LAOAG CITY — Due to the long vacation in Metro Manila this week for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting, Ilocos Norte recorded a sudden increase of tourist arrivals.

“While we anticipated the influx of visitors this long vacation brought up by the APEC event in Manila, the number of tourists currently in the province right now is overwhelming,” said Ilocos Norte Provincial Tourism Officer Aianree Raquel during an interview.

With this, the provincial government of Ilocos Norte is in close coordination with major tourism establishments as they have earlier reported that they have “ran out of supplies since yesterday.”

Governor Imee Marcos noted that “the increase in number of tourists have resulted to shortage of accommodation in Pagudpud while food establishments in Laoag City and Paoay are running out of supplies.”

Raquel added that “everyone is in double time as it is only Thursday and tourists might continue to rise on Friday until the weekend.”

Meanwhile, the provincial government has prepared a set of activities for the thousands of tourists spending the long weekend in the province with the start of the ‘Tan-ok ni Ilocano Festival’ season this week.

Three museums are opening in the province: the Balay Dingras on November 19, Cape Bojeador Lighthouse Museum in Burgos and Taoid Museum in Laoag City on November 21.

A special rerun of the ‘RAKENROL’ musical play will also be staged today (Friday), 6 p.m. at the Ilocos Norte Centennial Arena.

“Reports are currently being consolidated regarding the total number of tourists but as of now, the data that we have been able to gather from hotels are strong,” he added.

Through the active tourism campaign of the provincial government dubbed as the ‘Paoay Kumakaway!,’ Ilocos Norte has become a preferred destination attracting tourists with its wide range of historical and cultural heritage and diverse activities.

In the past two years, Ilocos Norte tourism has grown to a stunning 380.64 percent translating it to more than 1,245,562 visitors that came in the province from January to July 2015 only. PNA