Ilocos Norte to commemorate 199th founding anniversary, launch bicentennial countdown

Feb 01, 2017 ...

The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) will reach its 199th year tomorrow, February 2, with a celebration and countdown launch at Sarrat, the first capital of the province.

Provincial Tourism Officer Ianree Raquel explained that Sarrat is "where it all started" as the town had been the designated capital upon partition of the Ilocos Province in 1818. Laoag City became the new capital within the same year.

The celebration will begin at the Sarrat Central Elementary School, including a flag-raising ceremony, and a miryenda cook-off will follow at the Santa Monica Parish Church.

Filipino-American restaurateur Nicole Ponseca, owner of the Marharlika and Jeepney restaurants in New York City, will be gracing the cook-off as a special guest.

"She's a very important figure in culinary arts, particularly with pioneering efforts in promoting Filipino foods in the United States and other countries," Raquel shared.

Governor Imee R. Marcos describes the founding anniversary as "a recognition of a rebellious spirit, that innate independence and requisite for freedom that the Ilocano nation had," referring to the province's birth as also marking the division of the Ilocos Province into Ilocos Norte, Ilocos Sur, Abra, and La Union.

"We had to be torn apart in order to be rendered harmless... that was the only way we could be defeated," she said, highlighting the strength of Ilocano unity that required such division from Spanish colonizers in the region.

"The daily efforts we make for everyone's lives are the heroism of the 21st century, and certainly as they recognized it in 1818, so, too, should we celebrate it today."

PGIN will also open its front installation in the afternoon titled "My Home, Ilocos Norte" featuring giant household items set out on the Capitol grounds in Laoag City.

Raquel added, "We're also getting closer to our celebration of the province's bicentennial founding anniversary," describing it as "a milestone that we need to celebrate by appreciating our rich past, but at the same time looking forward using our history to inform the present and get inspiration to thrust towards the future."

He also revealed that PGIN is trying to come up with bicentennial projects from each municipality, emphasizing that the projects would not only focus on heritage and conservation of history, but more on the present and the future, "What's next after 200 years?"

PGIN is also partnering with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), the Department of Tourism (DOT), and the Tourism Promotions Board to boost the province's bicentennial promotional campaign, particularly for balikbayans.

"We will be participating in different road shows abroad and at the same time we will have our own campaign for all Ilocanos and other visitors from all over the world," Raquel said.

Countdown to FEM centenary

Alongside the foundation celebration and bicentennial launch, Raquel shared that "we're also launching Marcos' centenary countdown tomorrow."

Former President Ferdinand Edralin Marcos was born in Sarrat on September 11, 1917, almost a hundred years after the province's birth.

PGIN's "Open Capitol," which annually invites schoolchildren and the general public to visit Capitol offices, will be on February 6.

"[Visitors] will see interactive activities... that are supposed to entertain them but at the same time inform them of the frontline services of the provincial government.

Among other activities set for this month are the "I Love Ilocos Norte" concert on February 14 and the Ilokoslovakla Pageant on the 18th.

by Ma. Rhona Ysabel B. Daoang , Mizpah Grace G. Castro

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