LAOAG CITY – The capitol here was lit up at 6:00 p.m. on December 14 as the provincial government officially opened its annual Christmas celebration, “Paskua Mi Ditoy”.
Tourism Officer Aianree B. Raquel said “Paskua Mi Ditoy (an Ilocano phrase for “Pasko Namin Dito”) which was launched by the Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO) in 2011 is the province’s Christmas tourism brand in its month-long celebration underscoring customs and traditions of Ilocanos.
Raquel added that last year, PGIN illuminated a 45-foot Christmas tree in front of the Capitol, with a Belen (outdoor nativity scene) backed by vibrant lights which she described as a “very Filipino Christmas.”
Aside from the Capitol light-up, “Paskua Mi Ditoy” was highlighted by the Solid North Tupig Cook-Off on December 16 in Dingras town. Now on its sixth year, the tupig cook-off is held annually to bolster the market for tupig, Ilocandia’s famous Christmas rice cake.
Conceptualized in 2010 at the onset of Governor Imee R. Marcos’ administration, the tupig cook-off is a constant highlight in Ilocos Norte’s Christmas celebration to preserve this cultural heritage.
In 2015, the contest which was held at the San Agustin Church Complex in Paoayf eatured three categories: non-professional and school, professional, and local government unit (LGU). Divine Word College of Laoag, Marie Joy Sarrat Tupig Pride, and Laoag City bagged first place in their respective categories.
The cook-off also encourages the innovation of traditional cuisine, with contingents deviating from the usual lineup of tupig ingredients and using roasted peanuts, cheese, langka (jackfruit), and even gamet (Ilocos black seaweed) in their creations.—(With report of Mizpah Grace G. Castro, PGIN-CMO\