeroy New with installations referencing 1980 films "Ang Panday" and "Temptation Island" as well as the latter's remake. All aforementioned films had scenes shot at the Paoay Sand Dunes.
Ilocos Norte Tourism Office Mr. Ian Ree B. Raquel explained the legend of Paoay Lake as telling about a town or barangay called San Juan de Sahagún. Highly skilled in a variety of crafts, from goldsmithing to weaving, the people of the town were said to have grown wealthy but also proud, selfish, and greedy.
This angered their Dios Apo, a holy being, who warned a resident couple that he would bring on calamity and destroy the town if the people did not change their ways. Their fellow residents however ignored the warnings, which resulted to an earthquake and storms that felled the town and submerged it underwater, creating today's Paoay Lake.
According to local folklore, the town populace were transformed into bejeweled fish who now swim the lake's waters.
Raquel shared that the lesson behind the legend is, "Whatever you have is God-given... whatever skills you have should be used for the common good," as opposed to the townspeople's boastful and self-centered ways.
Art installations for this year's Himala! will thus be a joint effort of Ilocano creatives, including brothers John Rannie and James Randy Reyes as well as JM Pasion from Laoag City; Angelie Banaag from Dingras; and Arts Plus Events, the group affiliated with local bookstore, Samtoy.
They are backed by around 50 young artists, students included.
Local performers to front Ely Buendia, DJ Jennifer Lee
An estimated 100 performers will also be joining the night's main acts: OPM rock icon Ely Buendia and former Viva Hotbabe DJ Jennifer Lee.
Local talents will include Better than Noise, TITUS, and comeback band Glasspoint. Meanwhile, DJ Eric Manalo of Batac City will play alongside DJ Jennifer.
The Alab Poi Fire and LED Dancers, who were the Todo Bigay grand champions on "It's Showtime" last year, will also be at the Sand Dunes.
"We want to uplift local artists to also encourage them to pursue their God-given skills and talents and use them for the good of their communities," said Raquel.
Culture as a source of livelihood has long been an advocacy of Governor Imee R. Marcos, who as early as 2015 had launched a cultural policy to prepare for Ilocos Norte's upcoming bicentennial in 2018.
"For many among us today, heritage is our living," says Governor Marcos.