By John Michael Mugas, PGIN-CMO
LAOAG CITY – A series of strange and frightening events from October 23 to November 2 will take place in Ilocos Norte this Halloween season as ‘Semana ti Ar-aria Festival’ comes back on its fifth year highlighting the province’s unique tradition of remembering the dead.
Annually organized by the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) since 2010, this year’s Halloween fest kicked off on October 24 through the opening of the ‘Ar-aria Food Strip’ along Llanes St. beside Ilocos Norte’s Dap-Ayan.
Ilocanos will also be treated to a scary film fare as the ‘Ar-aria Short Horror Film Festival’ is once again set to showcase the creativity of the Ilocano youth during its three-day free film-screening beginning on October 26 at La Tabacalera Lifestyle Center in Laoag.
“We’ve been doing this for four years now and it is truly a great way to bring the creative community of the province together,” said Rey Arcangel, film festival coordinator.
Drawing thousands of Ilocanos, the Parada Iloca-locana’ (Ghost Parade) on October 31 becomes bigger as it highlights the week-long Halloween fest.
The said activity is expected to be graced by award-winning actress and country’s horror queen Lilia Cuntapay who hails from Badoc, Ilocos Norte and has become the icon of the province’s horror fest.
Meanwhile, the ‘Taray Ar-Aria’ (Zombie Night Run) comes back on October 29 and will be bringing Ilocanos on their feet as participants escape a relentless horde of zombies while crossing horrifying courses and obstacles.
The following day, October 29 will welcome hundreds of children on their creative costumes at Provincial Capitol to be transformed into a haunted place filled with freebies and surprises for the annual Capitol Halloween’s Trick or Treat.
“For the past five years, the ‘Semana ti Ar-aria’ has become one of the biggest events in the region that promotes our province’s unique culture of commemorating the dead,” said Xavier Ruiz of the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office.
Completing the ultimate Halloween experience, festival-goers will experience the distinct way Ilocanos honor the spirits of the dead through a centuries-old cultural tradition highlighted at Paoay’s Tumba Festival on November 1 to 2.
A terrifying night also awaits everyone who is ready to have the best Halloween experience through the Paoay House of Horror which will run on the same dates
Ruiz added that the events of Semana ti Ar-Aria have always been tied up with the celebration of the birth anniversary of the great Ilocano Juan Luna on October 24 at Paseo de Paoay.
The event featured a ‘Bigote Contest’ showing the most attractive and creative facial hair of Ilocanos across the province akin to Juan Luna. In addition, the Johnny Moon Theater Festival, which fosters the up-and-coming talents of the youth in the field of theater arts and screenwriting, will also have showings at Mariano Marcos State University’s Teatro Ilocandia, Batac on October 27. #