Capitol light-up to kick off Ilocanos’ ‘Paskua Mi Ditoy’ tourism campaign

LAOAG CITY — To kick-off the annual Christmas celebration, “Paskua Mi Ditoy,” residents here are excited for the Capitol light-up at 6 p.m. on December 14.

“Paskua Mi Ditoy” is an Ilocano phrase that can be translated into “Pasko Namin Dito (Our Christmas here).”

The Ilocos Norte Tourism Office (INTO) launched it as the province’s Christmas tourism brand in 2011 as a month-long celebration featuring the rich customs and traditions of Ilocanos.

Last year, the Ilocos Norte government illuminated a 45-foot Christmas tree in front of the Capitol, accompanied by a setup of an Ilocano belen (outdoor nativity scene) backed by vibrant lights. The display featured “a very Filipino Christmas,” according to Ilocos Norte Tourism Officer Aianree B. Raquel.

It showcased indigenous materials aiming to bring back Ilocanos to the meaning of Christmas and to uphold faith and resiliency as cultural values.

Aside from the Capitol light-up, “Paskua Mi Ditoy” is highlighted by the Solid North Tupig Cook-Off which will be at its sixth year on December 16 in Dingras town.

Conceptualized in 2010, the tupig cook-off is a constant highlight in Ilocos Norte’s Christmas celebration. Excluding the year 2013, the cook-off has been held annually to bolster the market for tupig, Ilocandia’s famous Christmas rice cake, and to preserve this cultural heritage.

The cook-off also encourages the innovation of traditional cuisine, with contingents deviating from the usual lineup of tupig ingredients and using roasted peanuts, cheese, langka (jackfruit), and even gamet (Ilocos black seaweed) in their