LAOAG CITY - The month of February will be extra special for residents and visitors in Ilocos Norte province as they will enjoy merrymaking activities with three separate holidays, including in this provincial capital and neighboring Sarrat town.
Malacanang has declared special non-working days in the entire province in celebration of its 205th founding anniversary on Feb. 2; in Laoag City for the Pamulinawen Festival on Feb. 10; and in Sarrat for the Binakol Festival on Feb. 28.
Authorities have prepared a traffic plan to ensure smooth traffic in downtown Laoag during the month-long activities of the Pamulinawen Festival.
Traffic rerouting signages for the civic-military parade on Feb. 1 were installed and traffic advisories have been posted, according to the city government's official Facebook page.
Based on the public advisory, only light vehicles will be allowed to pass through the city proper during the civic-military parade, grand parade and street dance competitions.
Northbound vehicles, including buses, truck and other long vehicles, can take the Laoag bypass road.
The Pamulinawen Festival celebrates the feast day of Saint William the Hermit, the patron saint of adopted children, and has grown into a more spectacular celebration of the culture and heritage of the city.
Meanwhile, Tan-ok ni Ilokano (Greatness of the Ilocano) Festival of Festivals on Feb. 24, Ilocos Norte's most anticipated cultural dance showdown, will be one of the highlights of the foundation anniversary.
The event will showcase the greatness of the Ilocanos through unique festival dances from 21 municipalities and the cities of Laoag and Batac while gathering thousands of cultural performers and spectators at the newly refurbished Ferdinand E. Marcos sports stadium here.
Provincial tourism officer Ianree Raquel said Saturday they are expecting more visitors this year as the Tan-ok month is the province's biggest attempt yet to raise the bar in cultural performances, boosting the Ilocano's sense of pride, unity, and greatness.
"The biggest pressure is on the contingents who are now busy preparing for the event," Raquel said in an interview.
The event also gives an opportunity to informal workers such as event organizers, production staff, make-up artists, and designers, among others, to earn extra income.
Sarrat's Binakol Festival, now on its 11th year, highlights the town's loom weaving industry. (PNA)