Ilocos Norte strides into bicentennial year with "Tan-ok" fest

Feb 04, 2018 ...

Gov Imee: "Ano man ang paghati-hati na ginawa sa atin, iisa pa rin ang pamilyang Ilocano"

The Province of Ilocos Norte officially entered her bicentennial year yesterday, officially launched with the 7th Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival of Festivals.

 "Tan-ok," a festival dance competition staged at the Marcos Memorial Stadium in Laoag City, was first held in 2011. It continued annually until it was scheduled earlier this year to coincide with the province's 200th founding year celebration.

The word "tan-ok" or "kinatan-ok" means "greatness; thus, the festival is a celebration of Ilocano greatness through portrayals of the cultures, livelihoods, and histories through music and dance unique to each of the 21 towns and two cities in the province.

"Ito yung pride at greatness ng Ilocano," said Governor Imee R. Marcos. "Seven years na kami – medyo baby lang kami compared sa Sinulog, Dinagyang, Ati-atihan," comparing "Tan-ok" to larger-scale festivals elsewhere in the country, "Pero super 'trying-hard' kami dahil sabi nga, ang Ilocano daw, nakikita lagi sa kasipagan, katapangan ng sundalo; hindi nakikita sa sing-and-dance. Pero ito nga, effort na effort kami 'pag sing-and-dance dahil ang dami-dami naming kwento, ang daming produkto, ang daming tribo." 

Representing President Rodrigo R. Duterte at the event was Presidential Spokesperson Harry L. Roque, who thanked the Ilocos Norte for the support that they had extended to the President in 2016.

Several days ago, President Duterte had declared yesterday a special non-working day in Ilocos Norte, in observation of the province's bicentennial.

Roque added, "I believe that this celebration to be more than just a premier tourism event... I ask all of you, particularly our devoted public officials, to use this time as an opportunity to promote the province's sense of unity amidst diversity.

"This showcase of an Ilocos Norte that is united in greatness is also parallel to what is happening to the entire country. The Philippines that we live in is divided with different views, yet our people remain united by a common goal of bringing genuine change. Live up to the ideals that this joyous celebration symbolizes."

Also joining the celebration was Former Senator Ferdinand "Bong Bong" R. Marcos, his wife, and two sons.

"Two hundred years ago, Ilocos Norte was a quiet community far away from Manila, and yet Ilocanos have been front and center, prominent in the writing of history," he said, "we have always been known as heroes – as those who stood up for our countrymen and for our country... This is the tradition that we continue to live in our everyday lives, and it is in this way that we will see continuing progress."

An estimated 5,000 spectators gathered at the Marcos Stadium, while the Facebook Live broadcast of the event peaked at almost a hundred thousand views in the first two hours.

At the end of "Tan-ok," it was the Town of Adams, a member of the Indigenous Cultural Community (ICC), that proved victorious on the Bicentennial Edition of the competition with their rendition of the Ginginubat Festival.

The festival performance demonstrated the simple but sacred culture of courtship among the Yapayaos through the story of a young girl who was unhappy about getting married. In refusing a gift from her husband-to-be's wedding, the man's mother cursed her and the girl ended up weak and faint.

Thus, the man took the opportunity to prove his love for her by seeking the flower known as "sabuyakyak" in Mt. Kinanudan, which was said to be the only cure for his beloved's illness. He demonstrated his devotion to the girl through the struggle to acquire the flower, and in the end she fell in love with his true and pure love for her. It end with the "patong," a celebratory ritual dance of the Yapayaos.


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