LAOAG, Ilocos Norte — Department of Tourism Secretary Christina Garcia Frasco lauded the celebration of Ilocano culture and tradition in the 205th founding anniversary of Ilocos Norte dubbed: Tan-Ok Ni Ilocano: The Festival of Festivals on Feb 24 at the newly-inaugurated Ferdinand E. Marcos Memorial Stadium in Laoag City.
In his welcome remarks President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said that he personally made sure that the tourism chief was present at the event so she could witness the festivities as the program would help her in formulating unique projects that would highlight the diverse Filipino brand.
“I wanted her to see the traditional culture of the Philippines at ito’y nagiging mahalaga para sa kanyang pinapaano para ipagmalaki ang kultura ng Pilipinas, ipagmalaki ang mga Pilipino sa buong mundo nang sa ganon ay tayo’y matulungan sa ating pagaahon sa ating ekonomiya sa pamamagitan ng turismo,” shared President Marcos Jr., who previously served as vice governor and governor of the province.
President Marcos Jr. added he hopes that programs like the Tan-Ok will help sustain the resurgence of Philippine tourism following more than two years of enduring unprecedented losses due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Beyond this event’s revelry, this event is expected to stimulate economic activity and support Ilokano families by driving tourism industry, sustaining local livelihood. I assure you that the government’s commitment to strengthen the domestic tourism industry remains a top priority and Ilocos Norte will play a very large part of that,” President Marcos Jr. continued.
Manifestation of “Philippine Experience”
On her part, Secretary Frasco lauded the festival which according to her is a manifestation of the Philippine Experience which the Department of Tourism hopes to highlight as part of the country’s cultural treasures.
“The Tan-Ok festival exemplifies what we at the Department of Tourism strive to achieve in showcasing the unique Filipino identity,” Frasco said.
“We at the DOT will amplify our Philippine Experience caravans so that more Provinces, Cities, and Municipalities will have opportunities to be highlighted and more MSMEs will have a chance to showcase their products and services,” Secretary Frasco added
The Philippine Experience, which the Department of Tourism is rolling out summer this year, aims to highlight the Philippines’ heritage and culture to increase travel among Filipinos and foreign visitors. It would involve the development of caravans featuring culture, heritage, and arts unique to each region.
The Tan-Ok Ni Ilocano Festival
Thousands of Ilokanos came to the stadium carrying placards and messages of support for their respective dancers who will perform for their town’s glory.
Donning the story of their towns, from tobacco-themed costumes to seafood props, the Tan-Ok Ni Ilocano Festival celebrates the 205th founding anniversary of Ilocos Norte through a month-long calendar of activities featuring the province’s cultural heritage, history, and people.
For Ilocanos, Tan-Ok is a reminder of the town’s identity and heritage as well as a tourism driver for the province’s rich gastronomy and local livelihood.
Ilocos Norte Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc expressed excitement on the event particularly noting that the stadium is now fully operational, this after the pandemic halted public gatherings for more than two years.
Meanwhile, first congressional district representative Ferdinand Alexander “Sandro” Araneta Marcos III introduced his father, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., and wished for more events like the Tan-Ok ni Ilokano “to remember the stories that made Ilocos Norte what it is it today”.
Vice Governor Cecilia Araneta Marcos was also present to witness the festivities.