Ilocos Norte turns 200 this Feb, literary-cultural events to highlight celeb

Jan 15, 2018 ...

The Province of Ilocos Norte will celebrate her 200th founding anniversary or bicentennial this February 2, 2018, through a series of events highlighting Ilocano culture and history.

Two centuries ago, the Provincia de Ilocos was split through a Spanish Royal Decree into what are now known as Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur.

This resulted from a series of revolts in 1807, 1810, 1812, and 1816, mainly originating from the northern Ilocos province. Most notable among these is the Basi or Ambaristo Revolt led by Pedro Mateo and Saralogo Ambaristo, launched mainly in response to the Spaniard colonizers' attempted monopolization of basi or sugarcane wine.

More than a local beverage, basi was an integral part of Ilocano culture, used in many ceremonies and ever present during life events, from birth and marriage to funerals.

While the rebels eventually lost to the Spaniards, it inspired more and more native Ilocanos to retaliate against oppression and later became a backdrop to the final revolution that relieved the Philippines of Spanish rule.

Ilocos Norte's celebration of her founding year was institutionalized when Governor Imee R. Marcos first took office in 2010.

According to Ilocos Norte Tourism Office Ianree  "Aian" B. Raquel, the bicentennial theme revolves around the question, "What makes you proud to be an Ilocano?"

 "There is a need to come together as a province and really think about the meaning of what being an Ilocano is. This will be a time not just to look to the past, but also to examine the present and reflect on what we can do to bring the province forward."

On the calendar are a bicentennial parade in Laoag City and in the Municipality of San Nicolas on January 26, and literary contests such as singing, digital poster-making, and quiz show to be held at Robinsons Place Ilocos on the 27th.

The "Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival of Festivals" will then officially launch the bicentennial year on February 2, a grand showdown of festivals of the different cities and towns in Ilocos Norte that in previous years was usually held in the last quarter of the year.

Governor Imee R. Marcos had initiated it in 2011 to "rediscover Ilocanos' sense of pride, unity, and greatness.

"More than one night of festivals and tremendous dancing, 'Tan-ok' is an investment for the days and years to come. We do this to revive what Ilocos Norte stands for and why we are proud to be Ilocanos."

On February 15, the  "Open Capitol" will be held, which is an office exhibit at the Provincial Capitol itself meant to promote transparency and openness. This will coincide with a centenary commemoration for the Capitol building.

This will be followed by the  "I Love Ilocos Norte" Concert on the 16th together with the Sirib Awards, which is a program honoring Ilocano youth who have won or been recognized in national- and international-level competitions and the like.

The latter is being organized by the Ilocos Norte Youth Development Office (INYDO), along with the "Taray ni Ayat" ("run of love") fun run on February 17.

Governor Marcos also revealed, "We've got some plans for a joint celebration with Ilocos Sur, but we haven't finalized the lots."


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