"Tan-ok ni Ilocano" bicentennial edition to launch Ilocos Norte's 200th foundation celebration

Jan 16, 2018 ...

The 7th Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival of Festivals is scheduled for February 2, 2018, launching Ilocos Norte's bicentennial founding anniversary celebration in what Tourism Officer Ianree "Aian" B. Raquel says will be "the most historic and most meaningful staging of the festival."

Since 2011 and until 2016, "Tan-ok" has been held in the latter months of the year, a showdown of the different festivals native to the different towns and cities of Ilocos Norte.

Governor Imee R. Marcos had initiated it 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."

Performances include portrayals of communal faith and religious festivals; historical events of colonization and revolt; traditional courtship and love stories; local folklore and legends; town livelihoods and emblems; and even recent occurrences, such as the performance of the 2016 champion, Dingras.

Known as the "Rice Granary of Ilocos Norte," the town drew inspiration from super typhoon "Lawin" and the resilience it took to recover from the calamity.

Other winners of the competition have been Currimao, a coastal town; the provincial capital City of Laoag; and the City of Batac, with proceeds going to development projects, such as the construction of the Ilocos Norte Red Cross building in 2012, cultural tourism projects in 2015, and the provincial disaster relief fund in 2016.

Notably, three new museums were opened and inaugurated in 2015 and 2016: the Taoid Museum of the Ilocano Cordilleras, the Burgos Lighthouse Museum, and the Balay Dingras or the Ilocano Rice Farmer's House. Meanwhile in 2016, supertyphoon "Lawin" had closely preceded  "Tan-ok," hence the need to replenish relief funds.

Attracting over 60,000 spectators annually, both on-ground and online, "Tan-ok" had become the highlight of the last quarter of each year until 2017, when it was announced that the event had been postponed to February in light of the province's bicentennial celebration.

"Tan-ok" has a lot of "payback," said Governor Marcos, "It has brought us a lot of tourists and attention and a lot of free advertising," adding that besides serving as a tourism event and attraction, it also stimulates economic activity as local designers, choreographers, editors, makeup artists, and even construction workers are tapped and earn additional income from the event.

INTO bares other "bicentennial" activities

"Of course, we will have activities all the way through May, as the La Milagrosa Provincial Fiesta will be showcasing the same theme: the celebration of our 200th anniversary," said Raquel, who heads the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO).

"Thematically, our activities will be about the past 200 years, but there's also a need to think about the future of the province. What do we want in the next 200 years or so? These are the things that we are trying to incorporate into the Bicentennial activities."

A dance parade, serving as a preview to this year's "Tan-ok," is also set for January 26, with a series of literary competitions scheduled on the following day.

In past years, Ilocos Norte's founding anniversary has been mainly highlighted by the "Open Capitol," which turns offices of the Provincial Government into an open exhibit for the public, especially schoolchildren, to enter, observe, and learn about the activities and functions of each Capitol department.

The 2018 Open Capitol is tentatively scheduled for February 15, to be followed by the  "I Love Ilocos Norte" Concert and Sirib Awards on the 16th.

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

Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur share a founding anniversary due to their split from the "Provincia de Ilocos" in 1918, during the Spanish colonial period.


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