LAOAG CITY — In what was meant as a sweet reunion of all Ilokanos who parted ways 200 years ago, a bicentennial monument was unveiled at the Quirino Stadium in Vigan City in the province of Ilocos Sur to commemorate its founding anniversary on Friday, Feb. 2.
Gathering top officials from the Ilokano-speaking provinces of Northern Luzon and guests from Metro Manila led by Malacañang Spokesperson Harry Roque, Senator Nancy Binay, and Department of Tourism Secretary Wanda Teo, Ilocos Sur Gov. Ryan Singson invited all locals to witness the bicentennial commemoration highlighted by the unveiling of the marker.
The marker reflects objects in a mirror that depicts the rich past of the Ilokanos, their unique culture, and heritage passed from generation to generation.
The Ilocos Sur official wants to promote the marker as part of its heritage destination to boost tourism growth.
Part of the Ilocos bicentennial plan is to develop a leisure park within the bicentennial marker.
Ilocos Norte Gov. Ma. Imelda Marcos, who also witnessed the unveiling of the marker, pointed out that Ilokanos remained solid, even if the Spaniards split Ilocos Norte and Ilocos Sur through a Royal Decree on February 2, 1818.
“We have a great deal to be grateful for here in the north, where we continue to be the most peaceful, most productive, and certainly the most progressive,” said Marcos, citing Ilokanos are united even if there was division among them.
Aside from unveiling the bicentennial market, both Ilocos provinces celebrated their 200th year with a series of activities on Friday, simultaneously held in the cities of Vigan, Ilocos Sur and Laoag, Ilocos Norte.
The 200 years of separation might have done something great for both provinces, after all, the locals said, as Ilocos Sur became a cultural hub because of its capital, Vigan City, inscribed as a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Cultural, and Scientific Organization.
The tourist spot was also internationally declared as the New Seven Wonders of the World city in 2015, for having preserved its historical and cultural facade.
Ilocos Norte, on the other hand, wants to be known as a producer of world-class talents, a trailblazer in clean and renewable energy, and the home of great leaders like the former Philippine president Ferdinand E. Marcos. PNA-northboundasia.com