VIGAN CITY — The province of Ilocos Sur, led by Gov. Ryan Luis Singson, formally opened the 14th Kannawidan Ylocos Festival last Friday, January 29, with a simple ribbon cutting ceremony at the Kannawidan Grounds in barangay Tamag, this city. It was followed by a Holy Mass at Saint Paul Cathedral attended by officials and members of national and local government offices and non-government organizations.
In contrast to the month-long festivities of previous years, this year’s festival is being held only until February 5 and limited to a few events. The crowd-drawing spectacles like the opening ceremony, musical concerts and streetdancing parade were dropped from the program of activities, while the Saniata ti Ylocos Sur pageant will be closed to the public.
The Trade and Food Fair at Kannawidan Grounds in Tamag is held in partnership with the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and showcases a total of 110 local exhibitors. 40 exhibitors are in the food service, 15 local government units promoting their OTOP products, 38 exhibitors in the gifts, decors, housewares, furniture and plants section, and 17 in the local processed foods section.
Provincial Tourism Officer Michael Ryan Astom said in an interview that the provincial government went ahead with this year’s Trade and Food Fair to support and provide additional income to micro, small and medium businesses.
“Malaking income ito para sa kanila kasi usually kapag Kannawidan, isa ito sa mga nagbibigay ng malaking income para sa mga exhibitors sa venue pero due to the pandemic, sana maintindihan ng ating mga kababayan na 50 percent lamang ng capacity ng ground ang i-allow natin sa Fair. At through SafePass, mas mapapadali ang pag-manage ng mga organizers sa mga papasok,” Astom said.
To ensure the safety of guests and exhibitors, strict health guidelines are being observed during the events to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The provincial government requires face masks and contactless registration using SafePass app to enter the Trade and Food Fair. Gov. Singson also announced that children under 15 years and senior citizens are not permitted to enter the Fair.
Meanwhile, the Saniata ti Ylocos Sur 2021 was launched on January 31 via a pre-pageant at the Ichthus Beach Resort in barangay Alangan, Magsingal. Astom clarified that this year’s Saniata will be held as a ‘lockdown’ pageant where no audience is allowed, except for the judges and production team. The coronation night on February 2 will be streamed live via Ryan Luis V. Singson Official Fan Page and PTV Ylocos Facebook page.
A Kannawidan Summer Sports fest 2021 was also announced by Gov. Singson to be held for the whole month of March to include competition in badminton, table tennis and boxing. No definite dates for the sports events were given.
The Kannawidan Ylocos Festival commemorates the founding of the province of Ilocos Sur when it was separated from what is now Ilocos Norte via a royal decree on February 2, 1818 when the country was still a colony of Spain. Since its inception in 2007, it has served as an annual celebration of Ilocos traditions and culture.