Ilocos Sur celebrates Kannawidan Ylocos Festival Bicentennial


It’s fiesta season once again in the Ilocos Region. Stumbled upon this poster of Ilocos Sur’s Kannawidan Ylocos Bicentennial celebration schedule of activities on social media and might as well share it with you. Ilocos Sur and its seat of government, Vigan, like to do it customarily grand in their own unique Southern Ilocano way. Kicking off on January 26, with Sun Soaked beach sports competitions and Parokya ni Edgar concert at the beach in Magsingal, the province’s 200 years commemorations will be livened up with a dancing fountain spectacle, art and poetry competitions, Chef Wars, a longganisa eating contest, stamp exhibit, street dancing showdown capped by an Ely Buendia performance, a rodeo parade, a drag race, etc. For more details, visit their websites at the bottom of the poster.

Sun Soaked: The rise of a promising annual beach festival in Ilocos


The first Sun Soaked on the warm sandy beaches of Cabugao and Magsingal brought both jolt and encouragement to the otherwise serene coastal villages at the northern end of Ilocos Sur. Without much fanfare prior to its staging, the festival of sea, sand and sun challenges that included kiteboarding, surfing, beach volleyball, frisbee and dragon boat racing was able to attract droves of beach sports enthusiasts from the National Capital Region and the capital of beach events, where else but Boracay?

Pug-os Beach

I lingered at the Cabugao Beach Resort to cheer for the PDRT Fireblades, one among the country’s leading dragon boat teams that made the 8 slots for the first ever dragon boat race on the shores of Ilocos. The race was held in cooperation with the Philippine Canoe and Kayak Federation, headed by Ms. Jonne Go.

Congressman Ronald Singson

As head organizer of Sun Soaked, Congressman Ronald Singson of the 1st District of Ilocos Sur mingled with the participants, and along with brother Gov. Ryan Singson, they hosted an after beach party and concert following the awarding ceremonies.

Cong. Ronald said when asked if Sun Soaked is the start of more sports activities to come in Ilocos Sur, “Yes, this is going to be a yearly thing. With our many beautiful beaches, we see the potentials of fun events in Ilocos Sur.”

Looking back, Ilocos Sur has successfully organized individual sports competitions, particularly motocross and enduro dirt bike challenges.


I crossed paths with the Sports Unlimited team covering the events. Hahah, first, it was Gene, the executive producer. Only until Marc Nelson holds the mic before the camera, he is incognito as always. I was happy the super friendly host remembers me and my family. The last time we hosted him and Dyan Castellejo in Norte was almost a decade ago.

Marc NelsonPhilippine National AnthemThe Chinese Monk

A monk blesses the dragon boats on Pug-os Beach.

TailsSun Soaked, The Ilocos Sur Beach FestLea and JonneManila DragonsLa Salle PaddlersPaddlersPDRT FirebladesSun Soaked 2014 Dragon Boat RaceTeddyBeach MatInoue, Charlie and AlexThe moms

With Duch Gamboa-Co and Pinky Co, supportive mom to PDRT Fireblades paddlers Duch and Phil.

Sun Soaked Dragon Boat Race

Moody winds threatened the races. La Salle’s boat overturned at one point, but made it back to the race.

Manila Wave beat Boracay All Stars at the 300m dragon boat race. PYROS came in close third while Manila Dragons made the 4th top spot.

Being an adventure junkie myself, looking forward to experience more action-packed events in the years to come.

Happy Kannawidan, Ilocos Sur!

Manila WaveSun Soaked, The Ilocos Sur Beach FestSun Soaked, The Ilocos Sur Beach FestFrisbeeSun Soaked, The Ilocos Sur Beach FestPhil

Phil Co, an Ilocano paddler.

Alex and Charlie
Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2014

My first live Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival of Festivals

Laoag City Pamulinawen Festival  at Tan-ok

The Ferdinand Marcos Stadium shone brighter than moonbeams for all the town festivals in Ilocos Norte in one night, one show, one competition. Supporters and contingents from the participating towns filled the bleachers with ease. Those who aspired to be within spitting distance from the stage queued up for one thousand-peso tickets. A cheap price to pay for proceeds go to the construction of the new space of the displaced local Red Cross chapter.

I went to root for my hometown city of Laoag. Out of 10 audience members I surveyed, 9 predicted Laoag for the top spot.


And indeed Laoag won for a stellar performance. So rousing that at some point, a tear rolled down and my hair stood out.  My next other favorite presentation from Batac reminded me of my lola Iniang and the good old days. The snappy dance depiction of the evolution of its famous empanada, complete with seamless music, was totally clever. Siwawer Vintar was very creative as usual.  Pinili highlighted its stable economy from white gold bawang and dollar remittances. Banna’s red ant colony was bubbly. Nueva Era was a revelation in its rendition of its indigenous culture. The costumes were beautiful. All together, last night’s Tan-ok ni Ilocano was a clear-cut definition of who we are as a people, as a province. So rich in culture, so rich in history, so rich in natural resources.

A personal wish — a true One Ilocos Norte to take these strengths to a new higher level.

Tan-okTan-okTan-okTan-okTan-ok 2013CrocTan-okTan-ok 2013Tan-okTan-okTan-okTan-oklittle dancerAbuos Festival at Tan-okAbuos (Red Ants)Tan-okIlocos Norte Governor Imee Marcos

Governor Imee Marcos of the province of Ilocos Norte.

Ilocos Norte Vice Governor Angelo Barba

Vice-Governor Angelo Marcos Barba is a true cowboy.

Red Cross Ilocos Norte Chapter

The key people of Red Cross Ilocos Norte chapter headed by Tita Mary Ang.

Picture 013

Pagudpud mayor, Marlon Sales, arrived with the Bergblick’s Chef Detlev Cotte and his wife Maritess.

Tan-ok CrowdPicture 010Red Cross

Official Results of the Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival of Festivals 2013:

Grand Champion: Laoag City
1st: Nueva Era
2nd: Batac City
3RD: Vintar
4th: Banna
5th: Pinili
6th: Paoay
7th: Currimao
Best festival music: Batac
Best performer (male and female performers:   Batac and Laoag
Peoples Choice: Pinili

My special thanks to friends Me-Ann Macaraeg, Ace and Kit, Alaric Yanos and Gemma, Edna, Ronan and Stella for the Tan-ok results.

Photographed by Blauearth © Blauearth™ All Rights Reserved 2009-2013