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  • Writer's pictureAncher Cua

Bringing back the WOW factor in Apayao!

Updated: Nov 19, 2023

Apayao is a mountainous and culturally-enriched area bounded by the provinces of Ilocos Norte, Cagayan, Abra and Kalinga. It is composed of seven humble municipalities representing the northern Cordillera Administrative Region – Calanasan, Conner, Flora, Kabugao (the capital), Luna, Pudtol and Santa Marcela. The first time I got here in 2017 really awed me with the simplicity of life and their bountiful traditions.

I visited the province for the first time during its founding anniversary on February 2017 hosted by the town of Kabugao. We had a visit on their agricultural fairs, watched the street dance parade with designed floats and even took a short bangka ride hours before the evening’s pageant “Dayag ti Apayao” or some would call it "Miss Apayao", a pageant directed by Enrico Francisco who is also a fellow in Ilocos Norte.

In the same year, I also had a second town visit in Santa Marcela to host their “Libnos ti Santa Marcela” pageant for both 2017 and 2018 in the month of June. Having Enrico Francisco as the show’s director for several years, he already had a name in this town for consistently producing it well along with the town's local talents.

After five years or this 2023, I’m very glad to bring the cheerful energy again as I hosted the 1st Say-Am Festival’s Cultural and Fashion Show in Kabugao. Several performances from the secondary schools featured folklores and stories about their life and beliefs. They were depicted through acting, songs, dances and instrumental ensembles to further showcase their musical traditions. Creatively, designers also made their own masterpieces showcased by the townsfolk during the fashion show. Chosen kids, adults and local government unit heads of various genders strut the stage wearing Apayao’s genuine attire. Special thanks to the show’s director, Mr. Jansen Senica, for having me in this show (watch the video below).

A few weeks after that, I was also invited for the first time by the town mayor of Luna herself, Hon. Josephine Menor Bangsil, to emcee their “Libnos ti Luna” Coronation Night. It's even a surprise to know that this pageant was last conducted on 2019. Thus, it was another great comeback just like the other pageants I hosted prior to this. As the local government unit already renamed its town fiesta, everybody made sure that the rebranding would be worth the change because of the activities and surprises during the three-day event. Gladly, I was accompanied by the finest Ms. Joyce Montenegro Ganaden a.k.a. #JoyceTheHyperHost.

It's always been a remarkable thing to share the energetic vibes with all the applause and cheers. These activities really excite me as it’s not just about my career that is taking me to places, but these are some of the ways to let everyone feel the importance of celebrating milestones and our townsfolks’ lives and stories. That’s why the public is always involved on such events as everybody deserves to witness the best show experience as these would make them feel even greater and more inspired than ever. So until my next visit, #Apayao!

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