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ILOCOS NORTE, Philippines – The provincial government is set to launch an Ilocano pop song competition this February to honor Adelita R. Bagcal, an Ilocana who was named as one of the 2023 Manlilikha ng Bayan.
In a news conference on Monday, January 15, Aianree Raquel, head of the Ilocos Norte tourism office, said the competition is one of the new categories lined up in celebration of the province’s 206th foundation anniversary.
In February, Ilocos Norte will be celebrating its 206th founding anniversary after it was separated from other provinces up north composed of Ilocos Sur, Abra, and La Union, known then as the original Provincial de Ilocos.
The separation, which was done through a Spanish royal decree on February 2, 1818, was preceded by local uprisings against the Spanish colonial government because their tobacco, sugarcane wine, and vinegar monopoly.
“We are thankful to the governor for approving this new activity to encourage the use of the Ilocano language, especially now that we have a new GAMABA (Gawad Manlilikha ng Bayan) for oral traditions from Banna,” said Raquel.
Raquel said Bagcal is “one of the inspirations of Tan-ok” this year.
Raquel is referring to the biggest cultural festival in the province, the “Tan-ok ni Ilocano (Greatness of the Ilocano) Festival of Festivals,” which is the highlight of the province’s foundation celebration. In 2023, the event drew around 50,000 spectators.
Aside from honoring Bagcal, among the goals of the songwriting competition is to “provide a new opportunity for songwriters and musicians to create,” said Raquel.
Raquel said the provincial government hopes that a “brand new piece of pop music can represent the growing community of musicians in the province.”
On February 16, the Tan-ok Festival will return on stage to highlight the diverse culture and traditions of the 23 towns and cities in the province. It was first organized in 2011 “to revive the cultural pride and Ilokano identity by focusing on narrative-driven presentations.”
This year, organizers have been encouraging the contingents to have more “diverse presentations of culture” of the province. They have also introduced changes in the criteria for judging and the festival guidelines, Raquel said.
Raquel said one of the changes is allowing “live music” in the performance of each group.
The “story, performance, choreography, production, and originality,” which form part of the criteria for judging the performances, would be equally graded at 20%.
“We are emphasizing originality, on how new their presentation is, and how experimental the ideas of the contingents,” said Raquel. – Rappler.com