Laoag City bags grand slam in Tan-ok Festival viewed by 50,000 spectators

By Grazielle Mae A. Sales, PGIN-CMO
(First of two parts)

LAOAG CITY – The City of Laoag bagged the dance showdown for the third time and its P350,000.00 cash prize in the Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival of Festivals held on November 29, 2014.

The Pamulinawen Festival presentation featured child performers who took the roles as native settlers in the newly named then town of Laoag during the Spanish era. Clad in colorful baro’t saya, they wowed the crowd and the judges with their energetic number.

The twist of the storyline was when the townsfolk’s resiliency was tested by nature—a great earthquake toppled the Laoageños’ houses and forced them out of the Ermita Hill to rebuild in a safer, lower ground. Soon, the recovered community became the center of economy and development in the entire province.

Ace dance choreographer Christian Espiritu said they made sure that their piece this year would be “original” especially “in terms of storytelling and casting”, owing their win to the “small kids” who have performed.

The biggest surprise in this year’s competition was Currimao, a coastal town of Ilocos Norte. Currimao won the second top spot for executing a vibrant rendition of the Dinaklisan Festival.

The story focused on a young fisherman who dreamt of getting the love of his life by offering her the great bounties of the sea. He succeeded with the help of his fellow fishers who helped him pull his catch to the shore through a sturdy rope (dinaklisan). Real fishing boat, giant jellyfishes made of umbrella and shimmering life-sized replicas of fish sewn on nets were some of the stunning props flaunted by the group.

JR Reynon, the hero of the story, was also awarded as the Best Male Performer.

Nueva Era’s Tadek Festival, which won second place last year, placed third this time, but its production numbers with gigantic engkanto made of twigs, enormous heritage baskets and mascots of wild boars and monkeys as backdrop made a deep impression to the board of judges that they gave it a special award as Best in Production Design.

On the other hand, the Empanada Festival of the City of Batac seized the fourth spot. They presented in a Broadway concept the history of the famed Batac Empanada which dates back to the Spanish era. Determined to address the changing preference of the Ilustrados, the native Batacqueños invented the Batac Empanada, a fusion of a Western cuisine and local ingredients such as papaya, eggs and the famous longganisa.

Judeleah Pucan, one of the heroines, was again awarded as the Best Female Performer. The group also won the prize for Best in Festival Music.

The least populated town in the province, Adams, placed fifth, making it their first ever win for the past four years. The Ginginubat Festival portrayed an ancient war between two distinct tribes in the mountainous town—the Imallod and the Yapayao—which eventually ended up with a peace pact and a massive feast. An actual flowing waterfall was one of the unique props of the group.#