Paoay Church-inspired façade wows thousands at "Paskua mi Ditoy" launch


Dec. 12, 2018 ...

The Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN), through the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO), officially launched the 2018 "Paskua mi Ditoy" with the annual Capitol Light-up yesterday, December 10, drawing thousands of locals and tourists to the Capitol grounds and captivating netizens who watched it online.

"Paskua mi Ditoy" is a Christmas tourism brand showcasing the unique ways that Ilocanos celebrate the holiday season. At the same time, it heralds the homecoming of migrant Ilocanos who look forward to spending yuletide in their hometowns.

This year's Capitol Christmas Tree Light-up features an installation inspired by the architecture and design of the San Agustin Church in Paoay, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The second level of the installation provides visitors a view of the Capitol building and its surroundings, while the first level puts the traditional belen at the center stage.

Spectators witnessed Light-up with admiration, including Louise Santiago, who expressed, "It's a little bit overwhelming... I never thought that the province could put up something like this."

Streamed live on Facebook, the first and grand showcase of the Paoay Church-inspired façade also garnered warm comments from online viewers. "Watching from Canada. Wow, bongga sa ganda," said Bella Corpuz; while Edgar Simeon hailed it "another unforgettable one."

At the Light-up ceremony, Senior Provincial Board Member (SPBM) Matthew Marcos Manotoc reminded Ilocanos to enjoy the holidays while sharing their blessings to the community. He had celebrated his 30th birthday on the 9th. Meanwhile, Vice Governor Angelo Marcos Barba urged the people to cherish the gifts of family, unity, and Christ as savior.

The program marked the beginning of a month-long celebration of "Paskua mi Ditoy."

The annual Tupig Cook-off, which will take place at the St. Joseph Parish Church in Dingras on December 12 (tentative), is expected to draw foodies (food enthusiasts) in the festive tradition of preparing tupig, a local rice cake. In recent years, participants have introduced a number of innovations to make this local delicacy more appealing to various taste buds.

On December 13-14, Capitol employees and workers will showcase their talents while strengthening friendships through the "Capitolympics" and "PGIN Got Talent."

The very first Ilocos Norte Tourism Awards will also be held on December 19 at Fort Ilocandia Resort and Hotel.  It aims to recognize the pioneering efforts of stakeholders in the province's tourism sector.

Mr. Ianree "Aian" Raquel, head of the INTO, shared that, "We are very excited because we are gathering all the stakeholders in the business sector to celebrate the success of tourism in the province and pursue further collaboration and cooperation so that we can thoughtfully plan ahead a more sustainable and long-term tourism in the province."

Awardees were chosen based on industry leadership, sustainability, and high standards.

Also new in the "Paskua mi Ditoy" calendar are mini-concerts of three choir groups. They will be performing at six in the evening on December 10, 15, 22, and 29 at the Provincial Capitol; December 12 at the St. Joseph Church in Dingras; December 16 at the Sta. Monica Church in Sarrat; December 19 and 26 at the Laoag International Airport; December 21 at the Cape Bojeador Lighthouse in Burgos; December 23 at the Domeless Bell tower in Bacarra; December 29 at Robinsons Place Ilocos; and December 30 at the Paoay Church.

The concert will feature the internationally-acclaimed Samiweng Singers of Ilocos Norte National High School, the Bacarra Young Voices of Bacarra National Comprehensive High School, and the Serenata Chorale of San Nicolas National High School.