Ilocos Norte celebrates Apo Lakay’s 98th birthday anniversary

LAOAG CITY – Ilocos Norte celebrated the 98th birthday anniversary of former President Ferdinand E. Marcos, popularly known among Ilocanos as Apo Lakay, with youth-engaging activities that started on September 9.

Da Real Makoy Literary and Musical Competition opened the weeklong celebration, a fitting tribute to President Marcos who was an accomplished orator, debater and writer. Other competitions included Retro Quartet, Imelda and Makoy Singing Competition, Quiz Bee, Digital Poster Making, Pinoy Ballroom and Kalesa Art.

This year’s celebration was highlighted by a full-length musical play dubbed as ‘RAKENROL’, which had its premier showing at the Mariano Marcos State University’s Teatro Ilocandia, Batac City, on FEM’s birthday on September 11, 7:00 PM.

Described by Director Jeremy dela Cruz as a story about “love and appreciating our past events”, the play took the audience on an immersive musical journey to the 1970s, a decade when ‘Manila Sound’ flourished and considered to shape the modern music scene in the country.

Rakenrol, an original song composed by acclaimed Filipino novelty composer Dennis Castillo highlighted the play together with hit songs by Hotdog, Juan dela Cruz, Freddie Aguilar, Labuyo, VST, and Rico J. Puno,

“In the past years, Da Real Makoy Concert has drawn thousands of Ilocanos. This time, the musical play gave a new life to the province-wide celebration of Marcos Fiesta,” Elaine Lubguban, Media Incentives Desk Officer of the Provincial Government of Ilocos Norte (PGIN) said.

Meanwhile, a statue in honor of Apo Lakay was unveiled in Sarrat, his birthplace, on September 12.

Aian Racquel, head of the Provincial Tourism Office said a relief caravan was held on September 12 as an integral part of the celebration as a result of the devastation wrought about by typhoon Ineng in Ilocos Norte. The Marcos’ family went around the different towns struck by the typhoon to conduct a relief operation on this date.

Now on its fourth year, the Marcos Fiesta has been regarded as one of the biggest festivities in the province.

The event has gathered more than 15,000 Ilocanos and Marcos loyalists all over the country last year.

“As we honor the legacy of President Marcos—nationalism, genuine commitment to duties and of course to rigorous planning and development—we prove that Ilocanos are indeed patriotic, religious and compassionate,” Governor Imee R. Marcos said in last year’s celebration.

Through the active participation of the Sirib Youth Office, the celebration has drawn the largest crowd of young Ilocanos since most of the event’s activities are centered on them.

The Ferdinand Edralin Marcos (FEM) Debate Cup which came back on September 14 was the most anticipated event as it showcased the speech and debate talents of the Ilocano youth.

The debate cup was aimed to empower young Ilocanos to share their ideas on relevant issues in the province.

A Marcos Fiesta Job Fair organized by the Public Employment Service Office (PESO) was also held on September 9, from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM at the Ilocos Norte Centennial Arena. (With report by John Michael Mugas, PGIN-CMO