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  • Writer's pictureAncher Cua

We're back in Ilocos Norte's biggest stage!

Updated: Mar 16

Ilocos Norte is more than just a tourist destination and a progressive province. It's also a home to known artists and creatives and the only venue where you can witness the grandest cultural showcase in northern Philippines. Having hosted this event on 2018 (bicentennial edition), 2019 and after five years, it always feels honoring to set foot on the most desired platform in its part of the country - The Tan-Ok Ni Ilocano: Festival of Festivals!

Started in November 2011, this event is known to showcase cultures, traditions and histories through music, dance, songs and talents of the Ilocanos. Now held during the founding month of the province (February) at the all-new Ferdinand E. Marcos Memorial Stadium, it still highlights stories, dreams, strengths, resilience, celebrations and greatness of the Ilocano people. Thousands of locales and visitors spectate this annual show as all festivals of the twenty-one municipalities and two cities are gathered to bring the best out of their tales through a seven-minute presentation with more than a hundred performers per contingent. As such, hosts play a crucial role in sharing the chronicles and to keep the excitement alive throughout the show. I was joined by two incredible hosting icons this year, Ms. Mary Jane Pascual-Leano and Ms. Mariz Domingo.

Watch our #TanOk2024 hosting highlights below or proceed to the full show here.

Video Credits: Ilocos Norte Tourism Facebook Page

Aside from Senator Imee Marcos's presence, the former provincial governor and brainchild of Tan-Ok, a well-trending music artist this generation, Flow G, also performed after the competition proper and during the result deliberation. I also had the privilege of informing everyone on the final results of the online polls, by which the Town of Vintar topped the virtual ranks as voted by viewers across the globe. When major results came and announced by the judging panel's chairman, Prof. Alexander Cortez, the City of Batac's Fiesta Empanada got its second championship plus special awards such as Best in Production Design and one of their main performers as Best Female Performer. The Municipality of Pinili's Abel Festival finished second place and Municipality of Vintar's Siwawer Festival announced as third placer. Other runners-up were Badoc, Currimao, Laoag City, Nueva Era (Best Festival Music) and Piddig (Best Choreography and Direction with Best Male Performer). The Municipality of Dumalneg also took home the Best Video Design award.

Creatively directed by Mr. Randy Leano under the Festival Directorship of Mr. A-Xavier Ruiz (Ilocos Norte's Tourism Officer), the six-hour event was a plausible success. I also proudly acknowledge and thank the following for giving me the best look for the show:

Attire: Mx. Aian Raquel (antique inabel pants), Ira Baylon (traditional barong tagalog) and Barry's Gowns (brown leather shoes)

Wardrobe Assistant: Erica Martinez

Skin & Facial Glow: Ilocosmetics by Dr. Julius Bryan Saep

Photos: Ar Jae Photography and Joy Taguinod (host's assistant)

Deep inside and up to now, I'm joyfully touched whenever I host and watch #TanOk as it truly brings out the Ilocano pride in me. As a third-time emcee, every word speaks about the treasures we uphold and what the world should witness. The performances remind us that each tale portrays how our lives, stories, cultures, beliefs and values matter and are well-connected. No matter where we live - mountains, rivers, shores, farms or even in the urbans - local or overseas, it's all about our way of life carrying the pride, dreams and love for our families, kakailian (fellow citizens) and the entire locality. I would say that this will always be the real spirit of celebrating #TanOkNiIlocano and every #Ilocano is a champion.

Above all that we thank God for the accomplishment, we're grateful as well to the Hon. Governor Matthew Marcos Manotoc and Ilocos Norte Tourism Office for sharing the honor to me and every single one of this production team for handling the show!

Iti maminsan pay ken agnanayon, agbiag ti Ilocos Norte! Agbiag ti Ilocano! Dios ti agngina!

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